Real Weddings: Kate & Christian’s Montreal Restaurant Wedding

intimate wedding in montreal

 Kate, 29 & Christian, 33

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Wedding Date: September 18, 2009

Number of Guests: 25

Wedding Cost: $8,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: St. James United Chruch

Wedding Reception Location: KOKO (at the Opus Hotel)

bride getting ready for wedding

 Why did you have an intimate wedding?

I’ve been dubbed the anti-bride. I didn’t grow up thinking of my wedding day, I had no idea what kind of bride I would or should be, and I knew nothing about weddings. After being engaged for about 4 months I looked at Christian, my fiancé, and said, “OMG, does this mean I have to buy one of those bridal magazine thingy’s?” (It turns out that I did look at two bridal magazines, but I never ended up buying one. It just didn’t feel right for us.) We always knew we would have a small wedding (we’ve very low key people), and we knew we were going to concentrate on the three areas that meant the most to us: the photography, the food, the dress/suit. The rest would be DIY. I felt very overwhelmed at first, but slowly the details started coming together, and in the end we were very grateful for a few significant details that we think helped make the day truly “us”.

dog in wedding

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Our challenges were the same as other people’s: stressing over the details, finding the right ways to make our guests feel comfortable, writing our vows, making sure everything felt like us. We were fortunate that our challenges weren’t specific to a small wedding.

montreal bride

  bride with dog

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

It wasn’t for us, but it was for some of our family members!

  bride in quebec

bride with balloon

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

We did at first, but we explained ourselves. We explained that we didn’t think it was necessary to have 200 people around us in order to say “I do”. We weren’t interested in a wedding/party, we just wanted to be married to each other. It was about us, and our love for each other. And we only wanted those closest to us, people we talk to every day, to share that with us. We’re not sitting in judgement of people who want a guest list that’s 200+, but we just knew what felt right to us.

wedding ceremony in montreal

wedding shoes

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

When our guests arrived at the church, they were given two things: a program and a smooth, flat stone. I designed very simple ceremony programs, that included a nod to a very special part of our day: the other love of our life, our dog Zidane, walked me down the aisle. During the ceremony, the Minister asked everyone to hold the stone they were given when they arrived and make a wish for us as a couple. Then one by one, each family member came to the front of the church and placed their stone into a communal vase. It was so touching to have each family member join us for a split second at the front of the church. Now we have the stones at home with us, and as we landscape our backyard we will incorporate them, which means our family and friends hopes and wishes for us will be there forever.

wedding wishing stones

Like many people, we’ve had immediate family members pass away in recent years. We knew that it was very important that we find a way to include and honour those cherished people. After the ceremony, we stood at the front of the church, and released balloons with messages to our loved ones into the afternoon sky. Christian and I held each other as we watched the balloons be carried off by the wind and we thought about Christian’s Mom and Aunt as well as my Grandfather. Looking back it’s one of the most magical and emotional parts of our day.

wedding balloons

wedding balloons

 What were the highlights of the reception?

As a gift to our guests, I created a 40 page Blurb book that included details of our love story, lyrics from our wedding song, funny stories, parts of our wedding vows, details about the ceremony and the wedding dinner menu. It was a fun way for everyone to remember the details of the day, and what each personal touch meant to us. My hope is that years from now, guests will come across those books and remember what a special day it was and how grateful we were that they were there to celebrate with us.

bride and groom portrait

restaurant wedding

wedding program

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Having a small wedding really allowed us to have a special moment with each guest, and all night Christian and I felt like we were living in a small bubble of love.

wedding couple in montreal

small wedding party

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

My advice to couples getting married is: do whatever feels right to you. It doesn’t matter if you have one witness or 500 people attend your wedding, all that matters is that you are happy with how you are expressing your love for each other on that day. Our wedding day was one of the most beautiful days of my life. And not just because of the details I mentioned above. It was beautiful because I married the absolute love of my life and those closest to us were there to witness it. On the exterior I may have been the anti-bride, fumbling to get the details right, but in my heart I was the luckiest bride in the world. I married a man that loves me for me (and after 8 years of dating, he knows me!), supports me in whatever I do, and makes me laugh every day.

wedding couple in quebec


I did my own hair, my best friend did my make-up.

Photographers: Davina + Daniel

Wedding dress: J.Crew (I ordered it online)

Wedding shoes: Nine West

Grooms attire: Club Monaco, Converse sneakers

Reception: KOKO at the Opus Hotel

Music: DJ at KOKO

montreal wedding

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7 Comments  |  Filed Under: Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Real Weddings, Restaurant Weddings

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  1. Posted by Sara on December 8th, 2009 at 4:21pm

    Kate and Christian, what a absolutely beautiful wedding. I am inspired by the fact that you chose three things that WERE very important to you - photography, dress/suit, food - and made them stunning. The photography here is amazing, and you two look great. Congratulations, and thank you for the inspiration!
  2. Posted by Andrea on December 15th, 2009 at 11:50pm

    Congratulations! Your wedding is truly an inspiration to me. I was actually wondering how you made the Blurb book? I really love the idea of making something special like that for my own wedding.
  3. Posted by Christina on December 16th, 2009 at 1:17pm

    Andrea, I've made a Blurb book as well. Go to the site and download the free software. It's very easy to use ... just drag and drop your photos and cut and paste your text or input directly.
  4. Posted by Lindsay on December 12th, 2010 at 5:36pm

    I absolutely LOVE your idea to include your guests in your ceremony through the wishing stones. Very touching! I had never considered finding a way to have guests participate in such an important part of the day, but what an incredibly perfect way to top off the feeling of intimacy and appreciation for all those who took the time to share in your day! Well done!
  5. Posted by Christina on December 16th, 2010 at 10:08am

    Hi Lindsay. I love the idea of the wishing stones too. It's great when you can include your guests.

    Have you heard of a ring warming ceremony? I also think this is a fantastic idea. Here is a link about it:
  6. Posted by Joanna on January 13th, 2011 at 5:03pm

    Beautiful photos. I love the idea of wishing stones. I'm also inspired to release the balloons in memory of my fiance Mum.
  7. Posted by Rachel on August 16th, 2012 at 1:30pm

    I love what Kate said in the 'advice to couples' section. So touching. I love the pics!
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