The day has finally arrived…

wedding rings

After one year of tho and fro planning this day, it was finally here! We were so excited!! Speaking to people that have celebrated their marriage, they’ve all said ‘be as much present as you can as the day will pass fast’ and ‘have a substantial breakfast’. So we did. We ordered a really nice breakfast in our room as we wanted to quietly enjoy our morning before the busyness of the day.

Since the seating plan was only finalised a few hours prior, the table number and seating cards needed to be written. The man with his nice calligraphy was put to work. No more re-jigging of the tables. It was sealed. While he was writing the cards, I quickly went to see my parents and his parents. I could see my brother in the background busy putting the final touches to master plan of the day. Little did I know…

We still needed to rehearse the ceremony, we had not time the day before. With my brother, we went to the location. The hotel staff had the chairs already laid out. It was a such a beautiful day! We started discussing how the ceremony will unfold, who will be doing what (the boy and the nephews), the ribbons, the rings and the vows, etc. When came time to practice our vows, I simply couldn’t, the emotions were too raw. I was thinking how am I going to be able to this in front of people. Go with the flow, I guess?

My brother made a deal with me that from 11:30, I would be off duty organising and he would take take charge. The only thing I had do was to get ready, hair and makeup, dress and all for the ceremony. 11.30am rang and I was off.

Remember the flowers and that I didn’t have time to sort them out? The night before at the meal, my two dear friends kindly offered to help out doing the final errands. One was to find the flowers and arrange them on the tables. She managed to find Italian roses that were supposed to be for another event but got cancelled. The other friend was to get the lipstick that the make-up artist will be using. Et voilà! Sorted!

Italian roses - flowers

The make-up artist and hairdresser arrived. It was time to relax and enjoy getting ready. I asked the ladies if they wanted something to drink. Katherine proposed to call reception and I replied “No, no… my brother will organise the coffee for us”. I texted him to get room service and a few minutes later, my brother showed up with tray of coffees and water dressed as a waiter. It made us all laugh. He apparently was hoping that I would ask for something like this. There he had it.

Since our celebration didn’t follow the traditional customs, the man and the boy were to come join me to finish getting ready. The photographer arrived just in time. I put the dress on and as I turned around I heard the photographer say ‘You have a whole in your dress!’. Everyone gasped! The dress is made of lace with very tiny fabric between each lace. It must have got ripped during the travel. It was a very small hole. First thought? I need my Mom! I texted my brother and 2 minutes later she was there with white thread. Again my brother being a step ahead in his planning had brought a sewing kit just in case it was needed. How organised is that!? My mom fixed the whole like nothing ever happened. Go with the flow!

wedding preparation

Shortly after, I started to hear the chatter in my mind: “ Why did you organised this, this is too much, you could just cancel the thing…”. It is at that moment that I realised why brides or grooms run away! Marriage celebration can be overwhelming. Even after more than ten years with the man, never been happier in my life and my chatter was trying to sabotage it. Imagine!

The man, my mom and myself were waiting in the room. I was texting my brother and sister-in-law asking if everyone had arrived. It was such an intimate event that we were to wait for everyone to be there. A long thread of texts back and forth about how many people were present, 26, 29, 34… we needed to get to 40! 38… only 2 left… And 40! So my brother texted saying that he would ask the guests to sit down when we are ready. I completely misunderstood it. I understood that he was ready and we could start walking up to them. As we are walking up to the ceremony location and my brother saw us from afar. He had to quickly set everyone up. We saw nothing. He handled like a great host would do. Go with the flow!

guests arriving

Walking up, my legs were shaking. I was holding my mom’s hand and was happy that she walked us up. The man and I have been married for more than 10 years and I felt grateful to be be able to celebrate it the way we wanted it. We could see everyone there. I saw our parents and in the spur of the moment, I felt compelled to embraced them.


We placed ourselves in the middle and my chatter was busy: “Stand tall, straight back, hold yourself to not sink in the grass (damn heels!), oh grab the man’s hand, that will work, focus, it is very sunny, I must keep my eyes open, focus, who’s there, oh André is here, focus, oh look at Gervase and Sho’s kids, focus, this is it!”

My brother gave a few instructions to the guests about how the ceremony was going to be unfolding. It will be delivered in English and French. Each guest were given a celebration booklet which included the ceremony text in both languages. He asked our guests to not use their camera photo for the time of the ceremony as we wanted everyone to be in the present moment with us.

Everything about the celebration was perfect. The reading, the switch between French and English, the ribbons exchange symbolising our union, our son taking part, my nephews being there with us and all the friends and family surrounding us with their love and the final toast with champagne!


