Post engagement shoot dinner at MUST

May 06, 2016

Still feeling romantic after our engagement photo shoot with Kim Ing and taking advantage of the fact that we looked pretty spiffy – Michael and I ended the busy day with a dinner date.

We didn’t have a particular place in mind but knew there would be plenty of good dinner options around Byward Market.

A short walk later, we decided on MUST – Kitchen & Wine Bar. Warmly greeted, we were shown to a table upstairs. Given it was Friday evening, we were happy they had room without making reservations! The restaurant atmosphere was quite cosy – dimly lit with cobblestone walls and live music.

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Unfortunately, I can no longer remember our drinks selection but I certainly enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc option at the time and Michael was very happy with his tasting flight of reds! Thank you to the waiter for his suggestions!

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Luckily, we are both fans of sharing tapas dishes when the option is available at restaurants – gives us a chance to try multiple different options!

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This was the menu available at the time – the current one can be found HERE

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We had the 3 selections Charcuterie Platter which came with crostinis paired with a selection of terrine, pate and cured meats ($18). All were delicious, especially the terrine which paired very nicely with the house pickles and fruit jelly!

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Pretty happy and excited! Not just about date night, but soon getting married!

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My handsome soon to be husband!

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One of our favourite dishes of the night: Bison tartare with gerkin, anchovy and lime aioli, stilton, crispy capers, and crushed walnuts served with grilled baguette ($18). We love tartare but find it’s often a one dimensional dish in terms of texture – not this one! Loved the contrasting textures – soft tender bison with the added crunch of the other elements of the dish. We would’ve never thought of adding blue cheese but the pungent saltiness really worked beautifully!

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Seared foie gras with sweet confit persimmon, ash rind goats brie, crispy onion, and maple siracha served with baguette ($18). Extremely generous portion for a tapas dish – flavours worked well to create a very rich and indulgent plate! I wouldn’t say it was served with baguette though, especially given the previous dish – they were crostinis – and certainly not enough for the portion size!

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Baked brie and halloumi – phyllo wrapped baked brie, black currant cream, brown butter seared halloumi, honey caramel, and pistachios served with crostinis ($17). We absolutely love halloumi and baked brie… so couldn’t resist ordering this dish. It was rich, sweet and salty, how could you possibly go wrong with a cheese dish like this? Both halloumi and brie are mild in flavour and we found the added flavours of berries and nuts did not over power the cheese – yum!

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The crostinis were appearing across many dishes – we wished there was a little more variety to the vessels upon which many of these delicious elements were being served on! The presentation was lovely though.

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The serving size of MUST’s tapas dishes are definitely more generous than we are used to. I’m glad we only ordered so many dishes as they were not only delicious, but very rich and filling. No room for dessert!

We had a great time. Food was delicious and reasonably priced, nice live music, great service, good location, and lovely atmosphere! Would definitely recommend trying it out and we look forward to the opportunity to go back!

Must Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Engagement Photo Shoot

May 06, 2016

With fresh hair cuts and styles from our wedding hair trial, Michael and I went home to change and get ready for our engagement photo shoot!

We were very lucky that our photographer, Kim Ing (Facebook Page), was so easy to work with. Because honestly, who offers to do engagement photos one week before the actual wedding? We were incredibly thankful for the opportunity not only to have some pre-wedding photos taken, but also the chance to work with and get to know Kim before the big day!

Kim spent a few hours guiding us across various sites downtown. Despite being nervous prior to starting (we’ve never been the sole subject of photography before), both her and her assistant were incredibly easy going and immediately put us at ease.

Her gentle reminders of “bra strap!” “other nose!” “shoulders back!” only helped us be more aware of our surroundings and posture for better photos.

We didn’t know how many pictures to expect from the engagement shoot – but were incredibly pleased at the number and quality of photos we received. Of course, as we are our own biggest critic so not all shots are most “flattering” from our point of view. But even with pruning down to our favourite shots, there were still a ton to enjoy!

Here are some of our favourites, we hope you like them too!

Stairs to the canal under Plaza Bridge

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It didn’t hurt that we both lost a little bit of weight working all those night shifts before coming home for the wedding! 😛

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Ring shot!

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Look, we matched! Although if we were doing this shoot again, I think it would look much nicer if we had both worn lighter colours!

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By the Rideau Canal Locks with the Chateau Laurier in the background

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Looking across the Rideau River at our wedding venue – Canadian Museum of History

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On the Rideau Canal Locks with the Alexandra Bridge in the background

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Major Hill Park – just a week shy of the tulips blooming!

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Play is our favourite restaurant to visit in Ottawa! Highly recommend 😉

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My prince charming!

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For more engagement shots, CLICK HERE TO VIEW!


