L’Abbaye d’Oka Wedding | Jeannine + Patrick

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We have a truly spectacular Montreal wedding for you today. When the groom is a wedding videographer by profession he knows exactly what makes for a great wedding day!

Patrick runs respected wedding videography company Fabula Films and, with his fiancee Jeannine equally involved in all the planning, their day was always going to be something special.

We caught up with Jeannine & Patrick to get the full story, beginning with the big question…

elegant wedding invitation

The Proposal Story
I had talked to Patrick about a cool Montreal restaurant called Dinette Triple Crown, which offered southern comfort food to go, in picnic baskets. So when he ever-so-naturally suggested we give it a try, on a sunny Friday in May of 2015, I couldn’t refuse. Little did I know, Patrick had been planning a wonderful surprise. So we picked up our basket and headed to Beaver Lake in Mount Royal Park, where we figured there would be plenty of green space to accommodate us. To Patrick’s great surprise, Beaver Lake and its surroundings were under construction… which was not the case a few weeks prior, when he had visited the location in anticipation of this special day. But I sensed no panic in him (he later told me he was slightly panicked) as he calmly pointed out a little hill perfectly made for two. We laid our blanket and ate our food, and when the time came for dessert, he took out two brown bags in which, I thought, were two of my favorite Portuguese desserts, pastel de nata… One for him, one for me. I opened the bag and reached in for my sweet treat, and in all my excitement (I love food), I barely noticed that Patrick was on bended knee, holding a gold and burgundy box he had fetched out of his brown bag. And so he asked me to marry him. And I discovered that I react to happy surprises with uncontrollable laughter. And when I noticed that two of our best friends had been there all along, taking pictures of the proposal, laughter turned to tears of joy and gratitude.

Oh, and I said yes.


The Vision for the Day 
Elegance and intimacy, despite a relatively large guestlist, in a rich and warm rustic setting.


The Planning Process
We were overwhelmed at first… But with the help of our friends and family, and of our contacts in the wedding industry thanks to Patrick’s line of work, we found a path towards efficient and organized planning. We came up with a first draft of our guestlist. We hired the lovely Isabelle Paille from Fleurs et Confetti to assist us in finding a venue and designing/branding our wedding (she was also our florist!). We drew up a budget. And we developed a solid relationship with Gmail, Google Sheets and Google Drive. The whole process lasted a little over a year, and despite the occasional stresses, we both can say that it strengthened our relationship and confirmed our decision to spend the rest of our lives together.


The Venue
We knew exactly what we wanted but were struggling to find a venue that would suit our needs and meet our expectations… then along came the Abbaye d’Oka, located in Oka, Quebec, with its charms, its history and its impressive brick walls and wooden structure. Often compared to the Harry Potter refectory, the dreamy Grand Réfectoire was our choice for the wedding reception, while the cocktail was held outside, beneath tall trees and string lights. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious and the staff was competent, friendly and beyond helpful. We were also able to spend the night in the Auberge de l’Abbaye d’Oka, which is adjacent to the reception hall.


Finding the Dress
I had a pretty good idea of the type of dress I wanted, so it was easy for me to narrow down my choices. Form-fitting, open back, long train with straps. To start, I headed to Da Novias, in Laval, with my mom and sister. I fell in love with the third dress I tried… but didn’t want to say yes too quickly. After all, you only get to do this once, so I wanted to extend the fun. We visited two other stores and it quickly became clear that my heart was set on that dress, so I went back and sealed the deal.

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Groom’s Attire
A few years ago, one of my best friends, who was getting married, took me for a tuxedo fitting at Waxman on Parc Avenue, in Montreal. I was impressed by the quality of the suits and the vintage feel of the place so I thought I’d bring my best friend, one of my groomsmen, back to where it all started, and in turn, take advantage of the other services Waxman offered on the day of the wedding. We not only decided to get dressed there but I also went to their barbershop for a fancy shave and hairstyling by the very talented Brian Diaz, who now has his own barbershop in Montreal which I find offers an excellent service. Waxman not only offered beautiful suits but also offered us excellent customer service.

