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Toronto Wedding Venue Help!

My fiance and I are looking into wedding venues in Toronto and having a hard time finding any with availability for our chosen day (I know, we should have looked earlier). I'm hoping someone can suggest a location, perhaps one that is not as well known, that I haven't looked into yet. We are trying to go for a 1920s theme, so anything that fits that theme or could be decorated to fit that theme would be great. We are thinking around 100-120 people will attend. We are hoping to book for mid-september 2011. Budget wise, we would like it to be mid-range (does not need to be super cheap but not super expensive). We don't mind going outside the city as long its not way out there. Obviously we want a place that can provide great food or atleast will allow us to bring in our own caterer.
We have already looked at St Lawrence Hall, Palais Royale, Atlantis Pavilions, Graydon Hall, and the Eglinton Grand with no luck. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please please please!

Graydon Hall
185 Graydon Hall Dr, Toronto, ON M3A, CA

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    1. re: jimmynickel

      I just wanted to chime in on the Rosewater Supper Club as a wedding venue - I went to a wedding there recently it the food was dreadful. The steak was overcooked and uncuttable (they also did not provide steak knives which made it even more challenging to saw through it). Hors d'oeuvres were varied - some were okay others not edible. And to top it all off the butter on the tables was rancid. I will say the service was impeccable though - very friendly and prompt. And it is beautiful. But for food - no way.

    2. It may be worthwhile to look into theBerkeley Church, Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Casa Loma, Rosewater Room at the Rosewater Supper Club, and The Great Hall.

      Great Hall
      1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: sillybuns79

        HI Goonies, I hear ya. I'm looking at venues for Oct 2011 myself. Rosewater is really nice but does not allow outside caterers and it's fully booked until Nov. 2011. Great Hall is ok, but can be quite expensive depending on ur budget b/c u have to rent everything except for tables. Check out Rosehill, it's swanky.

        Great Hall
        1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      2. What about the Carlu? If you're not set on a sit down dinner it can be affordable.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JennaBean

          We were thinking of the Carlu before going to the Gardiner, but the former would definitely fit the 1920s theme. The space is fantastic (you have a few rooms to choose from), but comes at a price: we were quoted $200-$250 per person which includes the rental fee, 3-course sit down dinner, booze, staff and rentals. I'm guessing this price would go down considerably if you wanted to have cocktail reception. They have quite a few caterers that you can choose from as well.

          1. re: klf

            You can do food stations there for about $150 per person all in. I think for a downtown venue of that quality it is worth the price.

        2. I got married at Archeo in the Distillery District. I think you could use the industrial charm of the area really well for your theme. The wedding was mid-priced (for Toronto!) and the service was superb. The venue did not need a lot of decoration, and the outdoor space was phenomenal. The food was the most important thing for my husband and I, and we were not disappointed, there was a menu at each place and the guests were able to choose their mains the day of the event, so we didn't need to fuss about with figuring that out on the invitation. It was restaurant quality food, with a great wine list. We ended up choosing Archeo because the price point seemed more reasonable than some of the other venues we looked at.


          I attached a photo of the venue and one of the appetizers, to give you a feel for it.

          Distillery District
          55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

          55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

          7 Replies
          1. re: To Market To Market

            Not to take away from the original post - To Market to Market I have a few questions re Archeo. I am contemplating using the space for my wedding next fall. Was the food well prepared, hot, meat overcooked or anything you would have changed? It's usually hard to get an unbiased opinion from the staff that work at the same restaurant, but we want a good food selection. Also, what appetizer is that in the picture you posted? Is that picture of the veue with flowers your wedding? i was also contemplating centerpieces etc, and the staff say people rarely bring in anything since its a historic buliding. Glad you enjoyed it and the staff. Any more info would be great for me. I can even give you my email if u dont want to post here....thx

            1. re: torontobound

              The food was the best wedding food I have had, taking in to account it was my wedding and the head table always gets the hottest/best food. Being sat at many head tables at many weddings, I still think this was the most like restaurant food and not banquet food I have ever had at a wedding. Nothing was overcooked, I changed one of the sauces, I believe it was a cream sauce on red meat, to a truffle jus to be a bit more contemporary. I also had the late-night snacks and they were a huge hit with our guests, being a cook myself, we had lots of cook-types in the crowd who were also happy with the food.

              The appetizer was Panko Crusted Ontario Goats Cheese - mixed greens and melon honey vinaigrette.
              Thinking back, the only thing I would do different in regards to the meal is maybe ask for my wedding cake to be the dessert instead. I believe they will do this.

              The picture is my wedding, we used flowers inside the venue that were a bit rustic to match the building. We did not need flowers outside because they had huge hanging baskets and it was quite nice as it was.

              If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask!

