Elopements are sooooooooooo good!!!
Darlene + Joel had been engaged for awhile, and were in no particular hurry to have a ceremony. They wanted to focus on other things like moving to Bend, buying a house, building Darlene’s business, and trying to start a family. They knew they didn’t want a big wedding and the more they thought about it eloping really felt like the right thing to do. …especially after they modeled for me last fall. 😉 On a soggy day at the end of March I met them, along with Joel’s brother Jesse and his husband Jai, at Silver Falls State Park just east of Salem. I was hoping that the rain would have deterred people, but the parking lot was crowded with tourists that wanted to see the main South Falls. Darlene looked BEAUTIFUL with a tiny baby bump (it’s a girl!) and DIY bouquet of lilies and rosemary. Everyone carefully walked down the muddy path, making sure not to step on Darlene’s dress, and gathered at the base of the falls on the far side of its misty pool. Jesse was the official ring bearer, while Jai officiated a perfectly written ceremony – smart guy even laminated the paper. After some portraits on the bridge we made our way back up the path, accepting congratulations along the way, and enjoying some bubbly at one of the park’s many picnic tables.
A very tasty lunch and cake awaited us at The Wild Pear in Downtown Salem. …I had the banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).
Q1: What was your favorite part of the day?
Darlene: My favorite part of the day was saying our vows down by the waterfall. The rest of the world faded and it was the two of us in this beautiful setting. It was surreal and yet my senses were heightened at the same time. I loved the vows that Jai wrote for us and they fit us so well.
Joel: The getting married part. Having my brother there and my bro-in-law marry us was really special.
Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Darlene: Because we’ve been together for awhile, and acted like we were married anyways, I think I’m just looking forward to a continuation of that and entering the next phase of our lives together and seeing what parenthood will be like. I feel like we are on the same team and here to support each other through that, so I can’t wait to see how we both grow and evolve as we start our family.
Joel: Building our lives together and going on adventures.
Q3: What advice do you have for others?
Darlene: For weddings – Focus on the day being about the both of you, not worried about making the other happy or getting what you want, but making the wedding and celebration be an expression of your relationship together. Have it be totally “you” and don’t worry about what everyone else typically does – just do what feels right for the two of you. For relationships – listen to each other and truly honor where the other person is coming from, or what they need. It won’t always line up with what you need, and there will be compromise, but acknowledging each other goes a long way.
Nicole and Michael planned for an intimate wedding ceremony with witnesses and Nicole’s boys in the woods at Mt. Pisgah. Unfortunately March in the Willamette Valley is unpredictable and it did nothing but pour and pour the days leading up to their wedding. The Plan B location was the historic house at Wayne Morris Ranch, which also gave them some wiggle room and they invited their immediate family to join them.
Apparently Michael is a big fan of proposing to Nicole… the first time was at the beach. Michael had been playing catch with her boys in the water and he ran up the sand, planted one knee, and told her that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, “Will you marry me?” Nicole thought he was messing with her, “Are you joking?!” So Michael tried again… “Will you marry me?” She said yes, but that didn’t stop him from proposing again and again.
I’ve proposed a few more times since then. At home with the ring, at Crater Lake on New Year’s Day, on the Mediterranean Sea in France, and a few other times. Thankfully she never said no.
After their ceremony everyone made their way to the Oregon Electric Station for a yummy dinner with more friends and family. The evening was full of laughter, celebration, photo-boothing, and a few tears. These two are living proof that LOVE makes a family… and family is one place these two will never be lacking!!!
There aren’t many indoor venues outside Portland for winter weddings, but Ally + Patrick created an elegant space for their friends and family to celebrate their union. The weather was off and on all day with wind, dark clouds, sunshine, and rain… you really never know what you’re going to get at the end of February in the valley.
