6 Unexpected Appetizers for Your Summer Wedding

6 Unexpected Appetizers for Your Summer Wedding

When you’re making plans for your big day, keep in mind that your guests come for two main reasons – you and the food. After all – eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures! And, although your main course will steal the show, you want your apps during cocktail hour to wow your guests and set the culinary tone off on a high note. So if you’re looking to wow your guests with some wonderful appetizers for your summer wedding, here are a few favourite creative ideas to consider.

Fried Mac & Cheese Lollipops

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Indulging in pasta that’s smothered in gooey, cheesy goodness is what these special occasions are all about! By creating little mac and cheese lollipops, you can make them even more delectable and suitable for your summer wedding.

Mini Corn Dogs & Beer

Throw your guests by surprise with this satisfying pairing. Mini corn dogs on a stick served with a dollop of ballpark mustard is a throwback that everyone will love. You can serve this on a small white plate with a shot glass of ice-cold refreshing beer to finish it off. It’s a delicious combination that is guaranteed to make your guests pleasantly surprised.

Fish & Chip Cones

Crispy pieces of battered haddock with fresh cut fries is another perfect appetizer to serve during your cocktail hour. To put a creative twist on this classic dish, stick with the miniature theme and serve these up in cute little newspaper cones.


Tacos are the perfect unexpected appetizer for your summer wedding because they’re so versatile. You can top them with just about anything you choose.

Mini Lobster Rolls

They’re rich, creamy, fresh, and delicious. Lobster rolls are another comfort food staple that’s always a winner for any special summertime occasion.

Mashed Potato Martinis

Dress up your favourite side dish by serving up mash potatoes in a martini glass. You can top them with scallions, bacon bits, sour cream and whatever else you enjoy. Your guests will love it!

At St. Elias Centre, we know that every detail matters, especially when it comes to food. That’s why we provide in-house catering with our own executive chef, which allows us to create a dream feast for you and your guests. Explore our menus online, or get in touch to learn more about how we can help you build your dream wedding day.

A Look At Our Menus Pt. 2

A Look at our Menus Pt. 2

At St. Elias Centre, we are the experts at hosting events. We host hundreds of special occasions each year, from weddings to galas, bar mitzvahs, and corporate functions. People choose our facilities because we offer an elegant setting, flexible design, professional staffing, and imaginative and innovative cuisine that keeps people coming back. To see what all the fuss is about, here’s a peek into our two most requested event menus and what they have to offer.

Social Events, Galas, Fundraisers

For our special events, we offer our guests the choice between one of the most delectable three-course plated dinners or a premier buffet selection. So whether you’re planning a formal sit-down event or networking one, we have you covered.

Three Course Dinners

Our fine dining option features a three-course menu that is designed to astonish every one of your guests. Our trained staff will start by serving you a tasty mixed salad, followed by your choice of favourite main, accompanied by vegetables with roasted potatoes or rice, and finished off with a delectable choice of strawberry shortcake or black forest cake served with tea and coffee.

For the main course, your guests will get to personalize their plate with their favourite quality meat like stuffed chicken florentine, Italian style chicken Valentino, classic chicken cordon bleu, our specialty St. Elias chicken, aged prime rib, premium filet mignon, or tender pork tenderloin medallions.

Premium Buffet Selection

If you prefer to order a buffet-style meal for a more social setting, we can provide you with an incredible spread that comes with all the buffet favourites. Our buffet station will come prepared with coffee and tea, your choice of 3 gourmet salads, a fine selection of dessert squares, a melange of steamed vegetables, oven roasted potatoes, rice, freshly baked rolls, and your choice of 3 hot entrée items from our 10-items premium buffet list. With a mix of the classics and artistic creations like the New York deli potato salad, tri-coloured pasta salad, beef bourguignon, chicken Madagascar, cheese tortellini, and sweet and sour meatballs, it will be easy to please the palates of all your guests.

When you’re looking to host a special event, why not pick a place that has established a reputation for captivating guests with an exquisite ambience and irresistible menu? We are constantly in pursuit of perfection and are determined to make your event a special one. Contact us at St. Elias Centre to learn more about what we have to offer.

A Look At Our Menus Pt.1

A Look at our Menus Pt.1

When you’re throwing a large event, beyond the bride and groom, keynote speaker, or person of interest, people are focused on the food. This is why the menu can either make or break your event. That’s why at St. Elias Centre, we focus on providing premium quality catering so that our food will be the best part of your event. And, since no party is the same, we offer an eclectic menu that is designed to wow every crowd.

