After 25 Years, Sylvain and Marion Get Married

People thought, “It took you long enough!” After being together for 25 years, with their grown kids present, Sylvain and Marion finally got married.

Many of us have nagged Sylvain and Marion. Why after all this time were they not married? Surely after 25 years you knew they were the one?

Their story goes like this. They got engaged and hosted a huge engagement party. However, Marion’s mother didn’t quite believe that their relationship would last. So she declined to show up at the party. Marion and Sylvain figured that they’d had a big celebration and that it was enough for them. No need to do the next step and get married.

Fast forward 25 years and they have a beautiful home, two jobs, and two great teenage kids. They are starting to plan for their retirement. It was during this examination of their future that they finally decided that it was time for them to tie-the-knot.

They asked me to perform their ceremony on a cruise boat on the Ottawa River on July 1, Canada Day.

Marion and Sylvain made their entrance by being the last ones to board the boat.

The 160 guests were anxious to get things underway.

We were cruising on the Ottawa River and I got the ceremony going.

They included a handfasting with the saying of their vows.

And then the grand finale … the kiss… just as beautiful and full of love as 25 years ago.

Dinner service followed the conclusion of the ceremony. Later Marion and Sylvain had their first dance as a married couple.

The party continued until we saw the Canada Day fireworks off Parliament Hill. What a treat to see them from the water.

Now that’s a way to have a wedding… 25 years in waiting… and many more happy days ahead.

Disney’s Prince Charming Married Leanne

By Rev. Alan Viau

When I meet couples, I ask them how they got together because I find life journeys very interesting. Leanne and Andrew were really a fairy tale of a Disney Prince Charming meeting his Princess.

I will let their story speak:

Leanne and Andrew met at a house party in late April, 2010. It was a wild kegger to “raise money” for the university ultimate Frisbee team, but their kids will believe it was only a university fundraiser until they are at least 18.

A week later, they went on their first date. From this moment, Andrew and Leanne knew they were made for each other. They spent almost every day together, exploring Ottawa as if they hadn’t both lived there since they were born.

In June, Andrew left for Venezuela for 3 weeks for his Disney on Ice skating career. They talked whenever they could on Skype. They both knew they were crazy about each other, but it wasn’t until he came back from Venezuela, on this 29th day of June exactly four years ago that they professed their love for each other.

But Andrew knew he had to leave for Europe in September for 6 months, and the thought of being without Leanne for that long already terrified him. He made some calls, pulled some strings and got Leanne a job selling popcorn at his shows as he traveled through Europe.

Two months later, the two set off for Europe together, experiencing picturesque Northern Ireland, historic England, romantic France and many more countries. Unfortunately, complications with the company made it so that Leanne, a Canadian, couldn’t work in concessions anymore in Europe.

Andrew, as the talent could continue to skate, but decided that he didn’t want to do long-distance with Leanne and quit his skating career to move permanently back to Ottawa for Leanne and their future together. The rest is history.

Leanne’s vows to Andrew:

On our very first date, we agreed to meet at the bench outside the Booster Juice at the Rideau Centre. Then, you immediately put your right arm around my waist and grabbed my hand with your left. You said to me “This is how a figure skater guides their partners on the ice” and we walked all the way down Elgin street, just like that.

Andrew, since that day, you have been my guide. You have taught me so many things about life, about love, about myself. You inspire me every second of every day. You are so pure of heart and full of goodness, more than anyone I know. You constantly look at the world around you and strive to make it a better place for everyone. You are so selfless, you do so much for me and everyone all the time.You know me better than anyone else in this world, and somehow you still manage to love me more than I could ever dream of.

Andrew, I promise to spend the rest of my life doing everything I can for you. I promise to stand by you in times of conflict. I promise to be your greatest fan and your toughest adversary, in life, and also in board games! I promise to be your fellow explorer. To travel together and experience the biggest adventures of life by your side. I promise to hold you in times of disappointment and dance with you in times of happiness. You will forever be my lover, my rock, my best friend. I love you.

Andrew’s vows to Leanne:

Leanne, there are so many things that I love about you. You have that perfect quirky sense of humour that I appreciate, which, combined with your loving personality, allows me to be myself around you. Your excitement is contagious, and when you set your mind to something, and are passionate about it, there is no stopping you from reaching your goal.

