Over this past weekend I was happy to cover an intimate wedding at Auberge du Vieux Port in Old Montreal, of two Americans who had organized the entire event from their homes in New York. They had booked a comfortable room in the hotel for their ceremony, and taken over half of the sun drenched terrace on the roof for the cocktails thereafter. It was one of those gorgeously sunny, fulgent days with a cornflower blue sky full of pretty little clouds, a cool breeze keeping the heat from ever rising above pleasant. While chatting with some of the guests about where to go for a good meal, I realized that Montreal has a lot to offer people from out of town who choose to hold their wedding ceremony here.
1. Cost effective: If the US dollar is your local currency, the exchange rate is favourable to stretching your budget and costs are generally lower for catering, photography, flowers, hotels and restaurants than they would be in most of the larger nearby US cities like New York City, Boston, or even Chicago and further afield.
2. Great selection of world-class restaurants: everyone who visits Montreal, whether it’s the first time or the tenth, raves about the food. Now with an abundance of food trucks catering to site-specific areas as well as all the amazing restaurants in the city, you don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate what Montreal has to offer. I recently gathered a crowd-sourced list of recommendations for restaurants in Montreal (see below) which I would love to see added to (anyone?). There are many more, but these are good for consideration if you are planning to spend a few days in Montreal around your wedding.
3. Excellent – and reliable – professional service providers: you can find everything you need for a wedding in Montreal easily online and make all your arrangements via phone and email. Sometimes people find this a bit nerve-wracking – to book a band, a photographer, a caterer, florist, venue and rooms for your guests all sight unseen may be a bit daunting, but Montreal lives on tourism and people will really go out of their way to help you.
4. Gorgeous city with many outdoor spaces for great photographs: whether you are planning your wedding in Old Montreal, as many couples do, or at an intimate restaurant off-island, or in the Plateau, there are countless places for getting fun, unique and beautiful outdoor shots that will make your wedding album that much more interesting. Ask your photographer for ideas – personally I’ve travelled all across the city and shot in hundreds of locations and I’d be happy to provide some ideas (stay tuned as this feels like another blog post).
5. Venues to suit all tastes and budgets: Montreal is rife with unique and innovative event spaces that can accommodate any sized wedding. In addition to all the standard wedding-factory type halls, nearly every hotel and decent sized restaurant has a special private room available for booking, and there are a number of creative spaces like the Musee Grevin, le Loft Hotel, Centre Phi, or the Montreal Musee des Beaux Arts for the artistically inclined. Again, ask your photographer for references.
A few restaurant recommendations for out-of-towners planning their wedding in Montreal
I’ve removed the names of the recommenders to protect their privacy, but kept their comments where there were any as it adds a little colour and makes the list more enjoyable to read. If you have any additions, please feel free to email me your suggestions:
Restaurant recommendations crowd-sourced on Facebook (no particular order)
Chasse et Peche (in Old Montreal) Lusticru (Parc Ave) Pizza Napoletana (Little Italy) - cheap and cheerful bring your own wine Botero (also Little Italy) - higher end, amazing Italian food Maison Kam Fung (St Urbain street) - for dimsum Le Cartet (106 McGill St, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E5) for hearty breakfasts Restaurant Kazu Montreal - "Authentic Japanese Restaurant in Montreal by Chef Kazu" Andiamo or Beaver Hall, both on Beaver Hall, Jérome Ferrer's restaurants. "Always excellent" L'Express, Laloux (French) Le Local (Quebec fusion) Grinder "good scene, valet parking, meat lover's paradise" La Panthere Verte - excellent vegetarian, good for lunch Vin papillon h4c Le serpent Barroco Joe Beef Europea on Bishop -"Expensive but a culinary experience! Trip Advisor's #4 restaurant in Montreal and a 2013 Traveller's Choice Winner Nora grey L'Orignal Lawrence Sel Gras Lémeac "You can't go wrong with Lémeac on Laurier, Outremont" Bouillon Bilk (on St Laurent) Le Filet (on Mt Royal) Tuck Shop Kitchenette - "out of control good eatry" .http://www.kitchenetterestaurant.ca/en.
For drinks: Drinkerie Ste.Cunégonde (Address: 2661 Notre-Dames Ouest,Montreal, QC H3J 1N7) Pub Burgundy Lion (Address: 2496 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC H3J 1N5)