Here we provide you with a sneak peek of what we have to offer for the party that doesn’t require a full course serving. In this edition, we showcase some of our most popular food stations that will keep your guests delighted throughout the entire event.

Food Stations

When you’re throwing a large event, your guests expect there to be delectable food stations placed strategically around the room so they can mingle and eat at the same time. And there’s no better way to break the ice with an old friend, colleague, or aunt than by using a great food-focused opener like “Isn’t this prime rib amazing?” At St. Elias, we are confident that our selections will impress all of your guests and give everyone something to talk about. Here are just a few of our most popular ones:


An all-time favourite and classic that every good party needs is the All-American food station. This spread will bring you back to warm summer days where BBQ and county fairs reign king. Stocked with mouth-watering burgers topped with the works, along with all beef foot-longs, Coney Island chilli fries, savoury hoagies, and sweet, warm apple pie with ice cream. And nothing says All-American like fair-style candy apples and cotton candy to indulge in.

Gourmet Carving Station

Carving stations are always an impressive and popular hit for any event. Having our catering staff carve meat for your guests right when they’re ready to eat not only looks great, but it also gives them the perfect selection of meat they desire. Our delectable meat carving stations come with the choice of Herb Crusted Prime Rib, Beef Tenderloin or Top Sirloin, Caribbean Jerked Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa, Hickory Smoked Ham, Whole Boneless Turkey, Striploin, or Montreal Smoked meat.

Whichever appetizing option you choose, it will also include a selection of tasty condiments and your choice of Peppercorn Sauce, Dijon Mustard, Cabernet, Horseradish Sauce, Herbed Mayonnaise, or Mushroom Sauce to layer on top.

Viennese Sweet Table

Have you ever noticed that every five-star event showcases a hand-crafted ice sculpture with the most exquisite desserts surrounding it? It sure creates a focal point in any room! Well, with our Viennese Sweet Table, you can have one of these impressive displays too. Our most popular dessert spread comes with a hand-chiselled ice sculpture featuring an assortment of French and Italian Pastries, Cannoli, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Truffle Cheese Cakes, luscious Chocolate Fondue with Fresh Fruit and After Dinner Cordials served in Sweet Chocolate Cups and Gourmet Flavoured Coffees. We guarantee it will impress!

When you’re looking for premium food stations for your next event, the St. Elias Centre has exactly what you need to make your event a memorable one. To have a look at our full menu and what other items we offer, check out our website or give us a call to learn more about our services.

Emceeing an Event?

Emceeing an Event?

So, you’ve been asked to Emcee an event? Perhaps it’s been quite some time since you took the stage or maybe even it’s your first time, so naturally, you might be feeling a tad anxious. But don’t be! If you follow these tips, you’re sure to do a great job and deliver an exceptional performance.

Prepare Well in Advance

Don’t go in unprepared and expect it to turn out well. You should have the whole event planned from when you first step on the stage to when it’s over. To get an idea of how often you will need to speak on stage, talk to the event planner first regarding the schedule. Once you have the program, you can then organize every speech, introduction, and wrap up down to the second.

Create an Impressive Kick-Off and Closing

You only get a few seconds to impress the audience and to set the tone for the entire event. So make sure you plan an elaborate and impressive kick off for the event opener. The closing should also wow the audience with a detailed closing that gives thanks to the audience and recaps the key points.

Practice and Rehearse

The more you can familiarize yourself with your script, the more likely you will deliver your presentation with ease. You should also talk to the event staff to see if you can get some time before the event to practice on the same stage. This will allow you to get a better idea of how your voice will fill the room, as well as try out different speaking volumes and pitches to perfect your delivery.

Dress to Impress

Know the dress code in advance and dress appropriately for the event. You should look sharp without standing out like a sore thumb.

Be Positive and Energetic

As mentioned before, you are setting the tone of the event, so if you come out dull and expressionless, everyone else will follow suit. From the minute you step out on stage, smile and continue to be enthusiastic throughout the program to keep everyone upbeat and engaged.

Be In Charge

The event planner will be in charge of the event, but once you step on stage, the power flips over to you. That means you need to control the schedule and what happens. So make sure you have the timing down to a tee, and stay on top of your time management to ensure that each segment starts and ends exactly on time.

Don’t Forget to Introduce the Speakers

When you introduce the speakers to the stage, don’t just give their name and hand over the mic. You should also give a short bio of who they are and what they do. That also includes yourself, especially if most people don’t know who you are.

Make Everyone Look Good

Emceeing an event also means your job is to make everyone look good on stage. If you’re going to crack a joke, make sure that it doesn’t embarrass anyone or make people look bad. You should know your audience and what is appropriate and what is not.

