3 Reasons Why Catering Can Make or Break Your Event

3 Reasons Why Catering Can Make or Break Your Event

What do you remember most about the last big event you attended? Chances are it’s the food. Whether good or bad, everyone remembers the food, which is why catering can make or break your event. Serving fresh, quality food is crucial for giving your guests something they can really enjoy and remember for the right reasons. Read on to learn more about why you should never compromise when it comes to catering.

It’s the Main Feature

Whether we like to admit it or not, the apps, meals, and beverages are really why most guests attend. That’s why serving a well-rounded menu that can appease a variety of taste buds is important. If you want to really shine with your catering, make sure to serve fresh, quality ingredients. And don’t forget to include some creative and tasty options for vegetarians and vegans too. Dietary restrictions such as these are becoming too popular to neglect as an afterthought.

Reduce Your Stress So You Can Enjoy It

A good catering service is also responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly, from coordinating timing for serving meals, to keep your guests topped up and feeling happy. No matter what type of event it is, the service always matters, and having a solid catering team behind you can make a world of difference.

At the St. Elias Centre, our award-winning culinary team offers a delectable menu that will wow your guests. Our staff and servers will take care of all the coordination and details so that you can actually enjoy the event without having to stress about delegating.

Leave a Positive Impression

No one wants to go through all of the hassles of arranging an event only to have it stained with a negative impression thanks to the food. The point is to leave a positive lasting impression for your clients, family or colleagues. Just as your polished appearance and demeanor matter, the same point applies to the food that’s served. A menu that is professionally prepared and presented can ensure your guests leave feeling full and satisfied.

Looking for professional catering for your upcoming event? Discuss your needs with our coordinator at the St. Elias Centre. Our elegant, modern event venue, professional catering, and onsite parking offer everything you need for hosting a successful occasion. Contact us today!

How to Throw an Unforgettable New Years Eve Party

How to Throw an Unforgettable New Years Eve Party

Planning on hosting New Year’s this year? You’ll need more than some apps and champagne to create a fun and memorable night. If you’re wondering how to throw an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party that will be remembered for the right reasons, we have our top tips for hosting a successful event below.

Don’t Skimp on the Food

When it comes to a party, the food is often what entices many people to attend. So it’s an important component to do right. To throw a fun and memorable night, make sure not to skimp on the food. Whether you decide to serve a sit-down meal or stick with finger foods and apps, make sure the food is fresh and tasty. Also, don’t forget about the vegetarians and vegans in the crowd! With more and more people jumping on this way of eating, there will likely be at least a few in attendance. So, don’t forget to include tasty options for them as well.

Make Sure the Music Suits Your Crowd

Music is a key part of setting the tone and creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. To get your guests up dancing and having a good time, make sure to put some thought into the music. If you plan to host at home, set up a playlist that suits your crowd or you can even have your guests plug in their phones to switch up the music to suit everyone. To really go above and beyond, hire a band if your budget and space permits.

Host it in a Hall

If you’re looking to host a big due, then you’ll need ample space to accommodate everyone comfortably. In this case, a banquet hall like the St. Elias Centre, can provide the flexible space you need. Conveniently located in Ottawa, their venue includes parking as well as in-house catering so you can access everything in one spot. You can select a suitable menu created by their culinary team, get assistance with planning from the events coordinator, and dazzle your guests as they’re welcomed into a modern and elegant venue.

Create a Theme

People love to have a good excuse to get dressed up once in a while. So why not create a theme for yours? It can be a Great Gatsby or masquerade ball where guests are encouraged to dress in their finest gear, with shimmering dresses, tuxedos, and anything that goes. It always makes for a fun and exciting night when your guests can escape reality for a little while, let loose and have some fun.

If you want to throw an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party this year, allow us to help make that happen at the St. Elias Centre. We are Ottawa’s venue of choice when it comes to hosting any occasion. With a massive, flexible facility, an events coordinator, professional staff and award-winning culinary team, you can rest assured that your party will be a successful and memorable occasion. Contact us today to learn more!