During wedding planning, Michael and I decided that photography would likely be the biggest chunk of our budget (after food of course). We chose Kim Ing Photography for a number of reasons:

  • We both love and appreciate timeless photography. We were looking for a classic, natural lighting style that Kim captures beautifully. Check out her portfolio!
  • During our first meeting, Kim met with us at her home office, which was stylish, comfortable, and put us at ease. Not to mention she served us cupcakes!
  • We did not have conflicting personalities and felt we could work well with her.
  • Even though we came with a huge list of questions, she took the time and patiently answered them all. She was even happy to show us photos from a wedding she had photographed at our venue a few years back.
  • Her photography training (not just ‘self taught’) and wedding photography experience
  • Many photographers in Ottawa that were charging less than Kim had portfolios that often paled compared to my own amateur photography. We wanted someone who would deliver above and beyond our expectations – which is exactly what Kim did.

For those who are interested, our photography package cost $3949.35, which included the following:

  • 10 hours wedding day photography coverage with an assistant
  • Professionally edited high-resolution images on DVD
  • Private online proofing gallery
  • Complimentary engagement session (including high-resolution edited photos)
  • Rights to privately print all photos
  • Photos provided 6-8 weeks post wedding date

Kim was fantastic to work with and we were very happy to have her capture our wedding day as well. I will save the wedding photography for a separate post – stay tuned!

More wedding meetings

May 06, 2016

Today was another busy wedding prep day! We started our morning meeting with our wedding videographer – KB Production – which I will write a dedicated post to later.

Then a pit stop at our favourite bakery downtown in Byward Market – Moulin de Provence for a morning bite! Always too many options to choose from!

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Have you ever had a black forest danish? Yep, I assure you it is as good as it looks!

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Quick bathroom break before heading to our cake tasting! A perfect message in my toilet stall given our upcoming wedding!

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View of the Byward Market Square from above! Not too busy as it was still quite early.

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CLICK HERE to read about our cake tasting!

After finalising our cake details, we headed to my hair trial! I will also write a dedicated post for my hair and make up. But to give you an idea, she charged $60 for a trial and spent hours on my hair and doing 3 completely different hair styles. We were quite happy with her skill level and Michael even asked if she would be comfortable giving him a wedding haircut – which she did to his absolute liking!

The timing of our hair cut/style was perfect as we were having our engagement photo shoot that evening – couldn’t have planned it better!

Poutine Festival

May 05, 2016

After running around all day meeting with our some of our wedding vendors, we ended the night with a highly anticipated event – World of Poutine – Ottawa PoutineFest!

Michael and I have never had the pleasure in participating in a poutine event, and living in Australia for the last 5 years has certainly deprived us!

Ottawa PoutineFest took place over May 5-8, 2016 and included things like:

  • An incredible selection of poutine fused with flavours from around the world – including lobster, Donair, and Thai!
  • Making the world’s largest poutine while fundraising for charity
  • Craft Beer Garden from Broadhead Brewery
  • Live entertainment
  • Food demos
  • Old fashioned lemonade, churros, blooming onions, and more!

Located by Ottawa City Hall, we were joined by my siblings and our cousins. More people meant more variety, which is perfect because we ate… so much. It was worth it!

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My sister Jenni and cousin Janet – so nice all being in town together!

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Tons of poutine trucks to choose from!

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What happens when you attend a poutine festival with a bunch of people… you get to try so many things!

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And when even more people join!

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The Upper Deck had one of our favourite poutines – the Classic Halifax Donair!

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Getting full!

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What goes perfect as dessert to poutine? Beavertails of course! Another iconic Canadian food! That meant a short walk from City Hall to the Byward Market. View of downtown Ottawa at dusk – gorgeous!

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Mmm, what is better than ending your meal with a soft, chewy, fluffy pastry dipped in cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with lemon juice?! Kilaloe Sunrise is my favourite beavertail option on the menu!

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So much cholesterol was consumed this night 🙂 So happy! Thanks everyone for hanging out with us!

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If you have the chance, don’t miss out! This year’s Ottawa PoutineFest is May 4-7, 2017!

WEDDING DJ & PHOTOBOOTH

May 05, 2016

During the first stages of our wedding planning, Michael had ambitious plans to set up our own DJ system which would allow guests to connect using their mobile devices to play songs. Fortunately, he soon realised that it would be a logistical nightmare!

After a bit of research, we decided to go with Quality Entertainment. They are a bigger company with lots of staff and good reviews online. We weren’t too fussed with our music, as long as we could have some options – which made our decision easy!

