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Introducing… Le Wedding Mill

Le Wedding Mill wedding and event planner Montreal

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.

Le Wedding Mill wedding and event planners Montreal

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. 

Le Wedding Mill wedding decor Montreal


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. 


Where can we find you online?
You can check out our website. We’re also on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest

Huge thanks to Michelle for sharing her insights with us here at MTL Wedding Blog.

Jacqueline + Rich | Pavillon de la Jamaique Wedding

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…

Pavillon de la Jamaique

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.

Good Time Charlie wedding band Montreal

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.

Pavillon de la Jamaique wedding photo

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
Pavillon de la Jamaique wedding photography

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!

Favours:  We donated money to The Snow Leopard Trust www.snowleopard.org , Wildcat Sanctuary www.wildcatsanctury.org and Four Paws International www.fourpaws.org

Groom’s Suit: Custom suit made at Espinosa Master Tailor        (416) 921 9931    

Limo: Marano Limousine      www.maranolimo.com

Rings: Brilliant Earth         www.brilliantearth.com

Caterer:    Las Olas Catering       www.lasolas.ca

Flowers: Costco – We bought bulk flowers from Costco and then I was lucky enough to have friends who are good at floral arrangements.

Band: Good Time Charlie

Stationery: Vista Print    www.vistaprint.com

Linens: Montreal Tablecloth Rental     www.locationdenappesmontreal.ca

Introducing… Montreal Wedding DJ & MC – Uptown Xpress

Dancefloor for a wedding in Montreal

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.

Wedding DJ at a wedding in Montreal

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.

DJ setup for a wedding DJ Montreal

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.

Couple have their first dance at a wedding in Montreal

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.

A fun dancefloor at a wedding in Montreal, Quebec

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.

DJ, MC setup for an Irish Mexican wedding in Montreal Canada

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.

Fun party games thrown by a DJ/MC at a wedding in Montreal

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.

A wedding DJ entertains a packed dancefloor in Montreal

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!

Where can people find you online?

www.uptownxpress.com

www.upxvideos.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/uptownxpress

Instagram: @stefanjez

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/uptownxpress/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/uptownxpress

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefanjez/

Big thanks to Stefan for taking the time to answer our questions. Also, check out Stefan’s super useful guide to wedding DJ pricing in Montreal.

How To Train Your Inner Bride/Groomzilla

montreal wedding planner advice

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.”

bridal preparations at crossed keys estate

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.

wedding coordinator montreal

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.

wedding planners montreal quebec

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.

Montreal wedding inspiration

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.

wedding advice montreal

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.

montreal wedding ceremony photo

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…

planning advice for montreal weddings

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.

montreal wedding coordinator

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:

Hi Rabbi,
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
Ceremony: 5pm
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:
Bride
Bride’s parents
Grandparents
Siblings
Groom
Groom’s Parents
Grandparents
Siblings
Maid of Honour
Best Man

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…

wedding speech reactions
Steve Gerrard Photography

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…

wedding planners in montreal

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.

wedding reception with cake and champagne

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 carrieannkloda@gmail.com. Now booking for 2019 and 2020 seasons.

All photos – Steve Gerrard Photography

Steve Gerrard Photography

wedding planning advice for Brides & Grooms

Sam & Nicola’s Wedding at Espace 360

irish mexican wedding in old montreal

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 love the flowers, lovingly designed by Astible and Nicola’s hair & makeup by Atelier Eva Blanca.

Huge congrats to Sam & Nicola and a big Merci to Gabrielle for sharing these gorgeous wedding photos with us.

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Introducing… Steve Gerrard Photography

Beautiful bride and grrom sunset portrait taken in North Wales

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.

bride & groom celebrate as the leave their wedding ceremony

Wedding portrait by unusual tree in Montreal park

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.

Beautiful moment with bride and bridesmaids

bride & groom celebrate with guests at Montreal wedding

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.

engagement photo with Superman street art in Montreal

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.

quirky bride & groom portrait from a wedding in Montreal

Candid wedding photo from a Montreal wedding

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?

1. Anton Corbijn
2. Rodney Smith
3. Joey L

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.

Bridal party portrait from a wedding in Montreal, Quebec

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!

colourful wedding photo from Cornwall in England

Alternative bride and groom portrait by Steve Gerrard Photography

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.

couple celebrate at a wedding at Manoir Hovey

Fun wedding portrait of bride and groom

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.

Same sex wedding portrait from abandoned plane crash site in Iceland

Silhouette wedding photo with ferris wheel

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.

