5 Unique Wedding Traditions

5 Unique Wedding Traditions

There are so many unique wedding traditions from around the world, each with their own distinct characteristics and customs. If you’re looking to incorporate a little touch of tradition into your wedding, here are five of the most interesting to consider.

Breaking the Glass

One of the most beloved Jewish traditions is the breaking of the glass custom that symbolizes the unity of the bride and groom. Once the Rabbi has announced the newlyweds, the groom will stomp on a piece of wrapped glass to break it. The tradition states that the couple will remain married for as long as the glass is shattered and therefore signifies the permanence of the marriage covenant.

Ring Warming

This Irish wedding tradition involves passing around the rings to the guests at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Each person holds the rings for a moment and says a silent prayer or blessing for a long-lasting and positive marriage together. During large weddings, the rings are often tied to a ribbon and hung from a table in the reception area before the wedding ceremony so that guests can give their blessings before the wedding begins.

Foot Washing

The foot washing ceremony is a Christian tradition where the bride and/or groom will take turns washing each other’s feet alongside a religious reading. Introduced by the early Christian church, this particular ceremony is meant to imitate the humility of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples during the Last Supper, and to signify the everlasting love and devotion of the couple.

Haldi Ceremony

Indian weddings typically last for three days and are known for their joyous ceremonies and colourful customs. One of the most interesting ceremonies is the Haldi that takes place on the morning of the wedding. Both sides of the family will spread a mixture of turmeric, oil, and water over the clothing and skin of the bride and groom to help calm their skin and nerves before the wedding.

Chinese Tea Ceremony

Tea is an important part of Chinese culture, so it’s no surprise that tea is also a part of the wedding ceremonies. During the tea ceremony, the parents and immediate family members are honored by the bride and groom. The order that the tea is served is very important as it shows the couple’s respect for authority. Both the bride and groom will serve tea to the members of both sides of the families to represent the moment that both families become relatives to one another.

No matter what traditions you plan to add to your ceremony, our team at St. Elias Centre is ready to help make your wedding a special and intimate experience. With over 10,000 square feet of flexible event space along with professional staff, onsite catering, and award-winning event planning services, we can help you plan the wedding of your dreams. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer you.

How Much Time Do You Need to Plan a Wedding?

How Much Time Do You Need to Plan a Wedding?

The length of time that you need to plan your wedding will depend on a number of factors including the size, timing, and scope. You may be able to get away with throwing a small and basic wedding under a year, but a large one with all the bells and whistles can take upwards of two years to properly plan and execute. If you’re not sure how soon after your engagement you should begin diving into the details, check out our tips below to learn more.

Large Weddings

If you have a big budget to work with and are not in a rush, having a longer engagement can be a major benefit. You’ll be able to go at your own leisurely pace and take the time you need to carefully consider every detail, from the venue to the florists to the décor, without feeling pressured or rushed. If you can’t wait to get hitched and aren’t planning to have an elaborate wedding, carve out at least a year for your timeframe. The average wedding takes about 13 to 18 months to nail down all the details required for a larger party.  

Tips for throwing a large wedding:

–   Confirm the RRSPs early so you can find a venue that fits all of your guests
–   Pick a full-service venue with catering, service staff, fully stocked bar service, audio/visual equipment, flexible spaces, and plenty of parking to make it easier
–   Choose a venue that has a team with a reputation for success
–   Choose a menu that will suit a wide range of tastes
–   Create a small 10% cushion for any unexpected costs
–   Don’t be afraid to delegate to your wedding party

Small Weddings

It is entirely possible to plan a smaller wedding in as little as 6 months but be prepared to be flexible on your demands. Most wedding/ small wedding venues book up well in advance, especially during the spring and summer. If you can give yourself a year to plan, things will be more in your favour, but if you can’t wait, try to be flexible on dates. That way you will free up more options and also have more choice when it comes to arranging the other services such as photography and flower arrangements.

Tips to throwing a wedding in under a year:

–   Try planning the wedding on a Sunday or during the offseason
–   Choose a venue that offers everything inhouse, so you have less to outsource
–   Send invitations out by email so nothing gets lost in the mail
–   Confirm outside vendors as soon as possible
–   Lock in hotel blocks and transportation as soon as you pick a date

Need help planning a wedding? With over 11,500 square feet of flexible venue space, premium catering, professional staff, and flexible packages, we can help make your wedding dreams come true. Our gorgeous facility is the perfect place to host your wedding and our friendly and professional staff will help bring your vision to life. Contact us at St. Elias Centre today to get started!

