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wedding lunch (ceremony + reception) - possible restaurant ideas required

hi there,

we're looking at have a restaurant wedding luncheon on a sunday in 2008 (maybe spring, maybe fall). patio/outdoor area is not necessary. something classy yet laid-back (we definitely do not want anything stuffy). we will have approximately 85 - 100 guests and we would like a 3-course meal plus open bar (and we would like to bring in our own cake). i've read through many of the threads on this board and many people have recommended various restaurants for similar receptions ... however, we'd like to have our ceremony (quick, civil) ON-SITE.

we have already considered:

jump (nice open space - can we do it for $10k?)
biffs (rooms are a bit choppy - not a fan of the set up)
auberge (love love love - but again, not sure the room set up is for us)
canoe (great menu but i'm worried that the decor is a bit heavy - also - budget concerns?)
la maquette (didn't get very good service from the coordinator)
cru (great menu and good space - but just unsure if it's 'suitable' for a ceremony)
vibo (tight space if we're over 85 people)
acqua (unsure of the layout/setup for us)

ideally, we'd like to keep our costs at/below $10k. 50% of our guests will be family and older (i.e. over 50) with very conservative tastes (asian and east african backgrounds) so we have to be careful with the menu. we are very adventurous with food but i don't think that's a good idea for this event. some of our guests will require a bathroom on the same floor as the restaurant (i.e. no basement bathrooms) - they are either in walkers or in wheelchairs. downtown toronto or west end (i.e. etobicoke) are preferable. subway accessible would also be great for friends who don't have cars. and free/validated/included parking is also one of our criteria (i.e. we will cover our guests parking fees if any ... we would prefer them NOT having to trudge through a green p lot).

and finally...a good friend of ours owns a flower shop and will be taking care of all of the flowers/decor for us. hence, whatever venue we choose must allow us to bring this kind of stuff in (i.e. i heard old mill does not allow external florists to supply flowers/decor).

would totally appreciate if anyone has any other venues to include to the list above and/or any comments re: private events @ the above venues (especially those that had their ceremony + reception at one place).


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  1. I went to a lovely lovely wedding at the Old Mill Inn. Ceremony and reception all there. Lovely gardens outside for weddings. This was many years ago, so can't vouch for it recently, but I've heard positive experiences from others.

    Old Mill
    21 Old Mill Road, Toronto, ON M8X 1G5, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: JamieK


      thanks for the suggestion. i've just amended my original post to include a comment about flowers/decor. i have heard that the old mill has a florist that will do all the decorations and therefore doesn't allow external suppliers. otherwise, the old mill would be great! esp. with the location since we live in that area.

    2. Globe Bistro seems to fit most of your criteria. Big, bright space, great menu (and flexible for a private event, I'm sure), main-floor washrooms, easy subway access. Parking? Well, very few downtown places will have their own parking lot, or undeground parking with elevator access to the restaurant. There's a Green P lot directly behind Globe, and another public parking lot around the corner, next to Loblaws.

      1. I don't know about cost but i went to a nice wedding/reception at Liberty Grand. I don't know if they are open for afternoons though. Sorry

        1. I was at a wedding at The Great Hall 2 years ago, was great indeed, they have 6 or so caterers you can sample and choose 1, the florist was a friend of the bride so, no problem with that, but as the best man I was dealing with many facets of the operation, everyone was nice and did a good job, food was average, whattaya expect...my venue of choice might be The Carlu, I love the long wide deco corridor...

          1. I was just at a wedding at Auberge du Pommier and it was fantastic... and from what I understand it was around your budget/person. I'm pretty sure that they are doing renovations now, but I would call to see.

            1. What about The Grill at Hart House? You could rent the Music Room or some other space for the ceremony, have champagne & hors d'oeuvres in the bar, then sit down for lunch in the restaurant overlooking the Great Hall and the HH quad. I know they're OK with the cake – a friend who had her reception there brought one in. Can't imagine they'd kick about the flowers...

