Marie-Eve's "fun, not perfect" Quebec wedding

Marie-Eve WeddingThe offbeat bride: Marie-Eve, graphic designer

My offbeat groom: Vincent, maître d'hôtel

Location & date of wedding: Manoir des Érables's gardens, in Montmagny (a little city in the province of Québec, Canada) June 16, 2007

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted to get married only if it was to be in our way. We wanted something simple and fun. We enrolled my aunt Lucie to be our "minister" and we wrote the whole ceremony together, with vows speaking of chicken soup and gigs we attended through the years.

"I want it to be FUN, not PERFECT" was my mantra

We choose our readings from children books and Beatles songs and wrote a special one for our family members. We also had a few of my sister's friends playing some wonderful live music: we walked in on "Here comes the Sun" and run out on "All you need is Love."

Wedding poloroidsWe then had a nice cocktail during which we took every couple or group of friends picture with our "signature" polaroid, for the guest book. The dinner was then served inside the Manoir, every guest paying for it's own cover charge. In the province of Québec, people are only very rarely getting married these days. And if they do, it's in a very conservative, religious way (Pachelbel, anyone?). We were more than happy to manage to have something that really reflects what we believe and love.

Ring handsOur biggest challenge: The venue was very small. We were limited to 60 guests. It was OK at first, because we wanted something intimate with only very close friends and family members. But we very soon realized it was going to be more tricky to deal with than we first expected. Even thought we addressed our invitations with the name of all the guests and discussed it over and over with everyone concerned, some people invited friends, boyfriends and children anyway. At one point, we were having more than 65 guests… And there was absolutely no way we could have more than 60 persons sitting for the dinner. So we had to sit down with everyone and explain all over again why we we're having such an intimate wedding. Some people we're a bit surprised or even angry, considering we were being selfish or whatsoever but finally, after walking on eggshells for a few months, with loads of tact, everything ended well.

Taking poloroidsMy favorite moment: I loved everything about it: I wish I could get marry all over again every weekend. But if I was to pick one highlight I'd say that hearing my (very stressed-out) fiancé reading his vows was a very nice moment, as was the relieve I felt when I started going from group to group for the Polaroid sessions once the ceremony was done. Everyone loved the idea and the ease I felt, hiding behind my camera, helped me overcome my shyness.

My offbeat advice: Take your time, enjoy every bit of it and, yes, r-e-la-x. I think everything went so marvelously well during our big day because we were so consciously wanting it to be laid-back and cool. "I want it to be FUN, not PERFECT" was my mantra in the last months, and it really paid off.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: The wedding looks both fun AND perfect to me!

Tell me all about your offbeat wedding!

  1. I walked in to "And I Love Her" and we walked out to "All You Need is Love"!!! It was perfect!

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  2. "The dinner was then served inside the Manoir, every guest paying for it’s own cover charge."
    What? I'm not sure I understand. They had to pay to be at the reception? Is this a normal thing in Canada?

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  3. yes. please explain why the guests paid for their own meals? ive never heard of that. is it a quebec thing?

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  4. The whole "every guest paying for it’s own cover charge" thing is, indeed, a very progressive thing and I know for a fact a lot of people (especially in the USA)arent really attracted to that way of doing things. The whole idea is that, instead of asking for gifts, the couple ask the guests to pay for their dinner (or a part of it). It's a more and more common way of working the budget aspect of things out and all the wedding I have attended in the few last years were asking for a contribution to the reception. And noone thought it was such big of a deal… in fact, it simplifies a lot of things: no gift registry to manage, no ackward bills for guests that didnt show up… I guess this wouldnt work so well in a big and fancy wedding, but ours was a very small and private affair, with only people that we're more than happy to pay for the lovely dinner they ate with us. Our invitations stated the fact that guest were asked for money and it caused no problem at all: it was like an evening at the restaurant with a group of loved one more than like a traditionnal wedding reception.

    Does that help you understand? I can easily see this soundind like tactless and innapropriate for some of you, but you have to admit this IS offbeat. Working things that way and keeping our wedding small and unexpensive helped us avoid dealing with debts afterward and only that was a good point. In fact, we wouldnt have gotten married otherwise.

    (Please, excuse my pityful english and especially the way I f*ckep up all my verb tenses….!)

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  5. Hi Marie-Eve,
    I was wondering if you could please tell me how you worded your invites asking the guests to pay for their meals. I am getting married in August & would like the guests to pay their own way, for all the reasons you stated above.
    I live in New Zealand & it is very common for guests to pay their own way at any sort of celebration.

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  6. Oh, Jody, Im so sorry I didnt find your comment before!

    It's too late for helping you with your wording and I am sure you found a perfect way to say things… but must it be of any help to someone else, here is a translation of what was in our invitation (originaly in french) :

    "A diner will follow, for which a contribution of …$ per person is requested (see joined menu); of course, that will make your presence our most precious gift"

    Hope this inspires some of you…

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