Traveling with family in her teen years, whether in
hotels, restaurants or to attractions, Sarah always found herself
interested in what happened ‘behind the scenes’. This
hobby led her to the School of Hotel & Food Administration
at the University of Guelph to continue her studies
after high school.
Since then, Sarah has spent 23 years in the event industry. Partnering in 1990 to open an Ottawa Valley Restaurant & Catering company, she has been an integral part of planning hundreds of weddings, fundraising galas, intimate home parties, and many other successful and fun events. The evolution to party and event rentals is a natural fit for Sarah, and after a long walk in 2009 she chose her location, bought a building, went shopping for tents and party goods, and got to work! Her knowledge of what needs to happen ‘logistically’ to make an occasion a success, working with her clients expectations, and years of practical experience, give Sarah the ability to recommend great fits for individual event plans and budgets.
Winner of the Tsirmpa Award, 2016
At the 2016 Ottawa Wedding Awards, Sarah Robertson was the recipient of the Tsirmpa Award. The Tsirmpa Award for community service recognizes the outstanding commitment and dedication by an individual in the wedding industry. This person will have done more than donate their equipment or services. He or she will have created fundraising events, joined committees, volunteered their personal time and made a difference in the lives of others.
Supporting the Wedding Commuity
Sarah has been involved in the wedding industry for 26 years, and opened her current business, Prior Engagements Party & Event Rentals in 2010. Her support in the wedding community includes:
Co-creator, Bliss Wedding Shows
Along with Brian Hargreaves of BH Photography, Sarah has produced two Ottawa Valley-based wedding shows per year, since 2013 - one in Almonte and another in Renfrew. (www.blissweddingshow.com). These shows focus on providing an opportunity for local Ottawa Valley-based companies to showcase their businesses to brides.
Community support projects include:
Almonte Skatepark Project – Sarah is currently the Fund Development Chair on the committee committed to building an in-ground skatepark for the youth of Almonte. (www.almonteskatepark.ca) Organization of events for this project include:
Let the Good Times Roll – Raised over $5,000 in April 2015, and is set to repeat this event in April 2016.
Conquer the Concrete I, II, III, IV – This is a bi-annual event for youth to skate, scooter, and BMX in a safe environment, off the town streets
Shop the Hub to SK8 – in conjunction with The Hub Community Organization, the Hub donates proceeds of a week of sales in their community shop. The committee provides support during the week and runs a BBQ on the weekend, skate demo and bottle drive, Raise over $4000 in April 2015.
Lombardy Relay for Life, Canadian Cancer Society.
Since its inception in 2000, Sarah has been involved with this event. For five years as Team Captain of a community team from Almonte, her team collectively raising $18,000. In 2005 she joined the Steering Committee as Chair of the Food and Beverage Committee, continuing in this role for four years before moving onto the position of Event Chair, for the years 2009, 2010, and 2012. In 2010, the Lombardy Relay for Life received the Event Development Award for all of Ontario. In the three years during her tenure as Chair, the Lombardy Relay for Life event raised $581,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Sarah has also served as a member of the Provincial Relay Advisory Team, Relay for Life, Ontario Division, 2011-2014, whose Primary objective was to provide consistent training and mentorship for leadership volunteers to enhance and grow Relay for Life opportunities throughout Ontario. Prior Engagements has been a continuing sponsor of two Relay for Life Events – as Fight Back Zone sponsor for the Smiths Falls Relay for Life, and Survivor Sponsor for the Mississippi Mills Relay for Life ·
Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte (www.mvtm.ca)
Sarah sat on the Board of Directors for ten years, with two terms as President, 1996 – 2006 ·
Shred it for Al Fundraiser, 2011
When a high school friend was diagnosed with a brain tumour, Sarah’s first phone call was to her friend Moira, and together they planned a benefit for their ‘ski-crazy’ friend at Mount Pakenham. A resident of Whistler BC, Al was flown back to his hometown by his brother, and was able to join in the festivities. This fun day at Mount Pakenham raised over $3,000 for Al and his wife Heather, and young son Colt.
Through her business, Sarah has mentored numerous organizations/committees in the development of their own events and fundraisers, as well as through sponsorship, donated equipment and services to numerous organizations for their own fundraising efforts. Sarah has also taught Sunday School for seven years, coached soccer for two years with the Almonte Soccer Club, and for six years in a row has been called upon to cook St. Paul’s Anglican Church Fundraising Harvest Supper – serving 600 roast turkey dinners at each event! Sarah is a proud Mom to four sons - Ray, Blake, Austin & Jamie
"Sarah, The service that you and Prior Engagements have given us is far beyond anything that we had expected. From the moment that we walked in to your shop, we knew that we were in the right place and meeting with the right person to get what we needed for our special day. All of your knowledge and experience that you shared with us during the planning for our wedding made the entire process of ordering, receiving and setting up all of the wedding ‘wears’ extremely streamlined and easy.
Your rentals were all in excellent condition and your wide selection of products made choosing our wedding order unique to our décor and style. We would also like to thank you for consistently responding quickly to any questions or concerns we had, as well as for your patience with our slow responses amidst our business of the time. Your effort in making sure that we had everything we needed for our wedding was both thorough and exceptional and at a fabulous price. We are so thankful that you we chose your wedding coordination services as well. Your hard work that day took mountains of stress off of my hosting parents, as well as my husband and I. We certainly appreciated all of your help in making our day run smoothly amidst a lot of challenging factors.
Thank-you once again for all of your help and effort in making our dream wedding come true. Should we have any friends or family in the area in need of your services, we will gladly recommend you in a heartbeat. Good luck with the upcoming wedding season. We are sure that you will wow all of your new brides and grooms just as much as you did us!
Cheers, Kelly & Aaron DiLella - Renfrew"
Photo Credits: Shannon Coyle
Sarah Robertson of
Prior Engagements in Arnprior
Prior Engagements offers top quality products that are well maintained and always clean. As event rental professionals, we will work with you to determine your rental needs, and can provide services beyond that, to make your event a great success!
We service the Ottawa Valley - from Petawawa to Perth and everywhere in between, the Pontiac Region, City of Ottawa and outlying communities.