Ma Cherie Bleue is an intimate boutique located in the heart of Rosemère, Quebec. Priding themselves on personalized customer service, they say they are experts at figuring out what our client needs, and giving it to them. We caught up with founder Nathale to find out more about this appointment only boutique.
Tell us a little about how Ma Cherie Bleue first started.
Six and a half years ago, I married my best friend, Maxime, who has not only loved me unconditionally, he has also encouraged me to fulfill my dreams.
Inspired by a shopping experience I had during our honeymoon in Paris the idea of Ma Chérie Bleue came into being. Paired with my 24+ years of combined expertise in retail business and creative fashion I was determined to create the superior shopping experience Montréal brides have been looking for in an intimate, charming setting.
What were your goals for the company?
My goals for the company were to make it a “one appointment only” shopping experience. I didn’t want to just sell a dress and then ship the bride off, this is something you only plan to do once so I want to make sure we get it right for them the first time
How do you select which designers to stock?
Each designer is hand-selected by myself to join the Ma Cherie Bleue family. I look for designers that have a unique signature to their designs, a dress that is feminine and original as our brides who wear them. what is most important to me is that they be affordable and meet most budgets. Our wedding dresses start at $1390 with a few exceptions over $3800.
What are your personal favourite designers?
All the designers I carry are my favourites, each designer I carry has something special in their collection that makes them unique. We have something for everyone! We carry dresses for all types and shapes. Lis Simon is a Canadian designer that has built her line around today’s bride and affordability, Theia designed Meghan Markle’s gown, he caters to the non-traditional bride, Blush by Hayley Paige has a more whimsical, elegant feel, she uses tulle, lace, and delicate tones to fit a modern bride.
Allison Webb is the embodiment of elevated elegance. Alyssa Kristin is sleek and chic, Lillian Wild has beautiful separates that can be customized to your style, Ti Adora is beautiful, authentic and wanderlust, Sally Eagle is romantic and classic, Lena Meodyeff are handmade from all natural silk or one hundred percent cotton, coloured by natural vegetable and mineral dyes, and stitched by talented seamstresses, Anais Anette another Canadian, her dresses exude feminity, Astrid and Mercedes have a look of something old and something new. .. There are so many exquisite gowns and accessories by such talented designers it is impossible to choose only one.
Describe a Ma Cherie Bleue bride
A Ma Cherie Bleue bride wants to celebrate her authentic self. She is stylish, playful, and daring. She encompasses the Bohemian, the classic, the romantic, with an element of sexy that is refined. A maverick who is not afraid to redefining her own wedding traditions.
How early do you suggest brides begin looking for a dress?
When it comes to finding “the one,” timing is essential. There are definitely wedding dress deadlines you don’t want to miss. Our designer’s lead time is 4 months, with the exception of a few that might take 5-6 months. I suggest brides shop for their dress 6 to 8 months prior to their wedding date, this will allow the bride to have time for fittings and accessorizing. However, there are always some exceptions and rush options for wedding gowns under 3 months.
How do you work with brides to make sure they find the perfect dress?
When we work with our brides our intention for the first appointment is to discuss the details; location, theme, and vision for the wedding, gown budget and colour and fabric preferences. We then introduce them to our dresses. They then get to select a cross-section of dresses that they can try on (with the opportunity to revisit any of their favourites at the end of the appointment)
In all of our appointments we are driven by our 3 FIRST: Our clients, our personalized service, and our exceptional quality — Always!
What would you say are the common mistakes that brides make when choosing what to wear for their wedding?
They want to please everyone else, mother, father, groom, bridal party etc…obviously the bride wants everyone to love her dress but she is the one wearing it for ”her” big day. It is important that the gown is a perfect fit in terms of her personality and style.
What changes have you observed with wedding styles over the years?
Some of my favourite changes for 2019 we have been observing are;
Ultra feminine details like bows and pearls are the new modern contemporary interpretation of old classic make new again. They are found on dresses, shoes, accessories like capes and veils.
High low and mini is another trend that’s making its way in the bridal dress industry for the alternative bride who wants to stay away from more traditional shapes such as full skirts and long trains. They offer an informal and playful approach.
Separates are still holding strong. It’s a great way for brides to be creative if wearing a traditional dress is not your thing. This would be a combination of tops, skirts and yes ladies trousers.
Lace, in general, has always been a wedding staple, but 3-D applique lace or character laces make a stronger statement because it has an impact. Especially when it’s a part of a blush coloured dress that enhances the beauty of the details.
How do you know you’ve done a great job for your clients?
My brides are so important to me and we always check in with them and ask for pictures of their wedding! When we receive their pictures and their praise I know my job is done! When our brides come back with their friends or family members, when they send us referrals it lets me know I have achieved my goal and makes me love my job even more. Each bride becomes part of our MCB family.
Any funny stories from your time in the business?
On January 15th, 2018 I launched a campaign giving brides the opportunity to share their personal love story in hopes of earning themselves a free wedding dress from designers such as Hayley Paige, Anais Anette, Anya Dionne, Astrid & Mercedes, and Lea-Ann Belter. One of the contest winners, Amanda Harvey was pregnant at the time of the dress selection and couldn’t try on her dress but came to the store just the same and we just hit it off! We chatted like we have known each other for years. We have now become great friends, she is now a part of the MCB family as my social media manager and brand ambassador. Elegant Wedding played a part in the success of the giveaway and wrote a beautiful spotlight on the giveaway https://www.elegantwedding.ca/ma-cherie-bleue-bridal-giveaway/
Where can people find you online?
You can find us online at macheriebleue.com where you can book an appointment to shop all of our beautiful collections and soon you will be able to shop for your dress on our website as well…stay tuned
Big thanks to Amanda and Nathale at Ma Cherie Bleue for their time.
Photos: Studio 55 Yanick Lesperance Narsete Photography Emile Olson Photography Martine L Judith Gautier Photography Catherine Deslauriers Bachmann Photography Alexandre Couture R Cassette Photo
Le Wedding Mill is a wedding planning company in Montreal and is aptly named after its founder Michelle Mill. We chatted with Michelle about her business and how she works with couples to create a flawless wedding.
When did le wedding mill first begin? le wedding mill launched in 2017, but its roots dig a few years deeper than that. I have always been drawn to planning events, from bridal showers to retreats to galas. Over the years, I had had the privilege of being a bridesmaid several times and loved every minute of the experience. I was particularly excited about helping with the little design details. I also loved being able to take their stress away by quietly handling any logistical issue that arose.
Eventually, I dove into the corporate event world, learning the ins and outs of hospitality, client relations and logistics. At the same time, my bridesmaids duties escalated to planner duties at some of my friends’ weddings, then eventually I was helping friends of friends and so on. In 2017, my wedding season was shaping up to be a busy one and thus, I faced an exciting but frightening dilemma: Should I keep the security of my corporate job or whole heartedly pursue my dream of becoming a wedding planner? Needless to say, I took the leap and haven’t looked back for a minute. We are now a small but very mighty team of two, with a group of lovely helpers that lend a hand on event days.
