Ashley + Matt’s Wedding at the Elysian Ballroom, Portland, Oregon.
(please be patient for the images to load, get up and grab a glass of water?)
Matt proposed to me on February 1st, 2014 on our 5 year anniversary. We
were at home all dressed up to go out when he sat me down and told me how much he loved me. I
don’t know when I realized what he was doing, but I couldn’t pay attention to what he was
saying, only the look on his face. I had thought a proposal was still a year or two away, but now I
know those years would’ve been unnecessary. The time was right, and we feel that even stronger
now after our wedding.
VISION FOR THE DAY:
I wanted our wedding to feel cozy and warm, like a holiday or a family
reunion. I was excited for all the personal time I would get to spend with my momma and both
my sisters. Although the ceremony and the rest of the evening would be for Matt and I, I knew
the morning would be an important time spent with all of the most important women in my life!
Besides that I knew I wanted lots of gold, soft lighting, and an overall botanical feel.
THE PLANNING PROCESS:
My planning process consisted of trying to stick to our theme, then
deciding to just do what I wanted, then getting frustrated and calling my momma. My mom
would then tell me to do what made me happy and give me ideas of how to do that while also
staying cohesive. I owe a huge thank you to my momma of course! She helped me decorate my
centerpieces (especially the gold mason jars, which she did entirely) and got all the lights for the
table decor. Matt’s mom made many last minute craft store trips for tiny details and found the
ribbon for our cake and the cloche for our cake topper.
We looked at a dozen venues before we found The Elysian Ballroom. We loved it
instantly, and all the colors and decor matched our theme! The bridal and groom suites were
decorated in green and blue, and the chairs, tables, and silverware were even gold! The ballroom
is breathtaking with rows of crystal chandeliers and yards of lights and tulle across the ceiling.
The best part of renting The Elysian, however, was working with Mike Piper of An Affair to
Remember. He was remarkably professional and organized, and handled our catering, flowers,
and ceremony with ease. He was more than happy to listen to our wishes for the day and make
them happy, or provide lots of ideas if we were stumped! Our wedding went amazingly smooth,
and I attribute that in big part to Mike!
My dress was a Sincerity Bridal dress I found at Charlotte’s Weddings in
Portland. The part I fell in love with first was the chevron ruching on the bodice and the pleated,
champagne colored satin draped around the waist, which featured a silk flower with pearls.
From there it flowed into a chiffon, chapel length train. Although it was virtual the opposite of
what I had envisioned it was perfect, and it was the one I choose! My momma got it for me as
part of my wedding gift.
I never wear heels, but made a stubborn decision to order a gorgeous pair of
Vera Wang booties with 3.5” heels! I practiced walking in them and felt confident, but the day of
I quickly had to ditch them. Our first look pictures featured me walking down a winding
staircase with Matt at the bottom, and I barely made it down! On the way back up I had to stop
several times because I was repeatedly stepping on the underside of my dress and ripping it.
Luckily I had bought a pair of adorable Blue by Betsey Johnson sandals with pearl and crystal
straps for the reception, so I still had beautiful shoes.
JEWELRY & ACCESSORIES:
The jewelry I chose was based around one of my mother’s pearl
necklaces. It was a short string of white pearls she had received from my father when they were
younger, and it went perfect with my sweetheart neckline. My earrings were a birthday gift from
Matt’s mother the year before and had a gold teardrop accent on the earlobe and a Honora pearl
hanging from each. My biggest piece of jewelry was a gold hair piece that had two strings of
pearls which laid across my forehead. It attached on each side with two little combs with crystal
and gold feathers. I found the piece at Etsy.
http://www.etsy.com Shop: GildedShadows
HAIR & MAKEUP:
Both my hair and makeup were done by the lovely Oksana at Blowout: A
Blow Dry Bar (at the Pearl District location). For hair we decided to have it down with lots of
curls so it would look romantic but not compete with my hairpiece. My hair is very straight and
flat, but Oksana did an excellent job of styling it so that it lasted most of the evening! For
makeup we focused mainly on my eyes. She did a stunning gold cat eye with fake lashes and tons
of mascara. Besides that we did light blush and lipstick.
http://blowoutgirl.com <<< Ask for Oksana!!
Matt found his tux at Mr. Formal. He picked out a classic black tux with
aqua colored vest and matching pocket square and bow tie. His groomsmen wore the same,
except they had regular neckties. Matt also had blue and black cuff links, which were a gift from
We wanted our wedding favours to be fun and edible! We were excited when Matt’s mom suggested personalized M&M’s and ordered them as a gift. We chose blue,
gold, and pearl for the colors and had them imprinted with our names, the wedding date, and
cute pictures. His mom found pretty gold drawstring bags to put them in, and also surprised us
with little pieces of pumpkin bread in blue paper birdcages she found online to go with our
All my floral arrangements (including my bouquet) were created by Mike
Piper of An Affair to Remember. I owe him a HUGE thank you! I provided him with flowers I
liked and inspiration photos, and at our meeting he provided lots of options to go with my ideas.
He even took us to his flower cooler at his office so I could see some examples! We decided my
bouquet would have lots of white calla lilies, dahlias, roses, and hydrangeas, with green
hypericum berries and lots of leaves so it would have tons of texture and interest. My
bridesmaids bouquets were mostly the same except without the calla lilies. Matt and his
groomsmen had boutonnieres with calla lilies and berries, as did the corsages both our mothers
and grandmothers wore. The centerpieces on the guest tables were gold urns filled with
hydrangeas and leaves, and the head table had towering candelabras with lots of hanging green
amaranths. I was amazed with what Mike was able to create for me, it was all stunning.
