Last night, we had a spectacular launch of the Fall & Winter Calgary Bridal Guide at the beautiful Art Gallery of Calgary (more on that later in the week). Have you been? Looking around the room, with all the fabulous art – it’s such a stunning venue for a wedding. I was inspired!
I have heard dreamy stories of weddings taking place at the AGC, and seen tons of gorgeous photos but I had never really thought so much of all the possibilities until last night’s event. High ceilings, big white walls, cement floors, ample space. The drama you can create in that space! As I stared at the walls imagining the possibilities, my subconscious immediately put up road blocks as reasons why, as a bride, I might not be able to see my vision all the way through. Would they let me do that with all the art in here? Would my guests have to whisper and tip toe around? What about when my brother-in-law gets drunk at the reception and (undoubtedly) knocks something over? Always cautious for someone who’ll spoil my wedding fun, I asked Irena Knorr, the Rentals Coordinator, to quell my fears on whether a gallery is the right venue for a modern, adventurous bride!
Image by Tara Whittaker
How are brides able to adapt the space to suit their wedding vision? Is there flexibility in bringing in decor or lighting or is that limited due to the fact that its a gallery?
Brides are always welcome to bring in their own décor and lighting. A little bit of lighting goes a long way! There is one wall in particular in the Tall Gallery, if you light it up, the light travels all the way up into the 3rd floor Mezzanine lounge area. It’s a very inexpensive way to light up 2 rooms and provide a stylish lounge atmosphere.
We have a couple of anchor points in the ceiling to hang chandeliers or flower balls, and we also have very dramatic stair cases that you can decorate. Many of our brides don’t want to decorate because they feel the artwork is enough décor but I also find that you can really transform the room with a few simple details – the entire room can look completely different from one wedding to another.
Image by Jeff Noon
Are there any particularly unique ways you have seen brides use the venue?
Most often brides only book 2 levels for wedding receptions – the Main Gallery (for dinner) with the Tall Gallery (the lower level, for the dance) but my favourite is when they book the Full Gallery and hold the ceremony with us too. Putting the DJ in the lower level (the Tall Gallery) is perfect since there’s a natural space for a dance floor and the sound carries nicely throughout the gallery. The media gallery, also on the lower level, can be used for a Kids Room or Photo Booth, or lounge. There’s so many levels and unique spaces, that guests really get a treat by never being stuck in one area, and getting to view the artwork throughout the entire gallery.
I’ve seen a lot of weddings here over the last couple of years, and one of my favourites was a January wedding where they did a winter white theme. They brought in tons of white fabric and draping, white birch trees with chrystals dangling, and held a “candlelight ceremony” in the top gallery. We are not allowed to have open flames here (due to the artwork) but they used the small LED flickering tealights, and it looked just as good in the evening light.
We book all sorts of wedding events here – intimate engagement parties in the smaller Top Gallery, wedding ceremonies on their own, receptions (both sit down dinners and cocktail style). We also do wedding photo shoots. For $250 you can book a 3-hr window in the gallery as a backup venue for rainy day photos, and get some really cool and edgy shots.
Image via The Art Gallery of Calgary
What if – by chance – a bride really does not appreciate the style of the art that’s on the wall! Has that ever happened?
Yes, actually – we find that it’s usually the mother of the bride that doesn’t like the artwork! Most of the brides and grooms that book their wedding here are quite open-minded, which is why they probably chose to have their wedding at a contemporary art gallery! But, there’s always some as art is very subjective and doesn’t appeal to everyone. Our art exhibitions change 3 times a year, and we usually have a good idea of what will be on the walls a year in advance. We might not know exactly what the paintings will be, but we’ll have an idea of the artist, so a bride can check out their work online and get a feel for their style. Regardless, the artwork at The AGC is always contemporary – sometimes that means edgy and bold, other times minimal, other times colourful and abstract. Unfortunately, we cannot take down any artwork that the bride might not like, but in those cases they are welcome to rent a backdrop to cover that piece or an entire wall completely with white pipe and drape that is uplight with LEDs – it can transform the room entirely!
Fore more information on the Art Gallery of Calgary, pick up the Fall & Winter 2011 Bridal Guide and visit page 165. Or, visit their website at artgallerycalgary.org.