From a Bride’s Lens – Choosing a Wedding Venue

The venue is probably the most important aspect of your wedding day. It sets the stage for the celebration and allows your family and friends to glimpse in at you and your partner’s personal life a little and start to truly understand you both.  It also allows for out of town relatives and friends to visit your hometown and your hood. Here’s a little about our adventure in the venue choosing process.

After Evan’s unforgettable and meaningful proposal on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, we started chatting about our dreams and ideas for our wedding day.  I knew I wanted to be married in a spot that was surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, which is why I moved here 7 years ago and love it more and more each day. Evan is originally from Montana and grew up in and on the mountains. His one request was that there was a view of Mt. Hood at our wedding venue. Luckily I had heard rave reviews about Mt. Hood Organic Farms and I loved its glorious beauty and that it’s all inclusive for us. They have an incredible farm to table in-house caterer, a day-of coordinator (although I do recommend full-service as well, more on this later!) and all the tables. chairs, linens and everything else you need on site. Also, since I haven’t photographed a wedding here yet, I like that the venue has it’s original meaning to us as our wedding venue.

But… To be honest, all in all, it could have been easier. Our venue decision might have been one of the more stressful things about the wedding planning process thus far. The distance between the small city of Mt. Hood and Portland is a solid hour and a half. The big question became whether to host the pre and post festivities, including the rehearsal dinner and picnic, in Portland or Hood River with a lot of pros and cons on each side. It sort of sounded like Hood River, Portland, Hood River, Portland, for a few weeks… The airport location, the cost of hotels, the transportation needed, it all became a factor.

Ultimately we decided to host the weekend in Portland because it’s home to us, and then transport guests to and from Hood River on the day of the wedding. We have a ton of family and friends from our college towns , Ann Arbor and Missoula, family in Montana, Michigan and Florida and a bridesmaid coming in from Asheville, TN. This is exactly why we chose the venue we did, to take every moment of our wedding weekend and give our nearest and dearest an incredible tour of this great city and its surrounding beauty. A few large nice busses will drive guests through the majesty of the Columbia River Gorge, complete with a stop at Multnomah Falls and onto our venue overlooking the mountain majesty. Compete with a welcome BBQ picnic at the beautiful, Mt. Tabor Park, I think we made the BEST decision and I’m so excited to see it all come together.

Documenting dozens of weddings in and around Oregon, I have been so inspired by many of the locations I’ve been to and photographed, from the top of Mt. Hood in the snow, to dining under the canopy of old growth forests to capturing sunset over grapevines in the valley.  My wedding vision of an eclectic garden party in the mountains came together from documenting unforgettable moments in majestic places and I’m so thrilled to share these moments with you. Please feel free to click on any image to lead you to more images from that wedding.



Love the organic elegance from Evan and Suzy’s orchid garden wedding in Pacifica, California.

The view from Gorge Crest is beyond compare and guests tend to hang out and just gaze in awe!

Fresh apples in autumn make for a natural backdrop of beauty

Monica and Ian’s funky, yet elegant reception space at Eco Trust makes for a unique and unexpected wedding venue.

Erika and James had a clean and modern reception at the Blue Hour restaurant in the Pearl.

Light filled rooms of understated tables and modern chairs make me happy. I love how clean and sophisticated it is.

Allison and Jeremy’s wedding at Langdon Farms had that easy-going yet classy vibe that I love.

A picnic wedding in the woods. April and Sam share a bite under a wooden pavilion at Oxbow park.

Courtney and Pete had a friend’s gorgeous backyard in the woods for their ceremony. I love all the trees and their friendly entrance!

Outdoor ceremonies are great but it’s nice to have a bit of privacy around the guests so they can hear the vows and feel connected. Also, it protects from gawkers and any ambient noise.

Croquet! We definitely want lawn games during cocktail hour for guest to chill, sip and snack surrounded by the beauty of the trees and mountains.

I love the idea of relaxed yet fancy weddings. Simple long tables with ivory linens are gathered for a family style meal at Oxbow Park. Remember to click on each image to see more from that wedding!

Overlooking the vineyards, the dinner tables at Hawks View Cellars make for a beautiful reception location. The white chairs and linens are classic and comfortable yet stylish.

The Columbia Gorge is one of our favorite hiking and camping spots. We will be providing transportation to and from our wedding and this is the view from the bus!

Earthy and romantic, I love the branches and fruit trees adoring the ceremony and reception space at Medicine Creek Winery.

Cocktail hour at Stargazer farm in July. Erin and Dylan’s wedding was easy-going, darling and inspired by nature.

Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland is a magical oasis of trees, lagoons, flowers and fish and allows for guests to explore the gardens without being too far from the party.

Becky and Scott’s wedding was simple yet fancy at Leach Botanical Garden. This place is one of my favorite spots for an intimate wedding.

Having a spot to sleep after the party is awesome if it’s AT the party! The tent area at Stargazer Farms was a hit and both families and couples alike stayed under the stars. Our after-party will take place at at campground only 5 minutes from our venue.

The sophisticated, yet charming reception space at Roche Harbor Resort is a great canvas for fun and unforgettable decor.

The alpine glow on the top of Mt. Hood is a stunning backdrop at Sarah and Will’s Timberline wedding.

The tented reception area at Abernethy center has that classic European black and white checkered floor that I love!

Dinner and dancing with this view is relaxing and unforgettable! I love Mt. Hood!

An evening stroll through the gardens at Kate and Brandon’s home wedding made for some romantic images and memories.

The Langdon Farms barn party under the stars! The warm summer nights allow guests to wander and mingle on the lawn.


Jessica Hill PhotographyFrom a Bride’s Lens – Choosing a Wedding Venue


Join the conversation
  • Sarah - June, 2014

    Choosing a location for our wedding was hands-down, the most stressful part so far! Looks like you’ve got a wonderful plan for yours. These images are so inspiring!

  • Jason - August, 2014

    Good lord everything you do is gorgeous. Fun to see decisions through your mind rather than your lens, too!

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