The following wedding testimonials and referrals have been provided by couples who have celebrated their weddings here at the Ark.
So far we have a 100% referral rate!
We could not be happier to recommend the Ark as a wedding venue. The venue itself is truly a beautiful gem tucked away in nature that will surely make your day very special. However, the thing that is special about having your wedding at the Ark is the owner, Mike “The Mad Trapper” Caldwell. He will make it, “Your wedding, your way”. Mike is a super laid back and calming presence throughout the entire planning process, making sure your day rolls out the exactly the way you want it. He is great at responding to questions and provides great advice throughout the whole process. Have your wedding at the Ark, you won’t regret it!
Stephanie and Joshua
Working with Mike and Monique was everything we could have wished for - responsive, kind, thoughtful and incredibly straight forward. Once we made the mental switch to thinking of this wedding as something like a big party at Grandma's farm, rather than something done in a commercial venue or a big hall somewhere, everything fell into place really nicely. All we needed were the ingredients to a good country cookout, namely beer, wine and champagne, meats and veggie options to grill, lots of salads, and cake! And music of course.
Working with the Ark for the planning was very easy - we came to check it out in the fall, when we were looking for venues, and then we came back to check it out once more, closer to the wedding, to see what it looked like in summer, and to see where we were going to put tables, etc. The garden looked amazing, full of flowers, just a stunning little oasis in the woods.
What really sold us on the Ark were two things: we got a really good vibe from the owners, which is really important to us, especially when planning an event that can sometimes be stressful (we've found that the antidote is to surround ourselves with good people - it works!); they could also provide access to accommodations for our grandmother, as well as a campground for guests. In the end, about twenty-five of our guests stayed and camped the night, including the newlyweds!
During the event Mike and Monique really went above and beyond - we (maybe foolishly) wanted guests to man the BBQ for the night - knowing our group of friends, hanging out by the grill would be par for the course anyway - but Mike and Monique flat out refused to hear anything about it, and operated the outside kitchen themselves! It was incredibly generous of them, and very much appreciated by everyone.
A note about Mike and Monique - they are genuine, kind and fun, and really cared that we had a good experience with them. We noticed, and it was heartfelt, and it just made our day feel that much more special. I honestly can't imagine what it would feel like to do this with a hotel or commercial venue, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't end up thinking of them as family by the end of it.
To sum it up in the words of our guests - our wedding at the Ark was "détendue, lumineuse et artistique" - "superb, inspired" - "romantic and fun" - "beautifully unconventional" - "a cathedral of trees and sunlight". We couldn't have wished for better.
Melissa and Philippe
Here you go Mike, please feel free to share this on your website. Matt and I are so happy we found you. And although I never doubted you, you were right, I can't believe how many of guests have told us that ours was "the best wedding ever". Thanks again.
The rustic grounds of the Ark made a beautiful backdrop for our outdoor winter wedding. Ark-owners Mike and Monique went out of their way to help us make our wedding day a unique and authentic experience. From setting out hay bales for the ceremony to constructing a frame for our photo booth - they really wanted to make our day special. Mike's officiating was an entertaining touch.
Before deciding on the Ark we visited numerous potential venues around the Ottawa area. Many felt like expensive wedding factories that offered endless add-ons and hidden extra costs. Meeting the staff of these operations, we could tell they just weren't our style. We wanted something beautiful and picturesque, but still laid back and fun. After meeting Mike, and visiting the Ark, we could knew we'd found the right fit.
From the moment our guests arrived and were served bourbon and maple taffy on snow until the poutine bar closed at the end of the night, our winter wedding was stunning, relaxed and an amazing party.
Thanks Mike and Monique for making out special day perfect!
Krysta and Matt
Dear Mike and Monique,
Three months after our wedding we are still hearing friends rave about “The Best Wedding Ever!” Thank you so much for everything! We were able to have our dream wedding and actually afford it thanks to your beautiful and unique venue! Everyone kept asking us how we found such an amazing venue that was “so us”. Mike, you were a wonderful officiant and made our ceremony touching, light-hearted, and personal to us as a couple. We cannot express how great it is to still hear from friends that the canoe full of beer was the “coolest way to serve drinks at a wedding ever.” You made our wedding as stress free as possible with being able to set up the day before and take down the day after. Thank you for making our wedding the best day of our lives and putting up with our crazy friends! We feel kind of bad that every other wedding we ever go to now won’t come close to as awesome and fun and laidback as ours. We cannot recommend the Ark enough!
