First and foremost, I’d like to thank anyone who is taking the time to read this blog. For as long as Exclusive Events has existed, we have openly admitted that we are not very good at marketing ourselves. We often take blurry pictures at our own events from behind the DJ booth and fail to ask any of the other professionals who are there to take nice shots of us or film us. Thankfully though, our business has thrived on referrals, testimonials, and recommendations from past clients and other vendors. As such, this is our way of returning the favor in some way. Essentially, I’m just going to be making a list of my favorite vendors in Montreal who are mostly from, but not exclusive to, the wedding industry.
Before moving forward, I need to be completely honest about something. I am totally ripping this idea off from someone else. He has done a list like this on 2 separate occasions and I have no shame in admitting that I was inspired by him to do the same. Based on the subject matter, I think it’s an idea that is worth stealing, particularly to share the love during the holiday season. It’s going to be such a rip-off that I’m practically going to copy and paste his criteria for the selection process for his list and only add in 1 of my own. Here’s how vendors made the list:
- We have worked with them on a wedding or event in the past
- They worked well with us and with others
- Their business feels less like a job to them and more like a passion
- They were involved in some way in my own wedding and my wife loved them too
- Not only as professionals, but as people in general, they are just awesome!
So, without further ado, let’s move forward with the first annual EE’s Exclusive Endorsements (name pending trademark and subject to change without notice).
Why in the world would I be recommending my competitors? Well, first, it’s because I see them more as friends than as competitors, and second, since I can’t DJ every wedding, I turn to people I know will deliver a quality product when Exclusive Events can’t be there.
Uptown Xpress: Owner Stefan Jez is the guy I stole this blog idea from, so it’s only poetic that I kick the whole thing off by talking about him. He is a great guy! Apart from being very knowledgeable about the business, he is always available to help others, he is innovative in this industry, and most importantly, he is passionate about delivering the best possible product for his clients at every single event.
BigBeat DJ Productions: I have known owner Mark Wellein for many years. Apart from being very detail oriented to ensure every important moment of the evening is executed perfectly, he is also a seasoned veteran of Montreal nightclubs. I have always said that the best DJs in this industry are the ones who can successfully combine the skills of a club DJ with the musical versatility of mobile DJs. That’s Mark.
Caruso Entertainment: The best endorsement I can give owner Franco Caruso is that, at his age, he is way ahead of his time. He has learned how to deliver a great product at a very young age. If he decides to stick around and do this for a few more years, the rest of us are gonna be in big trouble!
DJ Hill: Who does a DJ hire to do his own wedding? Well, in my case, I hired Evens Hill. Because my boys from Exclusive Events handled the MC portion of my wedding, I needed a guy who could rock it on the ones and twos for our guests with very varied tastes and that’s exactly what he delivered. And he did it with a very clean and modern equipment set-up which enhanced the experience.
Bernie & Molina: Their tagline is Love and Life Photography. Their business is rooted in their love for each other and they are inspired by couples in love and the magic that can be captured by their lens for them. That alone was one of the reasons we hired them as our own wedding photographers and they were amazing! I first met them when we worked together at someone else’s wedding years ago. Apart from doing awesome work that they are passionate about, we instantly fell in love with them as people. They are so easy to work with, such true passionate artists, and in my humble opinion, the best in the business for capturing candid shots.
Christina Esteban: On her website, Christina says that her work is “all about fun, light, and energy”. I have worked with her at several corporate events and weddings and this perfectly describes her. There is nothing this girl and her team can’t do. They capture moments beautifully, stylishly, gracefully, and always make everyone feel comfortable in the process.
Beautifoto: What makes Ned Mansour great at what he does is that he is always looking to find innovative ways to work with light to produce something beautiful. If you are ever browsing on Facebook, you can always tell when it’s a Beautifoto shot. He has definitely established a style that is his own and is distinguishable from others. We have done family portraits with him and he also beautifully captured my elaborate wedding proposal. Incredible shots!
Jennifer Pontarelli: This list would not be complete without her. What makes her so great is how selfless and giving she is. For her family, her friends, and even her clients, she will do anything she can to help and make sure that all those moments are captured poetically through her lens. Apart from teaming up with her at wedding shows and many weddings, she also helped us with some promotional shots to enhance our website when we launched it. We are very grateful for everything she has done for us.
