Creating a Wedding Registry

Creating a wedding registry

Having a wedding registry is all about helping your guests determine what you actually want and need so they can provide you with the appropriate gifts that will help commemorate your special day, and of course, help stock your new home. But there are a few factors that are helpful to keep in mind.

Here are a few tips to know before creating a wedding registry.

Start Early

The earlier you can begin your registry, the better. Once you and your partner are engaged, this should be one of the first things that you do. People need time to shop and budget for whatever it may be that they’re getting you. So the earlier you can create your registry, the more helpful it will be for your guests.

Register Together

This should be a task that you both do together. After all, these gifts are for the both of you, so make sure that you both get out there. Take your time to figure out what you both like and will enjoy when you begin your new life together.

Choose Items That Actually Suit Your Lifestyle

When it comes to your registry, you don’t have to follow some sort of traditional set of rules for what to include. You don’t have to opt for the shiny wedding glasses or set of China that you realistically will never use. Choose whatever you both want. If camping gear or electronics are more fitting, add them to the list!

Be Selective

When we say take the time to consider your items, we really mean it. To avoid getting stuff that you really won’t ever enjoy or use, spend the effort now at really considering those factors. Sure, you may love that vase, but is it something that you can practically envision yourself using, rather than just stuffing away in a cupboard? Avoid selecting filler items for the sake of filling up your list.

Have a Variety of Price Ranges

Of course, not everyone can afford to buy you those new pair of skis, so make sure that you select a variety of items that provide a good price range that will suit everyone’s budget.

Know the Return Policies

Chances are that you may end up changing your mind, or simply want to exchange or return some items. So just make sure that you’re fully aware of those policies for any store that you register with.

Start your wedding registry off right by following these tips in order to ensure that you get the best head start for your new life with the registry you create.

2017 Ottawa Wedding: Cash Bar vs. Open Bar

Cash Bar vs Open Bar

To have an open bar or not: that is often the question for many couples when planning their wedding day. And it can be a tough one. When it comes to the (sometimes) heated debate about how freely those beverages should flow, it can be a stressful decision to make. So before you make your decision, here are a few pros and cons for each that will help you determine which is best suited for your 2017 Ottawa wedding:

Cash Bar

What the cash bar actually entails can differ depending on your venue. Sometimes, cash bar could mean that a champagne toast is provided at dinner, or the guest must purchase any beverage – including non-alcoholic. In other cases, limited cash bars can be an option, where you provided wine and beer during the reception, and anything more must be purchased.

So it’s important to discuss all of the options that are available at your Ottawa wedding venue. But here are some of the general pros and cons.


  • Saves you money
  • Can help prevent over-indulgence from your guests
  • Can help keep your guests focused on the events and moments throughout the evening


  • Expensive for guests
  • Disgruntled guests

So this really comes down to the factors of your budget and of course, how your guests may feel for having to fork out money for each expensive drink, especially for those who may have spent money on an expensive flight just to be there.

Open Bar

Open bars tend to be more common during the big day. Sometimes it may entail both the cocktail hour and the reception, and other times it may just include the reception.


  • No need for guests to worry about carrying cash
  • Guests don’t have to necessarily wait on the staff – can get their own drinks
  • More enjoyable and easier for guests


  • More expensive – could take up a significant portion of your budget
  • Might need to sacrifice other items from your budget
  • Over-indulgence from guests

Deciphering whether a cash bar or open bar makes more practical sense for your wedding day really comes down to some essential factors. Those factors must encompass primarily, your budget – can you afford an open bar – as well as how much you feel it may affect the “merriment” of your guests and the evening.

So in order to determine which may suit your day best, first talk to your venue providers to determine what all of the options are that are available to you. From there, you can factor in your budget and determine what makes the most sense for your wedding dinner and reception.  

5 Reasons We Love Winter Weddings

5 Reasons we love winter weddings

Winter weddings are becoming increasingly popular for couples. Straying from the norm and embracing the winter can provide some perks that the spring and summer simply cannot. Sure they’re warm and toasty, but the winter brings along with it that extra touch of magic, not to mention savings.