              1. re: To Market To Market

                Hi To Market,

                I'm also considering Archeo for my wedding reception - I've been trying to make an appointment with them, but havent' gotten a hold of anyone yet. Do you mind if I ask how much approximately per person it ran up? And did they require you to meet a minimum on food/drinks to buy out the restaurant for the evening?

                55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

                1. re: SONGAWAY

                  My step-sister got married at Archeo in June of last year. It was a beautiful spot and she had a short private ceremony for family only on the patio before her reception.

                  As a guest not seated at the head table, I found the food to be good, not spectacular. It may have had to do with her menu choices, since she opted for a rather traditional menu.

                  Hors d'oeuvres were better than the meal itself, individual lamb chops being my fave; there were some leftover however, perhaps because they came out just before the mealtime. Starter choices were ceasar salad (overdressed) or soup (not hot enough), mains were striploin (appropriately cooked but the meat itself was bland and lacked the 'beefy flavour' normally associated with that cut) or salmon (much better than the steak), and dessert was cheesecake (I think). There were mini desserts served a few hours later which looked great but tasted only okay.

                  When I spoke to her recently about her experience there, she was happy overall, but that the food was a bit of letdown for her, compared to her tasting before the event; in particular, the steaks were cut thinner, and the soup had been watered down. She also attended a friend's wedding later last year at Archeo, and said the soup was again watered down. So, if you must choose soup, beware!

                  Btw, SONGAWAY, I just noticed that you replied to my Market Kitchen post from a few months back, so thanks! I'd actually "secured" that space (to some degree) for my friends-only post-wedding party a few months ago, but it was difficult getting to that point.

                  55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

                  1. re: 0ntar10

                    Thanks for the feedback, Ontar10. We did end up booking our reception with them, and I think I'll take your advice and skip the soup - it's a summer wedding, anyway. Factoring in the fact that we can have the ceremony + reception + pictures there, it made more sense financially. They charge like $250 for a photo permit at the Distillery if you're not having your reception there. It's not much but every little bit counts.

                    (I'm glad you were able to book The Kitchen, if my guest list was smaller that would have been my first choice, it's a great space).

                    1. re: SONGAWAY

                      Hi Songaway,

                      Can I ask how everythign ended up being - ceremony and reception?

                      Thanks in advance

            2. re: To Market To Market

              Hi Market to Market,

              I am thinking of also having my wedding reception at Archeo in the Distillery District. Could you give me an approximate price of what you paid for your wedding, everything included?
              Thanks in advance.

              Distillery District
              55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

              55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

            3. We got married outdoors at Spadina House (cocktail reception) - then a kickin party at my friends nightclub. Was sort of the best of all worlds. Spadina House is next to Casa Loma, very retro and affordable.

              1. Our preference is still Atlantis. At our wedding many of my guests commented not only on the wonderful food they were served, but also on the great service they received from the Atlantis staff. I would definitely return to Atlantis for any future event

                1. What about something like the Estates at Sunnybrook? I haven't been there for a while but I remember it being really lovely and the food was quite good. Also, I haven't been there but the Great Hall looks pretty period.

                  If you have the budget, the Carlu is stunning!

                  Great Hall
                  1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Otonabee

                    I got married at Estates of Sunnybrook and would definitely recommend. Everyone loved the food and it was reasonable overall (We had 110 guests as well)

                  2. Goonies: where did you end up booking? We are having trouble finding a place in the sweet spot of $150 range (taxes in) for 105 ppl in 2012. Graydon Hall, RCYC, Palais Royale all have an approx. minimum spend of 20K spend for a Sat night. Windsor Arms and Gardiner are looking around 17K.

                    One though was the Glenerin. I have heard that it is really nice and affordable.

                    Would welcome your suggestions as well.

                    We are thinking restaurant but I am at a loss of large restaurants that would have facilities for over 100.

                    Graydon Hall
                    185 Graydon Hall Dr, Toronto, ON M3A, CA

                    Windsor Arms
                    18 St Thomas St, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: zeitgeist

                      we did the national ballet school .... 4k rental ... no minimum spend ... used en ville catering (great - local - organic) ... and heres the real money saver .... SOP! .... we purchased and drank our own booze ... that saved a tonne of dough right there

                      1. re: slants

                        This is what I've been wondering about. What's cheaper: having your reception at a restaurant or renting out a venue and getting it catered.

                        Restaurant: no rental fee for venue, chairs or staff. but you purchase everything at their price, i.e. the meal and drinks

                        Renting a venue: you have to rent the venue, rent the tables and chairs, rent cutlery, hire caterer, etc. and some of these places charge corkage fees, and landmark fees (15% of catering bill). but on the other hand you can purchase and serve the drinks

                        From people's experience, did you find that it's cheaper to buy out a restaurant, or to rent a venue?

