FORE! Better Or Worse
Golf and Country Club Weddings Offer Great View And Value
One of the many allures of golf is the breathtaking scenery and panoramic vistas that define today’s modern golf courses. From the sport’s humble beginnings in the craggy rock and heather-strewn hills and dales of 15th century Scotland, contemporary golf course design has arguably become one of the world’s respected applied arts. Combining the natural beauty of the environment with inspiring landscape architecture, today’s golf and country clubs have become virtual Gardens of Eden that can be as much of a draw as the challenges of the game. So it should come as no surprise to hear that more weddings are being planned at golf and country clubs than ever before. And in Ontario, we are blessed with more than 800 courses to choose from.
TOWN AND COUNTRY “The appeal of a golf course is that it is usually located centrally, completely surrounded by green space. Whether you are a golfer or not, most golf courses have stunning gardens and great views of green, trees and plenty of landscape architecture,” says Gloria Cooper, Marketing Manager for Deer Creek Golf Clubs. “You may be only minutes from major highways and transportation corridors, but you would feel as if you were hours away from anything.” It’s that combination of breath-taking green space, indoor and outdoor venues and top-notch dining experiences that puts the golf and country club venue at the top of the list for many wedding couples. Says Wooden Sticks Event Co-ordinator, Heather Cotie, “Everything is at the same location, making it easy on the guests, the bride and groom and the environment! We offer on-site ceremonies with a rain location, cocktail receptions both on our patio and in our tented pavilion.” Many golf and country clubs offer full 360° service; catering and fine dining, entertainment, accommodations – and even golf. Some have certified wedding planners and co-ordinators who will help you build a custom wedding experience, and most have all-inclusive packages that take some of the planning stress off your shoulders. But across the board, they all have something to meet individual tastes and budget.
VERSATILITY You can take advantage of a golf and country club for your wedding in a number of ways. In the summer months, competition for banquet halls heats up. Here the number of golf resorts in Ontario works in the bride’s favour as she hunts for a venue for that perfect date. And just as importantly, golf and country clubs are the ideal venue for virtually any size party, allowing you to scale your event and your budget accordingly. “We have space for a ceremony of any size and style,” says Elizabeth Carnegie, Catering & Events Coordinator for Kaneff Golf. “From a traditional ceremony with 20 guests all the way to 200. We can even accommodate ethnic ceremonies, for example, providing a wedding mandap for our Hindi guests as well as other observances.” Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, many brides and grooms treat their golf and country club experience as a versatile one-stop shop. Couples are not only planning their weddings at golf and country clubs, but they sometimes hold engagement parties, showers, Stag and Doe events or rehearsal dinners all at the same location; this is something that is not always possible at other venues. One-stop shopping affords ease and simplicity, not only in the planning and budgeting of a wedding, but also in knowing that the facility has everything a couple wants under one roof.
PICKING YOUR VENUE This step will take you the longest and may feel frustrating. But the time you spend now will pay off in the long run, since selecting the perfect venue means that a lot of the other decisions about the facility, the cuisine and the dining experience are almost done. First you will need to decide if you’re having the entire wedding at the golf club or just the reception. For some, this is a decision they sometimes make after seeing what their options are because churches and temples can be just as hard to book as banquet halls. And this is one of the first places a golf resort can help you; many of the locations Wedding Essentials spoke with offer planning and consulting services that start with the where.
TODAY’S GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUBS HAVE BECOME VIRTUAL GARDENS OF EDEN THAT CAN BE AS MUCH OF A DRAW AS THE CHALLENGES OF THE GAME.
ORGANIZING THE DAY Once you’ve spent the time surveying your options and choosing the perfect golf and country club, it’s time to bring the strategy to life. You will want to pick the right location within your golf venue. Even if your plans are to spend the entire day outside, you will want to make sure you’ve looked at your indoor options in the event of rain; all the best weddings have a Plan B. The golf and country club staff is your expert at finalizing these finer points. At Cranberry Golf Resort for example, Wedding Sales Manager Chantelle Poulin works directly with the couple planning their special day. Explains Shane Bage, Marketing Manager, “By arranging the floor plan, the set-up, the food menu and timing, Chantelle makes sure they have everything they need. On the day of the event, Chantelle confirms that everything is going as planned and she is there in case the bride and groom have any concerns or last minute requirements.”
IRONING OUT THE DETAILS Flowers, decorations and lighting are all important considerations as well and, again, this is where the golf and country club can really help with your decisions. With a variety of rooms and facilities, they can match your wedding size and budget with the right space, decorated to meet your expectations. In most cases, the on-site planner will guide you through the process of working out the table configurations and arrangements, the seating plans and the menu (from hors d’oeuvres to midnight snacks and all the courses in between). Most resorts will let you sample potential menus and work with you to determine the right décor, mood, and experience for your guests. Many can also co-ordinate a wedding photographer, videographer, and even the entertainment. The staff is highly adept at taking care of your guests so you don’t have to. Choosing a golf venue means you can rely on the experts who landscape beautiful grounds, cater delicious meals and host exciting special events on a daily basis. So while you may be new to planning a wedding, for the experts at Ontario’s golf and country clubs, it’s par for the course.
PHOTO: Iris Photography