5 Reasons Why You Need an Event Planner

5 Reasons Why You Need an Event Planner

Planning out any event is not an easy task. There are many roles to juggle which can be difficult to do when you’re already trying to keep up with your regular day-to-day tasks. That’s why you need an event planner who is experienced, organized and can help you throw an event that your attendees will remember for the right reasons. Here are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t attempt to tackle this on your own.

They’ll Save You So Much Time

Let’s face it – life is hectic these days. And the last thing you need thrown on your lap is a major event to organize from scratch. It’s a lot to handle, which is why it’s always worth it to call in an experienced professional who can assist you. An event planner will save you so much time and aggravation since this is what they specialize in. That means they’ll know how to work within a budget, they’ll have access to all of the vendors and suppliers that you need, and they’ll coordinate it all for you. It’s event planning made simple.

They’ll Create a Good Lasting Impression

Whether the event is for colleagues, clients or even friends and family, no one wants to be remembered as the host who ‘dropped the ball’. With an event planner navigating with their expertise, they’ll work with you to ensure that you leave the best impression behind with your guests by creating a fitting and enjoyable atmosphere. From the lighting to the presentation to the accessories – they will orchestrate a fun and memorable event for everyone, including you!

Attention to Detail

We all know that the devil is in the details, and that especially goes for organizing an event. One missed component can throw a major wrench in the evening. With a trained eye and ample experience, your event planner will have a wealth of knowledge for taking care of both the larger and finer details, from the table settings to coat check.

Make Changes on the Fly

Life can be unpredictable at times and when you suddenly have an extra 50 attendees that need to be accommodated, panic can easily set in. Event planners are used to thinking on their feet and will give you the flexibility to deal with any sudden changes that may arise. So you can breathe much easier.

You Can Enjoy the Event

Instead of rushing around to make sure that everything is taken care of, you can actually take some time to relax and enjoy it. What a concept!

When it comes down to it, hiring an experienced event planner just makes sense. When you want to leave a good lasting impression for your upcoming occasion, give us a call at the St. Elias Centre. Our event planner will be glad to discuss your needs and assist you in planning out a flawless event for you and your guests. To learn more, browse through our website and get in touch!

How to Make an Engaging Presentation for Your Corporate Event

How to Make an Engaging Presentation for Your Corporate Event

Have you been asked to be a keynote speaker or organize a speech for a corporate event? Learn everything you need to know with some tried and tested methods for making an engaging presentation for your corporate event that’s both educational and entertaining. 

Keep the Slides Short

Rule number one, keep the information on the slides short and sweet. This means only 3 points per page. Each point should only be a highlight for a talking point – not a regurgitation of your entire speech. The goal of the PowerPoint is to showcase the important points so that people can easily follow your message from beginning to end. 

Be Clear and Concise

When it comes to portraying your message to your audience, it’s best to cut to the chase and keep it clear and concise. You can start with a story to get people engaged but then it’s important to get straight to the point. Rambling on will only bore people, and going off-topic will make it difficult for people to understand your message. 

Add Videos and Images

The majority of the information people receive today is visual, so if you want them to really grasp and relate to your message, you need images and video clips. Just remember to keep these on topic. If they don’t accentuate a point that you’re making, the visuals will only be more distracting than rewarding. 

Ask Questions

Keep your crowd on their toes by asking questions throughout your presentation. Start with an icebreaker that will get people thinking. Then add a question or two throughout the presentation to break up different topics and get people’s attention back after processing detailed information.    

Add a Little Humour

If you want to captivate people’s attention, humour is your best weapon. In fact, humour is one of the most powerful tools because it creates a bond with your audience, lightens up the mood, and can help people remember your ideas

Have an Impressive Set-Up

If you want to really keep your audience engaged, be sure to maximize the stage setup. This includes having high-quality AV equipment, a clear sounding microphone, and a podium that you can use throughout your presentation. Everyone should be able to clearly hear you, see you, and read your presentation for it to be most effective.