                        1. re: SONGAWAY

                          I believe a restaurant is cheaper than renting a venue. When i looked into having it at a venue (TBG and Gardiner Museum) and doing catering. I thought it was affordable based on the food prices+room rental. But i didn't realize that it didn't include chairs, tables, cutlery, nor did it include server fees, after hours security, etc.. By the time we added it all up, it cost more than having it at restaurant.

                          We ended up at the Park Hyatt, which may fit your billing for 1920s since it is very Art Deco. They had packages but we ended up picking our menu which was cheaper. We only paid the food prices + tax + tip. They do have a open bar package if your friends are big drinkers. We didnt have to worry about heritage/landmark fees, room rentals, server charges, the no# of forks on a table, linens, security, etc since it was built into the food prices.

                          Park Hyatt
                          Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

                      2. re: zeitgeist

                        I called Origin last summer and I'm pretty sure they said they had room for 110 people. The buyout was 10K. If you don't want a Saturday night reception, Auberge du Pommier is a beautiful place. My sister had her wedding at Vaughan Estate in the Estates of Sunnybrook. It was lovely.

                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                          Buyout for Origin is actually 20K now apparently. A friend of mine was in touch with them recently.

                      3. I saw the inside of the Carlu at Doors Open, and it would be the perfect venue. Granted it's pricey, but the look is spot-on for 1920s.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: merlot143

                          The Carlu's style is actually 1930s (art moderne), but if you told people it was the style of the 20s, most wouldn't know the difference.

                          1. re: k.bur

                            The Carlu people are really good to work with too ....

                            Another venue that hasn't been mentioned is The Burroughes Building on Queen W - you would need to bring in your own caterer ... not the glam of the Carlu (more industrial), but it was built around 1910 and has that flavour to it.

                          2. re: merlot143

                            We also saw the Carlu at doors-open, and decided we *had* to get back there somehow, so we got married there! It actually ended up being less expensive than we anticipated.

                            For example, you don't really have to decorate much. We got married in the Sky Room, which has candles on the walls. We didn't get any flowers for that room. It's beautiful the way it is, and so dramatic! Same with the Round Room where the reception was - It's gorgeous, and didn't need a lot of decorating. Also, they have their own tables and chairs, so you don't need to rent them, and the chairs are attractive, so they don't need those chair-covers.

                            Our experience at the Carlu was really wonderful. It's been five years, and people still talk about our wedding.

                            Parking is a nightmare at the Carlu, though. The underground parking is like a maze to get through, and you have to go through the food court to get to the Carlu entrance. If you want valet parking to avoid this, it works out to about $60/pp because you have to get an off-duty police officer. We ended up giving people taxi chits and encouraging them not to drive. This in turn happened to lower our insurance costs, so it all worked out. :)

                          3. A couple of more: The Great Hall @ Queen/Dovercourt and Toronto Botanic Gardens. Both let you bring in your own caterers and booze, both can be decorated to theme--TBG would give you a great photo location on site .

                            Great Hall
                            1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: woodsey

                              We were married this past September at One King West Hotel and Residences. It was absolutely stunning and we had incredible food. As foodies we were extremely involved in menu development and everything was served absolutely perfect - trust us.

                              Our menu was a duo starter of parsnip soup with smoked pancetta with a harvest waldorf salad; a risotto parmesan cake with putanesca on roasted tomato puree, sorbet; NY strip (which is actually thick cut and halved which is more like a tenderloin at NY price) or Chicken w/tarragon cream sauce or veg pastry all with beautiful fall veg bundle & potato; trifle for desert.
                              Appys we were told were great, (allthough we didnt have any) some of the hits were mini shepards pie & mini club sandwiches.
                              At no time was there a line up for the bar - with 120 guests.

                              Service was impeccable. Staff is great - we had an astronomical amount of special requests, all of which were well accomodated (ie: scotch available at the bar, special beers, etc.).

                              As far as the venue - if the 1920's is what you want, well there you have it. A perfect balance between antique and modern. An added bonus is that 1KW has some of the best priced hotel rooms in the city which makes for an easy transition from bar to bed for guests.

                              Pricing is reasonable and you can take it wherever you want - we upped the premium bar, had bar service through dinner (not just wine), added extra courses, increased # of apps/pp during cocktail etc. But if you stick to traditional 3 course, 3 apps/pp during cocktail, standard 5 hour bar you should be as close to a per person cost as a convention centre / hall wedding. Thats as cheap as it gets.

                              I also would say to stay away from the whole 'save money by bringing your alcohol' venues. This turns into a huge headache. With pretty much everyone you know at your wedding that day, you need someone to bring it in...and then haul it out! AND I have been to numerous BYO weddings (eg: distillery district) where something runs out - no more vodka, no more ice, whatever, its something.

