Author: The Art of Weddings | Portland

Portland Engagement Shoot Abiqua Falls

Inspiration Vendors

Portland Engagement Shoot Abiqua Falls

Planning an Oregon wedding and looking for inspiration and ideas for your Portland engagement shoot? Local wedding photographer Nate Smith knocked it out of the park with this recent and stunning waterfall inspired session!

Ally and Tom are an adventuresome couple with lots of hiking experience so he took them out of the city to Abiqua Falls. The hike to Abiqua is definitely not for everyone but they braved it for these photos and we all agree it was worth it!

Your engagement shoot should really reflect you as a couple. Take some time to think about what location and style would best represent the beginning of this new journey together. Find a photographer like Nate Smith who is willing to go the extra mile to execute your vision. Consider hair and make up and a few clothing changes. Make this an experience to remember.

What are you willing to do for your unique and breathtaking Portland engagement shoot?


Do you have a real Portland wedding, elopement, engagement, or inspiration shoot you’d like to share? Contact us at info@artofweddingspdx!

The Smokeasy Mobile Cigar Lounge

Reception Tip & Ideas Vendors

The Smokeasy Mobile Cigar Lounge

A mobile cigar lounge will surely set your wedding apart from the rest and have your guests talking about it. Contact The Smokeasy Mobile Cigar Lounge here in Portland to find out everything you need to know about adding this unique and celebratory element to your wedding reception.  We asked local owner, Jeremy Schram, a few questions. Check it out below!

Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My wife/business partner is originally from the Northeast of Scotland where we like to go visit her family as often as possible.

What is your favorite thing (or things) about Portland?

One of my favorite things about Portland is its proximity to the mountain and the coast. We spend as much free time as we can camping up on Mount Hood. A close second would have to be the people. I’ve been around the world and around the US and the people in Portland are some of the most down-to-earth, friendly people around.

How long have you been working as a wedding professional?

We have been throwing cigar related parties for many years and loved it so much we decided to start a business out of it. So, while this is our first official year of business, it’s by no means our first year in the event world!

You own a unique business! Please briefly explain what you do/offer.

The Smokeasy is a mobile cigar lounge that can be customized for any event. We bring out the cigars along with the entire lounge. We’ll setup leather scroll arm chairs, tables, ash trays, cutters, lighters, etc. We also stay for the event to help guests pick the right cigar for their taste profile, cut and light their cigar as well as to answer any questions about what they are smoking.

In addition, we also offer a covered space with lighting, walls and heat (if necessary). We can also provide custom labels for cigars that can include initials, a special date or artwork. For a special touch, we can also offer cigars in tubes that match the event colors.

In what ways does your CiGAR business enhance a couple’s wedding day?

Cigars are synonymous with celebration and they’re also one of the great luxuries in life, so cigars and weddings just go together! On top of that, we find that cigars truly bring people together; they encourage people to sit, relax and have conversations with each other. Weddings can be awesomely frenetic balls of excited energy and it’s nice to have a contrast available for guests — a space where guests and hosts alike can spend a little time enjoying fine tobacco in the company of their friends and family.  This is what draws so many people to enjoy them. 

What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?

I studied business/marketing in college and part of me always knew that I would run my own business some day. Out of college I had the opportunity to make a good living in IT so I joined a company here in Portland where I worked for several years, but the longer I sat behind a desk the more I realized that I had no passion for the job I was doing.  My wife recognized that I wasn’t happy in IT and asked me what I really wanted to do and the answer was obvious! I had been smoking pipes and cigars since just about the day I turned 18 and we’d been throwing increasingly elaborate parties for friends and family. I told her that if I could do anything, it would be to combine my passion for tobacco and entertaining. I have to give all the credit to her when it comes to the idea for the business and helping me bring it to life.

What is the best part Running a Cigar Lounge?

My favorite part is definitely the day of the event. The look on peoples’ faces when I help then choose a cigar is like a kid in a candy store. And then there’s that sweet spot when the lounge is full and I get to see people connecting and reconnecting over this shared experience of smoking a cigar. It’s a real feel-good moment, every time.

What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?

We only do one event a day, so we have to turn down people when dates fill up. While we could technically do multiple events if the times worked out, we believe that it’s important to focus on one couple at a time. For weddings especially, this is really special day for the hosts and we don’t want them to stress about whether a vendor will show up on time. We wish we could be at every wedding but we want to focus our attention on one client at a time.

Do you work solo or do you have a team?

Unless we have an event with over 500 people, I typically work the event alone (after my wife gives me a bit of help setting up).

