Monday, June 29, 2009

Calgary Chamber of Commerce's Enmax Ballroom - Calgary's Hidden Gem!

Located in the prime downtown core of Calgary, Alberta, thousands of people walk past the Calgary Chamber of Commerce each day, unaware of the venue treasures that lay inside.

Other office buildings tower over the unassuming four-story structure, but inside, are numerous rooms perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Their main venue is the Enmax Ballroom, located on the fourth floor. With a vaulted ceiling and Art Deco feel, this beautiful room plays host to hundres of conferences, speaking engagements, dinners and other various recpetions each year. With a kitchen on-site, the Chamber's catering staff are able to whip up magnificent four- and five-course meals for lunch and dinner gatherings or a delectible assortment of appetizers or succulent sweet treats for any cocktail party or afternoon tea. Bartenders stationed right outside at the old oak bar can quench your thirst with a wide assortment of beverages. The room holds 300 people for a reception or 170 banquet-style (table of 9), but can expand to 350 and 240 respecitively by opening the wall and adding the Peter Bawden Room.

On the second floor, the Chamber Dining Room is perfect for a cocktail reception or smaller dinner groups. With soothing colours, ambient lighting, and smaller break-out spaces, this venue is perfect for smaller, more intimate gatherings.

Nearby hotels, like the Hyatt Regency and the Palliser Hotel, can accommodate out-of-town guests, and ample parking is only a block away at the James Short Parkade.

As a member of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Creative Weddings and Occasions is able to offer specially reduced room rates to our clients. Contact us now at to learn more or get started on booking your reception venue.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where, O Where Should Your Destination Wedding Be?

Many couples today are looking at destination weddings as an alternative to a traditional wedding, but with so many amazing locations to consider, where does one even begin?

The first step is to close your eyes and let your imagine take you away. What is the first thought that crosses your mind when you picture yourself getting married? Where are you? What do you see? Start writing down words that best describe the style you want your wedding to reflect. Urban and upbeat or laid-back and tropical? Classic and elegant or intimate and cozy? Everyone’s definition of paradise is a little different. Start, by figuring out what is most important to the two of you. Better yet, decide what best “represents” the two of you.
Now comes the fun part. Start imaging the various locations that will achieve the effect that you want. Are you looking for a location with a white sand beach with amazing views of ocean or perhaps the elegance of a European castle? An outdoor affair in the rugged Rocky Mountains or possibly a lush affair at an actual winery?

With a clear view of what you want, this is where your destination wedding specialist can come in handy. Most of us, unfortunately, don’t have an unlimited budget to work with. Given the information of the style of wedding you want and the type of venue you’re looking for, your wedding planner can start working on making your dream wedding a reality by finding realistic options for you to consider and saving you tons of legwork in the process. For example, numerous all-inclusive resorts throughout Mexico, Cuba and many of the Caribbean islands are catering to destination wedding clients. An independent wedding planner will know which resorts to use to get the best value for your dollar, yet still avoid having a “cookie-cutter” wedding experience. She may have some other alternatives for you to consider, such as a crystal clear lagoon with a waterfall in the background or a private estate with an incredible cliffside view.
Again, your destination wedding specialist can be helpful if you want to consider unique wedding experiences. She should be familiar with companies that do helicopter weddings, cruise lines that will actually marry you at sea, or even the agencies to use for the truly unusual weddings, like an underwater one or a canopy tour in Costa Rica with a bit of a zip line at the end.

Another advantage to using a destination wedding specialist is that she can make your fairy tale dreams come true. If the idea of truly being a princess and marrying in a castle holds great appeal, but Europe is simply too far away and too cost-prohibative, allow your wedding planner to suggest alternatives closer to home. North America has its own share of castles, such as Casa Loma in Toronto, Canada or Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina, but you have to know where to find them. Wineries found in the British Columbia, Ontario, and California are definitely more accessible and easier to budget than the Italian or French countryside.

Your wedding will be one of the most memorable occasions in your life. It makes perfect sense that this one-of-a-kind experience that should be reflective of the two of you. With so many location possibilities to consider, the only limitation that should hold you back is your imagination!
For more information about destination weddings or to start booking your own, please contact us at or check out our website at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings - A Dream Come True!

Fantasy... Wonder...Wishes...Dreams! These words have become synonymous with the Disney experience and have become the focus behind everything they do. Disney recognizes that dreams are one of our most precious possessions, and their goal is to make all of their guests’ dreams come true.

