Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo – Downtown venue with the best view

Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo – Downtown venue with the best view

Venue Review Part 2: Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo – Downtown venue with the best view

Picture this: You’re standing in TwentyTwo, holding a glass of champagne surrounded by everyone you love in the world with panoramic views of the city skyline, the historic Parliament buildings, and the beautiful Gatineau mountains. The sun is setting, there is a golden glow over our beautiful city and you are just soaking in this moment of your wedding day.

Choosing the perfect wedding venue is not an easy decision, but with TwentyTwo at the Ottawa Westin, your dream wedding can be breathtaking!

Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo - View of the City Skyline | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

As your downtown Ottawa wedding venue expert, I’m here to ensure you consider the best options Ottawa has to offer, so you can select the perfect venue for your wedding. Let me take you through the pros and cons of this fantastic Ottawa venue, starting with the reasons why I think it’s a great choice.

The pros

First, the location is unbeatable. TwentyTwo is situated at the top of the Ottawa Westin, resembling a glass cube with breathtaking views of downtown, the Gatineau mountains, Parliament, Chateau Laurier, and the city skyline. Witnessing the sunset over the city is always a treat for your guests. They rush to that side of the room to capture stunning selfies, as it’s truly a magnificent sight.

Another added bonus to surprise your guests with is if you’re fortunate to book a wedding date coinciding with fireworks. Its undoubtedly the best place in the city to see them.

Fireworks view from Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo - Union Eleven | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Although you are surrounded mostly by beautiful windows, the room also manages to feature a media wall, essential if you’re planning to put all of your favourite memories on display in a photo montage. Not all venues can accommodate this option which is important to know if you are considering adding this moment to your day.

Next is the food; it’s exceptional, and the presentation of dishes makes you feel as though you’re indulging in a work of art. The staff is remarkable, from pre-sales through to the banquet, they’re dedicated to ensuring your event is a success. The event manager you worked with post-booking will be present on your wedding day and then transitions to the banquet manager for the reception, providing consistent support.

A big advantage of booking TwentyTwo is that you have all the amenties of the Westin hotel at your fingertips, most notably the Rideau Suite which is included in the wedding package. Located just down the hall from TwentyTwo, it’s a very large condo-like suite with sweeping views of downtown Ottawa. It serves as your “honeymoon suite,” but it’s also perfect as a getting-ready space since it provides enough room for your hair and makeup team to set up while still leaving room for bridesmaids and Moms to comfortably relax, eat, and enjoy a mimosa.

My couples have enjoyed being able to sneak away to their suite to use the washroom, freshen up, change into dancing outfits, change shoes, etc. Then, at the end of your wedding night, your room is only a few steps away – No transportation needed! 

I highly encourage my couples to book and enjoy the Rideau Suite the night before as well so that you have early access on your wedding day. This is important for starting your hair and makeup preparation time and not having to wait for the room to be turned over from the previous night’s guests. There is enough room for everyone to put on their dresses and for your photographer to do your “getting-ready photos” as you put on your gown. On rainy days, we have even used the room to take photos.

Rideau Suite Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo - Grey Loft Studio | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Another suggestion I make to my couples is to consider booking a similar space just one floor down called the Bonaventure suite. It’s a great place for the groom and groomsmen to get ready and do their photos. With it’s beautiful views of downtown Ottawa and a wrap-around terrace, it’s a perfect fit to host a rehearsal dinner or welcome drink the night before for close family and friends. You can bring in your own food, bar items, and there is plenty of room both inside or outside on the terrace.

The entire guest experience when all wedding events are hosted in the hotel is so wonderful. This is important to consider if you have a lot of out-of-town guests or even those who you know might enjoy a staycation. Friends and family meeting up meet in the lobby, eating at the restaurant, or going shopping in the attached Rideau Centre together simply adds to the wonderful wedding memories. Guests also appreciate the ease of accessing their rooms during the wedding to change shoes and freshen up. Those with small children book a babysitting service and can easily go and check in and return to the party!

Now let’s address some considerations before booking this space.

The cons

The primary complaint I hear when touring this space is regarding the carpeting in the ceremony and cocktail areas. The ceremony space is located on the 4th floor in one of the Governor-General spaces, and the carpet is in dire need of replacement. Though in most hotels, event space carpeting is typically heavily patterned. I’ve always wished they would install light wood flooring instead of hotel carpets!

