Category Archives: Central Oregon Weddings

Your Oregon Hipster Wedding – Don’t Go Overboard

It’s tempting, I know. Finally, it’s your day and you get to make all the decisions. You’re not at work, your not at your parents house. And hell, there’s nothing wrong with trying to impress a friend or two with your incredibly hip taste. But there’s nothing cool about trying too hard. So if you find yourself doing almost everything on this list, nix a few things. Too much is tacky, right?

Vintage Wedding Dresses

The options are endless from Parisian glamour, to mid-century to classic vintage dresses are not only more economical, they fit the mood of a lot of Oregon weddings that tend to be in woodsy or historic settings, or in hotels whose decor often gives a nod to the past. There is both a quality and character to vintage dresses that will give a timeless appearance to your wedding photos. Unless you can score something on Ebay, your going to have to head to the big city for this one, ladies. Portland has a number of great shops including Xtabay Vintage Bridal Salon, and AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium.

Blackboards – Everywhere

From the seating chart, to signs labeling the buffet, creatively drawn signs on chalk boards harken us back to the days before the dry eraser.

Mason Jars – Everywhere

From cocktail glasses to flower vases, mason jars are adorable (but can definitely be overkill.) Some cool ideas I’ve seen are using large ones for wildflowers along lining the aisle on iron hooks. They are definitely a great option for drinks as they are cheap and reusable.

Fairylights

Create an atmosphere of enchanting wonder by creatively placing tiny lights both indoors and out. Both dreamy and timeless. These are especially cool in the summer when your guests will be outside most of the night.

Birds

It seems that more than one bride missed the message that that Portlandia episode about birds was supposed to be ironic, but what the hell. Go for another animal… like bears. I can already see the wedding invitations created by one of your friend’s who is a graphic designer. Mamma and papa bear riding a tandem off into the sunset.

An obscure indiefolk song as the processional

I personally could not be more of a fan of this, so if you are looking for something to nix, let this be the last off your list!!! Even better would be a top 40s pop song… only your hipster friends will get the irony.

Bikes

Make your grand entrance on a Schwinn! Have bike valet parking, or even better make a cruise through town a part of the reception. These are great for city weddings, where a lot of your friends will be arriving by bike, or in lake lodge settings where riding around on borrowed bikes will make it feel even more like summer camp.

Locally Sourced Food

While our eastern brethren might adhere to such standards in catering such as high-brow/low-brow (hot dogs and foie gras… eeew BTW), the Oregon hipster has one priority and one priority only: to have as much local and organic food at their wedding as their caterer will provide. And why wouldn’t we, with the incredible abundance available in the Valley?

So in conclusion, whether you live here or are coming to Oregon especially for your wedding, keep your cool in check during the planning processes. The best weddings allude to things without throwing them in your face, and guests of your generation will appreciate those details only they were clued-in enough to notice.

Barn Wedding Venues in Oregon

Brasada

One of the most elegant and high-end rustic-style wedding venues in Oregon, Brasada Ranch knows how to pull off the picture-perfect wedding. This is for the bride looking for a barn wedding venue in Oregon who could do without the cow patties. The actual venue called “The Barn” is the only place we’ve played for weddings at Brasada and it’s the most popular of Brasada’s five locations for ceremonies/receptions. Take in breath-taking views of the high desert, enjoy the grassy-lawn, and find endless photo ops at sunset.

DD Ranch

Known for it’s incredible pumpkin patches with the backdrop of smith rock in the distance and family friendly events like the Country Christmas, a wedding at DD Ranch is for the bride and groom looking for an authentic country-style wedding without the fake frills. This is a real working ranch that does weddings on the side, not a wedding venue that keeps a few cows around for the photo ops. This could be a really cool option, particularly if your friends and family appreciate the window into legitimate western rural culture. It will feel like a field trip!

Rocksprings

The lodge and cabins at Rock Springs were renovated a few years ago, and so this venue perfectly blends modern amenities with a reverence for nature and country living. Get married beneath towering Northwest pines or right by the reflecting pond. The fields of the ranch spread out into the distance and the overall feel is spacious and sophisticated. The best part is, its just a few minutes from downtown Bend.

