For so many couples, the food is 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.
It's been a wild weather ride these past couple of weeks in Portland, Oregon. We've had a chilly and rainy early June 2017 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.
Most of us often think of rain as the only thing to prepare for when planning an outdoor Portland wedding, but unusually hot temperatures can throw a monkey wrench into the works as well. Here's a hot-weather planning checklist for your outdoor wedding or event:
Make sure you have shade and ample drinking water for those warm summer wedding days. Visit the ceremony site around a similar time of day and see where the shade and sun tend to fall; plan your seating configuration accordingly.
Offer your guests parasols and hand fans for use during the ceremony.
If temperatures approach the 90s or >gasp!< even higher, rent portable A/C units and fans for un-airconditioned indoor spaces; or swamp coolers and spray misters for outdoor events (warning: misters cool well, but they will get your guests wet! So place them carefully). Large fans can also be good for bringing a breeze into a tent. Talk to your venue manager and rental company about the electrical needs of all these appliances and ensure that there are enough power connections and amperage to support this. You'll also want a way to hide all the cords and prevent guests from cord-trip accidents.
Have a "chilling station" featuring large tubs of iced washcloths, spray bottles with essential oils like peppermint and lavender, and iced water dispensers.
Keep a tent with breathable fabric shadewalls on reserve if you're planning a wedding in the summer months. If the weather is nice and you don't need it, you can always cancel it by the deadline for a nominal fee.
Whatever weather you're trying to prepare for, make sure to get your backup arrangements in well in advance, as many rental items sell out and backup venues can get booked up.
Don't forget, that even if your wedding is indoors, weather can affect the drivetime/photo schedule, your hair style, shoes, travel arrangements, and your comfort level. Plan for umbrellas from your favorite rental companies (I like Barclay Events and Bella Umbrella for umbrella rentals; and Luna Bazaar for parasols), perhaps consider valet parking or golf carts, and think about extra shoes and hair touchups.
Is there any possible way to know the wedding weather in advance? I recommend two great tools: The Farmer's Almanac for historical data, and also Accuweather.com for forecasts. If you pay for a premium membership, Accuweather.com will present a detailed, hourly 15-day forecast as well as give graphical historical data. No forecast is perfect, but I've found this one to be really close. On the day itself, the DarkSky app is great for realtime weather updates.
Here's hoping for perfect weather on your special day.
A version of this post originally appeared on the blog in July 2010. This post contains links to affiliate shopping sites and EJP Events may be compensated if you make any purchases after following these links.
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:
For today's EJP Events real wedding, we look back at Jeanne and Korash's celebration at Zenith Vineyards in Salem, Oregon. The couple found us by searching the web, all the way from NYC, although Korash's family is based in Salem; so a family-friendly celebration in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country fit the bill.
We loved helping Jeanne and Korash find their wedding location, their wedding photographer David Barss, choose flowers and menu options with Vibrant Table and Vibrant Flowers, and helped them select music from the Ramsey Embick Trio through Northwest Artist Management. Bright oranges met with the warm ivory tones of the venue and were used throughout the wedding, especially in the whimsical guest book table decorations that we helped assemble.
Clockwise, from top left: (click the links to go to the full awesomeness)
Maptotes. What a wonderful guest favor or hotel amenity gift for your out-of-towners! They do custom work too, just visit maptote.com
The Barr Mansion in Austin, TX – Just realizing that this May, it will be FIFTEEN YEARS that I have been at EJP Events. The thought has been at the back of my mind for a while, but stumbling across this Barr Mansion (where I coordinated my very first wedding as an independent planner) wedding on Green Wedding Shoes, really made things hit home. I am so grateful for every wedding I have had the honor of working with, and so grateful for all the many service providers who have supported me and my sometimes wacky ideas. I'll be posting more thoughts with the hashtag #ejp15 and I invite anyone who has thoughts and memories to post with the #ejp15 on any social network — past brides especially — or, please email me and send in your memories. Photo by The Nichols via Green Wedding Shoes.
Tiny tacos. Who wouldn't love a tiny taco! Why not try one for your wedding cocktail hour, or late night snacks, perhaps with a signature margarita? Photo via the Beverly Hills Hotel Instagram feed.