Governor General ceremony space Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

After your ceremony, guests generally move to a space next door for the cocktail hour before transitioning upstairs to TwentyTwo for the reception. Hosting both the cocktail and reception in TwentyTwo can be tight unless your guest count is on the smaller end (under 100).

As the name suggests, TwentyTwo is on the 22nd floor, and the stunning view comes with complexities around moving items and people up and down in elevators. I highly recommend hiring a Planner if you’re considering this venue, especially one who is familiar with events in their spaces.

With everyone moving between ceremony, cocktail, and reception on multiple levels of the hotel, as well and the couple needing to slip in and out for things like photos, having a Planner to facilitate these transitions will be key to your day running smoothly. 

Your Planner will need to be familiar with the hotel to build a proper timeline and keep everything on track throughout the day. This includes coordination with vendors around the use of the loading dock and single elevator for movement of rentals and equipment. Some vendors charge an additional fee due to the extra time required to load in and out.

The final and possibly biggest drawback of this space is the noise restriction for music; they have a decibel level you need to stay under, and the music must stop at midnight due to the impact on hotel guests.

If you’re considering a band, this is not the venue for you. A great alternative after midnight would be to switch to silent beats, an offering some of our DJ partners provide, where guests can still dance with music coming through high-quality earphones.

Noise complaints have been heard all the way from the 6th floor, emphasizing the importance of keeping both hotel guests and wedding attendees happy.

Recap

R  Unparalleled views of Ottawa
R  Exceptional food
R  Dedicated staff
R  Rideau Suite
R  Westin hotel amenities
Q  Lacklustre ceremony space
Q  22nd floor logistical challenges
Q  Noise restrictions

As a seasoned Planner familiar with the intricacies of this venue, let me assist you in navigating these challenges and ensuring a seamless and unforgettable wedding day experience for you and your guests.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Your exceptional wedding and planning experience starts here

Up Next!

Next up on the blog, featuring Ottawa’s most iconic wedding venue, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier!

POST INFO AND CREDITS

If you liked this post …

Be sure to read the my other posts on our fabulous Ottawa wedding venues!

Ottawa Westin TwentyTwo – Downtown venue with the best view

An elegant glass box perched on the top of the Ottawa Westin, TwentyTwo offers the best views of our Nation’s Capital skyline. With the convenience of an upscale hotel, floor to ceiling windows, excellent service and food there are many pros, but as always there are things to consider.

National Arts Centre (NAC) – A Downtown Ottawa Wedding Gem

The NAC is located right in the heart of downtown Ottawa. It’s proximity to Parliament Hill, the canal, and our beautiful hotels makes it a true downtown wedding venue. With light-filled ceremony and reception areas, its one of the prettiest, neutral spaces in the city but there are a few things to be aware of if you are considering this wedding venue.

Ultimate Pricing Comparison of the Top 5 Downtown Ottawa Wedding Venues

The biggest question when choosing your venue is usually around pricing. Since all venues have different packages and line items, it’s not easy to make a true comparison. Let’s get started with our Top 5 downtown Ottawa venue price comparison!

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National Arts Centre (NAC) – A Downtown Ottawa Wedding Gem

National Arts Centre (NAC) – A Downtown Ottawa Wedding Gem

Venue Review Part 1: National Arts Centre (NAC) - A Downtown Ottawa Wedding Gem

You’ve said “Yes”! Now it’s time for the challenging part – saying yes to the perfect venue. Choosing the right venue is no small feat; it determines the look and feel of your wedding and is a memory you and your guests will cherish for years to come. As your trusted Ottawa Wedding Planner and downtown wedding venue expert, I’m here to guide you through the best options Ottawa has to offer and save you from the overwhelm that is seeping in. I’ll delve into the pros and cons of the National Arts Centre (NAC), helping you decide if it’s the perfect fit for your special day!

The pros

First, the NAC is located right in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Its proximity to Parliament Hill, the canal, and our beautiful hotels makes it a true downtown wedding venue. They offer two ceremony spaces: the Lantern Room and Rossy Pavilion, both surrounded by windows, flooding the area with bright natural light and featuring light wood floors. This provides a gorgeous canvas to design a beautiful ceremony area.

National Arts Centre Lantern Room - Rubicon Photography | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

There are a few different reception spaces, but I personally love the O’Born room – a showstopping space with high ceilings, light-coloured wooden floors, and an abundance of natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows. Your backdrop is the iconic Chateau Laurier, and at night, the downtown lights. No overwhelming hotel carpets to work around. This versatile room offers a neutral colour palette, allowing you to bring any vision to life.