So if you haven’t given winter a chance to be your backdrop during the big day, here are five reasons why we love winter weddings in Ottawa and why you might just, too.

It’s Always a Nice Day for A White Wedding

Okay, so maybe Billy Idol won’t be among your wedding songs, but he hit the mark with those lyrics. There’s something that’s magical when you have a winter wonderland as the backdrop to your wedding day. The beauty of those sparkling snowflakes, the twinkling lights, and dusted trees all work together towards creating a fantasy setting that’s just hard to beat during the springtime and summer.

Take Advantage of Early Dusk

Of course, during the wintertime as the sun begins to set earlier, that can only mean one thing – the party and celebrations can start earlier too! Whether it’s the ceremony or the after party, you can embrace the darker evenings by lighting up the night with lights, and lanterns, and getting the evening off to a perfect start.

Cost Savings

One of the most attractive features of throwing a winter wedding is the fact that you can make your money go a lot further. Since the winter isn’t as busy as the summer and spring, it gives you much more wiggle room for keeping your budget low and stretching your money further.

More Availability

And since the competition is lower that means you get to have much more selection available to you. So whether it’s the venue, caterer, or DJ, you can bet there will be much less hassle obtaining and booking what you want.

Accommodating for Guests

If you choose to have your wedding around the holiday season, chances are it will actually work in favour of your guests’ schedules. Since many people receive time off during the holidays, throwing your big day around then can also help accommodate them by allowing them to take advantage of that time off.

So if you have yet to consider throwing your wedding in the winter, maybe it’s time you really gave it some thought. The advantages of it really outweigh any negative potentials. Between the winter wonderland setting, the budget savings and bargaining chips that are in your favour – it’s not hard to see why we absolutely love winter weddings, and why you should too!

2016 Staff Christmas Party

2016 Staff Christmas Party

Coming into the fall season there can only be one thing on everyone’s mind… Christmas parties! OK that may be a bit of a stretch, but fall is the time to begin thinking of what to do for your staff Christmas party. As you unwind from summer vacation and days at the beach, your thoughts should turn to “how can I provide my staff with the greatest and most memorable staff Christmas party of their lives?” Here are five things you need to put on a great party:


It has to be somewhere centrally located so as to include people from all over the city. The St. Elias Centre is located directly across from Mooney’s Bay which is an iconic location in the city of Ottawa and easily accessible from all ends of the city.


The location is one thing, but is the venue nice enough or large enough to host a Christmas party to be remembered for years to come? Absolutely! The St. Elias Centre has the option to have one open large banquet hall or two smaller banquet halls depending on the needs of the guest. No party is too big or too small to be held here. One side of the banquet hall hosts a stage for entertainment or speech-giving purposes while the other side has big cathedral type windows. Apply your own tastes in decorations or have the staff at St. Elias do it for you, whatever your customized plans are we can make it magical for you.


Food is a key component to any party. The right food will set the scene for a beautiful and memorable event. St. Elias Centre offers a full chef’s kitchen with a broad menu.

If your tastes are not represented in this menu the St. Elias Centre is open to host outside caterers in their facility to ensure your party is as delicious as possible!


Whether it be alcohol or non-alcoholic, St. Elias Centre has you covered. With bar services available you can be sure that your guests will be able to party the night away!


St. Elias Centre is open to having you set up your own equipment or rental equipment and use the facility as you wish. They also are more than willing to arrange for rental equipment on your behalf inclusive of a DJ, all you have to do is ask!

The St. Elias Centre is clearly the ideal place to host your 2016 Christmas party. Call and book today!

5 Signs You’ve Found the Right Ottawa Wedding Venue

5 Signs You’ve Found the Right Ottawa Wedding Venue

Planning the perfect wedding is not an easy task. There are details to be arranged and planned sometimes years in advance. Looking for the dream backdrop for your wedding is an important part of the planning. Here are five signs that you’ve found the right wedding venue for you!

