Weddings and events in Oregon’s Wine Country

Eola Hills Winery.

There are many types of locations that people gravitate towards when they plan a wedding: places like houses of worship, hotels, banquet halls, and parks. But for some, the idea of having their wedding at a vineyard tops the list. Not only do you have a scenic locale, but you can sample the wines grown and fermented there! And vineyards are great for other events, like corporate retreats or a family reunion. Let’s explore some of the options for weddings and events in Oregon’s Wine Country.

Oregon Wine Country Venues

Domaine Roy and fils. Located in the hills above Dundee, this winery gives impressive views of the Willamette Valley, especially on a clear day when you can see Mount Hood. Domaine Roy can accommodate up to 60 guests for intimate dinners to corporate getaways. Full venue rental includes full access to the Tasting Room, Patio, and Olive Grove. (Please note: Domaine Roy no longer accommodates weddings, but they do handle corporate and other types of events.)

Domaine Roy (from their website)

Eola Hills Winery. Located in the hills just to the west of Salem, this winery’s rambling and scenic vineyard is a great wedding locale. The Legacy Estate Vineyard can host up to 300 folks in its outdoor setting next to a small pond. Want something inside? Their Wine Cellar location, located a few miles to the west in Rickreall, can host a wedding of 200 within its barrel room. Eola Hills allows you to choose your own catering.

Eola Hills Winery. (from their website)

The Allison Inn and Spa. The only full service hotel and spa in Oregon’s Wine Country, The Allison offers a variety of indoor and outdoor venues on its 35 acre estate north of Newberg. Weddings of up to 250 guests can be accommodated here, and the guests can stay on property.

Allison Inn. (from their website)

The Bindery. For a change of pace, here’s a non-winery venue in Wine Country. Located right in downtown McMinnville, The Bindery (no relation to the similarly-named Portland business) is an open industrial style space that used to be home to the community newspaper. The space has capacity for 150 people for a seated event, or 200 for standing. It’s a good spot for a wedding, rehearsal dinner, or corporate event. And since it’s in downtown McMinnville, you can easily walk to all the attractions this charming town offers.

The Bindery (from their website)

Places to Stay

While it is close enough to Portland that one can easily stay in the Rose City, staying in the Wine Country means one can better immerse themselves in the experience. (And if “immersing yourself in the experience” means enjoying wine, staying here means not having to get back to Portland after a day of wine tasting!) There are many hotels in the area, we’ve selected a few of them below.

  • Atticus Hotel. Located in downtown McMinnville, this hotel offers a lovely fleet of Gazelle bikes to borrow.
  • McMenamins Hotel Oregon. Also in downtown McMinnville, check out the rooftop bar for great views.
  • Tributary Hotel. Another downtown McMinnville hotel! This one emphasizes luxury.
  • The Vintages Trailer Resort. Located in Dayton, here you can stay in a vintage Airstream instead of a hotel.
  • Abbey Road Farm. Instead of a trailer, you can stay in a converted farm silo on this working farm located west of Newberg.
Bikes at the Atticus Hotel

Places to eat

There’s a lot of great food in Wine Country. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites below.

  • ōkta. Located in the Tributary Hotel and helmed by Michelin-Starred Chef Matthew Lightner, ōkta features a hyperlocally sourced, ten- to twelve-course meal, that Portland Monthly describes as “smart, tender, understated…as if Ziggy Stardust returned and put out a poetry album.” Reservations required.
  • Red Hills Kitchen. Located in the Atticus Hotel, Red Hills Kitchen is “a celebration of the local bounty in the Oregon Wine Country.” You can eat in, take it to go, or shop the small market attached to the restaurant. Red Hills Kitchen is also a preferred caterer for The Bindery, located just across the street.
  • Wooden Heart. A food truck parked at Furioso Vineyard (next door to Domaine Roy), they make great pizzas using their brick oven. The truck can also travel to your destination for catering.
Pizza from Wooden Heart, wine from Furioso Vineyard

Transportation to Oregon’s Wine Country

Most people arrive to the wine country via car. Nevertheless, there are other options!

