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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.  

5 Things to Know If You are Planning a Corporate Event in Ottawa

5 Things to Know If You are Planning a Corporate Event in Ottawa

Planning a company event is a big deal – especially when you’re left in charge of ensuring it’s well received and goes off without a hitch. Winging it or leaving plans to the last minute is never the way to go. Wedding planners take months to organize, research and plan to make sure that every detail is taken care of thoroughly before the day finally arrives. And you should do the same too. To help you, we’ve tallied up this list of things to know if you are planning a corporate event in Ottawa this year.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

To begin, you need to nail down some important info to build your corporate event from. The first question to focus on is who is the event for? Is it clients, employees or maybe a networking event with various companies? Knowing who your guests are is an important first step for planning a corporate event in Ottawa.

What Is The Purpose?

You’ll need to determine the actual purpose of the event once you’re crystal clear on who it will be tailored to.  Whether it’s a client appreciation dinner, a fundraising gala, team building for employees, or to heighten your company’s publicity, be very clear about what type of event you’re in charge of organizing and what’s expected.

When Will You Host It?

When planning the time frame of your event, there are three things to consider: your timeline, your audience and the time of year. It can take several months to properly plan and organize events on average, and scrambling to get everything done last minute can lead to disaster. So consider your timeline, along with your audience and what timeframe – mid-week, weekend – will work best for your audience. And remember to steer clear of other popular holidays and occasions. Planning around busy times like graduation ceremonies, long weekends or special holidays can prevent your guests from attending.

Where Will You Host It?

Once you have those important details locked in, it’s time to search around for the right venue that can accommodate your type of event and budget. If you require a large amount of space, onsite parking, catering and access to audio/visual equipment, then a designated banquet and event space is ideal since they’ll have everything you need in one place. Alternatively, if your occasion is small and intimate, then hosting a luncheon at a restaurant or hotel are also popular alternative options to consider.

How Will You Pull It Off?

Finally, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to manage to research, organize, plan, and execute everything on time, on budget and preferably, stress-free.
At St. Elias Centre, we’ve been Ottawa’s leading choice for hosting events of every size and type in our flexible, modern venue. We offer in-house corporate catering from our award-winning culinary team, along with client and guest services, audio/visual equipment, ample onsite parking and much more. Get in touch to learn more about our services and how we can help you plan a successful corporate event in Ottawa.

How to Host the Best Wedding in Ottawa

How to Host the Best Wedding in Ottawa

Although your wedding day is meant to celebrate your love as a couple, it’s also about hosting an epic party that your friends, family and guests will look back on with memories of a night well spent. And with a plethora of other weddings that your guests will be attending, going the extra mile can make yours really stand out from the crowd. The best part is, it doesn’t really take a lot to throw down a memorable and exciting evening. The key is to think of your wedding day an experience that should be catered to your guests as well as your own preferences.

Learn more about how to host the best wedding in Ottawa this year with our expert tips below.

Make Your Ceremony Short and Sweet

There’s really no need to have a ceremony that stretches over an hour long. And even though your family and guests are all there to celebrate your happy day, sitting for such an extended length of time with a drawn-out ceremony is a sure way to lose their attention fast. Try to keep it snappy and brief, aiming under 20 minutes so you can capture the moment perfectly and then get the day moving so everyone can enjoy the celebrations.

Create Welcome Baskets for Out-of-Town Guests

If you have family or friends travelling from overseas, they’ll be spending a lot out of pocket just to attend your wedding. One way to thank them and show your appreciation for making an effort to be there is by making up a welcome basket to greet them. This could include some simple items to make their stay more convenient and enjoyable, like snacks, fruit, a bottle of wine, water, cheese and any other staples you think might be necessary. It’s a simple gesture that will mean a lot to them.

Plan Your Seating Chart Carefully

Another important tip to consider is your seating chart. This is an integral part of hosting an enjoyable evening for you and your guests. Make sure to give careful thought when determining table groups and who will sit beside each other. Focus on placing people with similarities – backgrounds, career points, interests, age, lifestyles – together so they can enjoy the company they’re with and have a good conversation (which is a vital part of hosting a great reception!).