From the night we met, bouncing those balloons to each other, to travelling throughout Europe with Disney on Ice, peering above the giants causeway, to kissing atop the Eiffel Tower even though it was freezing, you have changed me as a person. My thoughts had moved from focused on myself, to thinking about us, and our future together, which brings us to today.

Leanne, I vow to love you, to protect you and to always be here for you as long as I live. I vow to apologize and make amends after arguments, and to do everything I can to make our lives easier, more comfortable, and make them the best lives they can be now and in the future.

I vow to not embarrass you by singing and dancing in public. Well, not too much at least. I vow to love you through sickness and in health, through the good times and the bad. In the presence of our family and friends as witnesses, I Andrew choose you Leanne to be my lawfully wedded wife. I love you.

Weddings with Special Needs Take Planning

By Rev. Alan Viau

Love knows no boundaries. People fall in love with each other despite challenges. For some, that challenge is more than just a personality quirk, it is a physical issue. It takes a little extra planning to ensure that your wedding can accommodate your physical needs. As a result you will have the wedding of your dreams.

I met Eloise and Peter and it was evident how much they love each other. Both in their early forties, they were as cuddly and tender with each other as any younger couples I’ve met. We became very comfortable with each other quickly and they said, “You’re the extrovert we’ve been looking for to do our wedding!”

We started delving into the details of their wedding ceremony. Eloise explained that she couldn’t stand very long because of her rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. We planned a very short ceremony where they would sit for most of it. Eloise and Peter would only stand for their vows.

Both medical conditions that Eloise has can vary from day to day. The day of the wedding was a good day. She was feeling good.

Nonetheless, we went through with the plan. It was a lovely ceremony with lots of love.

This is not the first time where I’ve needed to accommodate the special needs of either the bride or groom. I’ve officiated for a hearing impaired bride, a groom in a wheelchair and even a groom with a full leg cast. With a little planning any wedding can occur while taking into consideration special needs.


How Will You Get To Your Wedding?

By Rev. Alan Viau

You gotta get to your wedding somehow. That involves making a decision on what vehicle will transport you there. You have three options depending on what makes up your dream wedding.

When I got married to my Sweetheart 33 years ago, we thought transportation to the wedding was an easy decision. Her apartment was literally across the street from the hall where we were to be married. Simple we thought. She would walk across and strut over the lawn of Tabaret Hall and be there in two minutes.

We were wrong. Hearing of this, her grandfather would have none of it. He insisted that she needed to be driven to the steps of the building. Rather than cause a fuss, she climbed into his car and arrived at the steps –  a process that took 15 minutes because of all the one way streets in the area.

Every bride probably needs to decide at some point what mode of transportation she will use to get to the wedding. It really depends on what you envision for transportation for your dream wedding, or whether the decision is taken out of your hands like ours was.

Your Own Wheels

Using a friend or family member’s vehicle can be a practical choice. I’ve seen brides arrive in all sorts cars, vans and trucks. The advantage of using a familiar car is that they are readily available and inexpensive. You just need to make sure that you can easily get in and out of the vehicle when you have your wedding dress on. One other piece of advice is to not over stuff the vehicle with people and other sundries.


Limousines are a popular choice and hiring a stretch limo is very popular. You arrive at your destination in comfort and style. There is enough room for everyone. You need to research which limo company offers the size of vehicle for your needs and look into the times that you want too.

Some limo companies have specialty vehicles that may appeal to you.

No matter what company you are considering, book early. They are very busy during wedding season and also have corporate customers on the go.

Specialty Vehicles

If you really want to have fun you can rent a vintage or sports car. They add a real flare to your day.

The same rule applies to these vehicles as for your own cars – you need to ensure there is room for everyone. You may need to rent more than one car for your event. Awww shucks!

After the wedding ceremony you can be whisked away in your lovely vehicle for a relaxing ride. Perhaps it can be a special private time for the newly married couple to pause before the reception.

For my new wife, we wanted to cross the street and walk to the church hall for the reception. Grandfather insisted on a ride again. We have a comical picture of the two of us in his car.

Photos by: Alan Viau

My Favorite Wedding Venues for 2013

By Rev. Alan Viau

Another busy wedding season has come and gone. I visited many wedding venues in the Ottawa area and here are my three favorites for the year.

I classify wedding venues into three categories; rustic/natural, modern/urban chic and romantic. You can see more on this in my FREE downloadable eBookLove in the Capital. 

