Bravo Wedding Affair

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If you’re looking for the high-end wedding, definitely go to the Bravo Wedding Affair on March 19th, 2017

Lots of beautiful settings for your tables, ceremony and reception. And lots of beautiful flowers! This is one wedding show where the florists and event planners show off their fabulous set-ups.

Bridal Bouquets

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Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to get married (the easier part), then it’s time to figure out the rest. The flowers can set the tone of your wedding day. And a Rose, is always special and is the most traditional flower used in bouquets through history. Today, I’m going to show you a variety of different kinds of Rose bouquets. Maybe you’ll see one that fits your wedding?


Two beautiful vintage bouquets.


A retro white and red rose bridal bouquet…gorgeous!


A perfect spring or summer bouquet with pale pinks, yellow and white roses.


The flower bouquets are pink, fuchsia and white.


Great for summer or spring, large long stemmed yellow roses with a touch of blue flora.


With a mix of warm colors, these flowers are open and looser. It makes for an old fashioned bouquet. You feel, someone just picked them fresh from the garden.


Here is a similar feel for these beautiful rose bouquets for both the bride and her bridesmaids Great summer or fall bouquets.


Deep pink roses, with purples and burgundy mixed flower bouquets. Can be used anytime during the year.


Deep Reds & Orange make a gorgeous fall bouquet!

Whatever you decide on, find a ROSE that pleasures you,! One with a great scent and beauty, that compliments your special day.

Don’t forget you can have you’re flowers dried and preserved to keep forever. I still have mine and I take it out every once and awhile. It always puts a smile on my face.




Bridal Veil Lakes

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One of the most beautiful settings for a wedding is Bridal Veil Lake, which is located in the waterfall area of the Columbia Gorge. Although quite expensive, being private land, most people find it worth the money. It is very lush area, high upon a hill, with views of the Gorge. There is also a lake on the property surrounded by large beautiful trees. The owners have created beautiful flower gardens throughout the property.


This is the most popular ceremony site. In the background that is the tented reception area. There is also a covered area for the food and dancing. This is a completely outdoor venue except for the covered areas. So if it rains, it can be muddy and there is no inside building to escape to at all (except restrooms).  You also have to drive up a dirt road to get to it. Although I have been to many weddings here, only a couple we’re in the rain. And it’s still very beautiful, but are some inconveniences. So summer is the best time, but book early. Also the only place to get ready, is a special stall in the bathroom, so no place to hide when guests come in.



Bridal Veil Lakes

Exiting the wedding site you can leave in a canoe and go over to the reception area. The bride sometime arrives in the canoe too. Canoes are available throughout the event, so guests can take them out too during the reception.


Bridal Veil Lakes

Beautiful views and sunsets too!

Bridal Veil Lakes

A field of daisies and other flowers too along the lake.

Bridal Veil Lakes


This is the main reception area. There are also wooden tables outside of the tent (to the left) that can be used. Plus the covered food area (to the right) is a short walk away and is also used for dancing.


Bridal Veil Lakes


And lastly the beautiful wooded area that surrounds the property. Guests love to take walks throughout the day.

It’s a Magical Place!

Now if you decide you want to get married here, keep in mind it’s private property, so you’ll need an appointment. No sneak looks without the gate number. During the wedding, the gate is unlocked to make it easy for your guests come and go. All food is catered, or you can bring you own. One of the few place that allows that. But once it’s booked, the rest is up to you, you must handle all arrangements or get a coordinator who knows the drill.

Great place for some beautiful photos…and a peaceful day.





Bride on a Budget? Tips to save $

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How to make your wedding beautiful & affordable

and other tips from a wedding professional

As a wedding Photographer for 16 years and over 800 weddings I found many ways to save money on a wedding by listening to my brides and grooms.

The Day

Saturday is the biggest wedding day of the week, so of course it’s the most expensive too, for everything. All vendors charge the most for this day. So if you can select another day, such as Friday or Sunday you’ll save $. Now if you’re going to pick a Friday, you must consider the traffic hour, because you’re guests have to get off from work and still get to the wedding on time. A wedding that starts at 7pm or later would be best. For Sunday, you’ll need to do it earlier, say 2-3PM. Since most weddings are 5-6 hours, that’s great for people that have to work the next day.