5 Ways to Make Your Event Stand Out in 2020

5 Ways to Make Your Event Stand Out in 2020

Want to make your upcoming event the talk of the office after it’s all said and done? Here are some of the best ways to make your event stand out in 2020 and leave your guests more than satisfied.

Get Song Requests from Your Guests

Whether you’re planning to have a DJ or live band at your event, music is an essential component that can amplify the fun factor of any occasion. One of the best ways to get your guests up and dancing is to include some of their favourite tunes in the music line up. So, before your scheduled date, ask for some song requests. This will help them feel included and make them more excited about the occasion.

Take Advantage of Social Media

If you want to show off your gala and get your attendees more involved, why not take advantage of social media? You can encourage guests to post pics on Facebook or Instagram to highlight their favourite features of the night. You could even live stream it on Facebook to spread the word and get others interested in your next event. Don’t forget to create a captivating hashtag for the posts so people can search and find photos even after it’s over.

Donate Proceeds

A great way to host a successful event while also doing some good is to donate proceeds to a charitable cause. People love to offer support when they know it’s going towards a worthy cause. It’s also a good way to encourage people to attend and be generous with their donations. Determine what cause to contribute to and send out some info ahead of your event so your guests can learn more about where their money is going.

Offer Promos or Giveaways

Of course, one of the best ways to pique the interest of your attendees is by offering a special promotion or giveaways that they can win during the course of the evening. It could be a discount on tickets, raffles, door prizes or free drink tickets.

Choose a Venue That has a Glowing Reputation

Finally, above all, selecting a venue that you can depend on to help create a seamless and successful experience is the most important part of hosting a memorable and successful event. They should be able to offer everything you need inhouse, including ample space to suit your guest list, professional staff, catering packages, and more.

When you need a venue that you can trust with your special occasion, give us a call at the St. Elias Centre. We offer a spacious modern venue with in-house catering from our award-winning culinary team and professional staff that will work with you to ensure everything goes smoothly and successfully. Contact us today to learn more.

Top Wedding Trends of 2019

Top Wedding Trends of 2019

From traditional classics to beloved vintage, to new, minimalistic, and modern – if you’re looking for the top wedding trends of 2019, find them all right here.

A Regal Affair

Thanks to the likes of Meghan Markle and the Duchess of Cambridge, the trendy Royal Family continues to be a staple fashion icon, making the regal wedding vibe bigger than ever this year. This pageantry style is all about blinged-out dresses, long veils, billowy sleeves, tiaras, mossy green and brass to create a swanky setting that’s truly fit for a queen.


Though wineries, distilleries, and barns are still all the rage, breweries are stepping up as the new favourite casual venue setting for weddings. Intimate, romantic, with a perfect blend of modern and vintage, craft breweries offer a more relaxed, out-of-the-box setting.

Glam Bars and Amenity Baskets

Heard of glam bars? These offer guests some mints, flip flops, sprays, and more to freshen up during the course of the evening. But this year, we’re seeing even more pimped out amenities including hair and makeup stations with pros on hand to help keep guests looking fab even until the wee hours.

Rich, Moody Palette

When it comes to the colours, midnight blue, emerald green, and lush burgundies are steadily emerging on top. Incorporating modern notes with this warm, rich, and inviting palette is ideal for any time of the year, but it especially shines in a wintry setting.

Comfort Foods Dressed to Impress

Food is always a vital part of planning your big day. And if you’re a fan of comfort food, you’re in luck! As far as edible trends go, we’re seeing a big mash-up lately of old school classics that are dressed to impress. Think lobster mac and cheese, beer floats in champagne glasses, swanky sliders, and donuts. It’s the best of both worlds!

Custom Suits

Forget about the same old boring tux. Bespoke suits are giving the groom a new look that’s more personalized for the ultimate keepsake. We’re talking about custom embroidery, funky patterned lining, and more. After all, it’s his special day too, so why not go all out? Find everything you need for hosting your next event at the St. Elias Centre. Located in the heart of Ottawa, we offer a flexible, modern venue, with ample onsite parking and professional inhouse catering from our award-winning team. Our staff can help you sort out all of the details to ensure your event is set to impress. Contact us today to learn more.

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!

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