Bride and groom walking out of the wedding ceremony at Chalet des Érables

Sugar shack wedding near Montreal, Quebec

A real wedding celebration!

After photographing Elizabeth and Arold’s engagement photos at Mount Royal park, it was finally time for their gorgeous sugar shack wedding at Chalet des Érables.

I was excited to photograph this lively couple’s wedding. Their spirit of joy and the way they are open with their emotions was something I was looking forward to capturing. The result? I spent 12 hours with them on their wedding day and the time still flew by!

Groom smiling as he looks down the aisle
Bride and her father walking down the aisle
Bride and groom kissing at Chalet des Erables
Groom kissing the bride's temple in autumn woods
Wedding couple intertwined arms as they drink their wine
Photo of bride and groom during first dance at Chalet des Érables

What made this wedding stand out?

Friends and family are so important to Elizabeth and Arold. Their strong bond and close community was plain to see in every part of the wedding. From getting ready in their parents’ homes, to special touches during the ceremony. From emotional speeches during the evening to uproarious laughter. From the sweet father-daughter dance, to ending the night with tumultuous dancing with all their guests. Everything about this day breathed joy and celebration!

Groom and his dad hugging and laughing
Groom hugging his mom in their back yard
Groomsman leading a chant among the groom's friends
Maid of honour putting bride's earring on as her mother watches
Emotional bride holding up fists and grinning as she's finally in her wedding dress
Emotional bridesmaid reading a note from the bride and crying
Wedding guests waving napkins in the air and laughing
Maid of honour giving a toast
Bride hugging her brother after a speech at Chalet des Érables wedding reception
Father daughter dance

The groom getting ready with champagne and cheers

We headed to Arold’s family home first, where the groom and his groomsmen got dressed for the wedding in the back yard. It might seem a little strange to get ready in your yard, but the light was great for amazing wedding photos. Plus, there was plenty of room for all the guys to hang out.

Arold’s suit had lots of special touches that made it special. A monogram on his collar and other details really brought the style. His mom decorated with helium balloons to give the yard a festive ambiance. All the groomsmen helped Arold get ready in style. As they successfully completed their mission, the groom popped some champagne. Everyone toasted to the wedding day. Then, the groomsmen began chanting a loud cheer. It was almost like a football team psyching themselves up before the match. I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic bunch of groomsmen!

Groom getting ready in the back yard as a friend looks on
Groom's parents holding a bunch of bright helium balloons
Groomsman dressing the groom
Close up photo of the groom's cuff links lying on a red maple leaf
Close up photo of shiny black wedding shoes on a bench in the back yard, small autumn leaves are laying around the shoes
Close up photo of groom tying his wedding shoes
Groom's father putting a black bow-tie on the groom
Groom and friends getting ready for a big cheer, putting their hands together in a circle
Groom raising a bottle of champagne in the air, with his friends hands raised around him toasting together
Groom and friends walking down the street, dressed in wedding wear

The bride getting ready with twerking and tears

The bride got ready at her mom’s home. Her bridesmaids were all there hanging out with her. Even though it was early in the day, there was already a celebratory atmosphere. Elizabeth and her friends busted some dance moves and showed off their twerking skills. We captured some emotional moments when her parents helped her into her wedding dress. Then, the bridesmaids saw her complete look for the first time. Hearts were full! Afterwards, Elizabeth surprised her friends with some special gifts and thoughtful messages. More tears flowed!

Bride and her friend laughing as they get their makeup done
Wedding dress hanging from a tree in the backyard
Red velvet wedding heels and a floral bouquet on a set of white metal stairs
Detail photo of the lace train on the bride's wedding dress
Bridesmaids zipping up each others' dresses
Bridesmaid dancing in the living
Bridesmaid and bride twerking in the hallway wearing wedding robes
Makeup artist putting final touches on the bride's face
Mother of the bride buttoning up the bride's wedding dress
Emotional bride and father hugging each other and crying
Father of bride passing her a tissue for her eyes
Emotional bridesmaids look at bride in her wedding dress
Bridesmaid laughing as she fans herself with a card to stop herself from crying
Bride putting an earring on her maid of honor
Bride sitting in a wooden chair, holding a bouquet of flowers by Abeille Fleuriste

Chalet des Érables wedding venue

After getting ready, everyone made their way by limo or car to the wedding ceremony location at the sugar shack (cabane à sucre).

The Chalet des Érables is a big commercial sugar shack venue near Montreal. Also called “cabanes à sucre” (from the French), sugar shacks are where maple sap is harvested from maple trees. It’s then turned into all sorts of delicious goodies like maple syrup and taffy. Many Quebecois sugar shacks are open to the public. They have guided tours and special traditional meals. Outside of maple sugaring-off season, the Chalet des Érables becomes a wedding venue and hosts country-style weddings. This outdoor wedding venue has been developed with several ceremony locations and reception locations. The large property also has lots of outdoors options for photos. It’s a very convenient rustic location to hold a wedding. However, their highly-commercial approach means the venue is less intimate. Wedding couples may cross paths with other wedding parties on the property.

Chalet des Érable pavilion with a chandelier hanging from the roof and a view of autumn leaves in the back

Wedding ceremony in the outdoor pavilion

Elizabeth and Arold’s ceremony was held in an open-air pavilion with a beautiful backdrop of autumn leaves. The wedding was officiated by a pastor who knew the bride and groom. He led them in a traditional religious wedding ceremony, but there were still plenty of laughs.

At the end of the ceremony, the happy couple kissed and danced their way out of the open-air chapel. Their friends and family thronged them with congratulations and hugs and we took the time to take a big group photo of the guests at the back of the ceremony pavilion, with the beautiful fall colours behind.

