If you have lots of other information and proof of your relationship, it doesn't matter that you had a civil ceremony, how little people attended, if your parents were there etc etc. When you submit the application, you can send a letter of explanation about why you chose to get married this way, and tell them if you have any plans for the future to do a bigger wedding or reception. Anyway, just collect ALL the evidence of trips, correspondence, letters of support, proof that your lives are "combined" like joint leases, mortgages, insurance, bank accounts, beneficiary etc, and the officer will see your relationship is "genuine and continuing" despite your simple wedding.
Also, you should submit the application soon, and put in an application for an open work permit at the same time. Then, at the first stage of approval (6-7 months from time of app), she'll get an open work permit. Also, once the application is in, you can make an application to extend her stay in Canada, and change the conditions from work permit to visitor, with the reason of her staying with you during the processing of the sponsorship application. It WILL be granted, and she won't be removed. As long as she maintains legal status, she can remain here during the whole processing.
You should submit the application as soon as you are able to collect everything on the Document Checklist. Even if you don't have things like the marriage certificate or criminal records, you can send the application now, and send accompanying documents later.
You don't need a lawyer- your case sounds pretty straightforward. Since you're in Toronto or Vancouver, you should easily be able to locate a settlement agency where someone can help you with the forms for free.