Anyone who has been married, or is about too in Canada, specifically Quebec area, then listen up, you may find this blog of interest. When you meet that love of your life and you both decide to tie the knot and get married, than the next thing that springs to mind is that you have to prepare for a wedding. Where do you start? If you are gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. In Canada, when two people are in love, it is legal to get married. I love the open acceptance that Canada represents.
First, you need to consider if you have a religious marriage. This may be limiting if you are gay because even though it’s legal in Canada, the church does still not recognize it. However, keeping this general, you have three options. Civil Union, Civil Marriage or Marriage (religious based). The marriage and civil marriage have the same acceptance. If you decide to do a civil union however, it is not recognized in other countries like Australia so you would have to have a Civil Marriage if you find someone you fall absolutely in love with from another country. With Civil union, if it doesn’t work out, you don’t need to file for divorce. With Marriage, you do. I guess it depends on you and your partners choice. We’ve decided to have a civil marriage. If you go down the civil path, then you need to find a ‘notaire’ which is like a celebrant / justice of the peace who meets with you and your partner to determine when the wedding will be, if you want contracts (pre nups) they explain the procedure and service etc. There are things you need to consider though. When you see a ‘notaire’, the details of your wedding ceremony and the day of the big event must be published with the courts and also must be visible at the location of the ceremony at least 21 days before the ceremony commences. The ‘notaire’ prepares all this. You must have a witness to come and sign the paperwork. If you are from another country, you must have an original birth certificate and a certificate of no impediment to marriage. Sooo, for anyone who tries to hide the fact they may still be married, well try and explain that one to your partner when the certificate comes back. Honesty is always the best way forward. If you are from another country, you need to go to your embassy or High Commission to organize the paperwork like this. Most embassies are in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and are also located in Vancouver. You really want to make sure the notaire you find, suits you and your needs because they are the ones that are going to be there on your wedding day, in front of you and your guests. We chose a fantastic and very sweet, professional young notaire called Elisabeth Fontaine in Saint Marie, Mascouche. I totally recommend her. She is awesome. She speaks both French and English which helps because the last thing you want on your wedding day, is to not understand what is happening. If you wish to contact Elisabeth, her details are: firstname.lastname@example.org and contact number is +1 450 918 4688.
Now to the actual wedding. Where to have it? A house? A church? A wedding reception centre? A park?
We opted to have the big occasion close to the little town of Saint Sauveur. It is the most gorgeous town and I would seriously contemplate living there. It is so cute with all these little boutique shops and small restaurants. My partner was baptized in the same town and her parents were also married in that town so it is like a perfect town for a wedding. It has a very French/European Feel to the town and in Summer, there are beautiful horse and carts to ride people down the strip for $50 for half an hour. The area is popular for it’s ski season and many people have their ‘second home’ in this area to visit as a getaway from the city. It is about 45min to one hour North of Montreal so it isn’t far at all. There are many homes to rent up there because of people staying for the ski season and summer periods. We thought it would be a great idea to hire a house that would be perfect for a wedding ceremony, as well as a great relaxing getaway to do some swimming in and take advantage of the short Canadian summer period.
What food do you want to have? Catered? Formal sit down? Waiters serving food? Stand up eating type set up? So many decisions. I love cooking and so I thought it would be great to prepare beautifully presented food and have waiters serve the appetizers and then have a big easy to eat buffet style lunch to follow with wine, and maybe even a wonderful watermelon martini to surprise the guests with. Whatever you decide to present, if you are doing the celebration yourself, than go and get the serving dishes from The Party Expert. They have awesome little appetizer ideas and reasonably priced too. We tried to go to the dollarama stores and big hire places but all of these places have certain things you need to get from there specifically. For the serving of appetizers and also for the bridal books, envelope box (for presents) and ring pillows etc, I totally recommend The Party Expert.
The guest books we saw at all these other places were okay but not at the same standard as there. Michaels arts and crafts store had a selection of fairly decent things too so either one should be able to offer you some choice and variety to choose what’s best. Invitations can be gotten from here and also from DeSerre. The nicest selection I found was at the other two places.
Alcohol can get expensive, so if you want to get a better wine for you and your guests, head to SAQ in Montreal because they have 15% off your selection. This one particular store is like a warehouse and have alot of boxes of whatever you need. Alcohol in canada, is monitored and owned by the government at the stores called SAQ. Not beer though because you can buy that at the supermarket, however wine and spirits are all served at SAQ. It certainly has it’s disadvantages to the community. The prices never really go on sale too much and there is not competition to drive the prices down. The up side is that the government makes the money and can use the profits to run the country.
There are three main hire places in this area specifically. Lou-tek in Saint Jerome, Diva and Cle Main. All very different in price, quality and choices in products, delivery limits etc.
Which chairs do you go with? Do you want bows on the chairs or full chair covers? What table clothes do you want? Cotton or Satin? We found Cle Main had the same and cheapest selection when it came to hiring the bows for the chairs, table cloths, and flower balls that you can use for the tops of vases etc. The cheapest hire place was Lou tek and their delivery fees were a lot more reasonable than the other two places. If you can pick up your things from Cle Main and then get your Lou-Tek stuff delivered, you will find that this is the better option.
