Whether you got down on one knee at McMahon Stadium in front of 37,000 Stamps fans or snuck the ring into your partner’s Diet Pepsi last night at the drive-thru — for you the hard part is over. With the potentially soul-crushing response working out in your favour, now all you have to do is plan the thing. Plenty of Calgary couples go for exotic destination weddings or head to the lush greens of Kananaskis or British Columbia. Perhaps, though, the city you met in, fell in love in, and are planning on starting a family in is best tuxedoed for your wedding day. Here, five Calgary venues sure to heat those cold feet when they take what we call the long walk down the short aisle.
It’s old, it’s opulent and, more importantly, everyone in Calgary has heard of it. The Fairmont Palliser opened in downtown Calgary in 1914 and is routinely the accommodation choice for actors, politicians, and even royalty (Queen Elizabeth II stayed there in 1990). From the stunning 320-guest Crystal Ballroom (15 crystal chandeliers hang from a high, gilded ceiling) to the cozy 80-guest Turner Valley Room, the Fairmont can accommodate a wedding ceremony (and reception) of nearly any size and style. With special room rates for all your guests, and a complimentary honeymoon suite for you and your bride, the whole thing gets done ably, under one roof.
One of only two Canadian restaurants selected for the prestigious S. Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurants list (2010), Rouge has been a crown jewel of the Calgary culinary scene for years. Built in 1891, the huge red house is an Alberta Heritage site and a distinct visual marker of the Inglewood and Ramsey communities. You can see by this couple’s wedding day photos that Rouge is a quaint but classy venue that provides a private garden setting and the big bonus of world-class catering.
Heritage Park Historical Village
With the Rockies in the background and a number of distinct and charming historical buildings in the foreground, Heritage Park is a special pastoral place for exchanging vows. Following the ceremony (which can be done at the park’s St. Martin’s Church or several other outdoor locations), you will be escorted by horse-drawn carriage to a slew of uniquely Calgarian settings for wedding photos. If your wedding falls between May and October, the S.S. Moyie — Heritage’s own steamwheeler boat — is available to take you and your wedding party out on the clear waters of the Glenmore Reservoir for an open-water ceremony.
The Calgary Zoo
Probably not an obvious first choice (and, yes, she might need convincing), but the zoo is consistently voted by Calgarians as the best place to tie the knot in the city. One of the many reasons this quirky venue is so touted is because of its pristine gardens and the wide array of elegant reception décor packages available. Bonus (though she might need convincing): almost limitless fun photo ops.
Knox United Church
If you or your partner wants a classic church wedding, there may be no better place to do it in Calgary than Knox United Church. The giant Fourth Street stone monastery celebrates its centennial this year and everything inside — including the Casavant Frères organ (one of Western Canada’s largest) — screams traditional. While the building vibes vintage, the United Church’s inclusion of gay and lesbian members to its own flock makes it a fairly modern choice, as far as houses of worship go.
Image courtesy of Eileen Rivard.