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. 

Venue

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. 

Setup

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.  


5 Ways To Effectively Plan A Wedding Budget

5 Ways To Effectively Plan A Wedding Budget

Planning a wedding can feel like a whirlwind when you’re faced with a myriad of things to do. But one area that’s important to start off with before anything else is determining your budget. Beginning your wedding shopping without clearly understanding your budget ahead of time can equate to some serious stress down the road. Find the best ways to effectively plan a wedding budget below to help start you off on the right foot!

Figure Out Who’s Paying For What

In some traditions, both sides of the family will pay for a portion of the wedding, or in some cases – one side may take care of the entire thing. Either way, it’s important to have a conversation with both sides of the family to determine if they will be contributing and if so, how much exactly.

Determine Your Guest List

Next up, you’ll need to understand what numbers you’re looking at regarding your invitee list to better judge your budget. At this point, you should have a vague idea of your maximum and minimum spending amount, so make sure you plan your guest list accordingly. If you need to exclude people from that list to shave down the amount, don’t be afraid to do so.

Think About What’s Important To You

What aspects of your wedding day are really important to you as a couple? Maybe it’s the venue and menu as opposed to the décor and music. Think about what your priorities are and then work your budget around those things. This can make it easier when you need to sacrifice some of the not-so-important items on your list.

Consider the Timeframe Of Your Wedding Day

The season and day will also play a big role when it comes to the cost of your wedding. So put some thought into when you plan to host your wedding day. Spring, summer, and fall tend to be more in demand, thanks to the pleasant weather, of course. So, you should expect more competition and higher fees. A late fall or winter wedding, on the other hand, can provide more options and better rates – something also worth considering if you need more wiggle room in your budget.

Consider the Venue

Do you plan on having a formal affair, intimate backyard setting or something in between? Certain venues will offer full-service packages that include in-house catering, modern décor, parking services, and everything you need to ensure your day goes smoothly. On the other hand, if you decide to host a more casual day in a backyard setting, just consider the cost factor alongside the amount of time and effort it can require to plan out those details on your own. Always consider your venue options by weighing the cost/benefits of each before deciding.

At the St. Elias Centre, allow us to cater to your needs and budget. Our full-service venue comes with everything you need to make your day just the way you’ve envisioned it. From in-house catering from our Executive Chef and award-winning culinary team to our elegant and modern décor – our multi-purpose venue and team are here to help you host the most memorable day. Get in touch today to learn more about our services, venue, and how we can help.  


How to Pick the Perfect Flowers for Your Bouquet?

How to Pick the Perfect Flowers for Your Bouquet?

Wondering how to pick the perfect flowers for your bouquet to harmonize with your theme? Whether it’s roses, carnations, or lilies – choosing your flowers is a big deal since it’s one of the most notable accessories of the entire day. So, we’re here to help! Here are some tips to remember when selecting the best arrangement for your special day.

First Determine Your Date, Dress & Theme

Choosing your bouquet of flowers isn’t something that should be done first. It’s generally chosen once you’ve confirmed your venue, wedding theme and dress. Knowing this beforehand will make your decision much easier since you can narrow down the colour and style of flowers accordingly. For example, if you decide to opt for a minimalist theme with a neutral palette, you can choose to add a bold splash of colour with your flowers. Alternatively, if you prefer something more elaborate and daintier, wildflower arrangements might be the perfect choice.

Stay Within Your Colour Theme

Selecting the perfect flowers for your bouquet really comes down to what you enjoy most. But it’s also important to keep the colour palette throughout your venue, bridal party outfits and décor in mind too. Stick with a matching accent colour or two that will help tie everything together so it won’t look too mish-mashed or out of place. 

Stay Within Your Budget

Though flowers are one of the most prominent features of the wedding day, they can also be the most expensive. And it can be easy to get carried away one you start shopping around for ideas. To prevent you from going above and beyond, figure out what your budget is and make sure to stick within it. Remember, flowers are beautiful, but they don’t last long. So, it’s not something that’s worth going in debt for.

The team at the St. Elias Center have helped countless couples host their perfect wedding day with memories that will last a lifetime. As Ottawa’s premier, award-winning venue, we provide everything you need to make your dream day become a reality. From our delectable menus prepared by our in-house Executive Chef, to our courteous and professional staff – we offer the best services to celebrate your special day. Whether you plan on hosting an intimate wedding with a smaller guest list or an elaborate one with 1000 invitees, our multi-purpose venue can accommodate! Contact us today to learn more about us, our venue, and how we can help you create a customized wedding package that will suit your needs and budget.


5 of the Most Popular Wedding Dates

5 of the Most Popular Wedding Dates

Mulling over which date to set for your wedding day? It’s a bigger decision than you may realize which is why it’s important to give it some careful consideration. Timing is everything when it comes to the wedding, and the date that you choose will have a significant impact on just about everything, from the cost and venue, to the guests that will be able to attend from overseas. To help you choose when to plan your special day, here are 5 of the most popular wedding dates to consider.

October

Fall is such a picturesque time of year with those cozy autumn vibes and colours, to the pumpkins, apple cider and fresh crisp air. It’s the perfect time for hosting such a memorable occasion (not to mention the best backdrop for capturing stunning photos!) So, it should be no surprise to hear that it’s one of the most popular wedding dates. If you’re not a fan of the heat, consider hosting your big day in early to mid-October, where you can celebrate your spouse-to-be surrounded by the beauty of this magical time of year.

September

A splash of summer combined with the early onset of fall makes September the second most in demand time of year for hosting a wedding. You can enjoy the best of both seasons, with the lingering warmth of the summer – perfect for walking down the aisle in your dress – and the fresh fall air and colours that make it a beautiful and comfortable setting for everyone to enjoy, without getting overheated or too cold.