Ally’s bridal room was in full hustle-mode with all five bridesmaids doing hair and makeup at once. Mimosas were plentiful as was laughter and tears, smiles and hugs. The girls were all sporting leopard print robes with their hair in curlers when they gave Ally their gift to her: A book full of cards, photos, notes, memories, and love. Ally held it together remarkably well until she got to a photo of her Grandma and the tears wouldn’t stop for a solid five minutes. That’s what happens when you have two bestie MOHs! The guys arrived later and immediately took advantage of the foosball table upstairs before getting ready. In typical groom style Patrick and his groomsmen were casual, low-maintenance, and obviously hiding their giddy excitement for upcoming festivities.
Every wedding has elements that are specific and unique to the couple; Patrick’s boutonniere carried a charm necklace with photos of his mother’s parents, while Ally’s bouquet had a necklace with both a chicken and hummingbird charm tied around the stems. The opportunity to include a piece of your family and wear it on you is such a special practice that brings even deeper meaning to a day already full of joy.
Q1: What was your favorite part of the day?
Ally: My favorite part of the day was seeing everyone dressed all snazzy and supporting us. Also marrying my best friend, of course.
Patrick: My favorite part of the day was dancing in front of my friends and family with my wife.
Q2: What are you most looking forward to in married life?
Ally: I’m looking forward to lots of adventures.
Patrick: Setting and achieving goals together. Starting a family together.
Q3: What advice do you have for others?
Ally: My advice for wedding planning is don’t sweat the little stuff and enjoy the process!
Patrick: Support the bride because lots of pressure and things going on that week of.
What do you do when you’re not really into the idea of planning a big wedding? You elope!
…but first you have to get engaged. Last spring J+A took a vacation to Hawaii (jealous) and as you might expect wanted to do some exploring. They started on a short side-trip on their way to Hana to a quite little town; as they walked down the dilapidated road they found a beautiful secluded beach. They sat there watching the waves crash on the rocks when Aaron took Jessica’s hand, knelt down on one knee, and asked her to marry him! In her own words [she] was not expecting this! …ummm I’m pretty sure that’s the idea. lol!
Jessica + Aaron wanted something low-key and scenic for their ceremony to stay in line with their overall personalities and love of the outdoors. They invited Aaron’s brother and a few close friends to be witnesses and officiate – they spent the weekend cooking, playing games, and enjoying the fresh powder. I loved how personal they made everything, while still keeping it very simple, proving that meaningful is always better than basically anything else. Instead of rings they chose to tie a knot using two colors of climbing rope – because they’re the adventurous type – and picked a knot that each piece played an equal role in its formation and strength. They shared vows that focused on loving each other for who they are as individuals as well as supporting growth and deepening their relationship. Though I have to say that my favorite part was that everyone was wearing snowshoes or yaktrax, oh yeah AND that we celebrated with rootbeer floats at the local diner after the ceremony!!! …because that’s how we role in Central Oregon.
Q: What was your favorite part of the day?
Jessica: My favorite part of the day was spending time with everyone and feeling an overwhelming sense of joy that was present in every moment. From cooking breakfast, to getting ready, to the drive over, the ceremony itself and the celebration after. It wasn’t stressful or rushed at all. We all just had time to be together and enjoy each others companionship.
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
Jessica: I am looking forward to sharing more adventures together, to being beside each other through life’s difficulties, and to celebrate the good things that happen every day.
Q: What advice do you have for others?
Jessica: Advice is to keep things simple and personal. Once planning my wedding became about making it a special day for me and Aaron, and not worrying about the “norms” or what other people would like, I was able to relax and I actually was excited about the process. Hunting down each element of my wedding outfit, developing the knot-tying ceremony, and scouting the perfect location for our ceremony with Aaron were all fun parts of the pre-wedding process. It was kind of crazy how quickly the ceremony buzzed by, and thinking how much time and energy was put into crafting that 5 or 10 minutes of scripted behavior. Being surrounded by the right people in an inspiring place made it easy for the rest of the day unfold. And having [Amanda] there to help guide us through the day was invaluable so she could capture all the special moments that we’ll now have to remember forever in photos. That took a lot of planning and thought off of my plate.
