The “Lookback” Series of blog posts features weddings that happened more than a year ago. Some are repeats, some totally new to this blog! We hope you enjoy looking back with us on these wonderful weddings.
Will and Erik’s Columbia River Gorge Wedding at Thunder Island, Cascade Locks was a wonderful celebration in the midst of the Columbia River Gorge Natural Area. The couple met in Portland, Oregon and chose to celebrate their love in breathtaking beauty surrounded by nature, the river and the foothills.
I loved so many details of their wedding and their planning journey. Their excellent taste in invitations and their choice of brewpub to hold our planning meetings in, just for starters! Look closely, their invitation from LetterpressPDX incorporated a blind-embossed topographic imprint of Thunder Island.
Interesting challenges from a wedding planner perspective were: 1. The very large outdoor location. Thunder Island is a private island, about 3/4 of a mile long, attached to a public park. We made sure to provide plenty of staff and signage so it was very clear where to park, where the ceremony was, and where the reception was, as the two locations were about 3/5 of a mile apart. At the end of the event I looked at my Apple Watch and noticed that I had walked ten miles!
2. The quirkiness of being located near rail lines. Because a railroad trestle crosses the entrance to the park, vehicle clearance is only twelve (12′) feet. This is pretty low, and I wanted to make sure transport and vendors were aware so they could plan which vehicles to use. I noted this at the walkthrough and made sure to put it in huge red letters at the top of the event plan I sent to each vendor and staff member.
3. There was a definite division of warm-weather loving Californians and hardy Oregonians in attendance. We optimized for both groups by providing both indoor tables and outdoor tented seating, as well as open-air areas for celebration.
All in all, the careful planning process that included detailing out the couple’s needs, family requests, vendor logistics, and public facility regulations came together into an unforgettable day.
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for – photos and vendor list, right?
In addition to the COVID-19 upheaval in the world, summer 2020 heralds a historic uprising against racism and inequity, part of a greater struggle for civil rights that has been going on for hundreds of years. While many of us knew that Black Lives Matter (at a minimum — what Black lives are is priceless and beloved), still many more had been silent about this fact in the face of ever-growing disparity and injustice. No one can be silent any more. Although the feelings of unrest and change may feel concerning, in many ways, this time has us at EJP Events feeling more hopeful, creative, and fired up.
Events are about hospitality and coming together. Weddings are about love. When deep injustices affect our communities of color, it feels impossible and inhospitable to go on doing the work of event planning without first doing whatever we can do to address these threats to life and the ones we love.
When event industry folk talk about wanting to “go back to normal”, what normal were they talking about? The world where it was normal for police to commit extrajudicial executions on city streets? The world where our federal government has defunded public health task forces, and our health insurance system, leaving us vulnerable for a pandemic to cut down 160,000+ of our people and counting? No, we don’t want to go back to normal. We at EJP Events believe Black Lives Matter and that means actively adding our voice to the movement for justice.
At EJP Events, during the week of June 1 – 7 we muted our social media and made it a priority to amplify Black voices. After this, we continued self-directed education, reading, and introspection. We wanted to make sure we explicitly state practices in our event business that we follow, but may not have been vocal about in the past.
Our Anti-Racism Pledge:
We recognize that the lack of diversity in the events and weddings business hurts Black-owned event businesses and Black people in general. As a business owner who identifies as Asian-American and a woman of color, I see how being “white-adjacent” and how the “Model Minority” myth plays into systemic racism and harms our Black colleagues. It’s time to commit to doing our part to right these wrongs. Therefore, we pledge to be actively anti-racist in our communication materials, our business processes, and our hiring practices. The following are four specific practices and policies we use to highlight and uplift the Black community, especially the Black LGBTQIA+ community, and to be inclusive in events and weddings:
• We use welcoming and inclusive language in our internal communications as well as in the communications we help write for event clients. We pledge to educate others when we see non-welcoming and non-inclusive language, especially in marketing materials and event registration forms.
• We recommend venue and vendor choices to our clients that are welcoming to Black and Indigenous hosts and attendees as well as those of all ethnicities, and remove venue and vendor choices from our recommendations who practice racial profiling or other discriminatory practices.