Now if you want to save big $, a weekday is best. Especially, if most of your guests are coming from out of town, it won’t make a difference, since they’ve taken the time off already. You’ll be able to get good discounts from all of your vendors.

Keeping your wedding smaller, with only your closest friends and family will also save $.

The Venue

Several venues, mostly restaurants or hotels, won’t charge for the venue space itself, that is if you commit to a food and beverage minimum. In Oregon/Washington both, we have the McMenamins hotels and bars, and they are beautiful, this is their policy. But there are many others that do the same.  Also look around for a brand new venue and they might give you a discount, while they’re getting their feet on the ground.

One of the most beautiful weddings I have ever done, was at a public park, where they roped off the area. The couple spent their  $ on the catering instead of the facility and it turned out to be very elegant.

If you have a friend or family member that has a nice property, they might let you use it for the day. Keep in mind if you do this, you’ll need have plenty of bathrooms for your guests.

The Food & Wine

For my own wedding, I went to Trader Joe’s and got Champagne for $5.49/bottle, Schloss Biebrich Selt, still drink it to this day, very good. Trader Joe’s had a good variety of fine wines and beers too, all good and priced very well. They are also great for all kind of appetizers too. Costco has a great selection of party foods as well.

Cakes can be made at your local grocery too, for much lower $. Or a desert table,  people always like that. Or there are cupcakes, that way you don’t have to pay anyone to cut the cake.

Check around at your local favorite restaurants, often you can get food catered less that a hotel or fancy restaurant. Be creative. Or find a friend who loves to barbecue, pay for the meat yourself and be sure to give the cook something (unless it’s the chefs wedding gift to you). However, be sure they have cooked for a group of your size before and that you have the proper equipment.

Don’t skimp too much on food, especially if you’re drinking, food is a must. I have had some people leave out food all together, but guests expect to be feed, or they will leave early.

The Church

Again the day makes the difference. Of course churches have several days a week they can’t do weddings. However, there are churches that don’t have a congregation and you can book on any day.

Two churches in Portland are Oaks Pioneer Church in Sellwood, a charming church built in 1851 overlooking the Willamette River and The Old Church in downtown Portland, built in 1882. Both are historic churches. Also in Boring, The Bell Tower Chapel, just outside of Portland, with a lovely country setting and views of Mt. Hood, built in 1907.

Of course, there is the courthouse too for a $ savings.

The Dress

Look for sales right after the wedding season (usually late October), many want to get rid of the old styles before the new ones come in. I’ve had brides who have found a dress for as little as $100.00. Sometimes department stores, will have a dresses right off the rack that are simple, and look great. There are many seamstresses in Portland that  create a custom dress tailored look just for you and I’ve seen so many beautiful ones. Prices aren’t that high.

For the bridesmaid dresses, a simple black dress always looks good. Let them each pick the one they like.

The Invitations

Why send out the paper ones, when there are many websites that allow you to customize an e-invitation. Save a lot of paper and $ for stamps, also very green.

The Flowers

Many brides theses day, are eliminating everything but the bouquets and corsages. Especially if you have a beautiful spot. You can also find “pick your own” flower farms and make your own arrangements the night before. Kruger Farms is one of my favorite places to do that.

The Table Decorations

You can rent table decorations from many event and party rentals. Or if you or your friends are super creative, you can make your own. Martha Stewart always has some great ideas. Also many venues, will include linens, chairs and tables with their fee. So you might ask for an all inclusive deal.

The Photography

Being a photographer myself, I would say don’t skimp too much on this. A friend Photographer, might be too interested in partying with you, than taking the pictures. You really do need someone who is a Wedding Photographer, professionally. Not an Landscape Photographer, not a Animal Photographer, but a Wedding Photographer. Although it’s nice to hire someone up and coming, you need to find someone who had done at least 10-15 weddings. It’s all about the lighting. Make sure they have two SLR cameras, flashes and multiple lenses. Camera equipment does break down, and it doesn’t happen when it’s sitting the bag. To save $, you can hire them for less time, such as 2-4 hours, instead of 8. You need to capture the formal photos, the ceremony and the romantic photos. You might have a friend/family member  to do the reception. Be sure you get the hi-res disk. The album, can either wait until later, or you can make one online yourself, but it won’t be the same quality as what a photographer has. There is a lot of time to make these and the quality of the printing and covers are superior. A make it yourself album will fade over time.