Faith, Hope, Charity Vineyards

The rounded roof of the restored white barn is the defining feature of this working vineyard with views of Smith Rock and the Three Sisters. Wild flowers, a reflecting pond and rolling hills in the distance make this a lovely spot for any couple looking for a classy and countrified wedding venue in Central Oregon.

Hollinshead Barn

barn venues in oregon hollinshead upstairsThis historic barn had to have been renovated with weddings in mind… it’s almost too perfect! And the price is right… reserve a year and a half in advance to take advantage of the $600/day rental fee.

The first floor can accommodate 55 guests at tables, but there is plenty of room outdoors for seating in a large well groomed, fenced in lawn area. The second floor makes the perfect dance floor with vaulted ceilings perfect for acoustic music, and as a staging area before the ceremony.

The Barn is the centerpiece of an historic homestead that ran from 1939-83. Today it is the entrance to a 16-acre park, featuring nostalgic-looking groves of trees just waiting for your perfect wedding day pictures.

Heart of Rock Farm

DJVector2TYes, their website might look like it was made when the internet was first invented, and yes, their logo looks more like a scary, drunken tattoo, HOWEVER, if you can click just a little deeper, you’ll discover a genuine country gem in Sherwood, Oregon, with a big red barn just waiting for your family and friends to rip it up on your big day. Their website is worth a visit if nothing else to discover their photo collection of heart-shaped rocks.

Postlewaits

This place is totally pro. Just an hour or so from Portland, it will absolutely fit the bill for couples looking for barn wedding venues in Oregon. There is a perfect wooden bridge crossing a creek perfect for group shots, but the crown jewel of the whole experience is going to have to be the Old Time Saloon they have on property, which looks actually old and actually western! Hold off on the shots till after the ceremony boys. The folks at Postlewaits aren’t messing around, so I’m sure you’ll be paying top dollar, and in exchange you’ll have a generally spotless event.

There are dozens are barn wedding venues in Oregon, and more and more are popping up every day due to the popularity of the rustic chic theme. Some of the venues run by local parks and rec departments are the best deal, but will require the most effort on your part to pull off. Other sites like Brasada and Postlewaits will deliver a professional, custom experience and help you as little or as much as you’d like.

Our band the Ashlings is perfect for barn wedding venues – we play classical during the ceremony and upbeat cocktail music for the reception. And our cello/violin/guitar trio specializes in learning you special song!

Black Butte Ranch Wedding Sisters Oregon

Featured Oregon Gay Wedding: Lucas & Spencer

July 31, 2015
Black Butte Ranch, Sisters, OR
Theme: Outdoors, Nature
Colors: Sand, Green
Prelude: Classical Instrumental
Wedding Party & Processional: Canon in D
Recessional: Their own recorded song from iTunes
Post Ceremony: Instrumental versions of our wedding pop song repertoire.

Black Butte Ranch in Sisters Oregon is one of our favorite venues in the region, and the union of Spencer & Lucas was the first Oregon Gay Wedding for the Ashlings, so we were really excited about this one. The day was picture perfect with the Cascade Mountains reflecting perfectly off the small lake in front of the lodge, as paddle boarders lazily floated by.

The couple was dressed in elegant light sand-colored suits with matching vests underneath, with contrasting red and blue polkadot neckties. They entered on huge Clydesdale horses who were more interested in exploring the beautiful property then properly transporting the grooms for the processional, but how can you blame them? Once back on track they delivered Spencer & Lucas to the back part of the aisle and they walked down together as we finished the most emotional section of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. We got to hear the story of how the couple met, and there was a lot of emotion in the crowd as they read their vows.

This couple was truly international. They had friends visiting from literally all over the world. The DJ set up as we were closing up shop, and I was able to steal a photo of the couple together amidst the announcements and gratitude speeches. The rest of these shots are taken by Powers Photography Studios out of Portland, and they are incredible photos. Enjoy!