Easy communication with the venue

There is nothing more frustrating than falling in love with a venue but having the impossible task of tracking down the right person to talk to about the booking. If the staff are not responsive or make you feel like your booking is not special to them, then perhaps it’s not the place you want to entrust to host the most important day of your lives. Having full trust and communication with the venue is important for planning purposes in advance of and on the day of the wedding. Your venue representatives should make you feel special and comforted that your needs are being met.

Accommodating to any special needs

Perhaps your needs include wheelchair access for certain wedding guests. This is an important consideration to make because not all venues have proper wheelchair access, which could exclude important members of the wedding. Or perhaps some of your guests suffer from food allergies and special accommodations need to be made. Whatever your specific special needs are for the wedding you need to be certain your venue can accommodate them all fully.

Pretty location

Remember that photos will be taken at all areas of the venue, so having a nice backdrop available is certainly key. Being across the street from parks or beaches is an extra bonus to any venue.

Ample Parking

Parking is a concern at any large gathering. Be certain to investigate that your venue has ample parking available to anyone who will be driving. If parking is free then you know you’ve scored an excellent wedding venue! It’s also important to ask in advance if overnight parking is permitted in the event that guests have too much to drink and need to leave their car overnight.


The cost of your wedding venue can be one of the most expensive aspects of your wedding depending on where you choose. Be sure to know how much the venue will charge for each part of the wedding day and go into the wedding day with a clear financial picture. You don’t have to break the bank to have a stunning wedding venue.

Come and explore the St. Elias Centre and see that all of your wedding venue needs are met!

Booking an Ottawa Wedding Photographer

Booking an Ottawa Wedding Photographer

Hiring your photographer should not be a task taken lightly. The photographer is responsible for immortalizing your wedding moments in a picture that you will reflect on for years to come. Take time and care into choosing a photographer because their skills and artistic ability will be with you forever! Here are five questions to ask when searching for an Ottawa wedding photographer.

Are you available on our date?

Make this one of the first questions you ask to avoid any heartbreak. If you fall in love with a photographer and their style but when it comes time to discuss the booking date you realize there is a conflict that could be a huge let down. Discuss the dates needed first thing to set your expectations appropriately.

What is included in the cost?

Whether you are having a modest wedding or an extravagant event, budget will always be a consideration. You want to ensure that the photographer is delivering the services you expect at a price you are comfortable paying. Don’t assume that because you are paying a premium that you will receive red carpet treatment from your photographer. Be sure to know in advance exactly what is covered in the cost. Will the photographer be shooting solo? Or will they have an extra set of hands and if so is that included in the cost?

How long do you want the photographer booked for?

Don’t just expect that the photographer is going to show up to capture the bride and bridesmaids getting ready, be sure to clarify that you want it included and to account for it in the cost! Also be sure you discuss any after-ceremony specialty things you may have planned that you would like your photographer to stick around for. The longer you have the photographer there, the more they will charge you, so be certain to discuss everything on the timeline in full.

Have you done a wedding before?

This may seem like a silly question but it’s not. Wedding’s are some people’s specialty but it’s possible your photographer is more skilled in photographing nature or portraits and they are trying to get into the wedding business. It is not rude to ask to see examples of previous weddings done by the photographer, in fact it’s recommended you do so! This way you can see their style of photography and see if it’s in line with your expectations.

Is there good value for the cost?

Ask what comes with the price tag. Do you get a digital copy of the photos? Are any prints included? How many pictures can be expected at the end? Do you do all the editing? If a lot of these questions yield disappointing answers perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere. You can end up spending a lot of money on a photographer and you better be sure you are getting good value at the end of the day.

Hair & Makeup Prep for Your Big Day

Hair & Makeup Prep for Your Big Day

As with most things involving wedding planning, the hair and makeup plan should start to form at least one year in advance of the big day. It may feel a bit excessive at the time, but your hair and makeup will play an important role in the presentation of the bride on her wedding day and nothing should be left up to chance. Here’s a step-by-step guideline for how to do hair and makeup prep for your wedding day!

