Ah, the great venue hunt—such a time-consuming, stressful, but ultimately rewarding (if you find the place) process. As I mentioned in the previous post, we were really looking for a place that provided everything. There were some beautiful venues in and around Montreal that were in parks, art galleries, rooftops, etc., but since we were planning a destination wedding, we didn’t want the added stress of trying to find a caterer, chair rentals, dinnerware rentals, etc. in addition to a venue.
So figuring out what we did and did not want a venue to provide and having a guest list of about 100 people in mind really helped narrow down the list of potential venues for us. After some research, we decided to see six venues. All were hotels that offered all-inclusive pricing for a flat per-person fee. The per-person fee looked intimidating at first, but considering it included the venue, food, alcohol, waiters, bartenders, dinnerware, flatware, glassware, and basic table linens it was well worth the cost. Of the six venues, four were chain hotels and two were boutique Old Montreal hotels.
We scheduled our first wedding-planning visit in March, with two of those days set aside for venue visits. All the venues were nice and we were even able to do some food tastings the day we toured the places. (Here’s a tip: we ended up getting two of the tastings for free! We told our venues that food was a huge consideration for us and we wouldn’t have been able to accurately judge the hotel unless we tried the food. It really never hurts to ask.) But in the end, only one stood out amongst the rest.
Hotel Nelligan’s indoor atrium / Image via CNTraveler.com
The venue we ultimately decided on was the Hotel Nelligan. It was actually FH who, despite the fact that it was only the third place we visited, declared after a few minutes, “This is it. This is the place.” And surprisingly it wasn’t because he was bored or tired. He genuinely fell in love with the venue (he scored major points yet again!!). The hotel is extremely charming—there are only 104 guest rooms, there is exposed brick everywhere throughout the hotel (including the guest rooms and the reception spaces), the interior lobby and bar is connected via an atrium that lets in light through its gorgeous sunroof, it’s located right in the heart of Old Montreal, and, most importantly, the reception space is pretty large and can double as both the ceremony and reception space using the room dividers (hence saving mucho dinero by combining both events in on location). We also had dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant the night before and the food was delicious. We were later told that the executive chef also prepares the food for weddings, so that was a huge plus there.
There is also a gorgeous rooftop bar where we can host cocktail hour (weather permitting). All in all, it had everything we were looking for in a venue and more. But the best part—the package includes a nine-hour open bar. That’s right. NINE HOURS. Needless to say, everyone is going to get a little cray during the wedding!
Hotel Nelligan’s rooftop bar / Image via Tourisme-Montreal.org