Rustic/Natural – Le Belvedere near Maniwaki is stunning. The wedding ceremonies are performed on the edge of a cliff overlooking a valley. It is inspiring. The building is ‘green’ and the service impeccable.

Modern/ Urban Chic – Art Is In Bakery was perhaps the most unique venue for a wedding for me this year. I was privileged to be the first to perform a ceremony there. Awesome food and service make for a memorable event. See Renee and Michael’s wedding.

Romantic – Gezellig Dining proved to be an intimate venue. It has an upper floor for the ceremony and dancing later. The main floor makes it easy to see and chat with all your guests. And of course the food is excellent. See Amanda and Ali’s wedding.

Ceremony Decor. Photo by Alan Viau

Troublesome Devices at Weddings

By Rev. Alan Viau

Weddings have sure changed in the 10 years that I’ve been officiating. Technology  has advanced, and it is usually welcomed, but there are also downsides to it.

Technology is an amazing phenomenon. With time, better products are available at lower prices. For example, I bought a 26 inch flat screen TV a few years ago for $270. For the same price, I can purchase a 39 inch TV today. As prices decrease, the technology becomes more accessible to more people. It can quickly become pervasive and abundant in our lives.

However, all technological advances are good things. In the 10 years of officiating, three devices have become not only pervasive but maybe even invasive.

GPS – Global Positioning Systems help you navigate roads. However, they are only as good as the mapping software you are using and the information you input. GPS’s are great in the city but can spell disaster when trying to find a location in the countryside. There have been many times when people got lost because they put absolute trust in their GPS. At a recent wedding, a groomsman, bridesmaid and flower girl were all in the same car and arrived 30 minutes late. Please give your guests a map or proper GPS locations with the invitation.

DSLR Cameras – Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras are everywhere now. Ten years ago, some guests had small CCD cameras. It was no big deal. Now they all have DSLR cameras and think they are professional photographers. They get in the way. I’ve even had to ask a guest to get out from in front of me so the bride could come up! I now routinely ask guests to stay in their seats so that the professional photographer can capture the great memories.

Smart Devices – I lump all sorts of connected devices here, including phones and tablets. A wedding is an experience not a social media event. You don’t need to be taking pictures, posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the wedding. In fact, brides and grooms are now asking me to direct the audience not to do those things. They want to be the first to Facebook or Tweet about their wedding. I never see some guests’ faces because they are hidden behind a tablet the whole time. And Dad – really. Be in the moment! Yes, I’ve witnessed Dads being immersed in recording the event as an observer instead of being a participant in their son or daughter’s marriage.

You may believe I am anti-technology. I am not – just against the abuse of it.

One very useful technological device is the mobile phone. It is great for directing those people who got lost with bad GPS directions, to find out where the bride is on route to the venue and for me to call if I get bogged down in traffic on the way to the location. But please – turn it OFF for the duration of the wedding ceremony. OK, well, maybe it’s four troublesome devices.

Keila-Lynne & Timothy: Destiny of Two Souls

“Destiny is a mysterious thing. No matter what you do or where you go, you can’t avoid it. And, no matter how hard you try, you cannot force it to happen before it’s time.” These were some of the opening lines to Keila-Lynne and Timothy‘s wedding at the Museum of Civilization. A wedding honoring tradition and their future together.

On this occasion we witnessed the destiny of two souls like it was written in the stars.

There is not a force in the universe that could have kept Keila-Lynne and Timothy apart and there is nothing they could have done to come together sooner.

Each of them had to live their lives to this point, lives that were stepping stones that have led to this moment in time, this wedding united their hearts and minds that shall be forever more.


Keila-Lynne walked down the aisle with her mother and father bracketed by the totem poles at the Museum of Civilization. It was fitting as Keila-Lynne is of First Nations descent.

In a special show of love and honor to their mothers, Keila-Lynne and Timothy thanked them for showing unconditional love. Mothers’ lips are the first to kiss and welcome children into the world. They were the last to kiss them in their single life and wish them well into their marriage. A mother’s love, along with their blessings, was the first to send them on their way to their new life together as husband and wife.


After their vows and ring exchange, one of Keila-Lynne’s family honored her heritage . She blew feathers into the four cardinal points calling upon Keila-Lynne to remember and honor the tribes from which she came.


And finally after declaring them married, they sealed their vows with a kiss… a kiss with destiny.


All photos courtesy of Studio Art Maria