In the coming weeks, I hope to post some images of many popular Ottawa Wedding Reception venues and photo locations. Having covered over 1000 weddings to date…who better to ask than someone who has seen his share of rubber chickens and fine cuisine.
For now, here are some observations about some of the popular Ottawa and Gatineau area reception venues. The comments are derived from our photographers experiences and this post will be updated as new info comes in. Feel free to add your comments and this can be a resource for those seeking to choose the ideal location for their event.
Strathmere… If the couple enjoy a rural setting and a lot less stress this is one of the best spots in the area. Food is a 7 to 8 on 10. The staff are friendly and the exterior locations for photos are
plentiful if you have a good eye. Only downside..the interior of the main manor is small and could use a new paint job..hint hint.
Stanleys Maple Farm… Once again, a rural setting…not quite as pretty as Strathmere for photographs…but the food is on par. The big plus…a great wagon ride…especially beautiful in the fall. They have also recently put in a nice garden that serves as a good photo spot.
Chateau Laurier...The best indoor location in Ottawa. Food varies widely….at the low end menus its a 6 or 7 given the price/quality ratio…BUT….at the high end, such as what one sees in the Quebec suite at its premium menu…its a 10. Parking will cost you big time…but hey, its once in a lifetime.
Update Mar 09….just enjoyed a great wedding, food, service and coordination was A+
The couple chose a buffet type service and it was well coordinated and the food was excellent.
The Schoolhouse….a special little spot in the west end (max 70people) that is worth a look.
http://attheschoolhouse.ca/history.php We have not been there, so don`t take our word on the
food…but the place itself seems quaint.
Holiday Inn Kanata…surprisingly nice. Food is above what one would expect for a Holiday Inn and the lobby is small, but not too bad for some nice shots on a rainy or winter wedding. Parking if free and plentiful.
Westin Hotel. Food is widely varied…at their best its still a 7 or 8. Not much thought was put into indoor locations for photos…always a problem in Ottawa…especially in the winter. The main reception areas are not that exciting, so unless you spend a fortune on decor your wedding
may not look much more exciting than a dentists convention.
If you have the budget, the suites on the top floor have some of the best views of Ottawa and make a great location…but get your wallet out. On a sunny day, the rooftop garden
works well too….
Delta…Nice staff, food is average. The lobby area is pretty busy to shoot in…but its better than
Hilton Lac Leamy.…Food is a 9 or a 10 most of the time. Great decor…lots of photo spots indoors and out. One of our favorite spots. Check the rest of my blog and my site for some pix.
Beantown Ranch…a hidden surprise…Food is excellent and staff VERY friendly. Its very rural,
but worth the drive..lots of great photo locations. They really care about weddings! AAAA
Sala San Marco….Food is always great….not surprisingly,they are excellent at Italian. Lobby is a bit small..and no place for pictures…too bad. Its a short jaunt down to Dows Lake or the Experimental Farm for some shots of the gang.
Italian Soccer Club….Decor is plain ….But the food once again is tops. Italian weddings
demand nothing but the best. Parking is free.
Skyline Hotel…food is pretty standard, though once again, you should consider that as you move into the higher brackets on any hotel menu price wise…the food gets better (gosh, that works in a lot of services doesn`t it)..no great photo locations at the hotel, although the view from the top is spectacular, shooting groups there is not advisable since its all glass.
Tudor Inn…location needs a makeover…food is a bit above average. Parking is free.
Lobby is not a place for group shots..try Mooneys Bay park on the way out there…some
nice white bridges and water.
Update…we were back in May 09…and rate it the same
Ottawa Hunt Club. Food and service are great, view is fantastic. A little formal, but if
thats your schtick…enjoy. Group shots can be done on the front lawn…though you have
to contend with a lot of traffic…we advise shooting elsewhere unless you are really stuck for time.
Empire Grill…..great food and service. Perfect for a wedding of under 75 people…
Parking is best at the lot behind the Basilica on Sussex….a two minute walk.
Royal Ottawa Golf Club Food is traditional..but very well done. Surprisingly, they don`t even let you near the beautiful course for pix…hmmmn. Stop along the Parkway for group shots or use the nice front verandah….if you want varied locations, perhaps even stop at the island in the middle of Champlain Bridge.
Cedarhill...food is average, decor is too. Photo locations…minimal. The good news…nice view of the greenery and a nice area for cocktails…plus, no charge to park.
Update…Summer 09 we saw an increase in the quality of food and service.