Bride and grrom with double rainbow at a UK wedding

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.

Manoir Hovey Wedding

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.

iphone bride and groom portrait

Anthony and Kirsten – Wedding at L’Ambroisie a L’Espace Canal

L’Ambroisie a L’Espace Canal

Today we’re just a bit excited to share with you a very cool wedding photographed by Ottawa photographer Agatha Rowland. Anthony and Kirsten’s wedding was at L’Ambroisie a L’Espace Canal in Montreal and Agatha’s photographic style fits perfectly. We asked Agatha to tell us a little more about the day…

“Kirsten and Anthony planned a wedding for their friends and family from all over Canada. They chose Montreal, where Anthony is from, to host the incredible celebration. The venue, L’Ambroisie at L’espace Canal, was perfectly suited to their style and just right for their wedding size. It’s a big, beautiful industrial venue located in Saint Henri that overlooks the Canal Lachine. It’s really a blank slate that couples can decorate however they want – and Kirsten & Anthony did an incredible job to make the space perfectly suited to them. With white roses and greenery running down the length of each table (which the Bride sourced herself from Joe’s Prop House), and hundreds of String lights covering the ceiling, they transformed the space into an incredibly warm reception venue.

The day started out with Anthony at his parent’s home in Laval, and Kirsten getting ready in an Airbnb in Old Montreal (another beautiful industrial space). The on and off rain all morning cancer meant that their plans for an outdoor ceremony had to be moved indoors. Which proved not to be a problem at all – as the staff at L’Ambroisie are incredible coordinators and string lights and large windows made for a beautiful indoor ceremony space.

One thing that stood out to me while photographing the day, was how happy everyone was. Taking candid photos of friends and family was easy. Everyone was having an incredible time – and it showed. There was so much heart and soul packed into the day, which was visible from start to finish. From their personalized vows to the hum of laughter during dinner to the incredible speeches; it was all just bursting with joy.”

You can certainly see that joy captured in Agatha’s gorgeous photos. Take a look!

















Big thanks to Agatha for sharing this one with us, and congrats to Anthony and Kirsten on a beautiful wedding.

Vendor Credits:

Venue: L’Ambroisie a L’Espace Canal
Photography: Agatha Rowland
Videography: Rowland Films 
Bride’s Dress: Chantal’s BridalEddy K Milano
Bridesmaid Dresses: Amandalina’sChantal’s BridalJealous Bridesmaid,
Maid of Honour dress: handmade by Melissa Gentile Couture
Groom’s Attire: King and Bay
MUA: Jenna Conquergood
Hair: Sabrina Virgilio
Brides hair extensions/Lashes: Wink & Wave
DJ: @dj.alex.n
Jewelry: Swarovski
Invitations/Menus: Keeks Paper Co
Decor: Designed by the Bride, Tables/chairs supplied by Joe’s Prop House, Lighting by Nathan’s Possibilities
Florist: Rita Pollota
Catering: Restaurant L’Ambroisie
Musicians: Bolero Trio

Wedding Tips from Top Montreal Photographers

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Photo – Steve Gerrard

For the majority of couples a wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion. Many will cite it as the happiest day of their lives. Planning a wedding can be a daunting experience however. You’ve never done this before yet you want it to be absolutely perfect.

For wedding photographers a wedding is something they are witness to multiple times a year. They get to see what makes a great wedding but they also know all too well that events don’t always go to plan. So we thought who better to offer tips and advice on how to truly make your day as perfect as possible.

Here we ask some of our favourite photographers in Montreal to share their thoughts on how to make your wedding day as amazing as it should be…

VALERIE BARON

Be in the moment!

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the day and want everything to be perfect. The secret that no one tells you is that something probably won’t go exactly as planned and that’s ok. The key is to assign someone to take care of the day-of details. If you have a wedding planner, done! If not, you can task a member of the bridal party to be the point person for the vendors. The most important fact of the day is that you are marrying the person you love. Focus on that and soak up every moment together that marks the beginning of the next chapter of your lives. The day goes by quickly, so BE IN THE MOMENT and experience everything! Connect with them and to those closest to you that you have chosen to surround yourself with. Your photos will reflect that authenticity that shines through when you are really taking it all in and not distracted by all the details. You’ll treasure both the memories and the incredible photos that will be created by BEING IN THE MOMENT!

Advice montreal wedding
Photo – Studio Baron
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EMILIE OLSON

Pinterest has been a huge help when creating mood boards for weddings.

