Newlyweds walk down the aisle after getting married at St Jax Montreal

Wedding at St Jax in downtown Montreal

I had such a great time photographing this wedding at St-Jax Centre in downtown Montreal.

Take a look at the photos below for the story of this couple’s big day!

Keeping their wedding photos spontaneous

Cindy and Brian met on a dating app while he was visiting Montreal from the US. He had just come in from New York City for a few days, but when they met, they hit it off. She loved his smile and found out he had the energy to match her feisty nature.

Four years after they first met–having made a long-distance relationship work across international borders–they were finally living in the same city and going to get married!

When it came to planning for their wedding photos, the couple knew they wanted to keep things simple and fun with lots of candid photos. So I aimed to keep their portraits more spontaneous and go-with-the-flow. They loved the urban aesthetics of downtown Montreal and wanted to just wander around among the bustling city crowds for their wedding photos along St-Catherine street.

Portraits in downtown Montreal

Before the ceremony, we met near the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the bride and groom’s first look and for some family portraits.

With everything happening right in downtown Montreal, it was easy for the wedding party to walk directly from the museum to the wedding venue at St Jax Centre. Along the way, we took some fun photos with this gang of friends and family members.

Here are the locations we visited for this quick photo outing:

  • The shady steps of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts made a great background for some formal family portraits.
  • We walked down MacKay street, stopping in the parking lot behind Concordia University to take some group photos with the wedding party in front of a gorgeous faded pink wall.
  • Along the way to St-Jax, we got plenty of action shots of the wedding couple walking together with their friends.
Wedding couple walking down stairs of Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal
Both the bride and groom had lucky “something blue” shoes

Getting married at St Jax

Centre St Jax is a historical venue in downtown Montreal. It was originally an anglican church, but the building has been transformed to also provide rental spaces for charitable organizations, artistic performances, community events, a circus cabaret and weddings.

There are 3 event spaces available for booking: the Sanctuary, Shatford hall and the outdoor garden.

Cindy and Brian’s wedding cwere married in St Jax’s main event space, the Sanctuary. The large room has high vaulted wooden ceilings and stained glass windows. The space has been updated with creative lighting for events, has a capacity of 200 guests and is wheelchair accessible.

I used a few off-camera flashes to provide some extra lighting for the ceremony. The space is beautiful and the stage is well lit, but with all the wood and high ceilings, I needed to add some additional lighting to make sure I could capture the reactions of guests off the stage. Especially for the entrance of the bride!

The wedding was officiated by the groom’s cousin, which always makes for a more personal touch.

The ceremony was not religious, even though the setting was a transformed church space. The ceremony started with a few simple speeches from family members. Then, the wedding couple shared the vows they had written for each other. Everyone clapped for them as they enthusiastically cheered after being officially wed!

Outdoor wedding reception in the garden at St Jax

Their wedding reception was held outdoors in the Garden, an open air space right in the heart of downtown Montreal on St-Catherine street.

Most of the decorations were handmade by the wedding couple, including some candles with some of their favourite scents!

The bride and groom looked so happy on their big day, surrounded by the love of their family and friends. For the photos, I really tried to capture the atmosphere of the reception, with everyone dancing to the music. There were so many fun moments like the heartfelt toasts from their siblings, jokes from cousins and uncles, and tons of laughter and fun.

First dance as a married couple

For the first dance, the bride’s cousin sang a beautiful song and then the father of the bride sang a song to his daughter as well.

Thankfully, the weather cooperated on this sunny day. It was labour day weekend, but it still felt like summer!

Live music by the family band

The bride’s father, uncle and cousins are members of a band together and they played several live music sets. The music was amazing and they switched with ease from classic rock covers to reggae rhythms from Mauritius.

It was my first time photographing an outdoor wedding reception in downtown Montreal. The crowd of tourists and shoppers on Sainte-Catherine street loved the free show!

As the band played, passers-by stopped to listen to the music and watch the wedding party going on.

Family member sings his heart out during wedding reception at St Jax

A highlight of the reception was a “karaoke” time where the band encouraged a few different wedding guests and even the bride to get up on stage and sing along to some special requests!

After the past year of postponed weddings, it felt so freeing to see this wedding celebration happen with all its joy, its dancing and its hugs!

Bride hugging her father as aunt claps in the background
Mom kissing the bride's cheek as groom grins
Bride singing on stage with her sister and cousin
Karaoke performance by the bride, her sister and cousin
Groom's cousin pushing his cheeks into a smile as bride laughs
Grandma patting the bride's hand
The bride’s grandmother was happy to be there

We took a break during the reception to take some relaxed couple portraits on Sainte-Catherine street. There was a nearby street installation with bright yellow benches and plants called Le Sentier des jasettes. A perfect spot for the wedding couple to have a quiet moment together, while I captured a few portraits.

Wedding couple walking down blue ramp at St Jax Montreal
Close up of wedding couple holding hands as they sit on a yellow bench
Close up portrait of wedding couple looking at each other
Wedding couple holding hands and standing in a archway on the street

A surprise motorcycle ride for the bride

The groom surprised his new wife by renting a motorcycle with a sidecar to drive them off after the wedding reception at St Jax. Luckily his cousin had a motorcycle licence! Brian was so happy to make this wish come true for his bride. Cindy had always dreamed of going for a ride in a motorcycle sidecar and her excitement couldn’t be contained!

Bride gasps in excitement as groom grins in glee
Wedding couple excited to ride off on motorcycle
Groom’s cousin driving the happy couple away on a motorcycle with a sidecar!

After the wedding couple drove away, I followed the bride and groom back to the Meridian Versailles hotel and took a few photos of them relaxing together in their hotel suite. I really liked getting to photograph this tranquil moment to contrast all the wedding excitement.

Wedding couple relaxing on the couch after their wedding reception
Close up of bride and groom's hands as they relax after the big wedding night

WHERE TO FIND UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON getting married at Centre St-JAx

To inquire about having your wedding at Centre St Jax, you can reach out to Paul Bode via their contact page.

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