Some people make special requests for wedding photos with a favourite relative, or against a certain backdrop; we asked our wedding photographer to snap pics of the food.
All of the photos in this post were taken by the fabulously talented Heather Wilkinson of Lucid Imaging.
If you need to hire a wedding or portrait photographer, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone as professional, accommodating, and just as gosh darn nice as her. Heather is based in New Brunswick, but is open to travelling anywhere for an assignment.
Click away now if gushing descriptions of picture-perfect days, and ridiculously good food and company turn you off. (Warning: this is a long one.)
The first question anyone asks is why we got married in New Brunswick. The short answer is because we love the Rossmount Inn, a 18-room inn with a plush duvets, a shady veranda, and the best dining room on the East Coast.
The long answer is because we knew our guests were coming from all over Canada, it was going to be a destination wedding of sorts anyway. We picked St. Andrews because it’s the most relaxing place we’ve ever visited, and we wanted to share that with our friends and family.
Food was one of the most important considerations (surprise, surprise!). With Chef Chris Aerni‘s help, we nailed down our menu before we even completed our guest list.
It’s fair to say Jason and I looked forward to getting the wedding part out of the way so we could get to the food. So much so that I promised our guests the ceremony would be no longer than eight minutes.
On a sunny, cloudless, fall afternoon, in front of 42 friends and family, Jason and I got married on the pool deck of the Rossmount — clocking in at seven minutes, 51 seconds from the time the procession music played to our first wedded kiss.
The Rossmount’s impeccable team sprung into action, serving champagne and hors d’oeuvres to our guests as we hurried through family pictures.
Plate after plate of wonderful treats appeared:
- Cold watermelon soup with an edible flower (borage, I think) in apertif glasses
- Warm cheese gougères
- Grilled prawns with raspberry sauce
- Salmon mousse on rye bread
What I had been looking forward to for months was the oysters on the half shell. The ones we had were from Savage Harbour, P.E.I. — luscious and meaty with a salty start and a sweet finish — kissed by an apple verjus mignonette.
At the gong (yes! they have one), we moved into the dining room for dinner.
I had fretted over the wines — being limited by what was stocked by N.B. Liquor — but really who cares, when you’ve got a room full of happy people?
The Rossmount’s kitchen sticks to local, organic ingredients as much as possible. (On a previous visit, we met their kelp supplier who brought the day’s fresh catch in a plastic grocery bag and laid it out on the table.)
Our first course was a refreshing salad of organic leaves from Bantry Bay, a local farm, heirloom tomatoes and herbs from the Rossmount’s organic garden, with a lavender-honey vinaigrette.
There were four choices of mains and believe me, it was incredibly hard to pick just one. At one point, Jason and I contemplated trying to share all four.
I went with the “I need to stay comfortable in this dress” choice of the Atlantic halibut, poached in virgin olive oil. The unbelievably tender fish got a sweet pop with oven-dried tomato cassoulet against Israeli cous cous.
Jason got the “best steak I’ve ever had” Sterling Silver striploin, grilled with four spice, and sourced from Alberta. Chef told us he tries to stick to local ingredients — but nothing beats Alberta beef.
The steak was served with a to-die-for brown butter cauliflower purée, truffle-mushroom reduction, and ribbons of green and yellow zucchini.
Everyone’s steak was cooked to order. In fact, everything was. Pre-cooking and reheating is not something they do in the fine Rossmount kitchen.
The succulent rack of lamb came from Whitfield Farms, about two hours away in Anagance. Date jus hung on the thick, meaty pieces, on eggplant-chickpea caviar and late summer squash.
My mom and sister were gnawing on the bones. That’s what we do in our family when something is extra good. We’re classy that way.
To be honest, I think most chicken dishes are boring (unless it’s fried), but the Rossmount serves a really good chicken breast with mixed mushrooms, white wine-rosemary cream sauce and rösti, a kind of Swiss pancake made of shredded potatoes.
Our flower girl had a child-size chicken dish and everyone at her table — with their steaks and lamb and halibut — was casting glances at her plate.
And there was one vegetarian dish. Now normally, I mock vegetarians, but Karen was our co-MC and an all-around awesome person so we made an exception. She got a beautiful plate of perogies with green and yellow zucchini — which Jason’s brother kept picking at, even though he had a steak in front of him.
Stuffed yet? Nah, time for dessert.
Jason and I did not want a wedding cake. Most of the time, it’s bland and/or dry, and for some reason encourages people to smush it into each other’s faces.
Instead, there was a fabulous trio of desserts:
- Chocolate truffle cake
- Citrus-scented creme brulee
- “Cream and crunch”: local berries with wafers and cream.
Oh right, and in between all of this amazing food and wine, there were touching speeches, teary toasts, and jokes at our expense.
As we tucked into coffee and tea and post-dinner drinks, the night continued with trivia, slideshows, and general conviviality. (Yes, I’ve been playing too much Facebook Scrabble.)
I have to mention that the bar knowledge of Rossmount’s staff is unbelievable. Friends who frequent fancy bars in Montreal, New York, and Toronto were blown away by the dry martinis, properly made gimlets, and metal cocktail olive picks.
At 11:30 p.m. the Rossmount rolled out a late-night snack of lobster rolls, artisanal cheeses, more oysters and chocolate-dipped strawberries. There are no pictures, but you can take my word that it was a hit.
I had to reassure Graziella, the inn’s co-owner, that the reception dinner had been plenty — she was worried they didn’t serve enough — and it’s just that most of our friends happen to be gluttons. Some guys proudly informed me they ate three lobster rolls.
Later, Chris and Graziella told us in eight years of holding weddings, they had never seen a group eat so much. I think that’s the sign of a successful wedding party.
Rossmount Inn, 4599 Route 127, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, (506) 529-3351.