Matt found an inspiration photo online that included our colors. It was a white
three tier cake with quilted fondant and aqua ribbons, topped with a cascade of bright, gorgeous
aqua colored stargazer and calla lilies. We provided this picture to Helen Bernhard’s Bakery and
they were able to replicate it EXACTLY. The inspiration cake used real flowers, but the sugar
flowers they crafted for us were impeccable. For flavors we did carrot cake with cream cheese
filling in the top, pink champagne with berry french cream in the middle (which was my
favorite!), and red velvet with fudge filling on the bottom. Our cake topper I found on Etsy.com.
They were custom made polymer clay love birds? the bride was white with a large robins egg blue
rose on her head and the groom was the blue with a white tie and tiny boutonniere! Matt’s mom
found a cute little cloche to display them on the cake with.
http://www.etsy.com Shop: LavaGifts
Luckily for us we already knew an excellent wedding photographer: Aaron Potter of OneBloom Photography!
Aaron has been a friend of ours for years (and happens to be the brother in-law of Matt’s best man, Kevin) but he’s been a professional in the
field for nearing a decade. We looked at one or two other photographers to make sure we weren’t
being biased, but we were already well aware of the quality and innovation of Aaron’s work. We
were excited that such a big element of our wedding day would be handled by someone we knew
and trusted! Our decision was the right one, he brought all of our professionalism and creativity
to our big day. He handled the time frame we had available for photos with ease, and directed us
every step of the way. He came with a variety of photo options that fit us and the beauty of our
venue perfectly! It’s not lost on Matt and I that we put a lot of responsibility on Aaron’s
shoulders as not only a photographer, but also as a friend. We knew we’d love the end result
INVITATIONS & STATIONERY:
I found our invitations on Minted.com. I chose the “Bold
Flower” design with a dark blue background and bright red and orange flowers. I loved the fall
color scheme and ordered a speckled brown craft envelopes with gold liners to go with them. In a
moment of inspiration I had picked up wedding themed stamps at JoAnn’s (including an
adorable bride and groom bird stamp which started the bird theme in our wedding) and stamped
all the wedding and RSVP envelopes by hand.
FOOD & DRINK:
Mike Piper and his staff at An Affair to Remember took care of catering our
wedding. I told Matt he could be in charge of food, so of course we ended up having tri tip steak!
My steak was cooked perfect the night of, and everyone I asked agreed. The sides were pasta
primavera, scalloped potatoes, and ceasar and Northwest salads. I was personally most excited
for the appetizers we chose to serve during cocktail hour (curried chicken salad in phyllo cups,
gazpacho shots, and spinach spanikopitas) but unfortunately was busy and ended up not able to
have any. HOWEVER, when I mentioned this to one of the waiters he made to sure to find us
several of each and brought them to us with dinner. Although I don’t know his name (and he was
probably hoping to avoid a bridezilla situation), thank you whoever you were! We finished the
dinner toasting with prosecco (Botter Prosecco Frizzante Spago to be exact), which I chose
because my older sister, Erin, had had prosecco the year before at her wedding and I loved it!
We took a “minimoon” and spent 4 days in Seaside, Oregon. Our
intention was to save up and take a larger, more tropical honeymoon within a year. However, by
the end of our trip we both felt that the time spent in Seaside will always be remembered as our
genuine honeymoon. We stayed at The Seaside Oceanfront Inn, which had a cozy cottage feel and
was located right on the boardwalk. We were blessed with 95 degree weather our first two days
and were able to actually play on the beach and in the ocean (which anyone who has ever been to
a PNW beach knows is near impossible)! One of our favorite parts was our leftover wedding
cake, which we were able to take with us and finished on our honeymoon! We had wedding cake
every night when we came back from dinner!
A MEMORABLE MOMENT:
When I asked Matt he said his favorite moment was up at the
alter, especially during our vows. I was most emotional going down the stairs to meet Matt for
our first look. I hadn’t been nervous the entire morning until I saw him waiting at the bottom. I
remember when he turned around he looked super nervous, but we were both relieved to see
each other finally. I also had fun with my dad waiting to walk down the aisle. It was really the
only private moment I had with my poppa the day of the wedding, and we laughed the whole way
down because neither of us could really remember what to do!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES:
Our wedding day had barely seemed to start before it was
over. Odds are you’ve both spent months (or years) being stressed about your wedding, so do
yourselves a favor and make a decision to let everything go how it goes and enjoy the result of all
your hard work and love. Remind your family to do the same!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:
OUR MOMS!!! They both rode shotgun in our emotional
year and a half engagement! If I listed all of the things, big and small, they helped us with it
would go to the moon! Our sisters (and the whole family!) showered us with love and support!
My sisters, Erin and Amber, were my Matron and Maid of Honor, and supported me the entire
year. They made sure I took time to enjoy being a bride! Matt’s sister, Laura, helped us keep our
sense of humor! Matt’s groomsmen helped him keep calm the day of. As for our vendors, Mike
Piper and his team at An Affair to Remember and Aaron Potter of OneBloom Photography were
our two smartest decisions! Mike Piper was a dream to work with and his organization was
impressive, to say the least. Aaron Potter was also a smart decision, both as a professional and an
artist! Our day was our day, but we had help from too many people to count. Mostly family, but
we also encountered incredible customer service along the way from a number of vendors and