• We hire from an ethnically diverse roster of vendors that includes Black event professionals. We pledge that the number of Black event professionals we hire will be proportionally representative or more, of the racial background of the community we live in.
• We center positive and joyous Black and BIPOC representation in our website, marketing materials, and social media. The number of images we feature will be at a minimum, proportionally representative or more, of the population of the community we live in.
These practices are implemented effective immediately, and we promise to review our practices on a quarterly basis, with our first all-company review due in December 2020, to ensure that our public actions in the event and wedding planning world align with our values. We ask that you call us in and hold us accountable by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have feedback or notice ways we can be doing better.
We acknowledge that we didn’t come up with these ideas on our own, and do not position ourselves as experts in this field. Racial justice expertise is an area we defer to Black leaders, to whom we pledge to expand our knowledge of, and continue to listen to. Equity and justice work is the labor of a lifetime. As humans, we acknowledge our own mistakes and imperfections in this process; we ask for, and continually give grace to others, in this journey. We’ll be updating, refining, and adding to our pledge as our understanding and processes continue to evolve.
We are grateful to the individuals and communities who have welcomed us into their networks in order to continually learn and grow. Also, many thanks to these events businesses who are leading the way and have inspired us in this discussion: All the Days, Cocktails and Details, EllyB Events, and Andrew Roby Events.
Additionally, to further underscore our commitment to being inclusive hospitality professionals, we:
• Undertake disability justice training, and apply these lenses to event design. This can manifest in a recommendation of specific event setups to accommodate different types of physical and mental/emotional event accessibility needs.
• We educate our clients to offer translation and other accommodations to make their events more inclusive.
This time can feel overwhelming. If you are a Black event professional, likely this time has felt like an additional blow to your sense of safety. Non-Black and White people are wondering, how can I help? While we’d never say we have all, or even any answers, for anything that’s going on, at the moment it feels right to share the following three focus points:
1. Take care of yourself!
Community Care Resources for Black / BIPOC Event Professionals and others:
2. Ways to Be Generous and Share of Yourself and Your Resources.
Many of us feel overwhelmed by both the pandemic, and at the same time, know it’s necessary to show up for Black lives. I have found that giving and being generous assists me in being thankful and feeling gratitude. Gratitude can lead to better mental health and may alleviate the feelings of depression that come from working through challenging historic times. If you are able, here are some places to give (some Black/BIPOC-focused, some event industry-focused):
There are many places to give and participate; I’ve highlighted these as I’m an event planner based in the Pacific Northwest and these links are particularly relevant to me. You may find other organizations that are relevant to your situation or location.
3. Why you should want to work with diverse vendors, and how to find them:
1 in 5 millennial marriages, the majority wedding consumer today, are interracial. Yet wedding publications do not reflect the reality of current weddings, even with the real weddings they choose to publish.
I would add, that not including faces and stories from the nearly 42% of Americans who are not White, in wedding and event media, is a cultural erasure. Avoiding the full picture of the many cultures of the global event experience can lead to increased stereotypes, implicit bias, and to a decline in event quality and creativity. When all you’re seeing is the same whitewashed and filtered Instagram wedding and event feeds, all of similar, non-diverse people, you’re missing out on things that your attendees expect from you, like creative and varied design choices, visuals, menus and tactile experiences.
How do you find diverse businesses to work with? Perhaps, like us, you’ve been on your own journey working on event diversity, inclusion, and justice work for several years, and you have a roster of contacts. If you don’t, you might want to make a list. But watch out! I have mixed feelings about creating new lists of BIPOC-owned businesses. In some ways, it’s great to have a list to refer to at your fingertips. In other ways, it can feel like a “roundup” or tokenism. BIPOC-owned businesses don’t want handouts or to be the lone non-White face in the name of diversity. These businesses have unique voices and stand on their own merits, and that alone is the reason you should be working with diverse businesses – because their contribution will make your event better.