How would you sum up your approach? As our tagline aptly states, we offer a fresh and fun approach to wedding planning. It’s no secret that planning a wedding is stressful. There are so many moving parts to think about, not to mention the emotions involved. At le wedding mill, we are very aware that our clients are busy, which is why our planning process is streamlined and efficient. We take the stress out of the equation so that our couples can actually enjoy their engagement and focus on the fun parts of wedding planning.
What challenges do you usually face during a wedding day? As there are so many moving parts in a wedding, the biggest challenge that we face is keeping everyone and everything moving at the same pace! For example, if hair and makeup take longer than expected, we need to make that time up elsewhere to ensure that the ceremony isn’t delayed too much, leaving guests in their seats for an extended period. Fortunately, we tackle this challenge by padding our timelines with extra time at specific key moments.
Another classic challenge that we face, one that we have not yet figured out how to control, is weather. Many of our couples have an outdoor component to their wedding, be it the ceremony, cocktail or the entire event. We monitor weather closely and always have a solid plan for inclement weather.
What are the differences between a wedding planner, a coordinator, a designer, and a venue coordinator? This is a very important topic as there is a lot of confusion about these roles. To summarize, a wedding planner is your guide throughout the entire planning process. He/she will typically be responsible for keeping the planning process running in a timely manner, recommending and contacting vendors that suit your style and budget, designing the event, and managing the logistics on-site. Essentially, the planner does all the legwork – you make the final decisions. At le wedding mill, we offer full planning as well as partial planning services to accommodate couples who want to some of the legwork, but not all.
A coordinator will step in later on in the process and tie all loose ends. He/she will confirm all the responsibilities with the vendors you have booked and will usually create your timeline for you. On your wedding day, a coordinator will be there to set up and manage the logistics. In this case, you do all the legwork and he/she will make sure it all goes according to plan.
A designer focuses strictly on the aesthetic and visual aspects of the day. He/she will relay with the vendors who impact the design, such as the florist or the rental company, and will set up the event so that it reflects what had been previously agreed upon. A designer will not; however, handle any logistics of the day and will usually sneak out well before the wedding starts!
A venue coordinator, though instrumental to the success of your wedding, is not the same as a planner, coordinator or designer. While every venue is different, a venue coordinator is usually responsible for ensuring that all-venue related tasks are being fulfilled. This can be anything from setting the tables to supervising the in-house caterer’s service times. In some cases, he/she will supervise the teardown of the event. However, there is a misconception that a venue coordinator will take on the responsibilities of one of the above-mentioned roles, which can lead to disappointment and frustration at the last minute. The best way to know for sure is to speak with your venue coordinator to find out exactly what they will and will not do on your big day.
What can brides do to help you to plan their wedding day in the best possible way? Communication is key! We encourage couples to overshare so that we are aware of every detail, nuance and pet peeve. On the wedding day, we are the couples’ eyes and ears on the ground and want to make sure that their wedding dreams come true. Whatever information we have will help us run the day smoothly and manage expectations.
How early do brides need to think about booking their planner? The sooner, the better! While all planners do their best to accommodate last minute requests, it’s not always possible on busier weekends. Our couples typically book us anywhere between 8 to 24 months in advance.
Today we’re excited to share with you Jacqueline + Rich’s beautiful wedding photographed by Montreal photographer Annabelle Agnew. They chose Pavillon de la Jamaique as their wedding venue and, as you’ll see from the photographs, it was a stunning event full of fun, style, and relaxed charm.
We asked Jacqueline to share more details about the wedding day with us…
Wedding Date: Friday August 31, 2018
The Proposal Story: We both used to work in pubs downtown Montreal. We met 12 years ago through mutual friends and were friends for a few years before dating. Rich proposed down on one knee on the beach at our favourite Mexican vacation spot at sunset.
The Vision for the Day: Blush, Blue, Ivory and Gold.
I found the blush, ivory and blue colour combination to be elegant and romantic with gold for sparkle and pizzazz.
The Venue: Pavillon de la Jamaique
Finding the Dress: BHLDN – I bought a bridesmaid dress as I wanted something simple that I would be comfortable in all night. I was really happy with it.
Your Photographer: Annabelle Agnew Photography, Associate Photographer: Alex Jones www.annabelleagnew.com Working with Annabelle was the best decision we made for our wedding. She immediately understood what we were looking for and offered great advice as well. I’m so pleased that we have such great photos from our wedding.
The Details + Decor:
I loved the cocktail menu that we had for cocktail hour; Aperol spritz, Pimm’s Cup, Tom Collins and Margaritas. We both love Aperol Spritz and Margaritas and then we wanted to include a couple of classic English cocktails for all of the English guests at our wedding.
Ice cream truck. They served ice cream cones, ice cream sandwiches and espressos. This was a lot of fun for everyone I think. We wanted people to be able to mingle while enjoying their dessert and again, we were trying to incorporate something that our guests from overseas would enjoy. It’s not only the English who love ice cream, but I have teased my husband in the past about his family’s penchant for ice cream so we knew it would be well received.
The band was a huge hit! I knew right away which band I wanted to play at our wedding. We have known these guys for over 10 years as they used to play in pubs that we both worked in. Initially we were going to split the party up with the band for the first half of the night after dinner and then follow it up with an iPod dj playlist but people were having so much fun with the band playing that they played for most of the night.
It was important for us to be surrounded by friends and family for the day so we had a mutual good friend as the officiant, another friend as the MC, and two friends bartending.
We had craft beer and wine from Ontario to add a Canadian element
We had a photo guest book which turned out really well. People took pictures with the instant camera, stuck it in the book and wrote us a note with it.
Most Memorable Moments:
Walking down the aisle. Leading up to the big day I was really nervous about walking down the aisle and having all eyes on me, but as I walked down the aisle and saw him, the nervousness left me. I cry at all weddings so I was worried that I would be a sniffling mess the whole time at my own but I managed to keep it together.
Having all of our friends and families from different cities, even continents, celebrating together. Having our friends from here make friends with our friends from England was really cool. Everyone mingled and the dance floor got pretty crazy!
The speeches were just great. Just minutes after my maid of honour told a story about how clumsy I am we both spilled our drinks. Our guests had a pretty good laugh at that.
Vendor/Supplier List with links:
Hair and Makeup: Emily and Francine at Spa Annie Young www.annieyoung.com I was really pleased with my hair and makeup and this spa/salon has such a great team.
Cake: Le Casse-Glace. www.lecasseglace.caWe skipped the traditional cake and opted for a food truck serving ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cones and specialty coffees. It was a big hit with all of our guests!
Once you’ve exchanged vows, had some amazing food and had some beautiful wedding photos taken, it’s time for you and your guests to let your hair down and hit the dancefloor. Having an expert in charge of the music can have a huge effect on how great the party is and one of Montreal’s most-established DJ/MCs is Stefan Jez from Uptown Xpress.