Personally Greet All Guests

Remember, your guests are there to celebrate and spend time with you, not just simply observe and watch. That’s why we always recommend personally greeting each of your guests. This can be done as everyone leaves the ceremony, as they enter the dinner reception or you can mix and mingle with them all on the dance floor. Just be sure to make the time to say hello, have a chat and show your gratitude for them being there.

Keep Speeches Short

Like with the ceremony, speeches are also best kept short, sweet and under a few minutes. Drawing them out will also lose the attention of guests and even dampen the mood of the evening if it’s drawn out. So ask friends and family to keep it under 5 minutes and get your DJ situation so they can queue in some music if needed to politely keep it the ball rolling.

Find the Perfect Venue

Once you know how many guests will be attending, spend time sussing out local venues to host your wedding. The venue is, of course, one of the most important elements of the day as it sets the stage. So look for reputable venues that can provide the services you’ll need, like professional in-house catering, modern décor, ample space and onsite parking, and professional guest services to help make your day as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

At St. Elias Centre, we’ll help you host the best wedding in Ottawa! With our award-winning team, professional catering by our in-house Executive Chef, and all of the amenities you’ll need to host your special day, we’ll help to ensure your wedding leaves the right impression with your family and guests. Contact us today to learn more or to set up a tour.

7 Ways to Host an Impressive Embassy or Corporate Function

7 Ways to Host an Impressive Embassy or Corporate Function

Whether you’re putting together a large-scale embassy gala or small-scale corporate event, St. Elias Centre offers the first-class venue and white-glove services that you’re looking for. As one of Ottawa’s most elegant and modern venues with an award-winning team, your distinguished guests will leave feeling inspired, impressed and well taken care of. Make your event the highlight of their trip with these 7 tips on how to host an impressive embassy or corporate function.

Arrange For a Respected Key Note Speaker

You want your attendees to remember your event and really feel inspired by it. A keynote speaker can do just that. Just be sure to find the right person for the theme of your event. You’ll need an industry expert who can provide insight, motivate your audience, and deliver your message with ease.  

Set Up a Notable Stage

Consider more than just the pedestal and microphone when setting up the stage for your event. Lighting, sound, and audio equipment are also important features that should be considered and planned for. Make sure to choose the right venue that includes AV equipment, or has the ability to outsource anything you may need.

Delegate Responsibilities

Organizing a big embassy or corporate event on your own can be a lot to handle. If you’re short on time or don’t have the resources, it’s best to delegate the various responsibilities out to others. Put together a team who can handle different tasks like registration, transport, and design. Then host weekly meetings to follow up on the progress.

Provide Excellent Service

From the minute your guests walk into the venue until they leave, they need to be treated like royalty. That’s why it’s crucial to have experienced and professional staff, including coat check, catering services, and an impressive spread that will wow your attendees.


If you want to ensure that your event goes smoothly, it’s helpful to run two dress rehearsals before the big day. The first should involve sitting with your team and running through the entire event from beginning to end to determine if there are any areas that need improvement.  The second rehearsal should involve the venue’s event planner to make sure that everything is in order well before the event.

Have a Program Available

A program is a necessity. Guests always want to know what time the events are happening during your gala or dinner. The program should outline the schedule, the mission and objectives of your event as well as who will be speaking and why.

Hand Out Favours

Leave your guests with something to end off the evening on a positive note. Even if it’s a notepad and pen with your logo on it, little gestures like this can leave a good lasting impression while also promoting your brand.

St. Elias Centre has everything you need to host the perfect embassy or corporate event. Professionally trained staff, event planners, a stunning flexible venue, AV setup, ample parking, and top-notch onsite catering can all be found under our roof! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!

Planning a Banquet in Ottawa? We Can Help!

Planning a Banquet in Ottawa? We Can Help!

Planning a banquet can make even the most organized person feel overwhelmed and stressed out. There are many unique challenges that you can expect to face when hosting and organizing an event – especially if it’s your first time coordinating. But with the right venue and team by your side, you can pull off a spectacular and memorable evening without breaking a sweat. Learn how the St. Elias Centre can help you throw the ultimate event of the year with our modern venue and expert service

Our Venue

St. Elias Centre is a modern, multi-purpose event centre in Ottawa offering all of the services you need to host an incredible banquet event. Our venue spans over 11,000 square feet and can accommodate parties of 50 to as many as 1000.  After undergoing recent upgrades to our facilities, we offer one of the most elegant banquet halls in the city, featuring a spacious lobby, full-size theatre stage, soaring high ceilings, and contemporary décor throughout. Simply put – our event centre will make a glowing first impression with your guests.