My take? If you have a non-Black business or organization, do your research first. There are already a lot of lists out there! Consider partnering with or reaching out to Black-owned businesses to collaborate on a resource, before striking out making lists on your own, which runs the risk of looking like saviorism or Columbusing. It’s a nuanced issue, and in all cases, the wants and needs of the business owners themselves should be considered first, as well as the motivation behind the list. If a directory is created in order to promote and support BIPOC business, great. However, if an entity by “creating a list” winds up drawing attention to themselves, positioning themselves as a gatekeeper to information, and centering their non-BIPOC business in the current conversation, then that can be problematic. Whether or not that’s the intention is immaterial – it’s the action and effect on the business and how the BIPOC business owner experiences the interaction, that counts.
That being said, it’s easy to find Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color-owned businesses to work with and to enjoy. We put together a resource to help you get started. Don’t be shy, follow and support! You may be surprised at how the vision for your event becomes that much more creative and inspired.
For many couples, the food is THE most important part of the wedding celebration, so they will only consider venues that allow outside catering. 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 unrestricted outside catering? Here are just a few as of January 2020. Keep in mind that policies do change, so check with the venue first before making any plans or appointments. Know any others? Let us know by sharing in the comments below!
Horning’s Hideout is a great outdoor venue in North Plains, Oregon, only about 45 minutes from downtown Portland. The venue features covered pavilions, a relaxed vibe, and the ability to use any caterer you like.
Photos by Rachel Veltri PhotographyThis time of year when everyone is taking stock of the past and looking forward, I often go through the more recent photos and relive some of the best moments. Shiloh and David’s wedding was a high point of a wonderful summer season.
I was thrilled that both Rachel Veltri Photography and Outlive Creative were kind enough to share with me the still and motion images from Shiloh and David’s elegant garden wedding at the Lewis and Clark College Historic Estate. Shiloh and David initially contacted me when they were living in another state but moved to Oregon prior to the wedding. Many of their guests traveled in, and we had several hotel blocks as well as shuttles. In many ways it was an Oregon destination wedding.
I won’t try to describe what pictures can tell in much more detail. Suffice it to say it was a beautiful day full of love and celebration. I was so glad to be a part of it.
Venue: Lewis and Clark College
Photographer: Rachel Veltri Photography
Videographer: Outlive Creative
Catering: Devil’s Food Catering
Cake: The Hungry Hero
Flowers: The Blossoming Bride
Music: John Ross Music
Rentals: The Party Place
Signage: Hey Halle Design
Beauty: Chachi Hair, French Cut Hair, and Glam by Samiha
Transport: Northwest Limousine
Hotels: Heathman Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Lake Oswego
EJP Events is a Preferred Coordinator of Lewis and Clark College Conferences and Events. EJP Events would recommend a Lewis and Clark College event to any of our clients or readers looking for an elegant garden wedding on a historic estate.
If you would like to view more photos and see what an effortlessly elegant Lewis and Clark College wedding looks like, please visit the gallery at https://rachelveltriphotography.pixieset.com/g/shilohdavid/
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For 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.
That got me to thinking. What Portland wedding and event venues allow unrestricted outside catering? Here are just a few as of September 2018. Keep in mind that policies do change, so check with the venue first before making any plans or appointments. Know any others? Let us know via sharing in the comments below!
Horning’s Hideout is a great outdoor venue in North Plains, Oregon, only about 45 minutes from downtown Portland. The venue features covered pavilions, a relaxed vibe, and the ability to use any caterer you like.
Matt and Diana wedding at Horning’s, 2018. They used food trucks!
How time flies! Beth and Sachin were married last summer in the Columbia River Gorge. Many thanks to Evrim Icoz for capturing the day through these photographs.
The wedding weekend kicked off with a Friday evening rehearsal dinner at Multnomah Falls Lodge, followed by a welcome event at the hotel featuring local Oregon and Washington bourbon, beer, and wine tastings; mehndi hand painting by Amrapali Boutique, and lots of treats including s’mores around the fire and cuisine provided by Skamania Lodge catering. Northwest Navigator was on hand to make it easy for guests to get around the Gorge.
Saturday, everyone was up early for beauty and preparations. Family and friends shared in both traditional Hindu wedding rites and a non-denominational Christian ceremony. The cocktail hour was held in a quiet garden patio area, and followed by the wedding dinner reception and dancing a meadow lit with twinkling lights and adorned with bright flowers and vintage details.
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:
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.
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 clothes, 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!
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:
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!