We asked Stefan a little about himself and his approach to DJing weddings and what advice he had for couples planning their own wedding.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m married – 15 yrs this summer, we have a great 12-year-old son. I love animals, especially dogs! I am a huge Montreal Canadiens fan!
What made you want to become a wedding DJ?
I started DJing in high school. I have always loved music and lighting. As I got older I really found myself enjoying weddings more than any other type of party. Each wedding is always different and that is what I love about them. Especially in Montreal with our multicultural population, it’s really cool to see all the different traditions from so many places around the world. Also, at a wedding we can really focus on quality from an MC standpoint, making the reception be something special and unique that reflects the couple.
What do you think makes for a great wedding DJ?
My love and passion for what I do! Being a wedding DJ is very different than being a club DJ or a sweet 16 DJ. Weddings are a very different type of animal completely. What makes me different is that I have formal training in performance, staging, storytelling and being a Master of Ceremonies. In fact, I continually take performance workshops and attend industry conferences to keep learning and honing my craft. I care for each couple that I DJ for and want their wedding to be exactly what they imagined, and I will do anything to make that happen for them. My training and style are unique in Montreal, and because of that, the couples that choose me really get a different experience at their reception, something that is totally not cookie-cutter. I help extraordinary couples create extraordinary moments at their wedding.
How would you sum up your DJ style?
Open format. Being a wedding DJ, I need to keep all options open all the time. I play all genres, all styles, but add a little flair to them by mixing everything live.
As a wedding MC, my style is formal and classy. I look to use my MC skills to create an engaging, romantic and fun receptions for the newlyweds and their guests.
How do you work with couples to create the perfect playlist for their reception?
Music is a part of the planning discussions I have with each couple. Sometimes couples just want a “mood”, sometimes couples really love a particular style or genre. I take that information from them to help me curate the playlist that I will use for them. But again, a great wedding DJ is able to read a room, set a tone, and depending on what the desired outcome is, can adjust the playlist to achieve that.
The service I provide is much more than just music though. I also act as a coordinator for each couple during the reception. During the planning process, we discuss all kinds of ideas, what is important to them, what types of special moments can we create. I help each couple create their reception timeline and then I take care of making it happen. Acting as the MC I then set the room for each moment we create. Getting the newlyweds ready, their parents, and any other people who are about to be involved, I also coordinate with the other vendors like the photographer and videographer, this way, everything goes smoothly and nobody misses anything.
Describe a typical day for you when you’re booked for a wedding?
I start off with a really good breakfast! After that, pack the truck and head out to the venue to begin setup with my team around noon most days. Once our setup is done, we do all our testing and sound checks. We will then get changed into our suits and be fully ready at least one hour before guests arrive. During that time, we go over last minute details, coordinate with the maitre’d and anyone else we need to. During this time and throughout the entire day actually, we are taking pictures and video to post to social media too.
At the end of the reception which typically is anywhere from 1-3am, we then tear down all the gear, pack it back up and finally get home between 3-5am!
One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that there is a lot of preparation that goes into every wedding I work. It is not just the hours of performance on the day. Because of the level of detail I get into with each couple, I spend anywhere from 20 to 25 hours preparing for each wedding. Writing scripts, working on their love story, making custom audio recordings and of course music preparation.
What tricks do you have to motivate a crowd if nobody is dancing?
First step here is to be paying attention because even if they are not dancing, they still might be having an amazing time. There are moments during a wedding reception, like the midnight table when people want to take a small breather, get some more food, sit for a bit, then get back to dancing. You can’t always force the dance floor. But for those times when the crowd is a little bit shyer or reserved, I will get out onto the dance floor with the newlyweds, and start some sort of interactive dance. This way I can have the couple gather some people and create some momentum.
What’s your go-to song to really get the dancefloor rockin’?
Danza Kuduro by Don Omar
What’s your favourite first dance song?
From This Moment – Shania Twain and Bryan White
And what’s the craziest first dance song you’ve played?
Radiohead – Pyramid Song
What are your thoughts on song requests?
Bring them on! Of course, I take requests, it’s part of being interactive with the crowd! Weddings have the widest range of ages and musical tastes, taking requests helps us throughout the night to fine tune what they want to hear.
Here’s a trick I use as well, during dinner, I’ll go and ask some of the older couples for any song requests, this is because often they’ll tell me their wedding song, which is something I can then play during dinner or a slow dance segment.
What do you do if a song has explicit lyrics?
As a wedding DJ, I subscribe to several music services, these provide clean edits of most songs. I will not play songs with explicit lyrics at a wedding.
What advice would you give to couples who are considering a DJ for the wedding reception?
Don’t wait until 6 months before your wedding to book a DJ! 10-12 months out will increase your chances of booking your first choice!
Meet with the actual person who will be your DJ or MC. You need to be a good fit!
Look for proof! Videos, pictures, reviews, testimonials. As for videos, not just video of people partying, videos of the DJ or MC actually performing.
You should feel that the DJ cares as much as you do about your wedding.
Remember that a wedding DJ is not only there to play music. There are so many little things that happen behind the scenes throughout the night that a great DJ or MC can make or break the event.
Which are your favorite Montreal wedding venues to play at?
There are so many amazing venues in Montreal, but Riviera and Le Crystal are two of my top favorites.
How do you know when you’ve done a great job?
As an MC, I know I’m doing a good job when guests come up to me during dinner and ask me if I am related to the couple! Because of the work I put into getting to know each couple I collaborate with, and the storytelling skills I use during the reception, many guests assume I have known them for years!
As a DJ, I know when we’re doing a good job when people are happy, and enjoying themselves. And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean a full dance floor. Some weddings are more the drink, talk and a little bit of dancing type, but they are still having an amazing time. Of course, there are plenty of weddings where the dance floor is packed the entire night too!
A Guide for Engaged Couples from an Industry Insider
It’s hard to pin down exactly how I became a wedding coordinator, but here’s what happened…
I was working for a catering company. I was new-ish, and just starting to get the better gigs – working in the client’s home with a few other staffers, increasing the likelihood of a good tip. I remember watching my co-workers handle a situation where the client was in a terrible mood from the moment we arrived, and complained about everything, including the cocktail napkins we had brought, saying, “These aren’t fit to use as toilet paper! What are we going to do?!” before opening a drawer full of her own fancy cocktail napkins. I watched how the chef, a notoriously calm dude, kept a steady gaze, didn’t interrupt. It didn’t help, but it didn’t make things worse. I watched as the other server grabbed a bottle of Grey Goose from the freezer, winking at me. Within half an hour, the client was soothed, and by the end of the evening, we had gotten her on our side. I remember she said, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” and that she tipped us handsomely.
It was in these intimate environments that I developed a skill for dealing with demanding, anxious, and frazzled clients. I relied on an even tone, and found empathy for people who wanted things “just-so”. I also fostered infinite patience for people who are not related to me. It was in part because of this skillset that I caught the attention of the coordinators with whom we worked, who are some of the most demanding, perfectionist, and sharp-eyed people you’ll ever encounter. I started assisting on their weddings, and of course, landed the highly un-coveted role as “bridal party handler.”