Our In-House Catering

Anyone who has organized or attended an event knows just how integral the food is for the success of a hosted occasion. And rather than spending time searching and sourcing different caterers to find one that can suit your needs, St. Elias Centre can take care of this all for you. We provide in-house, premium catering services with delectable culinary creations offered by our Executive Chef and award-winning culinary team. Our team will plan the ultimate dining experience for you and your guests using the freshest ingredients with a selection of mouth-watering menus to choose from. This includes our popular Canadian and Lebanese specialty menus. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, buffet-style or grab-and-go items – we have you covered!

On-site Professional Client & Guest Services

If you need assistance with the planning process, our on-site professional client and guest staff are here to be of service. They can help you determine the best package that will suit your budget and catering needs. They can coordinate external services, in case you need any special equipment or entertainment for your special occasion. And, when you need an appointed person to handle guest inquiries and related tasks, we’re can handle that too.

Convenient Location & Ample Parking

At St. Elias Centre, we always have convenience in mind when it comes to our clients and guests. That’s why we’re centrally located across from Mooney’s Bay just off of Riverside Drive. So accessing our venue by transit or vehicle is easy and straightforward. You’ll also find over 400 on-site parking spots available to accommodate your guests so they won’t have to search around for a spot.

If premium quality service is what you have in mind when planning a banquet in Ottawa, St. Elias Centre is the ideal venue for you. Come see for yourself why we’re one of the most reputable banquet halls in the city. Whether it’s a wedding, anniversary, corporate event, or if you’re hosting foreign dignitaries for a special evening – you can depend on our expert team to plan and execute your event seamlessly for a memorable evening.
Contact us today to get started!

The 6 Details to Advertise About Your Event 

The 6 Details to Advertise About Your Event 

If you want to get a big turnout for your event, you need to advertise. And with all the different social media platforms out there today, advertising has never been easier. But even with all the social platforms available, if you don’t include the most important details, then your event will still fall short. If you have an up and coming function, be sure that you don’t forget to include these 6 details to advertise about your event.

The Date and Time

Of course, the date and time should be included when promoting an event, but you’d be surprised at how often people forget this. It’s the most basic and most crucial event detail that you need to advertise. These details should be included on the invite and all marketing materials as well.

The Dress Code

This is an extremely important detail to include when advertising an event. People should know exactly how to dress appropriately for the occasion. The dress code should also be concise yet clear. Whether it’s a black tie or semi-casual, be clear, so there’s no confusion when it comes to the acceptable types of clothing to wear.

The Venue’s Location

This is another basic detail that should never be left out. If possible, comprehensive directions should be included, such as how to access the venue from the closest highway, or  airport. Mention if there’s parking on site or where guests can park surrounding the venue. If it’s not easily accessible, be sure to include any pictures that may help people locate the venue.

The Agenda

Most people will also want to know what’s going to happen at the event before they accept your invitation. Giving the slightest hint or a quick teaser of the event’s agenda can pique the interest and get people excited about attending. In some cases, including the complete agenda might be a necessity in order to get people excited.

The Guest Speakers

For academic or fundraising events, including the name of the guest speakers can greatly increase interest. If you have a well-known presenter or celebrity as your keynote, be sure to advertise this in all the materials and online as it will help to get people talking about your event well ahead of time.

An Attention-grabbing Headline

Creating a witty and engaging headline about the event is an effective way to advertise it. It doesn’t have to be long; it just needs to be captivating enough to grab attention – especially if the event will be advertised through social media sites.

Promoting an event might seem like an easy feat, but it actually requires a significant amount of skill in planning, organizing, and advertising. Leaving out the smallest detail can have a huge impact on the event’s success. It’s important to assess what your event advertising needs are, and then provide correct and clear details on all the marketing and social media sites. Need more event tips? Our planners at St. Elias can provide you with all the details you need when planning out your next event at our award-winning convention centre. Contact us to learn more!

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