Disney is an expert at making every bride feel like a princess! Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings allow couples to visit any of their resorts and have a magical once-in-a-lifetime experience. The key is bringing their own brand of Disney magic to make your special event extraordinary. Where else in the world can you show up at your wedding in Cinderella’s glass coach? Or perhaps get married in “Italy” and then move to your reception in “France”? The only limit is your imagination (and possibly your budget)!

Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida hosts over 2500 weddings on their property a year ranging from small affairs for just the bride and groom to elaborate, extravagant gatherings at the Disney World location of their choice. According to Korri McFann, marketing director at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, “Every bride wants to feel like a princess for the day, and at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings we can make the dream a reality. The beauty of a Disney wedding is that we can tailor the occasion to suite almost any budget.”

There are numerous locations through the resort area for your ceremony. One of the most popular Disney venues that couples choose to exchange their vows is at Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding Pavilion, located on a tiny island surrounded by the Seven Seas Lagoon with impressive views of the Grand Floridian Resort and the Magic Kingdom in the background. Other favourites include the numerous lakeside gazebos along Disney’s Boardwalk or some of the more romantic venues in the World Showcase area at Epcot, such as a charming English garden or a fairy-tale inspired German village complete with a delightful cobblestone plaza. For the right price, ceremonies can even be arranged within the theme park themselves.

Disney receptions also have their own brand of magic as each setting is designed to match your unique personality. You can choose anything from the elegance of the “turn-of-the-century” Grand Floridian resort to the Living Seas Lounge at Epcot (below). The World Showcase also has numerous locales, offering flavours of various countries, as numeorus facilities available at each of the WDW resort properties. Of course, what could beat a reception in the Magic Kingdom at the Castle Courtyard with the Wishes Nightime Spectacular TM fireworks display as part of your evening’s entertainment! Another special touch unique to Disney is to have Mickey Mouse and his friends to put in an appearance at your reception to help really get the party started. The options are endless with a reception location designed to meet every couple’s specific needs, theme, and desires as only Disney can do.

As destination weddings continue to grow in popularity, bringing friends and family together from across the country, a Disney resort is the perfect option as there is truly is something for everyone. At Walt Disney World, the largest of all of the Disney resort areas, there are numerous hotel options for your guest right on-site, transportation included, and access to everything Disney from their infamous theme parks and water parks, five different championship 18-hole golf courses and world-class spa experiences - all within the Lake Buena Vista resort area. Outside the gates, there are numerous other options available, such as other theme park options, and who can overlook the incredible shopping and factory outlets nearby. Your wedding guests certainly won’t run out of things to do. For those wishing to continue the Disney experience, what about getting whisked away on a romantic honeymoon on a Disney Cruise to either the Caribbean or the Bahamas. The options are endless.

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings truly are your one-stop shopping. They offer uniquely special ceremonies, unrivalled quality, dependable service, and excelling value. Having your wedding at Disney is as easy as wishing on a star...

For more information about booking a destination wedding, contact us at or check out our website at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Villa Rentals - The New Destination Wedding Option

Heard the horror stories of drunk tourists crashing the wedding reception? What about the topless sunbather in the wedding photos or the couple that had their wedding reception amidst two other wedding parties in the same restaurant at the resort? The internet is full of brides and grooms with similar complaints about their destination wedding gone bad. Perhaps the more important question is how many sleepless nights have you had worrying that this could just as easily happen to you?

Your wedding day is too important to leave to chance! The resort wedding coordinators are excellent at handling the on-site details, but too often, the wedding ceremony and reception are all "cookie cutter" replicas of one another. To help create the unique wedding of your dreams, perhaps it is time to consider some different alternatives for your destination wedding, such as renting a luxury villa.

Rental villas are scattered through the world, with numerous options being available in the Caribbean. With as many as nine or ten bedrooms, villas can provide accomdations for up to 24 people. In many cases, some of the same amenities found in the upscale resorts are included in the villa price, such as tennis courts, games rooms, private bars, and a full-service staff to look after all of your needs. However, villas also offer the added bonus of a private pool, and in some cases, a secluded beach for your own personal pleasure. A number of villas also have an on-site chef that will look after all of your culinary needs during your stay for either a "per person per day" rate or for the cost of groceries. Whether you use the villa itself for your wedding, or an alternate location nearby, villas often provide the perfect PRIVATE setting that most couples are looking for.

