Steps to Planning a Wedding, or “I just got engaged, where do I start?”

After the initial thrill of getting engaged subsides, you now realize that there's some planning to do! This time can easily feel overwhelming as friends and family barrage you with questions: Have you set a date? Where will the wedding be held? What's the theme? Where should I get a hotel room? !!!

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Fear not, there's actually a pretty organized system for thinking through the steps to planning a wedding that I can share with you in a few sentences. And no, it doesn't start with setting a date! Read on…

Phase One – Design, Budget, and Team  << START HERE!

The first phase of planning is for you to sit down and figure out how much you are willing to spend on the services needed to put on your ceremony and reception. Once that is done, you decide on a "look and feel" for the wedding – the wedding design. Only then can you start looking at venues and dates, and the vendor team who will provide the services and physical elements to make your vision into reality. Phase one is over when you have booked each vendor entity and/or assigned all major services to someone in your group.

Phase Two – Refining the Design

So you successfully completed Phase One and have your venue and vendor team together. Most of them will have had an initial contract that you signed that commits them to appear on the day of, or to provide a service during planning such as making the invitations. But what invitations? Which fonts and colors? What paper type? Detailed decisions must be made all the way down, for every vendor. Your second phase of planning is all about pushing each vendor or entity doing something for your wedding (including friends and DIY!) from the initial idea/contract to a final product or final order. Yes, you selected the florist, but don't stop there. Now it's time to pick out which flowers, which colors, and how many of each. It may seem daunting, but a good vendor will walk you through this process so you definitely won't be on your own.

Phase Three – Wedding Day Coordination

By about 2 months before the wedding, I'm hoping you've completed the first two phases (That's what we do for all of our clients!). At this point you should have everyone hired (or friends selected for any DIY services) to do each and every task needed for the big day. You should have the menu picked out, the flowers selected, the flatware and linens selected, the music picked.

Now is the final phase of making sure to remind everyone of the overall vision and what the big day should look like. You need to put together a contact list of everyone working on the day of and all of their mobile numbers and emails. As well as a schedule of the day, from rehearsal time to setup times/ vendor arrivals all the way through ceremony/reception organized activities, and through cleanup. Finally there should be a checklist of all of your setup items and a description of each. Once you have this document and share it with everyone involved and reconfirm it, you are on your way to a relaxed and smoothly-running day!

 

Where wedding websites fall short

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Photo credit: Madeline Ball, licensed by Creative Commons

Newly engaged? If you've started planning, that likely means heading to the computer. What you’ll come across are many websites that provide some of the same things a coordinator does: a to-do list, a list of vendors, and hundreds of articles about anything and everything wedding related. If you're not sure if wedding coordinator is in your budget, or you want to take on the planning yourself, these websites are amazing resources. However, there are several things a website can’t do:

  1. Tailor a plan unique to you and your partner. A coordinator can sit with you and your partner—and your families if they are involved—and go over each individual detail of what you would (and really wouldn’t) like to see on your big day.
  2. Give you advice from years of experience. A wedding coordinator that has been at this for a while has seen a lot of weddings, and this means they can pass all of this knowledge along to you as a bride or groom.
  3. Provide day-of coordination. This is one thing that couples often forget. While some feel they can handle the preparation ahead of time, it’s easy to overlook how many things need managing on the big day. Hiring a coordinator means someone is assigned to this, and you and your family and friends can focus on enjoying yourselves.

If you have experience with planning your wedding over wedding websites, good or bad, let us know in the comments! 

— Malia Robinson-Exo and Emee Pumarega, May 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

{ Wedding Design } What’s inspiring me today…

Here’s what’s been inspiring me today:

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Clockwise, from top left:

DIY honeycomb shelving, on Green Wedding Shoes, photo by Jihan Cerda

Mon Voir Calligraphy, featured on Oh So Beautiful Paper. Just love this whimsical style! Photo by Jenna Rainey, the calligrapher.

7 Ways to Add Visual Height to A Room, via Apartment Therapy. Written for residential, but a lot of the tips, especially the one about drapes, apply to events and weddings as well. Photo by Le Belle Photographie

A darling ceremony at House on Metolius, photo by Jessica Watson Photography.

DIY Gem Place Card Holders on Ruffled Blog. Looks pretty easy! And love the subtle geometric touches, right in line with our predictions for 2014 wedding trends.