The Video

How many times are you really going to watch it? Find a friend who can set up a camera on a tripod to capture the ceremony and give them $100.00 for an unedited video. That’s where the bigger $’s come in, it takes a lot of time to edit a good video.

The Music

Dj’s are probably your best bet to save $. But you can also put all of your favorites on a computer and play away, with some good speakers too. You’ll need an attendant to make sure it’s going along OK and you’ll will want both dinner and dance music. Get a referral if you decide on a DJ and make sure you like the music he/she plays.

The Favors

Who ever takes them home anyway? Most are left on the table, why do it? Unless it something that’s dear to your heart, just forget it. The most popular are a candy or a cookie bar. Of course, if you make them yourself, it’s more affordable.

The $ Savings

Stop buying that expensive coffee everyday, bring a thermos to work. You’d be surprised how much you can save. $5.00/day adds up to $1825.00/yr. Or put a $10.00 bill into a jar everytime you go shopping, you won’t miss it.

The Summary

Remember, it’s just 5-7 hours of your life, don’t go crazy about spending a ton of money, you’ll have a great time with friends and family no matter what you do and it will be a day to remember. Wouldn’t you rather have a nice down payment for a house? Good Luck!

If you need a venue in the Portland Oregon or SW Washington areas, be sure to check us out at:


Portland Oregon’s Historic Downtown Churches – Part I

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There are so many beautiful historic churches in downtown Portland Oregon, and each one is unique. Today, I’m going to cover several of them and I will continue more in a future blog. It will be difficult to choose which one you want for your wedding, but you’ll know, because it will touch your heart!

Most churches are available for couples who aren’t part of their congregation, but some require that you must be a member of their denomination. Be sure to check out all of their rules (some have many).  Often the clergy of that church, will want to go through some couples counseling session/s, prior to the wedding, and that will be covered with his/her fee for services. In most cases, you will have to accept their pastor/priest and cannot bring in your own. Remember these are churches, not wedding venues.

Definitely, check out the Photographers Rules, because they will have restrictions. But, not to worry, if you have an experience Wedding Photographer, I’m sure they’ve been to that church before and know the rules. And they should be fully equipped with Telephoto lenses, that make them look like they were standing right in front of you.

All of these churches I’m showing you today, most have these rules.


Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Ave., Portland Oregon


A beautiful church with an interesting history. Completed in 1906. Well know around Portland as the Church with Red Doors. This church is a big supporter of the arts.


Inside the cathedral it’s spectacular . The gorgeous Rosales Organ was installed in the 1980’s.

At this church they require one of you to be a member of this or another Episcopal church.


First Presbyterian Church, 1200 SW Alder, Portland Oregon

JA0686This church is open to the community, so you don’t have to be a member. They offer two ceremony and two reception spaces. This Victorian Gothic church was completed in 1890, one of the oldest in Portland. I love the hand carved pews and the pipe organ, incredible!


St Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1623 NW 19th Ave., Portland Oregon

St.Patricks Catholic Church, Portland Oregon

This church is one in which you must be Catholic or want to convert. St. Patrick’s was completed in 1891, with the exterior mostly made of basalt rock.  The interior frescoes are painted by Swiss artist, Prof. Staheli.  The church was dedicated to “To the glory of God in honor of Ireland’s Apostle, St. Patrick.”


Westminster Presbyterian Church,  1624 NE Hancock, Portland Oregon

Built in 1914, Westminster was one of the first churches in the NE part of Portland Oregon. A beautiful basalt church, with the amazing interior of  multi stained glass windows and beautiful wooden pews. The blue glow of light enhances of this church and your wedding.

Since it is fairly dark overall, make sure your photographer has the right equipment for a low-light wedding.

