interfaith and jewish weddings Toronto

FAQs—Planning an Interfaith Wedding

These are some of the typical areas couples ask about when planning their wedding ceremony. Alexandra Gellman, who is likely to be your first contact when you connect to discuss your ceremony, answers some frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact us for any topics we may not have covered in the detail you need or specific queries concerning your wedding.

How soon should we book our wedding with you?

We’re often booked quite far in advance. So during this period, as everything starts to get back to normal after the lockdowns, it would be a good idea to pencil in a date and time as soon as you’re ready.

With so many people catching up with plans put on hold, this and next year are looking to be busier than ever. However, we always keep certain windows of time available for services and ceremonies. So do please always check with us, even if you’re planning at the last minute.

Generally, the answer to the question of how soon to start planning your wedding is ASAP—whether you’re looking at months, next year, or the year after before you tie the knot. This is particularly true if you have a specific venue in mind or a certain date. Whether you plan a large guest list or a microwedding, we’re happy wedding planning-GTA videosto make arrangements to ensure peace of mind.

It’s never too soon to book your ideal wedding date. And, as any wedding planner will tell you—many venues and those who supply wedding services you may need, from caterers to photographers, may be booking well in advance at the moment. This is especially true as things pick up post-Covid lockdown.

Do you perform ceremonies in the GTA/Toronto area only or anywhere in Ontario?

The Rabbi is licensed to perform weddings anywhere in Ontario, and he also is able to officiate at weddings in the US.

Do you perform destination interfaith weddings?

Yes—the Rabbi has officiated at ceremonies in California, Mexico, Savannah (Georgia), and Manhattan.  He performs destination weddings for both Jewish and interfaith couples and has also done destination vow renewal ceremonies. For other destination locations, please check with us when reserving your dates.

What about weddings onboard ships/at resorts abroad?

The Rabbi has officiated at religious ceremonies on cruises, as well as destination weddings at resorts in Canada and elsewhere. Arrangements vary depending on the shipping company, and special plans need to be made with the venue or resort, but we will be pleased to discuss this with you.

Are you okay with outdoor and indoor ceremonies?

Yes, there’s no problem with any arrangement you want to make. Whether your ceremony is large or small, live-streamed or on YouTube, and outdoors, in a banquet hall, or vineyard—inside or out, we’re happy to accommodate and work with you to make this a very happy, fulfilling, and wonderful ceremony that lives up to your dreams.

We’ve heard that some couples get married in Canada and then at the destination abroad, too. Is this allowed?

Yes, and this trend may likely continue as travel opens up and weddings are held outside of the country more often.  Sometimes it is encouraged, depending on the destination and the regulations in force in that country.

Some couples hold a local ceremony In Canada before or after—either privately or so that friends may attend who can’t travel to the destination.

This can be a wise step to take if you’re not positive of the official requirements at your destination location going forward. It ensures that all the legalities are met for you and that your wedding is safely registered in Ontario/Canada in case of any legal hiccups in your destination country in the future.

Do you officiate other events?

Yes, the Rabbi conducts all rites of passage ceremonies, including vow renewals, commitment ceremonies, Wedding Muskokanamings, memorial services—Jewish or Interfaith. We hope to continue to perform services for you after the wedding—from baby namings to b’nei mitzvahs.


What’s the first step in planning our wedding?

After you contact us and discuss dates, we like to work with you to create the dream ceremony that will meet your requirements. We discuss the details with you. Everything is done to recognize, respect, and reflect your beliefs, history, and family ties, and create a wedding ceremony with the elements you desire and as you desire.

We work with you creatively so that your ceremony reflects who you both are and your exact wishes and presents a unified ceremony with elements, vows, and the approach that will live up to expectations and make wonderful memories for you and your loved ones.

Do you work with families to iron out requirements/arrangements?

Yes, we’re very happy to sit down with all sides of the family (and generations!) to work things out. This can be of particular help when it comes to agreeing on elements of the wedding ceremony for an interfaith couple, where strong opinions/family members may cause little hiccups. Especially in interfaith services, this may require compromise and accommodation.