Groom and his dad jogging up the aisle at the wedding ceremony
Groom shaking hands with his dad at the front of the wedding chapel
Bridesmaid and groomsman walking down the aisle
Groom glancing in pride at his best man as bride walks down the aisle
Bride and father entering the Chalet des Erables chapel
Close up of bride and groom's hands at wedding ceremony
Bridesmaids watching the ceremony
Bride pretending to gasp in excitement during wedding
Groomsmen laughing during wedding ceremony
Bride and groom cheering at end of wedding ceremont
Bride and groom walking out of the wedding ceremony at Chalet des Érables
Bride and groom walking out of the wedding ceremony at Chalet des Érables
Group photo of all wedding guests

Wedding portraits at the Chalet des Érables

Family portraits are simple group formals taken with your family members. I ask my wedding couples to provide me with a list of groups to photograph and we plan the schedule to make sure we include a time to take these photos together. This part of the day may seem less exciting and creative to photograph, but the resulting family portraits are invaluable. They document the people who were at your wedding, showing their support and love. And, as time goes by, these portraits will become even more precious. Grandparents and parents age. Children grow up. But these family portraits can be a souvenir of this happy moment frozen in time.

Formal portrait of groom with his mother
Formal portrait of bride with her father
Formal portrait of bride with her mother
Formal portrait of groom with his father

After taking the family portraits with Elizabeth and Arold, we headed into the woods for some rustic wedding portraits with the bride and groom. There were several paths crisscrossing the autumn woods, as well as old wooden buildings and stacks of firewood, to use as inspiration for some creative wedding photos. As the day grew darker and the sun went down, we left the woods and explored the rest of the groups, heading over to a carousel that was just sitting in a parking lot nearby. I used my on-camera flash to illuminate a few more creative photos as night fell.

Hors-d'oeuvres in the woods at Chalet des Erables
Bride and groom feeding each other hors-d'oeuvres in the woods at Chalet des Erables
Groom kissing bride's hand in front of rustic wood doorway
Wedding couple walking in the woods among autumn leaves
Bride and groom kissing near a rustic cabin
Night portrait of bride and groom in front of a rustic chapel at Chalet des Erables
Cute wedding couple kissing on a carousel
Wedding couple portrait on a merry go round
Bride and groom standing on a carousel merry-go-round at Chalet des Erables

The wedding reception

The wedding reception began with an impressive entrance by the wedding party, who got the dance floor already heated up with some big energy. Then Arold and Elizabeth ran into the wedding hall, each proudly waving a flag to represent their 2 cultural backgrounds: Haiti and Quebec. As they reached the centre of the dance floor, twirling their flags, all their guests clapped and cheered. At that moment, a few groomsmen shot off some confetti cannons! The crowd rushed to the dance floor to hug the newlyweds and dance together with them.

The emcee for the wedding reception was the couple’s friend Jennifer, who did an amazing job introducing special dances and speeches. She also lead the lively crowd of guests in some fun party games, including some karaoke challenges and dance-offs.

Kids running into reception hall
Groomsmen dancing into wedding reception
Groom running into wedding holding a Haitian flag
Bride and groom showered in confetti and waving flags of Haiti and Quebec
Mother of the groom dancing at the wedding
Wedding guest dacing with a camera and a smartphone in each hand
Woman wiping sweat off groomsman's face
Woman and child hugging the bride
Man hugging the groom
Wedding emcee in heels and dress talking into mike
Wedding guests singing along to the music at dinner
Man at wedding dancing and twirling his jacket over his head
Woman singing while holding a spoon
Wedding MC approaching guest table with game
Bride's grandparents at wedding dinner
Wedding guest twirling a pink umbrella
Wedding guests laughing
Small boy doing a handstand at the wedding reception
Small girl throwing confetti in the air and jumping

Strong feelings and passionate speeches

Elizabeth and Arold’s family and friends took turns at the mike, sharing some words of praise and love for this sweet couple. Congratulations and good wishes flowed along with happy reminiscences.

Father of the bride giving a toast
Bride hugging her father after his toast
An excited groomsman giving a speech and pointing at the wedding couple
Grandmother of the bride giving a speech
Bride's two brothers giving a speech
Groom's brother giving a speech at Chalet des Érables wedding reception
Bride and groom clapping during speeches

Later on during the night, I noticed there was a beautiful large mirror in the bathroom and decided to ask the bride and groom to leave the party for a few minutes to get some romantic photos with a creative angle. Do you have a favourite version? Colour or black & white?

Romantic portrait with mirror reflection
Black and white wedding portrait with mirror reflection
Bride and groom cutting the wedding cake
Wedding couple cutting cake
Photo of bride and groom during first dance
Close up photo of groom dancing with bride in his arms

As the night winded on, the dance party took off, with Elizabeth and Arold showing off their zouk moves and friends joining in!

Photo of bride dancing at her wedding
Photo of bridesmaid dancing with another woman at wedding reception
Photo of excited Haitian woman dancing at wedding reception

Planning a sugar shack wedding?

If you’re planning your wedding near Montreal, please say hi so we can start chatting about your wedding photo needs.

Photography teamwork!

Myriam Ménard from Crémeux Photo was my second photographer for the day. She has a great eye for capturing softer, intimate moments from afar. She also takes graceful portraits. It was a great complement to my documentary style. Since I’m often very in-the-action and closer to what’s happening. We stuck together all day instead of splitting up and covered the action together with different angles.

Videographer Mathias Lucien from Soulshine Films also worked alongside us throughout the wedding and was a pleasure to team up with.

Other vendors

Wedding venue: Chalet des érables
MC and DJ: Friends of the wedding couple
Flowers: Abeille Fleuriste
Cake and sweet table: Créations Badra Sweets
Suit and groom’s accessories: La Suiterie
Bridal jewelry: Poetry Designs

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