Weddings are only accepted on Saturday’s, you might be able to get it for a weekday too. I have attended a small wedding there on a Wednesday with only 10 people and it was a good experience. However, you might feel a little lonely. But if it’s your dream to get married in a special church, why not? This is the one.

Part II will be coming up soon and include a few more downtown churches, some in the hills nearby and on the SE side of Portland.

For more churches, check out:




Columbia Gorge waterfall weddings

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Ever thought about having your wedding by one of Oregon’s beautiful waterfalls? Well you can and there are so many in this lovely state to choose from. Today, I’m going to write about one of the most popular, Multnomah Falls and a couple of other smaller ones nearby.

Multnoman Falls Lodge wedding

This couple had their wedding outside and their wedding reception inside the lodge. They have a lovely fireplace there and a couple of banquet rooms. First one is smaller and can handle up to 20 or so guests and the larger space, which is the main dining room, can be used, depending on the time of day or evening. Of course it’s an historic lodge with wonderful views of the falls right through the beautiful windows. Right outside the lodge is a set of stairs that go up one level to where the weddings take place and can handle around 50 or so guests. Keep in mind, that even though the area is roped off, tourists will come up to the rope and watch the wedding or just take a look to see what’s going on. So if you don’t mind that, you’ll have a great wedding with the magnificent falls right in front of you.

wedding at Multnomah Falls

Of course, there is lots of places to take pictures, you’ll have to fight for space on a summer day, but most tourists are more than happy to get out of the way,  temporarily, but don’t take too long they want pictures too. Also photos on the bridge are really beautiful and although you’re tempted to ask people to hold up so you can get a good photo, the rangers there will give you a good lecture. So if you’re going to do it, do it fast and have a telephoto lens for the best pic!

bride and groom at Multnomah Falls wedding

This was an April wedding, so the falls were at there heaviest, so beautiful, but it can get you misted. So if you’re worried about the hair or dress, do it after the wedding. Summer days aren’t as bad.

Multomah Falls wedding

Here’s happy bride, just had a great wedding. The rocks to the left are also great for pics, and there is a river nearby with beautiful stones and a great tunnel that’s reflective.

Next, the bride and groom decided to get married in November (taking a chance there) at Oneonta Falls. There is a small landing above the tunnel that is quite beautiful and would be great for up to 20 people who are all standing. Turned out to be a great day, but the rain came in later, luckily the wedding was done by that time. The tunnel below is also good for photos. Not many places to go for the reception nearby, except Multnomah Lodge, or over the Bridge of the God’s to Stevenson WA, where the are a couple of places that I will go into in another blog entry.

Oneonta Falls wedding

This couple wanted to go to one of their favorite falls, Sheppard Dell, a small falls, great for photos, not really suited for a wedding.

However, there is a park near Latourell Falls, Guy Talbot Park, which is really pretty one, it’s wooded with picnic benches and a cool crumbing house across the street. There is also a path from the park through the woods, that you can walk up to, to get to Latourell Falls.

For more information about weddings in the Columbia Gorge click here:



Your Oregon Coast Wedding – Astoria

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Oh the gorgeous Oregon Coast, with such beauty, a wonderful place to share your wedding vows. As a kid growing up in Oregon, the “Coast” was always the families first choice for a great weekend out. From the cliffs, the sand dunes, the crashing seas, the crooked trees, so many memories of this amazing wonderful place.

So you’re planning your wedding and you think, yes I want to get married on the Oregon Coast. Maybe you know exactly which town you want to hold your wedding and maybe you’re just not sure, there are so many to choose from.

Florence Oregon Sand Dunes

The problem with the Oregon Coast, is that so many hotels and venues are already so full up that they do not want to cater to the wedding business. They just don’t have the need. So I’m going to give you the run down.

Be sure to check out http://www.oregoncoastweddingvenues.comto find out which place you can hold your wedding.

This is going to be a three part blog to cover the Northern, Central and Southern parts of the Oregon Coast. First there is Astoria, with the big ships coming in and the Astoria-Megler Bridge taking you over the Columbia River to SW Washington, to the beautiful Victorian houses and the Astoria Column.  It a growing community there, but only a few places to hold your wedding.

