Choosing Your Maid of Honour: Friendship That Lasts Forever

Choosing Y our Maid of Honour

One of the most important decisions that you will make after your fiancé makes the cut is to choose a maid or matron of honour. Unlike men, who may harbor a small grudge about not being chosen as your intended’s man of honour, women tend to be vocal and catty when it comes time to pick one person to be seen as highest in your esteem. Once you add in your family and your soon-to-be-husband’s family, and making this choice could turn into an all-out war. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Choose From the Heart

Using some sort of formula about whose wedding you were in as maid of honour, yet someone else loaned you money for a dress, and yet another one is the sister you love yet you can’t consider hurting someone else’s feelings…Heading down this path can be painful for everyone involved and is almost certain to cause hard feelings. The person that you choose to stand up with you at your wedding is likely the first person that came to your mind the very first time you thought about your wedding. That person who has always supported you in good times and bad and the one you cannot imagine getting married without them there.

If You Really Can’t Decide…

It’s unfortunate, but the safe bet really is to go with a family member. If you have two friends and you just really cannot choose between them, you have a few options. First, you can choose a family member and make your friends your bridesmaids or you can get really crazy and choose more than one maid of honour. What? Is that even a thing? Yes, of course it is! It’s your wedding, and you can do whatever you want to even if someone does frown at you a bit. One of the problems with going with that suggestion is that you all need to agree upfront who has which responsibilities, and where the ladies will need to work together.

Pick a Guy

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a non-traditional “maid” of honour–if your best friend is a guy that certainly doesn’t mean that to include him in the wedding that he has to be a groomsman! He can be a part of your side of the wedding party in whatever way you want him to. Figure out some way to make his outfit mesh (matching tux?) with the bridesmaids and you are good to go.

Choosing a maid of honour is one of the most important decisions you will make as you prepare for your wedding. Don’t let it stress you out or cause anguish or breaks within your friendship circle. Instead, find a way to bring compromise and keep reminding yourself that any hurt feelings are simply due to an overabundance of love.

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Holiday Party

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Holiday Party

Holiday event planning can be stressful for corporate human resources teams and their volunteers, but it does not have to be! Keep your holiday event simple and seamless this year by creating an experience that the staff will enjoy, and you can relax and get into as well. Following are five easy ways to take back control of the party:

Set your budget

Whether you have sole responsibility for setting the budget or you are simply provided with a budget to stay within, keeping things within bounds will keep everyone’s stress level at a minimum. It will also determine whether or not you can invite plus-ones or if you have to keep it employees-only. Your budget will also help you figure out whether you can rent a venue, and what kind.

Choose your venue and select a theme

There are a wide range of corporate and small business holiday events, from simple and laid-back to highly elaborate extravaganzas that employees will be talking about for years to come. Now that you have a budget, you have a good idea of where you can look for a unique corporate event venue in Ottawa. Instead of having your shindig at the same hotel or restaurant, host it at a great venue in a convenient location with exceptional staff, like the St. Elias Centre.

Get a caterer

While there are people at every organization that love to cook, for holiday parties leave the catering to the professionals. Having a potluck holiday party can take away from what makes the holiday party special – feeling pampered and loved by the company you work so hard for all year long. Keep your guests’ dietary needs in mind. Do you have vegans or those suffering from allergies? Offer options that will work for a variety of people.

Add kids for fun

Employees always want to know if significant others and children are invited to holiday parties. This is a time when you can all get together and enjoy each other’s families and get to know one another just a little bit better. Why not cut back somewhere else, maybe make the party a little simpler, to allow you to include families? Your employees will thank you.

Book the entertainment

Again, many organizations have people capable of creating music or some other entertainment, but those people deserve to enjoy the holiday party and the buildup to it, too. Why not take this opportunity to let everyone enjoy the party, even you!

No matter what kind of holiday get-together you have planned for your employees, just keep in mind that the reason for the season is to be thankful for each other and to cement what can be lifelong relationships between staff members.

5 Surprising Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

5 Surprising Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

Interested in saving money for your wedding? Let’s take a look at five surprising ways people are saving on their wedding today.

1. Friday, Sunday, or Off-Season

Ottawa wedding venues such as the St. Elias Centre offer considerable discounts for weddings on Friday, Sunday, and in the off-season. You can have the wedding of your dreams at a price that makes sense for your budget and future together. The St. Elias Centre is the perfect venue for an Ottawa wedding, at a price that makes sense. Your dazzling wedding will feel elegant and luxurious, but only you and your spouse will know that your venue rental was arranged for a completely reasonable price. Located just off Riverside Drive, the St. Elias Centre is a well-appointed venue with stunning natural surrounds like Mooney’s Bay and Hog’s Back to take beautiful photos you’ll never forget.