Let me tell you about the worst bride I ever met. I was warned I would have to corral her often, as she was notoriously bad at being on time. I was also quickly made aware of how incredibly vain she was and noted that whenever she saw an opportunity to be photographed, she would halt all progress. I had to get real with the photographer at one point: “Please, can you just go down to the car or she will never leave this apartment.” I begged. As her handler, all I had to do was get her to the ceremony on time, and after that, stick by her in case she needed anything. What she decided she needed was for someone to hold her train so that it wouldn’t hit the floor for the entire cocktail hour as she greeted her guests, many of whom were her new husband’s wealthy friends and business contacts. All of them gave me apologetic looks, and I did my best to keep a straight face as I inwardly rolled my eyes and giggled at how pretentious this woman was, and how bad a job she was doing of impressing those people she so badly wanted to woo.
Listen. You don’t want to be that person. This day is about you, and everyone knows it. You’ll be the center of attention no matter what, so it’s best if when eyes are on you, you’re the picture of serenity, and that you and your partner are the archetypes of love. Take it from me, the ringer they bring in when people are being difficult. Becoming a “zilla” is totally preventable. Here’s how.
GET YOUR GUEST LIST IN ORDER
Before you do anything else – before you check out venues or start crowdsourcing the best caterer, tailor, florist, and photographer – nail down who you want at your shindig. If you’re on the fence about whether you’re having a destination, intimate, or larger wedding, the guest list will help you nail that down. It will also get the ball rolling for a talk about the bridal party.
If your parents are helping you pay for the wedding (or paying for it entirely), they may feel that gives them carte blanche to invite all of their friends. This is a touchy subject but I’m going to bite the bullet: it’s your wedding. Try to set yourself up for success, which means no resentment towards your in-laws. My husband and I both have huge families and lots of close friends who live all over the world – the result of having lived together for a year in his native Paris. Our venue had a cap of 140 guests and both sides of parents had certain friends they had to invite, so we made a rule: we only wanted people in the room who love us (and we didn’t want to have to be fake-nice to anyone). It was a challenge, but I eventually whittled my parents’ lists down to a minimum of strangers. I’m happy to say there were just two couples at my wedding whom neither I nor my husband had ever met before.
If you have guests who’ll need to travel, a save-the-date minimum six months before the wedding is necessary. You can send this by email or even call them. If a guest is really important to you, don’t make them wait for the formal invitation.
Your guest list and your parents’ lists will also get the ball rolling to talk about your budget, and on that note, I need you to listen very carefully. Do us all a favour and…
BE WILLING TO PAY FULL PRICE
We all know that when suppliers hear the word “wedding” they jack up the price. A good coordinator will be able to tell you what a fair price is and get it for you. Coordinators have relationships with suppliers and while you will only get married once, they are the ones giving those suppliers repeat business. I won’t allow someone to gouge you for candles, for example, because I know where the supplier orders them and you can too.
Equally, as a coordinator, it is not worth it for me to damage my relationship with a supplier by insisting on a discount for you. If you aren’t using a coordinator, or if you have some friends in the business, you may want to try to nickel and dime them so that you can stay within your budget, but I sincerely beg you not to do this. It’s nearly always true that you get what you pay for, and on this all-important day, it’s at best not ideal and potentially catastrophic to have people on site who feel like they are doing you a favour by showing up. Just think about how you feel when you’re working overtime for free. Ever heard the expression, “they can’t complain”? Yeah. That’s you, on your wedding day, when the bar service shows up without bussers because your buddy owns the company, and his very limited staff left a huge mess and the venue charges you a $1000 clean-up fee. Pony up.
I’ve also had super easy clients who pay me upfront and even tip me in advance. I was so concerned that they would feel they had overpaid me that I kept my assistant a little longer and shared the wealth, and had no qualms about springing for little extras, like the long BBQ lighters we need to light floating candles. Be generous with people, and they will be generous with you. I try to charge fairly, and I will go above and beyond for my clients.
Conversely, clients who nickel and dime their suppliers leave them saying (how many times have I heard this?) “I’m not making any money on this gig.” This translates to cutting staff earlier than they should be (meaning no one is left to serve dessert or tidy up), annoyance about your last-minute requests (and you will have some!), and a general unwillingness to negotiate or throw in a few extras. I’m not saying you can’t call your coordinator as much as you need to, but take care with your tone and their time. I often joke that 90% of my job is being nice to people, because I will inevitably ask someone to do something that is outside their job description during the event, and I want their answer to be, “For you, Carrie-Ann, it would be my pleasure” and not “that’s not my job”. It could be as simple as asking the photographer to help me move the cake, or the caterer to set aside the vases for the florist. It’s just easier to get shit done if people don’t fucking hate you. (Remember: yelling at the caterer before they have served the first course never ends well.) People love a reason to gossip, so don’t give them one.
Re-work your budget so that you can pay people what they deserve, and don’t forget to tip. And then set aside even more money.
SET ASIDE AN EMERGENCY BUDGET
Give yourself a buffer so that you can throw money at a problem. Depending on the scale of your event, that could be $500 or $5000. Take the price of your wedding dress or custom suit: that is how much you need in your emergency fund. No, not your “oh let’s blow the budget and spring for a band” fund… your “it’s the week before my wedding and something went terribly wrong” fund. Note the distinction. In a perfect world, you won’t spend that money and you can put it towards the honeymoon. But something probably will go wrong, so on that note…
KNOW THAT SOMETHING WILL GO WRONG AND GET OKAY WITH IT
It’s important to accept, starting right now, that something won’t go the way you planned it. Your miniature-vase-place-card-holders may not arrive in time, or your dress might not fit because the store didn’t warn you that they were going out of business and your last alteration was three months before your wedding day. I had one bride who told me she’d freak if a baby cried while she was walking down the aisle, and I said, “Get okay with it babe, cause it’s gonna happen.” I can do a lot for you but I cannot control a crying baby. Or a power outage (although I do have something in my back pocket for that one). Or the groom dislocating his shoulder mid-hora. Or your officiant mispronouncing your name throughout the ceremony.
TRIPLE-CHECK-IN ON YOUR OFFICIANT
Traditional officiants perform a massive amount of weddings and other rituals, which means that, yes, they know what they are doing, but it also means that sometimes one event blends into the other. This can and does lead to them forgetting to mention something significant, or blindsiding you by turning your atheist ceremony super-religious (yup, that’s exactly what happened at my own wedding). Take the time to send them an email a few days before your wedding to remind them what is most important to you for the ceremony.
Here’s a sample email, based on one sent by a very organized bride I worked with last season after I told her some of my horror stories:
I just wanted to confirm everything with you for the wedding which is this coming Sunday!
