A Quick Guide to Planning an Engagement Party

A Quick Guide to Planning an Engagement Party

Around two to three months after getting engaged, the majority of us will organize an engagement party and invite all our closest friends and family, and our future spouse’s loved ones, as well. Engagement parties provide the perfect opportunity to bring two families together and congregate with the people we love the most to celebrate our union with the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with. So, if you simply don’t know where to start and feel a little stuck on planning your engagement party, here are a few vital tips and tricks on how you can organize the party of your dreams.

Don’t Jump Straight Into It

After he or she has proposed, you should take some time to really enjoy the moment and be happy and excited about your future together. It’s a bad idea to jump straight into the stresses of party-planning when it’s only been a couple of weeks since they popped the question! So, it’s essential to take some time to establish what you want for the party, who you’d like to invite, and organize all the little details. Relax, breathe, and plan your engagement party at your own comfortable pace.

Establish Your Wedding Size

Keep in mind that the people you invite to your engagement party should ultimately be invited to the big day, too. In wedding etiquette, it’s actually pretty rude not to invite the guests who were at your engagement party to your wedding. So before you send off the engagement party invitations, you and your other half should have decided how big or small you want your wedding to be, in order to avoid any mishaps or confusion.

Consider Your In-Laws

Of course, planning an engagement party should be all about the wants and needs of the future bride and groom – but it’s still important to consider your in-laws and plan the party around them a little. If your significant other comes from a rather formal family, then a picnic in the park for an engagement party might not be a very wise idea. You don’t have to plan the entire party around them, but it’s still respectful to take their needs into consideration.

Keep The Wedding In Mind

You might not believe this, but some couples are guilty of getting way too over-excited about their recent engagement that their engagement party actually beats their wedding day. This is a huge mistake, and you should definitely keep your big day in mind when planning your engagement party! Don’t go all out, because then planning an even better wedding party will be difficult.

The team at St. Elias Centre has been providing expert advice for Ottawa brides and grooms-to-be for many years. From engagement parties and weddings to corporate events and trade shows, St. Elias Centre is one of Ottawa’s premiere event centres.

Wonderful Winter Wedding Ideas

Wonderful Winter Wedding Ideas

There is no denying that winter is an incredibly romantic season of the year – cozying up by the fire with your other half, ice-skating hand in hand, and trying to find the best possible Valentine’s gift for the love of your life. It’s definitely a time of year for togetherness, and sharing as much body heat as humanly possible. That said, it’s also a great time of year to make your love official in front of all your friends and family, and tie the knot. So, if you’re thinking about getting married at the coldest (and most romantic) time of year, then here are a few awesome winter wedding ideas.

Opt For Red Roses

We all know that a red rose is the most romantic flower – and, if chosen as the flowers for your wedding, there really is no better time to rock a bouquet of red roses than in winter. Alternatively, other popular choices for winter wedding flowers are calla lilies, white hydrangeas, and amaryllis. Go for a white or red ribbon wrapped around your bouquets for the ultimate winter style.

Serve Hot Drinks

Winter is the best time of year to snuggle up with a mug full of creamy hot chocolate, so why not incorporate this into your wedding? Rather than serving fancy cocktails at the party, why not do things differently and give your guests mulled wine? This will give your wedding an extra wintery ambience.

Go Crazy With Centerpieces

If you really want to go all out with the whole “winter theme” for your wedding, then it’s essential to put lots of thought into the centrepieces. Bring the cold indoors with ice sculptures, and dot lots of fancy candles around for an extra intimate atmosphere. Fill vases to the brim with winter flowers, and make your indoor wedding reception really come to life.

Rock That Cake

What better way to show off your wedding theme than via the cake? Go for ivory or crème icing, dusted with gold or silver glitter sprinkles. If your wedding date is during Christmas time, then why not decorate your cake with holly? Alternatively, if you’d prefer a more minimalistic look, then request for the cake to be dotted with crystals.

As you can see, there really are so many awesome ways you can rock your winter wedding. Whether you choose to incorporate the winter theme into your bouquet, or if you want to go all out with ice sculptures, the choice is entirely yours. Whatever you go for, there is no denying the romance of a winter wedding.

Why Get Married in the Winter?

Why Get Married in the Winter?

Although most couples tend to tie the knot in the spring or summer, there really is no denying the romance of a white winter wedding. With snow falling all around and beautiful white blankets covering the ground, wedding photographs can easily look like the setting of a winter wonderland. So, if you’re considering getting married in the winter of 2016, below are a few awesome reasons why you should absolutely go for it.

You Can Create an Indoor Paradise

It’s possible but unpleasant to have an outdoor wedding in the winter, so why not grab the opportunity to create an indoor paradise for your wedding reception and party? After all, the fact that it gets dark so early in the winter allows you to start the party just that little bit sooner. Go crazy with ice sculptures, dot your tables with winter flowers like roses and hydrangeas, and serve up comforting hot drinks rather than cocktails. Winter wedding parties are known to be super intimate and cozy, and what more could you want with your closest family and friends?

You Can Make Your Money Go Further

Because so many people tend to get married in the warmer months, tying the knot in the winter can actually be a much cheaper option – so it’s ideal if you’re on a tight budget. You’ll find much more availability with suppliers and wedding venues in Ottawa, because winter is a less busy time of year. It’s definitely a sensible thing to consider when thinking about a winter wedding.

