Spring in Burlington Ontario

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Burlington IS Your Complete Wedding Destination

As a wedding planner I often get asked by couples about a “destination” for their wedding that will bring both sides of the family to a meeting point for the perfect wedding.  They
usually assume that I am going to say Niagara Falls, and are surprised when I say Burlington!  The picturesque, lakefront City of Burlington has everything that you need to plan a unique, dream wedding, and with it being perfectly situated half way between Niagara Falls and Toronto, your out-of-town guests will be centrally located to be able to enjoy day trips to the other attractions in the area.  Local Destination Weddings (a wedding outside of the area that you live in – but not quite the Caribbean) are becoming more and more popular as couples are getting together from different cities and don’t feel that it is fair to make only one side of the family travel to the wedding.

Burlington has a unique and diverse variety of wedding venues from a 1930’s lakefront mansion, to the ever popular growing trend of a barn-style wedding, with everything in between as well.

Paletta Mansion
Paletta Mansion is an 11,000 square foot estate nestled on an exquisite 14 acre lakefront property rightly called "the jewel in the crown" of the Burlington waterfront.  When you rent the mansion for your wedding of up to 85 guests, you have exclusive use to the entire estate for your wedding day which includes a second floor dining room, main floor cocktail and entertainment/dancing area, a bridal suite, groom’s room, sunroom, and 7 fireplaces throughout the mansion.  Couples nowadays are looking for convenience for their guests, which usually means having the ceremony and reception at the same location to avoid guests having to travel.  Paletta offers a gorgeous back porch patio that is ideal for wedding ceremonies with a natural backdrop of the lake.  One of the features that I really love about this venue is that they have a separate indoor ceremony area that can be used as a rain plan.  I can honestly say that each couple that I have taken to see Paletta Mansion has fallen in love with the atmosphere and charm there.  In my opinion, pictures do not do this venue justice.  You have to get out and experience it!

Atrium @ RBG
Royal Botanical Gardens is another very unique venue that Burlington is known for and can accommodate weddings of 30-300 guests in their wide variety of indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception locations.  Their newest addition is the Camilla & Peter Dalglish Atrium which literally brings the beauty of the outdoors in with two living walls (ideal as a head table backdrop), a water feature with back-lit waterfall, and its own private courtyard.  Larger receptions can also be held in the main ballroom, and smaller receptions can be accommodated in the Garden’s Café.  My favourite spot for wedding ceremonies at Royal Botanical Gardens is under the Rose Garden Tent which is nestled amongst the many blooms and plants of the Hendrie Park Gardens.  The tent can hold up to 300 guests for a wedding ceremony.  Royal Court is another great location for smaller wedding ceremonies surrounded by colourful plants, and ornamental ponds.  Royal Court is an outdoor location, covered by a canopy.

Burlington Art Centre
The Burlington Art Centre provides 2 indoor reception spaces; the Fireside Lounge for up to 40 guests, and The Shoreline and Rotary Lakeshore Room for up to 200 guests which also boasts a floor to ceiling view of the lake, and Spencer Smith Park.  Their open air courtyard is ideal for intimate garden wedding ceremonies, or pre-dinner cocktails.  Guests also have the luxury of getting to enjoy the art in the centre.

Spencer's at the Waterfront
Spencer’s At The Waterfront features the stunning Observatory which can accommodate 130 guests for dinner or 200 for cocktails for a picturesque wedding overlooking Spencer Smith Park and the lake.  With floor to ceiling windows surrounding your magical night, this dream venue is certain to wow your guests and provide a very memorable experience.

Country Heritage Park
Country Heritage Park is located just outside of Burlington in neighbouring Milton, and offers 80 acres of an interactive heritage park.  There are several unique venues onsite which can accommodate large and small wedding ceremonies and receptions with that country-chic edge that so many couples are looking for these days.  The Gambrel Barn is one of the areas only barns that can accommodate large weddings of up to 350 for a seated dinner.  The Conestoga Room is also very unique and has that cozy-intimate feel accommodating up to 60 guests.

