A Destination Wedding in Portland…

I recently had the privilege of being invited to a destination wedding in Oregon. It was absolutely beautiful and very intimate and personal as only about 50 people were invited.

A Unique Perspective:

My niche is planning destination weddings to beautiful tropical venues, but today I want to provide a unique perspective as a guest attending a destination wedding based in the U.S.

The Backdrop! 

The wedding ceremony took place in Vancouver, Washington, in a music studio the groom is affiliated with.  I stayed in Portland, which was a short 20 minute drive to the ceremony, but the reception was in Mount Hood, Oregon which is out in the mountains and about 1.5 hours from Portland.  So though amazingly beautiful, it posed some logistical challenges as well. But on the good side, I got to see other parts of Oregon that I never would have if not for the way things were set up.


The Lodging

This couple relied a lot on family and friends to help them plan their wedding, which is always nice to have, but I think having a wedding planner would have helped smooth out some of logistical issues.  As with any type of destination wedding, it is good to have one central location that everyone can stay at, so that everything runs smoothly on the day of the wedding.  For this wedding, lodging was on our own. There wasn’t a designated hotel for all the guests, or even hotel suggestions. Without really understanding the lay of the land, I chose to stay in Portland.

Connecting The Group:

Anyway, the bummer about this type of set up was that we couldn’t connect with other wedding guests during our stay. With everyone on their own and without lodging recommendations, the vacation part of the trip wasn’t with other guests.  If this couple had used a wedding planner, the planner could have had that discussion with them and possibly even recommended some places for the group to stay.  Planning a destination wedding at a resort, makes it so easy for you to get the entire group in one location, and the resort staff take care of the group, giving you some peace of mind.  It's a win win!

Renting a car:

With being on our own we had to rent a car and navigate all the locations. Not a big deal but it made me realize how easy it is for guests going to an all inclusive destination wedding. Their plane simply lands and a shuttle service is awaiting their arrival to whisk them to the resort so the fun can begin!

The Day of The Wedding.

As I stated above, the ceremony was held at the groom's music studio in Vancouver Washington, just a short drive from Portland. The studio was decorated beautifully!  It  actually looked like a church once it was all decorated.

It was a perfect combination of bohemian elegance if I do say so myself.  After the wedding ceremony we had the long drive to the reception, but we were able to see some amazing sites along the way to the reception such as waterfalls and Mt. Hood!

Horse Tail Falls

Horse Tail Falls at Multanomah Falls in Oregon

Mount Hood

My Real Picture of Mount Hood, Oregon

The Reception:

After the very long but incredibly scenic drive to the reception, we arrived at a quaint B&B at the base of Mt. Hood. The decor was very well done, and the bride and groom hired a caterer that specialized in gourmet sandwiches!  Due to the travel time of guests traveling from the ceremony to the reception, the caterer had to delay the food, and then once it was time for dinner, they had to scramble to get dinner back on course, although I wasn't quite sure if I bought their argument, because if the food is ready, it should just be kept warm and ready to serve, but I'm not a caterer.

With a destination wedding the only travel time between the ceremony and the reception, is how many steps your group has to take from one location to the other.  Again, very easy and simple for your bride and her guests!

What is The Back up Plan???

One thing I always tell my couples is to have a back up plan. We got about half way through dinner and after a few drops fell, it just absolutely down poured!  Luckily this B&B had a very large pole barn, that I assume is also used for receptions.  It wasn't set up, so it took all of us to jump in and get chairs and tables set up, so that the reception could continue.  What I love about planning destination weddings is that the wedding staff will always meet with the bride and groom and discuss a back up plan due to bad weather.  There are usually alternate locations for ceremony and reception your bride and groom will be able to scope out and secure once they arrive on property.

Closing Time

When the reception ended, we all pitched in to help the family put things away and clean up. This meant that after everything was put away, pretty much cleaned, and packed up before  we had the 1.5 hour drive back to Portland.  If you compare that to planning a destination wedding, you, your bride, and her guests don't have to worry about any of that.  There is no clean up! No set up! No micromanaging or coordination required.  When the reception is over, simply walk to your room and call it a night! Easy-peasy!

It Was Worth It!

All the logistics involved in this wedding were ultimately worth it, because the couple was worth it. The setting was phenomenal and one of a kind. It is a wedding I will cherish and never forget! But in comparison with planning a resort destination wedding, I now know that a resort wedding is much easier for everyone involved. And if your clients are after the unforgettable photos, have them hire a photographer to go around the island the day after the wedding to get all the instagrammable photos! It's just easier to plan and not near as much work, especially on the day of the wedding.  The resort wedding staff has it all under control.

P.S. this couple did not hire a wedding planner, and it showed. With a wedding planner I think the guests would have been better informed and the family would have had peace of mind.

If you have ever thought about planning or adding tropical destination weddings to your services, you may want to sign up for my free live cast that explains how easy it is to get started in the destination wedding planning business.  I hope to see you there!

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