Inside Calgary’s 5 Best Wedding Venues

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After two years of ever-changing health restrictions, Albertans planning to get married this summer will be able to do so without the gathering limits imposed by the province.

However, while thousands of people prepare to get married in the summer ceremonies, thousands more are just beginning their wedding planning journey.

For those who haven’t picked a venue yet, Calgary wedding planner Ashley-Dawn Brochu offers her picks for the best venues the city has to offer.

Brochu is the owner and lead consultant of Fiore Fine Events, which launched in January 2019.

“So we’ve had about a normal season, and then obviously we’ve been trying to work through all the fun of COVID-19 since then,” she said.

As a professional event planner, Brochu has insider knowledge of the different venues couples can get married in and around Calgary, and picked the following as her five favourites:

THE GATHERED

The Gathered is a family-friendly spot just outside of Calgary, but Brochu says it draws mostly customers from Calgary and the surrounding area.

“Such a fantastic place,” she said. “It’s a completely outdoor property. They are only available from June to September, just because everything is outdoors.”

She says the site offers one of the only see-through tents available within a 20-30 minute drive of town. “And they do all their catering in house, which is a huge draw, because then you know it’s all done on site. It’s hot, it’s fresh, and they have that farm-to-table look. .”

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Another feature of the venue is that it’s essentially an all-inclusive space, as it comes with tables, chairs, and on-site catering, so all you need to bring is your decor.

“And they’re one of the very, very few places where they’ll let you bring your own booze without a corkage fee, which is a huge money saver,” she added.

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THE LAKE HOUSE

The Lake House is a restaurant located in the community of Bonavista, southeast of Calgary, perched directly above the lake itself.

“The view is definitely one of a kind in the city,” said Pamela Goldfeldt, director of marketing for Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, which represents the site. “It’s really nice to be able to enjoy this kind of amazing view without having to leave the city limits. You’re 15-20 minutes from downtown.”

“Although the Lake House is a restaurant, it is also a busy and lively reception venue, both for weddings, but also for other types of corporate and social events,” he said. -she adds.

The venue has a rustic interior with features like a large fireplace, elk antler chandeliers, and a 130-square-foot glass-enclosed wine cellar — and is available for booking year-round.

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“I think what makes the Lake House so well-known around town is its culinary program, as well as the wine program at this property,” Goldfeldt said.

“Their food is absolutely phenomenal,” agreed Brochu. “And their staff is great, their communication is really good.”

Brochu says one of the reasons she recommends the venue is that it’s pretty much all-inclusive and you have the option of having your reception and ceremony in the same setting.

The venue can accommodate up to 180 guests, or 130 if you wish to hold both your ceremony and your reception there.

“Because the ceremony venue is indoors, everything is indoors, you’re not at the mercy of the weather, which, truth be told, even in the summer here can be a huge plus. “, said Goldfeldt.

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LOCATION 308

Venue 308, located in the 300 block of 11th Avenue SE, presents itself as a unique, versatile and multi-faceted space.

“They have a very diverse space that has a lot of character, but you can really personalize it,” Brochu said.

“And because they don’t do on-site catering, you can actually select a catering company that specifically matches what you’re looking for, which can be a really good option, because some customers might want a style particular catering, or perhaps they want a particular type of cuisine that the catering company specializes in.

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“The bar is already built in there, they have tables and chairs that are available for you, but everything is fully customizable if you want it. So if you’re like ‘we don’t like your tables, we don’t ‘don’t like’ If you don’t like your chairs and you want to bring your own, you can.

“They have a fantastic team, their staff are great and they are so easy to work with.”

The venue’s sister space is The Brownstone, located in the 200 block of 10th Avenue SE

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THE PIONEER

The Pioneer, located in the 100 block of Eighth Avenue SW, is a truly central Calgary event venue.

Located on Calgary’s historic Stephen Avenue, The Pioneer opened in 2018, but the building it’s housed in dates back to 1901.

“I would say one thing that really sets us apart is just the history of the building,” said Heather Croke, sales and events coordinator. “All of the masonry in our building – the brickwork, the sandstone – it’s all actually still the original.”

“It’s not just a place, it’s not just a space, like you’re really stepping into Calgary’s history.”

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Brochu says one of the features of the building that she likes the most is that there are three floors that customers can use.

“So you can have your bar like on the upper level, if you want to have the reception on the main level and then they have a downstairs as well.

“Some people even had their first dance or a real dance party downstairs, so it separates everything. And they really enjoy the different levels.”

The Pioneer also has a sister venue, The Garret, which is located a few doors down.

“So that gives you a few options if you want to separate yourself from where your cocktail party is,” Brochu said.

“Their staff and team are amazing and the communication is really good,” she added. “You can tell they want to make the day amazing for the couple, for the wedding planner, for everyone involved.”

Another feature offered year-round by the site is full accessibility.

“Our space is fully accessible. Accessible washrooms, an elevator, all of that. We also have a loading dock in our back alley with a large garage door for unloading, so our space is extremely accessible.”

Croke says while she wouldn’t recommend a guest list of less than 50 in the space, they can accommodate up to 285.

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AZURIDGE ESTATE HOTEL

Located just outside of Calgary, the Azuridge Estate Hotel is a luxury hotel nestled in the foothills.

“It was actually a private residence that many years ago was bought out and turned into a business and now it’s this beautiful wedding venue,” Brochu said.

The venue, which is surrounded by 13 acres of forest, is available for weddings year-round.

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“You can have your reception and ceremony indoors or, if you’re getting married in the warmer months, you can have the ceremony outdoors. There are so many different options with the property,” said declared Brochu.

The maximum number of guests allowed at Azuridge’s various event spaces varies, but overnight capacity is 56 guests.

“I think what attracts guests the most is the privacy and exclusivity that Azuridge Estate can offer,” said wedding director Michaelle LeManne Lamb. “The estate itself is architecturally stunning and unlike any other place.”

“Our hands-on approach is also something we’re known for,” Lamb added. “Ensuring that every guest feels incredibly well taken care of during and before their arrival at the estate.”

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TIPS FOR CHOOSING A LOCATION

While it may seem obvious, Brochu suggests couples discuss what they hope to budget for a venue before going too far in their wedding planning.

She also suggests discussing the time of year you want to get married, as this impacts which venues you’ll have access to.

“If you’re maybe planning to get married in January or February, a place like The Gathered wouldn’t be an option. However, a place like Lake House – budget wise, could be a really good option to look at for January or February, as they have different prices for low season.”

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Brochu says couples should discuss the non-negotiables before deciding on a location.

“If you’re thinking, ‘It’s always been my heart to have a summer wedding,’ then you have to work towards that.”

MOST IMPORTANT: WHY WILL YOU GET MARRIED?

Brochu’s most important advice is to sit down with your partner and figure out what the purpose of marriage is.

“Yes, I understand, you are getting married because you want to celebrate your love and all your loved ones are there, but what is this day for you, by the way? What do you want that she speaks ?

“I find it helps if you better understand what your deepest purpose for the wedding day is and are able to communicate that with each other. It ends up becoming a really good filter for all of your decisions.”

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