Where to elope in Ottawa?
If you are searching for the best places to elope in Ottawa, look no further! I've been living in Ottawa for over a decade and have spent a lot of my time discovering cool, instagram-worthy spots... including some of the best restaurants and venues to tie the knot. Finding an elopement spot in the city presents its challenges, so in this blog I wanted to present to you some options [other than city hall] where you'll be able to have not only a beautiful backdrop, but also an unreal experience.
Of course we all know Covid is - and has been - here for a while. Nonetheless, with restrictions listing I am still seeing a lot of clients considering smaller, intimate celebrations. There's still good reason to opt for a smaller wedding, and if you're wondering if it is for you or not, I'll be posting a blog in the coming weeks that might help you! Stay tuned, and until then, let's dig in.
What we’ll cover in this blog:
- Top Ten Elopement Locations in Ottawa
- Restaurant Elopement Locations
- Park Elopement Locations
- Venue Elopement Locations
Top 10 Elopement Locations in the Ottawa Area
After shooting a handful of weddings and elopements in Ottawa, here are a few incredible spots that crack my top ten list. From a great view to the beautiful aesthetic, I personally think all of these locations set the perfect scene to say “I do” within the Ottawa area.
- Mill Street Brew Pub
- Side Door
- Courtyard Restaurant
- Major's Hill Park
- Burnt Lands Provincial Park
- Rockcliffe Pavillion
- Billings Estate
- Armstrong Estate
- The Knox
- The Wakefield Grand
Restaurant Elopement Locations
Mill Street Brew Pub:
Beer lovers unite! This is a great option if you want a beautiful view, too - it's set in a 177 year old building, located in a spectacular area that overlooks the Ottawa River. Trails are located nearby too, making it an amazing option for our evening portraits.
Side door restaurant:
If heritage buildings are your thing, this restaurant fits the bill. The patio lit up at night is an entire mood and as a bonus you'll have access to an event coordinator who is on top of things! Plated dinner service starts at $90/head.
The courtyard restaurant:
There's a reason this restaurant is a popular one in the Byward Market - the food is so good! It’s in the heart of Ottawa surrounded by old buildings, the Rideau Canal, and beautiful views of Parliament. Perfect for a small intimate dinner, but also appropriate for sit down dinners of up to 80 people.
Park Elopement Locations
Major's hill park:
You know the park near Parliament? This is it! You've got the Ottawa River one on side, and the energy of the Byward market on the other. You could literally go for a stroll, get married, watch the sunset, have an amazing dinner downtown, and treat yourself to a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier... all within a 2.5km radius. Convenient and beautiful? Check, check!
burnt lands provincial park:
A not so popular one, but it has those boho death valley vibes written all over it! That's where the photos in this blog are from, and can I just say how stunning the backdrop looks against anything white (like your dress, or your suit)?! This park is located on the outskirts of Almonte, a scenic mill town along the Mississippi River. Make a day of it. Book a cute boutique hotel, enjoy the village life, and then sneak out to nature for an intimate ceremony.
This location does require a permit to host a wedding (more info. here). It's a beautiful national historic site that is conveniently perched on a bluff with VIEWS. This open air Pavillion overlooks the Ottawa River and has room for either just you and your love, or up to 150 guests standing! It's $460 for 3 hours, which is plenty for your intimate ceremony.
Venue Elopement Locations
Tricked you! This is actually a museum now, but it was a generational home until the 1970s. From the estate itself to the surrounding gardens and indigenous trees, the scenery is endless. With the range of space offered, you have the option of making it your own, or really leaning into the romantic estate vibe. It's no surprise that this Museum is known as one of the most beautiful wedding venues in Ottawa.
the armstrong estate:
Known for crafting vintage European-style celebrations, the staff here will take care of you while also ensuring the time spent together with the ones you love remains top of mind. This place isn't cookie cutter - everything is curated to your taste and style. Sit back and relax knowing you're in the best of hands here.
Located in Merrickville, one of Ontario's cutest villages, The Knox is something special. From the outside you're met with a quintessential red brick church, but on the inside, the gothic window flip the switch. Consider it your own blank (but already kinda bold) canvas. Bonus, the owners are literally the sweetest people in town.
The Wakefield grand is located in a charming town in Quebec located about 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa. This boutique hotel boasts a Scandinavian aesthetic, with all the perfect touches for your intimate gathering. If you want to elope and soothe your soul at the same time, consider this place it.
Can our elopement include family and friends?
You bet. A lot of couples bring their best friend(s) to be their witness. Others go bigger and include their parents and close family too, though I would consider an elopement ten people or less. These options aside, elopements can also just be the you two, an officiant, and I’d be honoured to help “witness” the wedding if you need someone!
Are permits required for photos even if we don’t have a wedding party?
In Ottawa, permits are typically required to provide professional photography or ceremonial services. This applies to most NAC parks, provincial parks, event spaces, and buildings that you're hoping to host in. I've tried to include links above for specific parks, but here is some more general info. on special event permits in the City of Ottawa: Special Events in Ottawa
Are elopements full day events like weddings?
At the end of the day it's dependent on what you want for your elopement! My elopement package begins at four hours of coverage, which means I would be there for the end of you getting ready, first looks, the ceremony, and some portraits. If we time it right, I might even be there for a bit of dinner!
The cool thing about elopements is that there are similar elements to a full wedding, but you have more flexibility throughout the day. If you want to make it a full day adventure, do it. Go for a morning hike or grab a coffee with your future husband/wife in the morning. I can be there for that! You can go as traditional or untraditional as you want.
what location is best for us?
Think about what you are drawn to - is there a certain part of the city that you love? Does a certain place inspire you? Are you a big foodie who loves a gourmet meal with a view? Either way, choose what you love, and not at the expense of other people's opinions. Whatever location you end up choosing, consider me there to capture to capture all of the raw and honest moments.
If you have any questions about any of these locations, I’d be happy to help you make your dream elopement come true! Reach out my way and say hi. And stay tuned for next week’s post about if a small wedding is for you or not!