This time of year is bustling with Christmas parties, baking cookies, gift giving… and engagements! Multiple studies have shown that December is the most popular month for proposals. Sentiment is in the air, and the season of gift giving is not only romantic but a fitting time to start planning a wedding. But not that you’re a fiance, you likely have 6-9 months before tying the knot. No matter how you slice it, there is a lot of wedding planning to do!
On the cusp of Christmas eve, I wanted to share my best wedding planning tips for bride getting married in and around Portland, Oregon. I’ve been in the wedding industry for half a decade now, and I hope these thoughts will be beneficial for newly engaged brides!
Before all else, determine your date and venue.
Meeting and interviewing wedding vendors takes a lot of time and energy, and you’ll likely benefit from securing your wedding date prior to meeting with another vendor who may not be available for your big day! The look and feel of your venue will also influence the overall vibe of your wedding- and that sets the tone for everything from the choice of your dress to the floral arrangements you go with. Venues typically require a down payment and signed contract to book the day. At this point, brides with longer engagements may have snagged many Saturday options. Get creative with the day of the week you get married on- summer days are long and lend to fun evening celebrations.
Think about what represents your relationship.
This is something I wish I would have taken more time to do before my own wedding! Rather than getting overwhelmed with color schemes, floral options, and what style of dress you should have, spend a few minutes sitting down and writing out what it is that truly represents you and your fiance. Do you spend an incredible amount of time hiking? A mountain top elopement with your closest friends and family might fit your personalities best. Are you two all about being with friends and family? Creating an evening of fun and community may be ideal. If you love the countryside, a vineyard in the valley might add the perfect view for your ceremony. Narrow your options down based on what you both love, not on current wedding trends.
Take heed of the weather.
When planning a Portland wedding, we know that rain is a factor in venue and date choice. What happens if it is to rain on your late July wedding day? Will you go with the “flow”? Or do you want to have a venue that provides all inclusive indoor options? I’ve seen many brides have guest umbrellas at the ready, and I even photographed this beautiful fall wedding in torrential downpour at the Mt. Tabor Wedding tree (see below). It ended up being a unique, fun and memorable experience. No matter what you decide, giving a little thought to the weather is an Oregon girls duty.
Book your photographer once you’ve secured your wedding venue and date.
You’ll want to get that engagement session on the calendar as soon as possible! Photographs from your engagement session can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks to be processed. Aim to have your engagement photographs in your hands by mid March so that you can include them in your wedding invitations, if you desire. Luckily, Oregon has many amazing spots that start showing hints of spring as early as mid February.
Create a Budget
Budget- a word we all love to loathe. In reality though, having a healthy and itemized budget for your wedding will allow you to prioritize what is best for you, and avoid unnecessary spending on things that don’t matter to you as a couple. If quality photography that allows you to reminisce in an authentic way for years to come is important to you, set your budget accordingly. If food and having the party of a life time is important to you, set a large budget for catering and alcohol. There is no “right” way to budget for your wedding- but sitting down and creating a plan that optimizes what is important to you and your fiance is hugely beneficial.
Explore the creative vendor options that Portland offers.
We are so lucky to live in an area that is just thriving with creativity. We have wonderfully talented wedding designers, planners, florists, calligraphers, and dress designers right here in our own city! Planning a beautifully inspired and creative wedding could not get any easier than in Portland! Take your time and be sure to explore multiple options as you build your wedding vendor team. Ask the vendors you do hire what other vendors they recommend. You’ll soon have a team of wedding professionals who can bring your dreams to life.
Breath life into your DIY ideas.
I am all about thoughtfully curated DIY ideas. I’ve seen brides create stunning hand written seating charts, gorgeous paper backdrops, and elements of nature into their own wedding days. Know the limits of what you have time for and what you need to outsource, and plan a few nights of wedding creativity with your girlfriends or family. And if DIY isn’t your thing- use that time to find the perfect creative vendor who can help you out.
Relax and have fun.
Hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it? If I could go back in time, I would slow down and enjoy the wedding process more. Finding the right dress is a once in a lifetime feeling, as are so many aspects of wedding planning. Go to brunch with your mom, chat about your dreams, record your progress, and remember that in the end your wedding represents your marriage- which is so much bigger than one single day.
If you’ve read this article and found it helpful, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to get email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how planning your Portland wedding is going and how I can help!