And finally, the glorious colors from the Oh Joy! Collection from Target. This garden party photo shoot has colors that I just want to swim in. Joy Cho’s taste, as always, is impeccable. Photos by Laure Joliet

Hope you enjoy!

{Wedding Attire Tips} Can I mix ivory and white at my wedding?

Today's tip is not just an attire tip, but it also touches on overall wedding design and colors.

I get a lot of clients every year who ask me if they can wear an ivory gown but have white tablecloths, and vice versa.  Or if they can use ivory and white on the same surface, for example, white tablecloths and ivory plates.  We receive so many inquiries like this that we decided to address it here on the blog at Portland Wedding Coordinator.
 
Some people seem to think that there is an etiquette or protocol issue at work here, but I have done some initial research at the Peggy Post and Martha Stewart sites, and to date have not yet found anything etiquette-related, except a reminder to guests not to wear white or ivory to a wedding.
 
So my feeling is that it boils down to your personal style and what you feel comfortable with.

Continue reading “{Wedding Attire Tips} Can I mix ivory and white at my wedding?”

{ Portland Wedding Coordinator’s} Top Wedding Trends for 2014

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2014 is roaring in and we are so excited to see what this year’s couples are planning for their wedding designs. Here are some wedding trends we hear are going to be super-hot in Portland, from our own clients and also talking with colleagues around town:

Interactive art walls or art installations. So fun we had to do a whole post about it, read here. We even had one couple grab all the art off the walls of their own home and display it during cocktail hour, creating an art gallery atmosphere.

Family-art-wallImage: EJP Events

Continue reading “{ Portland Wedding Coordinator’s} Top Wedding Trends for 2014”

{ Portland Wedding Venues } Planner’s Roundup – 5 sites that allow outside catering

For so many couples, the food is the THE most important part of the wedding celebration. I often hear from them: "The food HAS to be good"…"We like the Portland food scene and want to integrate it into our wedding"…"We want to give our guests a taste of Portland and the Pacific Northwest". Often, they already have a caterer in mind when they start their venue search, and are challenged when they keep running into venues that have strict exclusive lists.

That got me to thinking. What Portland wedding and event venues allow outside catering? Here are just a few. Know any others? Please share in the comments below!

The Eliot Center – The Eliot Center is the "fellowship hall" aspect of the downtown First Unitarian Church. Not only are they able to seat up to 160 in their conference center for a reception, the adjoining Historic Eliot Chapel can seat up to 250 in a beautiful, elegant chapel setting for a wedding ceremony. They allow self-catering, outside caterers, and alcohol service in accordance with their policies.

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Multnomah Arts Center – Located in SW Portland just a few minutes from downtown, the MAC is a Portland Parks and Recreation community center venue with a large auditorium and stage for indoor wedding ceremonies that can be changed over to a reception during a cocktail hour. Mingle areas include a dance studio and an outdoor plaza, which can also be used for ceremonies. All rental rooms, including the auditorium stage, and bathrooms are ADA-accessible and air-conditioned. In addition, most spaces have free Wi-Fi access.

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The Glenn and Viola Walters Arts and Cultural Center is near and dear to our hearts, as one of our favorite recent weddings just took place there. The site features a large auditorium for ceremony and reception, downstairs classrooms to use as changing areas, a ground-floor lobby and an upstairs art gallery where guests can mingle during a room changeover. The kitchen facility is well-appointed and convenient for self-catering or your own caterer. The outdoor plaza can also be used for ceremonies.

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The Laurelhurst Club – A 100-year-old property adjoining Laurelhurst park in SE Portland, this venue features an historic ballroom, mezzanine bar, kitchen facilities, bride's and grooms rooms, and outdoor ceremony lawn.

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NW Events & Environments – By far the largest open catering venue we have seen, NW Events & Environments can accommodate 650 in a banquet setting and over 1000 if using multiple rooms in a reception-style flow. They do not allow outside alcohol, and kitchen facilities may have limitations.

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Thanks for reading – if you found this post about Portland wedding and event venues helpful, you might also like:

Also if you found this helpful, please Like, Share, Comment, Plus or do whatever you do! Happy Friday!

{ Portland Wedding Planning } An Opulent Wedding in Portland

Sometimes, after a particularly lovely wedding, I wonder if it was all a dream. Truth be told, an  opulent, bling-y wedding seems a bit of a Portland aberration.