Venue // Fort Rock State Park
Photography // Amanda Photographic
Floral // Summer Robbins Flowers
Literally everything else // DIY
They met in college while studying abroad in Berlin. David is from Boston and was attending college in Maine; while Andrea is from Oregon and was attending college in Los Angeles. …talk about the stars aligning. Upon returning to the states they each finished their programs while dating long distance. After graduation they both moved to the Bay Area before heading east for NYC – can you image planning a wedding in Oregon when you live in New York?!?! David proposed on a Friday at the park near their apartment before embarking on a dinner and city strolling filled evening.
When you’re planning a wedding 3,000 miles away from where you live it’s important to work closely with those that live near your wedding location. Andrea’s mom assembled a family work party to get Flinn Block Hall ready the day before and morning of the wedding. I was amazed at how seamlessly everything came together and impressed by how elegant and pacific northwest inspired everything looked. The decorative sprigs on each napkin were my favorite – bay leaf and rosemary. Everything had purpose and meaning like the table filled with portraits of couples from both of their families. The day was sunny, but cold… like 15 degrees kind of cold. Despite the occasional freezing gust of wind Andrea, David, and their wedding party were troopers enough to agree to outdoor photography. Hey, at least the ground was frozen solid and not muddy…
As is my new-ish habit I asked Andrea + David for their perspectives on their wedding day with a few questions:
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
David: My favorite part of the wedding day was seeing Andrea come down the aisle with her parents. When everybody stood up and turned to look at her, it was a really special moment and one that I’m glad to take with me.
Andrea: Of course it’s so hard to break down such an intense and emotional and beautiful day and say what my favorite parts were. I think my top three moments, where I felt the most overwhelming love and emotion, were: 1) The first look! It was SO exciting and joyful to finally reconnect with David again after a morning apart, and to see how amazing he looked in his suit 😉 2) Walking into the ceremony with my parents. The moment we walked into the room, I knew it was going to be such an emotionally intense experience, and it just got more so the closer we got to all our friends and family. Seeing the love on everyone’s faces as we walked down the aisle, and being supported on either side by my wonderful parents was overwhelmingly beautiful. 3) The toasts! Each of them was so heartfelt, and being able to sit next to my new husband while we laughed and cried (happy tears) together was pure joy.
What are you most looking forward to in married life?
David: I’m most excited to have a partner in crime that I can always to to lean on, and celebrate the ups and downs for life with. Sounds corny but it’s true. Also, in the more near-term, we’re going to take our first world voyage together to Europe — to England to see my relatives who couldn’t make it to Oregon, Berlin because that’s where we met, and Paris (because we’re married and it’s romantic, duh).
Andrea: I am looking forward to continuing to make a beautiful life, home, and partnership together. I am so excited for the tangible and intangible ways that our love and relationship will deepen and expand now that we have made this formal, public commitment to one another. I look forward to continuing to learn about David, about myself, and about love through our years together, and to be able to share those years with our family and friends.
What advice to do you have for others?
David: My advice for others on their wedding day: let go of the stress! There’s so much that goes into planning your wedding day and you always want to be perfect. But letting go of the stress of having *everything* happening really lets you enjoy your big day. It’s amazing to realize the room is full of people that are rooting for you and are so happy to be there, so just open up and enjoy the day as it comes.
Andrea: Enjoy the wedding planning process! The wedding day is beautiful and joyful, but it is only one day, and it goes by quickly. So be intentional and present in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the wedding, as those are very much a part of the event as well. Be grateful for the opportunity to take on such a fun and fulfilling project with your dearest loved ones (fiancé, parents, in-laws, grandparents, friends, etc.), and cherish the quality time that it brings to you. Yes, there are stressful moments, but if you keep the big picture in mind, I think it can be such a rewarding experience, and one to look back on fondly.