              1. I would keep an eye on the new restaurant from the Mildred Pierce folks. If the new space is anything like the old space, it will be beautiful and have wonderful food. And it will closer to the west end. Not sure when they will open, but if you check the website www.mildredpierce.com, you'll stay up to date on the opening date and location.

                1. This thread won't give you venue suggestions, but it will provide lots of other ideas.


                  Good luck!

                  1. At one point I was considering getting married at Canoe--ceremony and dinner. I'm not sure what your concerns about the space where, but they were certainly very willing to work with me to make the space any way we wanted it. And they do have a private room off to the side where you can arrange the ceremony.
                    They were really helpful and I suggest at least speaking to them to see if they can accommodate your budget. I think the view alone makes the room.
                    Good luck!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mindyt

                      I would try The Corner House Restaurant....they have several private rooms, you can also rent the whole Restaurant...it is very charming in an old European style...starched table linens, good servive, no surprises in the 'foods' offered,,,the owners are on site (a good sign for sure!) and I am sure they would work to your specifications/need....The only thing I am not sure about are the washrooms accessibility...you could easily call the Restaurant to find out. Parking is on the street and usually not a problem. Good Luck & Congratulations!
                      Look it up on Toronto.com

                      1. re: pearlD

                        You should try the McLean House at Sunnybrook Estates on Bayview. Not a restaurant, but have in house caterers. Did my wedding there for your price range and was very happy with it. We brought our own cake and were married in the garden. Check out their website for menus, wine lists and vendors. Their food can be anything from tuna tartare to shrimp skewers, so when we got married I had fun stuff for us foodies and conservative things for the aunts and uncles. You can bring in as many flowers as you like and their staff will help set up. Huge parking lot and very easy to get to. It is also wheel chair accessible. Congratulations!

                    2. I had my reception at Auberge two years ago and LOVED it. We were so happy we went with them. The room was lovely, the food was incredible (the crowd was full of foodies and many said it was the best meal they'd ever had), and the service was extraordinary. I made my own wedding cakes (insane, I know) and did my own flowers with a friend, and they accommodated us no problem. We had about 70 people but there was lots of room left. We did worry if the room would be a bit weird given the layout but there was no problem at all. We had people give their speeches standing in the doorway between the main room of the restaurant and the smaller area by the patio, and everyone could see and hear just fine. We put the head table in the middle of the room, so we could see everyone around us - it was great. We had our ceremony elsewhere (Cedar Ridge Cultural Centre in Scarborough - also recommended http://www.toronto.ca/culture/cedar_r...) but I think a ceremony there would be quite nice. It really has a lovely, intimate feeling to it. In terms of cost, we went nuts on the menu, with oysters, several main course options etc, and paid around $10K including drinks. We actually got a $2000 refund because our guests drank way less than the wedding coordinator estimated. The waiters did not constantly refill everyone's wine glasses all night like they do at some places, or remove drinks before they were finished, and it being Sunday night the guests just didn't drink that much. One of my inlaws is disabled and she was fine there - there are three steps down into the main dining room, but otherwise it's accessible. And the parking is free.

                      I honestly can't recommend them highly enough!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: etoileduberger

                        I am in the process of planning my wedding and I fired off an email to them to inquire for october of next year. This has been such a trying process. I would love a venue like that. How did your night unfold? What did you do for entertainment?

                      2. Canoe is fantastic to work with but also check out George it's on Queen at Church. Such a romantic space, they have private rooms and the full restaurant available...though not your meat and 2 veg-type place...the food is a real treat!