                              Good luck, we did serious venue hunting - all the ones listed on this thread and more - and this was the best combo of value, venue, and food quality.

                            2. We had our wedding two years ago at Oakham House - BEST DEAL IN THE CITY!
                              We paid around $80 pp, and that included three rooms (ceremony, cocktails and reception), open bar, three course plated dinner, cocktail food, midnight buffet, rentals and fabulous staff. It's not the Carlu, but it decorates up very nicely, it's very central and the food was great. I am so glad we found it!

                              1. Hey Everyone! Thank you so much for all your advice and input! I tried most of the places you mentioned in the fall but unfortunately most of them were booked on the date we chose - I believe we started out a little late. But I think it all worked out for the best in the end. We booked our ceremony at Spadina House, which as mangolassi mentioned is the museum next to Casa Loma. Its a gorgeous little museum I have been visiting with my dad since I was young and luckily for me just redecorated in the 1920s style (on the inside anyway). We are having our reception at The Ontario Heritage Centre on Adelaide. It's a bank building from 1906 and its gorgeous on the inside and has a great staircase that you can descend and make an entrance. I think with just a few decorations it will fit the theme pretty well.They have a list of exclusive caterers but the one we have gone with seems reasonably priced, they are allowing us to bring in some food from other venues (as my fiance is Chinese, we wanted to bring in some traditional dishes), and the tasting went well. The venue also allows you to bring your own alcohol, which I know chowow said was difficult to manage, but the staff at The Heritage centre seems very accommodating and will let you drop if off before the wedding and pick the remainder up after your event. The only issue is the parking but its close to the subway and there are a number of parking lots nearby. So I don't know if these were the best choices, but I'm pretty happy with them so far. So, now I just have to figure everything else out :'( Wish me luck! Thanks for you all your help everyone!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: GooniesNvrSayDie

                                  I JUSTwent on a tour of Spadina House and they actually did chose 1920s era Austin family furniture and wallpaper as opposed to anything earlier so you picked a the most perfect spot!

                                  1. re: GooniesNvrSayDie

                                    Hey there! We are looking at having our reception at the OHC too.....but are a bit concerned with the costs climbing when you add in the heritage fee, etc. Oddly enough, my hubbie to be (who is Chinese) also wants to bring in some traditional treats. Which of the caterers did you go with?

                                    1. re: copachick

                                      Hi! Sorry for the REALLY late reply, planning a wedding and buying, renovating, moving to a new house and working 6 days a week means you don't get around to checking message often :( The costs do add up with OHC but there are some benefits as well - you can bring your own alcohol. They do provide tables. And the people are pretty friendly to work with. We went with Herrera's for our catering, as we were told by the staff at OHC they would be the most flexible in allowing outside food. And turns out they were, we are bringing in three Chinese dishes and they were very nice about it - their food also tastes pretty good too. Things to consider are - the heritage fee also includes the rental costs (cutlery, plates etc) - so that adds to the cost. I wouldn't say not to book there but make sure you do the math before you commit - we were just really behind in planning so we had to take what was left and this turned out to be the cheapest option that fit with our theme. Best of luck with your planning!!

                                  2. So glad that you chose Spadina House. I think that it's a beautiful spot for a ceremony ( and pictures too). We had a vintage car for the day (1950's - but would have been hard to get a 1920's!) - courtesy of my Uncle. So many of my friends really loved it- and even though most were born and raised in T.O.- thought that is was so original.
                                    Best of luck with your wedding!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mangolassi

                                      Just an update for anyone who is interested - the wedding day went beautifully and everyone raved about the locations - Spadina House and the Ontario Heritage Centre. The staff at both locations were fantastic and everything came together really well. If you want to get an idea of what the two locations look like set up - you can check out the preview of our wedding pictures here: http://ikonica.smugmug.com/Weddings/J...
                                      (Ikonica is great for photography by the way!) Just a note to mangolassi, we got the 1950s car too, lol! Best of luck to anyone out there planning their big day!

                                    2. I am looking for wedding venues for 2013..we went to Tralee ( Orangeville) this weekend ...I cant find any reviews on this place. This is owned by the One99 restaurant.. please let me know if any one has heard or been there..thanks

                                      1. I just got married in February and we (my wife and I) selected the Rosewater. Our experience was excellent, the food perfect, open bar included, service was amazing. We enjoyed the fact that all of our comments from the tasting were taken to heart and all changes made for the day of. We selected the Mediterranean meal selection (which was perfect for those winter blahs).

                                        Although we had heard negative things about the Rosewater we were incredibly impressed (even my mother who is an events coordinator and extremely picky!). We ended up paying about $140 per head and we received a discount based on the time of year we booked.