Date: Sunday, June 10, 2019
Location: Ristorante Beatrice – 1504 Sherbrooke Street West
We will do a quick rehearsal at around 4 with the procession and then proceed with the Ketubah signing for 4:30pm
Ketubah: Provided by you!
We have the chuppah ordered, kosher white wine, wine glass and all other necessary items on our list!
Recap of family members:
Maid of Honour
If you are unsure of any details or want more information please free to email, text, or call me!
Thank you and looking forward to seeing you Sunday!
It’s really common nowadays, especially for secular weddings, to have a friend officiate the marriage. It’s a lovely way to add a personal and whimsical touch, but it has its own pitfalls. For example, someone who has never performed a ceremony might take it too seriously, and really milk their time with the microphone. (This is most common with MC’s, and I have nearly had words with an MC who would. Not. Stop. Talking. Every time he went to introduce a speech, he made a speech to introduce the speech. Too many speeches.) If it’s a friend, they may want to surprise you, and surprised you will be when they ask you to produce your handwritten vows that you don’t recall agreeing to write. And speaking of speaking…
REMIND YOUR SPEAKERS TO KEEP IT SHORT
Be careful who you invite to speak, including your above-mentioned MC, and be careful to remind them that shorter is sweeter. What do they want to say to you and 200 of your closest friends? Let’s get to dancing! Asking a trusted friend or family member to look over your parents’ speeches for too-embarrassing moments (like the time you stuffed your bra with tissues and then passed it out when someone sneezed) or lengthy stories that don’t lead anywhere.
Anything over three minutes can and should be said in a letter and there does not need to be an embarrassing slide show to go along with it. Your coordinator can protect you from unscheduled speeches, and then you don’t have to be the bad guy. If guests approach you and ask to speak (because I have told them I am not handing over the mic without your permission), just blame the “timeline” and admit it: you’re not in charge. Let go. Trust me to run it, and I will protect you from your friends who over-enjoyed the open bar. And that brings me to my final piece of advice – even if you’re simply getting married at city hall proceeded by an intimate dinner at a swanky restaurant…
HIRE A PLANNER
The most organized, efficient, best person to ever plan their own wedding still needs at a minimum a day-of coordinator, or they won’t be able to relax and enjoy the day. Think about it: you spent all of this time and effort and money to have a memorable day, and when it’s all over, you feel empty because you didn’t get to look your partner in the eye and celebrate it. You were stressed and lost your temper (and yelled at the groom during the main course so that when my boss asked me if the couple had eaten and could we start speeches I had to say, “No, they haven’t eaten yet… because the bride is browbeating the groom at the head table where they are seated with both of their families.”). You were busy worrying and not busy getting your guests on the dance floor by being on the dance floor. Your energy sets the tone of the event, and if you don’t have fun, neither will your guests. Make memories and let someone else worry about the timeline.
Your planner can also help you avoid logistical nightmares, like the bride I had who was determined to avoid rental fees by buying absolutely every item that went on her tabletop so she could try to sell it after. Or the panic of how last-minute some suppliers can be (they’ll know who to trust to pull it off, even if it’s last minute because surprise, you didn’t realize you picked Grand Prix weekend to get married).
A good planner will talk you out of doing things that will only stress you out, like insisting on a pre-ceremony sound bath and wishes on feathers and a silent meditative walk through the woods or having an outdoor ceremony in November. They’ll also remind you to enjoy your day, and let you make memories with your new husband or wife and see how much fun all your friends are having. Bottom line: your guests will have fun if you’re having fun.
A good planner will give you the benefit of their experience. In all likelihood, you haven’t done this before, and you don’t plan to be doing it again. Find someone who knows what’s up that you can trust to take the reigns, and it will be so much easier to be nice. As one planner I know often says, “Nice brides get nice weather.” She’s wrong, of course – we can’t control the weather… but we can control how nice a day you have. You catch more flies with honey.
Carrie-Ann Kloda is a wedding planner, a writer, and a yoga teacher. You can see her writing at heycarrieannk.com, take her class at Yoga Vieux Montreal, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now booking for 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Occasionally we stumble across a real Montreal wedding that immediately has us transfixed. Sam & Nicola’s beautifully relaxed and stylish wedding at Espace 360 in Old Montreal is one such wedding.
Photographed by the fantastic Gabrielle Desmarchais these photographs stopped us in our tracks with their cinematic feel, not to mention Nicola’s stunning recycled wedding dress.
Gabrielle says it’s “a love story between a beautiful Irish girl and a Mexican with a big heart. They met in the City of Glass and it was love at first sight!
Vancouver being a rather distant city for Nicola’s Irish family, the couple decided to celebrate their wedding in Montreal, a city they had always wanted to visit and had not yet had the chance. It was in the romantic neighborhood of Old Montreal that Nicola and Sam said “I do” accompanied by their families and friends from Europe, Mexico, the United States and British Columbia.
The ceremony was held in a large glass room reminiscent of the architecture of their home city, Vancouver. A 360-degree view offered guests a glimpse of the city! The newlyweds drank with their guests with Irish drinks made from Baileys. The day was beautiful and hot. All walked the cobblestone streets of old Montreal, discovering a new city for many. There followed a supper at Hotel Le Saint Sulpice with sometimes touching, often humorous speeches.”
We are excited to share Rachel & Marc’s stylish and fun wedding with you today courtesy of photographer Valerie Baron at Studio Baron Photo Inc.
As you’ll see below this was a wedding full of elegance and beautiful styling that ended with some fantastic dancefloor action.
The Proposal Story
Six years ago, I walked into the coffee shop where Marc worked. Marc took my order and prepared my Americano while we flirted awkwardly. I sat nearby working on my laptop, as Marc turned to a regular client and proclaimed « I’m going to marry that girl. » The rest is history.
Exactly five years after that first Americano, Marc took me back to that same coffee shop. We were sitting on the patio, sipping our coffees, when all of a sudden our dog runs up to us wearing a « Will you marry my daddy ? » sweater. I stared at the dog in disbelief and looked down to see Marc on his knee. Needless to say, we owe a lot to coffee (we have travelled to coffee farms together in Costa Rica, and chose to do our engagement shoot at a coffee shop as well ! Maybe one day we will open one of our own)
The Vision for the Day
Everything classic yet modern. We chose a soft colour palette of light blues, navy, white, with touches of silver and greenery. We wanted a light and fresh colour scheme that aligned with the season and our venues.
Favorite items from the wedding
The catering – we were so impressed by the catering at our wedding, the food was outstanding and we definitely didn’t go hungry. The cocktail buffet, midnight poutine and burgers, and the signature drinks were so good! Yes, we made sure to eat at our own wedding!
The flowers and decor – we loved the flowers! The bouquets were to die for with a mix of peonies, roses and eucalyptus. We also had a flower arch of white and light blue flowers surrounding us on the honour table which blew us away. Our florist mixed large, tall arrangements with floral wreaths around candelabras. It was gorgeous!