Looking for the perfect venue for your next presentation? Consider our space at St. Elias Centre. We have over 10,000 square feet of flexible space, exceptional AV equipment (and rental connections), free WiFi, onsite catering, professional staffing, modern décor and lots of onsite parking. Learn more about our services and what we can offer for your corporate event.

5 Perks of Having a Winter Wedding

5 Perks of Having a Winter Wedding

Once the excitement of your engagement wears off, the reality sets in that you need to plan a wedding. While most engaged couples choose the spring and summer to tie the knot, a winter wedding can be a more affordable and less stressful option. To explain what we mean, check out these perks of having a winter wedding over choosing one in the busier months.

No Heat or Humidity

The sweltering summer heat can turn your wedding into a sweaty mess. Hot weather can also be detrimental to some people’s health, especially the grandparents if the venue is outside in the blazing sun. In the winter, you don’t have to worry about the hot and humid conditions or wind and rain that can ruin a wedding. Though winter may bring snow and cold temperatures, it’s not as big of a deal since you can host it indoors and dress appropriately to stay warm.

More Venue and Date Options

If you want a spring or summer wedding, you need to plan at least a year or two in advance. Even then you might not be able to get the date you want or the venue of your choice. Neither is an issue when you throw a winter wedding. 

More People Will Show

With all the weddings and events jam-packed in the spring and summer months, your guests will likely have to choose between you and their other commitments. In the wintertime, you don’t have to worry about your secondary list or no-shows. With less on the go during this time of year (besides Christmas of course) people will be more likely to show up and look forward to your event.

Keeps People Together

One thing that can be incredibly frustrating when you have a wedding that mixes outdoor space with indoor space is that it’s difficult to get people together. Some will gather outside in the garden, others will be inside by the bar, some will be hanging out near the parking lot – you get the picture – people end up all over the place. Winter weddings eliminate this problem as the venue is entirely inside, keeping everyone organized and in one space. 

It’s More Affordable

The warmer months tend to be the most popular for weddings. This means the locations and venues book up fast and usually come with a hefty price tag. Whereas in the winter, these same venues are often available at a much lower price. Some venues may even offer additional benefits and discounts to get you to book with them – at no extra cost to you. Travel and accommodations are also cheaper this time of year – a win-win for your family and friends who are coming in from out of town.

Looking for the perfect venue for a winter wedding? We invite you to tour our wedding venue and banquet hall. The St. Elias Centre offers over 11,500 square feet of flexible, modern and elegant space that can be easily customized to your wedding theme. We offer a multitude of onsite amenities such as in-house catering, professional staffing services, audio-visual equipment, over 400 onsite parking spots, free WiFi, and premium décor. To learn more about our event space and how we can help you plan the most stunning wedding, contact us today!

How to Pick the Right Menu for Your Event

Struggling to choose the menu for your party or event? The food is the most important part of any event so if you want to appease all your guests, follow these tips to pick the right menu every time!

Know Your Theme

If you’re having a cocktail or networking event, you should consider serving hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie boards, and maybe a few stations serving appetizers like carved meats and oysters. Weddings often require fancy plated meals and corporate events lean towards full-scale appetizer and dessert tables. Every theme has a typical menu. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a seated meal at a networking event or a BBQ buffet at a wedding. But just remember, if you sway too far outside the lines, your menu might miss your guests’ expectations and also make the event feel rather awkward.

Consider Everyone

Only choosing a meat dominated menu might not sit well with the vegetarians and vegans in the crowd. If you’re having a small event, you can ask for any dietary restrictions to help you better plan your menu. If the event will be large, it’s best to choose a wide variety of food options to ensure that everyone has something they will love.