We appreciated being paired with a coordinator for consistent communication (mostly over email as we were overseas). We also had to fill out planning forms (30 days prior to ceremony) so that they could get an idea of who we were and what we were expecting. This was also so they could match us with an appropriate style DJ.

Some of the information they ask for include:

  • Names of bridal party and other main vendors
  • Time of set up and tear down
  • Number of guests and their age
  • Preference of music
  • Songs NOT to play (ie. Macarena, YMCA, etc)
  • List of guest song requests
  • Specific song list for ceremony, grand entrance, first dance, etc)
  • Whether we needed extra equipment (projector, photo booth, etc)
  • Whether we wanted our DJ to also act as our MC

On May 5, 2016 – we finally had the opportunity to meet up with the coordinator and finalise all details in person. Nothing was too much trouble and we were offered unexpected discounts which were very much appreciated!


ON THE DAY

We were pretty happy with our DJ services on the day! Jenn was our DJ for the night and here were some points we made note of:

  • Nice instrumental music being played for while guests were being seated for our ceremony (we didn’t specify which songs)
  • We provided all our songs for our outdoor ceremony – which were played in the right order at the correct time – and audible!
  • It was much appreciated that Jenn came up to our table once seated for dinner to introduce herself!
  • During the dinner ceremony, we provided a playlist of Vietnamese songs to play. Unfortunately, the museum sound system was not set up ideally. The dance floor was to one end of the venue and the music was quite loud towards that end and not very audible at the other, particularly because the music was played at a lower volume during dinner service
  • I remember people stayed on the dance floor and had a good time – which is always a good sign right?! 😉 At least until the song “Shots by LMFAO ft. Lil Jon” came on and everyone cleared the dance floor to do tequilla shots at the bar 😛
  • They played our requested closing song “Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond”

We also decided to hire 3 other services through them, all of which were hassle free and the guests definitely enjoyed!

  1. Projector for us to have a photo slideshow played on repeat during the reception
  2. Photo booth with props! Unlimited photos and manned by an attendant to make sure we actually got decent photos! Guests got a physical copy and we got the digital versions after the ceremony.
  3. Kissing game spinning wheel – no more clinking of glasses. Although I’m sure it’s still rigged to make the bride and groom kiss more often than not!

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Total Costs:

  • DJ, equipment (including special effects lights), set up and tear down (6pm – 1am) $749 (with a $100 discount)
  • Photobooth (9:30pm – 12:30am) with props, unlimited photos and attendant $699 (with $100 discount)
  • Projector $100 (with $50 discount)
  • Kissing Wheel – free of charge (normally $75)

We were overall very happy with the prices and services provided by Quality Entertainment. Would happily recommend them to anyone looking for similar services for their event – especially if you are looking for packages, they can definitely work with you!

Wedding Day of Coordinator

May 05, 2016

After our menu tasting with Distinction at the Canadian Museum of History, we ended our visit with our first (and only required) face-to-face meeting with our Day of Coordinator – Philippe Genest.

Phil was easy going from the moment we met him, which was definitely what we preferred. He joined us after our delicious lunch and immediately got down to business.

Some of the important items of discussions included:

  • Floor plan for reception venue (table/seating arrangement, where the gift tables/cocktail tables/DJ/photobooth/bar, etc would be)
  • Seating plan for outdoor ceremony
  • Discussion of bridal procession options
  • Seating plan for indoor ceremony (in case of rain)
  • Confirmation of all vendors including cake, DJ, officiant, etc
  • Ceremony + reception timeline
  • Projector screen set up for any slideshow we’d like to play

Aside from our face-to-face meeting, we were able to keep in contact via phone and email up to the big day.

It called for rain on our actual wedding day. In fact, it was pouring during my ride over to the Museum of History a few hours prior to the ceremony. We held our breath until the last minute when Phil decided the rain was over and the groomsman helped him set up the outdoor seating in less than 5 minutes.

A few glitches to note:

  • Museum posters not covered up in our reception venue. These were meant to be covered but a quick word to Phil and he made it happen before any guests arrived
  • No signs to direct guests to the venue – particularly because the Voyageurs Salon is a separate building from the main museum – eventually everyone made it!
  • The logistics of getting into the parking lot after hours as the museum is closed. We weren’t aware and eventually had to get security to escort us

We were honestly very happy with how the logistics of the ceremony and reception went. The layout was as we discussed and everything seemed to be in order. If there were any mishaps, we were not made aware, which was fine with us!

Overall, Michael and I were incredibly happy with our chosen venue at the Museum of History. The room rental is a little pricey but does include all set up and take down, cleaning, internet, outdoor ceremony set up, parking passes, day of coordinator, and more. For the piece of mind, and the fact that we (and our family/friends) did not have to do the heavy lifting, was worth it.