Astoria Oregon scenic ships and Astoria-Megler bridge


Today, I’m going to cover the Astoria area. Starting with the historic Liberty Theater, a beautiful old theater in downtown Astoria Oregon. It is an amazing place with beautiful intricate gold walls, a large auditorium, cinema seating, great dressing rooms and a big stage for a your bridal party. It’s one of the best places to hold your wedding, and just a short walk to the waterfront for pics. For more info:

IMG_1919 Liberty Theater

Liberty Theater

Liberty Theater

Now, someplace you wouldn’t think of, is the Clatsop County Fairgrounds & Expo. They have a beautiful place, that can be adjusted for the size of your wedding with all the amenities that you can think of. They also have an outdoor garden area, should you want the wedding outdoors and the reception indoors.  For more info:

Clatsop Fair & Expo Center Clatsop Fair & Expo Center

There are two other places you might check out:

The Elks Lodge, a beautiful historic building with lots of space and some very nice people.

And last, the Red Loft, which is directly on the waterfront, but usually all booked up.


The only hotel I know of that has any space at all , is the Hotel Elliott Astoria, which has a rooftop area which can be used for a very small wedding.

Soon, I’ll be writing about the areas from Gearheart to Cannon Beach, but if you need information more quickly go to:




Washington Park Rose Garden

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One of the most spectacular Rose Garden’s in the world! A beautiful place to spend a day or hold a wedding, or just relax and take in the beauty.  The Rose Garden was imagined as a test garden in 1917 to insure many varieties wouldn’t be lost to  World War I,  the garden  was dedicated in 1924. Over 8000 bushes and 600 varieties of roses to smell, view and enjoy the amazing colors, it makes it one of the most exhilarating experiences in Portland Oregon. Right downtown, on a hill, overlooking the city with some views of Mt. Hood as the backdrop, it’s a site to see. Here is the link should you need directions or need more information.

Dusty Pink Roses

Rose Garden Portland Oregon

Now, if you’re interested in holding your dream wedding there, there are several places to choose from. The most popular is the Shakespeare Garden courtyard. It gives you the private space you want right in the middle of the garden. Now keep in mind, you’re still in the middle of the garden, and people will peak over the walls and through the openings to check out your wedding, because everyone loves a wedding! But that shouldn’t be a worry, it’s only a few people who want to share in your joy.

Shakespeare Garden wedding

There is also the Gold Medal Garden, for the smaller wedding, with a water fountain and surround by roses. You can see it in the background of this picture (the taller structure). Now more people do walk around that area, but it’s great for that shorter, smaller wedding. There is also an amphitheater next to the garden, with a great stage and multi terrace stairs to walk down. Good for a larger wedding that’s close by to the Rose Garden.

Summer Meadow is near by, surrounded by Hoyt Arboretum, a smaller area, surrounded by trees and is remote and private.

Now, if you just want to come by for photos and you have not booked a wedding there, you are supposed to get a permit. Although, I have seen many brides and groom arrive, take photos and leave without anyone approaching them. Now if you have a big production, lots of photographers, videographers or a big family to photograph, you might draw more attention and might have to pay the permit fee.

If you need more information:

Here are some photos taken around the garden.

married couple surround by roses

under the Rose Arbor

Rose Garden

sculpture at the Rose Garden

a kiss and a rose

Most of all, go and enjoy this amazing spot, get engaged or married there, celebrate your life and your loved ones. It is definitely a place of memories.

Or if you want to find a variety of places to hold your wedding, check out









Mt. Pisgah wedding in Eugene

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Mt. Pisgah is an amazing wedding location just east of Eugene Oregon. With wildflowers, an beautiful old barn, and a wonderful indoor/outdoor reception facility. Along with the Willamette river flowing through 209 acres, the possibilities are endless. It’s got everything you want for your dream wedding!

I personally, grew up near here and hiked all over the park, enjoying it’s serenity.  it’s personally, one of my favorites spots on earth! Enjoy the beautiful photos below.

for more information:

MTP-SarraConor_010a MTP-Sarra_027a Mt. Pisgah Wedding


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