I was lucky enough to have a good friend of mine, and also Jeannine’s best friend’s/bridesmaid’s husband, take care of custom tailoring my white dress shirt. He, his father and his brother own a famous family-run store, Arthur bespoke tailors & shirtmakers on Crescent Street, in downtown Montreal. The attention to details these guys offer is beyond words. I highly recommend their store if you’re looking for a custom shirt or suit.

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Église Saint-Eustache

The Readings + Music
We didn’t want to settle for just about anything when it came to literature and music. Thankfully, the church where our ceremony was held, Église Saint-Eustache, was open to suggestions and allowed us to personalize our wedding ceremony. We opted for traditional with a twist: a couple of readings from the Bible and a couple more from Antoine de St Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince and Khalil Gibran’s Le Prophète. We asked family members to read passages from the Bible, which made the ceremony that much more intimate and special. We hired the Vivaldivas string quartet, who not only offered a large repertoire of famous classical, traditional and pop-culture music but also agreed to make an arrangement of a song we liked (Ruelle – I Get to Love You) to adapt it to their instruments. The bridal party procession was to that song, the bride and her parents walked into Wagner’s Bridal Chorus and the newlyweds exited to the sound of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Several other songs were played during the ceremony, including La Vie en Rose and Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love.

Église Saint-Eustache Wedding
Fleurs et Confetti Montreal

The Flowers
Isabelle Paille from Fleurs et Confetti helped us achieve our vision of romantic and elegant floral decor. We loved her idea of tying up the bouquets with long, silky, richly colored ribbons, making the deep magenta and raspberry flowers pop. She also decorated our rental french doors by hanging raspberry carnations upside down – floral genius!

Abbaye d'Oka wedding photo
Sweet Couture Wedding Cakes

The Cake
Like most rustic-themed weddings, we opted for a naked cake covered in fruits. Claudine from Sweet Couture suggested a vanilla cake with almond paste filling and we just had to agree! Our cake not only looked glorious but tasted delicious, even if we only had time for a single bite. We froze the top tier and will take it out on our 1-year anniversary (or earlier…) We topped it off with a cute white and gold burlap cake-topper ordered from TheCraftandCupboard on Etsy.

l'Abbaye d'Oka Wedding photos

Your Photographer
Photography and videography were on top of our list. We wanted our big day to be frozen in time and we wanted to be able to relive the day by flipping through an album or watching a film. So we took the time we needed to find a photographer who would understand our style and personalities: out of the ordinary, different, edgy and laid-back. When we saw how Steve Gerrard can so effortlessly juggle between rock ‘n roll and romance, we were sold. His bold colors and attention to detail result in absolutely beautiful pictures, and we just can’t get enough of them! Steve and his team were fun and easy to work with, discreet and efficient and we are so grateful to have had them capture our wedding day.

Best Montreal Wedding Photographers

Your Videographer
When working in the wedding industry, you get to work with other talented artists. Patrick was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work amongst some of the greatest wedding cinematographers in Montreal. The team behind the video comprised several talented cinematographers. Ania Jamila from LUVE Films, Noah Leon from MooseFuel Media, Dominic Fillion from DF Motion, Chi Truong from One-Blink, Christian Garcia from Drones Falcon Bleu and Christo Saba all contributed their time and worked relentlessly to film our wedding day. Luckily we will have hours of beautifully filmed clips to work from in order for us to make a wedding film we and our future family will cherish for years and generations to come.

Montreal wedding party photos

The Details + Decor
We gave Isabelle from Fleurs et Confetti a few pointers: string lights, raspberry and gold, candles and warmth. She made her magic happen and the venue looked like it was out of a mystical fairytale. Over 200 candles were softly lighting up the hallways and the refectory. We used white and green pumpkins (which our guests took home!), ivory silk ribbons, logs, bottles wrapped in burlap string, linen table runners and raspberry, burgundy and white flowers to decorate the venue. As a thank you gift, we offered handmade raspberry jam purchased at the Ferme Guy Rivest. As for the cocktail, we really wanted our guests to have a good time, so we offered heel protectors to the ladies (so that they wouldn’t sink in the grass), concocted signature cocktails and had large frames hung from trees for photobooth-style pictures.