                        1. i was married at toula on top of the habourcastle westin. it was an amazing wedding. the ceremony was performed at the restaurant over looking harbour front. great staff, service, food, everything. we had just over a hundred twenty people and it was quite comfortable and laid back. i would do it all over again. It is doable for close to $10 k for just under a hundred people.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: wesarge

                            I know this is an old post but I'm scouring the boards for wedding ceremony/reception locations with a view for 40 ppl, that is service-oriented and price is reasonable... food has to be well-prepared but not crazy-unique, and service needs to be great. We have been from
                            - toronto sky-high
                            ... Canoe and Panorama - result being that the food is too 'out there' for older conservative guests....
                            ...Sutton Place - too large for 40 (is the food good here?)
                            ...Park Hyatt - too large for 40
                            Niagara Falls with a view at the Marriot Hotel - we loved the all-in packages there (officiant, accommodation, ceremony, flowers, photography, cake, etc, etc , plus dinner for 20 ) but when we upped the number of attendees from 30 to 40, we got a $20 K quote which was approx $250 per head more than the quote they gave us for 30... crazy! )
                            How did you get your reception for $10K? Am I just being had? I can't find anything like that.

                            1. re: alichow

                              We just had our wedding at Panorama and I'd be surprised if they couldn't accommodate a request for un-out-there food. We did a small-plates/wandering dinner, rather than a formal sit-down, but one of our items was beef tenderloin with garlic mashed and another was cedar-planked salmon with salad (we also had some slightly more "out there" pasta and seafood options). Both were very nice and, though they weren't boring/bland, they certainly would have appealed to a more conservative palette. We were also very pleased with the service we had.

                              The difficulty with Panorama might be that to close the restaurant down on a weekend, you need to spend a guaranteed minimum amount, and I'm not sure you'd hit it with only 40 people.

                              1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                                thanks for the post! we started to check out Panorama in '07 - it was my first choice at the time - and I noticed they have a high minimum now that I have seen other venue minimums. Although we never managed to coordinate schedules with their event planner to see the place, I always wondered about it - food quality and price were my concerns. I read your post and your good review got me thinking about the space enough to resurrect the meal packages I got from them. Your event sounded wonderful. thanks for the feedback. We have had a LOT of hiccups getting to our wedding day so we can't wait to find the right place.

                                1. re: alichow

                                  does it have to be a high-up view? Or can it be ground-level but with a great view of the lake, say, or of a scenic landscape.

                                  1. re: JamieK

                                    The view is key - initially we wanted high-in-the-sky but we're not as focused on that any more... hence why Niagara was appealing. Beautiful, unique, or breath-catching is now the theme, perhaps even if the venue architecture is stunning. I have a strong wish to stay in Toronto and make it a special meal... with a venue that allows for good flow. We're even thinking of dropping the number to 20 if that makes it easier to find a good room in a restaurant with great food and wine with good service. Again... not a menu that makes the brows furrow on the older guests' faces.... just well-prepared, properly done, hot food. thanks for your help!

                                    1. re: alichow

                                      I can't speak to the quality of food or pricing, but the Arts & Letters Club is interesting from an architectural perspective -

                                      virtual tour -

                                      1. re: JamieK

                                        Thanks everyone for the input on the venue - I have some work to do and if I come across some astounding new discovery that didn't get mentioned here first, I'll be glad to create a new post and mark it as my first ever CH find!
                                        We have definitely backed off Niagara all-in-one package and are focusing on fantastic food and service for 20 - 40 in Toronto...

                                        I hate to ask... but what do you think about 40 ppl at Thuet bistro bakery in their main restaurant space (not the icky storage room/ private function room in the basement). We like the fact bathrooms are on main floor, there's a bit of ambience, and the staff was very courteous when we dropped by out of the blue on Sunday to check it out. Need to see if they'll give up the space in January '09 on a Sat night. Would love input.

                                        I read the top 50 restaurants thread, and many others but to find something in short order, I just need to make a decision... would I go wrong with that choice? I like the fact there is a hotel stumbling distance from the restaurant... the Travelodge Hotel.
                                        Thanks again!

                                  2. re: alichow

                                    They actually have a new chef and their menu package has changed considerably since '07, so it's definitely worth checking out.

                                    We were really pleased with the way the wedding turned out, and got a lot of positive feedback from our guests as well.

                                    Good luck!!

