You’re Engaged…Now What?

Hotel Arts
January 11, 2019
The ultimate wedding planning guide by Brian Brownlee at Hotel Arts.

Congratulations on your engagement! If you find yourself asking, now what? This guide is for you. Calgary’s wedding expert, Brian Brownlee, has created the ultimate wedding planning timeline, filled with pro tips and industry secrets.


  1. Have Fun

Step one is the most important step. Remember to have fun and enjoy the wedding planning process! You are planning the ultimate celebration of love – and fun should absolutely be a part of that.

Pro tip: Working with a planning team who are experienced can make all the difference. When meeting with couples, Brian Brownlee, Hotel Arts’ Wedding Specialist, can see the stress melt from their faces, because they know he is going to take care of them.


  1. Understand Your budget

The cost of weddings can come as a surprise for most couples. Base costs in the wedding will vary based on the type of experience you are imagining, and can include:

  • Venue
  • Food & Beverage
  • Décor
  • Entertainment

Pro tip: People are going to remember the food, the service, the decor and the DJ – so don’t overlook those items in your budget.

Download the Hotel Arts Wedding Budget Template


  1. Set Your Date

Once you have your wedding date, the rest will start to fall into place. For the budget conscious bride, you can find savings from vendors by being flexible with your dates. For example, venue costs tend to be less for Friday or Sunday weddings.

Pro Tip: Most brides overlook the May long weekend. It can be a slow period for hotels and offers potential savings.


  1. Send Your Save the Dates

Save the Dates typically go-out one year in advance. This gives traveling family and friends ample time to book vacation time and plan their trip. Formal invitations typically are sent out 3-6 months before the wedding (once you have had a chance to nail down the details).

Pro tip: Weddings will typically see a 20% wash in RSVPs. This means if you invite 100 people, 80 will RSVP yes.


  1. Book Your Venue

Popular weddings dates can go fast, if you are looking at a Saturday wedding in the summer, you will likely need to book your venue one-year out.

Where many venues have an on-site contact, it is always a good idea to hire a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator. They are worth their weight in gold. Wedding Planners are you left-hand man (or lady) and dissolve any planning stresses. Day-of coordinators alleviate you having to assign a member of the wedding party or a family member to manage day-of tasks such as:

  • Card/Gift Collection
  • Transferring décor from ceremony to reception
  • Prompting timing for speeches and key events throughout the evening

They are there so all guests can fully celebrate the day with you.

Photo courtesy of Photographik

Wedding Planning Timeline

One Year Prior

Book the…

  • Venue
  • Marriage Commissioner
  • Photographer
  • DJ
  • Send Save the Dates

Six Months Prior

Book the…

  • Florist
  • Décor

Three Months Prior

  • Send Wedding Invites

One Month Prior

  • Confirm wedding numbers with all vendors.

(Typically catering will require your exact number 3-5 days prior).


Planning Tools by Hotel Arts:


Looking for a contemporary, independent and local wedding venue in Calgary? Weddings by Hotel Arts offer flawless service in an inspiring atmosphere from our grand ballroom, to pool-side receptions, to an Estate buy-out in Kensington.

Brian Brownlee, Wedding Specialist at Hotel Arts
Brian Brownlee, Wedding Specialist at Hotel Arts

Hotel Arts’ Wedding Specialist, Brian Brownlee, has become a coveted name for weddings in Calgary. With over 15 years of wedding planning experience, Brian commits to creating a magical day for the couple and their guests.

“I love the personal connection and being there with the couple. It’s an honour to be trusted with the wedding. You have one chance to get it right.” – Brian Brownlee

With an incredible network of vetted Calgary wedding vendors, Brian works with couples to create the perfect event. The most memorable parts of weddings are the food, the service, the decor and the DJ – and Brian knows the best vendors in the city who will create a magical wedding day.

Contact Brian to book your Hotel Arts Wedding.


Located in the Heart of Downtown Calgary

Hotel Arts is where you want to be; a short walk from the Saddledome, Studio Bell (National Music Centre), TELUS Convention Centre and other downtown attractions. From cool eateries to boutique shopping and bustling nightlife, the entire creatively charged city is at your disposal.

Frequent Guest Rewards

  • Complimentary upgrades
  • Complimentary restaurant offers
  • Complimentary Skoah products