June

With so many people having more time off from work during the month of June, it’s ideal for throwing a wedding. And since it’s the official arrival of summer, the weather usually isn’t too humid yet as it tends to get in July and August. It’s also more convenient for guests who are coming from overseas since they’ll have more vacation time, which means they will be more likely available to attend.

May

Spring showers and fresh blossoms make the springtime such a romantic time of year. As the winter finally weakens its grip, the month of May is always a time when people are feeling happier, rejuvenated and ready to get out from hibernation to celebrate. But since springtime does bring showers, it’s also when venues book up fast. So, it’s always wise to book well ahead of time if you plan to set the date during this month.

August

August is one of the warmest months throughout the year, but if you and your fiancée love the heat, this is the best month for you. It’s also a good time of year for people to escape work or book time off. Just make sure to plan accordingly to beat the heat to keep you and your guests comfortable during the reception.

There are pros and cons to every date and time of year. But all that really counts is what matters most to you and your special someone. Think about your priorities as a couple, the cost factor, and the type of venue you’d like to book. Then go from there, choosing a date that can offer the setting you desire to create your wedding day just as you please. And when you’re on the hunt for the perfect venue in Ottawa, consider St. Elias Centre. Our venue is elegant, modern and full-equipped with everything you need to host the most memorable day. From in-house catering created by our Executive chef, to our award-winning staff – we invite you to create the day you’ve been dreaming of with us. Get in touch to learn more or to book a tour.


How to Choose the Perfect Theme for Your Wedding

How to Choose the Perfect Theme for Your Wedding

One of the most important aspects of planning your wedding is deciding on a theme. Once you have a theme, the rest will follow, and you can bring your vision to reality! Here are four factors to consider when choosing the perfect theme for your big day.

How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?

Your budget is one of the biggest factors when it comes to planning and executing your wedding. When finances come in the way, it can be tough to enjoy one of the most special days in your life without worrying about money. However, being realistic about how much you can afford on each part is a great start (maybe that third ice sculpture isn’t worth it).

What Season is Your Wedding Taking Place in?  

Deciding what season to have your wedding will have a big impact on choosing a theme. If you are planning a summer wedding, a theme such as a winter wonderland might not be the best idea. Whichever season you choose, there are many versatile themes that can be incorporated into your celebration such as romantic, rustic, vintage and casual. Keep in mind the weather when choosing a theme, so your guests can dress appropriately and enjoy the festivities in comfort.

Agreeing on the Theme

“I do” is a life-long commitment saying during the ceremony, but also goes for planning the theme for the wedding. Coming to an agreement about the theme beforehand will give ample time for the wedding party to plan and make sure that everything goes accordingly (even gives you room for mishaps). If you are dead-set on a huge glamorous wedding with glitter and sparkles, but your partner wants something more intimate and close friends only, make sure to talk about this in-depth to avoid any future conflicts.

Decorations

Once you’ve chosen your theme, it’s time to go full-out on decorations while respecting your budget! Decorations can make or break your wedding and having a unique theme is a great way to make your wedding a lasting memory for all. Whether it is extravagant centrepieces with live flowers or a photobooth arch, you can be as creative as you’d like. That’s what Pinterest is for, right?

It might be a challenge to choose the perfect wedding theme, seeing as there are so many! Consider these four factors before your big day, and you will be able to focus on what is most important – marrying your best friend while being surrounded by loved ones. At St. Elias, we have over 11,000 square feet of gorgeous venue space for your guests, no matter how big you decide your wedding to be! With exclusive premium catering service and ample parking, we are your one-stop shop for the perfect wedding venue.


Choosing a Caterer for Your Wedding? Here’s All You Need to Know

Choosing a Caterer for Your Wedding? Here’s All You Need to Know

There are many reasons to get a catering service for your wedding, one of which is obviously having delicious food. Feeding your guests is an essential part of a wedding, but not having to worry about the hassle of doing the catering yourself is beneficial, especially on your wedding day. It is all about finding a caterer who will handle your magical day with grace and professionalism. Here are three ways to choose the best caterer for your wedding.

Wedding Size

The size of your wedding will have a significant impact on what type of food you want your guests to enjoy. For a larger scale wedding, having a sit-down dinner is a good idea so all your guests can enjoy quality time with each other. This means that a seating chart is crucial to determine the best matches for each table — you can’t sit people who don’t know each other together. For small scale weddings, finger-foods or buffet-style are the best options to allow guests to mingle amongst each other while enjoying tasty food!

Food and Religious Restrictions

Many people have food restrictions, especially if they are religious, so it is important to have a variety of items on the menu. Many catering companies offer taste-testing of the suggested menu to make sure you are serving exactly what you want. If you can provide the chefs with a list of food restrictions and suggestions for your big day, they will be more than happy to accommodate. As trained culinary professionals, they will be able to find the most suitable dish for each guest. Whether you are pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan or lactose intolerant, it has never been so easy to find an accommodating catering company!

Reliability of the Catering Company

Doing initial research on the catering company is essential. Reading online reviews will give you an insight into the professionalism and quality of the food of the company. Ask around to see if anyone has had any previous experience with caterers. If someone you trust has had a good experience, why not try them out? You can bring external caterers or trust the St. Elias exclusive professional catering service to wow you and your guests with a gorgeous menu!

Deciding on who will cater your wedding can be a tough job, but by using these steps as guidance will make the process a lot smoother. St. Elias Centre provides premium in-house catering perfect for your wedding, no matter the culture or the number of guests! Contact us here for a quote.  


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