Venue Review Part 3: Fairmont Chateau Laurier - Ottawa’s most iconic wedding venue

Step into a venue where time stands still, where every room is steeped in history, where generations of newlyweds have walked the marbled floors, danced a first dance under the chandeliers. This is the fairytale castle that brides tell me they dreamed of getting married at since they were little. It’s also the venue where sometimes even their parents were married so it has great meaning to the family. The hotel has hosted all major dignitaries and celebrities and is a true luxury wedding venue.

This historic and iconic landmark is our 120-year-old castle nestled in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Grand ballrooms, high opulent ceilings, luxurious suites with the service level and cuisine that the Fairmont brand of hotels is known for. It’s a statement venue that exudes opulence, but fair warning, its interiors are a bold proclamation of luxury, you either love it or it’s not your thing. This is not a neutral space, less light and airy, more moody castle vibes.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier Adam Room foyer - Grey Loft Studio | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Time for another review with your expert guide in all downtown wedding venue options! Make sure you don’t miss Part 1: The National Arts Centre (NAC) and Part 2: Ottawa Westin’s Venue TwentyTwo! Let me equip you with the information you need to pick the perfect wedding venue for your unforgettable day. I am reviewing a beautiful historical wedding venue today, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Let’s start with all the reasons I love this venue.

The pros

There is only one Fairmont Chateau Laurier, it is a true statement venue. There are no other spaces that have a similar style or the classic heritage look and feel of this beautiful hotel.

Many venues only have one or two spaces for wedding receptions but this venue has four luxe spaces to consider depending on the size of your guest list. The Laurier room, the Drawing room, the Adam room and then the biggest of them all the Ballroom. 

Each reception room has their own distinct style and colour scheme and is best for different guest counts.

The Laurier room is the smallest of the reception spaces and is perfect for guest counts of under 125 in my opinion. It has its own private foyer for your cocktail hour situated at the end of the French Corridor. The terrace can be used for beautiful golden hour photos. It has 18-foot ceilings with eight chandeliers, candelabra style wall sconces, two mirrored walls and Roman columns around the perimeter of the room that give this reception room warmth and intimacy. It’s likely the most neutral of the spaces at Chateau Laurier, mainly cream with the exception of the burgundy drapes.

The Drawing room is a beautiful corner room which is due for a full refresh by March 2024 to remove the hints of green you see in this photo. It’s the perfect size for weddings of 125-145. The room has unique alcoves in each corner, a sculpted ceiling with ornate detailing, five chandeliers as well as wall sconces that lend a warmth to this space. One of my favourite parts of the Drawing room is the foyer just outside where you would hold your cocktail hour. It’s a large space that is sectioned off but holds so much of the character of this heritage hotel which makes it a grand space to host your guests while they mingle before dinner.

The Adam room is one of my favourites since it’s the perfect size to host weddings of 130-170 guests. Known as the “Wedgwood” or “Oval” Room, the Adam Room was named after the British architect Robert Adam. This luxurious room is a unique start to your wedding design with ornate sculpted ceilings, three massive crystal chandeliers, two mirrored walls and an oval shape.

As the grandest room, the Ballroom has welcomed Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana and numerous other famous people and politicians. With an 18-foot ceiling, the ballroom is decorated in a Renaissance-style making it a luxury reception room easily hosting up to 250 guests. Soaring windows along one wall are reflected in the numerous mirrors surrounding the room and provide natural light for daytime events

For ceremony spaces we have generally seen couples use the Canadian room which is located on the lower level. It’s a space that is very long and narrow with no windows. Though it does carry some of the character of the rest of the Chateau Laurier it isn’t as opulent of a space.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Laurier room ceremony - Grey Loft Studio | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

A better ceremony option is to consider booking for example the Laurier room or the Drawing room. This is for couples who want the grandness of the Chateau Laurier to extend to their ceremony as well as their reception. The higher ceilings and chandeliers in these rooms lend to this.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier, cuisine -  Agatha Rowland | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

The Chateau Laurier offers an elevated culinary experience truly living up to the Fairmont brand of excellence. They have white glove service which is an elegant touch for your guest experience. The wedding packages I prefer are the ones that include restaurant-style ordering which means guests choose their main course in the moment and it saves you from having to track guest meal choices in their RSVPs. It’s also nice for guests to be able to choose what they are in the mood for then, not having to decide months before. The Chateau Laurier is the only venue I know of offering this option. They are also willing to create specialty menu items and collaborate on how to elevate the guest dining experience with innovative presentation. At one fall wedding, I worked with their pastry chef to create a unique dessert display featuring a few of the couples favourite sweets.