It is most definitely spring, and this Apartment Therapy post shows us some innovative ways to bring spring into your home, and I got some great ideas for unusual ways to arrange flowers at a wedding as well!
Early in wedding planning, even before the gown or the venue is chosen, most of you are thinking about look and feel. When you close your eyes and picture yourself entering the venue on your big day, what do you see? What flowers are you holding? What colors are surrounding you?
It's a big choice and the heart of wedding design, and it can be overwhelming. Equally confusing can be the many options you have for gathering your ideas in one place. You've probably heard about mood boards and inspiration boards, palettes and swatches, but what is what?
A mood board is the broadest tool used early on to help you determine the most general ideas about look and feel of the wedding. Not limited to actual wedding services, you might pull in photographs, videos, songs, words, and even poetry that evokes the mood you want to set for your special event. I really love the mood boards over at The Wedding and Event Institute Blog, here's one example:
An inspiration board is the next building block of creating your wedding design. Many of you may have started a Pinterest account and it's a great way to easily create inspiration out of your collected pins.
Once you have set the mood of your wedding, use an inspiration board to collect specific photographs of actual flowers, invitations, linens, stages, mandaps or huppahs, ceremony backdrop, room layout, and so on. Lots of folks interchange the terms mood board and inspiration board, but I feel like the inspiration board is a more specific tool.
An inspiration board can also be tweaked to become a story board later on – necessary for design-intensive weddings. A story board is just that: a detailed board that tells the event's story from start to finish, from the actual color scheme and entry points to the venue, to the lighting settings and tablescape. These depict final choices and elements. Most of the time, we accomplish the same thing at EJP Events by writing a detailed setup narrative, but in some cases, a story board is definitely needed.
A palette is just a selection of possible colors for the event. This is a great way to communicate to your vendors so they are all on the same page and using the correct warmth, hue, and saturation as they produce your wedding attire, linens, tablescape, and flowers. I love the palette tools over at ColourLovers:
Finally, a swatch is a sample of a design item, usually a textile/fabric that you use as a sample of the texture and color you would like to see. It is the physical version of the digital palette.
It's that time again for the Oregon Bride Best of 2014 awards! Here's your chance to share your opinions: Who out-shined, out-impressed, out-performed and just plain out-amazed you in the past year? Newlyweds and brides-to-be, tell us about the best Oregon vendors and venues that made your day a dream come true. Wedding pros, who among your colleagues stood out?
Your votes in over 40 categories will be tallied to determine the winners of our annual Best of Bride awards, which will be announced at our Best of Bride party in June and in our Fall/Winter 2014 issue.
This year, we're doing things a little different: Voting will take place in two phases. The first phase will be open voting to nominate the finalists. Voting for phase one closes February 14, 2014. A second, final round of voting will take place from March 1-7, 2014 and is open only to vendors.
via orbridemag.com You do have to vote in at least 6 categories for your vote to count. If it's been a while since your wedding, or if you need some vendor ideas, please feel free to check out these lists from The Bridal Loft and Oregon Bride Magazine.
Our friends at Amrapali Boutique in Hillsboro are celebrating their 4th anniversary, and we just got this great sale notice from them. If you need to outfit yourself for a South Asian or Indian wedding this summer, you have to check out their great selection of clothing, jewelry and gifts!
"Thank You For Your Patronage
It is because of your love and support that AMRAPALI is celebrating its 4th Anniversary. It only feels like yesterday when we opened our doors on 9th January, 2010. A dream came true and all of you helped nurture & support it. Thank You Once Again.
We are thrilled to be chosen by Geranium Lake Flowers again this year as one of Portland's best wedding professionals and to help judge their Geranium Lake Dream Wedding Pinterest Contest. Please read below for the exact details on how to enter your Pinterest board in the juried contest – it's not a drawing!
Create your own Pinterest board and title it “Geranium Lake Dream Wedding”
Re-pin to your board a minimum of 3 images that inspired you from our website
IMPORTANT: Continue to curate your board from any source until your dream wedding look is complete and simply amazing. Your board should not be limited to flowers only. Feel free to pin whatever has inspired you, including your dress, invitations – and whatever else rocks your world. This is NOT A DRAWING. Your board will be judged against other couples' boards so it's important that your board be complete, cohesive, and gorgeous. The boards will be judged by the best Portland wedding professionals so make it count!