Talk Clearly and Loudly

It’s important that people can clearly hear and understand you. While shouting is never appreciated, make sure you talk just loud enough so that everyone can hear you from all areas of the room. Also, try not to rush through segments. Even if you’re nervous, remember to take a breath, slow down and speak clearly.

If you’re throwing an event, the Emcee is always an important component. Talk to our coordinator at the St. Elias Centre today to learn how we can help you plan out your event.

5 Tips to Make Sure Your Fundraising Gala Goes Smoothly

5 Tips to Make Sure Your Fundraising Gala Goes Smoothly

Orchestrating a fundraising gala is a big endeavour with many moving parts that you must plan out well in advance. Plus, they usually include some pretty important attendees, so it’s one event that really requires extensive planning in order to make it go off without a hitch. To help you streamline the process and make your fundraising gala go smoothly, here are some expert tips to remember.

Know Your Budget

Ensure that you know exactly what your budget is and be strict with it. Galas can quickly add up if you’re not constantly calculating the costs against your budget. So always be aware of that number before you begin planning.

Start With Nailing Down the Basics

With any fundraising gala, you first need to focus on mastering the planning and details of the fundamentals. That includes a smooth check-in and seating process. Start with these two essential elements. Map out the check-in and seating, and then practise with your volunteers, so they know exactly how to streamline it so you don’t have any guests waiting and frustrated right off the bat. You want that first impression to be a good one, and that means the arrival and seating must go smoothly.

Focus on the Food & Service

Next up is the food. It’s always one of the main events that guests look forward to, and often the main reason why many people attend, so the food has to be great. Go over the menu with your chef and catering team. Be sure to offer and a well-rounded menu with attractive options for vegetarians, and other potential dietary needs well ahead of time. Spend a good amount of time pinpointing when each dish will be served, and have your catering staff well informed about the timing. Don’t forget to practice! This may seem silly now, but this is always beneficial to ensure the service is exceptional and that the servers deliver the food and beverages according to your instructions and expectations.

Reflect Your Mission

Since this is a fundraising gala, it’s important to reflect the mission throughout your event. You can do this by inviting certain clients to speak or display some of the relevant work throughout the venue. This always a good way to give a refresher as to why your guests are donating.

Don’t Skimp on the Entertainment

Remember that your guests are coming for the food and to have a good time, so you don’t want to disappoint. This is an area that you should allot a good chunk of your budget to. Ask around for great recommendations and make sure that you choose something that is suitable for your audience and will get them up off their feet and having fun.

Having your fundraising gala go smoothly really comes down to planning well in advance, and nailing down your budget, your fundamentals, your food and, of course, the entertainment. So ask for volunteers, create a committee to help, and get planning nice and early! And for the perfect venue, check out the St. Elias Centre! We have everything you need to throw a smooth and successful gala. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer and how we can help.

The Proper Bar Mitzvah

The Proper Bar Mitzvah

The Bar Mitzvah is an exciting coming-of-age ceremony that all Jewish boys partake in as soon as they turn thirteen. At this age, boys officially become an adult in the Jewish Community and are awarded responsibilities, such as wearing the tefillin, participating in the synagogue services, and observing Jewish law. This important milestone is often celebrated with a synagogue ceremony, followed by a party where guests come to watch the boy reaffirm his faith and offer gifts to commemorate him for all the hard work. It’s a very important and respected celebration with many key steps to remember.

To understand how the proper Bar Mitzvah ceremony and party works, we outline the key parts below.

The Ceremony

After months of preparing, the child will participate in the Shabbat service. He will stand on his own in front of all his friends and family and read a passage from the Torah called the Aliyah. In many Jewish communities, the boy will also chant the Torah reading or a section called the Haftarah.

The Speech

It is also customary for the boy to deliver a speech on the day of the Bar Mitzvah. Some will perform the speech in the synagogue and others will do so at the reception. The purpose of the speech is to have the boy share what he has learned from the Torah with others. It’s also when the boy will thank family and friends for joining him in celebration and announce his Bar Mitzvah project.

The Party

After the ceremony, a party will be held to celebrate the Rite of Passage. Most parties will take place directly after the synagogue ceremony and include a large spread with music, dancing, and entertainment. At the introduction of the party, the family will walk in front, followed by the boy. The boy will call up each of his family members so they can light a candle to be placed on his cake. Before the meal starts, the oldest person recites the Ha-motzi – a traditional prayer and blessing on the boy and family, which is followed by the boy sharing bread with his closest relatives. After dinner, the boy will perform a special dance with his mother, an affectionate moment between the two.

