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September 1, 2014
Posted by WeddingGirl

D.I.Y. Wedding Venues | southern Ontario

{ DIY Venues }

For years, our team has been helping engaged couples plan really gorgeous celebrations on a budget.

One of the easiest ways to save the most money on your big day? a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) venue! These are usually empty spaces that give you complete creative control over design, setup, catering, and bar.

Empty Wedding Hall

DIY venues are coveted little gems that offer affordable rental rates and the allure of saving a substantial amount of money on food, alcohol, and rentals. Sure, the planning logistics might get a bit trickier – but don’t let that scare you! Over the years we’ve used DIY venues to help couples save thousands (and thousands!) of dollars while helping them coordinate everything from water jugs, pepper shakers, rental delivery and decor tear-down.

We have come to know and love some of Southern Ontario’s most charming DIY spaces. Their specific parameters differ – from varying capacities to different indoor and outdoor facilities. Some of these allow for both catering and alcohol to be brought in, others allow just catering. Yup, the planning is a little more extensive, and the details are a tiny but more elaborate… but either way – the savings can be pretty hefty – and we’re definitely up for the challenge!

Planning a DIY wedding on a budget? Here’s a list of venues to help you get started…. (oh, and we’ve included a list of helpful blog posts to help you plan below!)

(NOTE: There are so many venues available for DIY weddings and this list is by no means exhaustive. We’re constantly adding venues, updating facilities, and perfecting the details! - if you can help us by elaborating or adding to it, please get in touch!)


:: Niagara + Surrounding Area

Niagara Area Wedding Venues WeddingGirl.ca

{ 1 – 50 }

Rancourt Winery – Niagara On The Lake


{ 50 - 100 }

Niagara-On-The-Lake Museum

Navy Hall - Niagara On The Lake

Southbrook Vineyards (indoors) - Niagara On The Lake

Stonechurch Winery – Niagara On The Lake

Creekside Estate Winery – Jordan

Stonewall Barn Estates – St. Catharines

{ 100 – 150 }

St. Mark’s Church, Addison Hall - Niagara On The Lake

Grantham Lion’s Club - St. Catharines

Balls Falls Conservation Authority, Glen Elgin Room - Jordan

{ 150 – 200 }

Old Courthouse, Town of Niagara-On-The-Lake

Southbrook Vineyards (tented) - Niagara On The Lake

Balls Falls Conservation Authority, Big Barn - Jordan

Caroline Cellars – Niagara On The Lake

Crystal Ridge Banquet Centre – Ridgeway

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (tented) – Niagara On The Lake

Heartland Forest – Niagara Falls

{ 200+ }

Niagara-On-The-Lake Community Centre

Cave Springs Camp (outdoors) – Vineland

Market Square – St. Catharines


:: Hamilton + Surrounding Area

Hamilton area wedding venues WeddingGirl.ca


{ 1 – 50 }

Calamus Estate Winery – Jordan

Rosewood Estates Winery – Beamsville

The Stable at Whitehern Historic House & Garden – Hamilton

The Woodshed, Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology - Hamilton


{ 50 - 100 }

Beamer Falls Manor – Grimsby

Ruthven Park Coach House – Cayuga

Mike Weir Estates – Beamsville

Worker’s Arts and Heritage Centre – Hamilton

Ancaster Old Town Hall – Ancaster

The Cellar At Grandview – Hamilton

The Coach House at Dundurn Castle - Hamilton

The Staircase – Hamilton



{ 100 – 150 }


{ 150 – 200 }

The Design Annex – Art Gallery of Hamilton


{ 200+ }

Leander Boat Club – Hamilton

Ruthven Park (tented) – Cayuga

Worker’s Arts and Heritage Centre (tented) – Hamilton

Ancaster Fairgrounds - Jerseyville

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum – Hamilton



{ Burlington + Surrounding Area }

Burlington Area Wedding Venues WeddingGirl.ca

{ 1 – 50 }


{ 50 - 100 }

Halton Regional Museum – Milton


{ 100 – 150 }

Alton Mill – Caledon

Rockwood Conversation Area, Harris Woollen Mill Ruins – Guelph


{ 150 – 200 }


{ 200+ }

Paris Fairgrounds – Paris

Cambium Farms – Caledon

Teatro Conference and Events Centre - Milton

Alton Mill (tented) – Caledon


{ Toronto + Surrounding Area }

Toronto Area Wedding Venues WeddingGirl.ca

{ 1 – 50 }

Montgomery’s Inn – Toronto


{ 50 - 100 }

{ 100 – 150 }

Todmorden Mills – Toronto

Henley Room, Argonaut Rowing Club – Toronto

McMichael Art Gallery – Kleinburg

Heintzman House – Thornhill

Markham Museum – Markham

Camera, Stephen Bulger Gallery – Toronto


{ 150 – 200 }

St. Lawrence Hall – Toronto

De La Salle / Oaklands – Toronto


{ 200+ }

Fort York – Toronto



{ related (and helpful!) blogs }

Planning your DIY bar

The Perks and Perils (read: Do’s and Don’ts) of DIY

Friendor Photography


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August 29, 2014
Posted by WeddingGirl

{ Wediquette } pt I: Being a Good Guest

{ WG Wed-iquette :: pt I }

Authored by: Brenda Hanks


Although there aren’t as many rules today  as there once were regarding attending weddings, there are still a few unwritten rules out there.

I figure it’s time we write them down.

So, here you have it! -  a quick guide on how to be a super stellar wedding guest.


