At the top of Multnomah Falls on May 29th last year.
We were actually supposed to go to the falls on Memorial Day. I knew Jason had the ring (we picked it out together) and I’d been begging him to just give it to me at every opportunity (such as while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the couch in our pajamas). But he insisted that it had to be a special occasion. When after weeks of work and laziness he asked if we wanted to go to the falls (where I had never been before) I got so excited I didn’t sleep a wink. So instead of going to the falls and getting engaged that day, I slept most of the morning and afternoon. When I woke up I was so afraid that I’d ruined my chance and I was going to have to wait even longer, but we went to the falls the next day.
It was sunny and beautiful, and the hike to the top was arduous and painful. When we finally rounded the last switch back and saw the falls and the cool shaded pools I was so exhausted I forgot about getting my ring and just took my shoes off and waded into the water. Jason followed me anxiously, and I didn’t realize until later that I was making it very difficult for him to propose. Finally I stopped and sat on a rock and the next thing I knew he was down on both knees holding up my ring. Luckily, enough oxygen had returned to my brain by that point that I didn’t tumble us both into the water in excitement.
VISION FOR THE DAY:
I wasn’t the kind of girl who dreamt about her wedding day. The only vision I’d ever had was of getting married barefoot on a beach in Hawaii. But Jason was pretty sure he wanted a big wedding, so that’s where our journey took us. I knew I wanted a princess dress. We were pretty sure it wouldn’t be in a church, though it would be a religious ceremony. Jason was determined to have delicious cake. We didn’t have a big picture, and when people asked us what our theme was we both came across flustered, but all the little details added up to a beautiful day.
THE PLANNING PROCESS:
Erin: I’m a planner and an organizer and a bit of a control freak, so Jason stepped back and let me take the lead on most of the planning. But of course I asked his opinion at every turn, and desperately begged him to look at my pictures of my wedding dress so I could be sure I had made the right choice (he never did look, not once). I dragged him to Fred Meyer the night after we got engaged and had him buy me about $40 worth of bridal magazines. One of those was the Real Simple Wedding guide, which contained a checklist and timeline for planning your wedding. That is what got me through everything. The timeline spaced out all the big decisions, so that we stepped from one to the other. We worked together on picking the cake, the music, even writing our vows.
I went through numerous nightmares as we passed through the different planning stages. First I dreamt that my dress was red (thank you Dad) and that our minister came dressed in Buddhist robes. Then I dreamt that it was three days before the wedding and we hadn’t ordered a cake. Then the bridesmaids were wearing Bavarian maiden outfits. Then the wedding was outside and it was raining. Then it was ten minutes before pictures and I hadn’t put my makeup on. Jason was the last one to have a bad dream about the wedding, but we can’t remember what it was now.
The Fairgate was the second venue that we visited, but it was the one place that made the best impression. Stacey was so excited to meet us, and showed us pretty much every inch of the building and grounds on our first visit. She talked about the vision for our wedding at the Fairgate and was upfront about the cost. I already had my dress picked out, and I knew that the Fairgate’s grandeur was a perfect match.
It was actually the first dress I tried on. Well, technically. The first dress I tried on was in a tiny bridal/prom shop in The Dalles. One of my bridesmaids (Tara) and I went out to The Dalles in June for a book festival at the local indie bookstore there, and right across the street was the dress shop. It had only been two weeks since the engagement and I was itching to try on dresses. So we went in. Suffice it to say: it was awful. As we were driving back to Portland Tara called Charlotte’s Weddings and got me an appointment for that afternoon, so I could have a better wedding dress experience.
When we got to Charlotte’s we grabbed armloads of dresses and trooped into the spacious dressing room. I absolutely loved the first dress, but knew that I shouldn’t make a decision that quickly. So Raimi, my consultant, gleefully helped me try on 20+ dresses. But I kept coming back to the first one.
