Blush’s Venue of the Year 2017Venue of the Year: The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on August 16, 2017

For Edmonton couples dreaming of starting their happily-ever-afters in a setting worthy of royalty, the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has long been the gold standard. Situated on the high banks of the North Saskatchewan River, “The Mac” has been an iconic fixture of Edmonton’s skyline for over a century.

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway first opened the hotel’s doors in 1915 to tune of $2.25 million (that’s over $35 million in today’s dollars!), and named it after Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. The design was adapted from 16th century French castles, or châteaus, and featured Indiana limestone facing and copper roofing. The hotel was the glamorous epicentre of Edmonton’s social scene for decades until it fell into disrepair and closed in 1983. In an effort to save the historic building from the wrecking ball, the city designated it as a Municipal Heritage Resource. The hotel underwent a massive restoration under new ownership until it was returned to its former glory but with modern amenities.

The Hotel Macdonald is renowned for its luxurious suites, exquisite catering and impeccable service—and let’s not forget Smudge, their beloved Canine Ambassador! Their dedicated team of professionals works closely with each couple to ensure everything from the room to the food is tailored to fit their vision for the day and surpasses their expectations.

Whether you are hosting an intimate reception or a grand fête, The Mac has a room to suit every style. The most popular options are the Empire Ballroom and the Wedgwood Room, both of which carry the heritage designation. The regal Empire Ballroom boasts 21-foot decorated ceilings, opulent chandeliers and a pillar-free space so all your guests will have an unobstructed view of the festivities—up to 250 of them! This room also includes access to a private terrace in the manicured gardens so you can soak in the spectacular view of the River Valley. The Wedgwood Room shares the intricate detailing of its namesake, Wedgwood China, within its domed structure. The soft, muted colour palette makes it a favourite for both ceremonies and romantic receptions for up to 110 guests. Couples who book either room also get a complimentary View Room for the wedding night.

There are also stunning options for cozier affairs for 30 to 60 guests; The Jasper Room features rich oak paneling and original stained glass windows, while the Drawing Room has an airier atmosphere with pale blue walls and white woodwork framing a trio of tall windows. During the brief yet beautiful summer months, the enclosed Gazebo is also available for garden receptions or even bridal showers.

The event coordinators at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald also have a specially selected list of recommended vendors to ensure you are treated like royalty from the first plans to the last dance. There really is no need to look further than The Mac, “where modern luxury meets historic, old-world grandeur.”

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Rocky Mountain Wedding Venue: Fairmont Banff SpringsBlush's Venue of the Year 2016

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 28, 2016

Rocky Mountain Wedding Venue: Fairmont Banff Springs

“Destination wedding” typically conjures up images of barefoot ceremonies on white sand beaches, but with a weak Canadian dollar many couples are looking for more domestic getaway options. Fortunately we have one of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes in our backyard, with a spectacular venue to match.

Blush’s Venue of the Year for 2016, the historic Fairmont Banff Springs, is considered Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies.” First built in 1888, the luxury hotel has hosted British monarchs and Hollywood royalty alike, and features numerous rooms to suit weddings of any size and style.

The Ivor Petrak Room hosts intimate weddings for up to 60 guests and boasts a glittering crystal chandelier and stunning views of the Bow Valley. For an even smaller-scale soiree, seat up to 24 guests at a long table in the Angus room with its stained glass windows and historic décor.

For larger affairs, look no further than one of the Banff Springs’ elegant ballrooms and halls. The Alhambra Ballroom accommodates up to 220 guests and contains both huge windows for a sundrenched celebration and four Spanish Renaissance chandeliers for a romantic evening glow.

Fox Trot back to the roaring 20’s in the Cascade Ballroom; the hotel’s original ballroom has hosted stars such as Fred Astaire and Marilyn Monroe. The rich hardwood floors and colour scheme of powder blue, burgundy and gold provide a glamorous backdrop for a vintage wedding, and the adjacent Conservatory delivers panoramic views of the Bow Valley.