Fleurs et Confetti Montreal

The Honeymoon
Hawaii the beautiful!! Our honeymoon started on an amazing note as we flew first class on United Airlines… Search for last-minute deals, guys! You can get very, very lucky. After a layover, some sleep, 3 movies, games, good food and a few drinks, we landed in Oahu where we spent 2 nights (in vibrant Waikiki, Honolulu) before embarking aboard the Pride of America (Norwegian Cruise Line). We cruised through 4 of Hawai’i’s 8 islands, Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (The Big Island) and Kauai, and spent the second week basking in the beauty of Maui. We snorkelled with giant turtles, ziplined through Kauai’s wilderness, watched the sunrise at 10,023 feet on Haleakalā, saw lava explosions in Volcanoes National Park and hunted for double rainbows. Hawaii is well worth the total 16-hour trip and we would do it all over again if we had the chance!

Église Saint Eustache wedding photos

Most Memorable Moments
The exchange of vows, when Patrick made the whole room cry. And our entrance into the reception hall as husband and wife, when all the anticipation and excitement which had built up in the previous year just burst out of us.

Montreal Bridesmaids Dresses

What happened that wasn’t planned?
Jeannine: During the preparation, as we were getting closer to heading to church for the ceremony, I was getting more and more stressed, which is unlike me, usually. I rushed through the final minutes and in my hurry, forgot to take pictures with my bridesmaids. But it all worked out in the end when our photographer Steve had my girls and I do a mini-photoshoot during the reception.

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Patrick: I was surprised by the intensity of my emotions. We were also pleasantly surprised that our DJ, Alex Naim, had coordinated so beautifully the whole production, which we had left to him. Alone, he not only gave us an outstanding DJ performance but he also coordinated the bridal party entrance, musicians, speeches, and every other event all throughout the evening until the venue closed its doors. We also really enjoyed the performances of Eric Speed and Paul Lizzi during our bridal party entrance. These 2 are very talented musicians. Paul Lizzi surprised us with a second darbuka performance halfway through the evening, which blew the crowd away.

Eric Speed and Paul Lizzi
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Advice for Other Couples
Draw up a budget; be reasonable, but give yourself some wiggle room. Ask for help if you’re overwhelmed. Keep an agenda and write things down (hello Excel/Google Sheets!). Try not to leave anything to the last 3 or 4 days, you will be very excited and will want to spend time with your family and friends. And most importantly, write your own vows: you may think you’ll be too emotional to read them during the ceremony, but we guarantee that you will get through them and it will be so special and meaningful!

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Thank you SO much to Jeannine & Patrick for sharing this beautiful wedding with us. We wish them all the best for a future of happiness together.

Now check out this tantalising teaser for their wedding video. We can’t wait to see the full version…

Jeannine and Patrick’s Wedding Teaser from Fabula Films on Vimeo.

Vendor/Supplier List

Groom’s Attire:
Brian Diaz
Arthur bespoke tailors & shirtmakers
Waxman House

Bride’s Attire:
Da Novias
Christopher Maroun (hair)
Beauty & Tales (makeup) or Facebook.com/Beautyandtales

Fleurs et Confetti

Abbaye d’Oka

Le Plat Né Terre (traiteur officiel de l’Abbaye d’Oka)

Steve Gerrard Photography
Second photographer Sebastien D’Amour

Fabula Films (Producer/editor)
LUVE Films (director/cinematographer)
Moosefuel Media (cinematographer)
DF Motion (cinematographer)
One-Blink (cinematographer)
Drones Falcon Bleu (drone operator)
Christo Saba (sound engineer)

Octava Quartet (Quartet church performance)
DJ Alex Naim
Paul Lizzi (percussionist)
Eric Speed (Violinist)

Sweet Couture

Ferme Guy Rivest

Car Rentals
Coudi Car (Range Rovers and Mercedes)

Other Details
Kernels Popcorn

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