The Hora

The main event is when everyone gets up to dance. Everyone will perform the Hora, where the boy will be raised up high on a chair as the guests surround him in a circle and dance around him. It’s an energetic and fast-paced dance that is very traditional.

The Parent Toast

Customarily, the parents will make a toast to honour the child, either before or after the Hora. At this time, they will thank the guests for coming and sharing this milestone with their child.

The Gifts

Gifts will also be given to the boy from all the guests. Typical gifts include gift certificates, money, and also religious items and books from the Jewish culture. And the grandparents or parents will purchase the first set of tefillin for the boy.

If you’re looking for the perfect event space or Bart Mitzvah planner in the Ottawa area contact us at St. Elias Centre today!

2018 Wedding Cake Trends

2018 Wedding Cake Trends

For some people, the wedding cake is really the star of the show, after the bride, of course! With hand-painted florals and other mind-blowing artistic elements, the options are really endless. But if you’re eager to learn what the upcoming 2018 wedding cake trends will be, get your sweet tooth ready for these drool-worthy designs.

Marble Cakes

Everyone loves the polished look of marble, so imagine just how elegant it would look infused into your wedding cake design. The combination of white, grey and even gold make this design clean, contemporary and charming.

Black Cakes

Who says your cake has to be white and bright? Today, with so many modern trends veering from tradition, you can add any personalized style you desire. And that includes the ever-popular black cake 2018 wedding cake trend. Blended with some dainty macaroons and drizzled with metallic accents such as gold, this is a definite, elegant showstopper.

3D Textured Cakes

3D is the name of the game these days, and with this advanced design element, it really can let you stretch your imagination! With 3D printed designs, cake artistry has reached a whole new level this year, creating eye-popping, contemporary cakes that are truly an art piece to savour.

Hand-Painted Cakes

For some couples, sticking with traditional, hand-made styles is the way to go. And with hand-painted cakes, you can blend your love of clean, modern designs with the classic look of beautiful, hand-painted flowers that can add bursts of colour throughout your cake to accent your décor perfectly.

Succulent Cakes

Succulents seem to be popping up just about everywhere when it comes to interior décor, and there’s no exception for wedding cakes this year. You can expect to see cakes topped with hand-made terrarium-inspired designs to create an earthy and chic look.

Geometric Accents

Another popular design that is gearing up to snag a leading spot this year is the geometric accents. This is the perfect style for the minimalistic couple that also enjoys a clean, contemporary design.

The wedding cake is meant to reflect the individual style of each couple, so don’t be afraid to get creative! If you’re looking for some ideas, let these top growing 2018 wedding cake trends inspire you to find the perfect showpiece that will wow your guests and taste scrumptious, too. And when you’re ready to lock in the perfect venue, reach out to us at the St. Elias Centre. We have the perfect venue that we guaranteed will impress both you and your guests. Contact us today, and our team will be more than happy to discuss all that we have to offer.

A Little Bit More About Us

A Little Bit More About Us

Whether it’s a family reunion, a wedding, or a professional event, we understand that when you need to host an important occasion, you want it to be flawless, successful and memorable for your guests. That’s why at St. Elias Centre, we go above and beyond to provide an impressive, elegant venue and top-tier services to help make your gathering one of the most enjoyable and memorable events of the year for both you and your guests. And, with a highly revered reputation, you can feel confident in the features and services that stand behind the St. Elias name.

To learn more about our venue, services, and special features, here’s a little bit more about us to help you make a decision when booking your next event.

Convenient Central Location

We understand how important the location is when you book a venue. You want something centrally located that’s easy enough for your guests to find and get to. Our recently renovated luxury event space is conveniently located in Central Ottawa, just off Riverside Drive, across from the beautiful Mooney’s Bay Park, and close to a variety of amenities and hotels. Our grounds also offer 400 onsite parking spots to accommodate all your guests, and over 11,000 square feet of elegant, modern multi-purpose space that is perfect for any size event.

Exquisite Design Features

If you’re looking for an impressive event space, our venue won’t disappoint! Our lavish lobby will greet you and your guests upon your arrival, along with intricate architecture, chic furniture, candles, and captivating ceilings throughout the space. Our shimmering chandeliers and newly refreshed modern decor provide a sophisticated and inviting ambiance for all your guests.