2. Make Your Own Food The Night Before

One way that some couples are saving a surprising amount of money is by making the food the night before. For example, it is not uncommon for people to make dozens of quiche pies, salads, or other foods that are relatively easy to prepare and filling. Also, food can be cooked at the ceremony itself, allowing for the married couple to purchase everything ahead of time and have friends/family prepare the food.

3. Buy Speakers & Pick Your Own Music

Instead of hiring a person to do music, you can save a lot by taking care of this yourself. In addition, you can leave your wedding with an awesome set of speakers! Prior to the ceremony, ask your spouse and your friends for music they like and create a playlist of songs that you can agree with. Purchase some really nice speakers and either set them up yourself or have someone set them up for you. Now, using either your smartphone or a laptop, you will have the best music all night long for the fraction of the cost.

4. Limit Your Wedding To One Thing You Can’t Live Without

It’s ok to be extravagant and bust your budget in one area – but one area only. For example, if you absolutely must have a designer wedding dress, or serve vintage wine, or pay for limos for the wedding party, go for it. But limit yourself to just one indulgence.

5. Make Your Own Flower Arrangements

Depending on the season you can either pick the flowers that will make their way into the arrangements by hand or buy them in bulk and arrange them yourselves. Either way, you save big money by not hiring a florist.

Your wedding can be amazing yet cost-efficient, if you follow these surprising tips.

How To Organize A Successful Corporate Event

How To Organize A Successful Corporate Event

When everything goes right in event planning, no one notices. Creating this error-free and engaging event can be a challenge to say the least. When planning a successful corporate event, organization is key. It can save you a great deal of money, can provide you with alternatives in case something goes wrong, and can help you to respond quickly to any emergency. Let’s take a look at five things you should follow to ensure the success of your next corporate event.

1. Planning

There is no getting around it. The better planned a corporate event is, the greater the chance that it will be a success. Planning is the lifeblood of success when it comes to events and carefully organizing every aspect of what is going to happen will minimize risk, errors, and problems. Start by creating a timeline of when things like event centres and services have to be scheduled. Event centres like the St. Elias Centre in Ottawa are perfect as they are accustomed to helping companies and they will know what they are doing. Also, create a separate timeline for all events that will be occurring during the event itself. Make sure everyone else is aware of this timeline as well.

2. Scale & Budget

Scale and budget go hand in hand. The greater the size of the event, the greater the budget will have to be. Keep costs to a minimum by scheduling ahead and shopping around. Ask your event centre contact for assistance as they have gone through this process numerous times. Figure out what key things are important, what things you can do without, and try to get an accurate read for who will be there.

3. Venue

Keep things simple and rent out space at an event centre in Ottawa like The St. Elias Centre. The centre can help with some of the planning and companies that work with event planners will know where the location is and what is generally expected.

4. Equipment

Get a list of all equipment available at the event center and then make a list of what you will need. If you do not have it and are not planning events, then consider renting equipment.

5. Have Backups

Last but not least, make sure you have backups. By backups, we mean alternatives to key events. For example, if you have a keynote speaker and the speaker does not show up, what do you do? If the food company is not on the ball, do you have a backup? By having a backup for key things, you can respond effectively to any emergency.

Planning a Fabulous Fall Wedding

Planning a Fabulous Fall Wedding

Everyone feels a little bit differently about when is the perfect time of year to get married. However, more and more couples are opting to get married in the fall instead of in the summer because of the wide variety of colour options that are available to them. Fall is an ideal time to get married because the weather is typically cooler and the beautiful colours make for excellent picture opportunities.

Warm Colour Scheme

A bride and groom can also use a warmer colour scheme when they opt to get married in the fall. Instead of bright colours, they can choose to tone it town a little bit and use warmer tones such as a variety of oranges and reds. These colours make for a great combination especially if the couple that is getting married loves the outdoors.

Cooler Temperatures

Fall weddings tend to be beautiful whether they are hosted outdoors or at an indoor Ottawa wedding venue like St. Elias Centre. With cooler temperatures you can ensure that your guests will be comfortable getting to the venue and partying through the night. There is no awkward sweating because of the extreme heat that typically comes with a summer wedding.

Wedding Dress

If the bride was worried about having to wear a sleeveless dress she won’t have to worry anymore if she opts for a fall wedding. In the fall, a dress with sleeves is much more acceptable than it would be in the summer heat. This typically makes the bride more comfortable if she was worried about having to find a dress that wasn’t comfortable for her.

Fall Decorations

The decorations that can be used for a fall wedding come with endless options. From orange to red, deep greens and other fall colours you can make the decorations warm and inviting. The type of flowers that you choose for the wedding scheme can also be fall flowers such as aster and some types of lilies.