Maya Media Studio: While many people have viewed and liked our wedding highlight reel, that’s actually just a brief glimpse of the artistry in their work. Alejandro (Alex) will capture so many things and you won’t even realize how incredibly it will be transformed in the final product. Some shots are classic, some shots are tricks, and some make you wonder how they were even captured. But all of them will produce an emotional connection! We loved working with Alex and his wife Isabel and we would recommend them blindly.
Marrone Films: While I don’t think that Riccardo needs my endorsement, I personally feel that there is no one in the Montreal industry who can do what he does. For several years, every time I think the quality of his work can’t get any better, he continues to expand his inventory of equipment and evolve his craft to get shots that no one else can get. You can’t go wrong with Marrone Films.
1-blink: We have worked with Chi on more than one occasion and the outcome is always the same… a beautiful, unique, and intimate representation of the couple on their special day. They capture many little details that often get overlooked and these details help to capture the energy and feel in the room so the couple can relive those moments long after their wedding day.
Rocco Dellerba: Not only did I DJ his wedding and acquire his father as my number 1 fan, but my relationship with Rocco is more important than that. He was the perfectly bilingual officiant at my own wedding. I’ve never believed that a wedding ceremony should be monotonous and boring, so it’s refreshing that Rocco’s charisma allows him to do what is required by law while adding a boost of energy and happiness to a wedding ceremony. Add to all of that the fact that he is a notary who offers legal services that are helpful to all couples and it makes him the perfect choice.
Michel Boulanger: Much in the way I described Rocco regarding his charisma and energy, Michel is the consummate professional who definitely livens up any ceremony. Known for his passionate personality and uplifting delivery during a ceremony, Michel is capable of handling so many different types of ceremonies across various types of cultures and beliefs. His experience speaks for itself.
Cava Rose: For over 6 years, we have worked closely with the team from Cava Rose on numerous corporate events, weddings, and private parties. No matter what the occasion is, they deliver a touch of class and sophistication to every event that sets them apart from other event planners. They never cut corners or lower their standards. Their attention to detail and elaborate pre-event preparation leads to perfection in execution time and time again.
Elizabeth Masso: While, as a DJ, I spend most weddings trying to help couples plan things from beginning to end (even when they have a wedding planner), Elizabeth relieves a lot of that pressure. She truly takes charge and allows me to truly focus on what I do best and not have to worry about everything else. And when it comes to the actual day of the wedding, she keeps her calm and adapts to things as they happen without micromanaging. She allows professionals to do their job and they feel compelled to provide excellent service when they don’t feel pressured. She’s awesome!
Fetes Grenadine: Have you ever spent a significant amount of time describing something to someone and then they don’t end up understanding a single thing you said? Well, that will NEVER happen with Marie-Eve and the team from Fêtes Grenadine. They listen to everything you say, understand it to perfection, and then make it happen while providing excellent recommendations along the way. They are not wedding planners. They focus on event production. We used their services for our wedding and would hire them again in an instant!
Kat&Lea Artistes Maquilleurs: Not that my wife needed it, but Katherine managed to make my wife more beautiful on our wedding day than she already is. And in my opinion, that’s not easy. My only criteria regarding a make-up artist for our wedding was that it shouldn’t appear like it was caked on. I didn’t want my wife to be transformed into someone else. Katherine did this masterfully. She understands people’s skin tones and features and enhances them in subtle ways. And she also happens to be a super nice person!
Priska Coiffure: Priska perfectly complimented Katherine’s make-up job by not going way over the top for my wife’s hair. Instead, what she did was make her look glamorous while maintaining the true essence of my wife’s beauty. The work was intricate, but looked subtle. It was classy, but also stylish. And like Katherine, it also helps that Priska is super nice!
Blueberry Invitations: Once you’ve confirmed the big 3 items (ceremony location, reception location, and entertainment), one of the next steps in the planning process is creating the invitations for your wedding. Some people choose DIY options. My wife and I did not have the time or patience to choose that route. Thank god Gabriella had both of those things (time and patience) to offer us. She helps create the design and her husband takes care of printing. And there is a lot of handcrafting work to go along with all of that. I’m sure I’m being biased here, but our invitations were the nicest I’ve ever seen and it’s all thanks to Gabriella! Great calm energy and amazing results!
Well, that wraps up the very first ever “EE’s Exclusive Endorsements”. I hope some of you liked it and I hope it helps some newly engaged couples. Also, I want to be clear on the fact that I have worked with many other phenomenal vendors as well. There is so much talent in this city and it’s amazing to work with so many great people every week. I hope to make this list an annual thing and I will make sure to include other vendors in future years. Happy Holidays to everyone and all the best for 2016!