National Arts Centre O’Born Room - Rubicon Photography | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Venture outside, and you’ll find a terrace with gorgeous golden-hour views of downtown Ottawa and the Chateau Laurier, providing the perfect backdrop for fairytale-like wedding photos. It’s also a great spot for your guests to escape to for some fresh air.

National Arts Centre - Palm Tree Studio | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events
Ottawa Downtown Horizon - Rubicon Photography | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Now, let’s talk about food and bar, because the NAC does not disappoint in this department! The quality of the food is top-notch, ensuring all your guests will leave thoroughly satisfied with their experience. Not only that, but the banquet team’s service is nothing short of exceptional!

The cons

There are some things you need to consider before booking this space. One is to keep in mind is the overall level of staff support. Unfortunately, the NAC can be lacking in this department. Unlike other venues, you do not have a venue coordinator but do have a banquet manager once the cocktail hour is underway. There is often limited support during the crucial setup and ceremony phases. This is where having a dedicated Wedding Planner becomes an invaluable asset in managing all the moving parts of your unforgettable day.

National Arts Centre O’Born Room - Palm Tree Studio | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Navigating the NAC can also pose a bit of a challenge for your guests due to multiple entrances and its unique interior layout. Whether they Uber, park, or walk – it can all get a little confusing, especially when there are public events going on in the building. Clear signage and additional personnel are highly recommended to direct your guests and ensure they have a seamless experience.

When my team and I are onsite, we make sure we are greeting guests and assigning groomsmen to entrances so guests know they are at the right location. It’s happened to me before where guests have gone to the information desk and have been sent to the reception room instead of the ceremony area so it’s best to be prepared.

National Arts Centre - Sample signs and seating charts | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Here are some considerations for the ceremony rooms:

The Lantern Room has extremely high ceilings but does have screens on the outside of the windows which have a projection on them. They turn off the projection for just the length of your ceremony so make sure you are on schedule or you will start to see the lights coming through from the screens outside.

Rossy Pavilion has a beautiful view of the war memorial but the ceilings are much lower and often couples aren’t fans of the light rigging on the ceiling. So it’s good to know this when looking at the spaces.

National Arts Centre Rossy Pavilion - Carley Teresa Photography | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

From my personal experience, the Lantern Room ceremony space can accommodate a maximum of 115 guests, while the Rossy Pavilion can host a ceremony for up to 150 guests, though it can be quite tight.

This next one is the most controversial downside of the NAC. They have a strict vendor list policy for DJ services, décor, rentals and florals. It’s widely discussed that to be on this list, the vendors offer a commission back to the NAC. If you do not want to use these vendors, there is a user charge ranging from $500 to $1,500 to bring in your own outside vendors. If you are working with a preferred planner and we bring you to the NAC, the fee can be reduced though. This is another reason to reach out sooner than later if you are considering this venue.

Being a public space adds another layer of complexity to hosting a private event. This is another reason to work with a Planner who is experienced with the NAC. We have dealt with people from the public coming into the ceremony space, attempting to steal items or getting in the way of the processional before, so now we are prepared for all situations. 

The NAC has added signage though saying “private event” but when my team and I are onsite, we are constantly monitoring since there is no security assigned to the event spaces like other venues.

Though they do include a room for the newlyweds at the Lord Elgin, it’s good to note that there are no accommodations onsite so you will need transportation for yourselves and your wedding party if the weather doesn’t cooperate for walking from your hotel. Also, if you are considering an outfit change, please know you will be doing this in a public washroom since getting back to your guest room will take too long.

Recap

R  Stunning light-filled rooms
R  Fantastic views of Ottawa
R  Amazing culinary experience
R  Neutral colour palette
Q  Lack of staffing
Q  Guest navigation
Q  Public space

As a Planner with experience in this space, let me be your secret weapon in navigating these pitfalls and ensuring your day is nothing short of phenomenal.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Your exceptional wedding and planning experience starts here

Up Next!

Stay tuned for the next blog post featuring Ottawa Westin’s Venue TwentyTwo!

POST INFO AND CREDITS

If you liked this post …

Check out my Instagram and be inspired by this creative re-purposing of Mandy and Ken’s gorgeous ceremony set up as well as a their room reveal walk through at the NAC.

