Secret gardens: Alan Viau lets us in on 2 picture perfect spots for weddings photos

Dr. Alan Viau has been performing weddings and other life celebrations in Ottawa since 2004. On his own blog, he compiles useful tips on what’s gone well and what to watch for based on the hundreds of weddings he’s conducted in the National Capital Region.

Ottawa has so many wonderful places for outdoor wedding venues — but also for pictures. Over the years, I’ve discovered a couple of places that are really special. Specifically, there are two secret gardens that offer a unique setting for a wedding or photos.

Ottawa is closing in on over a million people. And while there are many really wonderful spots available for outdoor weddings and special photo shoots — the museums and parks are just awesome — a couple may like a more intimate wedding with a smaller group of friends and family. They may also want a unique locale in a garden for a photo shoot. I’ve found these two locations to be ideal for either of these.

Maplelawn Garden 

Maplelawn Gardens (529 Richmond Road)

The NCC’s Maplelawn Historic Garden stands enclosed within a low stone wall next to the Georgian Manor (now a Keg restaurant) that served as a home for its previous owners. Maplelawn is as one of the few walled gardens in Canada still kept in its original state. The pedestrian entrance is located at 529 Richmond Road.

You walk into the garden through a gap in the hedge wall that serves as an entrance. Inside, you walk along a gravel path way that leads through a bed of flowers to a central circular flower bed and bird bath — with three other paths radiating outwards at right angles. This central bed is the only flower bed planted with annuals, while the rest of Maplelawn is comprised of perennials. There is a special spot on the far edge of the garden. There under the trees is a bench and maybe a unique location for a wedding ceremony.

Maplelawn Gardens

Algonquin College: School of Horticulture 

Algonquin College's School of Horticulture

Tucked away behind M Building at Algonquin College is where the students of the horticulture program practice their art. It is a splendid array of landscaping and plants. I’ve performed a few wedding ceremonies there and am always stunned by its beauty. This is where students propagate and grow their own crops, build garden features, plant and maintain outdoor gardens and design landscapes. This is truly a secret garden in Ottawa. It has so many spaces where you can have a ceremony or a photo shoot.

Algonquin College's School of Horticulture

If you are looking for a natural garden landscape for an intimate wedding or photo shoot, these two locations are really special. I enjoy them because they are islands of beauty within our city.

These spots are beautiful enough for an afternoon summer stroll, let alone a wedding. Thanks for letting us in on them, Alan!