The venues – we absolutely love the beautiful church we got married in. The ornate ceilings and decor, the perfect location along the water, and the impressive organ and acoustics. The location made our wedding ceremony that much more special. Our reception venue, also an old cathedral, refurbished into Theatre Paradoxe, was equally as gorgeous, with its high ceilings and stain glass windows.
The Readings + Music: 1st dance song: We chose Stand By Me, the cover by Skylar Grey. We love this classic song but wanted to go with a newer more sultry version. We knew we wanted a song that wasn’t going to be too overplayed and something we would love for years to come.
Most Memorable Moments
1. Seeing each other for the first time, walking down the aisle. The moment we had pictured in our heads over and over! There was so much anticipation leading up to this moment, but when we finally saw each other, we were overwhelmed with joy. We held hands during the ceremony and couldn’t stop smiling at each other. We wanted to keep things traditional and opted out of doing a first look. This made the moment that much more special.
2. Our entrance into the reception was definitely a highlight of the night. Our bridal party each chose their own songs to enter into and really played up their entrances with choreographed dance moves. We busted out to « Crazy in Love » by Beyonce and got the party off right away. Everyone joined us on the dance floor, the sparklers went off and it was such an amazing moment of celebration.
3. The speeches and songs! We were fortunate enough to have friends and family put together a slide slow, secret speeches AND write a song for the bride. The speeches were so heartfelt and funny and the song was absolutely perfect. The groomsmen prepared a mash-up hit paired with plastic instruments and a ukulele. It was awesome.
What happened that wasn’t planned?
Positive: The speeches and songs! We were fortunate enough to have friends and family put together a slide slow, secret speeches AND write a song for the bride. The speeches were so heartfelt and funny and the song was absolutely perfect. The groomsmen prepared a mash-up hit paired with plastic instruments and a ukulele. It was awesome.
Huge thanks and congrats to Rachel & Marc. We wish them all the best for a fantastic future together.
Choosing the perfect wedding dress is almost certainly the element of the wedding that all brides spend the most time and effort on. It’s a dress for one day and one day only, and every bride wants it to be perfect in every way. Luckily, Boutique Oui, je le voeux can help.
Boutique Oui, je le vœux on Plaza St-Hubert in Montreal is not like your average wedding dress store. Being more conscious of the environmental and ecological system, they have adapted to the virtues of recycling. Several years ago, Isabelle Leduc opened an adorable, romantic boutique specialising in the sale and rental of recycled wedding gowns.
We caught up with Stéphanie Khalil from Boutique Oui, je le vœux to find out more about this forward-thinking approach to wedding dresses…
When did Boutique Oui je le voeux first begin?
The Boutique Oui je le voeux first opened 25 years ago at 6600 St-Hubert street in Montreal. It is now located in a bigger store at 6924 St-Hubert Street.
What were the aspirations of the company when it began?
The concept of Boutique Oui je le voeux was actually created while Isabelle Leduc, the founder of the store, was finishing her studies at College Lasalle, where she developed the idea of owning a boutique of wedding gowns. She was always very conscious of our environmental and ecological system, so she decided to apply the principles of recycling to wedding gowns. With hard work, dedication, and an amazing team of friends and family, Isabelle opened her romantic boutique called Oui je le voeux… specialising in the sale and rental of recycled wedding gowns and other accessories such as veils, tiaras, bustier and jeweller; in short, everything you need to dress a bride from head to toe. Of course, throughout the years the concept has evolved, and there is now the option of buying new dresses from designers like Maggie Sottero and Essence of Australia (Stella York). Chantal Parizeau, Isabelle’s’ head seamstress and best friend since before the opening of the store, is now in charge of the boutique to carry on the values and the reputation of great service.
How would you sum up your style?
Besides the option of renting versus buying, there is not much that we do not have. We have styles for every bride’s tastes, going from mermaid, to princess to A-line, with lace, satin, bling or no bling. Since we have different designers, we strive to have a collection of different styles, that way, when a bride comes in for her very first fitting, she can try a style of each and be able to identify her preferences without having to go to 10 other stores.
What challenges do you usually face when helping to find the right dress for your clients?
Trying on dresses for the very first time is an emotional roller coaster. Let’s just say it, it’s the most exciting part for the bride next to wedding cake tasting! The only thing that mostly comes between a bride and the wedding dress of her dreams is …. her complexes. Unfortunately, a lot of our brides are more focused on what is supposedly wrong with their body, arms, face etc., than the dress. It comes to a point where it is easier for them to point out their flaws instead of the dress’s fitting. Our job is to remind them of how beautiful they are and, of course, as professionals, bring them dresses that will not only fit their bodies but their personalities as well.
What were the most popular styles for 2018?
Lace is still very present in 2018 which we are glad about because we love it! Compared to 2017, where very fitted styles were more popular, princess gowns are making a comeback! Only this time, long sleeves are added. That’s right, 2018 is about the combination of satin ball gowns with long lace sleeves. Now we are not saying that all the other styles are not trendy anymore. Mermaids are still an amazing choice to show our curves and sweetheart necklines are still appreciated. It is important to understand that a trend is not something that every bride should absolutely want to follow. A lot of brides come to me asking me if it is okay to not like lace even if everyone is crazy about it, and my answer to that is: a trend is what’s hip and popular at a certain point in time, you either like it or you don’t and that is totally fine, as long as you love yourself in your dress, that is what matters the most.
Tell us about your recycling options for wedding dresses?
It is actually a very easy concept.
A recycled dress can be :
A) A dress that a bride wants to sell to make another bride happy
B) One of our new collections that is available to rent
C) A dress in-store that is no longer available to order but is available to rent or buy off-the-rack.
A rentable dress’s price ranges between $450 to $750 (with insurance and taxes not being included) depending on the style. That price includes the cleaning of the dress after the wedding, a veil, a tiara and a crinoline to give a nice volume to the dress. Alterations are not included but the bride will be aware of what will need to be altered and the price will she be looking to pay.
I usually get asked which is more popular: Renting? or Buying?
Actually, it is half-half. It really depends on what the future bride is looking for, her budget, her emotional attachment to her dress. It is really a personal choice and a different one for each bride, but it is fun to have both options to consider.
Got any funny stories from weddings you’ve been involved with?
It was not necessarily funny, it was actually one of the most romantic requests that we have ever had. A woman called us at the store, asking information on our VIP service, which includes a personal room with seats for all of her guests, a hostess, a bottle of (non-alcoholic) sparkling wine, gifts for everyone and pictures taken with the group at the end of the appointment. It is very much like what you can see on the Say yes to the Dress show. We gave her all the information and she told us she was ready to book it. While asking for her information, we came down to the wedding date. That is when she actually told us that she was not getting married, it was actually her dream since she was a little girl, but she was so certain her boyfriend did not want to get married that she lost hope. So she just wanted to have the wedding dress shopping experience just so she could see herself trying on wedding future like every futur bride’s dream. Little did she know, her boyfriend called the day after, telling us that he wanted to take that opportunity to ….PROPOSE! We were all so excited that, of course, we helped him plan the whole scenario. Once the day arrived, the future bride-to-be had no clue of what was going to happen, we sent her and her friends into the VIP room and before she went to go see the dresses she was surprised by her boyfriend arriving in a tuxedo, with roses and a photographer, going down on one knee and asking for her hand. You should have seen all the bridal dress consultants with tears of joy down their cheeks. It was one of the most romantic moments we had ever been a part of.
