Weddings are full of all different types of traditions and we're in no short supply at this lovely farm chic wedding. You can't have a wedding without family, friends, food and more food! Seriously, this wedding didn't just have one dinner it had THREE! Oh and did we mention this whole event space was built by the brides father. Did we also mention that this bride carried on the family tradition for three generations of getting married in the same church? Seriously, you are going to want to keep scrolling to find out more.
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A Long Family Tradition
From the bride: I was the third generation McEwen/Borland to be married in St. Paul's United Church in Ormstown, Quebec, Canada. My grandmother was married there in the 1950's, my great aunt Jean in the 1960's, and my Dad's three sisters in the 1970's and 1980's. I was the only possible grandchild to continue the tradition, because all of my Grandmother’s five siblings and my father’s three siblings had settled outside of Quebec.
My Grandmother, daughter of Scottish immigrants, was born in Ormstown along with her five others and sisters. The farm they were born and raised on is directly across the river from our reception site, and in plain view from the marquee tent. All five attended our wedding despite now living across North America and being in their 70's and 80's.
Wedding Band Wagon
From Ruby Refined Events: The wedding party made their entrance on a wagon pulled by Clydesdale horses belonging to the bride’s lifelong neighbours The McClintock family, who also arranged for Clydesdale-drawn wagon rides for all the guests during the cocktail hour.
Handcrafted By the Father of the Bride
The site itself was landscaped, mowed and prepared by the bride’s father for over a year before the wedding. He also built the barn door entryway, bars, feature tables, cake table, staircases, boardwalks and bridges to access the site using wood harvested from woodlots on the farm. Centerpieces were built by the bride’s father and branded with cattle brands by the groom. The bride’s father also built an outdoor dance floor that hung over the river itself so that our guests could "dance under the stars". He was that confident that the weather wouldn't interfere. Dad did a lot of work, but pre-wedding, he kept insisting this was "the day he had waited for his entire life, to walk his daughter down the aisle." Post-wedding he continues to say, "It's the best thing he's ever done."
Cows, Calves & Centerpieces
The bride's cow named "Rumor", which she bottle-raised when she was 14, was in attendance at the wedding reception "with bells on" (literally). A world famous, show-winning cow, Rumor and a couple of Bay calves stole the show!
The flowers in the centerpieces were grown in the garden of the bride’s mother’s best friend Marina, and carefully arranged by both by the mother of the bride and Marina. The takeaways were bottles of maple syrup, produced by the couple’s close family friends The Bryson's, and strawberry jam made with local strawberries by the bride and her Aunt Julie. Tables were marked with postcards using pictures of the couple’s travels, and place settings with personalized milk bottles. Each table had gold frosted cowbells to ring when guests wanted the couple to kiss.
The Chateauguay Valley is little known, but has become a huge "breadbasket" in Canada. My family has worked largely in agriculture and food production, it was very important for us to show off local produce, cuisine, tradition and delicacies. The menu was carefully crafted of family and local favourites with this in mind.
The bar consisted of five feature cocktails for the cocktail hour - all favorites of the bride and groom, renamed to be personalized and made largely with Quebec distilled spirits such as Ungava gin, Chic Choc rum, Sortilège Maple whisky etc. Throughout the night there were featured drinks such as White Summer Sangria made with local fruit, Bride and Groom themed shooters and finished off in true Scottish/French Canadian fashion with a selection of scotches and crème de menthe available at the end of the night.
Our menu included things such as sirloin sliders - the beef raised ethically on our farm; cheese and charcuterie with homemade compotes and chutneys; locally raised smoked pork chops and "Montreal style smoked meat", both finished by a local butcher that has been a long time family friend; Quebec raised duck confit; and locally grown vegetables.
The dessert table was comprised of maple tarts, apple tarte tatin, and strawberry shortcake made with local strawberries (the Brides personal favourite as her grandmother used to make this for her every birthday as a child). The groom's mother also made Saskatoonberry pie with Saskatoonberries brought directly from Saskatchewan, Canada.
As the Groom's family is German, there was also a midnight Zwolf Uhr "Oktoberfeast" consisting of Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, German pretzels with an assortment of mustards, and Leukenherzen (the traditional Oktoberfest gingerbread heart cookies).
There was also a feast around 2 am provided by close family friends who are Montreal-based Greek restauranteurs. This was a buffet of fire-roasted local lamb, served on a pita with tzatziki and garnishes, a highlight and nod to the couple’s upcoming honeymoon in the Greek islands.
A-Dressing One Little Issue
One of my only regrets from the wedding is that I didn't change dresses. I wore a huge Vera Wang ballroom gown, which was semi-custom. I loved it and it was the only thing I could picture myself walking down the aisle of our Church wearing. That said I did have another dress to change into later that night. (My family are Scottish and so my husband and I had a traditional Scottish hand-fasting ceremony on the Isle of Skye the September prior, and I wanted to re-wear that dress for our reception/party.)
Unfortunately that dress was at our house (about 400m from the reception site) and would have required a change of hairstyle, and I didn't want to ruin the dress in the rain! My ballgown did get a bit wet at our outdoor wedding and ended up being extremely heavy, so I would advise a quick change to any ballgown girls if you're planning on a long night on the dance floor. Luckily my coordinator went and grabbed my rehearsal dress instead so I could change! Everyone wants your time that night so it's hard to get away!