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How to Plan Your Dream Wedding at the Shaw Centre

Couple at Alter in Shaw Centre

Published on January 7, 2022

You’ve finally found your life partner, the excitement from the engagement lingers, and you can’t wait to start planning for the day you always dreamed of! Though there are many important aspects to planning a wedding, one of the first items on your checklist should be your venue. With the backlog of weddings due to postponements during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, venues are difficult to source, and affordability can be an issue due to an increase in demand. Fortunately for you, the Shaw Centre can host the day of your dreams all under one roof and offer options that work for you and your budget.

We chatted with Lauren Sinclair, Owner of Sinclair & Co. Design. Lauren owns a successful wedding planning business that offers everything from full wedding planning to design services and floral design. Lauren recently planned Aleesha & Andrew’s wedding in fall of 2021 at the Shaw Centre and was exceptionally pleased with her experience. We’re thrilled to have her as a guest feature on our blog to discuss how this couple planned their dream wedding at the Shaw Centre.

"We loved our experience with the Shaw Centre! Throughout our planning process the team was extremely kind and were always extremely responsive to all of our questions. Alexandra would always make herself available for a quick call to explain anything I had questions about and considering the complexity of planning a large wedding during a pandemic it was so appreciated. The day of staff that was on site made sure everything went off without a hitch! All of our guests were extremely impressed with the food, and so were we! Chef Turcot was very flexible and worked with any suggestion we made and even came by during dinner to congratulate us. I cannot recommend the Shaw Centre enough, we are so grateful that they helped our wedding vision come to life.”

-Aleesha & Andrew

Couple Kissing at Shaw Centre alter

Stephanie Mason Photography

Come with a Vision

Come prepared with a vision; Pinterest is your new best friend! Create a mood board for your big day, with details like; chairs, linens, centerpieces, etc. Before contacting our sales team to book a site tour, look at our website at previous weddings held at the centre for ideas and while you’re there, discover our virtual tour and floor plans to get a sense of the space.

wedding setup

Stephanie Mason Photography

The Initial Impression – The Site Tour

Now that you’ve planned your vision, it’s time to get a visual in person. Schedule a time to meet with one of our Sales Managers; who can show you various space options throughout the centre. In the initial visit, you will meet with a sales representative who will outline all the information, including package offerings, menu choices, and your wedding day schedule. Once you’ve booked with us, an event manager will service the rest of your wedding day, accounting for every detail! Lauren noted how lovely the experience was for her and her bride and groom. “It is definitely a unique venue in the heart of downtown Ottawa that guests are so excited to see as soon as they walk through the doors.”

Location, Location, Location

The site tour has concluded, and now you must decide which event space you like best. Lauren recommends the 3rd floor Parliament Foyer for the ceremony and cocktail hour and then Trillium ballroom for the reception. She says it’s a gorgeous space to host the wedding ceremony. The views overlooking Parliament and the Rideau Canal are breathtaking. There was ample room to host the ceremony and have the guests shift to cocktail hour in the same space. This was ideal since we wanted to ensure the reception space in the Trillium Ballroom was kept a surprise until guests entered for dinner time. Lauren notes that her clients love how large and open the space is. The Trillium Ballroom and Parliament foyer create a perfect blank canvas; therefore, any design or colour palette will look beautiful in the space. We can host an extensive guest list as our Parliament Foyer is 22,032 sq ft and the Trillium Ballroom is 19,032 sq ft leaving substantial room for physical distancing should it be required. We have created different floor plans that allow large guest counts, so no one has to be cut from your list!

Impress your Guests with World-Class Food and Beverage

The food and beverage component are an important detail on your big day. One way to please your guests is to satisfy their taste buds! Our culinary team is led by Patrick Turcot, Executive Chef who prides himself on sourcing local and quality ingredients. Patrick Turcot is a Quebec-born, award-winning Executive Chef who brings experience from a distinguished career at numerous prestigious hotels across North America. Lauren notes that her bride and groom were very satisfied with the menu selection and that Chef was delightful to work with. The bride couldn’t decide between entrée options, so Chef made her a custom meal with both chicken and beef! In-house catering is a bonus, as this is one less vendor the planner or client must source. Sinclair also mentioned the food and the serving staff were great and the dinner service was so well organized and executed.

Couple Walking Down Dining Room

Stephanie Mason Photography

Health and Safety for Everyone Involved

The safety of you and your guests is our number one priority. Due to the nature of our business, we are always closely watching government regulations. Discover our health and safety page and our Safe Spaces document which provides an overview of the stringent procedures recommended to ensure that the health and safety of our staff, clients, guests, and suppliers remains our utmost priority. Lauren noted that her Event Manager was very prompt to update them with any changing regulations and outlined information that would need to be collected from guests and vendors arriving on site. All health guidelines and procedures were appropriately followed, making guests and vendors feel safe and comfortable.

Convenient Accommodation and Transportation Options

Due to our central location in the heart of downtown, accommodations and transportation options are bountiful throughout the downtown core. Lauren said most guests stayed at The Westin as a convenient pedway connects it to the Shaw Centre. There are also plenty of other options close by, such as Les SuitesNovotelLe Germain and a few others, all within a short walking distance from the Shaw Centre. Transportation is also a seamless experience. The Shaw Centre is connected to an underground parking garage located beneath the Rideau Centre, which has an abundance of parking spaces. The Rideau bus station as well as the LRT are great options, which both connect to the Shaw Centre via the Rideau Centre.

couple dancing

Stephanie Mason Photography

“We had an amazing experience working with the Shaw Centre staff! Everything from the email communication to the day of execution were fantastic. We have worked at many venues in Ottawa and the coordinators and staff at the Shaw Centre were incredibly kind, helpful, and attentive.”

– Lauren Sinclair, Sinclair & Co. Design

Trust the event professionals at the Shaw Centre who have successfully executed over 4,000 various types of events since 2011 and feel confident leaving every little detail in our hands. If you’re searching for a wedding venue in 2022 or 2023, we would be pleased to learn more about your special day. We invite you to consider the Shaw Centre as your one-stop-shop wedding venue in the heart of downtown Ottawa.