Mt. Stephen Hall truly reflects the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, and is the most popular space for couples to start their happily-ever-afters. The stone floors, high ceilings with oak beams, and cathedral windows with stained glass crests create a castle-like atmosphere for ceremonies and receptions for up to 115.

Take advantage of the fresh mountain air with a picture-perfect ceremony on the Outdoor Terrace, which combines natural beauty with the convenience of hotel amenities.

With a team of on-site wedding planners and dozens of recommendations for local vendors, the Fairmont Banff Springs offers the ease of an all-inclusive destination wedding and unparalleled service for a worry-free day. Tantalizing menu options, fine wines, and the world-class Willow Stream Spa ensure that you and your guests will be pampered. For those looking for fun and adventure, the hotel also features a 27-hole championship golf course, a bowling and entertainment centre, and a plethora of outdoor activities.

Unlike most tropical destinations, there’s no need to worry about passports, vaccines or foreign marriage licence requirements. The Calgary International Airport is only a scenic 90-minute drive away, so it’s easy for far-off guests to fly in for the big day. The nearby town of Banff also offers nearly endless options for accommodations, dining and shopping to suit all styles and budgets.

Best of all, there’s never a bad time to head to the Rockies; the area is beautiful and accessible all year round. Whether you’re dreaming of a sunny summer, rustic fall or winter wonderland wedding, the Fairmont Banff Springs will bring your vision to life, and the stunning mountain vistas will take your breath away.

Blush's Venue of the Year 2013

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Edmonton Wedding Venue: The Enjoy CentreBlush's Venue of the Year 2015

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on August 17, 2015

Blush's Venue of the Year 2015: The Enjoy Centre

Imagine walking through a room lined with trees, with the sun streaming down, and the scent of fresh garden blooms in the air. Imagine not worrying about the weather, because—at the first drop of rain—glass panels automatically close to save your big day.

The Enjoy Centre in St. Albert is the only venue of its kind in Canada, boasts Event Manager Laura Gadowsky. “We provide a true feeling of an outdoor wedding with none of the risk,” she says.

Their largest space, the Moonflower Room, is the crown jewel of event spaces. This 15,000 square foot room features 35 foot high glass ceilings, polished concrete floors, and moveable potted trees. The space can seat 500 guests for a ceremony and up to 600 for a reception. A mezzanine overlooks the room—every photographer’s dream for spectacular aerial shots—and can be used for smaller ceremonies, cocktail hours and even a kids’ area.

The high glass ceiling is truly the highlight; the panels are fitted with retractable shade cloth to adjust the amount of natural light. The uppermost panels open completely to allow air flow and are controlled by a weather station to automatically adjust to changing conditions.

If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, the Park Room seats up to 120 for a dinner reception. Three huge west-facing windows provide gorgeous views of the centre’s garden terraces and are equipped with shade cloth and blackout blinds. All the lights are on dimmer switches—from the funky yellow chandeliers to the backlights in the alcoves—to create the perfect ambience for your wedding. Gadowsky loves this room because it combines a fun modern aesthetic with the warmth of a traditional space.

While couples can choose from their selection of vendors, the Enjoy Centre offers the convenience of a one-stop shop: photos in and around the Centre plus the nearby Lois Hole Provincial Park just across the street, flowers from the Floral Studio at Hole’s, cake from Wild Earth Bakery, spa services from Wellness Within, and catering from the Glasshouse Bistro.

Chef Julia Kundera creates tailor-made menus with fresh, local ingredients—in late summer, with many of the vegetables come from Hole’s own garden. Couples can even rent the Glasshouse Bistro for sit down dinners up to 140 or stand-up receptions up to 250; enjoy cocktails with breathtaking views of Big Lake on the patio, dinner in the main restaurant, and dancing in the café area. The Bistro is also the perfect location for your rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.

Regardless which beautiful room you choose, the dedicated staff will do almost anything to fulfill your vision—from accommodating fire dancers to handling a horse in the parking lot. They also offer flexible set-up times and use of the Executive Boardroom for a bridal suite.

The Enjoy Centre is truly a breath of fresh air for those looking for an alternative to a cavernous banquet hall. Enjoy the light, enjoy the views, enjoy your day.

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