For the love of all that is right in wedding-world… just RSVP (on time!)Typically wedding invitations are sent out months before the date to provide you enough time to confirm your attendance. Send your reply before the specified deadline, and stick with your decision!If for some reason you absolutely have to change your RSVP, contact the couple as soon as possible to let them know.RSVPs are required for a reason – weddings aren’t free and couples pay for your attendance even if you don’t show up.

Oh, and please don’t show up if you didn’t RSVP. If you do, you may as well bring a sandwich and a lawn chair.

Eggplant Purple Wine Grape inspired wedding invitation

2) Dress Up (or down)

When attending a wedding, dress for the occasion!

For a hint about what to wear, check out the invitation. A formal invite suggests formal wear: a cocktail dress or suit with tie should fit in just fine.

Usually a nice dress (or skirt, or pantsuit) will fit in at most weddings. If the wedding is extremely formal, it will usually indicate “black tie”, “gala attire” or other comment on the invite. On the other hand, a more casual invitation suggests a casual dress code. If the wedding is outdoors, in a barn, or on a beach, 5″ spikes and floor-length gowns might be inappropriate.

And ultimately, if you’re not sure – just ask! I promise, the Bride will happily offer suggestions.

Riverbend Winery Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

3) Be Punctual

Please, oh please… show up on time.

There is only one person that’s allowed to be late for a wedding and she’s usually wearing a white dress.

Sneaking into the reception a bit late usually isn’t so much of a big deal as long as they aren’t  in the middle of some kind of special moment (speech, toast, first dance). On the other hand, opening an assuredly creeky church door mid-ceremony, will totally be a distraction to the other guests. Just think about how awkward it will feel to have 100+ heads turn simultaneously to stare you down…. seriously. Just don’t do it.

If it absolutely has to happen, use extreme caution when arriving late.

Look around for a wedding planner or other person that may be able to advise you if it’s safe to enter, or at least listen before opening a closed door.

Better yet, just be on time.

St. Mark's Church Wedding Niagara On The Lake NOTL

4) Turn off your phone

Or put down your camera.

Not only do you not want to attract devilish glances when your Super Mario Bros. ring tone goes off during the vows, taking over the responsibilities of the professional photographer will land you in the secret wedding day doghouse. Don’t ruin the hired photographer’s shot with your outstretched hand taking a video you may never watch again (trust us, it still happens).

This especially applies to you if you take photos with an iPad or other oversized tablet. Enjoy the moment and wait for the documentation to show up on Facebook. It will.



5) Bring a card!

Yup. We get it. It’s taboo to talk about gifting at a wedding… but it needs to be done.

Your gift (if cash) should cover the approximate cost of your plate, plus your guest’s (if bringing one). Gone are the days of $100 in an envelope covering wedding meal + bar pricing. The average wedding guest costs a Bride and Groom about $120-$150. You can get a better idea of your cost per plate by taking a quick second to look up the venue online. Expect that a swanky downtown hotel reception will be much more expensive than a family backyard barbecue. Gifting is kind of like dressing… make sure it’s appropriate to the event you’re about to attend.

Oh, and don’t just stash cash in an envelope! Most Newlyweds opt to save their wedding cards to open from time to time and “Oooh!” and “Awww!” over their cuteness. Love notes from friends and family mean a lot to the blissfully wed –  indulge them.

Cards can be store bought, or home made, whatever you like – but give them something to remember your presence on their special day.

Note: Notice we did not mention the card needs to contain cash/gifts/etc. Ultimately, gifting is always at the guests’ discretion.

Splash Photography | Black White Red Wedding Damask Votive Candles Receiving Table Decor | Glass Apothecary Jar Receiving Box

6) Shush… or not

Giving speeches can be pretty stressful.
Be considerate and be quiet for any speakers, or when any other hush-able moments occur – the bride and groom’s first dance, the newlywed cake cutting, etc.
Also, be loud at other times – cheering for introductions, clapping for kisses, “Oooh-ing” and “Awww-ing” over a slideshow. This is, after all, a celebration!


7) Celebrate!

This is probably the biggest (or one of the biggest) days of the happy couple’s life!

Party likes its 1999.

Laugh out loud.

Play the silly kissing game.

Sign the guestbook (or guestbook alternative) and spend all the time you can in the photobooth.

Catch the bouquet or garter.

Weddings are fun events, make the most of the special day! But…… please, just party responsibly.

Jessica + George - Taylor Jackson Photography December 29 2012 33

8) Stay Smart

Yup. We get it. Weddings are meant to indulge.

Do shots.

Drink cocktails.

Please don’t drive home.

Bartenders and venue staff are trained to notice dangerous levels of intoxication. If you’re politely asked to slow down the consumption, don’t make a scene and have some water. Don’t be shy to ask for a cup of coffee, tea, or even some more food.

Call a cab.

Make arrangements to spend the night somewhere (but preferably not under a table).

And don’t make a scene.

…. remember, there’s likely plenty more weddings you still have to attend!

Brenda Kris Weddinggirl.ca Rick Denham Photography Captivate Bridal Cinema Wedding Threesome $10000 contest winner 2


Brenda is a Bridal Lifestyle Blogger at WeddingGirl.ca

To have her feature your product, service, or industry-related blog on this website, get in touch -


Brenda Hanks WeddingGirl.ca


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D.I.Y. Wedding Venues | southern Ontario
Posted 01 Sep, 2014

{ Wediquette } pt I: Being a Good Guest
Posted 29 Aug, 2014

Vendorcademy | ven·dor·cad·e·my | noun
Posted 29 Aug, 2014

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