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vendredi, 24 janvier, 2020
When I first approached L'Ambroiserie and L'Espace Canal to host my wedding they were very excited to have a January 3rd event. The event coordinator, Alexandra, responded quickly to all of my emails and questions and was very accommodating. I live in Northern Quebec so I was not always in Montreal, and it was always possible to work around the dates when I was in town. The restaurant was supposed to be closed at that time, but was willing to open to host my wedding.
I visited the venue with my then fiance during the summer and returned later with my parents for a tasting. All of this went fine. I had booked to have a winter wedding with an outdoor ceremony on the terrace facing the Lachine Canal. The terrace was empty when I booked the venue.
In November I happened to be in the area and stopped by the restaurant with my sister, who had not seen the venue yet. When we went I found that they had installed a carport toward the front of the terrace, basically right beside where we had discussed having my ceremony take place. I was horrified, and made it clear that I did not want this tempo to remain there during my ceremony. Suddenly the staff's attitude changed dramatically. Alexandra was on vacation so I assumed the disrespectful and dismissive attitude that I (and my parents and future husband) received from Alexa would go away when the event coordinator returned. This was not at all the case. I was told the chairs for my ceremony were being stored there and it was absolutely non-negotiable to move it. I received this response from Alexandra as well. Suddenly L'Ambroiserie hosting my wedding was cast as a huge favor to me since they technically were not open at this time ---which they weren't, but if it means treating clients poorly then don't agree to dates that inconvenience you. I was extremely put off by this whole performance, but they refused to back down on the tempo, even though it was not there or even mentioned when I signed a contract and gave a deposit on the venue. I would also like to know where they store all of the chairs for their summer weddings, since they use them then as well yet there is no tempo during those months. We ended up having to purchase Christmas trees to cover this eyesore as well as have my ceremony face the complete opposite direction that I had planned.
Fast forward to the wedding...well it did not go as planned for several reasons and I will forever be disappointed since I only intend to get married once. I had drawn a picture-map as well as explained to Alexandra in person how I wanted the decorations done on the terrace. I had also asked that she decorate outdoors before the reception hall since my photographer wanted to be back at the venue for 5:15pm. Alexandra said it may take until 5:30pm, which I was fine with. My ceremony was supposed to begin at 7pm, we were doing all the wedding party and family photos beforehand. When I arrived with everyone to take photos outdoors on the terrace, I found that she had done the exact opposite of what I had asked. The inside of the venue was ready to go, and the chairs had not even been set up on the terrace. Furious does not even describe how I feel about this. I ended up taking my family photos in a parking lot, which was incredibly disappointing. These are photos that were extremely important to me that I will never have the opportunity to take again. In fact, they scrambled around trying to set up the terrace for so long that I ended up having to go inside the building and hide because guests were not being seated outside for the ceremony. The terrace itself was not shovelled except for a path down the aisle, so our guests sat with their feet in a few inches of snow. My ceremony started 15-20 minutes late, not because I wasn't ready, but because the staff at L'Ambroiserie weren't. Alexandra did not start seating guests until 7pm. Not to mention that we walked down an extremely steep'wheelchair' ramp to get out of the reception hall and go down the aisle. There is no chance it is to code, it was not salted and fortunately no one was in a wheelchair. The best man had to push my sister back up the ramp when the ceremony was over because it was so steep and slippery. We had to use this ramp or enter the aisle from another door that would have put us in the middle of our rows of guests since we had to change the placement of the altar due to the tempo that L'Ambroiserie refused to move. This was not the only area that was not shovelled or salted, even though we had provided salt for L'Ambroiserie to use. The front entrance to L'Espace Canal was not shovelled or salted either, so people trampled through what became slush and slipped for the entire evening.
To add to my frustration, following the ceremony I felt as though I was being rushed by Alexandra to complete things like my first dance and wedding speeches because we were behind schedule. In reality, it was her lack of professionalism that resulted in things being off schedule yet she could not seem to understand that I was frustrated and wanted her to leave me alone about these things so that I could socialize with my guests for the hour or so following my ceremony like I had planned. It was actually a huge relief for me when her shift ended, I felt like I could start to forget how angry I was about this whole thing.
Eugenie, another employee, tried her best to arrange the Nordique Terrace we had wanted beautifully outside so I could take more photos. Unfortunately, the ceremony didn't finish until almost 8pm and I could not keep my guests waiting while I went to do more at this hour.
The food that was passed out seems to have been cold half of the time, based on my own experience as well as what I heard from several guests. This was disappointing since it had been so good at the tasting. There also did not seem to be a plan for passing out the hors d'oeuvres, we did a cocktail style reception, and so some tables were served while others received very little. I worked in the restaurant industry for 10+ years (including serving weddings) and usually there is a plan with sections for serving food, this did not appear to be the case.
My last comment will be about the DJ services provided through L'Ambroiserie et L'Espace Canal. I strongly recommend against them. I had requested a song to be instrumental only during my ceremony and much to my horror it was not. The lyrics to the chorus were still being sung. This meant that in preparation for my wedding this DJ was not able to spend more than 20-30 seconds listening to songs that he was planning to use during my ceremony. It was probably the worst thing that could happen before walking down the aisle (aside from having to start putting down your own wedding dress train because Alexandra let me walk out the door with my parents and then disappeared after she had said she would put it down, leaving us in a state of panic). I can't say the DJ stuck to the list he was given, which was a list of requests from my RSVPs so I knew what the guests wanted to hear. Then at the end of the night he played about 30 seconds of Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" before abruptly cutting the music and telling us all the night was over. I could have asked him to stay longer but it slipped my mind, oddly of all the things the staff wanted to harass me over on my wedding night, asking the DJ to play an extra hour was not one of them. They had the lights on within seconds and began dismantling the reception hall before guests had even had a chance to figure out what was going on.
Overall, I would say my experience was disappointing to say the least. I would not recommend L'Ambroiserie et L'Espace Canal under any circumstances. It was a terrible mistake and I regret having my wedding there.
02 avril, 2020