Go Flavourful But Not Too Aromatic

Serving a menu with strong aromas at the beginning of a 3-hour corporate event might not turn out to be as great of an idea as you had envisioned. Strong flavours and aromas tend to linger long after they are devoured. So it’s important to remember that if you plan to offer flavourful food, keep the odors to a minimal by going easy on the spice.

Mix Up Traditional with Unique

Not everyone likes gourmet food like foie gras or quail eggs, so it’s important to have a nice mix of traditional and unique dishes. A menu that will satisfy each guest might include a few classic dishes like stuffed boneless chicken, pork tenderloin, prime rib, filet mignon, salmon, and vegetarian fusilli along with a few different mains like ratatouille, chicken waikiki, and cornish hen. If you want to get creative to please to the foodies, it’s best to offer one exquisite dish or a number of surprise appetizers.

Ask A Pro

Event planners are the perfect people to touch base with when you need help choosing a menu. They’ve worked thousands of events and can help you find the right taste notes for your style of event. If the venue has a catering staff talk to them directly. They’ll help you pick out the right selection from their menu or create you a tailored menu that works with your theme and budget.

At St. Elias we have a well-rounded menu that works for a variety of events. Whether you’re looking for gourmet food items for a wedding or exquisite food stations for a gala, we offer a range of appetizers, brunch options, buffet packages, food stations, main courses, refreshment break options, side dishes, and dessert selections. Take a look out our menu here, and find out more about how our venue can cater to your entire event from beginning to end!

5 Things to Consider When Planning a Corporate Event

5 Things to Consider When Planning a Corporate Event

Setting up an event for your office? Find out what you need to consider when planning a corporate event so you can avoid any mistakes and ensure it’s a successful evening.

Logistics and Theme

Before you can set up a corporate event, you first need to understand the type of event you will be having – networking, team building, client pitch, tradeshow – as well as the purpose – to pitch a new product, drive sales, lead gen, team celebration, company camaraderie – in addition to an estimated guest count and budget. This preliminary planning process will allow you to generate ideas and lay the initial groundwork for the event. You’ll also want to decide on an optimal date and theme that will work with your audience. Depending on the type of event you plan to throw, you’ll also need to consider whether or not you’ll need guest speakers, entertainment, or any cash from ticket sales. 


Once you understand the logistics and theme, it’s time to find a venue for your event. The location should be easy for everyone to get to, close to hotels and transitways if people will come in from out of town, and the right size. The venue should also have convenient onsite amenities such as free parking, WIFI capabilities, event staff, catering options, and flexible room formats. 

Drinks and Food

You’ll also need to consider whether or not alcohol will be served. An annual company party might want to have a full bar but a client presentation might be better off with coffee and soft drinks. If you plan to serve food, you’ll need to arrange for a catering company unless the venue has a catering set up that you can use. The menu should also suit your event – appetizers and hors d’oeuvres for a cocktail/networking event, food stations and a buffet for a company party, and full-service lunch for a client pitch – for example. 


The type of setup you use can also make or break a corporate event. If you plan to have a team-building session, you might need a few break out rooms instead of one large floorplan. A pitch or information session will likely need a theatre-style seating arrangement with a podium for participants and speakers. A corporate party would likely have an open floor area for mingling and round table set-ups for discussions and eating. Finding a venue that can accommodate a number of different room setups and seating arrangements can make your job a whole lot easier. 

AV Equipment

Your corporate event may also require audio and visual equipment. You can save yourself a lot of work by finding a venue that is fully equipped already with AV equipment and staff. Most corporate events call for at least one podium, a number of microphones, a sound system, speakers, projector screens, and lighting and effects. If the venue does not stock everything, ask if they work with an AV vendor that you can rent the equipment from. The more that is arranged inhouse, the easier it will be to coordinate and keep track of.

If you’re looking to put together a successful and hassle-free corporate event, contact us at St. Elias Centre. Our venue has the perfect set up and all the equipment and tools you need. Our onsite staff, chef and event team are ready to help make your event a success!