Villas are perfect for small wedding parties of less than 20 guests, but what if your wedding group is a little larger, like 30 - 50 people? Alan at was able to offer the perfect solution by suggesting a few neighbouring villas in the beautiful Montego Bay area. He was also able to recommend which villa was best to accommodate the couple's wedding, along with vendors that have been used in the past by other couples who married there. Using neighbouring villas allows everyone to stay in the same proximity of each other, but provides the opportunity for families to stay together, or maybe even accommodate wedding guests with different financial budgets.

Villas provide an intimate and romantic option not always available at some of the larger Caribbean resorts. They provide more versatility, allowing you to have the wedding you've always wanted. You won't be tied to the ceremony guidelines that the big resort set, and will be able to choose the vendors that will work best for you. Let your destination wedding specialist get started now in helping you find the perfect location for your special day and in making your wedding a dream come true!

For more information about villas rentals as a possible destination wedding location or travel destination, please contact us at .

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making Your Wedding Your Own

Weddings have been around for hundreds of years and are an important part of most cultures throughout the world. Countless traditions and customs have been established as part of this sacred celebration that occurs when two people make a commitment to love, cherish, and honour each other. As a result, when a couple gets newly engaged, almost everyone they know has an opinion on what the wedding should be like, and aren’t afraid to express it.

For many engaged couples, the planning can quickly become very overwhelming especially when there are family members to please. The best advice I can give you is to step back from it all and figure out what is most important to the two of you. After all, this is your special day!
Don’t get me wrong! Tradition and customs are important. They help connect us and bring some of the past to the present and the future. However, these traditions should be also be meaningful to the both of you if they are going to be included as part of your wedding celebration. This is especially true if you start examining the costs associated with some of these traditions.
One the of the best examples I’ve seen is with a couple I recently worked with. Mike and Melanie had definite idea for their wedding. They had sat down and figured out what was most important to them, and were able to stick to their plans. It helped that the two of them were paying for the wedding, so although family members had opinions, the couple was able to have the final say.

One of the big decisions came in the form that they chose not to have any attendants. They felt that they had so many good friends, how could they pick and choose? Instead, they opted to have both of sets of parents walk them down the aisle. As these were the most important people in each of their lives, they also had their mothers sign the wedding registry, while their fathers both performed separate reading during the ceremony. Many guests commented that it made the ceremony more intimate, and emphasized the close ties that this family shares.

This decision not to have attendants also impacted the reception in terms that there was no need for a head table. As an alternative, they arranged for a table for two to be set in the middle of the room, allowing them to share their first meal together as a newly married couple as just the two of them. Definitely a romantic touch!

Many wedding traditions, such as flowers, decorations, and wedding cake also come with big price tags. There are ways couple can look at reducing these expenses, by using alternate materials or eliminating them altogether. For example, Mike and Melanie didn’t really see the need for a wedding cake. As Mike said during the ceremony, “if you’re waiting for the cake, you’ll have to come back to another wedding next weekend.” The dessert they chose as a replacement was a scrumptious chocolate mousse, created and designed by the culinary staff at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. As a personal touch, each dessert was monogrammed with two letter “M”s, one for the bride and one for the groom! I certainly didn’t see any guests mourn not having cake as they took their first bite of these mouth-watering morsels.

When planning a wedding in today’s modern society, there are so many details to consider. What you must remember is that this day should be about the two of you. There are legalities that must be incorporated, but in terms of the other decisions, you must make them based on what is most important to the two of you. Rules and traditions are changing. Opinions of family and friends should be considered, but you are ultimately responsible for the final decision. After all, this is your big day! Make it special and meaningful for you!
For more original ideas to make your wedding and reception unique and personal to you, contact us as .

Love Story Centerpieces

Whenever planning your wedding, you want to be able to incorporate ideas that will make your wedding stand out as a unique and one of a kind event! The extra special little touches are what your guests will admire and will allow them to fondly remember your event for years to come.
One way in which you can do this is by assigning names to each of the reception tables instead of the traditional method of numbering them. This can work extremely well if you have already selected a theme that you want to incorporate. For example, one couple I recently worked with were getting married on Valentine’s Day. Mike and Melanie were adamant about staying far away from all the cutesy “heart and cupid” motifs normally associated with the holiday. However, they thought that incorporating tributes to some of the “great loves in history” was one way they could acknowledge Valentine’s Day, but in a more subtle and elegant manner that suited their reception decor.