Oregon-gay-wedding-sisters black-butte-ranch-wedding-sisters-oregon sisters-oregon-wedding-shimada Black Butte Ranch Wedding Sisters Oregon

Featured Wedding: Wedding of Colin Conway & Emily Mastrangelo

Prairie City, Oregon
At the Conway Ranch outside of John Day

Theme: Rustic Chic
Colors: Gold and White
Prelude: Classical Instrumental
Wedding Party Processional: Trumpet Voluntary
Bridal Entry: Canon in D
Recessional: Wedding March
Cocktail Hour Reception: Upbeat Americana and Wedding Repertoire

The most striking thing about this wedding was the setting. Colin’s parents own a weekender ranch a few miles outside of down with panoramic views of the Strawberry Mountains. The property is surrounded by hay fields and the caretaker’s horses peacefully graze in the distance. The red barn was given a good sweep for the occasion and in preparation for the late night party, and chandeliers hung from the ceiling with fresh hay strewn on the floors. Dinner was presented on one long table in the back yard accented by gold candleholders and tea lights strung overhead. Fresh flowers everywhere complimented the subtler white and gold theme.

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The weather broke 100 that day and the ceremony was thankfully moved back a few hours, allowing the cooler afternoon breezes in to everyone’s relief. Little water misters hung everywhere, also giving some quick comfort as you walked past and were subtly covered with tiny cold droplets.

While the majority of the evening took place in different areas around the main house, the ceremony itself was out in the hay field. One of my favorite parts of this ceremony was that no one saw the bride until she made her entrance at the ceremony. What a classy and dramatic touch. It is so common these days for the photos to take place before the ceremony, so most get to see the bride (including the groom) before the ceremony itself. It just made it so much more dramatic and emotional.

The distance the wedding party had to walk to get out to the hay field was actually quite long, and this ceremony was a great example of why it is always so important to have someone to cue the musicians as to when the procession begins, as we started a few seconds late a result. It is always good to have a contact person the day of to manage these little details so we don’t have to bug the bride or groom.

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Given that the photos happened after the ceremony, the cocktail hour stretched out over two hours, and we happily entertained the crowd with a mix of songs from our wedding book and upbeat Irish and Americana tunes. The groom’s father came over and introduced himself and we learned he is the Washington State Senator Steve Conway. He requested we play his favorite song “Black Velvet Band” and even went so far as to bring us a print off of the lyrics. We ended the evening with this tune and I think it made his family very happy.
Overall, this was a very stylish and classy affair with an authentic adherence to the rustic chic theme without going overboard. Congrats Emily and Colin!

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Featured Wedding: Gretchen Smith

Aspen Lakes Golf Course
June 20, 2015

Prelude: Instrumental Mix of Pop and Classical
Wedding Party Processional: Trumpet Voluntary
Bridal Entry: Canon in D
Special Song Mid-Ceremony: Broken Road, Rascal Flats
Post Ceremony: Upbeat Americana and Love Songs

One of my favorite parts about being in the wedding business is getting the chance to connect with people on a personal level about something that is so dear to their hearts and special. Sure, some can be high-maintenance as expected, but the majority are really down to earth and cool, as I think the kind of experience we provide attracts those kinds of people to us.

Gretchen was definitely one of the sweet ones and I really enjoyed getting to know her a little bit as we worked out the kinks of the wedding music somewhat at the last minute. She had an idea that she wanted us to learn “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flats for a mid-ceremony song. This is one of my favorite things to do, and I think if it is done right it can bring so much emotion and meaning to the ceremony as well as making it significantly more memorable. Music goes straight to people’s souls I believe, and by having a four minute pause mid ceremony, it gives everyone time to process the event they are witnessing, while providing a direct window into the story and emotions of the couple getting married.

I have a dark secret that I actually appreciate country pop. There is something incredible about how the songs tend to be perfectly crafted, with a lot of melodic integrity and a lot of storytelling and simple but meaningful lyrics. Sure some are really dumb, but this Rascal Flats song is an example of just really, really solid songwriting. Their version is of course over the top and over produced, but when me and Julie toned it way down and made it folky, I think the lyrics and meaning pop even more.

Chorus:

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others that broke my heart, they were just Northern Stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true, god bless the broken road that led me straight to you.

Gretchen shared a little bit about her story of her finance as we texted back and forth about the details and I got to learn a little bit about why this song had so much meaning for them.