  • Train: Amtrak stops in Salem, which is on the south side of wine country. Both the Cascades service (Vancouver BC-Seattle-Portland-Eugene) and Coast Starlight train (Seattle-Portland-Oakland-Los Angeles) call on Salem’s historic depot.
  • Bus/Transit: Yamhill County Transit serves much of the Wine Country. Connections to Trimet (Portland’s metro area transit) can be made via transfers in Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and Tualatin. Yamhill County Transit also runs a bus from McMinnville to Salem. (Please note: Most of Yamhill County Transit’s service is weekday only.) Salem’s transit provider Cherriots also accesses some destinations on the south and east side of Wine Country.
  • Bike: Riding around Wine Country can be both rewarding and challenging. Rewarding because of the spectacular scenery and all the wine that can be tasted. Challenging due to the numerous, sometimes steep hills and busy, narrow roads. The best all around info for cycling can be found via Visit McMinnville. Ellee Thalheimer’s Cycling Sojourner Oregon guidebook has a great Wine Country bike tour, but as far as I know it’s only available in print.
  • Shuttle: We definitely recommend you to have someone else drive if you plan on doing a lot of wine tasting. There are many options for shuttle service and wine tours. We suggest Lucky Limo and Aspen Limo.

We hope this post helps you find the right venue for weddings and events in Oregon’s Wine Country.

How to get your wedding invitations hand-cancelled at Bridal Veil Post Office

Front view of Bridal Veil Post Office, a small wooden house of about 10 feet by 10 feet, with front porch.
Photo: Shawn Granton

How do you get your wedding invitations hand-cancelled at Bridal Veil Post Office? And where is this post office, anyway?

To call this post office inconspicuous is an understatement. Maybe you’re zooming east put of Portland on Interstate 84. You spy what looks like a shack on the right, just before the off-ramp for Exit 28. What could that shack be? Maybe you followed Google directions and wondered aloud to yourself as you make the turnoff for the post office: “There surely can’t be a post office down this back road, right?” Welcome to the Bridal Veil Post Office!

This post office sits in a small wooden building, no bigger than 10′ x 10′, making it one of the smallest post offices in the country. It technically serves a “town” that no longer exists, what remains of this former mill town is a cemetery and small collection of houses along the Historic Columbia River Highway (Old Route 30). Besides 40 post office boxes contained in the postage-stamp sized lobby, there seems to be no reason for a post office like this to exist.

What keeps this post office afloat is the thousands upon thousands of wedding invitations sent from here. Sending your announcement from a place named Bridal Veil is romantic enough, but what puts it over the top is hand-cancelling. Rather than a postmark generated via automatic sorting machine (what you’ll see on 99% of letters sent via United States Postal Service), the staff at Bridal Veil Post Office will cancel your stamped letter with a hand-stamp. Many people will go there in person to get their invitations hand-cancelled, while some will mail them in.

The three hand-cancel stamps of Bridal Veil Post Office. From top to bottom: Two linked hearts, a view of the Columbia Gorge and Bridge of the Gods, two birds.
Photo from Bridal Veil Post Office Facebook page

The post office has a few different options (usually three) for the hand-cancel, they can be seen above. A popular favorite for wedding invitations is one with two interlocking hearts, another features doves. The Bridal Veil Post Office turned 135 on July 7th of this year. In honor of this, the post office is offering a special hand-stamp.

How do you get your wedding invitations hand-cancelled at Bridal Veil Post Office? You can check their Facebook “Friends” page for details, but it comes down to this:

  • Make sure you don’t use wax seals or anything that will stick out too much from the envelope
  • You can’t use regular first-class/forever stamps (current value 60 cents). You’ll need at least 99 cents of postage on each envelope to get the “non-machine” rate. You can buy special non-machinable stamps at your local post office or order online.
    • Or better yet, buy the stamps from the Bridal Veil Post Office! Stamp sales help keep this unique post office afloat.
  • For less than 50 invitations there is no charge to hand-cancel your invitation. For 50 or over, there is a 10 cent fee per envelope.

Please note that this above information was verified on July 27, 2022. Policies and prices can change.

The Bridal Veil Post Office is located at 47100 W Mill Rd, Bridal Veil OR 97010-7010. They are currently open from 10 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday, and 8 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays. Operating hours and days can change, check the USPS web site before you head out. And if you have questions, you can call the post office directly at (503) 695-2380.

Alternatives to the “bouncy” wedding font, Part 1: Script Fonts

A good example of a script font that isn’t the “wedding font”

You’ve seen it by now, the default “wedding” font. It’s usually cursive (or cursive adjacent) and features a “bouncy” baseline–the bottoms of the letters don’t sit on a line, but rather go up or down as if by whim. Head over to a “create your own invitation” service like Zazzle, and you’ll see a bunch of these fonts. It’s very of the moment.

