- 5 years ago
- Wedding: October 2012
We were married on October 20, 2012 and the day was wonderful and filled with so much love!! It had been calling for rain all week and when we woke up the morning of, the forecast changed and the sun came out! My advice to all brides and grooms – enjoy your day, take a few minutes to sneak away and spend time with each other and have fun!!
During the planning process, I found it difficult to find reviews on local vendors, so I wanted to review the companies we went with. We generally met or contacted 2-3 vendors for each category, but we decided based on price, customer service and overall feel (ie: friendly in emails, answering questions without being annoyed, etc).
We had a budget of $30,000 and ended up spending $26,500. We planned everything ourselves and saved a lot of money by doing things on our own.
Venue – Museum of Nature
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the Museum of Nature. We had our ceremony in the Queens’ Lantern and our reception in the Salon. It was reasonably priced and the customer service was wonderful. We dealt with Diane, the events coordinator, and she was fantastic.
There are a few things to know: they have five caterers you can choose from, but they are all big names in Ottawa, so you would probably end up choosing one of them anyway; you need to purchase insurance for your event (around $300 for groups of 100-150); parking is not free, however you can purchase parking vouchers for your guests and whatever isn’t used they refund; and included in the fee are the tables, chairs, microphones, podium and uplighting).
Honestly, it is a beautiful place and we saved on decorations because the Salon is beautiful and didn’t need more. We recommend the Museum of Nature to all brides and grooms!
Catering – Bytown Catering
We met with other caterers, but as soon as we met Cheryl at Bytown Catering, we were sold. Only downside is you can’t do a tasting. However, we were lucky because an event at my work was catered by them and it was wonderful, so that was my mini-tasting!
Bytown Catering worked with us throughout the whole planning process and were really open to our questions and suggestions. We decided to go with a buffet because we wanted our guests to have options. They offer vegetarian and vegan dishes, lots of salad options, wonderful desserts and mains.
To be honest, Bytown Catering surpassed all our expectations. The serving staff was phenomenal and the food was amazing. We went with their Festive Buffet (turkey, stuffing, potatoes, steamed veggies, meatballs and vegan pasta) and our guests were going back for more! The late lunch was awesome – we had nachos and salsa, hummus, spinach dip, cheese platters, veggie platters, coffee and tea.
For a minimal fee they also cut and served our cake (I think around $160). They also did the bar service, which was very reasonably priced, with great options. We recommend Bytown Catering – reasonably priced with amazing food!!
Photography – Union Eleven Photographers
We haven’t got our photos back yet, but I can’t say enough good things about Union Eleven. From our first meeting with Brittany until she left the wedding, we had a blast. Brittany was our main photographer and Kristen was our second photographer the day of. You can tell they love their jobs because you have so much fun with them.
Not only are they funny, they are extremely professional and ridiculously talented. We knew we would spend a good portion of our budget on the photography, but they still came in at a good price and are willing to create your own package.
Also, any dealings with the owners, Derrick or Andrew, were pleasant and extremely helpful (they generally deal with you regarding pricing and package options). We did an engagement session and our photos were awesome, unique, creative and a wonderful way to connect with Brittany before the wedding day.
If you go with Union Eleven – you will NOT be disappointed!
Officiant – Joan Bruce-Nibogie, All Seasons Weddings
We found there wasn’t a lot of options for officiants in Ottawa. So we went with All Seasons Weddings. However, their list of officiants is quite extensive and we could not have been happier with Joan. She was always easy to get in touch with, answered all our questions, offered plenty of insight to our ceremony and really got to know us as a couple.
Joan was such an integral part of our day. She even left us with a keepsake copy of our ceremony that she printed off. We definitely recommend her!!
Cake – It’s a Matter of Cake
We decided on a less traditional wedding cake and It’s a Matter of Cake was recommended to us. Matt did not disappoint. He is an extremely talented baker, his cakes not only look phenomenal, but they are delicious. He can do anything with cake!
The only downside is that he can be hard to get in touch with. However, he is extremely talented and he will deliver. You can totally trust that! He just might take a week or two to get back to you.
Flowers – Full Bloom
Flowers weren’t a big part of our wedding budget, but we still wanted bouquets, boutonnieres and accent flowers with the centrepieces. Full Bloom was recommended to us and Erin is a really nice person to deal with. When we met her she was friendly and easy going. We made a small change to our order a month before the wedding and she was great with that, although very hard to get in touch with.
The downside was the day-of there was a mix up. The flowers didn’t get delivered until after my husband called her asking where they were (she thought we were still picking them up), when they arrived there were only three bouquets and three boutonnieres, not four and four, and due to the season the flowers initially discussed were not used. She quickly made another bouquet and boutonniere and no one was the wiser. However, it did cause a little stress for my husband the morning of! Also, the flowers did not seem to be as fresh as they could have been.
Overall, Erin is extremely talented. However, we felt that because our wedding wasn’t using a lot of flowers, we weren’t important to her. She is very difficult to get in touch with and can lose track of things. She came highly recommened but we found she didn’t deliver on our expectations.
Dress – Alliance Bridal
Great experience! I am a plus-sized bride and Alliance Bridal had a great selection for me. They do the alterations on site for a reasonable price. I was able to rent crinoline from them and they even gave me a garter for free!
Wonderful ladies, very particular seamstresses, they really made me feel beautiful!
Bridesmaids Dresses – Alliance Bridal
Huge selection of bridesmaids dresses. Because I bought my dress from them, the bridesmaids got 10% off theirs.
Grooms Attire – Moore’s
My husband and the groomsmen all rented their suits from Moore’s. He chose the Vera Wang Black collection. Great suits – nice sleek modern fit. My husband is quite thin, and this suit fit him perfectly. We would suggest dealing with the Lincoln Fields Moore’s as they can be more hit than miss. The downtown location was not helpful, terrible customer service!
Hair/Makeup – Jask Day Spa
The bridal party got their hair and makeup done at Jask in Kanata. I recommend this salon – the makeup artists are wonderful and the stylists listen to what you want and deliver. I had a makeup and hair trial about three weeks before the wedding and it was stress-free and easy. Amanda did my makeup and Rachhana did my hair. Wonderful way to start the day!
Engagement/Wedding Rings – Magpie Jewellery
My husband designed my engagement ring at Magpie with Sylviana. He said it was a great experience, she was really helpful and they were great in creating the ring he wanted and translating his ideas into a beautiful design.
Since we had such a great experience with the engagement ring, we decided to stick with them for the wedding bands. However, Sylviana was away on maternity leave and the salesperson we dealt with was not as good. We are happy with our rings, however, there was a mix up in the system and our order disappeared after we had already paid for half of it. Things got sorted out, only after we stayed to figure it out with them. The best we got for an apology was “that sucks.”
We like the store and their products. When they are helpful, they are great!
I think that’s all my vendors! We did a lot on our own. We printed our own invitations, my husband designed our seating chart, table numbers, signage. We made our centrepieces. And we had amazing friends help decorate the day of.
I hope this was helpful! When we get our photos back, I will be sure to post some!
If you have any questions, please ask away!! I know how hard it is to find local forums!
Happy planning!! Enjoy everything, if you feel yourself getting stressed out, take a few minutes to calm yourself. At the end of all this, you are marrying the love of your life! Nothing to stress about – just be excited!!