I can tell you from personal experience that supportive staff makes all the difference in ensuring you have an enjoyable, stress-free wedding. From pre-sales to the banquet team, the Chateau Laurier staff is focused on serving their couples. With years of experience, and a commitment to going that extra mile, my experience is that weddings just run smoothly at Chateau Laurier. As a Planner, I appreciate how there is always someone on hand during your wedding day or they are a text away. At one recent wedding, our couple wanted guests to feel like true VIPs. The Chateau team and I collaborated to create a very formal guest entrance with several white gloved servers with trays of Veuve Clicquot champagne lining the hallway as guests moved from ceremony to cocktail. Guests were so impressed!

Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Prime Minister suite - Grey Loft Studio | Erica Irwin Weddings and Events

Lastly, the Chateau Laurier is not just a venue, it’s also a hotel! Imagine the convenience of having easy access to your honeymoon suite for those moments of freshening up, changing, or simply catching your breath. Your out-of-town guests can enjoy your wedding to the fullest without the hassle of timing or transportation and  your wedding party can take advantage of beautiful and comfortable rooms for getting ready.. If you opt for an on-site ceremony, a secondary getting-ready location is also included. This allows you to seamlessly transition from photos to ceremony to reception, all in one location.

The cons

If you’re considering hosting your wedding at the Chateau Laurier, there are some important details to keep in mind. As one of their preferred wedding Planners, I can assist you in navigating these intricacies.

While the venue’s team is fantastic to collaborate with, similar to many other venues, they do not provide a ‘day-of coordinator.’ Therefore, having your own Planner who has guided you this far will also greatly benefit you on your wedding day, as numerous essential tasks fall outside the scope of the venue’s events team or banquet manager.

Having a Planner who is well-versed in the Chateau Laurier’s event procedures and team dynamics will ensure seamless execution, prompt resolution of any last-minute issues, and ultimately ensure an experience you, your families, and your guests would enjoy to the fullest!

Next, the Chateau Laurier is a statement venue that offers a very distinct “look” that you will either love or it’s not your thing. If you seek a blank space to make your own that is flooded with natural light, Chateau Laurier is not the ideal choice, as it’s known for its unique aesthetic. So ensure it would fit with your style and vision for your wedding before you get too attached.

While it’s wonderful that the Chateau Laurier offers four stunning spaces, it’s crucial to understand that each reception room has a minimum spend requirement, typically associated with the number of guests. It’s always better to work with Planner early on to ensure the room you desire aligns with your budget and guest count. Don’t start falling in love with the Ballroom and then not be able to meet the minimum spend requirement. This can be very disappointing. Trust me.

Each room boasts a particular style, which significantly influences your design options. For instance, the Laurier Room features a more neutral colour scheme, but if it’s too small for your guest count, you’ll need to explore other options. 

Each reception space has different carpet, paint colour, chandeliers, ceiling architecture and other unique elements that when considered early on can be worked into and enhance your decor decisions. I have planned weddings in all of the spaces and know how to work with each of them.

Lastly, as the Chateau Laurier is conveniently located in downtown Ottawa, parking is limited and is reserved for hotel room guests only due to the current expansion of the hotel. It is important to add parking information with your invitations or your wedding website. There are many options but guests should be aware of the parking situation ahead of time. Often, I hear that couples are having a hard time starting their ceremony on time due to guests who didn’t leave enough time to park. As a Planner familiar with this venue, I have some tricks to make sure your ceremony starts on time!


R  Historic luxury venue
R  Diverse reception spaces
R  Exceptional cuisine
R  Experienced staff
R  On-site accommodations
Q  Very distinct design to work with
Q  Limited parking

Having done countless weddings at the Chateau Laurier, I am very familiar with their team and their spaces. Let me guide you from your first venue tour to the day your fairytale wedding vision comes to life, enjoying every step along the way.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Your exceptional wedding and planning experience starts here

Bonus Video!

I was fortunate to have Grey Loft Studio at some of my favourite Chateau Laurier weddings in 2023 and they produced these fabulous room tour videos for me! You’ll also find some room reveal videos in the Couples section of the site along with the couples’ testimonial. Enjoy!

Adam Room

Up Next!

Next on my blog is the National Gallery of Canada, my last downtown wedding venue review in this series!



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