Ashleigh and Faisal were married in an intimate outdoor ceremony in Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple was already planning for their wedding ceremony to take place in Mount Royal Park. They had pictured a simple ceremony in the midst of nature, surrounded by their family and friends. While the wedding couple needed to change the size of their guest list and keep their guests socially distanced, they still made this pandemic wedding happen!
Getting married in Mount Royal Park
Ashleigh and Faisal called the park to ask for permission beforehand. They found out there is no option to reserve a space in this public park, but that they were welcome to get married there.
Once you determine the location you want, you have show up early enough to save the space. Ashleigh and Faisal made sure to have some friends arrive early enough to their wedding location to save the place.
Since this is a popular park, it also means the wedding ceremony may have a few onlookers, as hikers pass by on their weekend stroll. For a quiet ceremony location with less crowds, Ashleigh and Faisal chose to have their wedding near the reservoir shelter. This spot near the top of the mountain is less landscaped and is on a wooded hilltop. There was also a rustic shelter that they could stand under if it rained. But their wedding day turned out to be warm and sunny!
Setting up for an outdoor wedding in the park
Faisal is an Environmental Coordinator for Concordia University so he wanted to reduce their impact on the park. Their friends helped carry all the wedding decorations in and out of the park on the big day, leaving no trace behind. They decorated with blankets the guests could sit on and set up some large paper flowers.
As guests began to arrive, Faisal went to change into his wedding outfit inside his car. Then, he helped his two groomsmen with their ties. A few friends stayed near the parking lot to guide guests to the ceremony location.
How they adapted for a pandemic wedding
The groom set up a phone on a tripod to live stream the ceremony. That way, guests who could not be present could watch the wedding live. It was especially important to the bride as her mom and sister were far away in BC.
Guests sat on blankets in their family bubbles and watched the wedding under the shade of the trees.
An emotional ceremony in the midst of nature
The ceremony was officiated by Ashleigh’s best friend Michelle. It was filled with lots of laughter and smiles especially as the couple shared their own vows with each other.
The couple participated in a tree-planting ceremony, which was fit perfectly with their park wedding location. The father of the bride and the mother of the groom each brought a little dirt from their family homes and added them to the small tree pot, symbolizing the coming together of the two families. Then Ashleigh’s daughter watered the small tree.
Cocktail hour in the park
Once the ceremony was officially over, the couple toasted each other and their guests with prosecco. The wedding couple also brought some delicious cannoli for all the guests to share.
Ashleigh had brought along some lovely scented hand sanitizer the guests could use to disinfect their hands. A single caterer did an excellent job serving the guests from a picnic table in the middle of a park.
Socially distancing prevailed, with many air hugs and congratulations from a distance for the bride and groom. A few family members sneaked in rare and coveted hugs.
While their guests enjoyed the cocktail, Ashleigh and Faisal chatted with family members by video, greeting long-distance friends and family who were too far to be present.
Wedding photos on the mountain
After chatting and taking photos with their guests, the bride and groom headed off through the woods with me for their wedding portraits. They chose to do their wedding photos right their on Mount Royal, both because they love the park and because it kept things simple with no extra travel.
We walked along the trails, meeting a couple of raccoons along the way. Children waved to the wedding couple as they passed by.
We headed along the paths through the woods and trekked down the mountainside, taking wedding photos along the way. Faisal was born and raised just a few streets away from the park and still knew the forest paths by heart.
Wedding reception at Il Cortile restaurant
After our photo walk down the mountain, we arrived right in downtown Montreal.
The wedding couple headed to Il Cortile restaurant, where a small wedding reception was planned for any guests who could safely attend. At the time, in-restaurant dining was permitted and for this one night, friends and family were able to share a meal with the happy bride and groom.
Where to find up-to-date information on weddings during COVID
This wedding in 2020 respected the outdoor gathering guidelines on number of guests at the time. However, restrictions on gatherings are constantly changing as we adapt to the ongoing health crisis.
- If you’re planning a wedding during the pandemic, get the most up-to-date information from the Quebec government here: Measures in force for gatherings.
- If you’re planning a wedding in Ontario, here’s the page to check: Organized public events and social gatherings.