Award Winning Ottawa Event Planning

European Simplicity

European Simplicity
As I promised in my Facebook posts while I was away in Berlin for my exchange student’s wedding, I am going to share the details of one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen (for those of you who don’t know me, I used to be a wedding photographer so I have attended a lot of weddings and have a lot of details to compare to).
My husband and I flew to Berlin in May to attend the wedding of my high school exchange student. I lived in Berlin with Kristina and her family during three months of my grade 12 year and she lived here with us for three months.
Because so many of us were arriving from overseas they decided to host a little get together the day before, a picnic at Templehofer Freiheit which is an old airport in Berlin. The airport was shut down and is now used as a public park. The runways are used by cyclists and grassy areas are used for anything you can do at a park, including drinking beer. This was one of the most spectacular places I have seen. It is such a forward thinking idea. Instead of ripping it up or closing it down as wasted space the tax payers get to enjoy it. There is even still a plane parked by one of the terminals. We enjoyed the picnic and were able to reunite with her family and some of the people that were in my classes there in Berlin. The party ended early because of the big day coming up.
Packing for the wedding was a bit worrisome. I have no idea how people dress for weddings in Europe. Luckily her maid of honour had been in touch with everyone while they planned a few details for the wedding and I was able to ensure that the attire we are accustomed to wearing is what everyone else would be wearing.
We arrived early at the wedding to ensure we could find the location. The ceremony was being held in a university building Kristina used to attend. It was a gorgeous old red brick building that unfortunately was surrounded by construction so I wasn’t able to get some of the photographs I was hoping to get.

The inside of the building was set up just like you would expect an old university to look. We sat in rows kind of like a church but on a slope so everyone could see. The ceremony took place at the front of the classroom. It was a simple quick service that ended with the everyone in the room singing “Love Me Do” by the Beetles while one of their friends played the guitar.

Before leaving for the reception there was champagne, orange juice and the most delicious pretzel balls served.

As the happy couple left the building the children threw rose pedals and I was able to get some of the most gorgeous photographs. The bride was dressed in a gorgeous 1950’s inspired dress her mother had made. No bling, no fluff, just a super simple off white cocktail length wedding dress. She wore a salmon coloured ribbon around the big puff in her hair and matching ballet flats. The groom was dressed in a gorgeous suit. Not overdone. You could tell he was comfortable and he looked fantastic.


Next step in the day was a 100+ person group stroll to a spot by the water where there is a large set of stairs so we could get a large group photo. Next…taking over several subway cars to get to the reception location. We arrived at a station that appeared to be under construction. In German, several people reviewed the map and tried to figure out whether we were headed left or right. The final decision was made to head toward a gate that looked like a gate to a park. The man at the gate told us we all had to pay to get in. They managed to work a deal so that all of us only had to pay $1. I figured we were taking a short cut through the park to get to where the reception was. We passed some beautiful tree lined trails followed by some not so welcoming looking rusty old structures. We followed the crowd until we walked through a rusted old square archway and at that moment my breath was taken away by the beautiful scene in front of me. This rusty old place was home to one of the most beautiful wedding settings I have ever seen. There were long tables set with white tablecloths, wine glasses and bottles of water and wine chilling in glass ice buckets. Under the white tent was the most gorgeous array of baked pies and cakes I had ever seen. The rest of the space was filled with lounging chairs, bar tables and other casual spaces for the guests to enjoy.
We learned, while we sat with a few Germans, that this space we were in used to be the main train station between east and west Berlin (or maybe Germany, I don’t remember now) and when the war started it was shut down. It was locked up for 50 years. When it was reopened mother nature had taken over. Trees had grown in, the buildings and structures were exactly as they were when they locked the door other than they were covered in rust. The old tracks ran right through the center of the space we were occupying for the party and beyond the walls were the old buildings where the trains were repaired.
We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon eating all those delicious pies and cakes and drinking one of my new favorite drinks. I have no idea what it is called but it is served all over Berlin. It is served as a punch and contains white wine and something else and the punch bowl is full of strawberry slices that you use to fill your glass so you can eat them as well.
I took a walk around to get some photographs (my gift to the bride and groom was a surprise wedding album full of photos I took that day) and came across a treed area that had several tables set just like the ones in our area. I followed those into a small building where the entire inside was sent with similar looking tables and where the caterers were hustling around preparing our evening meal. The room was full of large photographs on the wall of the bride and groom, their family and friends…including a photograph of me and Kristina that we took at the farewell party we had for her at our house before she left holding a cake that said “Friends Forever”.
We indulged in a fantastic buffet that included shrimp skewers, sausages, cheese and so much more. The meal was followed by presentations by friends and family and several short thank you speeches.
We left before sunrise contrary to Kristina’s pre-wedding warning and made our way back across the city by subway to our quiet little apartment.
As I mentioned, as my gift to the bride and groom, I made them an album using one of those online scrapbooking programs and filled the book with pictures I am so proud of being able to share with them. I was able to capture some of the most memorable moments at one of the most stunning weddings I have even attended.


Julia O’Grady has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. She and her team work hard to exceed client expectations and push ITM Events to achieve greater heights. A driven entrepreneur, Julia also manages the business side of ITM Events including human resources, finances, marketing and writing grant and sales proposals. In taking a high level approach to event management, Julia is able to visualize a project from inception to successful execution. She attracts valuable sponsors by offering meaningful opportunities to engage with participants. Julia uses her keen analytical mind to create incredible events that maximize the available budget. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.


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