We are both experienced counselors and are able to work with family members of all ages (and personalities!) to provide guidance and create a wedding ceremony that suits you both and your loved ones.

Should we contact you directly or a wedding planner?

If you’re using a wedding planner, it’s a good idea to contact us both at about the same time so that everyone can get the dates that are best for you scheduled if available/agreed. On many occasions, we are contacted by wedding planners who put couples in touch with us.

Regardless, we will always be available for conversations about the ceremony and the procedures so that you know what to expect and are able to ensure that the ceremony will be a memory to remember with joy and pleasure. We are pleased to work with you creatively and to help determine the elements you wish to incorporate to make sure that all your needs (and wishes!) are met.

Please contact Alexandra for more information.

Obtaining Your Marriage License in Ontario

During the ceremony, we sign your marriage license and forward it to the Registrar to ensure that your marriage is legally registered. The Rabbi is a licensed officiant. Before the marriage can take place, you must obtain the original license from your local municipal offices, which you provide to us up to 90 days before your wedding date. You’re welcome to give the license to us in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it at your ceremony. (The license is valid for only three months–if your plans or dates change, you will need to apply for an extension from the municipality.)

We do not provide the official Marriage Certificate. In Ontario, you apply for this from the Registrar after the ceremony. It’s necessary to wait at least 90 days after the ceremony before applying to meet provincial requirements.

If you have arranged with the Rabbi for a destination wedding in a state or province other than Ontario (he is also licensed or able to conduct ceremonies in certain other locales in Canada and the US), we will discuss this and any arrangements that need to be made with you.

If you are arranging a destination wedding with local officiants—it is good to be aware that Canadian/Ontario couples often arrange for a ceremony to be conducted in Ontario also, so they can be assured they are legally married.

How to change your name after your wedding ceremony:
How you change your name after you’re married is the question most asked by couples! In Ontario (and generally in other provinces besides Quebec), you may assume your spouse’s last name on marriage. You may need to show your marriage certificate (which you apply for after the wedding from Vital Statistics) to the relevant government departments or companies to change your name on certain documents (bank accounts, Revenue Canada, credit cards, driver’s license, social insurance number, etc.). You may also apply for a legal name change, but this is a different process.

On applying for a marriage license in Ontario


More-Legal name change after marriage.

Danielle & Jesse’s Camp Wedding

From the Toronto Star—

‘Maybe I just met my husband’: How an Israel adventure led to happily ever after.

ToFoodies founder Danielle Finestone planned the most delicious wedding to her beau Jesse Helfand.”

Danielle and Jesse’s very special wedding was featured in a recent issue of the Toronto Star newspaper—here is the link to the article recounting how they met, the wedding, and all involved.

Rabbi David Gellman was the officiant at the ceremony at Camp New Moon in Baysville. For more information, contact wedding planner and designer Alana Klein of

Photography: @lauraclarkephotos

Two Ceremonies to Celebrate— A “Double Wedding”

Katrina and Dannel had a wonderful time at both of their weddings—they celebrated their marriage ceremony twice in one day, which only made the day more special, says Katrina.

And after scheduling the ceremony three times —and having to postpone it in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic restrictions and all that this involved, they were joyful at finally being able to proceed with their marriage with friends, family, and dear loved ones in attendance. They came from near and far—with Katrina’s family mainly in Ontario and Dannel’s family in Panama, from where he had moved to Toronto in 2015—their wedding day in the GTA was everything they imagined, with most guests able to make it to both ceremonies!

Katrina and Dannel wanted to honor both beliefs and cultures and were pleased to be able to finally do so on August 27, 2022.

“We were fortunate to be able to arrange everything as we wanted and to have everyone—many traveling across the continent—to reunite with us for the weddings—this made our day extra special.”

The first ceremony took place at 1 p.m. at the Guardian Angels in Brampton, with the entourage, family, and friends in attendance to celebrate the Catholic ceremony. It was a beautiful way to celebrate the first part of their wedding day, says Katrina.

Later on the same day, for 5 p.m., almost all the guests made their way to Toronto and gathered again at the charming Fantasy Farms venue on Pottery Road, off Bayview Avenue, for their Jewish Interfaith ceremony.