How early do brides need to think about purchasing their dress?
To be sure and safe from any deadline, a year before the wedding is the best recommendation when it comes to wedding dress shopping. New dresses have to be ordered and take up to 4 to 6 months to arrive in store. That applies to rentals as well, the first bride-to-be has first pick on the date that she wants. In that case, do not take any risks and keep your options open. So if you are getting married this summer and have not yet found a wedding dress, now would be the time to start booking your appointments with your mother and bridesmaids.
Where can we find you online?
We have a very complete website, ouijelevoeux.com, with pictures of most of the collection (2000+ dresses) that we have in store, plus you can book an appointment directly online. Our Facebook page Oui, je le voeux… keeps you informed of all our contests, new collections and the wedding stories of our beautiful brides. An Instagram page is in a work in progress and we will keep our followers informed when it will be ready.
What do you do for fun when not working in the boutique?
All of the employees are very close. We are not colleagues, we are friends and the whole team is actually a big family. Obviously, the best part of being a bridal dress consultant is: A) Seeing our new collections arriving and B) getting to try on the dresses! What is a better way to identify a dress aspects than to try it on yourself? Of course, that perk is always followed by a photo shoot for our personal memories. Our manager Denyse tells us all the time: “Girls, I think you found your dresses before you’ve even found the fiancé!” So you might have guessed it too since we get to wear wedding gowns all day at the Let’s get married Grand Salon from Marions-nous in January and September, it is our favorite event!
Huge thanks to Stéphanie for sharing her thoughts with us here at MTL Wedding Blog.
Montreal wedding photographer Steve Gerrard only moved to Canada 4 years ago but has already photographed a wide range of gorgeous weddings in the city and throughout Quebec.
Originally from the UK where he was voted Best UK Wedding Photographer, he met a Canadian girl, got married and decided to relocate to Montreal with their 3 young kids in 2014.
Check out the video clip below, created by the fantastic Love Lux Films, showing Steve in action shooting a couple shoot in a very cool location in Montreal.
Steve recently chatted to Junebug Weddings about his approach to wedding photography. You can read the full interview below.
An Interview with Montreal-based Destination Wedding Photographer Steve Gerrard
With an incredible array of music photography experience in his pocket, Montreal wedding photographer Steve Gerrard has tailored his talents and channelled his passions into the distinctive style of wedding photography he uses today. From touching and intimate to comical and whimsical, he has mastered the art of documenting the full range of emotions present at a wedding. It was such a pleasure to take a glimpse into the mind of Steve, learning of how he found photography and what he strives to achieve in the future. You can’t help but get swept away by the charm of this skilled family man, nor can you avoid getting lost in his vivid, creatively composed imagery. And in case of any future correspondence with him, just know to keep the Game of Thrones spoilers to a minimum.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Steve. I’m originally from Chester in the UK but moved to Montreal in 2014 and have already survived one Canadian winter so I’m doing well. I live here with my wife Evelyne and three small humans that we made together. We call them Elliott, Isaac and Jonas and they make us smile every day. I’m a huge music fan. I also love scuba diving, direct flights, Jack Daniel’s, countryside pubs, funky hotels, dark chocolate and sushi. I photograph weddings, portraits and bands.
What gets you up in the morning, literally and/or figuratively.
My wife’s annoying phone alarm! It’s my least favourite sound of the entire day. Once I’m awake though, I’m keen to make the most of the time I’m awake. I try hard not to waste time too much. I’m a very focused and driven person most of the time, but I also love just forgetting about work and spending time with the kids.
What really gets to you at weddings? Makes you emotional? Makes you laugh?
Since I’ve had kids I seem to have become stupidly emotional. I get choked up at The Simpsons sometimes! So if I’m shooting a wedding and see the emotions between family members or the couple I have to try to keep it together and hope nobody sees my eyes welling up. I can hide behind my camera at least! Speeches are usually the time that happens most. A really heartfelt and maybe unexpected line in a speech can really hit home. I’ve seen rooms where everyone is welling up, even the tough guys. But that’s what it’s all about right? People, relationships and love. That’s what counts.
What three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now?
Have you always wanted to be a photographer? If not, when do you remember knowing?
Not at all. Originally I wanted to be a rock star, but not being able to sing or play any instruments made that tricky, so I fell into DJing in clubs and that took me around the world for a few years. I’ve played to crowds of 50 people and to 93,000 people at Wembley Stadium, warming up for Oasis. So I kinda got close to being a rock star after all!
While I was doing all that travelling I wanted to really experience the places I was getting to visit. Places like China, Russia, Argentina and Indonesia that I may never get to go back to. I’ve always loved other people’s photography so I decided that if I bought a decent camera and taught myself how to use it properly I could explore the cities I was visiting and make photos as I went. Turns out, I was actually pretty good at that, and my love of music lead me towards photographing bands and concerts. From there, I started to see wedding photography develop into something truly creative and exciting, and I haven’t looked back.
Do you have any advice for beginning photographers, wedding or otherwise?
Trust your own eye. It’s ok to be inspired by other photographers, especially those outside of weddings, but then you need to almost forget all that and trust yourself. The only thing that makes you unique among a zillion other photographers is your own eye, your own brain and your own personality. If you don’t like shooting a certain way, don’t do it. Make images that excite you, even if you’re not quite sure why. There will be other people out there who feel the same way and those are your clients. Don’t be the cover band, be the original!
Favorite trick to capture images of reluctant subjects? (kids, grandparents, nervous-in-front-of-the-camera-types)
I tell kids (up to a certain age) that I have a goldfish that lives in my camera and keeps trying to get out. They look, wide-eyed into the lens as I click away and often tell me they saw the goldfish. With older kids, I tell them I think my camera’s broken and ask if they can check that the shutter opens when I press the shutter. I get my shot of them looking right into the lens, they say “yeah it’s what is working,” and I thank them and move on.
With adults, I just talk about any old crap to distract them, make them laugh, whatever. If I show people I’m not bothered about looking like an idiot, then hopefully they’ll realise they don’t need to take it too seriously and will relax and have fun. Most of my couple portraits are more about the couple being together and interacting rather than posing for the camera.
Describe an average day for you.
Most days I’m up by 6:30 getting the kids ready for school. Once I’ve been Dad for an hour I open the computer and check my to-do list, usually starting with some editing. I’m terrible for being distracted by social media so often I’ll use an app called SelfControl that forces me to focus without being distracted. I’ll choose some great music (I have a few Spotify playlists designed to soundtrack my day), turn up my Sonos speakers and aim to check as many items off my to-do list as I can before the boys come home. I save emails, etc. for later in the day because that can become a never-ending circle that stops me from getting to the jobs that matter most. I prefer to be creative early in the day anyway.
