Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Friday, December 9, 2011

Having a Mod Wedding: Part I

Having a 21st century Mod wedding for me didn’t mean recreating a scene from a London club circa 1964. It was more about the subtle details. Although the preparations might have been stressful at times, my wife and I were in sync about how we wanted things to look.

First, the venue. Our initial plan was to have the ceremony where my parents got married 42 years ago. It was in a small wooden log chapel overlooking Lake St-François in Port Lewis, about an hour’s drive outside of Montreal. Still standing, the place is truly magical and certainly has a sentimental connection. But when Nikki contacted the parish priest, it was strictly out of the question that we have a secular ceremony there. 

My parents at the beginning of a 42 year old love affair
After visiting a few other places that were simply “not us”, Nikki stumbled upon La Vieille Brasserie while surfing the web. Built in 1861 along the Lachine Canal, the stone building housed the Dawes Brewery. It was perfect! A century old building where they made tasty beer? Now THAT is us! It’s when we learnt that the building, now owned by the city of Montreal, could be rented at a discounted price to its residents, that we really started getting excited. But it’s when they told us that they charged a rate of 39$/hour for the entire building that we burst out dancing!

The first floor has an enclosed room where we held the ceremony, a cocktail area, a kitchen and restrooms. The second floor is a large loft space that can accommodate around 100 guests. It has a bar and a large cement terrace with a stunning view of the Lachine Canal. With beautiful stone walls and exposed wooden beams, there was no need for elaborate decorations. Plus, we are not the big balloons and large bows kind of people.

The wedding was a large friends and family affair. The officiant was one of our dearest friends. He’s actually the man responsible for introducing us to each other over 20 years ago. So instead of asking him to be my best man (like I was at his wedding), he agreed to ask the government for a one-time permission to serve as an official legal celebrant.

Gonzo sharing his own unique interpretation of the civil code and marriage vows
Gonzo fulfilling his duties, making certain it's official
Catherine was our charming hostess and bouncer boyfriend Guillaume managed the velvet rope for our red carpet event.

Our caterer was our good friend and renown chef, Stelio Perombelon from Restaurant Sinclair. He did double duties as he supervised the kitchen and attended the ceremony. I believe the verdict on the food was unanimous. It was absolutely delicious! Sometimes I just can’t believe how blessed we are to have such talented friends.

Our photographer was Emily, a personal friend, who was doing her first wedding. I think she was as excited as us and had concepts planned in her head for a long time. From what you’ll see on this blog, she has a bright future.

Thanks to Jean-François and Olivier from Scootart, we had a recently restored Vespa GS160 Mk1 for the photos. The owner of the shop, Jean-François, was kind enough to lend us his personal steed for a popular photo session. Judging from the results, it was well worth it.

The cake was baked by a family friend and was basically a gift. Not only was it exactly how we imagined it but it was also scrumptious! And to give you an idea of how tasty it was, not a single piece was left by the end of the night.

For the seating arrangements, we used vinyl records to identify each table. The band names were selected with the people sitting at the table in mind. For example, the only table that had kids had a Small Faces 45.

The wedding favors were small jars of jellybeans that had a familiar color theme and a mixed CD of our favorite Soul, Ska and Garage tunes. As a secret bonus track, my friend Daniel, guitarist for Le Chelsea Beat and I recorded a song we had practiced for months and performed for my wife as a surprise, later in the evening.

Friends graciously donated their time and provided the night’s entertainment. Three bands played and my mates Ben, Eric and I shared the spinning duties. They all did such a wonderful job that they deserve a blog post all of their own. To be continued…


  1. It's a lot of hard work and I bet you guys breathed a HUGE sigh of relief the day after!

    Great story and I absolutely love the photo of your parents. Also, fantastic photos of you guys on the scooter!

    Congrats again!

  2. Thanks Carlos! One fact that I didn't reveal yet is that on my wedding day, I had a severe fever. Probably from all the stress. Good thing you can't tell from the photos!

    So the next day, I didn't really breathe a sigh of relief. It was more like I was being nursed by my new wife. ;)

  3. Your wedding looked great!! i am really interested in using the same venue for our wedding now.

    Apparently it is 53$ per hour now (still cheap!)

    One question, did you cook your food elsewhere and bring it to the venue or cook it on site?


    1. Hi Rebecca. As I mentioned in the post, a friend of ours catered the wedding. He prepared everything in advance but did use the kitchen to heat things up.

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  4. Hello!! Thank you for sharing everything on your beautiful wedding. My fiancee and I are also planning on getting married at this venue, and are concerned about the 1:00a.m end time of the rental. Did you find that it interfered with the evening? Did you get a clean up crew, or just get everyone to pack up? Any advice would be so helpful and appreciated!!! Cheers

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Mel,

      They were pretty strict on the 1am end time. There's not much you can do there. By that time, most of our guests had left and some friends helped us pack. It didn't take long. It will all depend on the janitor you get. Ours was pretty nice.

      Good luck!