When Neil and I planned our visit home after spending nine months in South America, we knew our trip would start and end with weddings. Within 24 hours of landing in Newark Airport, we were in a car with the Freak and Freddie Friedman headed north toward Montreal. Dale, our second cousin once-removed, chose a great venue for the ceremony at the Sucrerie de la Montagne. The farm was only forty-five minutes outside of the city. It was without a doubt one of the most romantic weddings we’d every attended. While some people will argue that this was a destination wedding, I’d have to interject. A destination requires a mode of transportation and the entrance to another place. At the sugar farm, they use horse carriages and the world there is unlike any you’ve ever seen.
Twinkling Romance for a Destination Wedding
A verdant canopy of trees threaded over an altar and two dozen wooden benches. The bride arrived on a country wagon pulled by two massive Clydesdale horses. They had signature long bangs over their eyes and heavy hooves that commanded attention. The bridal party stepped off first, dressed in lovely plum dresses that flowed well with the natural surroundings. Dale came last as relaxed and invigorating as the country air. The bouquets were homemade as were the painted rock seat assignments.
After the ceremony, the staff passed hors d’oeuvres and a black cauldron bubbled with a spiced maple syrup concoction that perfumed the farm and kept away insects. Inside, I took a sneak peak, stopping briefly for a whisky and branch. The reception hall was a twinkling dream. Long tables ran the length of the room, left to right. LED lights hung from the ceiling like stars and hurricane vases held white column candles. Simple bushels of herbs invited guests to take a bunch home as a thank you gift and along the tables large decanters held dark maple syrup. Though it may have seemed very down-home and country, details transformed this simple space into a uniquely romantic hall as the sun set outside Montreal.
Traditional Sucre Meal at the Wedding
Maple syrup is the shining star on the farm and everything is cooked and presented to highlight its sweet and sticky accents. Dinner came in waves of roasted ham and grilled sausages, mashed potatoes and smashed yams. Green beans, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese were a soul-food delight to communal eating as the family passed plates and poured syrup over everything. Although I’m a vegetarian, I was tempted to just dive into the meat. But our waitress, a quirky and spirited Canadian, saved me by delivering a personal plate of pasta with mixed vegetables.
Desert was a family treat: multi-tiered carrot cake make by the mother of the bride. And by midnight, a last minute round of griddled pancakes were served with a generous accompaniment of more maple syrup.
Of course, the highlight of any wedding is spending time with family and friends. In fact we spent two nights in our matriarch’s house with several generations grabbing rooms and spare couches. But this destination wedding had something different. Whether you’d like to call it a romantic touch or a homespun feel or a sweet-tooth indulgence, the wedding was a success because both bride and groom thought about how they wanted to spend a few hours with their loved ones. And there are few better ways to do that than over a fleet of platters smothered with maple syrup.