Everyone loves a party. Whether you are marking a milestone birthday or special anniversary, celebrating a bar mitzvah or a marriage, finding the ideal venue for an unforgettable occasion can be tricky.
Hosting a big bash in your home might be warm and welcoming, but then you've got the preparation and cleanup to consider. Restaurants may offer great food, but sometimes do not provide the ambiance or privacy you might be looking for.
Ottawa at Home scouted out four locations that offer tremendous possibilities for your next special party. With three chic urban spots and one tranquil rural setting on the list, planning that exceptional event just got a whole lot easier.
Whether you're hunting for a spot for a delicious wine-tasting event, a cozy sit-down dinner or a lively bit of interactive dinner theatre, look no further than the Urban Element. Owners Carley and Oliver Schelk opened this sumptuous party space, housed in Ottawa's old Firehall 11, five years ago and now host dozens of events each month. By staying on top of all the latest trends, the Urban Element treats the food and drink as part of the main event, rather than just an accessory to your gathering.
The 1700-square-foot space is a seamless blend of heritage architecture and contemporary flourishes. It's an urban-rustic environment that includes a huge communal dining table in one area, alongside an open top-notch kitchen where you and your guests can either dive in and help create your meal, or stand back and watch some of the city's finest culinary magicians at work. A cocktail reception for up to 65 guests might include tasting stations and an interactive wine bar with an engaging sommelier. A sit down dinner for 16 to 50 guests could be either a formal affair or a relaxed family-style meal.
From baby showers where the guests prepare freezer-ready dishes for the new mom to corporate dinners to intimate wedding ceremonies, the Urban Element offers the opportunity to host a truly exceptional event thanks to a team that knows how to make sure no detail, culinary or otherwise, is overlooked.
The Urban Element is at 424 Parkdale Avenue. Visit http://www.theurbanelement.ca or call 613.722.0885.
Stonefields Heritage Farm's rich history dates back to 1816. Located near Carleton Place, just 20 minutes from Kanata, it is now a charming county retreat. Stonefields' current owners, Stephanie Brown and Steve Malenfant, lovingly rehabilitated the property and then threw the doors open to their home in 2010.
From the 150-year-old stone farmhouse to small log buildings and barns on the 120 acre property, the setting could not be more peaceful and picturesque as tree-lined laneways give way to lush meadows with rustic fences. It's ideal for cocktails by the flagstone-decked pool for a summer event, with dinner either indoors or al fresco under the stars or in a white tent bedecked with strings of tiny lights. Given the abundance of natural beauty at Stonefields, little additional decorating is needed to make your event a dazzling one.
The farmhouse great room with its huge stone fireplace comfortably accommodates up to 60 for dinner. Flexibility is key - bring your own caterer, or look to Stephanie and Steve, who have years of event planning experience, for a personal recommendation. The vivacious couple offers up not only their entire property but also their services as creative coordinators; they share a genuine eagerness to help customize all aspects of an event to make it truly unique. With shuttle services to Ottawa available, as well as a wide range of nearby accommodation, Stonefields is as appealing for corporate events as it is for weddings, anniversaries and other parties.
Stonefields Heritage Farm is at 1985 9th Line, Beckwith; visit www.stonefieldsheritagefarm.ca or call 613.253.3313.
Ottawa meets Manhattan when West Wellington's Cube Gallery is the setting for your special event. Imagine spending an evening in a contemporary, urban setting replete with gorgeous artwork which adds an interesting new dimension to your gathering.
The Cube's 2600-square-foot open space features two large adjoining rooms, including the Grand Room with its warm, raw canvas-coloured walls, 12-foot ceiling, built-in multimedia projection system and high-end audio system. On a second level is the large salon, with its bold multi-coloured walls and seven-foot bar. Thanks to its situation in Ottawa's most vibrant arts and culinary district, food and drink purveyors abound in the area so it's as easy to offer treats for the taste-buds as it is for the eyes.
Owner Don Monet has extensive experience in staging vernissages and other events and is quick to provide recommendations if you need help pulling together your ideal party. In addition, he graciously waives corkage and cleanup fees, making an event at the Cube that much more affordable. With a lighting system that can be adjusted to create the perfect mood, along with an open floor plan that creates a nice flow during a party, the Cube is a dynamic and welcoming space.
Cube Gallery is at 1285 Wellington Street West. Visit www.cubegallery.ca or call 613.728.2111.
For a fresh, hip locale in the heart of the city, consider one of Ottawa's newest party palaces - Events InStyle in the ByWard Market. Owner Amanda O'Reilly has a reputation for attending to even the smallest of details, a skill honed through her years as a sought-after personal concierge.
Stepping into the meticulously transformed heritage building is almost a magical experience. Events InStyle's 2000-square-foot space boasts high ceilings, exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. The gleaming, open-concept kitchen is so luxe that any chef would be thrilled to work in it. The stylish décor can be transformed to suit any event, with all the amenities including attractive lighting and a great sound system.
Whether it's a romantic wedding ceremony, cocktails for 100 or a dinner for up to 60 people, the space can be dressed up or down to create a personalized mood. The team at Events InStyle helps each client stage the event of their dreams within budget, to ensure a stress-free, memorable and fun experience for all involved. Events InStyle can either connect you with some of the city's top chefs and other service providers, or look after all the details so you are free to enjoy every single moment of your big occasion.
Events InStyle is at 107 Murray Street. Visit http://eventsinstyle.ca or call 613.440.4446.