The issue of using anything in the moment is that it may become dated and not age well. And if you are striving to be unique with your wedding, it’s hard to be unique when you’re using the same font that everyone else is using.

We asked designer Meagan Ghorashian, founder of Brolly Design, for ideas for some alternative fonts–fonts that capture the same spirit but are not the same-old, same-old. Here are a few of her picks:

The above fonts do cost a nominal fee to use. Perhaps you are on a tight budget and can’t afford the expense. If so, check out some of these free fonts Meagan found on 1001freefonts.com:

And if you do have the cash, consider getting an artist to hand-letter for you! It will add a very unique touch to your invitations and other decor, a touch that you can’t get from a computer typeface.

Hand lettering is always a nice touch!

Microweddings, Petite Parties, and the Next Normal for Events (for now)

On May 8, the “Reopening Oregon” Framework, and similar guidelines throughout the Western States Pact were released, outlining a phased timeline for when the public could return to holding events and mass gatherings.
Based on this framework, event professionals and event clients all over the Pacific Northwest now understand that large gatherings are forbidden through the end of September 2020, and only microweddings and small parties within one’s own household will be permitted. This came as a surprise to many, since when the outbreak in the US became known at the end of February 2020, the prevailing belief was that the epidemic would subside within six months, allowing events to begin again at the end of the summer.
A microwedding, or a small wedding with only a few guests.
photo: Altura Studio

This is not the case, and many weddings, festivals, events, and conferences have been postponed and are following protocols similar to the one I outlined in this blog post “What to do if your event is affected by COVID-19 regulations“.

Because of this, you’d think that all events and weddings have come to an absolute stop. But is this true? Not if you consider the many folks who are re-tooling their 2020 celebrations to comply with a 10-25 (depending on the area) person guest count and physical distancing guidelines. Add careful hygiene and sanitation measures, and we are starting to see what the next normal of events will look like for the next 6-12 months; at least until more testing, contact tracing, and treatments/vaccines are expected.

What are some things that will look different in this new world of microweddings and petite parties?

1. Physical distancing will change the way we set up rooms. Much larger venues for weddings of 10-50 guests will need to be booked than previously thought. A venue once thought to be “too big” for 50 guests will now be the norm. Room setups will incorporate physical distancing guidelines.

 

2. Food service will be different. Buffets and family style will not return until new cases are on the decline and a vaccine is available. Group meals will be plated, or be a creative twist on “boxed”: think beautiful packaging, linen napkins, and gorgeous flatware in a customized bag for each guest.

3. As travel is reduced, local and regional celebrations, meetings, and events will move to the forefront. Unfortunately, car driving will increase until mass transit becomes safe again; we hope this isn’t a permanent trend since the climate effects are sure to be negative.

Will bento become the newest catering trend due to COVID-19? Photo by Kouji Tsuru on Unsplash

What things will stay the same? The elements that are not as affected by physical distancing or sanitation are getting as much attention as they would at pre-COVID-19 elopements or microweddings:

1. Wedding clothing – whether it’s just the two of you, or a few combined households of 10-25, everyone still wants to look their best. Formalwear services like Generation Tux are offering increased sanitation practices and home try-on.

2. Photography and videography have become even more important, as many guests may not be able to travel. Sharing the day through photos and video, and also livestreaming, is more important than ever before.

3. Flowers – nature does not stop for a pandemic, and flower farmers are still hard at work. Buying local is a must; people are not flying in bouquets from other countries.

4. Cake and a celebratory toast: Involving dozens of vendors in customizing a celebration isn’t currently feasible, so we see microweddings returning to archetypes like these.

5. Elopement and small-event packages that include planning and services offered in an easy-to-book bundle will be more important as ever, as busy families won’t have time to sort out all the details of what’s allowed, where they can go, and what activities are permitted and how to do them. Expert planners who stay up-to-date on changing regulations and availabilities will be highly sought after.

This is Part 1 in a 2-part post about the Next Normal of Events. Stay tuned for our post about new developments in meeting, convention, and trade show setups; and trends to watch for in food service and even coffee bars.

Note: This article contains information about holding microweddings or small parties during COVID-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic during spring of 2020. Guidance is changing quickly, and you should check with local and state health authorities, local governments’ Executive Orders, and your own contracted wedding professionals, before making any important decisions about your wedding. We’ll try to keep this post updated with items marked “UPDATE:” when possible.

{ Real Weddings } Bright colors and vintage details: Beth and Sachin

 

Evrim Icoz Photography
Evrim Icoz Photography

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.

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