Getting Married – Planning (2 of 4)

In the previous post, I recounted how it came about that we decided when to get married. After quickly calling all our relatives and friends to inform them of the date in three months time, we began working on the logistics of the wedding. Finding a reception hall, a photographer, a caterer, a DJ, a florist, and of course a baker for the cake. We attempted this all at long distance, but it quickly became apparent that determining a reception hall required our presence. So in early August we decided to take a week-long trip to Montreal to work out all of these items.

For me, this had been only my second trip to Montreal during the summer. Annually we would return during Christmas and those trips were largely spent in the suburbs. Even when we did come to the city, it was by suburban bus and Metro and we very rarely ventured out of the underground city or away from Ste Catherine St. This trip required that we criss-cross the city to visit various locales and I was able to see so much more of the city than I had before. It was so much more vibrant than during our winter visits. I think had it not been for this trip, I would likely not have been as open to the idea of moving here.

Since the church had been chosen with a date and time, the next important item was the location of the reception. As with many of the places we researched, we went on recommendations by Nathalie’s family. We visited 4 different venues, The Mount Stephan Club, Restaurant Le Parchemin, the Olympic Stadium, and Pointe a Cailliere. Our first visit was to the Mount Stephan Club on Drummond. It was a very stately place built many many years ago with very classical details and fine wood work. But we both have very modern tastes. The place had the feel that it hadn’t been freshened up in a couple decades and it looked and smelled like people had been smoking cigars constantly during those two decades. The second visit was to Restaurant Le Parchemin above Promenades Cathedrale. It was also quite classical, but it is an old house. So it was not built with the intention of having large gatherings. It could have been that their other rooms were already booked, but our reception would have been broken up into a series of small rooms. Our third visit was to the Tower of the Olympic Stadium. There is a floor below the observation deck available for conferences, parties, and receptions. Of course the view was spectacular, but again the décor didn’t quite match up with our tastes. While much more modern than the previous two places, the décor was firmly established in the mid-80’s with bright royal blue everywhere. We also had concern since the caterer would need to take the elevator from ground level with no kitchen facilities at the top. We now know that they probably could have managed, but it was a concern back then.

Our last visit was to the Pointe-à-Caillière Museum in Old Montreal. They have a café on the top floor which is available for parties and receptions after hours. It turned out to be a perfect fit. The décor was exactly to our tastes. The café could cater the wedding. Plus they recommended a DJ who often played in the space and had a very small discrete setup. We were not interested in the DJ’s with a monster setup complete with disco lights. The only catch with this place was that there is a limited capacity and our current confirmed guest list was hovering a few people below that capacity. Hopefully our relief was not apparent when people called to say they unfortunately could not make it.

For both the florist and the baker, we went with the first place that family members recommended. Both places had enough choice for us to find items we liked. Also during this week, we went to a few places to find a wedding dress for Nathalie. After visiting the Montreal-Nord and some large industrial building in Mile End, she found the one she had been looking for along the Promenade St-Hubert.

Finding the photographer was the other big decision during the trip. One that ended up being bittersweet. We visited three different photographers. The first two were both clichéd professional wedding photographers with portraits that looked like portraits from high school. There was nothing artistic about the images they displayed to us. Or if they did have artistic images, we were told “Yeah, we can do images like that.” My hope was to have a photographer who was first an artist and second a wedding photographer. That’s exactly what we found with the third photographer. We loved his work, but Nathalie had her doubts. It did not seem that he was a professional photographer, he was much younger than the other two, and she was slightly concerned he might flake out on us. But she relied on my judgment on this one and we signed a contract with him.

So after less than a week in Montreal, we took the long way home through the Adirondacks, happy that we were able to reserve all the major pieces of the wedding.

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~ by Frank on September 13, 2010.

2 Responses to “Getting Married – Planning (2 of 4)”

  1. I really enjoy your blog, I’ve read all of it. I think you have a cool blessed life and you are a talented intresting guy.

    That said, can I say that your blog’s formatting is murder on my eyes, tiny grey type on black background. A struggle to read. Why write in such faint letters? Philisophically, I think you don’t necessarily want it to be read. Faint grey type against black was something you chose for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s meant to be subtle and challenging to read. All i know is at 40 I feel like i’m going blind when I read your blog. Hope you’re not offended. And best to you.

  2. […] Yes, 10 years ago today, Nathalie and I finally tied the knot. If you hadn’t read about the planning of this, go here for the first part and here for the second part. […]

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