12 Months in Advance

Book your stylists. It’s important to do your research and do some meet and greets with a few different ones if you don’t have someone in mind. Since you have a year to plan, there is plenty of time to audition different stylists and see who fits with your personality and budget. Stylists’ calendars also fill up very quickly during wedding season, so by booking a year before your wedding you ensure you will not be left scrambling to book someone in the weeks before.

9 Months in Advance

Look at your skin and your hair, could they use some sprucing up? Now is the time to think about really taking care of your skin and hair because they take time to do a transformation and at this stage in the game you still have time. Drink a lot of water, every single day. When you think you have consumed enough water, pour another glass. Water will help to clear away any skin imperfections and will also hydrate your hair. It takes time to do this, but it will be very beneficial in the long run if you start treating your body right early on.

6 Months in Advance

Give yourself a salon day. You’re probably pretty stressed out at this point anyway, so you owe it to yourself to go and have your hair coloured. Choose a colour you want that will compliment the wedding colours and your bridesmaids’ dresses. Try the colour out and see if it looks good with your skin. Make sure your hairdresser writes down the exact dye number because you will be back in a few short months for a re-dye! Remember to continue hydrating all day long.

3 Months in Advance

Do a trial run with your pre-booked hair and makeup stylist. This will give you an idea of the types of hairstyles that are possible to accomplish with the amount of hair you have. See how you like the makeup presentation and hairstyle your stylist has created and if it feels right for your wedding day.

1 Month Before the Wedding!

Get your hair re-dyed at the same salon to ensure you get the same colour as before. Get a slight trim to get rid of any dead ends you may have, but be careful not to go much shorter because your wedding stylist is going to need to recreate the agreed-upon style from your hair trial. Keep drinking that cool refreshing water!


The day is here and all of the hard work and preparation will finally pay off. Sit back and try to relax as your stylist brings to life your wedding day dreams!

How to Plan a Team-Building Event That Works

How to Plan a Team-Building Event That Works

Successfully putting together a team-building event that actually works is a lot more challenging than most people make it out to be. Suffice it to say, it is significantly more challenging than simply renting out a killer corporate event venue in Ottawa and crossing your fingers while hoping for the best.

There’s a lot of heavy lifting that goes into creating team-building events that will have you and your staff coming together a lot closer, and you’ll want to knock as much of that heavy lifting out in advance as humanly possible.

We’ve put together a quick list of details that you’ll want to be sure to cover when assembling this kind of event, and hopefully you’ll be able to put them into play and make the most of the time that you all spend together.

Outlined Goals and Expectations

Every single team-building event on the planet can do with some proper organization and set goals and objectives. Don’t expect a spontaneous, unplanned team-building event to be successful or achieve the objectives you set out at the beginning.

You want to be sure that you are outlining goals and expectations based upon the type of attitude and approach that you want your team to have going forward.

For example, if you are merging two teams or departments together, you want to be able to foster new relationships built on trust and acceptance. You may also want to instill an appreciation and respect for technical proficiency. You will want to plan an event that focus on these sorts of characteristics.

Keep Teams Small

Even if you are dedicated to bringing your entire company to a team-building event, you’ll want to further break that organization down into “squads.” Not only will you be able to manage the team-building activities more effectively, but there will also be a strong sense of cohesion.

It’s really easy to get engaged with up to ten different team members that you’re working in close ranks with, but it’s almost impossible to get (and stay) engaged when you’re trying to build a team out of everyone in your 250+ person organization.

Keep Things Fun but Keep Things Focused

Team-building events and exercises can really run off the rails rather quickly if they are seen as nothing more than social of events, but that doesn’t mean that you want to rule your team of events with an iron fist, either.

Instead, try to walk that line between keeping things fun, keeping things light, and keeping things exciting – and as “non-work” related as humanly possible – without ever forgetting that this is a company function through and through and that you’re here to complete objectives.

St. Elias Centre is a leading corporate events centre in Ottawa. Get in touch to book our venue for your upcoming team-building event!