Cheers! Dave & Jess
Hey Mike and Monique,
We’re not sure of the words which can express how perfect our wedding was at The Ark. Right from the day in March of 2012 when we met you and had an opportunity to check out the establishment, we were beyond impressed. You both had such down-to-earth personalities which meshed beautifully with our own, but also projected just the right amount of professionalism. We knew instantly that this was going to be our venue.
Mike you were so helpful and accommodating with all our plans and visits (being scheduled or unexpected). You jumped on the opportunity to lend a hand where it was needed, whether it be helping with set up, bar tending or cleanup. For this we are so grateful because in the chaos of a wedding many hands make a much lighter load. I remember you told me that people who choose The Ark truly have am amazing day because of the freedom to really do want you want. You definitely live up to your motto of “Your Wedding, Your Way”. The day could not have gone better. The weather was perfect, amazing landscape which lead to incredible pictures, the outdoor ceremony and the bonfire in the evening. It was an incredible wedding and ALL our guests absolutely loved The Ark. Most said it was like nothing else they’ve been to and hope someone else we know will have a wedding there.
Gayle and Brandon Malone
I’ve been meaning to write a gigantic thank you email since thewedding in August, but as you know, time can escape us. As not onlyour venue host, but also our officiant, you truly had an integral partin making our day spectacular. You always responded to the emails Isent (and I sent a lot!), you were always there when I needed you.You had the kind and caring and ‘do whatever you want!’ attitude thatwe needed as a host and officiant. The Ark is a beautiful place andour guests loved every inch of it, especially the animals, teepees andcamping. Although we had torrential rain in the evening I know ourguests had a blast. We didn’t look at any other venue once we saw theArk in the fall, in all its glory. I don’t think there is any othervenue that would have been able to suit our wants or needs as well asthe Ark did.
If you would like to use any of the photos for your website from ourwedding photos, please feel free to do so.
Kristin and Mason
Dear Mike and Monique,
We cannot thank you enough for making our wedding the most incredible day of our lives. Your venue creates the most amazing atmosphere for a wedding and reception. Our guests were quite impressed with the beautiful scenery and the out-of-towners felt that they were able to gain an authentic view of the picturesque Quebec countryside.
Everything was absolutely perfect and we are so happy to have chosen this venue. We not only had the freedom to organize the wedding of our dreams but we also saved a ton of money, which would have been next to impossible anywhere else. Mike and Monique are both great hosts and make the day run smoothly. We highly recommend Mike to officiate the wedding as his subtle humour was perfect to calm our nerves. You truly get the best of both worlds with this venue, having the reception & dance party inside and the campfire outside for those who just want to chill under the starlit sky.
Again, we cannot express enough how amazing this venue is and highly recommend it.
All the best,
Jenn & Andrew
Dear Mike and Monique,
A simple “Thank You” does not seem enough to express all the gratitude we have for you guys! Eric and I, and all our family and friends, had the most wonderful day on our Wedding at the Ark.
I think Magic should be the first word to describe the atmosphere that day. And creating such an atmosphere was possible because of many factors : A gorgeous, gorgeous venue, Mother Nature, a smart and funny and entertaining celebrant (i.e. Mike!) and all the freedom we needed to have our wedding our way. It is really not just a catchy marketing slogan: we really had our wedding our way!
So basically by choosing the Ark, we saved a whole lot of money, impressed our guests who were absolutely pleased and comfortable and happy; we also are able to say we stood by our values with a most green wedding. We chose Mike as a celebrant and that was really the thing to do: everybody loved him and the original ceremony! We went with Bytown Catering and the food was just perfect! And, again, that was the less expensive option in all the Ottawa/Gatineau area. The decor allowed our photographer to take absolutely beautiful pictures that we are going to cherish for the rest of our lives, together. Also, one of the most awesome things, some of our guests stayed at the campground with us. It made the day last a little longer; having a campfire and songs all around, for more wonderful memories.