If you have selected a venue that will host your wedding ceremony and reception both onsite, you will also need to look for a wedding officiant – also known as someone to marry you!  After all, that is what this day is all about!  Anne & Garry Blinch are a proud local Burlington couple who own White Orchid Wedding Ceremonies.  They work with couples to develop and customize the perfect wedding ceremony.  Couples can either choose from several different pre-written wedding ceremonies, or have the option to author their own wedding ceremony with the assistance and guidance from their wedding officiant.  This is a very unique option which ensures a meaningful and memorable wedding ceremony.  Anne & Garry can also perform wedding ceremonies as a couple.  Alternatively, Burlington also has several places of worship that you may wish to explore for a wedding officiant.

Photo Locations
Waterfront at Spencer Smith Park
I find that many couples get stumped when looking for unique photo locations for their wedding if they are hosting a local destination wedding as they may not be as familiar with the surroundings.  I can assure you that Burlington has got you covered for wedding photos of all kinds!  If you are looking for a waterfront backdrop for your memorable photos, Spencer Smith Park is ideal.  It has a gazebo and breathtaking flowering trees in addition to the natural beauty of the lake.

Village Square
Village Square tucked away in the heart of downtown Burlington is a hidden gem that many people would not even know existed.  Village Square is a turn-of-the-century town square with historic architecture that provides the perfect charm for wedding photos.

Royal Botanical Gardens is synonymous with wedding photos as you just won’t find another location that is as picturesque and filled with perfect blooms.  Although RBG is a popular wedding photo location, you get to book specific timeframes and locations within the Garden’s to ensure that you have the time and space that you need to capture your memories.  I also love that RBG has beautiful indoor photo locations which are a great back-up plan for rain (or wonderful as your first choice as well)!  The Mediterranean Garden and Bulb Room provide colourful and lush backdrops for your indoor photos.

The Burlington Art Centre has a conservatory onsite that is in bloom year-round and is great for indoor photos as well.  It is generally only available exclusively to those couples who are hosting their wedding at the BAC, however, they will rent it out based on availability.

*Please note that photo permits are often required for wedding photos so please contact each venue to arrange.

Most wedding venues include the exclusive use of their onsite caterer, however, if you do end up at one of the venues where you are able to being in your own caterer, Burlington has some wonderful choices available!

Red Canoe Bistro
Red Canoe Bistro is a boutique caterer offering anything but cookie-cutter fare.  They work with couples to design unique menus focused on seasonal, hand-made, hand prepared, locally raised and locally farmed ingredients.  Red Canoe also has an onsite private room for intimate weddings, bridal showers or events that can seat over 70 guests.

The Naked Sprout
If you are looking to wow your guests with something a little more unique, The Naked Sprout offers catering and is Burlington’s first and only full service vegan and raw restaurant.  And by taking a look at these mouth-watering photos, you would have no idea that these meals are vegan.  As a wedding planner I am now seeing that approx. 50% of guests that RSVP to weddings have some type of dietary restriction, so why not select a menu that will cater to everyone from the get-go?  I guarantee that most guests will have no idea that they are consuming a vegan meal as they will be so in love with it.  The Naked Sprout is also a great option if you are using a mainstream caterer, and would like to bring in special meals for your guests with dietary restrictions.  They will appreciate the attention to detail, and not being served another boring salad. 

Magenta Flowers is a fresh, new flower shop located in Burlington that offers couples custom-designed floral pieces with a modern flair.  They specialize in weddings and are just wonderful to work with.  Their floral designers will work with your vision and budget to create spectacular pieces for your wedding, or you can leave the creativity to the experts to design fabulous wedding arrangements for you.  You will not be disappointed!  You can also rely on them to assist with the latest trends in flowers including the colour of the year “Tangerine Tango”, as well as smaller bouquets featuring the more luxurious flowers, and simple yet stunning centrepieces. 

