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!

How to Choose Your Wedding Song

How to Choose Your Wedding Song

Your wedding song will typically be the first dance song played at your wedding. It will include you and your partner on the dance floor, dancing as other people watch. Because of this pressure, many people will take their time to find the right wedding song for their celebration.

So, what song are you going to play? If you are like most people, then answering this question will be difficult. Music plays an important role in our lives and can come to signify the experience we have with our significant other when moving forward. Whether or not the wedding song is right for you will depend on a lot of factors. With that in mind, we will look at how to choose your wedding song by comparing three of the most common competing interests. With any luck, you will leave with a better sense of what you will want to play.

Significance to You

This is what most people will think first. What song most moves you? What song has the right emotional mood for sharing a public moment with your significant other? Is there something in the music that makes it interesting to you? Does it have a beat and are you capable of dancing to it? Will it be appropriate for the mood of your wedding? All of these and more are questions you should be able to answer. Make a list of the songs significant to you and try to defend each to see which one sits best with you.

Significance to Your Partner

Your first song will also be your partner’s first song. Does your partner have any particular interests or strong desires when it comes to the first wedding song? Are they pushing for one particular song and will they be upset if you want a different song? If you don’t mind the song and don’t have strong opinions of your own on the matter, then it may be easier to let them figure it out.

Significance to Your Life Together

The last way to approach determining your wedding song is to consider something that speaks to you, your partner, and the life you want to share together. It can be the first song you both danced to, a song from a band that has a close, personal connection to the two of you, or even something that represents your hopes and dreams moving forward. Working together to find the right music can be the most challenging and most rewarding way to find a song you like.

No matter what song you choose, your wedding can be a magic night at the St. Elias Centre!

5 Corporate Event Ideas You Wouldn’t Expect

5 Corporate Event Ideas You Wouldn’t Expect

Are you having a hard time getting staff excited about your corporate events? Here are some unexpected ideas guaranteed to boost employee attendance and enjoyment:

Escape Room Puzzles

This is the latest fad sweeping the puzzle game industry and it’s not just for a Friday night with friends – it could also make for a successful and memorable corporate event. How it works: Small teams (typically a group of four or five people) are locked in a room together and the only way to escape is to work together to look for clues and solve the puzzles that will eventually lead them to the key to unlock the door.

The Escape Room activity is a unique and creative way to foster teamwork, bonding and communication amongst your staff. This fun, unorthodox activity plays on each individual’s natural social and critical thinking skills and will help staff discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to use them to work efficiently towards a set goal that benefits their entire team. A recipe for a successful corporate structure!

Awards Ceremonies

Awards are a fun to celebrate and reward staff or personnel for all the hard work they do. It boosts morale across the board and gives staff more incentive to produce exceptional work. Awards ceremonies offer a wide variety of event options to fit any budget – you could plan a casual luncheon or a more formal soiree, where staff could invite friends and family to take part in the festivities.

How-To Classes

Instructional classes and workshops are a great way to increase interpersonal communication among your staff. It provides a safe and informal setting for staff to interact with one another, while fostering a creative and constructive atmosphere which makes for wonderful corporate event. Cooking classes have proven to be one of the most popular corporate options, as it is a break from the subject matter you take on every day (unless you are a cooking staff, that is) and nothing brings people together faster than good food!

Sporting Events

A bit of healthy competition now and again never hurts. Sorting your staff into teams, perhaps intentionally teaming up colleagues from different departments, allows them to get to know each other better and learn how to communicate more effectively and work together as a group in order to achieve victory.

Game Days

Hosting a game day is an overwhelming crowd pleaser! Individual staff or small teams can compete against each other in a series of game show puzzles or tournaments. This could be small scale, perhaps teams of colleagues are pitted against one another in a gripping game of Pictionary, or larger scale with a company-wide race with each team member in a giant hamster ball!

3 Reasons You May Want to Hire a Wedding Planner

3 Reasons You May Want to Hire a Wedding Planner

A wedding is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience. The loving couple exchange vows, people dance, the cake comes out, and you leave having had a great night. However, people don’t always realize the work that goes on behind the scenes. Someone has to be managing staff on site to ensure the first dance is cued at the right time and that the cake comes out before anybody leaves. Needless to say, this stress can put a real damper on the happy couple if they are having to play ringleader while trying to enjoy their big day.

This is why more and more people are electing to take advantage of the services of a professional wedding planner. These experts know how to streamline the planning process, taking care of all the little details to make sure that your big day goes off without a hitch and that it is everything that you hoped it would be and then some.

