Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on behind the scenes at the Shaw Conference Centre (SCC)? We have been publishing a series of articles on our blog that highlight some of the staff that work with and at The Shaw Conference Centre (SCC). Last week, we talked to Manfred Kalk, one the Client Service Managers who acts as the link between a client’s vision and the centre’s resources. For the second post in our series, we have chosen to spotlight Jennifer Bergman, an independent Wedding Planner who organizes several weddings each year at SCC. She owns her own boutique planning and design firm, Jennifer Bergman Weddings, and specializes in bringing dream weddings to life with her team of dedicated coordinators.
Tell us about the work you do with SCC.
The Shaw Conference Centre is a great wedding and event venue in Edmonton. They are most often a reception venue, but we have coordinated a few ceremonies in their spaces before as well. The largest wedding we have hosted at SCC was 520 people in Hall D. It was very modern, with geometric elements but had a soft and romantic palette. It is one of the few venues in the city that can accommodate that amount of people.
What are five reasons you love working with couples who choose SCC as their wedding venue?
1) Central location. This is good for hotel options and transportation issues, to make sure that everyone can get to the venue easily and on time.
2) The view! Edmonton has a gorgeous River Valley, and SCC’s spaces showcase this unique element of our city beautifully.
3) It has a reputation for having great food and can accommodate many different types of cuisine
4) You can bring your own alcohol, and they have a low corkage rate (it is one of the lowest in the city). This can help you save a lot of money.
5) They are quite a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows their role and knows it well. Staff are helpful and accommodating, and the service is really good.
What do you think is the most beautiful space in SCC for wedding photos?
Outside of Hall D on the terrace – the windows reflect the beautiful River Valley views.
What are some of the reasons couples choose SCC as their wedding venue?
The culinary team is really good at accommodating various types of cuisine and customizing menus to different cultures. They take the time to make sure the dishes are absolutely perfect, even if that means multiple tastings with the bride and groom.
What do you appreciate most about SCC as a venue for weddings?
From a planning perspective, how accommodating they are. The SCC team has a can-do attitude. They want the couple to have a great experience. From a designer’s perspective, it is the high ceilings. That allows you to do a lot with lighting and fabric to enhance the ambiance of the event. In low-ceiling spaces, it is more difficult to design a “wow-factor” production.
What are some creative wedding ideas you have seen well-executed at SCC?
We have done a few interesting things at SCC food and beverage wise. We did a custom truffle station. Guests chose their chocolate, filling, and topping, which was then made into a truffle by chocolatiers right in front of them. They loved it!
One of the most exciting ideas we brought to life at SCC won us a 2014 Canadian Wedding Industry Award for “Best Use of Technology at a Wedding.” We made a custom, giant DJ booth and created a Vegas-style dance party for the wedding, utilizing projection mapping technology. The dance went until 4 a.m., it was an incredible party!
How do you use small details to convey a couple’s unique style? How do you encourage couples to express themselves through their wedding day choices?
The overall design direction is definitely inspired by their personal tastes. You can have a traditional, classic theme or something super modern. Colour preferences are also something personal, a romantic palette versus a black and white one versus a bold, bright wedding. Couples can also personalize the food and beverage service. For example, they might have a treat table if they have a sweet tooth. One couple loved cookies, so we designed a cookies and milk table for midnight snacks. Or you might serve pie for more country style wedding. We’ve incorporated a Spanish flair into cocktail hour before by serving mini tacos and margarita shots, bite sized churros and a Spanish guitarist playing in the background.
Wedding favours are another way you can express your personal tastes. One of our past couples were from the Northwest Territories and handmade little Mukluk Christmas ornaments for all their guests!
What are some of the most important things that couples should consider when choosing a venue for their wedding?
Budget, capacity, noise or entertainment restrictions, floor plans/layouts, parking and accessibility for guests, as well as audio-visual capabilities.
What is your biggest wedding pet peeve?
Guests talking or having loud conversations during toasts and speeches.
What is your motto when it comes to planning a wedding?
Keep the planning experience enjoyable so that couples can focus on the result: their marriage!
Where do you find inspiration for wedding details?
Travel. I love to experience new cultures, and draw on the colours, patterns and designs everywhere I go. The Getty Center in L.A. for example. I love the gardens there, and they give me inspiration for centrepiece design. The art deco architecture in Miami, New York’s window displays- there’s inspiration everywhere if your mind is open to it!
What is your favourite quote on marriage?
“Why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet. What does one life mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything…The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it. All the time, every day. You’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.’ ” – Shall We Dance, 2004
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