An Intimate, Elegant and Wonderfully Luxurious Celebration
Katherine and Pascal
Photos by Union Eleven Photographer
Katherine and Pascal were starting medical school when they met at Montreal’s McGill University in 2012. After getting engaged in Tuscany, Italy, in 2017, they decided on an October 2020 wedding for 120 people at Fairmont Le Château Montebello, the Quebec resort that’s about an hour from Ottawa. Then came COVID-19.
As physicians, these two knew early on that their fall 2020 wedding likely wouldn’t happen as expected. So they switched the date to May 23, 2021, hoping to host their Château Montebello celebration then. But as we all know, the pandemic persisted, and revisions to their arrangements had to keep pace.
“There were at least three changes in the size of the wedding,”
Katherine recalls. Erica Irwin, the couple’s wedding planner, started making plans for different guest counts: from over 100 guests to 75, then 50, then 25/immediate family. When the situation in Quebec seemed to worsen for gatherings, Erica says, they pivoted to a small, five-person wedding ceremony, followed by a socially distanced picnic.
Then came the news that interprovincial border restrictions might not be lifted in time for the spring wedding date. That’s when a parallel Ontario plan was put in place, including a marriage licence in both provinces, “just in case.”
In the end, all that contingency planning paid off. “The final change was the change in location,” Katherine notes, “from the Château Montebello to the Westin in Ottawa, with reception at the Château Laurier. We made this decision the week before the wedding.”
You’d never know it. Despite all the havoc caused by the coronavirus, Katherine and Pascal’s elegant Ottawa wedding was exceptional in the best of ways. In Erica’s words, Katherine “didn’t want some sad, fast wedding that didn’t feel special. They both wanted it to still be elegant and feel luxurious and special.” Accordingly, their team of pros delivered an extra special mini wedding with maximum style.
TwentyTwo, the Westin Ottawa’s top-floor venue with glorious, panoramic views of the city, was the backdrop for a gorgeous sunset ceremony. Next, the Fairmont Château Laurier’s Presidential Suite was the sumptuous locale for a romantic dinner for two, as well as a staycation for the newlyweds.
Bright, beautiful floral designs, with lots of greenery, included a floral arch that served as a show-stopping backdrop for the festivities. Since the ceremony was live-streamed for family members and friends, the couple cut their cake after exchanging their vows, and then did their first dance as a cellist played Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz.
“Pascal and I didn’t know how to waltz, and had to learn the day before the wedding,” Katherine mentions. “Our first dance stopped prematurely when Pascal stepped on my train! It was very funny.” She and Pascal have many other happy memories, of the views, the music, that floral arch, the decor at [the] reception, and the amazing meal.
“The benefit of a small wedding is that it fosters presence.”
“As the wedding was so small and intimate, the whole day was very low stress,” the bride adds. “This really allowed Pascal and [me] to stay in the moment when working with our photographer, reading our vows at the ceremony, or when eating our meal at our reception. The benefit of a small wedding is that it fosters presence.
“The ceremony felt especially intimate, and the picturesque views and cello music playing in the background made everything feel very special.”
That ambience continued at the Fairmont Château Laurier. Erica says the luxe tablescape, with high and low florals, a “dreamy” runner and plenty of candlelight, set the stage for a romantic, sophisticated dinner. “They had custom menus, muted gold cutlery, beautiful stemware and ivory and gold dinnerware and charger plates,” she says. “Guests joined them for a Zoom cocktail hour with some toasts and speeches, while the couple enjoyed a spread delivered by Le Métropolitain.” Dinner came from Gezellig, Stephen Beckta and Clay Cardillo’s much-lauded Westboro dining establishment. “Gezellig put together a beautiful menu as well as a wine pairing for the newlyweds and delivered it to their suite.”
Asked about the highlight of their wedding, Katherine and Pascal have this to say: “Erica and our amazing group of vendors organized a day which was intimate and beautiful. With any small wedding, the details become incredibly important, and it was an absolute privilege to get married in such a beautiful space carefully arranged by the team. With a sunset framing the Parliament, a stunning floral arch, and delicious food, the day ended up being perfect despite the complicated journey leading us to our wedding day. We have absolutely no regrets!”
Wedding Planner: Erica Irwin Weddings & Events
Photography: Union Eleven Photographer
Live Stream: Union Eleven
Ceremony: The Westin Ottawa, TwentyTwo
Reception: Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Bride’s Gown: Morilee’s Sara design, found at With Love Bridal
Groom’s fashion: Surmesur Custom Menswear
Cake: Dulce Cake Design
Cocktail-Hour Catering: Le Metropolitain Brasserie Restaurant
Dinner Catering: Gezellig
Live Music: Canto Sentimento
Décor, rentals and flowers: Wedecor
Officiant: Christine Villeneuve, All Seasons Wedding Officiants