February Newsletter

Announcing our March 1, 2021 Members Gathering Speaker

We have an exciting guest speaker, Catherine Fair who will address: Making your way through COVID…still

Yep, it’s been almost a year, and we are still navigating our way through COVID.  So, what’s changed?  How do we continue to maneuver (safely) through these trying times?  

In this short presentation, Catherine will discuss the tactics and strategies that she and her colleagues found helped business owners the most this past year.  Come ready to do some reflecting so that you can develop new ways to handle your company and yourself in 2021.
Website link: https://rhapsodystrategies.com/catherine-fair/


Catherine started unofficially coaching small business owners through her work with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).  Because of Catherine’s main motivator, having a positive impact, she felt she needed to expand her role into something more formal.  

She is now a certified Master Business Coach and works with Ottawa based firm Rhapsody Strategies.  As a coach, trainer, and facilitator, Catherine helps owners and their teams become more efficient, more profitable and most importantly, happier in their work.  Similar to being a personal trainer for business, Catherine helps bring drive and direction to obtaining goals that once seemed elusive.


OGWIA pushing for ways to re-open weddings

Two weeks ago the OGWIA wrote to 20 local politicians at the federal, provincial (ON and QC), and municipal levels, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Health Christine Elliot, and Dr Vera Etches (Ottawa Public Health), asking for wide availability and use of rapid testing. It was also discussed with MPP Ian Arthur, NDP Critic for Small Business and Economic Recovery on Feb 11. Rapid testing is key to getting back to doing weddings safely. 

 It was announced that PM Trudeau has pressed the provinces on using rapid testing last week. At his press conference on Feb 10, he said, “We know that rapid testing, even right now with the variants spreading, is really important to get us to a place where we’re starting mass vaccinations with lower and lower case counts. So as we’ve sent close to 20 million rapid tests across the country we’re really hoping and excited about the different ways and innovative, creative approaches to using them.” 

Maybe we got heard…

President, Government Advocacy – Alan Viau


Silver Linings

2020 caught us all off-guard as the pandemic infiltrated our country and ravaged our industry. As wedding professionals, we were in a state of shock and disbelief while we watched the start of our wedding season evaporate. The stress of dealing with so much uncertainty with no insight into what lay ahead, while trying to help cherished couples cope and make decisions about the biggest day of their lives, became nearly unbearable. We were all terrified of the financial impact on our business, and the thought of bankruptcy was lingering in many of our minds. We were all forced to cut costs, lay off beloved team members, defer bills, and we spent a lot of time hoping and praying. We scrambled to create new plans and options for our clients, on the turn of a dime, each day there was a new announcement. We communicated these plans with our couples and some went well, while others didn’t. We all did our best to try and find a balance between taking care of our brides and grooms and trying to stay afloat. Difficult moments, discussions and decisions happened each and everyday starting in March and lasted so much longer than we could have anticipated.  

Despite the dark days that we were living through, as entrepreneurs and wedding professionals, we each found the strength to get up everyday, ready to deal with more uncertainty and another group of anxious clients, regardless of how hard we knew those days would be. We struggled to help find answers for our couples, who are at the heart of what we all do for a living. Many of us found strength in each other – sharing our struggles, questions, ideas and resources. We supported one another through Zoom calls, online industry meetings, email chats and/or text messages with each other. 

I personally found strength in each of these moments and discussions thanks to many of you. I found strength from my husband and business partner Steve and our event management/client relations team who were with me every step of the way. I found strength in being a part of a wedding venue owner email group, that allowed us to share, float ideas, ask questions, get input, and most importantly support all of the great folks who were in the exact same boat as I was.  And I found strength in joining the OGWIA as it gave me something positive to work towards. Taking action to impact change was another silver lining for me. I had the opportunity to write press releases and interview with the media to highlight the pandemic’s impact and government restrictions on our industry. I got to meet with and present to different levels of government, to talk about the devastation that our industry was living through and to ask for some desperately needed help for everyone. While some of our asks have yet to be realized, taking part in a positive movement, is something that grounds me and that I am truly thankful for. We have much more work ahead of us this year and I hope you are all with me, in knowing that, together we can make a difference. We are so lucky to have each other and to be a part of this very special industry.

Board Member – Stephanie Brown-Malenfant


Planning for Socials and Events

Depending on how the guidelines evolve over the next few weeks, the Social & Events Committee is hoping to organize a live get together sometime in June as a jumping off point to what promises to be a very busy summer for everybody (note the optimism). Speaking of the Social & Events Committee, it is presently a group of one (me!) so I would be delighted to have 2 to 3 members join me. Either reach me through the Association (info@ogwia.com) or directly (ian@caneastshows.com).

Ian ForsythSocial and Events


Wedding Season 2021???

It’s hard to believe its February already. It’s been 11 months since the start of the pandemic. We are now well into 2021. For many of us, we are looking down the road to see what our wedding season is going to be like. Right now, looking at our calendars, there are some dates that we might be booked and some dates that are soft.  We are trying to figure out whether these weddings will stay with us, postpone or cancel. We are told to stay positive and that better days are ahead but it’s hard to do that when there is so much uncertainty. You are not alone. The members of the OGWIA are with you. The most important thing to remember is there is strength in numbers. If you are looking for support, to chat or to learn, I strongly encourage you to join us for our monthly virtual events. They will inspire inform and educate you on a variety of topics. We look forward to seeing you soon. 

Brian Henry – Membership Services – OGWIA

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