Puisse votre union vous apporter toutes les excitations exquises qu’une union doit apporter.
Puissiez-vous avoir besoin l’un de l’autre, mais pas par faiblesse.
Puissiez-vous désirer l’autre, mais pas par manque.
May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

After all the kisses, hugs and congratulations from everyone, we were guided to the cocktail location and looking forward to chat more. Little did I know (or should I have known by now!) that my brother had planned to MC the whole evening. His contribution, dedication and minute details planning concretised in a smooth evening.

end of ceremony

Usually at a North American wedding, people would tap their cutlery on the glasses for the bride and groom to kiss. My brother came up with a really cool idea. Instead of tapping the glasses which usually ends up in broken glasses, he asked the people to hug either me or the man and we would kiss each other afterwards. We got hug and we kissed a lot.


The chef kindly explained the menu and we were served with 5 courses dinner was. It was delicious.

5 course dinner

I remember when I started planning this, I said to myself, no speeches. They are usually too long blah blah blah. I then realised that our celebration is such an intimate setting that the speeches are part of celebrating together. We asked the man’s father, my father and the man himself to say a few words between each service. My father-in-law was the first speak. For them to make the trip to Québec, Canada was a big deal. They never been to Montreal, they had not met my father and my family in more than 10 years of relationship with the man. Slainte!

niall's toast

Then, it was my dad’s turn. I was slightly nervous about him saying a few words! You see, the past few years he has aged a lot and he is suffering of a lot of physical illness. He has the tendency to say things that are not real. I wanted to know what he was going to say but he was not telling me. On the day, he said to trust him he would be doing something that I would be proud of. Ok. What can I say? Go with flow?

dad's speech

And he did very well. Beside the part when he thought that the man was rugby player and that we met through our friends couple from France that was present at the celebration. We all had a big laugh about it. I was standing beside him and holding him as he was shaking a lot due to his illness. You could see his pride to see us here. My dad could have gone on for ages but my brother gently guided the situation.

Next was the man. I think his intention was to keep it short and sweet but how could he? It was important to us to thank everyone that got involved in making this day perfect. Everyone has to travel to certain extent to get to the venue. Some closer like Sheffield, Sherbrooke and Montreal but other were from Toronto, Austin USA, France, New York, Ireland… The man recalled the drinks in my brother’s room the night before, the told off by the staff and my brother’s spreadsheets to plan every details of this day. Never be to be forgotten!

martin's speech

Between speeches, we played recordings from Martin’s brothers and cousins. They couldn’t come to Québec because of family engagement. 2 of them had new babies and some of you would know how it is when we have a family in the making in full swing. Instead, we asked if they could record a few words. It was really nice to hear their best wishes.

Next was a close friend of ours whom together I moved to Ireland with. She experienced first hand how the man and I met and how our love relationship unfolded. I asked her to share the details with everyone. As she usually does, she made us laugh and cry. Thank you Patricia!

patricia"s speech

For dessert, Patricia’s son and his partner kindly agreed to sing a few songs for us in an informal setting. Their harmonies where fabulous. He dedicated a special song to his dear grand-mother whom I have also been very closed to. She died last year and would have been there if she was still alive. It was emotional and touching.


Another of many highlights for me were the cards. We’ve given blank cards to each guest and invited them to write a personal note to us. It was to be like a guest book but in a private way. It allowed people to be more open and forthcoming with their words. We read the cards the next day and we were touched by the words love from friends and family. We truly enjoyed reading them!


The day was filled with anecdotes and great memories:

  • early morning beers that turned into a corporate meeting;
  • my brother dressed as a waiter;
  • stumbling on the ‘I will’;
  • two blue dragonflies landing on our shoulders during our vows exchanges;
  • not many photos being taken by the guests as everyone were truly in the moment;
  • the group photo that should not be a group photo;
  • cocktails beside the lake;
  • my brother trying to find where I was in the middle of the meal (I was in the bathroom chatting with the ladies);
  • the Maitre d’hotel showing the Ripplecove phenomenal cellar;
  • a quick stop at our room to put the boy to bed, Caroline and Andrew joining us for a MASSIVE glass of whiskey;
  • Anne-Marie trying to take photos and they all turned out too dark;
  • that moment when I realised that the wrong music playlist was on when I heard a Katy Perry song;
  • Luce’s gift, a stone from her region in a shape of a heart, very touching;
  • unexpected visit from André & Sylvie-jeanne;
  • loads of laughter coming from Christian and Chantal’s table;
  • End of the night drinks – sorry no photos for that 😉

sunset ripplecove

Special thanks:
To my brother, sister-in-law and nephews for their time and effort in making this day unforgettable.
To our parents for their dedication in raising us and loving us not matter what.
To our dear friends that have travelled from close and far to celebrate with us.
To our friends & family that couldn’t make it, we love you & we’ll see you soon.
To the Ripplecove for helping us organising everything from London.
To Katherine and Karine for making me beautiful.
To Marie-Claude Fournier and Deb Photographe, we gave you a difficult mandate & you raised to the occasion.

We felt loved unconditionally and we thank you for being you and in our life. You are amazing!

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