There is truly no shortage of ideas for fall weddings. With the leaves changing colours on the trees, the photos that you take will be ones that you never forget. Fall also offers milder weather conditions that can make your big day extremely comfortable for all involved. So if you don’t want to get married in the summer heat, consider a fall wedding that will give you a variety of colour options as well as excellent photo opportunities.

How to Keep Wedding Planning Stress to a Minimum

How to Keep Wedding Planning Stress to a Minimum

The love of your life finally popped the question and now plans for you upcoming wedding are underway. This can be a really stressful time in your life, despite the fact that it is supposed to be one of the most exciting. Keeping wedding planning stress to a minimum is important, especially if you want to look your best on your big day. It isn’t hard to keep stress under wraps, though – that is, if you have a technique.

Create a List

First of all, you have to find out what you are going to need for your wedding. What type of ceremony do you prefer? Do you have any specifics you just can’t live without? Is there anything special you would like to do for your nuptials? These things need to be considered before you start planning or you could end up too stressed out before you take your vows. In addition, creating a list of the important points will give you a good place to start.

Make Short-Term Goals

After you have made your list you may be looking at it like it’s too much work. Well, it will seem that way when you don’t take the time to break it down into digestible chunks. Set short-term goals for yourself and your wedding party, and then use your time wisely to check things off the list as you go. Before you know it, your wedding day will arrive and you will be completely prepared.

Find Trusted Friends to Help

There’s nothing quite like having the help of a good friend, especially when you are planning a wedding. Your best friends should be the first people you call when you need some assistance. Allowing your friends and family to take the reins on a few things isn’t a bad idea, so long as you have briefed them on what you’re wanting.

Keep Things in Perspective

Throughout the entire process of planning your wedding, you might start to become stressed out because you have lost sight of what is important. Although you may want a grand wedding, the point is that you are getting married to the love of your life. In order to keep wedding day stress to a minimum try to remind yourself what all the planning is for and try not to get so upset when small things go awry.


5 Wise Uses of Your Wedding Gift Money

5 Wise Uses of Your Wedding Gift Money

The day has come and gone. After your gorgeous wedding at an Ottawa wedding venue like the St. Elias Centre, you are now married and embarking on a prosperous life with your new partner. Your guests were plentiful and all very generous. You’ve pooled your wedding gifts together and now realize that you’ve received a decent sum of money. You should consider securing your financial future by following one of these wise suggestions:

Down Payment

Has your dream house just hit the market? You can use your wedding money as a down payment and move into the home where you will start your new family. It’s always a good idea to purchase property with a down payment to lower the interest you pay each month. If your down payment is more than 20% of the purchase price, you can avoid having to add to your mortgage with CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance.

Invest for the Future

 Investing for the future of you and your family is always a smart idea. This way it can gain interest and give you an extra source of income. A financial advisor can help you make sure you are putting your money in the right place. You can invest your money in a tax-free savings account, mutual funds, or RRSP, just to name a few. It all depends on where you are in your life and what your future goals are as a married couple.

Emergency Savings

 Nobody likes to think about emergency situations like sudden job loss, disability or home repairs, but these things do come up. In order to be prepared for whatever life has to offer, it’s a good idea to have an emergency bank account with liquid funds that you can access immediately. Just having the fund available to you can make you feel safer knowing there is a cushion if you fall. We recommend opening a savings account that offers immediate access and putting a month’s worth of salary in it.

Pay Down Debt

You’ve just finished with your wedding and you both paid your fair share of it. You may have even used your credit cards or a line of credit in order to pay for everything. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to pay this money back to stop the interest charges. You can get ahead of your bills too, or make a lump sum mortgage payment. You can pay off outstanding student loans or payoff the balance remaining on your car. This will free up extra money which you can then use to save or invest!

Get off on the right foot in your new life together with these money-saving tips.



Wedding Reception Seating Arrangement

Wedding Reception Seating Arrangement

If you are having a wedding reception in a beautiful Ottawa wedding venue like the St. Elias Centre, you can’t forget about making seating arrangements! People like to know where they are sitting and that you took the time to choose who and where they are seated. We’ve outlined a number of useful tips to make your wedding reception go off without a hitch:

The Head Table

First things first: you need to decide what your plan is for the head table. Will it be a long rectangular table facing all the other tables? Will it be a small table for just the newlyweds? The latter is easy to arrange. For a traditional head table, the bride and groom usually sit in the middle with the maid of honour next to the groom and the best man next to the bride. The rest of the wedding party sits boy/girl to fill out the rest of the table.

Your Parents

Depending on your family dynamic at the time of the wedding, the parents of the two newlyweds may no longer be married, and they might even be at odds. You’ll have to take these things into account when seating your parents. You can have the parents from both side along with grandparents and siblings at the same table if that works for everyone. If not, another idea is to have each parent host a table with their close family.