We’re so pleased to have chosen the Ark. We couldn’t have done better anywhere else.
Wishing you all the best of life,
Mélanie et Eric
Dear Mike and Monique
“Our wedding day was perfect and a big part of that was thanks to Mike and Monique and their beautiful venue! As we all know weddings can be stressful but as soon as the day started Mike put everything at ease with his easy-going manner and also with his ability to get things done and find simple solutions. Mike was also a great officiant and delivered the ceremony with light-heartedness. He knew exactly what we wanted for our wedding day.
We were also really happy when we got back to the venue in the morning, dreading the cleanup, to find everything collected in boxes all ready to go into the cars.
The venue itself is beautiful and magical, from the horses and llama, to the woods, to the the building itself that Mike has worked on since it was three walls of an old mill, to the beautiful tippee that we stayed in on our wedding night. We were able to have most of our wedding outdoors which is exactly what we wanted with a campfire and all!
We also chose to go with Mike’s suggestion of Bytown Catering and were impressed with their professionalism, and their fantastic service and food! Special thanks to Rita who was extra helpful on the day we were setting up the venue.
All of our friends and family had a great time and everyone was glowing afterwards. Big thanks again!”
Joel and Kyla
I just wanted to express our thanks again for Saturday. The day was wonderful and you were a very big part of that. I noticed all the work you behind the scene, as well as your superb officiating. You made the day stress-free and beautiful, enjoyed by all from newborn to 92 years old!
Mary (mother of the bride)
Mike and Monique,
Guy and I sincerely thank you for helping us of host an amazing wedding at The Ark. You were very accommodating at every step of the process, and didn’t shy away from any request that we had. From helping to set up and tear down, making an emergency trip for more drinks, and even caring for one of our guests who was sick, nothing was a problem for you. The ceremony that you officiated was light-hearted, like I wanted, and touching, like Guy wanted. All of our guests had a great time, and nobody minded the 40 minute drive. The Ark was the perfect venue for our day, and we certainly recommend it to others.
~Ian and Guy
Dear Mike and Monique,
Thank you for making our wedding day the best day of our lives. We were so happy to have chosen the Ark for our special day. The planning was laid back and easy, Mike did a fantastic job at our ceremony, making it a personalized and unique marriage. Thanks Mike and Monique for your help with the reception, and we’d also like to thank to Bytown Catering for great service and excellent food.
We will absolutely recommend The Ark to friends and family – everything was perfect and we really were able to do everything our own way.
Emily and Ben
Dear Mike and Monique,
Vu and I can’t thank you enough for making our day so perfect. We got married at the Ark on Sept 26, 2009 in the morning with a lunch reception. The outdoor setting with the fall colours and nature surrounding us was stunning and suited our vision of our wedding perfectly. The hall is so versatile and looked absolutely beautiful once it was all set up. We had an abundance of comments from our guests on how you have the perfect wedding site.
We were first attracted by the price, but the beauty of the Gatineau hills and the calm, relaxed atmosphere are what made us fall in love with your site. Vu of course was enamored with all the animals! The most unique feature of the Ark is that everything is off the grid. We were quite impressed that this did not detract from the activities at all: we were able to play Rock Band on a projector with the music blaring out loud along with the usual electrical devices. And in fact your technology became quite the conversation topic for our guests.
Mike, during the planning phase, you were always prompt and very helpful with replies to our questions. You and Monique were also very accommodating with your schedules, allowing us all the time and visits we needed to plan our special day. And showing my family around when they dropped in for an unexpected visit went above and beyond your duties.
Everyone was impressed with how helpful you were. When we arrived on the Friday, everything inside and outside was already set up; we just had to decorate. And you stuck around for that process, helping where you could, giving suggestions, and lending things that we had forgotten. The morning of the Wedding, we had the use of your lovely big room upstairs for the girls to prepare in. From the window, there we could see Mike outside setting up flowers, sprinkling leaves about and doing final decorations! You were gracious enough to allow for the use of your personal bathroom for members of Vu’s family who came up from Montréal. The ceremony itself went off perfectly with you officiating. Your great sense of humour and easygoing nature helped to calm nerves and kept it a joyful occasion. And in the afternoon, after all the guests had left, you were there once again to help my family take down decorations and clean up. Where else could you get that kind of personal service?