You Don’t Need to Worry About the Weather

When you set your wedding date to sometime in the spring or summer, there’s always a terrifying chance that it will rain, and your outdoor wedding will be instantly ruined. But, in the winter, you’ll be expecting bad weather anyway, and you’ll be all set for it. So, in a sense, a winter wedding is much less risky weather-wise than a spring or summer one.

You Can Look Like a Winter Princess

If the whole Frozen look is totally your thing, then getting married in the winter would be perfect for you. In the summer months, wedding dresses are all about the whole floaty, lacy look, but winter provides the chance to dress up like a winter princess. Think long, detailed, extravagant dresses, hair styled with crystals, and a plum or deep red lip colour. Winter is the perfect season to rock this style.

2016’s Most Anticipated Wedding Cake Trends

2016’s Most Anticipated Wedding Cake Trends

Most people who have been married, or who are in the process of organizing their wedding, will know all too well just how important small details really are. From gluten-free and vegetarian food options to the colour of the ribbons tied to the back of the chairs to the size of the bridesmaid’s heels, weddings really do test the patience of even the most organized person. And, one feature of a wedding that definitely deserves lots of attention is the cake. Wedding cakes are great at acting as a canvas to demonstrate the theme of your wedding, whether that’s classic black and white, all things nautical, or a scene from a fairytale book. Cakes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can act out just about any theme you can imagine. So, if you’re planning on getting hitched in 2016, you’ll be excited to know that there are all sorts of new wedding cake trends that are predicted to be huge this year. Here they are!

Painted Wedding Cakes

The concept may sound a little strange, but boy, do painted wedding cakes look good! If you’re planning on having a colourful wedding, or would like the cake to act as the “accent” of the party, then opting for a painted wedding cake is a fantastic idea. People are even going for stained-glass painted cakes, and Monet-inspired design – will you be one of them?

Ombre Wedding Cakes

It’s safe to say that ombre really is taking over. Not only is ombre hair super popular right now, but it’s now possible to get an ombre cake for your wedding. This cake idea proves to be extremely artistic, and can be done in all sorts of ways. If your colour theme is pastel blue, great! If it’s more of a hot pink, then that can be done, too. There is an ombre cake to suit every style and taste, so this wedding cake trend is definitely worth looking into further.

Metallic Wedding Cakes

Metallic cakes are so in right now. If you’re going for a classic, old-Hollywood feel at your wedding, then a metallic wedding cake will fit in perfectly. But, even if you’re not, they look great with a range of themes. They are a perfect way of combining classic and modern, and can be made in all sorts of unusual shades.

Ruffled Wedding Cakes

One wedding cake theme that’s becoming increasingly popular is ruffled, since it looks so sophisticated and elegant. Ruffled wedding cakes look light and airy, and perfect when combined with floral décor. Simple, minimalistic and oh so pretty, it’s no surprise that this wedding cake trend will be a big hit in 2016.

Lace Wedding Cakes

If you want a classic and elegant wedding cake but aren’t feeling the whole “ruffled” thing, then a lace wedding cake is a good option to consider. These are particularly effective if the bride is wearing a lace wedding dress, but still look fantastic even if that isn’t the case. A tiered wedding cake with minor lace details is super popular right now, but is also a blissfully timeless design.

5 Signs You’ve Found Your Dream Wedding Venue

5 Signs You’ve Found Your Dream Wedding Venue

Getting engaged and planning the perfect wedding is definitely a milestone time in anyone’s life, and is a situation that brings about a whirlwind of emotions, from happiness and joy to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Once the excitement of getting engaged has worn off slightly, it’s time to start planning your wedding. One of the most important factors is, of course, hunting for your dream wedding venue in Ottawa to get hitched. Whatever type of venue you opt for, it’s safe to say that when you’ve found “the one,” you’ll know about it instantly. Below are five tell-tale signs that you’ve found your dream wedding venue in Ottawa:

It Matches Your Budget

Even though it’s easy to get a little carried away when looking for a wedding venue, it’s definitely important to make sure you only hunt for places that are within your budget. So, if you think you’ve found the perfect place, and you can afford it, this is a good sign. Choosing somewhere that appears absolutely ideal, but is way out of your price range, is never a wise move.

You Just Know

As mentioned above, when you find your dream wedding venue, you’ll more than likely get the feeling of “this is the one” almost instantly. If you have extremely positive first impressions the second you arrive at the venue, then it’s probably because you’ve found the ideal place. If you find an “almost perfect” venue but aren’t ecstatic about it within the first ten minutes, it’s because there’s something better out there.

It’s Practical

If you think you’ve found an amazing wedding venue, but it’s simply too small for the amount of people on your guest list, then keep on looking. One of the most important factors in finding your dream wedding venue is that it’s practical, and caters for the style, size and theme of your wedding. This is super important, and should always be considered on your wedding venue hunt.

You Have Others To Compare It To

It’s essential to be able to compare many different wedding venues, in order to get a better feel and instinct of which is the right one for you. Sure, you’ve got a brilliant first impression of the first wedding venue you visit (which is always a good sign), but it’s still sensible to have other places to compare it to. This makes the decision making process much easier, too.

It Fits In Well With The Theme

Whether or not you have a specific theme for your wedding, it’s important that your wedding venue caters for this. If you want your wedding to be very outdoorsy, then it’s no use opting for a venue with barely any space outdoors. The St. Elias Centre, for example, is located right next to beautiful Mooney’s Bay and Hog’s Back Park, the perfect backdrop for unforgettable wedding photos.


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.

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