Many of my clients ask if they can send a board to show me how they visualize their shoot or wedding photos. The board includes many things from pose ideas, editing, to general mood. While this is accepted, I would love it if clients limited Pinterest Boards and lists to favourite poses/specialty moments, or avoid it altogether.

As a photographer, I like to think that clients hire me because they relate to the gallery on my website, not other photographers’. There are many factors involved in each shot that we don’t always have control over; lighting, location, attire, props, subjects, so a lot of the time it’s not possible to recreate a Pinterest board in it’s entirety. It can also be time consuming. Time isn’t always something we have plenty of. Photographers need to adapt to a setting and think quickly. That time is best used for us to see what’s possible with what we have, get creative, and shoot. Referring to list of photos that someone else took to recreate can definitely get in the way of that flow.

The best thing you can do is research the photographer you hire, make sure they have experience, quality and a style that speaks to you. This should let you feel confident that they are doing their best and you can enjoy your day!

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Photo – Emilie Olson
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JAMES CORREIA

As much as we love creative bridal party photos we can’t forget about the family formal portraits. These are the photos that your family will have in a frame in the house. It can be easily overlooked, but a little preparation can prevent an easy headache.

Prepare a list. A very specific list with the names of each person in each group photo. This will allow your photographer to provide a good estimate as to how long the session will take. Now here is the key part. Have a friend in charge of the list. Not the photographer, they don’t know everyone’s name. Definitely don’t put yourself in charge of the list. Nothing can be more stressful than yelling across the room for Uncle Bob to get in the photo. Get your loudest, most bossy friend or family member to do it. Yes, use that name that just popped into your mind. That’s the person for the job! When group #1 on the list is getting their photo taken that person will be collecting group #2 to jump right in.

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Photo – James Correia
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ASHLEY MACPHEE

LOVE your photographer. Ok, not in the mushy romantic way… But what I mean is this. Really get to know them. If, after the meeting, you could totally see yourselves hanging out again, over an extended period of time. Say…12 hours…say… on your wedding day!!! Then it’s a pretty sure bet you’ve just chosen your photographer.

Every single client I meet ( or shall I say ‘potential’ client ) I always explain this as it’s a huge and very important part of the choosing process. While most brides and grooms assume that booking your photographer boils down to the style of work as well as price point. I feel that the connection with your photographer is equally as important as the above mentioned. That way you’ll be so comfortable with your photographer, and feel like you’re hanging out with a long lost friend. That’s a surefire way of making sure you get not only killer photos, but a memorable experience.

wedding photography in montreal quebec
Photo – Ashley MacPhee
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CHELSEA – BLUSHING BRIDE STUDIO

My tip for brides is this: Grab your mother and take a quick picture with her at some point during the reception. This is the ONLY PICTURE REQUEST I EVER GET the day after the wedding. The reception goes by with the blink of an eye, and the mother + father of the couple are often caught up hosting the guests all night, so this photo is so incredibly cherished. I’ve had many sad Mommas calling me the next day so avoid it by getting the pic at the start of the night!

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Photo – Blushing Bride Studio
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STEVE GERRARD

Wedding photographers all shoot differently so doing couple’s portraits will probably differ a lot for each photographer. I’ve done weddings where I have over an hour for portraits, and weddings where I only have 10 minutes or less to shoot because timings almost always run late.

I recommend two time slots for couple portraits: some time before the meal is served for maybe 20 minutes, and then around sunset for another 20 minutes. This means we get tons of great photos in different light but without taking you away from your guests for too long.
My favourite time to shoot portraits is at sunset because it’s when we get the best light. By this time you’ll also feel more relaxed after the speeches are done and you’ve had a little more champagne!

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Photo – Steve Gerrard
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TIM CHIN

Forget that I’m there.

Sometimes the best images happen in the unexpected and in the unplanned. Surprising, genuine moments simply cannot be manufactured or staged. It is your job to immerse yourself in your day, go with the flow and live out the events that are happening. Be present and enjoy. As your photographer, it is my job to always be looking for great light, anticipating those authentic expressions, and to compose them in images that retell the story that is unfolding. Trust that your photographer is constantly hunting for the best capture. All you have to do is be yourself, and forget that I am there.


Photo – Tim Chin
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SEBASTIEN D’AMOUR

Make it personal.

It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding industry when planning your own love celebration. I see too often couples that celebrate their wedding in a manner that doesn’t represent them. We know family politics can sometimes be a burden but it’s your wedding, it’s your way. The biggest tip that I give to all the newlyweds is to make the wedding a personal affair. What I mean by such words is that if you are foodies and like sharing food experiences with others than splurge on the food and make it something that reflects you and your values.