Venue // Flinn Block Hall Decor // MoB – DIY Catering // Valley Catering Cake // Andrea – THE BRIDE! Dress // BHLDN Bridesmaid’s Shalls // Downtown Austin Suit // Suit Supply Groom + Groomsmen’s Ties // Hobo Ties Rings // Brilliant Earth & Blue Nile Flowers // Market of Choice Invitations // Etsy Programs // Ari Vance-Borland
What can I say about Danna + Uriah?
These two are crazy stupid in love, super cool rockers, and have excellent taste in champagne!
I met up with Danna a couple weeks before their elopement date to get to know her and work on a logistical plan for their day. It was going to be a simple day with all the best visual elements of a full wedding; she had a cocktail length beaded dress (YASSSS!!!) and flowers from Summer Robbins, while Uriah had a gray suit and would be sporting his vans (Perfect!). They reserved a cabin at Brasada Ranch just outside Bend where they would have their sunset ceremony and we planned to take all their photos around the property before hand. Everything went according to plan except for one teensy thing… it snowed like 2 feet just days before! This elopement just turned into a winter wonderland of freezing amazingness!!!
Danna + Uriah met at a local bar when he put her favorite band, Clutch, on the jukebox. “You don’t even know who that is!”, shouted Danna. “Yea, I do!”, he replied and proceeded to put every single Clutch song into the cue and sang ALL of them with her. Awwwwww! The next night Uriah made her dinner – chicken and kale – and it was looooove. But Danna was moving to Costa Rica, so they spent every available waking moment together. After awhile in Costa Rica Uriah reached out asking her to come back and immediately whisked her off to Mexico for a sunny vacay where he proposed.
I am so excited for these two! They share such a wonderful love of adventure, life, and of course each other.
Venue // Brasada Ranch – Powell Butte, Oregon
Dress // Bella Brides – Bend, Oregon
Hair & Makeup // Robin Schneider of Desert Rose Bridal Styling – Bend, Oregon
Dress & Hair Comb | Bella Bride Bend, Or
Menswear | Revolvr Bend, Or
Location | Open Space in Sisters, Or
I’ve always said that I’m good luck for wedding weather. I’ve only had one wedding get rained on, and they actually kind of liked/planned on it. It’s true that it did rain on Allison & Derek’s wedding day, but I maintain that I’m still good luck because it let up whenever I needed it to and kept the natural beauty of the Dorris Ranch property lush and colorful.
Allison had a traditional old, new, borrowed, blue, six pence for your shoe theme with her blue belt (that she made!), new shoes, an old family doily, and borrowed a necklace from Derek’s mom as well as carrying a shamrock pin that was her Mom’s. Derek also had a borrowed piece – his Grandfather’s watch. All of the decorations were DIY’ed, kept simple and seasonal, with hints of familial heritage references in the Dutch dolls that held small bouquets of flowers. My favorite part of the day was their improv vows! Derek promised to always do the dishes AND put them away where they belong. WOW!!! Allison promised to make sure that she’d recently eaten before having serious conversations or heading out for important tasks. Both are solid ways to start a marriage.
Allison & Derek were my last (currently booked ::wink::) tiny wedding of the year. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m falling head over heels for slow paced, tiny weddings. About 25 people were in attendance at the Tomseth House for their ceremony and BBQ reception at the near by barn. It was a bit chilly that Saturday, with a cool wind keeping most guests indoors, but once the sun broke for the afternoon everyone was outside enjoying the warm rays, hazelnut grove, and small wildlife on the property. Allison’s baby niece kept all the adults entertained with her cooing and smiles, while the “big girls” ran around enjoying the open space, hiding behind Allison’s big skirt, and occasional 1… 2… 3… BLASTOFF!!! game.
Congratulations to Allison & Derek!
I have a few remaining available dates for summer and fall 2016 AND I’ve started booking for 2017. Contact me for booking and details – I’d love to hear your plans and vision for your wedding day. …tell me your love story.
Where do I begin with these two?
