The Oasis Centre’s Multi-Tiered ExperienceVendor Spotlight: The Oasis Centre

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 11, 2014

In our Fall Winter 2014 issue look for the full details on The Oasis Centre, Blush’s Venue of the Year. Enjoy this web-exclusive advice session with Anne McLennan, Wedding Director for The Oasis Centre, and see how you can best make your event dreams a bridal reality.

Maximize the Garden

“Whenever we can, we love to treat our guests to our spectacular garden. We have created wedding event plans that allow for taking advantage of this wonderful option. Because the weather here in Alberta can be unpredictable, we always have a back-up plan such as the marble foyer in case the weather isn’t favourable. Our favorite is to open the two back double-doors immediately following the ceremony and invite and delight guests to a champagne celebration in the garden. Everyone can then enjoy a glass of champagne while the newly married couple takes photos with family and friends. After 30 minutes or so, people can make their way back into the marble foyer when the full bar opens for the reception.

The Oasis Centre Garden

Another option is to invite your guests out into the garden for a surprise after dinner to watch fireworks, or for fun, to enjoy some innovative cuisine from one of Edmonton’s trendy food trucks like The Lemon Grass Grill for a delicious and unexpected late lunch snack…”

The Oasis Centre Fireworks

Capture the Cuisine Element

“The caterers we partner with have been selected because they have proven themselves to be reliable and professional while providing delicious and quality cuisine to our valued clients. We have selected a wholesome variety of catering options that can suit our client’s preferences whether it is for a classic and elegant buffet or something creative or innovative such as family style or passed appetizers. Nowadays, we also get lots of requests for gluten-free or specific cultural types of cuisine that we love to be able to accommodate and offer our clients whenever possible. Presentation is always important with not only the food, but the catering staff and customer service as well. It all reflects on our business and shapes the experience for our clients.”

The Oasis Centre Stir Catering

Lighting is Everything

“We’ve had some amazing lighting arrangements working with our high ceilings, especially over the past year. One that stands out was where floor to ceiling draping was added around the whole room and up lit in a soft incandescent amber. Another event layered striking royal blues and a moving night sky on the ceiling that gave an otherworldly romantic outdoor garden feel. Some of the concerts we’ve had here have brought in some amazing lighting designers that we have of course learned from to add to our repertoire. We discovered a way to project a film of a running 20ft tall waterfall on the wall behind the stage, with soft pink up-lit drapes framing it on either side. It was breathtaking, and provided a stunning and unique backdrop for the bride and groom to sit in front of during speeches.”

Make a Dramatic Entrance

“The Grand Hall and the main foyer lend themselves to dramatic entrances, the best way to take advantage would be to have fun with it and be willing to try something untraditional. Some of the more dramatic, or creative grand entrances came from inspiration from our clients, for instance, coming into the Grand Hall through the double mahogany doors on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. That was a real show stopper. We enjoy helping clients come up with new ways to enter through those doors, such as a wedding ceremony recently where perfectly choreographed bridesmaids burst through the doors all in a row with impeccable timing to Diana Ross singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. It took the crowd by pleasant surprise and added a hip and refreshing contrast to the more traditional elements of the wedding.”

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The Curiously Arctic RenaissanceRenaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel Soft Opening

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on June 25, 2014

For years there has always been a gap in the Edmonton International Airport for a quality accommodation . The Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel has answered the call with a luxury hotel that raises the bar for airport accommodation. The property opened it’s doors to travellers and locals in the Spring of 2014 and Blush Magazine was honored to attend the soft opening.

Here are some cool facts:

– The modern hotel was designed by Mike Goldsmith with GCD. The curiously arctic theme resonates throughout the entire property.

– The lobby area directly connects to the EIA departures through a heated skybridge making traveling convenient on those -30 winter days.

– The grand ballroom can host up to 500 guests depending on the set-up/design.

– Onsite HALO Bar | Bistro, a full service Starbucks and a cozy library equipped with all your electronic plug-ins to recharge before you travel.

– 213 guestrooms and 12 stylish suites

– The bar manager Tony Britton separates himself from other mixologists by focusing on fresh ingredients and premium products served with style and entertainment.

– Executive Chef Andrew Ihasz spent seven years between Fairmont Hotel & Resorts in Bermuda and San Francisco, Edmonton is extremely lucky to have him!

Your main contact for weddings & events is the lovely Sara Scott, she can be contacted by email at sara.scott@marriott.com

This won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing about this property, until then go enjoy a drink at the ultra modern HALO and enjoy the photos courtesy of FO Photography.

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The Francis Winspear Centre for Music; A Perfect Venue For Your Love SongBlush's Venue of the Year 2013

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 31, 2013

This year, Blush Magazine has selected the Winspear as its Venue of the Year because not only is it the perfect venue for the arts enthusiast, but it is also one of city’s most unique spaces, located in the heart of downtown Edmonton. For the past sixteen years, Edmonton has been home to The Francis Winspear Centre for Music, a world class concert hall and home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The centre, best known as simply the Winspear, represents a lasting legacy to the life and work of Dr. Francis G. Winspear. It hosts a variety of events, including concerts and private events, such as wedding ceremonies and receptions.

The Winspear has spaces to accommodate ceremonies of as few as 50 to as many as 250 guests and can host traditional dinner and dance receptions for as many as 300, with cocktail receptions being a popular choice for clients of the venue. While the two of the spaces are private, the Main Lobby, Dress Circle Lobby, and Upper Circle Lobby are open to the rest of the space. They allow beautiful natural light to shine through the floor to ceiling windows that open to the venue’s main entrance and main floor lobby area. Also available are the Landmark Group Founders’ Room and Studio spaces, which offer completely private, enclosed rooms and have private entrances.

