Toronto's Top 5 Boutique Hotel Wedding Venues

Comment

Toronto's Top 5 Boutique Hotel Wedding Venues

 Photo by Selina Whittaker

Photo by Selina Whittaker

In the timeless words of Robert Kelly, "After the party it's the hotel lobby." But 'Kels, what if the party's already happening in the hotel lobby!?

Boutique hotels offer options for couples seeking unique spaces with exceptional food and service. Plus, with typically small room counts, bridal parties will have somewhere close to crash while overbearing family members might just have to find another place to spend the night down the street.

Here are some of my favourite boutique hotel venues I've had the pleasure to DJ weddings at... 

 

5. Hotel OCHO - downtown core

 Hotel Ocho, photo via eventsource.ca

Hotel Ocho, photo via eventsource.ca

Consistently booked every weekend for private events in the summer, Ocho has become a popular choice for couples looking for an out-of-the-box wedding venue in the heart of the city. 

I always assumed the name Ocho meant there were eight guest rooms, but there's actually twelve of them. The food is excellent, lead by Excutive Chef Lai’ika Boulton, and the hotel's restaurant and bar is open throughout the week serving breakfast lunch and dinner.

For weddings ceremony, cocktails and dancing usually take place on the ground floor, and seated dinner takes place on the floor above. Because these spaces also serve as the lobby, it's not unusual to see the occasional hotel guest not part of the wedding momentarily join the party as they move in or out of the building. 

website: Hotel Ocho

 

4. The Broadview Hotel - riverside

 Broadview Hotel, photo by Shauna Heron

Broadview Hotel, photo by Shauna Heron

Toronto's newest boutique hotel got a lot of attention when it was announced, not just because of the hip refresh of a 127 year-old building on the east end, but also because the space's former tenant was gentleman's club Jilly's (there are some not-so-subtle nods to this in the decor around the building).

There are 58 guest rooms, (each with in-room vinyl record player!) and the ground floor dining room The Civic was named one of "Toronto Life's Best New Restaurants of 2018". 

The 7th floor rooftop bar has stunning 360 degree views of the city skyline and can accommodate up to 240 guests for a cocktail reception. The Lincoln Hall & Terrace can serve up to 140 guests for seated dinner, and The Tower and The Civic can host more intimate dinner parties.

website: The Broadview Hotel

 

3. thompson toronto - king west village

 Thompson Toronto, photo by The Love Studio

Thompson Toronto, photo by The Love Studio

Part hotel, part residence, part nightclub, the Thompson Toronto never sleeps.

Located in the nightlife hub of King West, the Thompson is part of a luxury hotel chain with sister locations in Cabo San Lucas and Playa Del Carmen, and is known for five star service and cuisine.

There 's the lobby bar, nightclub Wildflower in the basement and yet another bar with infinity pool on the roof.

And the rooftop is the real selling feature here, with spectacular views of the Toronto skyline it makes an ideal spot for ceremony. This area is also great for cocktails while receptions are typically held in the Wellington Ballroom downstairs.

website: Thompson Toronto

 

2. The Gladstone Hotel - west Queen West

 Gladstone Hotel, photo by Jennifer Van Son Photography

Gladstone Hotel, photo by Jennifer Van Son Photography

If Victorian architecture and avant-garde art is your thing, the Gladstone may be the perfect spot for you. Billed as a "boutique art hotel", Toronto's oldest continually operating hotel has seen a true revitalization in the past decade, opening its doors to the arts community and hosting ongoing exhibitions and weekly parties. 

Each of Gladstone's 37 guest rooms are completely unique works of art in themselves -- themed rooms designed by individual artists. As their website boasts, "no two stays will be the same".

Wedding receptions are typically held on the main floor in the North Ballroom, which can hold up 110 guests for seated dinner (150 for standing cocktail party) and have some space leftover for a dance floor. Theres' also the Melody Bar which can fit 150 guests for standing cocktail party, or the upstairs Gallery that can serve as a space for cocktail hour for up to 120 people.

website: Gladstone Hotel

 

1. The Drake Hotel - West Queen West

 Drake Hotel, photo by Megan Michelle

Drake Hotel, photo by Megan Michelle

Vogue recently named West Queen West one of the world's coolest neighbourhoods, and arguably most of the credit for this should go to The Drake Hotel.

In 2004 the arts and culture hub made a lot of noise, opening along a stretch of Queen Street nobody dared venture to on a Saturday night, never mind host a wedding. Now, a decade and a half later it's still a hot spot, and has completely changed not only the neighbourhood but what a boutique hotel in the city should look like.

The hotel itself has 19 stylishly designed rooms and the service, staff and food and drinks are all top notch -- consistently topping the city's "Best Of" lists each year. 