5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Season for a Wedding

5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Season for a Wedding

The pleasant temperatures, the off-season deals, and the stunning foliage are just a few reasons why fall is the best season for a wedding. If you’re contemplating whether to push your wedding date until the autumn, here are some of the best perks to consider about hosting your big day during this beautiful season.

The Cooler Temperatures

Dressing up in heavy gowns and suits can be stifling and downright uncomfortable during the humid summer heat. But with the cooler, fresh temperatures in the fall, you won’t have to worry about sweating off your makeup. You and your guests can enjoy the milder weather and stay comfortable in any outfit. Avoiding heat is one of the biggest reasons why many couples decide to host their wedding in the fall.  

The Stunning Foliage

Of course, the fall time always creates a stunning display of colours with the changing foliage. This offers a picturesque backdrop for any special occasion. It also makes those photo ops even more spectacular with such a striking array of red and orange hues that add instant beauty to the background.

The Colour Themes

If you love the colour themes that come with this season, consider how you can incorporate it into your wedding theme. For flower arrangements, take advantage of the magnificent autumn pallet by opting for deep purples, burnt orange, and blooms of vibrant yellow and red. Lilies, orange gerbera, purple alstroemeria, orchids, and dahlias are just a few of the seasonal favourites for this time of year.

Off-season Deals

As popular as you may think the fall season is for weddings, it’s still considered part of the off-season. This makes it even more attractive since off-season usually means you can snag some better rates for certain items. You’ll also have less competition to deal with which can make it easier to book your desired date. 

Guests Can Attend

Most people are back from vacation and have more availability in their schedules during the fall. This means with more downtime at home, your guests will likely be able to attend your wedding. So there’s no need to make family and friends work around their summer vacation plans to accommodate you. 

Embrace the fall season by hosting your wedding during this spectacular time of year at the St. Elias Centre. Our multi-flex venue can accommodate all of your needs, whether you plan to host an intimate gathering or a larger one. We also provide in-house catering created by our chef and award-winning culinary team. We’re ready to make your wedding day exactly as you envisioned it. Get in touch today to learn more! 

5 Ideas to Incorporate into Your Fall Wedding

5 Ideas to Incorporate into Your Fall Wedding

Got a fall-themed wedding to plan for? Not sure how to embrace the season in all its glory into your special day? With vibrant colours, cooler temperatures, and seasonal favourites (like pumpkin everything!), there are countless ways to maximize your love for the autumn. To help you, we’ve gathered our top ideas to incorporate into your fall wedding. Here they are!

Fall Table Dressings

Of course, with a fall-themed wedding, the table dressings have to be on point. And with so much fresh produce and flowers to choose from, the options are plentiful. If you enjoy a bright and earthy mixture of colours, consider combining wood slices, candles, gourds, burlap, and miniature pumpkins together to create the ultimate fall-theme table dressing. Alternatively, for those who prefer a more muted pallet, you could purchase or even paint similar table dressings, combining white pumpkins, gourds, and candles for a chic and modern look instead.

Rustic Theme Signage

The rustic theme goes hand-in-hand with the fall time. The warmth and richness of wood mixed with hues of deep purple, forest green, burnt orange, reds, and yellows can create a dazzling display throughout your venue. And one unique way to add some rustic “flavours” into your wedding is by creating handmade wooden signage. These are more popular than ever, especially since they’re a fun and simple DIY project. All you need is some refurbished wood, paint and an inspiration sentiment to add.

Hot Cider & Hot Chocolate Bar

The autumn season is all about cozying up with a hot cup of something to keep you warm and toasty, like hot apple cider and hot chocolate. So why not give your guests something they’ll really enjoy and appreciate while you’re off getting photos taken? Cider and hot chocolate bar is the perfect way to offer something seasonal and unique for refreshments that will keep your guests cozy with something sweet and delicious. You could even get creative and add some marshmallows, cinnamon sticks and pumpkin spice for extra garnishing.