“This was conducted by Rabbi David Gellman and exceeded all our expectations.” After the ceremony, they capped off the day with a beautiful party at Fantasy Farms and celebrated with the traditional first dance, speeches, delicious food, and all that goes with it.

“We were so happy that parents and siblings could be there from both of our families and that Dannel’s close relatives traveled to join us from Panama City. “So we had advice, blessings, and good wishes from our parents and relatives on both sides.”

The happy couple first met when they were both working in technology in the financial sector—they used to work together, but now Dannel is a Technology Consultant in CIBC and Katrina is a Senior Manager in RBC.
But they have plans to spend lots of time together as they settle into a happily married life. They plan to go on a honeymoon now that things are opening up again—perhaps next year, but are quite content that, with all the pandemic uncertainty behind them, they will always be able to celebrate their “double wedding” day and that it was such a spectacular one to remember.

wedding planning-GTA videos

Your Wedding Video—Wedding Planning 101


Even with some gathering limits relaxing soon (we hope!), couples may still need to rely on Zoom, YouTube, or live streaming to bring friends and loved ones together for your wedding ceremony for some time to come. Restrictions are variable in different areas/parts of the world, and ensuring everyone  you would like to invite can show up on a specific date and time may be tricky for a while.

With a little planning of technical details, the video of your wedding—whether it’s live or recorded for everyone to watch later, will benefit from arranging the details early and leaving nothing to chance (or the last minute!).

With date and venue changes, travel quarantines, gathering restrictions, vaccinations, variants, and flight holdups, couples are holding smaller, more intimate ceremonies, live streaming the wedding, or sharing it as soon as they can.

Mark of Kismet Creative, who produces wonderful wedding videos, says, “We see weddings on Instagram, more use of streaming services, or really short turn-around to share if attendance has to be limited by circumstance.”

“We already do same day edits for couples who want to view or share their day on the actual day—so this can be handled easily.”

Check with your videographer to make sure they can meet your timeline and share your ceremony as and when you want it.

General tips to consider to make sure your wedding video is the ultimate include:


  1. Be fully informed—discuss your plans and iron out the budget.
  2. Make sure that the videographer/s know the where, and when, and how of what you want the video to be.
  3. Decide whether you prefer an intimate “sharing” story or a bells-and-whistles grand production, or somewhere in-between and iron out the details in advance.
  4. Book your ceremony arrangements early—so that you have best choice and can schedule the venue, your Rabbi/officiant and the video shoot/s and all other factors to meet your ideal calendar.
  5. Do you want the video to be live streamed or to be edited on the day and made available immediately on You Tube or another site?
  6. Make sure the company you hired can meet your requirements/check references.
  7. Some couples like to show everything—the hair-stylists at work, the gowns and suits poised ready to put on, the guests and parents, family members—or as many as can be there during these odd times—plus every second of the ceremony, celebrations, and departure. You’ll be asked to decide this in advance as it affects staffing/cost.
  8. Be specific with your “script” and make sure you and your videographers are on the same page, time line, and budget.
  9. Keep in mind that the venue or location, especially if outside, may necessitate more videographers or different equipment.
  10. Go through and agree every detail beforehand to be sure there are no surprises on the day.
  11. Confirm all the key steps and moments that you want to see covered and included; identify/provide a list of any special family members/ participants you would like to see featured .
  12. Be sure to have someone point out who’s who—the parents, grandparents, close friends, and relatives you’d like to see in your video.
  13. Also confirm all the details of your videographer’s schedule on the day. Are there are other ceremonies or events on that might affect how they work and what they can do plus access and timing issues—will everyone arrive at the same time?
  14. Do you want everyone to remain almost unaware of the videographer/s? Make sure you advise—if they are professionals, most of these details will be covered as part of the contractual process.
  15. Finally, consider when you need to obtain agreement/discuss timing and any necessary permissions from others who might be photographed in the video to make sure everyone in the wedding party is okay with your plans. If the video will be posted publicly, some people might have concerns.
  16. Confirm with the owners/venue that it’s acceptable to shoot in the location that you’ve chosen.
  17. Confirm the review and approval process—some companies allow a single review and will make edits to meet your needs; others may be more or less flexible—and this may also affect the timing.
  18. Get it in writing—make sure the details, schedule, budget, and delivery date/options are all agreed.