Hillary (HK) and Josh stole my heart the moment I met them. I had actually seen HK around Corvallis the last few years at various events, but honestly she seemed waaaaay too cool and I was intimidated by her awesomeness. Josh had moved to the Willamette Valley at the same time Hillary did, but since I don’t run marathons or do triathlons I guess I didn’t really have a way to bump into him. …Hillary should have though, but she didn’t until last year when Josh was in one of the fitness classes that she was teaching at OSU. You can read more about their adorable beginnings on my post with their engagement session photography.
HK & Josh planned a small ceremony and reception at one of their favorite places – Historic Soap Creek Schoolhouse. This is a popular stop for runners and cyclists who are playing nearby on the Lewisburg Saddle or in Peavy Arboretum/MacDonald Forest. It was actually one of the things they discovered they had in common, so it only made sense to celebrate their love at a place they now enjoy together. Speaking of their obsession with fitness, HK actually had to buy a new outfit the day before her wedding because her shoulders and upper back had gotten too muscular to fit into her original dress. I kept texting her to stop lifting things… she would hear none of it. Almost every aspect of their day was handmade/DIY crafted by themselves or their community – Vegan treats, decorations galore, bouquet, boutonniere (I actually made it that morning and was super proud of how it turned out), cake, table settings, party favors, floral arrangements, and more!
They started the day with a trip to the local farmers’ market to get flowers for the bouquet, reception tables, and school house steps. The Saturday market in Corvallis is crazy town, so we left as quickly as we could to start work on the reception location – LUC restaurant. Everything was coming together so beautifully, and the day had only just begun!
I met up with HK at Epic Day Spa for hair & make up while Josh was getting ready back at their house in the country. I was immediately blown away by her bold eye make up and salon curls… she is my ultimate Bad Bitch Bride. Once everyone was ready to go we met at the schoolhouse to begin with a first look and move into some portraits. It was a perfect day outside, even though the ground was a little soggy and soft from recent rains. Tears… so many tears filled the first look and I knew that happy crying would be the theme of the day. I wasn’t wrong. Every time a new guest arrived they were greeted by smiles and watery eyes. Neither Josh or Hillary made it more than 3 steps into their processional before they started crying and not one of their guests made it through the ceremony without wiping their eyes. A total of 28 people watched as HK’s brother, Sean, played the violin, poems were read, and rings were exchanged. Hillary’s Grandmother, Pauline aka Bubbie, was the guest of honor and glowed with pride as she watched her youngest granddaughter say her vows and each of them stomp on a glass to honor HK’s Jewish heritage. Her Grandmother also gifted them her 25th anniversary ring – which HK was veeeeeery protective of and I can honestly say suits her so well.
After a mini champagne reception at the school house everyone made their way back into Corvallis for a delicious dinner at LUC.
This was my second of three (so far) tiny weddings this year and I have to say that I’m becoming a huge fan! The couple get to enjoy their day and guests more, can focus on quality details, and the size helps slooooooow down the day. All of these are excellent things to consider because let me tell you, wedding day blur/amnesia is a real thing. I’m absolutely not saying that you shouldn’t have 150–300 people at your wedding if that’s what you want. If having all of your family, new and old friends, and colleagues at your wedding is the most important thing to you then you should definitely definitely do that. …but man, I’m really liking these tiny weddings.
Congratulations to Hillary & Josh! Here’s to many many many years of friendship and wedded bliss…
Hillary has started a new fitness program specifically geared towards engaged couples – Shreddin’ for the Weddin’. Looooooooove it!!! You can follow her on instagram (@oregonbridalfitness).
I have a few more available dates for the 2016 calendar, and 2017 is starting to fill up! Contact me TODAY and we can gush over wedding details over coffee or skype. …tell me your love story.
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Photography // Amanda Photographic
Venue // Historic Soap Creek School House
Reception // LUC
Floral // DIY – Farmers’ Market
Decor & Papergoods // DIY
HMUA // Miranda – Epic Day Spa
HK Outfit // Mod Pod
HK Crown // Ruby & Cordelia’s – Etsy
Josh Suit // Nordstrom
Cake // DIY