Premium Catering and Banquet Services

St. Elias Centre also comes complete with premium catering and banquet services. Let our Executive Chef and professionally trained staff create memorable culinary experiences for all your guests. We offer nothing but the best in ingredients and presentation to wow and impress. Our catering and banquet staff can tailor to all your culinary needs with impeccable service.

Professional Client Services

We also offer professional client services to assist you in organizing your event. We can also recommend service providers for entertainment, audiovisual equipment and decorations to ensure your event goes off without a hitch. Whatever you need, we can help!

Multi-purpose Venue

No matter what type of event you’re planning, our venue can accommodate. Our 11,500 square foot hall can be used entirely or split up into smaller rooms to suit your individual needs. Our stage is perfect for featuring public speakers, live entertainment, or for special guest seating. The generous space ensures that you can accommodate as many as 1000 guests or as little as 50 without sacrificing any of the amenities or floor space for your required design. You can create any event layout that you can imagine, and if you need design ideas, we are more than happy to help.

Now that you know a little bit more about us feel free to contact us anytime so we can help create your dream event here at St. Elias Centre.

5 Perks of Winter Weddings

5 Perks of Winter Weddings

Looking for a unique wedding idea? Something that will “wow” your guests and provide a truly memorable experience? A winter wedding can do exactly that! Sure, it may be a little colder outside, but there are some truly big perks of having your wedding in the winter, especially if you want to get the venue you want and save on expenses. Just check out the following 5 perks of winter weddings, and how it can make for an unforgettable event.

More Options Available

With all the wedding competition in the warmer months, it can be difficult to get the venue you desire and even the preferred date. When you plan a winter wedding, you will have more available venue options, which means you don’t have to wait for your dream venue. You can have the wedding on your terms, exactly how you want it.

Special Discounts

If you plan for a winter wedding, you may be eligible for special off-season discounts from wedding planners and vendors. Discounts may also mean you can get an even better venue than you had originally planned for or be able to invite more friends.

Perfect Hair Condition

When it’s hot and humid in the summer months, your beautiful wedding hair can turn into a sweaty, frizzy mess before you’ve even walked down the aisle. But with a winter wedding, you can maintain perfect hair thanks to the cooler outdoor conditions and zero humidity.

Unique Photos

The winter backdrop of white snow and grey skies can create the perfect winter wonderland. With snow-covered trees and twinkling lights everywhere, it’s easy to impress your guests with a truly magical evening.

More RSVP’s

It’s not uncommon for people to have two to four wedding invites to attend during the busiest wedding months. If your wedding falls on the same date as another, you might not end up with all the RSVP’s you were hoping for. The spring and summer months are also busy months in general for people. Some of your favourite friends and family may have already committed to another event. Booking a winter wedding means you will get more of your friends and family there, and will likely be the event that everyone looks forward to!

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? when you’ve decided on a winter wedding, contact us at St. Elias Centre. We have the perfect venue for your winter wedding –  a stunning hall, elegant décor, on-site catering and bar, ample parking, and professional services designed to make your dream wedding a reality!

How to Slim Down Your Guest List

How to Slim Down Your Guest List

When you’re organizing a holiday party – or any party – and are limited on resources, funds or space, slimming down your guest list is a must. Of course, this can be much easier said than done, but with these tips, you can reach your preferred number and avoid hurting anyone’s feelings during the process.

First Round List

First, you should start creating your “must invite” list or, better known as your “first-round” list. If it’s a personal occasion, then this will often include your immediate family followed by closest friends. If it’s a client-business occasion, then start with senior employees plus one, valuable clients plus one and so one. Make your invite list based on priority and work your way down.

Second Round List

The “would like to invite” list is simply a list of all the people you would like to invite that are not on your first-round list. This is your second-round  of people you want at the event if you have space, the budget, or if any first round people are unable to attend. To make this easier for you to decide, try asking yourself how close are you with this person, when was the last time you saw this person, and will this person be upset if not invited? These questions will make it much easier to pinpoint who to invite and who you can exclude, hopefully without offending.

Third Round List

Then, finally, the third-round list is a list of people that you can invite only if someone from your second-round list cancels. This is often second-cousins, old college friends, your friends and parent’s extras, and past business connections. The majority of these people will not be offended if they are not invited.

Breaking The News

If you can’t invite people whom you know will be offended it’s best to talk to them personally if you believe they will find out. Let them know the reasons you cannot invite them at this time – such as spacial or budget requirements. Most people will understand the circumstances once you explain and sincerely apologize for being unable to have them there to celebrate with you.

Knowing how to slim down your guest list can be more of an art than anything. But by separating your lists into these three categories, you can make it easier on yourself and be one step closer to hosting an amazing event.

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