Some other cool things that happened was her uncle sang the Lord’s Prayer and one of her best friends read a love poem. The officiant stole the show with metaphor after metaphor describing the journey of entering into a lifelong partnership: he told the story of nautical journeys and discovering new lands and how the captains would make the crew burn their ships when they arrived at a new destination.

Another beautiful high summer wedding in an epic setting. Thank you Gretchen for introducing us to this song. Congratulations!

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Black Butte Ranch Wedding Music

Featured Wedding: Brett Williams & Laurie Craft

June 20, 2015
Black Butte Ranch, Sisters, OR
Theme: Roses, Satin, Greens, Outdoors, Nature
Colors: Crème and Champagne
Prelude: Classical Instrumental
Wedding Party Processional: Trumpet Voluntary
Bridal Entry: Canon in D
Recessional: Better Together
Post Ceremony: Half Hour of upbeat Americana and Love Themed Songs

Set on the shores of a small lake nestled at the base of the Cascade Mountains, I think the best word to describe this wedding overall is “stunning.” This is one of our favorite places to play, and the mountains feel so up close there, the backdrop never gets old and Black Butte does a wonderful job maintaining these grounds impeccably. We’ve developed a great relationship with the Wedding Coordinator there, Jennifer Engele and she’s become a great advocate for us, and we really feel at home there!

Beyond our joy at being back at Black Butte, we observed the overall crowd appeared well healed and good-looking in general; a classy bunch who were generous with their compliments when we finished.

The bride definitely stole the day on this one, as she should, appearing like someone out of a magazine.

The tables were decorated with dozens and dozens of white roses, complimenting the bridesmaid’s dresses, which were a satin crème/champagne color. So much white felt both bold and elegant and a harmonious contrast to the setting of mostly greens and blues.

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Julie set the stage with a beautiful mix of classical and contemporary songs on the violin before the ceremony began. She pulled off a great version of Canon in D, and as to be expected the bride was practically in tears by the time she reached the groom. The officiant seemed to be well acquainted with the couple and told some personal stories that gave a beautiful window into the lives of Brett and Laurie.

We ended the ceremony with a special request: “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. I loved the contrast of everything being really classic and straightforward except for this casual and poppy tune by one of my favorite songwriters.

Overall, a very memorable day punctuated by the elegant taste of the bride and the warm and accommodating Black Butte Ranch staff.

Black Butte Ranch Wedding Music

Sisters Oregon Wedding at Black Butte Ranch
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Sunriver Wedding Music

If you’ve decided to get married in Sunirver, you’re in good company; it is one of the most popular wedding venues in Oregon. The music that accompanies your big day should be something that is both classy with a dash of rustic chic. Musicians that can play both classical and Americana/Folk would be perfect for this venue, and my band the Ashlings is a great example of a group that can perform Sunriver Wedding music that fits the setting.

Just the Way You Are – Amazing – Bruno Mars

For a Sunriver Wedding we played in February of 2013, the groom Matt Gorman requested this Bruno Mars song as the processional and it was a surprise for his wife. The chorus on this song is particularly powerful “When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change, ’cause you’re amazing just the way you are.” A great sentiment for a wedding and more of a modern and personal choice for couples looking to change it up a bit.

Tennesee Waltz

This was a first dance choice for a mother and son song during a Sunriver wedding in the winter. The Great Room is absolutely enchanting in the winter, decorated with thousands a little tea lights and candles and a cozy fire burning at the centerpiece of the room. This song brought everyone back in time.

What a Wonderful World

This was the recessional for a Sunriver Wedding in the summer of 2012. The couple was from Hawaii and loved the version by Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole with Somewhere Over the Rainbow at the beginning. This is just one of those “perfect” songs.

A Thousand Years

Again this was Sunriver Wedding in the winter, so the candles and the lights inside the cozy lodge reminded us all of the video. A lot of bridge request this song and it has really grown on me. While it may be more of a “pop” choice that everyone will recognize, there is a reason it is such a famous song. I always get it stuck in my head after we play it.

