Portuguese culture had always appealed to Leanne Legault's curiosities.
But the love she struck up with her former personal trainer Miguel led her to become immersed in the traditions of an enchanting group of Portuguese islands called the Azores.
Amid the hard work of the couple's wedding preparations earlier this year, Leanne was determined to be able to wear a piece of Portugal's culture on her hand for the rest of her life – and her heart was set on a completely unique wedding band, based on the 17th century legend of the Rooster of Barcelos.
Finding such a sentimental piece of jewelry with which she could fuse this story of honour and integrity would be no easy feat, and this was one of several reasons she turned to custom-made jewelry.
Leanne, of Montreal, said her affinity for Portuguese-style jewelry began during a trip to Porto.
She added: “I bought a filigree necklace there and just fell in love with that sort of jewelry.
“There's a heart symbol on the traditional rooster – it's a symbol of love and a good luck charm. I really wanted to reflect that in my wedding ring, but I didn't like anything I was finding in stores. So I decided to go down the custom route, and started looking on Pinterest for inspiration.”
As a touching gift, Leanne's mother had previously split her wedding band in half and given half to Leanne and the other half to her brother. She gave Leanne permission to use it as part of her new band.
The idea of using an existing piece of jewelry to create a special new piece was another reason Leanne felt she needed a personal, custom-made service – and so she contacted Chris & Alix for help bringing her dream to life.
Chris & Alix helped her with the design, made a wax model with added hand detailing, and ultimately created an 18k yellow gold wedding band that Leanne adored.
She said: “I found it quite difficult to explain what I wanted, but I absolutely loved the finished band when I saw it. I was proud because I felt like it was my own creation. It's nice to have something that's completely unique and has its own story.”
Chris & Alix said communication and collaboration throughout the process led to the highest quality products.
They said: “We love that Leanne is happy with the ring – our goal is always to bridge our experience and expertise with the client's desires.”
Miguel's parents moved to Montreal from the island of São Miguel – but here they have been determined to hold onto their traditions, growing their own vegetables and grilling fish just like they did back home.
Leanne's desire to lose weight led her to meet Miguel, and they got together about a year-and-a-half after her training ended.
The couple tied the knot at L'Auberge Saint-Gabriel, in Montreal's old town, on July 6.
(Wedding photos: Jenny Fellegi)