The first step in making this happen was to create a list of “great loves”, some fictional and some real. Couples that we came up with included Romeo and Juliet, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. After researching each couple, I wrote a one-page summary of their story, which was then mounted on the back of a piece of cardstock, with a photo and title of the couple on the front. (A special thank you to Amanda at Glimpz for putting it all together for us.) The stories were mounted on miniature easels, two at each table, providing a way to identify each table as well as some light reading for guests during the dinner. Along with the floral arrangements and red votive candles, it really added to the overall effect of the table centerpieces.

There are countless ways you could adapt this idea to your own wedding. Here are some quick ideas:

  • For wine lovers, name each table after a different type of wine (e.g. cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, ...).
  • For a western themed wedding, name each table after a breed of horses (e.g. Palomino, Arabian, Clydesdale, ...).
  • If you went for more of a “once upon a time ...” fairy-tale theme, name each table after a specific fairly-tale, perhaps focusing on love story themed ones that most of us know so well from our childhood (e.g. Cinderella and Prince Charming, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Price Phillip, ...).
  • For an elegant classic movie premier, turn to some of the greats films of all time (e.g. Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, Sabrina (original), and Roman Holiday).

As you can see, this idea is a fairly easy one to incorporate if you put some initial thought into it. It’s a little thing that can help bring out your theme, if you have one, and can make your reception a little more personable.

By the way, did I mention the “great love in history” couple we chose for the kids’ table – Mickey & Minnie Mouse, of course!

For more reception ideas, contact us at .

Cruising: A Destination Wedding Alternative!

Mayan Riviera? Jamaica? Dominican Republic? All of these are popular choices when newly engaged couples start planning a destination wedding, but what if you want to do something a little different? Or maybe you want to experience the Caribbean, but simply can’t decide on one location? Planning a cruise could be exactly the alternative you’re looking for.

Picture yourself for a moment, standing with the love of your life on the deck of a luxurious cruise ship. With a spectacular view of the harbour in the background, the two of you stand with your hands clasped together as you gaze into each other’s eyes and declare your love and commitment to each other. Close friends and family stand nearby to share this special moment with the two you. What could be more romantic?
Contrary to popular belief, most cruise ship weddings take place in port, either on the ship or at a separate nearby location. Princess Cruises is the exception, with their ships’ captains being able to marry couples in international waters while the ship is at sea. All other cruise lines are restricted to port weddings while the ship is docked. There are countless location options available to couples wanting to wed. They have to follow the legal requirements of the territory, but weddings can be arranged on board the ship, at breathtaking beaches, historical sites in town, or even at a white-washed chapel on one of the cruise line’s private islands. The options are endless. New ships launched by Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, and Carnival even feature dedicated wedding chapels, located on the top deck of their ships to allow sunlight to stream in during the day. Princess has taken the extra step of adding webcams in their chapels so that family and friends who were unable to attend can still tune for the ceremony using their home computer.
There are a number of advantages to making the decision to cruise. First of all, it’s the original all-inclusive vacation, with accommodation, gourmet meals, and a variety of entertainment and activities all part of the price. Especially when booked early, cruising offers great value to potential consumers, especially when compared to land only vacations.

Another big incentive for travellers is that cruises allow them to visit and explore various ports of call. With numerous stops during their vacation, cruisers can actually get a taste for an area with a variety of routes offered by the various cruise lines. While the most popular destinations are in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Alaska follow closely behind as other popular cruise destinations.
Perhaps one of the best advantages to cruising is the service that guests receive while on board. Whether it is the wait staff, the bartenders, or the cabin stewards, the cruise ship staff is there solely to cater to your needs and make your entire experience on board an enjoyable one. You truly feel pampered while on board!

When planning a destination wedding, it is important to note that most cruise lines outsource their wedding planning to an outside agency. Make sure you know which company they are going to use, or find a destination wedding specialist who can look after the details for you. One couple I worked with saved themselves over $3,000.00 by looking after the details themselves instead of going through the cruise lines to book their wedding. This left them with extra money they were able to use to upgrade their ceremony, extend their vacation, and take advantage of some of the spa treatments on board the ship.
For more information, contact us at Creative Weddings and Occasions to check out if a cruise ship destination wedding is right for you!