Avoid Tension

There may also be situations in which certain family members or friends just don’t get along. It’s probably best to seat them as far away as possible. They’ll appreciate it. You don’t want tempers to flare during your big day. You would like to hope everyone can keep it civil for the married couple’s sake, but we all know that isn’t always possible.

Play Matchmaker

Reception tables offer a good opportunity to mix and match your friends and family in groups you think will get along well. If you have a number of single friends coming, you can match them at a table with people of the same age group. If you have a few steady couples coming, you can match them up with people of similar interests so they have something in common. You never know who you will see dancing with who late into the night or which people you will see sharing laughs!

With these seating tips, you’ll have the perfect arrangement for your perfect wedding.

6 Tips for a Smash-Hit Corporate Event

Corporate event

Hosting a corporate event is a great way to reward current customers, attract potential client, and build a buzz around your business. There are a lot of moving parts involved in pulling an event together, but the rewards are worth the work. These six tips will help make your corporate event a smash hit:


Get Your Timing Right

Timing is crucial to the success of your event. You need to consider key dates in the community that might compete with yours. Make sure you give your attendees enough time in order to plan and give yourself and your team enough time to prepare.


Define Your Scope

Will you have refreshments, entertainment, workshops, or speakers? Scale the event’s scope to your level of experience. If you’ve never planned an event before, you should try hosting a small one-hour workshop at your office before planning a day-long event. The St. Elias Centre can handle corporate events, large and small.


Define Roles

Who will be in charge of the event? You need one person to take ownership and manage all the details, then others to help with the rest of the moving parts. Make responsibilities clear-cut so you don’t end up without chairs at your conference or no speaker in the second hour. Consider how much manpower you’ll need at the event itself, what could possibly go wrong, and what you’ll need to have on-hand to handle issues that arise.


Get the Word Out Digitally

Use social media to get your target audience excited about the event. You can tease the event well in advance, post pictures of your preparations, and invite customers to the event through social sites. Keep the social media energy high during the event by having an employee live tweet and post pictures and video from the event as it’s going on.


Develop Promotions

Market yourself or your business to potential clients when they’re at your event. You can use business cards, brochures, discount coupons, gift cards, or even product giveaways and contests. Be sure to capture attendees’ contact information by having them put their business cards in a fishbowl for a prize drawing. The St. Elias Centre can help you with your promotional needs at your corporate events.


Stay Positive

On the day of the event, be ready to accept that you probably haven’t planned for every possibility. If you stay positive, keep your sense of humour and make your customers feel welcome and happy they came, it won’t matter so much that something went wrong.

Follow these tips, and your corporate event is sure to be a success.

The 5 Hottest Summer Wedding Trends of 2015

Summer wedding

Summer is the most popular time for weddings, so why not embrace the warmth and fun of the season to make it one people will remember forever? Here are five fun new ideas for your summer celebration:


Create Natural Centerpieces

Making natural centerpieces consisting of fruit is a fun fresh summer idea that will turn heads. Have your florist use hollowed-out watermelons as a centerpiece container for a casual look that’s fun and seasonal. Another way to incorporate natural elements in your centerpieces is to go green with your containers. Use wooden vases or pedestals with grass or moss to give centerpieces a natural feel.


Get Creative with Desserts

Get inspired by the summer pastimes and flavours you loved as a kid. For a nostalgic snack, hire an ice cream truck to arrive out front of your venue and serve some childhood favourites. If you are dead-set on having a cake, how about getting one that is infused with summertime fruit flavours like lemon, key lime, or orange vanilla? You could use a strawberry shortcake-style wedding cake topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.


Incorporate Summertime Music

To really embrace the summer season, think about alternative music styles. Create a laid-back vibe during your cocktail hour and dinner with a singer accompanied with a ukulele. For the reception, heat up the evening with the sultry sounds of a classic swing band. The St. Elias Centre is capable of hosting any kind of musical request for your cocktail hour, reception, or ceremony.


Send Unexpected Invitations

Break free from the normal, boring invite by getting them fabric-printed, along with your programs and escort cards. This would create a laid-back feel perfect for the summertime. You could also try reversing the usual invitation colour scheme. Think of a great background and print colour combination, like fuchsia and cream, and switch them around. This is a great way to grab your guests’ attention while they open their invitation.


Serve Wine Smoothies

A wine smoothie consists of a fruity wine, like rosé, blended with ice and fruits of your choice. They are garnished with a couple of berries or fruit slices. They are cold, frosty and pack less of an alcoholic punch than margaritas. Wine smoothies are perfect for your cocktail hour and as a signature drink for the evening. They make for a refreshing and unexpected signature sip.

Stay ahead of the curve with these amazing summer wedding trends of 2015.

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