 

Ideas for Your Sustainable Central Oregon Wedding

Planning for a sustainable Central Oregon Wedding has gotten a lot easier over the years, as an influx of eco-conscious outdoor enthusiasts have flooded the scene. From woodsy and affordable outdoor venues like Skyliners near Tumalo Falls, to a host of caterers who are dedicated to locally sourced meats and produce, Bend has a lot to offer the eco-conscious couple. Here are a few ideas both local and online to get you moving in the right direction.

Reusable Cups:

Perhaps the most obvious, having reusable cups is also one of the most fun! Kleen Kanteen’s 16 oz. Steel Pint is probably the most popular choice for eco-conscious couples and it is easy to get these logo-ed with your own special design through their co-branding program. Another great choice is to stay way local and get Insulated Mugs from Hydroflask for everyone. Pretty spendy, but it is a gift for your guests they’ll treasure for a long time.

Paperless Invites:

Although it may be temping to create some really cool invites on recycled paper, evites are the way to go if you’re trying for minimal impact and waste. There are also an incredible amount of resources out there to make simple (and free) websites for your wedding. Given that some generations might not go online as obsessively as others, a simple SAVE THE DATE postcard with a link to the website to the wedding might be enough to get most folks on board. One other creative and optimistic choice is sending invites embedded with seeds (yes the actual paper embedded with actual seeds.) Check them out from Botanticalpaperworks.com.

Wedding Wear:

Find your mom’s old dress and get it fitted. It will make a great story and a great statement. Specialty vintage stores and websites also carry a wide variety of used dresses handpicked for style and fit. Some recommended stores in Portland include Richele Kay Bridal Consignment and Xtabay Vintage Clothing. In Bend your best bet is to find something you want second hand or online and get it altered at Scissor Bird Sewing & Alterations.

Catering:

This is kind of a no brainer in terms of what is sustainable and what is not, but the bottom line is if you must have meat, there are many options for locally sourced free range meet from a number of Central Oregon caterers. Consider working with Devore’s Good Food Store for organic salads, soups and wraps to compliment a high-summer rehearsal dinner. The owners of Joolz Restaurant in downtown also offer catering with a strong preference to supporting locally sourced everything.

 

Whether you adopt all of these ideas and make your wedding totally green, or just pick a few that suit your needs, your wedding day is a great time to make a statement about how you care about the environment, and some of your choices may influence your guests to do the same.

Rustic Chic Weddings – What the Hell Does That Mean Anyway

One of the trendiest catch phrases country-style marriages today is “rustic chic weddings,” and it frankly has a lot of people scratching their heads. I thought it would be worth exploring, especially because here in Central Oregon, so many weddings fall under that category and there are an incredible plethora of venues that would be perfect for a couple looking to plan their own ceremony with a splash of rustic chic.

Let’s start with some tangible decorating themes indicative of a rustic chic weddings:

Old Barns

Burlap

Wildflowers in Mason Jars

Fresh fruit and berries

Antique or western style dresses

Cowboy boots

French Influence

Pink Ribbon

Antique Silver

Lace

Lots of wood, sticks and stems

Tea Lights

I think the best way to describe a rustic chic wedding is one that has an element of the outdoors woven throughout, whether this is birch branch candle holders or twig incased signs labeling the dinner options. Textures are natural and organic, sweet and homey. There is homage paid to the days of yore when suspenders and cowboy boots and mason jars were just a way of life. The brides and bridesmaid’s dresses are often antique or vintage and the grooms and groomsmen also add a bit of country-whimsy to their style.

In the summer of 2014, I played the wedding of one of my best friend’s from high school, Annie Dubois in Bozeman, MT at the Big Yellow Barn. This wedding was quintessential rustic chic: big mountains in the distance, wildflowers everywhere, a big old barn with all kinds of noks and crannies… The catering was also done country southern style on the rehearsal dinner night and everyone raved about how it was better than the day of. The songs they picked were also perfect in this setting: “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty, “Annie’s Song” by John Denver (You Fill Up My Senses), and finally “Tennessee Waltz” for the groom and mother’s first dance.

Here are some really cool websites out there to aid in inspiration and ideas:

http://rusticweddingchic.com

http://www.pinterest.com/rusticwedchic/