                                2. re: alichow

                                  I used la Maquette.
                                  Wedding ceremony was on patio alongside Toronto Sculpture Garden, with reception/meal inside the restaurant. We had 40 people. Cost depends on meal chosen.

                                  1. re: alichow

                                    Fuzion restaurant near Wellesley and Jarvis is beautiful and does weddings (both reception and ceremony). It is in a renovated house, and the grounds are beautifully kept. The decor is taste and elegant. It would be fabulous for a wedding. I don't now about the state of the food now that Patrick Wiese left, but I think it's worth checking out.

                                3. I briefly considered Crush Wine Bar until I decided to go to Montreal for my wedding. They have a courtyard next to the restaurant for the ceremony, and looks like you can seat around 100 without a dancefloor.
                                  Not sure about the brunch menu, but I found the dinner to be good several years ago. I highly recommend going with a restaurant for the reception, as it makes it so much easier than a place like the Liberty Grand etc... However, the Great Hall did look cool.
                                  Also check out the renovated Gladstone Hotel and/or The Drake Hotel. Both would be cool and have caterers on site.

                                  1. Don't want to rain on your lovely wedding plans, but 10k for around 100 people (food and drink) can barely cut it in TO nowadays.

                                    Auberge, Jump, Canoe are all likely way out of price range. To give you a very basic indication, Old Mill, which is pretty meh for wedding cuisine was around $115 per person.

                                    I had my ceremony and reception in one place in a hotel in Toronto. I won't give the name because I wouldn't recommend them, but it came to about $130 a head.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Suburban Gourmand

                                      I did my wedding at canoe with about 90 people and it was just under $20k. That was 10 years ago. Mine was at dinner, but I can't imagine lunch would be half the price in today's dollars.

                                      More affordable lunchtime weddings can be had at Enoch Turner, UofT, Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, Pastis (maybe), Rosewater Supper Club (they have a private upstairs venue), Steamwhistle, Bar Wellington (or whatever it is called now), the Toronto Botanical Gardens, Grano, Bob Rumball Manor and the Glenerin Inn in Mississauga.

                                    2. I went to a lovely wedding at Brassai in late summer.

                                      1. I went to the loveliest wedding at The Boiler House in the Distillery District last night. Food was just right, excellent service, venue beyond belief!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: goodmom8

                                          hi everyone,

                                          wow, i totally forgot about this post! thanks for bringing it back up to the top!

                                          we got married in september 08 and had our wedding at jump ... which was our original choice from the start.

                                          i have only amazing things to say about the entire experience ... from the planning to the actual execution. everything was AWESOME ... food, service, venue, etc.

                                          our best man overheard MANY guests commenting on how they were so impressed with the service. the staff were just wonderful.

                                          we were able to do it for well under $10k ... but our guest list dropped to under 90 (we originally invited 110) and it was a sunday afternoon (so heavy boozing was somewhat limited ... although, in general, we didn't expect anything crazy from our guest list). we did not pay for 'extras' - we were very lucky as a friend of ours is a florist, another friend is a photographer, and another friend is an audio/video specialist. they all 'pitched in' in lieu of gifts. we hooked up our ipod with various playlists to the system that our friend set up for us. we did the ceremony on the patio facing out towards the fountain @ commerce court. we had passed hors d'oeurves (so many that there were leftovers) and a full meal (we actually selected items off the regular dinner menu so it was a very filling lunch). we brought in wedding cupcakes and the sweet table from the dessert lady (in yorkville ... which i would also highly recommend).

                                          jump was already one of our favourite restaurants -- good food, great service, FUN/modern venue -- so i'm glad we stuck to it!

                                          alichow - for 40 people i think jump might be too big ... although, if you want a dance floor, then it could work. we had 87 guests and the space was perfect (no dance floor). plus, there is some sort of minimum that you would need in order to secure a full restaurant buy-out. however, in working with the oliver and bonacini folks, i learned that there are some private 'rooms' that might be able to accommodate your event ... i was dining at auberge once and there was a wedding there with about 50-60 guests. that might work for you.