My dad actually picked out my shoes. I don’t wear high heels, so I was struggling to find a good shoe to go with my dress. I was home visiting one weekend and watched Mirror Mirror with my family. As we were watching the ballroom scene I said, “I wish I could have shoes like that.” The main character was wearing these beautiful old-style white boots. Two days after I got home my dad sent me a link on Facebook to a pair of white lace Victorian boots. I ordered them without even trying them on; they fit perfectly and were actually very comfortable.
There’s a great story about the pearl necklace I wore. When I was nine my family went to Majorca for vacation, and while we were there my dad bought my mom and me pearl necklaces. I remember wanting to wear mine so badly, but my parents told me that it was for my wedding. Eleven years go by and I never see nor hear anything about the necklace. So as I’m driving with my bridesmaids to go buy my wedding dress I’m telling them this story. Then I have a horrible sudden realization: what if this was all some story I made up in my head? (I made-up a lot of stories when I was a kid.) A little horrified, I asked my mom about the mysterious pearl necklace. But she gave me good news: the necklace was real, and they really were saving it for my wedding day.
The earrings were an Etsy find. I ordered them, got confirmation from the seller that they were on their way, and then waited. Weeks passed. Finally I checked the tracking information and saw that my earrings were coming all the way from Israel and they were stuck in customs in New York! Luckily a few days later they cleared customs and arrived safe. I actually took my pearl necklace with me to the post office when I went to pick up the earrings. I tried them on together in the car, looking to see how they matched in my rear-view mirror. They weren’t exactly the same color, but as the jeweler had told me via email: “When you put your neck between the necklace and the earrings, they will look as though they were made to go together.” And they did.
The pearl barrettes I wore in my hair were also from Etsy. I found them on a vintage shop, so they are one of a kind.
My veil came from Hobby Lobby in WA. My mom added the purple crystal embellishments, and the simplicity of it was perfect with everything else.
HAIR & MAKEUP:
One of Jason’s good friends, Anne Michel, regularly cuts our hair. So it was an easy choice to ask her to do my hair for the wedding. The style came from ideas on Pinterest, and was actually a combination of two completely different photos. Anne did a wonderful job of blending the front swoop with the back coil bun.
I did my own makeup. The only new things I bought for the day was waterproof mascara and lipstick. I would personally have picked a darker color, but I remember Jason telling me a few months into our relationship that he really liked the color of my lips, so I went with something that didn’t change them at all.
The tux we chose for Jason actually came from our cake topper. I’d seen (again on Pinterest) a silhouette cake topper of a girl in a big frilly princess dress with a Victorian gentleman in top hat and tails bowing to her. After that I wanted Jason to wear tails. But when we looked at the traditional tuxes with tails they looked, as Jason put it, “like conductor’s outfits.” So we compromised: Jason wore a cutaway jacket and wing tip shoes. I got my tails and he got to look more like James Bond than our high school band teachers.
I feel like this wedding is the story of Pinterest and Etsy. The favours we gave to our wedding party came from Etsy. The girls received bronze pendant necklaces, each with a different pendant to match the girl. For the boys we got customized cuff links. We also got our mom’s necklaces, and matching cufflinks for our dads. The final personal favor I got was for my dad: I ordered a custom embroidered handkerchief for him, which said: “Dad, you may be giving me away today, but I will always be your little girl,” along with my name and the date.
The favours we gave away to our guests were a team effort between my mom and me. She made 100 little bags (sewed them all herself) and stuffed them with bubbles and candy (my brother helped with the stuffing). Then I designed bookmarks (credit for the idea to neighbor Lani O’Connor) that were covered in quotes from mine and Jason’s favorite books (and comic books), overset with our names, the date, and a line from our wedding song.
My favorite flowers have always been daffodils. When we decided on an April date I knew that daffodils were exactly what I wanted. It was only after I picked the flowers that I discovered that my paternal grandparents (who’s anniversary is April 7th) also had daffodils and irises.