You will want to preserve the memories that are made on your wedding day by ensuring that you select the wedding photographer that is perfect for you.  Whether your style is traditional, photo-journalistic or candid, Burlington has a variety of photographers that will capture your memories and ensure that they last a lifetime.

Dresses for Everyone
Mix & Match bridemaids dresses
Mirella’s Ladies Boutique located in downtown Burlington has an incredible selection of the seasons hottest dresses for second weddings, bridesmaids, mothers, and guests.  They have an entire wall of dresses, both short and long, that can be ordered in several different colours.  They carry dresses in the seasons colour trend “Tangerine Tango” that would be a perfect choice for the modern mother-of-the-bride, and can also be ordered in other colours.  For bridesmaids, Mirella’s has a fabulous selection of dresses that do not look like your typical bridesmaids dresses.  These dresses are unique and beautiful, and because they have such a wide selection, you can also work with the trend in bridesmaids dresses which is to mix and match styles like we have done with these blue gowns.  Not only is this look very in this season, it will also allow your girls to be comfortable in their dress no matter what their body type.  Brides will want to visit Promises and Lace Bridal Boutique in Downtown Burlington for all their wedding gown needs.

From live music to DJ’s there is certainly no shortage of entertainment in Burlington.  

The trend today in wedding favours is edible favours, and Casteleyn Belgian Chocolatiers in downtown Burlington is your destination for mouth-watering treats!  From the moment you walk through their doors and take in the luxurious scent of cocoa, you know you will have found the perfect gift for your guests.  From white to milk and dark, and several shapes, sizes, and fillings to choose from you can custom create a delicious and memorable gift for your guests to take home and enjoy.

To many couples the wedding cake is the centrepiece of their reception, and Wedding Cakes By Design can custom create a masterpiece for you.  With several cake flavours to choose from including the very popular red velvet your cake will not only look beautiful, but it will be delicious as well.  In addition to the traditional tiered wedding cake, Wedding Cakes By Design also custom makes mini cakes which can be stacked to create the effect of a large tiered wedding cake.  You can have a small cake created for the top tier that you can cut during the reception, and take the rest home for your first wedding anniversary.  The great thing about this option is that your guests get to take home their own mini wedding cake from your wedding, which is a fresh and trendy idea.

Kindfood is a local café and bakery that offers organic, gluten free, vegan cupcakes for weddings.  Not only are cupcakes still very trendy for weddings, they also look and taste delicious!  Kindfood will also be creating wedding cakes in the near future, so contact them for details.

Burlington has several options when it comes to overnight accommodations for you and your wedding guests from Bed & Breakfasts to a variety of hotels.  The Waterfront Hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Burlington on the shores of Lake Ontario and comes complete with panoramic views.  It is a great location for your guests to enjoy many nearby restaurants, one of a kind shops and local attractions, several within walking distance.

The newly renovated Holiday Inn Burlington is located just minutes from downtown Burlington and is surrounded by several unique dining options.  The Holiday Inn boasts the largest indoor heated pool in the city and also provides a grand Atrium that your guests can gather in to reunite, catch-up and be together.

We hope you are feeling inspired to create the wedding of your dreams, for more  wedding vendors in Burlington visit Tourism Burlington's website.

Natalie Faria, WPICC, DWC
Natalie is a local Certified Wedding Planner and Destination Wedding Planner, and owner of PUNCH Wedding + Event Co.  She has been planning weddings and events for over a decade in addition to teaching the Wedding Planning & Event Planning courses at Mohawk College.  Her business, PUNCH, specializes in planning unique, out-of-the-box weddings and destination weddings for couples who both live in the area, and also live abroad but will be getting married in the area.  Natalie is also a TICO certified travel agent, assisting couples with their romantic honeymoon plans.



  1. Thank-you Natalie for including Wedding Cakes By Design in the article.

  2. Great blog Natalie ! Thanks again for including Mirella's Ladies Boutique for the bridesmaid dress segment !

  3. Barn wedding ceremony is good also.. It can accommodate lots of guest and is very quite and calm perfect for exchanging of vows.

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