Music is an important part of a wedding. Do you do the typical dj thing or do you want to maybe go to the conservatorium of Music in Montreal and get some live violinists to come and play for a few hours. I couldn’t say no to live violinists for a touch of romance and beautiful atmosphere at my one and only wedding. Expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $500 for a few hours of live performances for two performers. If your wedding is out of the main city of Montreal, then this can increase the cost. It is worth it. You always need a good sound system so if you know of someone with good speakers to set up outside and a microphone, than ring them up and book them in.
Don’t forget to find a photographer and Videographer to capture your special day. For outdoor weddings, you really need to consider where the ceremony will be and I find it always best to go and visit a florist, see what price they have for their flowers and ask them at the same time if they come and set up outdoor arrangements. We were lucky and the florist ‘Fleuriste’ in Saint Sauveur could come and set up the beautiful outdoor pagola and make it look special with whit tule and champagne roses etc.
When all these things start to fall into place, things start to get really exciting. Now for the creative fun stuff. Making signs with your names on it, organizing and preparing your vows, and working out what you want to do on the day exactly, what wedding song and what dessert to have. Don’t forget wedding cakes too. We ordered ours from ‘Boulangerie Patisserie Dagobert’ (76, Chemin Grande Cote Boisbriand, QC J7G1C3, phone number +1 450 437 7771). It is a great cake and pastry shop towards Montreal. When you order, you need to know for how many people, and what flavour you want. You can even try it if you want. We ordered a beautiful three tiered white cake with a few flowers on the side and a lemon cake inside. We didn’t want chocolate or vanilla. It’s all a very personal journey and you quickly learn what your partner does or doesn’t like. Lots to consider. You don’t get much spare change from around $200 for a party of 30 servings. Expect to pay more for bigger cakes.
If you love chocolate like I do, consider going to the Belgium factory outlet in Montreal and ordering a pack of 50 chocolates for $16 and that way you can get a few packs and set them up and display them how you want on the dessert table. Things like writing your names with chocolate or having a heart with chocolates on the table. Something creative and nice to add to the appearance of the dessert table.
I haven’t even touched on the actual dress part or rings. I find this the most important decision because you look at the ring the rest of your life. If you go cheap, it won’t last and if you go too expensive, it gets ridiculous so look around, work out the differences in the diamonds and the gold and then you will have more of an idea of what you are getting for your money. Don’t get sucked in to the whole, “We will give you your ring certificate when the jeweller is here so come back and get it”. This is mostly a gimmick. Be warned.
I will write a different blog on rings and dresses because I chose to get mine from NYC. More variety, selection and more so, the fact i lived there, I know my way around and everyone speaks english to understand me. It was my best choice. I ended up going with a dress designed by Rebecca Taylor in NYC. She does not specialize in wedding dresses specifically but she makes great clothing designs. As for the ring, my partner liked the selection at Mozart Jewelers in Carrefour Laval (www.mozartcanada.ca). I got mine from 42nd St and Park ave. Right in the heart of Manhattan. I love my ring. I certainly suggest getting rings in the states because if you go on a sale weekend, you will get a great price and a better quality diamond and gold piece, as well as a genuine certificate straight away.
That is my take so far on the wedding. I cannot explain the feeling I had when I found my partners ring and as we left the shop, it was at that moment the reality of getting married kicked in and i feel deeper in love instantly. I had tingles up and down my whole body from sheer happiness and finally committing to that one person who makes my life happier and more content. It is a blessing so for all of those people out there about to get married, or who are married, love it, be kind, be good to each other, and enjoy each day as if it was your last.
The last thing to remember to do, Make sure you tell everybody that needs to know, family or friends you may have forgot to tell. Not because you don’t love them, but with everything going on in your mind, let’s just say, you cannot think straight, so when you decide what you can / can’t afford to do, then start telling people and inviting who you can, and get your invitations out to people asap to give them notice. My theory is, that those that really give a shit about you, just say yes, regardless of when it is, or if it coincides with a show they are booked to see or a small trip you have planned. If they care enough and are genuinely happy for you, they will make an effort to be there.
Check out the photos below of the wedding prep. Make sure you wake up to a good coffee every day lol.
Choosing a house with a great outdoor area you can work with is vital. Choosing chair covers. Fold up chairs or single chairs. Flower balls on vases and other wedding pieces. These below are from Diva.A A very french looking Diva table setting. Options of candle coverings ate Diva. Holy water from Saint Sauveur church is good to bless yourselves with the morning of the wedding. Horse and Cart?? They are located on the street of Saint Sauveur. You can contact them on 450 602 2383 if you want to see how much it will cost to get them at your wedding. Do you have engagement bands and wedding rings?? Yessssss. These are our favourite engagement bands together. Violinists play for you to get a feel of what they are like at the conservatorium. Where to find shoes. This is something you just need to go out and do. These are flower balls and vases available at Cle Main. A lot more affordable at $10 to hire, than $50 to buy at a florist. Table cloths in Satin from Cle Main. Guest book selection at Michaels Arts and Crafts. We loved this one. Very simple and very French looking to match everything else.
Nerves are normal so if you think of running away from it or changing your mind, it is just the nerves kicking in so breathe, and go and get a massage to relax.