Michaelle LeManne Lamb is wedding director at Azuridge Estate Hotel.
How has the challenging economy in Calgary in recent years impacted the wedding industry?
Michaelle: Couples have definitely become more cognizant of how they spend their wedding dollars in recent years. The reality is that weddings are not a necessary expense, but are tied to one of the most important memories a couple will make in their lifetime.
Money will always be spent on weddings, however for most Calgary couples, that may mean longer engagements to save for their wedding, or smaller guest counts to cut expenses. While wedding guest experience is still paramount for most couples, they are trying to find ways to stretch their budgets, but still deliver that ‘wow’ guest experience in creative ways.
What advice would you give cost-conscious couples?
Michaelle: A wedding on a budget doesn’t have to look like a budget wedding. I think the most important thing for couples to do is find out what they’re not willing to compromise on, and what their ‘splurge’ items will be. That could be flowers, photography, a host bar or their dream venue; different couples want different things. Create a realistic budget based on that, and stick to it.
It’s also important to shop around. There are some incredible talents in this city that fit within all budgets, and it’s important for couples to do their research. Many wedding venues and other vendors offer low-season pricing, and reduced pricing for weekday weddings versus weekend weddings, so the potential is there to have your dream wedding at a fraction of the price during off-season months. Usually October through April.
One other thing to consider is guest count. While the average wedding still entertains approximately 100 guests, a reduction in guest count is often the most effective way to reduce costs across the board in most of your wedding vendor spends.
Tell me some of the unique ways Azuridge has executed weddings. What are some of the interesting ones from the past and what the potential is?
Michaelle: At Azuridge we cater to all kinds of wedding visions; from intimate elopements for two, to six-figure luxury weddings for 200-plus, and most certainly everything in between. We are a unique venue in the respect that it can be exclusively yours for you and your wedding guests, or you can book banquet rooms and guest rooms a la carte for your wedding as needed at various times of the year.
With the potential of the Estate booked in exclusivity for the big day, couples can get inventive without the worry of disturbing other guests or potential restrictions of the venue as a result.
We have seen horses as part of weddings, helicopter entrances and exits, even a Harley-Davidson processional. The potential for creativity is endless and we work with couples to execute some pretty incredible details.
Can you explain what your Say Yes campaign is all about?
Michaelle: We know the city is still living through a hard economic time, and we wanted to spread some love and give back to the community in a way that celebrates love, as well as spotlights some incredible local businesses. Azuridge Estate and nearly 20 talented and generous partners are giving one lucky couple the chance to have their dream ‘I do’s’ without having to worry about a single expense. The wedding is valued at $100,000, and the chosen couple will work with some of this city’s premier wedding talents for two months to custom-tailor their dream wedding details.
To enter, all couples have to do is visit azuridgehotel.com, fill out the contest form and tell us via video (less than five minutes in length) why they’d like to ‘Say Yes’ at Azuridge on Nov. 4, 2019. Couples can enter together, or a bride/groom can enter solo on behalf of the couple. Contest closes Aug. 31, the chosen couple to be revealed by Sept. 5.
Besides costs, what are the key things couples are looking for on their wedding to make their day complete and special?
Michaelle: Couples are definitely looking for unique and interesting ways to infuse their individuality and personality into the day’s details. They’re not interested in the status quo, but rather searching for ways they can make their weddings unique, memorable and, as a result, even more enjoyable for their guests. Just like no two couples are the same, no two weddings are the same either.
My advice to couples in this regard is if it makes you feel good, do it!
Interviewed by Mario Toneguzzi, a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.