We arrived at Chapelle Ste Agnes which would be the spectacular venue for our wedding in Quebec… we where late as per usual…and with me already flapping with worry about the day. We had planned to be there at 10.30 and arrived at 11.30 and the wedding was due to start at 1.30! We had to move into the honeymoon suite, get ready, create a bouquet and buttonhole, meet Deacon Jean Rousseau who would be holding the ceremony for us, set up cameras, meet our guests and convince them to act as photographers for the day, catch up with Karena and John to make sure we we’re all on the same track, set up the terrace etc, etc…the list goes on!
John was in his overalls tending to the vines as we arrived and Karena came running across the Quebec vinyard to meet us in her big floppy sunhat with a basket in one hand and a tripod in the other…I could tell straight away we were all in a flap so instantly felt better! We sat in the cool chapel and placed the cameras and planned where we would get pictures from and who would stand where and when.
Alex and I made ourselves at home in the honeymoon suite which is as elegantly decorated as the rest of the vinyard and then went our separate ways…Alex to meet Mr Rousseau and myself to go on a flower hunt! I gathered wild flowers from the vinyard, daisies, mini sunflowers and huge yellow flowers along with some strange looking seed pods and a couple of small lillies and tied them all together with vine wire. I fashioned Alex a buttonhole out of the same flowers and then at 1.15 I thought it a good time to get ready.
Alex returned from his catch up and put my remaining nerves to rest as it turns out Mr Rousseau is a time served wedding veteran, after 50 years of marrying people all over the world which includes virtually every religion there really was nothing left to worry about!
Being helped into my dress by my husband to be was unusual for the obvious reason that normally the groom would not see the bride until the ceremony. but it was such a tender and romantic moment. I watched his reflection gently fasten the tiny glass buttons with a proud smile on his face and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to be ‘marrying‘ Alex all over again!
He shot back up to the wedding chapel for the final preparations and I sat in the sunshine in my wedding dress suddenly my nerves faultering and getting worse by the minute! Eventually Karena came to collect me and we walked over the vinyard in the bright sunshine where John greeted me to walk me down the aisle. We waited for the cue to go in and stepped inside the stunning little chapel.
The French music played and the cool air was welcoming as I walked down the aisle. The ceremony was lovely and Mr Rousseau had kindly prepared a reading and also a poem which he added to the ceremony.
From The Song of Eternity, by Selim Aïssel
Daughters and Sons of the Earth, I want to teach you to see what is the best in human beings.
See in them not what they are, nor what they do. But what Eternity has deposited in them.
Then your words will know how to lead them, On the path to Immortality
“2 People 1 Life Marriage Blessing ”
Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be a shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be a companion to the other.
Now you are two people, but there is only one life before you.
A long and winding road
In which each turn means discovery
Plough the furrow of your life together
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead
and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion
and may your days together be good and long upon this earth.
His fabulous Quebecois accent gave the whole ceremony such a great feel and he spoke of Ste Agnes herself and asked that the congregation keep us in their thoughts and help us on our journey. He raised his hand above our heads and blessed us and typically made me cry! It was such an intimate ceremony with only a few guests who would start the day as strangers to us and by the end of the day become good friends and people we will still be in contact with in years to come!
After the ceremony I was handed a beautiful french parasol, Karena had used this on her wedding day at the same chapel and it suited the moment perfectly. We made our way to the terrace for an ice wine toast and canapes.
John and Karena had kindly supplied the very special Cuvée Majorique 2005 icewine. This special bottle has a place in the Queen of Englands Royal Cellars following the vinyards win at the ICWS World Wine competition held in London. I doubt even the Queen would enjoy a glass of the stunning ice cold liquid as much as we did that afternoon!
The sun was hot and the ice wine superb. Alex described it as happiness in a glass and a perfect drink for a perfect day. We drank wine and ate fois gras canapes on the terrace with our guests and enjoyed tales of their travel adventures as well as sharing our own. It was such a perfect afternoon, one I will never forget.
Once the sun had cooled a little we wandered carefree around the vinyard. The heart shaped lake, the stone henge, the vines, the terrace…so many beautiful places and such a beautiful day too, luck was definitely on our side with the weather! It really was the perfect venue for a wedding in Quebec.
We headed up to the reception hall and Alex had one little trick left up that long sleeve of his! Karena had set up the music, the walnut floor had just been polished and I was asked by my future husband to have our first dance. So there set in a beautiful valley that felt a million miles from anywhere we laughed, kissed and waltzed as the sun set behind the rolling hills of Quebec.
We finally retired to the honeymoon suite for a rest and a cooling shower before having dinner with the vintners Karena and John. We chatted the night away and before we knew it it was midnight! 1 month to the day we had our first wedding back in Didsbury!
How far we had come! Both in miles on our adventure and in our journey to find unique places in the world to get married. We had had our first international wedding! It had been a great day, we had met some very special people in the process and learned about the Quebecois culture which is in essence the purpose of our trip. To immerse ourselves in a countries culture and to meet new friends.
Thanks so much to John and Karena for making our first international wedding a possibility! You have a beautiful vinyard!
Location – Chapelle Ste Agnes Vinyard