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Ultimate Pricing Comparison of the Top 5 Downtown Ottawa Wedding Venues

Ultimate Pricing Comparison of the Top 5 Downtown Ottawa Wedding Venues

Ultimate Pricing Comparison of the Top 5 Downtown Ottawa Wedding Venues

As an Ottawa based Wedding Planner for the past 15 years, who specializes in Downtown Ottawa wedding venues I feel like I really know the pros and cons of our beautiful city’s best venues.

When I venue shop with my Full Planning couples, I let the venues sales team do their tour, and then I go through all the pros and cons that aren’t usually covered in a standard venue tour.

There are many things to consider when choosing a venue, but the biggest question is usually around pricing. Since all venues have different packages and line items, it’s not easy to make a true comparison. For example, some include 3 courses, others 4 courses. Some serve additional canapes and include late night food and others don’t.

An experienced planner can identify the significant differences in options presented to couples and help simplify the many important decisions to be made. So, let’s get started with our venue price comparison!

National Arts Centre

Ottawa Westin - Venue TwentyTwo

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

National Gallery of Canada

Canadian Museum of Nature

Here are the main conditions I applied to all the venues:

  • Room rental fees (ceremony, cocktail, and reception)
  • Cocktail hour food (4 canapes per person)
  • Open bar for cocktail hour and after dinner
  • 4 course dinner
  • Wine with dinner (1/2 bottle per person)
  • Late night food
  • Cake cutting fee
  • Tax and tip (13% + 18%)

NOTE: The price per guest totals are based on each venue’s 2023 wedding packages. I used an average sized Ottawa wedding of 120 guests as a baseline. For those with larger guest counts, this per person pricing may go down since things like the room rental fee would be divided over more guests.

National Arts Centre (NAC)

$368 / guest

Bar is on consumption, so not a true “open bar”. I estimated 5 drinks per guest, but you are charged what your guests consume so it could be more or less.

Additional items were added to the base venue package for the purposes of this comparison

Ottawa Westin – Venue TwentyTwo

$371 / guest

Bar is on consumption, so not a true “open bar”. I estimated 5 drinks per guest, but you are charged what your guests consume so it could be more or less.

Additional items were added to the base venue package for the purposes of this comparison

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

$277 / guest

True open bar, not on consumption: 1 hour before dinner and 4 hours after dinner.

No additional items were required for the purposes of this comparison

National Gallery of Canada

$551 / guest

Bar is on consumption, so not a true “open bar”. I estimated 5 drinks per guest, but you are charged what your guests consume so it could be more or less. 

Additional items were added to the base venue package for the purposes of this comparison 

Catering with My Catering

Canadian Museum of Nature

$445 / guest

Bar is on consumption, so not a true “open bar”. I estimated 5 drinks per guest, but you are charged what your guests consume so it could be more or less. 

Additional items were added to the base venue package for the purposes of this comparison 

Catering with My Catering

Price is obviously a major decision factor when narrowing down venue options with most of my couples, and every venue has important and sometimes very unique things to consider when I make recommendations. Here are just few to give you an idea.

Both the Museum of Nature and the National Gallery of Canada have a rental fee for the rooms, but you also need a caterer to provide the food and bar as well as rentals for things like plates, silverware, glassware etc. For the NAC, their room rental fees fluctuate based on the time of year and the day of the week. At the Chateau Laurier, there is a room minimum which requires your food and beverage bill to meet a certain price otherwise you will be charged this minimum room fee. There are also other standard but unexpected fees like the “Landmark Fee”, which is applied to any wedding at a museum in Ottawa.

My couples obviously don’t need to be experts in any of this. It’s my job to be the expert, and to give expert advice.

Of course, we have other great venues in the downtown Ottawa core too! For example, Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG), Delta Hotel Ottawa and 50 Sussex, but the ones I included in the top 5 always seem to win the hearts of my couples! 

If you want to chat about your wedding and a specific venue you’ve had your heart set on, let’s set up a consultation and see if we are a fit!

Your exceptional wedding and planning experience starts here

Up Next!

In the next few posts, I’m going to stay with these five venues but move into some “pros and cons” style comparisons that answer questions you may have never thought of! For example, will the room or area I’m getting married in be open to the public? Does the venue provide a guest room or getting ready space? Are there access limitations?  Does my dance party need to end by a specific time?… and so much more!

POST INFO AND CREDITS

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