Monday, March 21, 2011

The big Venue/Date combo choice!

This was certainly the hardest choice thus far, but after this hurdle the rest is really just sort of falling into place!

From the beginning, we had a few things we knew would be important to us.
- Bringing in our own food and favorite beer/wine selection
- Enjoying the beautiful outdoor ambiance Oregon offers up in summer months
- Accommodations for the friends and family that will be traveling so far to stay near us

Here's a review of the process with our top contenders!

1.) Mt. Hood Bed and Breakfast. After photographing more then 50 weddings, this was the first place I thought of when it came to having our own wedding. I ADORE THIS PLACE. Mt.Hood is so special to Matt and I, and the drive through the Gorge to get up there is spectacular. The property is lovely beyond words, and the staff all seemed extremely friendly. Unfortunately, the availability was severely limited, the price high, and rule list long... so our search had to march on.

Incredible location on Mt.Hood; beautiful drive from Portland and incredible views.
Accommodations for up to 8 overnight guests included with wedding package
Able to bring in your own catering and drinks (not a winery)

Event site is strictly available from 2pm until 10pm
Only accommodations for 8 guests
Over $6,000 bill for a Saturday wedding

2.) Next up, the magical discovery of Westwind! All I can say is WOW! After a friend suggested it and I did a bit of research online I began dreaming about it at night. I found some wedding photos from the few other weddings they've had out there, and I kept imagining and re-imagining how it could work out for our own. The sad reality, however, was that you have to take a barge to get out there, and the "accommodations" are bare roots summer-camp style. Not an issue for us, but how would our families fair? As it turned out, their only available 2011 dates we had previously booked other client's weddings. I finally decided, as beautiful as it seemed, I preferred to hunt on for a solution that didn't involve waiting 18 months to be married.

The most beautiful place, perhaps EVER.
Completely private island, accommodations for more then 100, full weekend stay
Wood for a giant bonfire on the private beach included in the price!

More then 2.5 hours drive from Portland
Then you have to take a barge, this means hoping everyone catches the ONE barge
Asking grandmas to camp

3.) Miller Farms Retreat. So, now I had the camping wedding bug. I was looking into other similar set-ups to Mt.Hood B&B and I kept finding wineries, farms, and hotels with strict time blocking, high cost, and rules, rules, rules. Eventually, I realized I just wanted a BACKYARD camping wedding! The only issue was, our one bedroom 5th floor apartment didn't offer much in terms of a backyard. This is when the great hunt on began! I realized for what it costs to have a winery for 8 hours you could rent a HUGE BEAUTIFUL place for a whole weekend! And not so many RULES! And thus, I discovered the gem that is Miller Farms Retreat!

When I met the farm owner, Bobbi, I just wanted to hug her immediately for building my dream venue come true! Miller Farms boasts 5 charming little rental homes amongst 3 acres of gardens surrounded by pear orchards on Mt. Hood. It ALSO has a heated pool, two hot tubs, fire pits, and a sauna!

The most charming place I've ever been.
Treehouse, heated pool, fire pits, hot tubs
Really amazing owner who truly loves her property & wedding celebrations
Mt. Hood location, only 90 mins from Portland
Have I mentioned, it's PERFECT?

We went a little beyond budget, but we think it will be worth every last penny!
The website is cumbersome, go see it in person to get the full effect!

Finding Bobbi and her gorgeous farm makes the wedding feel REAL! It has set the stage for everything else. I'm SO unbelievably excited, not only to get married there, but to spend a weekend with the family and friends who mean most to us. August will be here in no time!


Anonymous said...

What was the site fee for the Miller Farm Retreat?

Carmel Siler said...

I would also love to know how much the budget was for Miller!