Loch March…food is average to slightly above. I hear the price is decent.(Update: Had a great steak dinner recently…if you can budget for that….you are OK) Not much in indoor or outdoor photo locations…which is surprising, given that its a golf course. It just happens that all the best angles are dangerous to stand a bride and groom in… A wonderful course btw…my fave in Ottawa. A good photo location on the way out there is Andrew Haydon park.
National Art Gallery…Great location rain or shine. Food is super..and the parking is even reasonable. Every couple of years some new civil servant changes the rules on where you
can take photographs..sigh. Make sure you clear it all well in advance.
Museum of Civilization. Wonderful photo location….a bit crowded most Saturdays in tourist season though. Food is average to good…depending on what you pay for it…. If you want GRAND..the Main Hall is really super with its view of Parliament at sunset.
Calagogie Peaks…a hidden gem. Great locations both indoor and out. Make sure you get some
shots on top of the ski hill. The food was excellent!!!
Cordon Blue.….Magnifique….some of the best food in town. Great decor and even a couple of
photo spots indoors. A little formal for most….but hey…live a little. Nice park..Strathcona..across the street.
Lord Elgin Hotel….have not been there in a while…but nothing really special last time we went.
No great spots to shoot in either. Food was competent, but not exciting, possibly try the higher end menus. There is a nice park across the street for photos…with rain, I suppose you could walk over to City Hall. The hotel lobby is far too busy.
Wakefield Mill….very nice location for photos…food is a consistent 9….staff are a little formal..but that may have changed since we last shot there. Not much space for groups indoors on a rainy day.
Courtyard….food was very traditional…but competent. Great locations for shots just outside the
restaurant. A walkabout on the market for those candid shots is lots of fun.
Centurion… Food is dependable…but not exciting. Locale is pretty industrial. It IS possible
to shoot some groups on the second floor in case of rain.
Update FEB 2010, check out the top of our blog for a post entitled Oh Canada…which was held
Montebello. A beautiful secluded location with fine food. The rooms are a little in need of sprucing up for the price they charge. As well, shooting in the main foyer is tough because it has a tendency to turn out dark when shot by anyone but an extremely goooood photographer. One tip, try booking their smaller venue at the golf course..beautiful and a little less pricey.
Brookstreet….Fantastic spot,indoor locations are great, staff, service and food are tops. The nearest great photo location is Andrew Haydon Park…but not on a windy or cold day.
Officers Mess, Somerset Street….good conservative food…one room is not bad for indoor shots.
18 Beautiful decor, great food..perfect for a group of 50 or less…No location indoors that is big enough for group shots…but on a nice day, Major Hills Park and the Market are right there.
The Mill.….I have not been there in a few years…thankfully. Great location, but boring cuisine and poor service the last time I was there a few years back.
Southway Inn…..excellent food and service at a reasonable price. Not much by way of photo spots though.
Ottawa Congress Centre…now being torn down…thank goodness…boring food and a location that resembled a prison…Hopefully the new one will shine..we need it.
Orchard View…great photo locations, food is a bit above average. Staff are very cooperative and
friendly….something we see at a lot of the locations outside the city core.
One more thing to consider…having the wedding outside of a normal venue and utilizing the
services of a caterer…I will post some thoughts on the local scene in the coming months, but for now I would say that my faves are Tulips and Maple as well as Thyme and Again…but then thats just my taste…I like creative, inventive and good wholesome food…not a chicken fingers guy at all.
Update….a reader suggested I add Dish Catering….and yes, they rock….how did I forget them,
heck, I did their portraits.
I would strongly advise you to do a sample meal before booking any of these locations as chefs and staff are constantly changing and some of my comments may be out of date… Its best to ask
friends who have had recent weddings at these locations, for things change in the catering biz
Well, thats it for now. Just one closing comment. With all the money spent on weddings at these venues I am disappointed that most have not even considered setting aside space and budget to
create decor that works for wedding photography. I have been asked to consult with
a couple of these locations on the topic of decor for photos and their attitude has been less than enthusiastic about spending time and a little money on making weddings look better… how sad.
When you meet with the various reception planners take note of this, as its a mark of how much
they care for your business.
One last thing…I am open to comments on this thread, so post a comment on the blog or e me
privately if you have any flowers or bricks to throw at these reception locations…I will update
this every week.
Oh…one more thing…check out my site if you would like to see shots of some Ottawa and area locations we have covered…there are lots more examples at the studio.
UPDATE Feb 2010…check out our newest blog entries…lots of shots of local venues.