It’s been a wild weather ride these past couple of weeks in Portland, Oregon. We’ve had a chilly and rainy early June, and now as we approach July, we’re hitting 100-degree temperatures. This reminds me of the summer we did a wedding at Bridal Veil Lakes for almost 200 people that took us through the full complement of sun, overcast, and finally rain late in the evening. Thankfully, the couple had made weather plans: renting scores of white golf umbrellas from Barclay Event Rentals, providing tent heaters, using the site’s two existing covered areas wisely, and checking the weather forecast regularly with the option of adding more tents if necessary.
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 Red Rose Ballroom – We've recently done several weddings at this very sweet space on NE Alberta St with great results. This vintage 1920's ballroom can hold up to 200 guests at round tables and features gorgeous finished hardwood floors to dance the night away, a stage for your DJ or band, a built-in bar, and a sound system. There's even a mezzanine level for guests to use during cocktails or just for relaxing and watching the party.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for reading – if you found this post about Portland wedding and event venues helpful, you might also like:
To our EJP Events community, and all the readers of Portland Wedding Coordinator, we wish you the best for 2014, as you are planning your event or working in the community of event professionals. Cheers!
"We really want an open bar, but we probably can't afford it."
"I love the idea of live music, but it probably won't work in our venue."
"We really pictured guests walking with us from ceremony to reception, but it seems like logistically it would be too hard."
The above statements are just a few I've heard this week from my couples just starting their planning. Notice anything? They are self-editing before they've even begun planning. They are killing off their wedding vision even before it has had a chance to stretch out and take its first breath.
It's sad to me when I see couples assuming that they can't have what they want, that it will be too hard, that they should just settle for the venue or setup that will be easy, so they can stop worrying. Later they'll look back and wish they had just held out for those few things they really wanted that would make the day special and worthwhile to them. In addition, those special touches (which might seem a lot of work at the time) will be their first statement as a married couple.
So, don't self-edit. Don't give up. If you have an amazing idea, get it down on paper. Pin it on Pinterest. Talk to a wedding professional who may have seen something just like it before and can help you get there. Do something — just don't let it die before you give it a chance to be part of your wedding day.
The mission of the Portland Wedding Coordinator blog is to provide original content that echoes the philosophy of EJP Events when planning a Portland or Pacific Northwest wedding. We believe in authenticity, finding value, creating the “wow”, and in making guests happy. We believe in keeping stress off the wedding couple, wedding party, hosts/family and everyone in general when planning a wedding. We believe that there doesn’t have to be a bunch of drama when planning a wedding, and that logic and common sense can go hand in hand with creativity and artistry. We believe that beautiful experiences don’t have to be overly lavish or wasteful. We believe that there is an important cultural place for the life landmark that is a wedding, and it can be a lovely jumping-off point and statement for everything that is to come for a married couple. If you agree with our beliefs, and you want your wedding experience to be well-thought-out and mindfully planned, then welcome to our community of readers!
With these points in mind, we plan to:
bring you practical advice that will help make planning a wedding easy
reveal planning tips and secrets that most people don’t consider
bring the idea of a wedding into perspective
break down myths and outdated etiquette to help the modern couple
share special touches and ideas that can make your Portland or Pacific Northwest wedding special, or which can bring a touch of Portland to your wedding
report content that represents an intelligent balance between the impractical “Wedding Porn” and the extremely-dry “bridal education” of other wedding blogs
offer advice for getting the most value out of your wedding
discuss ideas that emphasize quality, value, and great service
Some things we WON’T try to do:
Regurgitate content from other blogs and twitter just to have something to post every day. Writing original content takes time, and so does running a business.
Fawn over celebrity weddings for no reason. Especially those individuals whose celebrated status is, well, questionable. However, if a wedding is stylish and fits in with our ethos, we won’t overlook it just because it’s also Page Six-worthy!
Blindly follow trends and traditions without examining the motivation or history behind them
Make you feel bad or left out for not buying the latest, greatest wedding gadget or product or add-on.
Finally, we’ll never pump up a product for pay. Product or vendor reviews on our site will occur independently, without compensation or kickbacks.
Additional site policies: Any items given to us as free samples for review will be disclosed according to the standards of the Federal Trade Commission. We regret we cannot respond to every request for a product review, and items sent to us for review will not be returned unless otherwise arranged for. Should we receive sponsored news or accept advertising, it will clearly marked (for example, our sidebar ads from SixApart and Adify). We reserve the right to attach our affiliate information to any links; however, doing so does not influence what kind of review the product receives.