Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wedding Wednesdays (a day late) - Episode 5

This weekend, I conducted my first official duty as a bride - searching high and low for a venue suitable for our wedding and reception. I wouldn't necessarily say that we were successful - we saw a lot of places and heard a lot of information from a lot of very knowledgeable people. If anything, we decided what we don't want - which certainly helps with planning, but means we don't have a location or a date! As Liz Lemon would say, "NARDS".

First up - McMenamins Grand Lodge. At about half an hour west of Portland, this little historical resort would make the wedding into a "destination wedding" of sorts, which sounded fun. And some of the outdoor spaces were SUPER cute.

This ivy-covered stairway could be decorated with colorful flowers and make the perfect backdrop to the actual ceremony.

This outdoor space has a wood-burning fireplace and a wooden "ceiling" that would be perfect for decorating with lights, flowers, and pieces of flowing fabric. (And that's my dad in the picture!)

Unfortunately, the indoor spaces were not nearly as cute as the outdoor spaces, and the outdoor spaces are not available for booking until after June 1st. June 1st, I've learned, is what marks the beginning of "prime wedding season", or when every vendor knocks their prices up a few thousand dollars. And honestly, I don't really want to wait until June 1st. Matt and I have already been dating for 3 and 1/2 years - I want to get this knot tied!

Second stop - Elk Cove Vineyards. This simple, classic little winery is "out in the boonies" (as my dad said), but had some awesome features that I'll highlight below.

First things first, this is the view from the event hall. Imagine how gorgeous this is when the grapes are in full bloom!

Other than the scenery, the thing that I liked the most about Elk Cove was how much of a blank space it is. The fixtures and walls are white, the tables and chairs are simple, and the bar area is one of the plainest I've seen. Not good if this is where you live full time - FANTASTIC if you want to decorate it with your flowers/colors/whatever for a wedding! See what I mean:

The possibilities are endless with this space!

In the end, we decided that this would be a great place for an early Fall wedding, when the grape plants are changing colors and the weather is still nice enough to be able to enjoy the outdoors. We, however, are not going to be ready for an early Fall wedding - that's less than 6 months away!

So we trekked on to our third stop - Garden Vineyards Winery. I cannot talk up how beautiful this place is - if it were open to the public, I'd say you absolutely HAVE to go see it. This is one of the most picturesque places I've ever been in the Northwest, and the Italian Villa on site adds so much class to the ambiance it's ridiculous. Of course, this is the place that I forgot to bring my camera in to, so I have zero pictures. But take my word for it (or check out this couple's wedding write-up from Portland Bride & Groom) - to die for!

Fourth and final stop - McMenamin's Edgefield Hotel. Another historic McMenamin's property, and another place with great outdoor areas. We visited this place on Mother's Day, so Blackberry Hall was packed full of people enjoying brunch - not super conducive to getting the creative juices flowing, but whatever. The outdoor area (Blackberry Field, I think it was called) was immediately out the back of the hall.

This space isn't available until after June 1st (again! *sigh*), but apparently it's in full bloom at that time. This field comfortably seats 250-300 people.

The trees here are most commonly used as the backdrop for the ceremony, according to our guide. In late spring/summer, there are white flowers that bloom on them, making them really gorgeous.

In all, we saw a lot of places and met a lot of people, and learned quite a bit about Portland weddings and OUR wedding in the process. I highly recommend checking out all of these places if you're ever planning a wedding in the Portland area. And of course, I'll keep y'all posted when we do decide on something!

1 comment:

Bernadette said...

Those locations are just beautiful! I agree the vineyards would be a great place for an early fall wedding...what time of year are you thinking for your wedding?

Oh, this is all so exciting! I must admit, I'm a teensy bit jealous :)