The Drake's 'Made from Scratch' mantra means personalized event planning, and each space in the building can be used for a la carte weddings. The South Lounge on the ground floor can accommodate 150 people seated for ceremony or standing for cocktails & food stations (combined with the North Lounge this can be bumped up to 250 people). The Underground concert style venue can hold 125 guests and the rooftop Sky Yard can serve 80-125 people for cocktails or ceremony (weather permitting) or 30 people seated for set menu dinner. 

website: The Drake Hotel

 

Also, check out my list of Top 5 Toronto Restaurant Wedding Venues

 

Comment

Canada's 100 Best Restaurants 2018 Launch Party

Comment

Canada's 100 Best Restaurants 2018 Launch Party

 Rich Sweet at "Canada's 100 Best Restaurants 2018" launch party, photo by Jesse Milns

Rich Sweet at "Canada's 100 Best Restaurants 2018" launch party, photo by Jesse Milns

DJs don't always eat well (those Golden Arches can be pretty tempting at 3am) but one of the perks of working special events is being able to sample some of the best grub in the industry.

You can imagine my stomach's delight when I was asked in April to DJ the launch party of this year's "Canada's 100 Best Restaurants" magazine. As its name would suggest, the publication ranks the best restaurants across the country, and their chefs, and is now in its 4th year. 

Hosted at Mildred's Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village, the room was packed with food critics, restauranteurs, chefs and other lucky foodies. The food stations were of course packed, and the playlist was a mix of cool cocktail favourites and some smooth vibes to keep the energy up. 

A couple familiar faces in the crowd included Chopped Canada judge Michael Smith as well as Lynn Crawford, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award.  

The top prize went to Toronto's Alo Restaurant and its chef Patrick Kriss.

For the full list of winners, visit canadas100best.com

Photos: Jesse Milns

Comment

Nicole and Will's Wild Archeo Wedding

Comment

Nicole and Will's Wild Archeo Wedding

 Wedding at Archeo, Distillery District, photo by Silverlight Photography

Wedding at Archeo, Distillery District, photo by Silverlight Photography

Last year I included Archeo as one of my favourite restaurant wedding venues in Toronto. For a DJ it's a space that works perfectly for getting people dancing for one key reason: guests have to go through the dancefloor to get to the bar! 

Nicole and Will were married this past November. They're an impossibly kind couple who were a dream to work with -- we met once to discuss music and aside from a few favourites, they left it wide open for me to play whatever I needed to keep the party going. I also stood in as MC through the night, helping with a few introductions and announcements. 

The playlist was a mix of classic hits through the decades, and later veered towards 2000s nostalgia . At one point there was a call for some throwback Euro dance hits, which culminated in a big "Sandstorm" dance circle!

Here's what Will and Nicole had to say following the wedding:

"Rich is an excellent and very talented DJ! He helped make our wedding an awesome and unforgettable party. Our musical tastes are broad so it was hard giving Rich any direction but he didn't need it. He was great at choosing the right genres and songs for the right times throughout the evening. He made sure the dance floor stayed lit and we got many many compliments about the music. Would definitely recommend!"

 

Photos: Silverlight Photography

Comment

Join me at the "Stand Proud York Region" charity gala March 25th

Comment

Join me at the "Stand Proud York Region" charity gala March 25th

I've once again been honoured with an invitation to DJ at the annual "Stand Proud York Region" Charity Gala,  taking place March 25th at the Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham. For a fourth year in a row I'll be providing entertainment for this very important community event, and this year I'll be sharing the stage with band Stereoflavour as well as drag performance by Sofonda Cox.

Check out the event description below, and click here for the Facebook event page for more info and link to purchase tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/493893580981707/

"This stylish event is the most colourful celebration of the year, benefiting the LGBTQ2 community.

Funds raised go right back to the community by helping pflag continue to provide vital peer-to-peer support services to those in need, educational materials to send to schools so kids never feel alone, and by allowing us to provide training and workshops to organizations who want to be more inclusive.

Come stand proud, stand loud and stand together with us for this exciting charity event!"

-PFLAG York Region

Comment

Let Me DJ my way into your heart at the "Love (Actually)" opening night party

Comment

Let Me DJ my way into your heart at the "Love (Actually)" opening night party

Love (Actually) Exhibition Flyer.jpg

Curated by Scarlet O'Neill, The Love (Actually) exhibit is a group photo-show showcasing the power of love & happiness in real moments during weddings. It’s returning for it’s second time and will be an annual show at the Gladstone Hotel. 

I'll be DJing the opening night reception, happening at the Gladstone Hotel February 8th, from 7-10pm. It's FREE!! Come check out the photography,  meet the artists and mingle with others in the local wedding community.

More info on the Facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1967228080206720/permalink/1967445243518337/

See you there! 

Comment