The Bouquets

One of the best ways to incorporate fall into your wedding day is with your flowers. Think about the combinations of colours that you love most about this time of year. It’s also helpful to sift through magazines or online to get ideas of what you and your partner enjoy. Then talk to your florist about combining your favourite seasonal foliage into your arrangements.

Pumpkin Placement Holders

If you’re as obsessed with pumpkins as many of us are during this season, you can use miniature pumpkins to help greet your guests and direct them to their assigned seats. All you need to do is slice the stem just a tad and attach seating cards to them for a delightful fall-esque display.

Host your magical day this fall at the St. Elias Centre. We have a modern, flexible venue with amazing in-house catering offered by our award-winning culinary team. We can help make your day the most memorable one for you and your guests. Get in touch today to learn more or book a tour.

Pros and Cons of a Destination Wedding vs an In Town Wedding

Pros and Cons of a Destination Wedding vs an In Town Wedding

Are you debating between the pros and cons of a destination wedding vs an in-town wedding? We’re here to help you determine the right choice for you and your soon-to-be spouse. Here’s what to consider before making your final decision.

Destination Wedding – Pros

A Complete Package

For some couples, the idea of getting married abroad is preferable as it offers a simple, complete package to make their planning process easy. Many resorts nowadays have planners inhouse to help arrange what you need. And as a bonus, some resorts will also offer complementary services to entice more couples to choose their location. 

Pleasant Weather

Of course, there’s also the fact that you can take advantage of the sunny, warm weather. If you’re aiming for the tropics, this can also give you the freedom to be more flexible with your wedding date and host a winter wedding instead. 

Avoid Having A Large, Stressful Wedding Party

There are many couples who don’t want to be faced with a large guest list. And a destination wedding gives you the perfect excuse to keep it small, simple and intimate. With a smaller list, you can focus on inviting the people you really want to be a part of your special day.

Destination Wedding – Cons

Trust Factor

It’s not always easy to trust someone to organize your entire wedding day, especially when they’re located abroad, and when you’ve never met them. Plus, there can be numerous hurdles and complications when getting married in a foreign country. There is always a higher risk that something will go wrong, which can end up adding more stress to your plate than anticipated.

Family May Not Attend

You’ll also have to face the reality that many of your guests may not want to or be able to attend due to the amount of money or time that they’ll have to book off from work. So always consider those who you really want to be there and make sure they can attend before planning it abroad.

Your Honeymoon With Family

If your plan is to get married in the tropics and then continue to enjoy your honeymoon there, just remember that you’ll still have family members there tagging along. You’ll need to consider whether you’ll have the romantic alone time that you want and whether the family will be more of a pain to deal with during that time. 

In-Town Wedding – Pros

You Have Control

Hosting an in-town wedding means that you can have complete control over every detail of your wedding day. Whether you’re planning it as a couple or hiring a wedding planner, you get to see, touch, and sample everything to ensure your day is exactly as you envisioned it. 

More Friends & Family Can Attend

Of course, with a venue that’s close to home, more of the people you care about can join and celebrate your special day. You get to create lasting memories surrounded by all of your loved ones.

Convenient & Cost-Effective

By the time you add up the cost of flights, insurance, hotels, the wedding package, and everything in between, a destination wedding can actually end up setting you back more than hosting it close to home. 

In-Town Wedding – Cons

Limited Options

Depending on where you live, you could have limited options when it comes to venues, catering, outfits and more. 

More Competition

You may also have to contend with peak season, which can equate to more competition and higher fees. If you’re planning for a spring or summer wedding, be sure to book your services and venue well ahead of time.

Messy Weather

Weather can also be an aggravating factor based on your location. If you want a nature-filled wedding, it could be stressful to plan an outdoor setting with unpredictable weather to deal with.

Plan out your special day in Ottawa at the St. Elias Centre. We are one of Ottawa’s most elegant, modern, and full-service multipurpose venues. With our award-winning culinary team and a reputation for excellence, we’ll help you plan out the perfect day with attention to each and every detail. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services and venue.  

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