Calgarians are fortunate to have one of the world’s most stunning landscapes right in their backyard. The magnificent Rocky Mountains are an hour drive away so it’s easy to plan a romantic weekend getaway any time of year. Many couples have the same thoughts when planning their wedding weekend, and while mountain weddings are spectacular there are a few important considerations. Accommodations cost substantially more in the resort areas, especially during the summer when it’s peak tourist season. Travel can also be a limiting factor for your guests; those who won’t—or can’t—stay overnight have to handle a drive home that feels much longer after a full day of celebrations. Inclement weather can also put a serious dent in your plans; no wedding is worth risking the mountain roads in a blizzard. Here are a few unique venues that are as beautiful as the Rockies, but within city limits.
From an intimate wedding ceremony, to a celebratory champagne toast in your elegantly appointed bridal suite to a celebration in the grand Crystal Ballroom one of Calgary’s most famous and recognized spaces the Fairmont Palliser will attend to every detail to create wedding memories you will cherish for a lifetime. The Fairmont Palliser offers four stunning rooms to choose from. The Crystal Ballroom is as glamorous as pictured below.
Innovative co-work space by day and cozy industrial-chic event venue by night, The Commons strikes the perfect balance between modern luxury and vintage charm. Sparkling chandeliers elegantly contrast the exposed brick walls in each of the three event rooms. Towering ceilings, three huge west-facing windows and 3,000 square feet of polished concrete floors in the Hemingway Room create a vast blank canvas to suit any design for your ceremony and reception for up to 175 guests. The Parlour Room uses velvet and leather seating to create a warm and sophisticated space reminiscent of 1920’s speakeasies—perfect for cocktail hour or a more relaxed reception for 100 guests. Book an intimate candlelit dinner in the quaint Commodore Room or use it as your bridal suite. The Commons also offers complete event planning, event styling and even graphic design services for those who aren’t into DIY weddings.
Photo: Corrina Walker Photography
The urban bride needs look no further than the sixth floor of the iconic Hudson’s Bay flagship building in downtown Calgary. Hudson pays homage to the building’s history by keeping the original brick walls exposed but uses contemporary design to create a simplistic yet utterly sophisticated space. Enormous windows infuse the room with natural light and also command sweeping city views. The 18,000 square foot venue is divided into two spaces—the Loft which can accommodate up to 480 guests for a seated reception, and the Flat which seats 300. For larger events up to 700 guests, you can combine the rooms into one large open-concept space. Perhaps even more impressive than the room itself is the exquisite in-house catering; choose from their menu of creative twists on classic dishes, or curate your own culinary adventure.
If you’re still craving a rustic lodge atmosphere for your big day, Calgary has a venue for that, too. Perched over Lake Bonavista, The Lake House offers a secluded natural setting with big-city convenience. The venue’s interior is just as beautiful as the lakeside views; dark wood accents and elk antler chandeliers exude warmth and romance year-round, while the massive stone fireplace serves as a magnificent backdrop for your ceremony. A glass cellar showcases the extensive collection of wines to pair with locally-inspired cuisine. Your guests can sip cocktails on the outdoor patio post-ceremony while you slip away to nearby Fish Creek Park for photos. You can book the intimate Private Dining Room or the grand Bonavista Room individually or combine the spaces for a seated dinner for 190 guests or a cocktail reception for 250.
Photo; Shannon Yau
For couples who want to take full advantage of our spectacular prairie summers, round up your loved ones at Gathered, an open-hearted family farm just 30 minutes from downtown Calgary. Say “I do” under a big blue Alberta sky, surrounded by golden fields and 140 of your favourite people. The transparent tent allows you to carry the outdoor theme from your grand entrance to the last dance and can double as a backup ceremony site in case of rain. Rustic wood tables and chairs complement the scrumptious homecooked meals served either buffet or family style, and much of the organic produce is grown right on the property. Run your toes through the grass for a truly al fresco dining experience, then kick up your boots on the dancefloor before capping the night off with a s’more roasted over the open campfire.
The Hangar Flight Museum
Take a step back through time for a completely unique wedding that will delight history buffs, aviation aficionados, and Top Gun fans alike. The Hangar Flight Museum, located near the Calgary International Airport, is the first aviation museum in Calgary. Built in 1941, the building features beautifully restored vintage aircraft so there’s no need for expensive draping or over-the-top décor. Declare your love in front of the legendary Lancaster Bomber in the Tent Hangar, then treat your guests to a classic cocktail while they peruse the vast collection of artifacts in the Main Hangar before dinner. With enough room to comfortably seat 200, the museum still has plenty of space to swing the night away to your favourite big band and jazz tunes.
Photo: Justine Milton Photography