3 Popular Fundraising Event Ideas

3 Popular Fundraising Event Ideas

People absolutely love attending fundraising events, and it’s easy to understand why. There’s just something about getting dressed up, participating in an event set up for a fantastic cause, and mingling with folks you may never have the opportunity to interact with as often as you would like that really makes these of that’s major attractions.

At the same time, the odds are pretty good that you’ve been to at least a handful of fundraising events that felt as though they were cut from the same cookie-cutter mold as the last five or 10 that you had attended. That’s when these kinds of fundraising events really start to lose their persuasive power.

If you’d love to host a fundraising event that is unique, exciting, as well as built on the foundation of popular fundraising events that have been held in the past (and proven to be effective), you’ll want to try out at least a handful of the ideas we outline for you below.

Travel Raffle Fundraising Events

You won’t ever have a difficult time attracting people to a fundraising event that promises to give them the opportunity to win multiple travel packages, and that’s what makes these kinds of events so successful.

Yes, you’ll have to do a little bit of wheeling and dealing with companies to get the best deals on fundraising travel packages – but at the end of the day it’s a lot easier to pull off than most people think it’s going to be.

Golf Tournaments Can’t Be Beat

There’s just something about being outside in a well landscaped area playing one of the greatest games ever created that is so conducive to fundraising.

Not only are you going to be able to host an amazingly fun and competitive tournament at a great golf course, but you’re also going to be able to have a banquet that brings your golfers back together for a little bit of after-round action.

To top all of that off, golf tournaments are also a great opportunity for people to conduct business out on the links. There’s just something about being grouped up with three other golfers all alone for four hours or so that helps business deals get closed much faster than they ever would at the office.

Auctions are a Lot of Fun

Auction style fundraisers can be a lot of fun and are usually quite popular with attendees, but they also allow sponsors to showcase their products, their services, and they are donated goods in a way that helps them build goodwill with potential customers and clients.

These kinds of fundraisers are almost effortless to pull off successfully and can be the talk of the town – or your industry – if you line up the right sponsors to help you put on the show.

Planning a fundraising event? St. Elias Centre is a leading fundraising event venue in Ottawa!

Wedding Guests List Etiquette

Wedding Guests List Etiquette

Formulating your wedding guest list can be one of the most rewarding and anxiety-provoking parts of planning a wedding. While including people to celebrate in your wedding is good, it can also increase the overall cost and lead to conflicts. As a result, it is a good idea to carefully construct your wedding guest list.

A good way to create a list that will work is to follow a guide. Below we quickly cover how you can construct the appropriate list for your wedding through our wedding guest list etiquette guide. Let’s begin!

Begin With Your Dream List

The first thing you will want to do is organize your dream list of guests. If you had nothing to consider but your own happiness, who would you include in your wedding? Create this list and consider making several different ranks of musts, would-like-to-haves, and possible drops.

Consider Financial Help

It is not uncommon for the cost of weddings to be covered in part by parents and family members. As a result, you will want to consider not only including people who will donate, but people that they want included as well. So, if you have a grandma who is willing to donate money, then you may want to ask who they want included. You should also consider people who have money and might be willing to provide wedding gifts. Including them can mean significant savings for you down the road.

A Realistic Guest List

As any person who has created a guest list will tell you, it is easy for the guest list to quickly balloon out of control. You may begin with 20 guests, and quickly find yourself with 45 after only a few days. Keeping guest lists realistic is important because of cost. While many people do not want to discuss the costs associated with a wedding, it is crucial if you want to make a realistic plan that will cause you less anxiety. A realistic guest list will help you set hard limits.

Make Rules for Cutting People from Your List

Work with your partner and create a list of rules that you both will follow to determine who is cut from the wedding invitation list. Rules can include things like cutting people you haven’t talked to in more than three years, people you might feel guilty leaving off, and if nothing else eliminating those people neither of you have spoken or heard the names of. These rules may sound basic, but you will be surprised at how challenging it can be to follow these rules and act on them.

As a premier wedding venue in Ottawa, St. Elias Centre is committed to helping brides- and grooms-to-be with wedding planning and wedding etiquette advice. Get in touch if you have any questions or if you’d like to plan your wedding at our venue!

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