Sure, we have plenty of glorious weddings with a healthy budget. But Oregon couples seem to be more focused on the guest experience and artisanal, organic meats and vegetables, than on all-out glitz. It's just more us.

It does happen, though. Enjoy our Pinterest board featuring some of our favorite glamorous, luxurious weddings — EJP Events's own, and also from around Portland and the web:

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 And, Happy Thanksgiving!

 

{ Portland Wedding Planning } What is a “kick-off” consultation?

Sometimes the terms that are bounced around in the wedding planning process can be confusing.

In our {Wedding Planning Definitions} series, I’ll examine some different terms and products that come up often in discussions of wedding planning.

Today’s definition is:

“kick-off consult”.

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This is a program for clients who would like assistance from a wedding planner in the early stages of their engagement, but perhaps have not committed fully to using a planner for full services. The “kick-off consult” usually includes a design component, where the planner talks with you about your overall vision for the wedding in everything from colors and sounds to the food and drink, all the way to what the attendants will be wearing.  You can ask questions about the pros and cons of different sites, and also get ideas for sites you may not have thought of on your own.  Budget will be discussed, and vendor matches will be suggested. You should also get a wedding planning checklist with a list of to-do items for wedding planning and the dates the tasks should be completed.

The bride and groom-to-be leave this meeting armed with a great deal of information to make sound, educated decisions for the initial wedding planning process.  Time involvement varies from planner to planner, and is usually around 90 minutes to 2 hours, often with an email follow-up included. There is usually a flat or hourly fee for this meeting.

If you are having a hard time getting your wedding planning process off the ground (perhaps you are stuck without a date or venue and getting stressed), a one-time, “kick-off” consult could be just the thing you need.

A version of this blog post appeared on The Portland Wedding Coordinator on May 9, 2009.

Photo: Oliver M. P. Miller

{ Portland Wedding Venues } “Under the Radar” with the Portland Wedding Coordinator

Under the Radar is a weekly blog series on Portland Wedding Coordinator, showcasing cool new or little-known Portland wedding venues that I’ve stumbled across recently. Many of our Under the Radar wedding ceremony and reception venues are ones you won’t yet find in the popular wedding guides. If you use one of these sites, please let them know you heard it here first!

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Photo by EJP Events via Instagram

Today we’re pleased to present the historic estate at Lewis and Clark College. Lewis & Clark College has been located on the historic Fir Acres estate in Portland’s southwest hills for more than 60 years. The Great Lawn and Reflecting Pool Gardens are the showcase of the campus.

Weddings at Lewis and Clark have true indoor-outdoor capabilities up to 162 guests – the Great Platt lawn can be used for an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour, paired with Stamm Dining Hall, an indoor banquet facility complete with tables and chairs – just add catering from one of the four exclusive caterers on the Lewis and Clark list.

For outdoor-only events with tenting or tent-for-backup, the Great Platt Lawn can accommodate into the hundreds of guests.

Or, if you would like an indoor ceremony and outdoor reception, you may pair the Agnes Flanagan Chapel with any of the outdoor locations. The chapel accommodates up to 500 people, featuring a magnificent
Casavant pipe organ, and stained glass windows. The chapel renovations include a new, elevated stage, a sophisticated sound and lighting system, and ADA accessible restrooms.

Finally, an important detail for outdoor weddings: the nearby Miller Building classrooms provide ample indoor, air-conditioned amenities for your getting-ready period, as well as modern restrooms for your
guests’ comfort.

EJP Events is happy to be recognized by Weddings at Lewis and Clark as a preferred planner. You
can download the official brochure here. Please feel free to contact me at info@ejpevents.com to begin your process of exploring the possibilities at this historic and elegant location. Additional indoor and outdoor wedding and rehearsal dinner sites are available – just let me know and I can give you the full tour!

Next week on Under the Radar: Mazamas Lodge, Government Camp – stay tuned…

{The Daily Re-blog} Unique Wedding Transportation Options

Finding the right transportation for your wedding is important.  From bicycles, to pedicabs, to limousines, there are a wide variety of options! We found a great blog post from our friends at The Art of Weddings, that gives some great tips on how to make your wedding transportation personal and affordable.  Read their full post on wedding transportation here!

“When it comes to organizing a wedding, many brides like to veer away from the lure of traditional and into something altogether more unique…”

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Photo from Cycle Portland Bike Tours via Art of Weddings