Our research shows we have the lowest outdoor wedding venue price in the region. But where you are really going to save your money is at the bar. We ask that you bring your own liquor license and your own liquor. We’ve estimated that you can easily serve up to 100 people for as little as $400. This includes wine with dinner and beer and spirits at the bar. Compare that to some venues that charge $5-7 per drink and $30-40 for every opened bottle of wine. A Quebec liquor license can be obtained for $35. We can email you a copy of the Quebec "Reunion Permit".
I also have a liquor calculator and a side by side comparison to The Strathmere for your information and planning. Click here to check out those tools.
Q. Can we make our reservation online with a credit card?
Yes we have multiple options for securing your reservations, Paypal, Stripe, over-the-phone credit card. But don't worry about that, collecting your money isn't our first priority. Come on up and see the place in person. Make sure The Ark is a good fit for the vision of your perfect day. Once you are certain this is the place you want to wed, THEN we can work out the financial details.
Q. If we don’t choose to camp onsite, are there any other nearby accomodations?
Yes, Wakefield has a surprising number of options. Here are just a few of our favourites: The Alpengruss Cafe and Motel, Moulin Wakefied Mill, Les Trois Erables, Mon Petit Chum, and La Grange Country Inn. There are also numerous private cottages for rent in the region should any of your guests decide to combine Wakefield country vacation with your wedding.
Q. What is your reservation policy?
As with everything else about the Ark, our reservation policy is also the best in the industry. Once you have chosen to wed at the Ark, we will hold your date for you once we receive a $500 deposit. Confirmed payment in full (the full balance is in my bank account) is due one week prior to your wedding day. Unfortunately after being taken advantage of by 2 clients now, I have instilled a new “Angie Policy”. Refunds are no longer available, but I will consider a partial refund on a case-by-case basis.
Q. Do you have any pictures?
Yes, just click on the link above in the menu. There is a fun video on that page as well. The video was made a few years back so there are a few images included before the most recent renovations here. Please use the photos on that page to see how The Ark looks today.
Q. What photo opportunities are there?
The Ark is rich with gardens and surrounded by trees. We still have the horses and antique carriage in the front yard. The gravel road in front of the house sees about 6 cars a day. We also have the new firepit area and vine-covered cedar arbor. So most photographers have more than enough to work with right here. But in the photos I've shared you'll see pictures with hay fields and hundred year old barns and also a lake. The hay field and 100 year old barn is only a minute away just down the road. It provides an expansive and beautiful background, especially in the fall. The waterfront is the Paugan Dam, which is a 4 minute drive away. For both "off site" photo opps, we usually just load into a minivan or 2, or use my truck and head out for 30-40 minutes while your guests entertain themselves at the bar!
Q. Do you have a menu we could see?
No, all formal sit down meals will need to be catered by a third party. We recommend Bytown Catering. Their food and service are excellent and their prices are completely reasonable.
However, if you would like a less formal meal we’d be happy to work with you in regard to a BBQ or cold meal buffet.
Q. How many people can your site accommodate?
For a formal sit-down dining experience, our optimum number is between 50 and 70 people. We specialize in more intimate wedding with close friends and family. The Ark is an off grid venue (we make our own power here) which adds to its uniqueness, but also limits the number of people the place can power. With 80 or fewer people though, we have absolutely no issues. So the maximum number of people we can accommodate is 80. This is the total for the day including dinner and reception.
Q. What if it rains?
We have a couple of options for inclement weather. It just depends how “inclement” the weather is! In the event of a very light shower, we recommend umbrellas and/or a hat. But if it is more than just a light mist, we have 10×10 EZ Up tents that we can use to shelter the wedding party and some of the guests. In the event of a serious rain storm, then we recommend moving the ceremony indoors to the receptions. In 7 years of business we've only had to move everything inside once (April wedding) and that turned out just fine. It was actually kind of fun in fact.
Q. May we set up a monster circus tent in the backyard?
If this is what you have your heart set on, then of course we allow it. We don’t however recommend it. A large tent simply turns the outdoors into the “indoors”. We’re assuming you're considering the Ark mostly for the beauty of our outdoor grounds and overall setting/atmosphere. A large tent will take away from much of this. Plus, tent rentals of that magnitude will add considerably to your wedding budget. We feel this money can be much better spent on your honeymoon!
Q. How far are you from Ottawa?
We are 40 minutes from the Byward Market. In the past, some of our guest have arranged for a shuttle bus to meet at 1 or 2 locations within the city to bring people up for the ceremony. The bus then returns to city again at 10pm for those who like to get to bed early, but returns to the Ark for another 1am shuttle. However, there is plenty of parking available for those who wish to drive themselves.
Q. Do you provide the shuttle service?
No we do not provide a shuttle service, but there are plenty of services in Ottawa and Gatineau that would be happy to assist you with your transportation needs.
They can arrange to pick people up in Ottawa at a central location at 3pm (for example). They will then drive to the wedding, potentially stopping in Wakefield to pick up guests there. They can then return to the city at 10pm with your guests who like to get to bed early and then return to the Ark to return the remainder of your guests to Ottawa at 1am.
Q. May we supply the minister or officiant?
Of course, you are welcome to have whoever you choose perform your ceremony.
What people have trouble understanding about our weddings here is that this is YOUR DAY! We don’t dictate how it should unfold. Regardless of what your request is, if we can accommodate you, we will. It’s really that simple.
Q. Does your sound system allow for music being played during the ceremony outdoors and during the processional?
Yes, our audio system has speakers for the outdoor wedding ceremony in addition to the speakers used for the music and microphone.
Q. Is there anything that makes you different from the other wedding venues?
We think that all the venues in the Ottawa area have beautiful locations for their ceremonies and receptions. We’re quite proud of our site here as well. But what makes us different is our approach. Although we encourage formal weddings here, we like to throw in some homegrown flavour. A wedding at the Ark is not a stuffy affair. It may be formal, but people will feel like they’re visiting a friend and not a sterile conference center. We don’t push a prepackaged system on you. We ask how you envision your day and we do whatever we can to make that vision a reality.
We basically only have one "rule" here and that is "leave the place just as you found it".
We also try to do whatever we can to work within your budget and make sure every dollar you part with is well spent.
Q. How does the Ark compare to “Ottawa’s Best Wedding Venue”, the Strathmere Inn?
We’re so glad you asked! In 3 words, “WE’RE EVEN BETTER”!
Please CLICK HERE to check out our liquor calculator and our side by side comparison with The Strathmere.
Please keep in mind that the information I included in this table was taken directly from their website. However, speaking with guests who have visited The Ark it sounds as though the Strathmere prices that I posted are very conservative. Apparently there are additional fees at The Strathmere that aren't posted on their website.
The Ark only has 2 "additional" fees:
1) Rental of the campground is $100. The campground has plenty of space for all your guests' tents. It has 4 outhouses, 2 bonfire pits, and a kitchen prep area. It's a 10 minute hike from The Ark or a 2 minute hike from the road. It's a remote wilderness location far enough away from The Ark or any neighbours that it's impossible to disturb anybody regardless how loud you get or how late you get there.
2) We have a bridal preparation room that is included in the fee. This room has a queen sized bed, a pull out sofa, a full length mirror, a kitchenette and a bathroom. Should anybody wish to spend the night in this room, there is an additional $100 fee.
Q. Are we able to hire a band?
Hopefully, after reading all of the above you already know the answer to this question! If a band is something you want at your wedding, we’ll do whatever we can to make it happen.
Hopefully that answers all your questions, but please use the CONTACT US form if you have any other questions or if you'd like to arrange a tour.