Then relax and dream about your wonderful wedding. If you’ve done some due diligence and checked your video suppliers references and history, and agreed on all the details, you’ll be able to look forward to a wedding video that captures and showcases your treasured memories forever.

More on wedding videography.

Weddings-GTA Interfaith

Ontario eases regulations —weddings and ceremonies


Ontario has taken a big step on the way back to normal. Capacity limits will expand to 50 percent in arenas, theatres, and concert venues (with some number limitations)… Where vaccination certificates are required, capacity limits have been removed for most other areas/indoor public settings such as cinemas. For high risk venues, such as nightclubs or restaurants with dancing, capacity limits of 25% apply. “Capacity limits in other indoor public settings, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, retail and shopping malls, will be maintained at, or increased to, the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance,” says the Ontario government media release.

  • Capacity limits have been increased for indoor weddings, funerals, or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance. Capacity limits are removed if the location opts-in to use proof of vaccination or if the service, rite, or ceremony is occurring outdoors.

Most of the caps that were in place were lifted on February 17—a few days earlier than anticipated. However, where capacity limits will increase to 100% on that day for many places, proof of vaccination may still be required, so if you’re arranging a wedding in the near future or other rite of passage ceremony or event, please check with your planner or venue. While the restrictions have been eased, some venues and companies are treading cautiously and requiring distancing or proof of vaccination requirements.

At events or in venues where proof is not required, the 2 m separation rule must be applied.

Venues for wedding receptions (with dancing allowed!) will be able to operate at 25% where proof of vaccination is required. Weddings-GTAJewish Interfaith

The easing of restrictions also marks a return to busy schedules for the many venues and suppliers of wedding-related services from caterers to stylists, photographers, and videographers. If you haven’t made plans, it would be a good time to start. The chance to gather more friends and loved ones close and celebrate with their dream wedding for many couples means that suppliers of wedding-related services are getting booked up.

What does the change mean for wedding planning? As conditions are uncertain and subject to change if Covid rates alter, it’s a good idea to hire a wedding planner. They will be up-to-date on all the changing rules and regulations, with the knowledge to guide and advise you at their fingertips.

It’s a big step forward as happy couples dust off the plans they may have shelved to celebrate their most important life events with friends and family.  (Book soon–please connect with Alex if you’d like to schedule your wedding date.)

For information on large venue/ event spaces and other location/gathering requirements connected with Ontario’s reopening, please see the official Ontario reopening website.


Where vaccine passports are needed in Ontario for certain locations and events, you are likely required to show a current vaccine QR code and photo i.d. For the moment, fully vaccinated means two shots—it’s not necessary to have the booster.  If you have received your booster, an up-to-date QR code will validate this.   (more/government website)

Feature photo—Thank you to Tara Winstead, Pexels

More on rules and regulations in this excellent summary.

Weddings and Families

Ontario Weddings —Scheduling 2021

Weddings in Ontario—Regulations on gatherings and ceremonies change

Announced on June 24, 2021—

New limits are in force in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada—for the latest in Ontario, please check out the official information site or contact us.

The provincial government announced that effective Wednesday, June 30th, Ontario will enter Step 2 of the re-opening earlier than anticipated. Step 2 has kicked in as the benchmark has passed of 70% of adults with at least one dose/vaccination and 20% fully vaccinated.

General outdoor social gatherings and organized events will be allowed for up to 25 people.  Larger indoor and outdoor social events are permitted, as well as larger indoor religious services, rites, and ceremonies.

Allowances for weddings and other ceremonies in Step 2 are as follows:

  • Indoor permitted at 25% capacity of the room

    Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres

We’ll advise/post here as soon as we know of new capacity changes or updates as we move into Step 3.

In the meantime, to discuss your requirements for an upcoming ceremony, please connect for details, and to reserve your preferred date. Or contact for scheduling information in the GTA, elsewhere in Ontario, and beyond, including the U.S.A.

More information here on the official Ontario provincial website.