I’ll have two half-hour breaks to eat, read, make tea (I am English, don’t forget!), and do some chores. I’m hoping to learn French this year too.
My wife works at a school so I usually make dinner for everyone which is something that would have made her laugh two years ago when I struggled to make anything beyond a poor spag bol.
Evenings are for chilling with my wife, Evelyne, and a good movie or Netflix series. We’re almost caught up on Game Of Thrones. I also try to get out to see bands regularly. Montreal has a great music scene.
Any advice for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer?
Realise that photographers can vary greatly. Keep looking until you find the photographer that gets you excited about having them document your wedding in their own way. And once you’ve found that photographer, trust them to do what they do. If you feel confident in the photographer you choose, you won’t feel the need to send them your Pinterest board or a shot list. And you can relax and enjoy the wedding, safe in the knowledge you’re going to have wedding photographs you’ll love for the rest of your life.
What are your favorite destinations locations?
To be honest, my favourite destinations are anywhere I haven’t shot before. I love travelling, exploring, seeing new places and cultures. I know my photography is at its best when I’m somewhere new and inspiring. In the past year, I’ve shot weddings in Croatia, Italy, South Africa, Iceland, the US, Mexico, the UK and Canada. Iceland was obviously incredible. Whichever direction you look there’s something to take your breath away. The second night I was there I saw the Northern Lights which was something I’d always wanted to see. I managed to get a shot of the couple with the lights in the sky behind them. Pretty amazing.
Where do you want to shoot next?
I’d love to shoot in Bali. Or India. Or California. Or the Rockies. Anywhere, really, though. Except maybe North Korea!
What changes/improvements have you observed within your photography over the years?
I think the best thing I’ve done is learned to shoot more and more for myself rather than always thinking about what the client expects. Of course there will be times during a wedding day that you’re taking photos purely for the client, but my philosophy is now that most of the images I take on the day are just myself trying to make the best images from the events happening in front of me, or in the way I’ve learned to anticipate images or to be creative with compositions. That keeps it interesting for me and encourages me to push myself to be creative throughout the day. And I know that if I continue to produce photographs that I’m excited about I’ll find the clients that are drawn to those types of images. I don’t need to appeal to every bride and groom looking for a photographer. I only want to shoot around 30 weddings each year, so I just need to find 30 couples who love what I do and are excited to have me capture their wedding for them.
Any direction you would like to take your photography?
I’d love to do more editorial portraiture. Maybe for magazines. I love the work of people like Anton Corbijn, Joey L, Annie Liebovitz, Rodney Smith, Danny Clinch, and Mark Seliger. I’d love to develop my own personal style a little more with those type of portraits. It’s something I’m hoping to push forward this year.
How do you know you’ve done a great job for your wedding clients?
I want my clients to be surprised when they see their wedding through my eyes. They will remember the day in a certain way already but then they’ll have a whole new perspective of it when they see my photos. As the years go by, their own memories will fade but their wedding photos remain and they slowly become more and more important. I also want them to remember how they felt, not just how things looked when they go through the images.
A huge thank you to Steve for his time, insight, advice and of course, those awesome Spotify playlists. To see more of Steve’s work or to learn even more about this whiskey and Coke enthusiast, head over to his portfolio.
As Daniel from Soul Station Orchestra will tell you, “venue, food and entertainment are the three biggest components to any event” so you don’t want to make the wrong choice when deciding on the perfect musical entertainment for your wedding. There are all kinds of bands out there but Soul Station Orchestra is quite unique. We caught up with Daniel to find out what makes them different from the rest.
When did you first start Soul Station Orchestra?
Soul Station was founded in 2013. When we first started, we were a small group playing mostly for cocktail events and small get-togethers. A year later, we added our String Trio. Fast forward to today, Soul Station Orchestra has everything in order to provide the perfect live entertainment for the client’s dream event; full party band, DJ, jazz/pop group, classical music, etc.
What’s been fantastic about seeing Soul Station grow is having the opportunity to work with such amazing musicians. Every member of the orchestra is a university trained music graduate. There’s no better feeling to perform with a great group in front of an audience ready to have a good time!
What were your aspirations for the band when you began?
All my life, music took centre stage. I first had the idea to put together an entertainment group during my first year at Vanier College. It had been already a handful of years I was learning electric bass and upright bass and I wanted to create opportunities to share the music that I grew up loving. However, I envisioned providing my clients with the live musical experience for their events. It’s a completely different feeling to see your favourite songs come alive with a band. So as SoulStation gained more opportunities, the vision grew to providing live music to all events, big or small.
How would you sum up your style?
Our style is classy and professional, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t flexible! If the client has a specific vision for their event, we are not afraid to make that dream a reality.
Of course, whatever the event, we give it our best. The opportunity to perform for an enthusiastic crowd is always a pleasure.
What are the songs that really get the crowd going?
It really depends on the sort of event; but one thing is for sure, seeing people show their emotions because they hear a certain song is pretty fantastic.
With our 5 to 8 piece party band, the moment we start playing disco or Motown, people run to the dance floor and really feel the music! When our cocktail group, the Ultra Lounge, is playing jazz or light pop covers, it brings your cocktail event to the next level; suddenly there is something more to look forward to other than the hors-d’oeuvres. With the String Trio, there’s a certain elegance that only classical instruments can create. Finally, with our DJ, some get pretty excited the moment Drake comes on 😉
How do couples let you know what kind of music they’d like for their wedding?
Once a couple reaches out to us, we will set up a meeting to get to know each other and the details of what they are looking for. If they are selecting music for a cocktail setting, the party band or our DJ, we provide an example of our repertoire. However, if they are looking to hire the String Trio for their wedding ceremony, we provide a detailed list that they can choose their specific songs for the different moments of their ceremony.
No matter the music group they choose, we are always open to special requests. If they are looking for lighting equipment, it is also available.
How early do brides need to think about booking their entertainment?
Venue, food and entertainment are the three biggest components to any event, and a wedding is no different. If couples want to be sure that we will be available, it’s best to contact us 6 months prior to their big day.
What do you do for fun when not playing with the band?
I love nature and classic car shows! When music is your career, it’s nice sometimes to disconnect from your regular routine to find inspiration elsewhere. I guess you can say I was born in the wrong decade, but I’m nostalgic for a time I didn’t grow up in when Montreal was a younger city in the 1960’s and 70’s. The cars, the style and the music where all fantastic and the city was growing slowly into the Metropolis it is today.
Where can we find you online?
Other than our website, you can find us on Wedding Wire Canada and Google Plus. To see what we’re up to on a regular basis and hear little clips you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
Big thanks to Daniel for chatting to us about the orchestra and all they have to offer. Make sure you reach out if you want something special for your own wedding.