As Vu and I were leaving, you had one more special gift for us: a copy of all the pictures you and Monique took over the course of the two days. It was so special to be able to go home and relive events that took place only hours earlier.
So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing the Ark with us and for the outstanding service you provided. It truly was the best day of our lives. We would do it again in an instant.
Vu and Rachel Le
Mike and Monique,
Marc and I would like to thank the both of you for all your help and support in the planning of our wedding. From the minute we arrived at the Ark, we knew it was the perfect place for our wedding. The grounds are beautiful with all the fall colours, and the building had the warm cozy feeling we were looking for. Since we both have a love for camping, the fire made our day complete, and we enjoyed our dance by it! All our guests commented on the incredible location for our wedding, and the drive up was picturesque. All our dreams came true that day! Thanks again for everything.
Jodi and Marc
We wanted to let you know how much we loved our wedding at the Ark! Your house was the perfect country venue that we were looking for.. no frills, just a beautiful natural setting for our amazing day. All of our guests couldn’t stop telling us how unique and down-to-earth our wedding was! We were especially glad that Bytowne Catering was so amenable to catering our lunchtime ceremony at the Ark… the outdoor buffet was a great addition to the afternoon. Bringing the food inside to eat was no problem, and everyone loved the dining hall – especially the unique canoe shelves! All of our pictures are just beautiful, with the lush green grass and trees and pretty wildflowers in your backyard making a wonderful backdrop.
Thanks for making our day perfect,
Jon and Rebecca,
Dear Mike and Monique,
We would like to thank you for sharing the Ark with us on our special day. Many people have thanked us for choosing such a beautiful place. The relaxed atmosphere and natural surroundings definitely matched our and our guests’ style. Having a bonfire was very much appreciated by many as an alternative to, or break from, the dance floor. Any hesitations about driving the distance to the Ark disappeared as the smiles and good cheer were in great abundance throughout the day.
We thank you again for giving us a memorable start to our life together.
Jerry & Mercédes
P.S. The soap on the magnet in the bathroom was a creative touch!
We very much enjoyed our day at the Ark. It was very relaxed and the day flowed from one phase to the next with little effort. The Ark is not your traditional banquet hall and for us that fit our image of what we wanted very well (not many ties were seen that day and I think the only suit was worn by Mike). The natural surroundings added an air of peace and calmness to the day. Mike was very flexible in adapting to our needs and desires through the planning stage and through the day as well. Would I recommend the Ark as a place to get married…absolutely.
Mike and Monique,
Katherine and I would like to thank you for your services and for providing us with such a great place to be married! The Ark was the ideal setting for our country wedding! We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback about what a memorable day it was and what a beautiful location it was. It was a great feeling to see the months of planning and preparation come together perfectly that day. We really couldn’t have done it without your help and feel very fortunate to have found you. You saved us a lot of money and it was a pleasure working with such great people. We look forward to just showing up sometime when we’re in that part of the continent!!
Chris and Katherine
Dear Mike & Monique,
Pat and I would like to thank you immensely for everything that you did for us on our day and even everything you did the months and days leading up to the wedding! We were looking for a laid back and relaxed day and that is exactly what we got! It was perfect. I was really impressed with how great the place looked after the caterers set up too. All of our guests are still talking about our how beautiful the wedding was and how we chose the perfect spot! Everyone said that the 45 minute drive was completely worth it and the bon fire added a great touch.
You both made the day flow so smoothly and were *SO* accommodating!
Thank you, thank you, and thank you! I wish we could do it again…maybe our 25th Anniversary?
Elsbeth and Pat Farrell
Dear Mike & Monique,
Thanks once again for helping to make our wedding day such an amazing event. You’re attitude of “have your day your way” was a welcome change and really let us do exactly what we wanted for our wedding and reception. We appreciate all the quick responses to our questions as well. Your last minute problem solving skills were also greatly appreciate and helped things go very smoothly even when dealing with unexpected challenges.
