- 9 years ago
- Wedding: May 2012
We just got married on Friday, May 18th 2012 in Ottawa. Now I’m just beginning to get back to normal life but I must admit, I’m in a bit of withdrawal from the wedding planning.
Hopefully I’ll be able to provide some information for those brides who considering any of these vendors.
1. Wedding Ceremony Venue – Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sussex/ Byward Market 10/10
The location was absolutely beautiful. We had so much assistance with coordinating the ceremony, our priest (Fr. Gilles Lavergne) was wonderful, and our guests were taken aback by how extraordinary the location was. Cost us about $1600 for this venue but it was worth it.
2. Dinner Reception Venue – Old Chapel at Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa — 7/10
This venue is beautiful, but there are very many challenges that only a very organized and strong-willed bride may be able to handle. Firstly, it has a fantastic location that is close to the Market/downtown area. The Old Chapel, where we had our dinner reception, was idyllic with high and ornate ceilings, fantastic architecture, and an already built-in stage. The room rental fee itself is very low ($225) BUT there are so many extra fees including an added coordination fee of 10%, set-up fees for the tables and chairs, housekeeping fees, and if you want to have a bar at your wedding, you have to go through the university’s caterer for the alcohol (Chartwells), although the wine bottles and bar prices are reasonable, they charge you $20 per hour for each server and they mandate you have 1 server for every 30 guests. There is no A/C. Our wedding was in May but that weekend was particularly hot and although I felt the room was comfortable, my older guests found the heat a bit too much. The good thing was that we also reserved the Rotunda (lobby area) so guests could go out there to cool off and have a drink at the bar where we had it set up. The coordinator we had was ok. She was nice, but I had trouble getting in contact with her at times and at one point she had double billed me on the room rental so you need to be very diligent with the contract. There is very limited parking and you will have to pay for it. Street parking is free after 5 but it’s often difficult to find available spots over the weekend. You can bring in your own caterers and your own decor so there are lots of opportunities to DIY with this venue.
3. Reception Band – Groovy Little Orchestra 9.5/10
They were really amazing. Very talented and lots of energy. They play anything from jazz to top 40 and are bilingual (French and English). My only issue was that sometimes it was difficult to coordinate meetings. We paid $2000 for a a female lead singer, bass player (male singer), drummer, and keyboardist. They brought their own sound and lighting equipment for the stage. They let us use their PA system for speeches and announcements.
4. Caterer – Bytown Catering — 9/10
We used Bytown for cocktail reception (appetizer platters) and a 3-course sit-down dinner. The chicken was very good but the salmon was on the dry side (my husband at it all up nonetheless). Excellent food and well priced. It’s mid-ranged in terms of pricing for a full-service caterer. I had used them before for conferences and knew that they would provide more food than expected, but we still had far too much food leftover, especially during the cocktail reception. The only issue I had was that the dessert was not served exactly as it was described, but it was still really really tasty. The service staff were well dressed in white shirts, black pants, and black bowties. Only other complaint is that they did not fill the water glasses frequent enough and there was one server (evidently the one who was supposed to fill the water glasses) who was not polite with my guests.
5. Bar Service – Chartwells (University of Ottawa). 9/10
They service was very good and the wine by the bottle as well as the bar rails were reasonably price ( $23 per bottle of wine, and $5.50 per cocktail).
6. Hair and Makeup – Boss Arts on Laurier/Elgin. 8/10
Hair was done by Crystal (amazing) and makeup by Carla (also amazing). But the other hairstylists and makeup artists that worked on my bridesmaids and mother were not so great.
7. Photobooth – Book The Booth — 10/10
They were incredible. The pics turned out amazing. When I asked for a discount they gave me 50% off. For 3 hours I was charged $250 and when I asked for a discount on digital high resolution copies of all the picture (almost 400 pics), they gave me half off as well ($250). I would highly recommend them.
8. Photographer — Eleventh Hour Photography. (no rating as of yet).
I can’t rate the vendor because I have not received the photos, although for the price, the photographer was very accommodating. I am looking forward to the pictures. I only paid $250 for about 12-hours of service. I received some teaser photos and they look very good. I know she’s super good with the photo editing, but I wish I had some more direction on where to take some good pictures.