Here are a few key reasons why it may be worth the investment to hire a wedding planner:

Your Phone Will Be Ringing Off the Hook Leading Up to Your Big Day

Coordinating a wedding is far from an easy task. As the primary contact, you are going to have to juggle multiple phone calls per day, line up and attend numerous appointments, and be on call morning, noon, and night for likely at least three months leading up to your wedding day – and then comes planning the honeymoon! A wedding planner can take all of this stress and chaos off your plate, making the process fun and enjoyable for you and your partner.

Providing Wedding Advice and Insider Knowledge Backed by Experience

Wedding planners are going to be able to make recommendations and insider advice based on their experience. Having planned and attended countless weddings, an experienced wedding planner will be able to tell you what works, what to avoid, and what to do if you really want to create a WOW element for your guests – of course, all while staying on budget.

Industry Connections to Caterers, Bartenders, Entertainment

At the end of the day, one of the biggest advantages to working with a professional wedding planner is the advantage of leveraging their industry connections. Experienced wedding planners will be able to source multiple options in a variety of price points to create the wedding day of your dreams.

5 Creative Food Ideas for Your Summer Wedding

5 Creative Food Ideas for Your Summer Wedding

Finding creative food ideas for your summer wedding is the perfect way to make it memorable. Below are five ideas that work especially well in the summer months and that you may enjoy.

Consider Fruity “Cronuts”

Cronuts are a combination of donuts and croissants that have taken the wedding catering world by storm. A great airy, flaky, and tasty treat, cronuts are something that your guests will talk about for years to come. Their light airiness makes them perfect for the summer months and topping them with a fruity spread of something like strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries can make them something truly spectacular.

Forget The Fork

A creative food idea for your wedding can include the imagery of BBQ with a move away from using utensils. For example, meals that do not require a fork can add fantastic variation to your entrée. Things like meatballs served on toothpicks or other meats and vegetables are a great way to add some spice and variety to your food selection.

Go Mini!

Summer weddings can be characterized by longer days and heat. The last thing you want to do is add heavy food. Consider taking a popular meal and make it bite sized. For example, spaghetti and meatballs can be arranged into a single bight sized treat and served as such. Other heavy foods can be served in smaller amounts, allowing guest to commit to less when they take food.

A New Take On Comfort

A wedding is as much about you as your guests. However, when catering to so many different people, it is important to remember your own needs and desires, especially when it comes to food. Consider what food is your comfort food and role with it. Taking the “go mini” approach above, you can turn your favourite food into a bite-sized experience that your guests will enjoy.

Consider Interactive

The summer months bring to mind a lot of different interactive food opportunities. From scooping your own ice cream from an ice cream cart to designing your own snow cone and flavouring it yourself, you can make a refreshing and cool part of your food/drink selection a fun experience for adults and kids alike. You can even take this to the next level by providing materials for people to design their own specialty drinks. As a final consideration, you may want to combine ideas. Adult snow cones anyone?


5 Reasons to Host a Graduation Party

5 Reasons to Host a Graduation Party

Graduation events are a major accomplishment for many young adults. Whether it signifies the next step of leaving home for college or is a party to celebrate getting through a grade, academic accomplishments are worth celebrating. Below are four reasons why you should host your next graduation party at an Ottawa event centre.

Reward Academic Acumen With A Party That Fits The Accomplishment

Having your party at an Ottawa event centre helps add to the importance of the academic achievements. It acts as a fantastic reward for a lot of hard work and reinforces how so much hard work can have a positive outcome. Having an event space for the graduation party can allow for a wider selection of people to join as well, making it a more comfortable mix of fellow students and relatives for the person graduating.

No Clean Up Or Food Prep Required

If the event space is catered, then you will not have to worry about food prep or clean up after. You will save yourself a great deal of time. The benefits of which include being able to take in the ceremony and celebrate it along with your child. A graduation party celebrates the successes of your child as well as the sacrifices you made to ensure that they were able to make it this far. So take some time for yourself and allow someone else to handle the details.

Many Event Spaces Are Familiar With Graduation Parties

Graduation parties at banquet halls are becoming increasingly popular. When you contact an event space to plan the party, they may already have experience setting up such events and will be able to work with you to ensure that everything goes as planned.

Easier To Park At An Event Center Than A Home

Parking an extended family in and around your home can be a challenge. Fitting them all into your home may be impossible. If nothing else, an event space provides the area and accessibility that your home may not have.

Less Wear and Tear On Your Home

As a final consideration, know that locating a graduation party at an event centre will mean less wear and tear on your home. It will allow you to experience the party instead of managing guests. If nothing else, it will leave you with the peace of mind that when the festivities are all over, you can return to a clean home.

Choose St. Elias Centre and Banquet Hall for your upcoming graduation party!

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