Big plus: our florist was also our event coordinator at the Fairgate. Stacey is truly amazing.
I really loved the idea of cupcakes; it’s great because you can easily have different flavors, but it still looks pretty like a cake. We picked JaCiva’s because we’ve both been to several wedding that served their cakes, and they are absolutely delicious.
INVITATIONS & STATIONERY:
I’ve been dabbling in graphic design since I was in high school, and right away I had ideas that I knew would be easier to do myself. Our Save the Date cards (library book slips printed with our information) came from an idea I saw on Pinterest. I ordered the library book slips from Etsy (the first of many Etsy purchases for the wedding), then carefully measured and designed the text myself. We stamped each card with an old-style date stamp, like they use in libraries. And of course we tucked one of our beautiful engagement photos in too.
The wedding invitations came from my love of letterpress printing. I took a class on book arts in college and fell in love with setting my own type to make postcards and posters. Now of course I don’t have my own letterpress, so I used some sample invitations I found to create my own letterpress style design. Then we went to a local print shop near Portland State campus to get them printed.
FOOD & DRINK:
Honestly this was the part of the wedding we thought about the least. We sat down with Stacey at the Fairgate about three weeks before the wedding to decide on our menu. We knew we were doing a cash bar, so we wouldn’t get to pick what drinks were being served (if we had our way it would have been Spire Dark and Dry Cider for everyone), but when Stacey told us the Fairgate offers Ninkasi IPA, Widmer Heff, and Coors Light it was pretty much perfect. Something for everyone. Oh, and wine too.
We picked the menu from a list without having tried anything ourselves. But from online reviews and Stacey’s own mouth-watering descriptions, we were confident the food would be good. It was amazing.
Jason was the one who first said Italy. I’ve been to Italy a lot of times since my family lived in Europe when I was a kid (my dad was in the Air Force), but it’s one of my favorite places. At first it didn’t seem like we would actually get to go, because, well, traveling to Europe is expensive and Jason and I were both still finishing graduate school. But then Jason’s parents gave us the best surprise: they put away $5000 for us to have the perfect honeymoon. So the trip was on. It was easy to settle on visiting more than one city—Venice, Florence, and Rome—as we would be there 10 days.
The whole trip was wonderful (except for the 24 hours after we got back when my luggage was missing, taken by another passenger by mistake—but I got it back safe and sound). My favorite part was the second morning we spent in Venice. We were still a little off with the time switch, so we got up at 6 AM and walked around the city before any of the tourists (or the locals) were up. We had pastries and cappuccinos in a little café (the only thing open) and took pictures of the back canals as the sun rose.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT:
Jumping up and down and singing along to “All the Small Things” by Blink 182. Jason was right, it was the perfect song for our wedding.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES:
In the end it’s your day, not anyone else’s.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:
OneBloom Photography: www.OneBloom.com
The Fairgate Inn http://www.fairgateinn.com/
Charlotte’s Weddings http://www.charlottesweddings.com/
Stacey’s Flowers http://staceysflowers.vpweb.com/
Big Screen Presentations, Mike Moore http://www.bigscreenpresentations.com/
My Little Bride (Earrings) http://www.etsy.com/shop/mylittlebride
Aqsa (Bridesmaids pendants) http://www.etsy.com/shop/Aqsa
Hellogoodbyeagain (Groomsmen cufflinks) http://www.etsy.com/shop/hellogoodbyeagain
The School Locker (Library Cards for Save the Dates) http://www.etsy.com/shop/schoollocker
Indulgevintage (Pearl barrettes) http://www.etsy.com/shop/indulgevintage
Joy of Giving (Father of the Bride handkerchief) http://www.etsy.com/shop/JoyofGiving
Shane Company (Erin’s ring) http://www.shaneco.com/
Jared Galleria (Jason’s ring) http://www.jared.com/en/jaredstore