Our guests really appreciated the beautiful setting of The Ark for our wedding venue. We also had several people comment that it was the best wedding they’d ever been to. The bonfire in the yard was a great touch too! It was really the perfect celebration for us, our family and friends.
Kevin & Erin Harper
Good morning Mike,
My son Neil and his new wife Anna were married
at your site on Saturday, October 11th. The day was beautiful and the comments
from our family and friends who attended the wedding were all so positive. They
thought the location was beautiful, they loved the personal feel of the
ceremony and the reception area was warm and inviting.
Thanks so much Mike,
Hey Mike, here’s another testimonial for your
website. Thanks for a great day!
We couldn’t have asked for a better place to
have our wedding than the Ark. The area is stunningly beautiful, warm and homey
feeling. Though we had purposely gone for a no-frills kind of event, all our
friends and family couldn’t stop talking about how gorgeous it was, and how it
was the best wedding they’d been to, period. Mike was really helpful. If you’re
going for a medium-small wedding with a beautiful, back to nature vibe, you
can’t do better than the Ark.
Kevin O’Neil and Moire Stevenson
Hello Mike, sorry it took so long to get this
too you. Kelly and I just wanted to thank you for exceeding all of the
expectations we had for our wedding day. The stress and tension began to build
right from the moment of our engagement. But luckily we found the Ark and met
you. From then on, everything seemed to flow easily and fall into place. Thank
you so much for responding to all our questions and concerns in such a timely
manner. You always seemed to have the exact answer we were looking for and your
calm demeanour ensured we never had to worry about anything.
Again we couldn’t believe how great our actual
wedding day was. You were right, most of our guests did come up and tell us
that our wedding was the best wedding they had ever been to. And thank you so
much for recommending we travel down the road to have our pictures taken on the
shore of the Gatineau River. They all turned out terrific, and are also the
best wedding pictures we’ve ever seen.
Now that our wedding is over and done with,
I’ve got to tell you you’re not charging enough for your services! We shopped
around before finding you and we know how much more the other places are
charging for far fewer services and a less spectacular venue. The Ark really is
the best kept wedding secret in the region, but I don’t expect that will be the
case much longer. We’re certainly telling everybody we know how great your
Good luck, I’m sure you’ll see us again. Kelly
already wants to renew our vows just so we can have another party at the Ark!
Chris and Kelly Joseph
Dear Mike and Monique,
Thank you so much for being a big part of an
unforgetable and all-round spectacular wedding day for us. The Ark is just
breath taking and will always hold a special place in our memories.
May and Phil,
The following is a letter we received after a
wedding I officiated at Billing’s Bridge Estates:
My husband and I wanted to let you know about
the fantastic wedding ceremony that Mike Caldwell did for us. Prior to the
wedding, we knew that we had the right guy to officiate for us!! He is so easy
going and funny and open to suggestions about the ceremony. He made everything
seem really light and fun!! The day of the wedding was exactly the same. He was
there waiting when the limo pulled up to the Museum, offered us his good
wishes, and then went to wait with my husband before the ceremony began.
Everyone was very impressed!!! He made sure that everyone was at ease, and made
us laugh!!! A sign of a truly gifted speaker!! He was constantly smiling and
made sure to look at everyone there, as if everyone were old friends.
Remarkable!!! We couldn’t be more pleased with Mike and with your company. Our
day wouldn’t have been the same without him.
Tanya and George
And here’s another “Thank You” email I
received after officiating a wedding at the Courtyard Restaurant in Ottawa:
We just wanted to send you a little note to
say thank you so much for being a part of our special day! You definitely made
us feel more at ease – with your humour placed at exactly the right moment.
You were also correct that once we were
underway that everything would be fine – in regards to all those nerves.
We have only had good comments about our
ceremony and we wanted to express to you how grateful we were/are that you
helped it feel how we had hoped it would – like a fun, not overdrawn, intimate
Thank you so much again!
Nancy & Michael J