Dreams in Cake

Montreal Destination Wedding: The European Experience

Have you dreamed of having an unique destination wedding?Picture a place that is rich in culture,where locals speak a beautiful foreign language, but it’s close to home, so all your guests could attend. Think Montreal, Quebec; a quaint, European-like feel, but modern and chic. It’s only a 6-7 hour car ride outside of New York City, or an hour plane ride. Montreal has the most perfect summers; minus all the NYC humidity. It’s a place were the local street signs and language is French but most speak English, at least in the heart of the city.

For the past 15 years, I’ve been going to Montreal  bi-annually. During my latest vacation, I explored Montreal’s restaurants and researched some of their top wedding planners to bring you some info to help plan your escape.

During my visit, I met up with two of Montreal’s leading wedding planners to discuss Montreal Destination Weddings. Ironically, the owners of both companies happen to be married. How’s that for romantic? An English Rose’s Rachel Cripps-Gervais focuses much of her business on full service luxury wedding design www.an-english-rose.com .While her husband Chris Gervais (who is fluently bi-lingual) Montreal Wedding Butler focuses on economical ‘Al La Carte’ wedding package  www.montrealweddingbutler.com.  Both companies specialize in working with clients from out of town. In fact, 80% of their clients come from all over the world so they are very comfortable working with clients at a distance and understand the complexity this can add.
“There are many beautiful places in Montreal to be married” quotes Rachel…. “Old Montreal is a favorite among our Intimate Wedding and Destination Wedding clients because it has everything to offer with Historical Venue’s dating back to the 1725’s such as the Auberge Pierre du Calvert which is the oldest historical house open to the public and still operates as an Auberge today, situated on the oldest street in Montreal. Another favorite location is the Chateau Ramezay Museum which is the old original Governors House, again built in the 18th Century it can be rented for private weddings and also includes a lovely stone walled garden for your ceremony & cocktails and then privacy of having a dinner / reception within the Museum.”  The Notre Dame Basilica is Montreal’s famous Cathedral and the location to the Marriage of Celine Dionand another favorite place for couples to take their wedding vows.  Rachel adds, “we also have incredible Private Clubs… Lakeside Locations, Vineyards and just 1 hour north of Montreal the incredible Laurentians where beautiful Mountain weddings take place”!

“The key to planning a successful wedding” quotes Montreal Wedding Butler’s Chris, is to firstly ensure that the couple are both aligned on the style of wedding they are looking for, the number of guests and most importantly the budget – from there we can work together to ensure the perfect venue is found!  Chris, a native Quebecor, states “ there is just so much to do here – all year round from the F1 in June, followed by the International Fireworks Competition.. the Jazz Festival.. Just For Laughs Comedy Festival– it literally is just one party after another”!

But don’t think we let the snow stop us, during the winter we have our outdoor NY Eve Parties… Winter Festivals… Quebec City builds an Ice Hotel, one of only two in the world to be built each year and yes Wedding’s can also take place there as well, but we suggest booking a year or more in advance!  Come the Spring we have our ‘Sugaring Off’ season where Maple Syrup is in abundance and the Sugar Shacks are the place to be and all diets are left at the front door”!!

If you’re in town for the weekend sightseeing or checking out Montreal for your wedding, one of the best places to stay is in one of the many stylish boutique hotels in Old Montreal such as Hotel Nelligan. These hotels are situated in the heart of Montreal’s most enchanting neighborhood. For many, the design is basically a mix of the old stone walled buildings with very modern design. It reminds me a bit of the

Tuscany bed and breakfasts that I visited. This is a great place to enjoy your vacation and walk around to shop.While having a stay in Montreal, we visited some of the city’s best eateries. These are great places for your guests to visit if they stay for the extended weekend and want to try the Montreal’s best food. In the mood for ambiance? If you’re in old Montreal on a beautiful day or evening, try Jardin Nelson. Make sure to go around the back into the outdoor garden. The food is good and affordable but the experience is picturesque and unique. You will surely experience the charm of Old Montreal and make you feel like you’ve escaped to some far off European garden.

Montreal’s hidden gem is Restaurant Le Grain de Sel, authentic French food. They were rated #1 restaurant in Montreal by tripadvisor.com. The ambiance is simple and clean but the food is excellent and fresh. If you’re in the mood for escargot or other french specialties, make sure to try it here, you won’t be disappointed. Remember to make a reservation.

For those who want more inexpensive food that are the local’s favorites, for breakfast try Montreal bagels at  St. Viateur Bagel Shop. Surprisingly, they do not taste like NYC bagels. They are absolutely delicious when fresh and hot. I love watching the men make them by hand and pull them out of the oven on their oversized wooden sticks. You feel like you’ve walked back in time.

Conveniently, you can walk across the street for lunch at Arahova; authentic greek food. Another amazing find for those on budget looking for value. Try their souvlaki pita sandwiches, smothered in homemade tzatziki sauce. The food is very delicious and authentic. Reminds me of the fast food vendors on the Greek island of Santorini- my vote for the most breathtaking natural place in the world.

For dessert, (yes dessert!) the best local French pastry

and crossiants can be found in Premiere Moisson. They have a number of locations scattered throughout the city. I met with one of the owners, a pastry chef originally from France, to discuss their excellent pastry. He stated that many of the pastries are made by pastry chefs by hand in their main store in Montreal, then delivered freshly to the other stores to maintain quality control and perfection in all stores. My absolute favorite is the their chocolate almondine croissant, not to take away from their Royal cake, which is also to die for. Along with delicious pastry and breads they also have a variety of pates, French delicasses and sauces. This is a great place to sample the best of French favorites in Montreal. Everything Premiere Moisson makes is of the highest, freshest quality.

I must say, I’m glad it’s 6.5 hours away; I’d be craving those croissants every morning for breakfast!

One of my very favorite French foods are crepes. The best crepes I found are in a little quaint ski town, 1.5 hours outside of Montreal called Saint Sauveur des Monts; Creperie A La Gourmandise Bretone makes amazing crepes. They prepare a delicious french bachamel sauce for their crepes. They even have seafood crepes and every dessert crepe imaginable, such as fresh raspberry and chocolate topped with ice cream. You can watch the owner make the crepes in the center of the quaint old cottage. The cottage’s ambiance of the original wood paneling, french lace curtains, and homey atmosphere make  you feel like you’re in the french alps, especially when visiting during the winter. I try to visit this place once a year for crepes. It’s worth the trip if you’re in the area.

So there you go, my recommendation for a local, but “european experience” destination wedding. Let me know what you think if you try my recommendations. Ready to escape to Montreal? Both Rachel and Chris are down-to-earth and knowledgeable. They will do an amazing job putting together your perfect dream wedding. If you are interested in having a Montreal Destination Wedding and need a little help in it’s planning, Rachel can be contacted at 514 448 2480 or Rachel@an-english-rose.com 514 448 2480 and Chris can be reached at 514 448 2420. Don’t forget to check out her portfolio and blog for some great weddings & articles www.an-english-rose.com/blog


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One Response to Montreal Destination Wedding: The European Experience

  1. Thx for this great information that you are sharing with us!!!

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