The more your personalities are reflected in your wedding, the more the imagery will be timeless and unique to you. So make it personal!


Photo – Sebastien D’Amour
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We hope this helps you enjoy your wedding day to the max and have the best photos possible to remember it all by.

Thanks to all the photographers for their invaluable insights.

wedding photography tips

L’Abbaye d’Oka Wedding | Jeannine + Patrick

bridal party montreal

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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AUBERGE L'ABBAYE D'OKA wedding


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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Waxman montreal

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.

Waxman tailor montreal
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!

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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.

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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
dj alex n montreal

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

Decor/Invitations/Flowers
Fleurs et Confetti

Venue
Abbaye d’Oka

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

Photography
Steve Gerrard Photography
Second photographer Sebastien D’Amour

Videography
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)

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

Cake
Sweet Couture

Gifts
Ferme Guy Rivest

Car Rentals
Coudi Car (Range Rovers and Mercedes)

Other Details
Kernels Popcorn
Candles

Ola & Gabrielle – Mirage Golf Club Wedding

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The Mirage Golf Club in Terrabone near Montreal is a gorgeous, relaxed venue for a wedding. It also happens to have a very famous owner….. a lady named Celine Dion!

When Ola & Gabrielle planned their big day they tell us they wanted “something pure, romantic and timeless; something that resembles who we are.” We think that’s exactly how a good wedding should be and we’re excited to share their wedding with you today.

We asked them to share some more about their fantastic wedding with us…

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The Proposal Story

Ola proposed to Gabrielle in Paris; at the same restaurant they met 3 years before. It was totally a surprise!

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The Planning Process

We planned everything ourselves as we thought that it would be fun and exciting! We started a year before but everything happened in the 4 last months.

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The Venue

We picked the Mirage Golf Club as we wanted a large outdoor space to be able to do the wedding ceremony but also the reception at the same venue. Gabrielle’s dad has been a member for several years and he was so pleased with the choice.

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Finding the Dress

Gabrielle mainly wear only black so she was pretty stressed about wearing all white, even for that special day. She had her dress custom made by the talented Montreal based designer Elisa C-Rossow. Adding the touch of grey made this dress even more at the image of Gabrielle.

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Finding the Shoes

Ola drove Gabrielle to Toronto to get her perfect wedding shoes. She settle on some amazing sparkling Saint Laurent Sandals.

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Groom’s Attire

Ola always wanted to have a bespoke suit made, and this was the perfect occasion. By recommendation, he chose Sartorialto for the creation of his 3 piece suit.

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The Readings + Music

The 2 readings came from each favourite books. For the music, Montreal Jazz Band was a real crowd pleaser! We danced all night. And for our first how safe is it song, Fly me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra, it was just completely perfect.

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The Flowers

Atelier Carmel – she really read our minds for the flowers. Everything was perfect.

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The Cake

Our dear friends at Darling Delights made Gabrielle’s favourite : champagne and strawberry cake with a white chocolate ganache. A small cake and lots of mini cupcakes was covering a nicely plated table with flowers.

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Your Photographer

We found Micheal through his online journal. We instantly LOVED his style; timeless, romantic and true. We are so happy with all the photographs from the wedding and the engagement session.

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The Honeymoon

Since Ola’s family is from Sweden and we had so many friends from out of the country, we took a delayed honeymoon to Mexico in January 2017. We were glad to wait for winter to espace the cold weather and enjoyed the rest of the summer with our family and friends.

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Most Memorable Moments

The whole day! It does go so quick and we really tried to take it all in. But i remember when we left the venue, in the middle of the night, in the car we just started laughing and said : We did it!

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What happened that wasn’t planned?

On the morning of the wedding, Ola drove to the Ritz Carlton where we stayed for the weekend to drop the luggages. He ended up having a flat tyre that almost made him late for the car pickup!

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Advice for Other Couples

Let go of everything, just enjoy it all!

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Big thanks to Ola & Gabrielle for sharing their day with us here at MTL Wedding Blog. Fantastic photos by Micheal Beaulieu too!

Vendor/Supplier List with links:

Photographer – Micheal Beaulieu

All Natural Skincare Routine – The Natural Curator

Dress – Elisa C-Rossow

Suit – Saltorialto

Flowers – Atelier Carmel

Band – Montreal Jazz Band