Famously labelled as Ontario’s most beautiful village by Canadian artist AJ Casson (one of the Group of Seven painters), the town of Elora is a destination in itself. With its picturesque streets that flaunt old world charm and the numerous stunning outdoor settings, the area surrounding Elora and nearby Fergus is becoming both a popular vacation spot, and the perfect wedding destination.
With so many great places to snap some stunning wedding photos and some great locations to host your ceremony or reception, this section of Wellington County is well deserving of attention. Whether you are looking for the perfect natural backdrop or looking to create a foodie’s haven during your wedding weekend, Elora is the place to be.
The Perfect Wedding Destination
The towns of Elora and Fergus were joined with 4 other townships to form the Township of Centre Wellington in 1999, and the area has grown to be a top wedding destination. Whether you are looking for a reception venue, the perfect ceremony location or even just a stunning setting for photos you’ll gladly look at for years to come, Elora and Fergus, and the area surrounding them, are sure to be a great choice. And since it’s located just an hour from the GTA, Elora is an easy place to head for a day or a weekend.
While the options are plenty, our favourite settings for both beautiful, fun photos and a unique wedding location include:
With a conservation area right in its’ own backyard, there are many beautiful natural settings for wedding photos around Elora. One of the most popular settings is the Templin Gardens overlooking the widest stretch of the Grand River. Carved into the banks of the Elora Gorge this limestone staircase and archway is situated at the edge of the river offering a beautiful spot for wedding photos.
The Irvine River Gorge staircase in Victoria Park is another fun location for wedding photos. This staircase to the bottom of the Gorge is the first pedestrian stairway to provide access to nature trails and activities throughout the Gorge. If your wedding is scheduled for fall, you’ll catch the leaves as they change colour!
Head over to the tubing launch for some shots at the edge of the river bed. The backdrop of trees clinging to limestone walls and the shallow water flowing across the rocky river bottom offers a unique setting for photos and a fantastically private location for a small ceremony.
Visit the Gorge
Located just outside of town is the spectacular Elora Gorge where limestone cliffs over 80 feet tall line the Grand River. A popular local hangout in the summer, the Gorge Conservation Area and Elora Quarry make for some great swimming, and even better photo backdrops in all seasons.
Perfect a small, intimate group, there are several great spots along the banks of the Gorge to hold a wedding ceremony.
Go on an adventure
If you are the adventurous sort, head to CK Maggs Adventures for a wedding venue and photo opp. The property offers kayak and bicycle rentals as well as on-site yurts for a glamping vacation for your guests. The historic brick farmhouse from 1860 with attached gardens and beautiful front yard offers several options for a ceremony site, reception and photo opportunities.
Step it up at the Mill
Once a working grist mill and distillery, the Elora Mill has just recently undergone a major renovation and expansion, making it a higher end option for a wedding venue. With 2 chapels on site and 2 large event spaces, this venue is ideal for larger guest lists.
The Mill boasts high ceilings, ornate chandeliers and beautiful details throughout each space, offering your guests a high-end experience akin to a classic European ball. With on-site guest rooms and a rooftop terrace, your guests will be blown away and your wedding day will be memorable.
Walk through town
With a downtown core that boasts several original stone buildings dating back to the 1800’s, colourful doorways and a truly unique and old-world feel, the town of Elora is a fun place to head for some wedding party photos.
Walk around the historic streets to find the perfect setting for photos with your honey or chat with your photographer to pick out some great backdrops.
Pair great food with a beautiful view
A hidden gem in Elora and Wellington County is La Fontana. This locally sourced and sustainable Italian restaurant is located right on the banks of the Grand River, offering a stunning view of the riverfront to anyone who visits.
With both an indoor option in the restaurant and the outdoor riverfront patio, La Fontana can host up to 50 guests, making this a perfect choice for a gathering after your photo ops around town.
La Fontana is passionate about sharing their love of fresh, made-from-scratch pasta, fragrant sauces and wood oven baked pizza in the historic stone building they call home.
As an added bonus, you can even arrange an authentic Italian cooking class for your wedding party in the days leading up to your big day! What a great way to bond!
Elora and a 5 Star Gem in La Fontana Restaurant for Weddings
An often-overlooked village less than an hour from Toronto, Elora and nearby Fergus are beautiful locations for both a wedding ceremony and reception, as well as for wedding photos that you’ll look at fondly for the rest of your life together.
With many stunning outdoor backdrops and locations like La Fontana and the Elora Mill to wine and dine your guests, choosing to host your wedding ceremony, reception or photo shoot around the area is a choice you won’t soon regret!