Erica Irwin Weddings & Events | Ottawa’s Go-To Downtown Luxury Planner

If you’re a newly engaged couple – or a couple on the road to becoming engaged – and you’re NOT following Erica from Erica Irwin Weddings & Events, literally stop reading this right now – I’m serious –  and go follow this woman on Instagram.  I’ll wait.  @ericairwinweddings   Seriously, go do it now and then come back to read some insider details about this wedding planning powerhouse!

Ok, you’re back.  See what I mean?  If you spent even just a minute peeping her profile, you already have a bank of valuable tips under your belt about wedding planning.  Erica is GOLD.  She is every couple’s ticket to the wedding they dream about.  She will turn all the ideas you have for a “happily ever after” wedding day into a real, tangible plan.

Let’s dig into Erica Irwin Weddings & Events!

a photo of Erica Irwin Weddings & Events standing together with a bride and groom in the blue Adam Room of the Chateau Laurier

Photo by Grey Loft Studio, submitted by Erica Irwin


First things first:  why am I showcasing a wedding planner on a photography blog?  Oftentimes, my couples – many who are professionals with busy lives and careers — start out with the best of intentions to plan their own wedding, but then quickly come to the conclusion they just don’t have the after-hours and bandwidth required for wedding planning OR they find themselves completely overwhelmed with the planning process – and their experience and enthusiasm for one of their most important days starts to diminish.

Many a tearful conversation has been had so if we can get ahead of that process – or avoid it entirely – with a roadmap to tried and true resources and vendors, everyone wins.

And one such wedding roadmap destination is Erica Irwin Weddings & Events.

I was fortunate to be able to do a Q & A with Erica Irwin to get the inside scoop about some of her most valuable evergreen information for couples.  This is what she revealed about …



I asked Erica about her background.  She has over 16 years of experience in the wedding industry.  Her specialty is downtown Ottawa luxury weddings.  Erica is also the preferred planner at Fairmont Chateau Montebello in Quebec.  Erica Irwin Weddings & Events does offer partial planning for couples who feel they have the time and motivation to plan their own wedding and just need some direction, recommendations and “day of” on-site help.  However, Erica’s true gifts lie in full wedding planning.

She says, “I want my couples to know that my years of experience means “I’ve seen some things” so I know how to make their ideas come together into a plan we can execute for a beautiful yet very FUN wedding day.  I LOVE details, timelines and logistics to review.”



In her 16 years of wedding industry experience, I asked Erica what is one thing she still sees couples SHOCKED about when they’re wedding planning?

She noted, “Budget. There is a very unrealistic number that was been circulating as the “average cost” of a wedding since likely 1990s of $30k. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine since the average wedding size is 120 guests. Most weddings have 12 vendors involved to pull of a wedding day and I think most people don’t think of all the pieces of the wedding day puzzle so they just don’t KNOW how much it costs. I spend a lot of time on consultation calls and on social media educating people about the cost of weddings.”


a closeup photo of a bride clasping her hands and holding her engagement ring


As Ottawa’s go-to downtown luxury wedding planner and preferred planner for the Fairmont Chateau Montebello in Quebec, I asked Erica how she would advise a couple go about choosing their major vendors?  She revealed her process:

“I have a pretty tight list of wedding vendor referrals and if I don’t have a good experience with a vendor then they don’t stay on my list very long! Some things to keep in mind though:

  • I am NOT into couples choosing friends for their vendors. If they are your friend, they should be a guest and if they are a vendor they should be experienced.
  • I want experienced vendors who have a proven track record in their reviews but also from other vendors/ venues.
  • Some of it for me is “match making” my clients to their vendor. As an example, if my client is very laid back I would only recommend photographers that match their vibe. You have to spend 10 hours with this person on the best day of your life. They better be amazing at what they do but also someone you could almost be friends with after!”


an elegant wedding cake in white with gold accents


I wanted to know which venues are easy for Erica to recommend to couples and why?  She explained,

“I have a lot of venues I love but I either love a hotel venue (Westin-specifically TwentyTwo room or Fairmont Chateau Montebello or Chateau Laurier) because I love that its all in one location, ceremony (if you like), reception and hotel rooms / getting ready space. OR I love wedding venues that were meant to be wedding venues and include a lot of “wedding touches” like Le Belvedere and Stonefields.”



I know that sometimes things can go wrong even with the best laid plans.  I asked Erica to tell me about a time when a wedding day went sideways in some way and she saved things from completely going off the rails:

“In 2019 we were doing a tent wedding and a tornado hit the town beside us. We had incredible winds, rain and lighting, lost power, ran out of alcohol 3 times and the toilet trailers stopped working.  PLUS there was so much water in this backyard that it was causing mud to come up through the floor of the tent. Our set up team got heat stroke and we had to finish the ceremony to reception move of chairs and flowers. It was the most intense wedding experience I have ever had but we got through it and our couple had so much fun with their guests while we smiled and worked on all the problems as they came up.”

^^This here is the secret sauce, my friends.



I wanted to know if Erica was limited to giving only ONE piece of advice to couples ever again, what would it be?  Her thoughts:

“Hire a Planner. You don’t know what you don’t know. Even the most organized person cannot anticipate what an experienced planner knows. Also on your wedding day the venue coordinator is not a Planner, they work for the venue and manage venue related items. They don’t work for you like your Planner does. [Hiring a planner is] your insurance policy that you get to ENJOY the biggest, most expensive party you will ever throw!”


a closeup of an elegant bouquet that is in the style of Erica Irwin Weddings & Events


If this blog post hasn’t convinced you, you need only to check out Erica Irwin’s consistent 5* reviews to know that this woman is the real deal in the wedding planning world.  Labelled “Fairy Godmother”, a “Hero without a cape” and “the perfect balance of what you need” by her real-life couples, she truly is what every wedding planner should be.

You can best reach Erica through her website.  And, if you didn’t do so at the beginning of this post, be sure to go back and follow Erica on Instagram!

Keep your eye out on this blog:  we’ll be showcasing other tried-and-true Ottawa vendors in the coming weeks who will help ease the wedding planning process.

And, in the meantime, if you’re researching wedding photography too, be sure to check out my wedding portfolio and reach out here if I can help!


More helpful articles on the blog:


FeatureD bLOG Categories

Pro Tips

Families (Coming Soon)

Engagements (Coming soon)

Reach out with all of your questions and what you're envisioning for your special day.

This way to Unforgettable photography experiences
& photos to Cry over For all the Right Reasons