When reserving the venue for a ceremony, clients are provided with use of the room(s) reserved and additional available spaces for photos. Guests are invited to reserve their ceremony up to a year in advance, as available dates fill quickly. Should you wish to host a reception at the Winspear, dedicated staff are available to ensure that your event is flawless. All sound technicians and bar services are provided directly by the venue. Catering can be provided exclusively by one of the Winspear’s preferred caterers. Proud to be an environmentally friendly venue, the Winspear maintains a policy discouraging the use of disposable catering items. Helpful staff can offer a list of various musicians who can assist you in adding to the romantic atmosphere of your event.  Ceremony and reception venues can be booked separately, or as one; however, should you already have your venues chosen, the Winspear is still happy to be your location of choice for your wedding photos. This can be reserved up to five months in advance, permitted there are no other events taking place.

While the Winspear is recognized for its great acoustics by concert-goers and music aficionados, it can also become the perfect setting for a wedding, for any couple seeking one of Edmonton’s most admired venues. With five beautifully unique spaces, the Winspear is bound to have a suitable option for the discerning bride and groom.

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Matrix Hotel Brings Service, Selection & Sheer Sophistication to EdmontonBlush's Wedding Venue of the Year 2012

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 31, 2012

The Matrix Hotel, situated in downtown Edmonton, is Blush’s pick for venue of the year for more than a few reasons. Ranked as one of the “Top 25 Trendiest” hotels in the country, the creative architecture lends itself to a slew of different types of events. “We love weddings here! A lot of the weddings we book are on referrals. Generally the events are booked one year in advance and during that time we develop quite a warm relationship,” explains Nancy Holan. The Matrix chefs, led by Executive Chef Emmanuel David, “have trained around the world. We can accommodate vegan, vegetarian, special diets. We had a bride and groom who ordered vegetarian but opted for a different main course for their guests,” added Nancy.

What about the venue itself? A slew of options are available, whether the couple is searching for an engagement destination to wedding reception and rehearsal dinner, the possibilities are endless. “We do approximately 30 weddings yearly and our maximum capacity is 220 in the south-facing Quartz ballroom; the east-facing Amber ballroom seats 120. Smaller parties find the Prism room suitable as it seats 80. Plated dinners are more popular, it’s a touch more formal than buffets.”

The clients of the Matrix Hotel are generally affluent with a trendier take on weddings; this isn’t surprising if you have seen their décor.  Modernity and warmth go hand in hand throughout the hotel, giving you ample space to get your best bridal photo op. The banquet space is flanked by windows so a daytime event is possible and the audio-visual details are immaculate: “drop down screens in the ballroom mean you don’t have to compromise on décor to incorporate special moments in video and sound and this is included in the event of course”.

Lux surroundings and attention to detail and quality: what more can a couple ask for?

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AGA is Simply the BestBlush's Wedding Venue of the Year 2011

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 31, 2011

From its prime location in the heart of the arts and culture district in downtown Edmonton, to the catering par excellence, the Art Gallery of Alberta is Blush’s pick for best venue of the year.

Staging your wedding, engagement or rehearsal events in Edmonton just got a whole lot more elegant.  Not only is it connected via underground tunnel to some of Edmonton’s biggest names ensuring your guests ease of movement, it is also a singular architectural achievement that needs next to no adornment for the brides who like to keep it simple.  For those who like the extra oomph, the space itself transforms beautifully.  Zinc Catering are the exclusive contract caterers for AGA and also the brainchild behind the AGA’s gastronomically delightful dining experience. Zinc catering’s Elisa De Fazio took Blush on a tour of the gallery so we could get a better idea of who’s holding their weddings there and why.

A chat with Executive Chef David Omar gave us a glimpse of what is easily one of the most creatively derived menu selections in fine dining available in Western Canada.  Blush loves Chef David’s vision, incorporating both locally sourced and fresh ingredients in his signature creations, all developed by integrating the couple’s preferences.  “I think that what we do with our couple’s choices in mind really stands out, especially when you see that even colour is taken into consideration,” says Chef David illustrating his point by explaining some of his more innovative uses of texture and colour to play into the couple’s theme.

The space is a multitiered visual extravaganza that seats 200 for plated dinners and 300 comfortably for standing receptions.  Renowned architect Randall Stout is known for “creating environments that capture the unique composition of their natural surroundings, while transforming light, shadow, form, and materials into dynamic architecture. His projects are known for vibrant forms, state of the art technology, and environmental sustainability.” Going chic and green this year is easy when choosing the AGA as your venue, especially since 90 percent of the steel used is derived from recycled materials.  The exterior usage of patinated zinc panels and the curving stainless steel inspired by Aurora Borealis at a staggering height of 102 ft makes the dramatic art factor high for this venue.

“The space itself is magnificently engineered both for acoustics and for lighting with the best technical options available,” explained Elisa. The Light Column, made of acrylic panels and lit from within, is unmatched in an Edmonton venue for both ingenuity and the fact that it can be custom lit to suit the couple’s preferred colour.  From the mezzanine to the stunning staircase leading up to several areas that can be sectioned off or booked as a whole, the AGA has an appropriate space for events ranging from engagement dinners to gift opening luncheons.  If the surreal structure and their gourmet approach to cuisine isn’t breathtaking enough, the fact is you are staging your event at an art gallery showcasing some of the biggest talents to ever grace Alberta should be the tipping point.  What does an art loving couple give as wedding favors?  Passes to the gallery, of course.

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