What do you attribute to your success as a wedding vendor?

We understand that couples are really looking to impress their guests and throw the sort of party that people won’t forget. This drive to delight guests is what makes us successful. People get so excited when we help them plan their event and that excitement definitely continues through the event. 

At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?

If we were to get married (to each other) again, we would book the cigar lounge, then find a venue, then get the dress… but we’re strange like that! In all seriousness, clients should get in touch with us once they have their venue in mind. That way, we can work with the venue to ensure that they can accommodate us. There are some regulations around smoking, but for the most part any venue with outdoor space can accommodate a cigar lounge.

Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?

I find that most of my inspiration comes from my wife. She works so hard and inspires me in what I do. In addition to her, I get a lot of my inspiration from the cigars I smoke.  I am constantly trying new cigars. There are a lot of people who find that one cigar they love and will smoke them forever. I am not one of those people. I do have a few favorites, but I find more joy in trying new cigars and then sharing the great ones with others. I have clients who request certain cigars, but I love it when they give me full reign to choose a selection for their guests. I have yet to disappoint. Product testing is a lot of fun too!

What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?

Couples should ask how are the cigars stored before and during the event? Cigars are very sensitive to temperature and humidity — too much or too little of either can make a cigar very unpleasant to smoke, which is the very opposite to what you want your guests to experience. We have a commercial-grade walk-in humidor on our premises, and we bring custom humidors to the event to ensure that the cigars are always at their peak condition when they’re smoked. Sadly, we’ve seen so many “home-made” cigar bars where someone will buy a box of cigars before the wedding, and they’ll sit in someone’s closet for a week before being set out in the sun for hours before the reception even starts. By the time the guests pick out a cigar, they’re as dry as a bone and taste like sawdust. It brings a tear to my eye…

What is your best advice for wedding clients?

RELAX! And the best way to do that is to hire people to do the hard stuff. When we got married, we tried to do it all by ourselves.  We quickly realized that it was worth saving our sanity to hire the right people to do the jobs that seemed so simple in the beginning.

Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?

When all the planning is done and the big day has arrived, the stress over the little things will go away. We do a lot of planning to ensure that every event goes off without a hitch. Our products are always top quality and we enjoy helping those who have never smoked a cigar light up their very first one.

Thanks Jeremy!

Do you want us to feature your local Portland wedding business? Contact us at info@artofweddingspdx!

Ensuring a Fun Wedding Reception

Real Weddings

Ensuring a Fun Wedding Reception

When we ask couples what they are looking forward to, most say “the party.”  While everyone loves a romantic and meaningful wedding ceremony, most guests are really looking forward to a fun and memorable wedding reception! To help craft a dynamite wedding reception, we have come up with a few tips to help make planning a piece of cake.

Thoughtful Seating Arrangements

Most couples dread the idea of assigning tables, but trust me, it is a worth while investment of your time. Taking the time to ensure that everyone is accounted for, and surrounded by people they know and/or would really enjoy spending the evening with, with guarantee that folks feel relaxed, comfortable, and ready to let loose and party! For an easy to use tool, check out Wedding Wire’s seating chart maker.

Short and Sweet Toasts

Toasts can be one of the most memorable parts of your wedding reception, and depending on how you prepare for it, those can be good or bad memories. We recommend keeping the list of folks speaking to 4-6, and plan on allocating them about 3 minutes each. While your guests want to hear the sweet details of how you met, and how you support and compliment each other, they don’t want to hear a drunk family member ramble on forever.

Interactive Dinner Service

One of the best ways to get your guests mingling and having a fun time is to have an interactive dinner service. That could be family style, food stations, chef action stations or even a cocktail party vibe. Anything that ups the conversation and socialization is a win.

Music Everyone Can Dance To

This tip is where a great DJ comes in. A great DJ knows the songs that will get everyone up on the dance floor. You want to start the night with classics that everyone can comfortably dance to.  If you are looking for a DJ who will get the party started, and keep it going check out Stumptown DJs. You can read more about them here.

Unique Desserts

I feel like desserts are the secret weapon. Everyone loves a treat and we are so lucky to live in the culinary mecca that we do. While wedding cake is classic, guests love it when couples mix it up and have a fun, creative dessert. A few ideas to check out include:

Late Night Surprise

To end the night with a bang, consider throwing in a little surprise at the end. A few of our favorite ideas are:

  • A late night snack food truck
  • Fireworks
  • A scotch and cigar bar

While we know these tips will help plan a memorable wedding reception, we have saved the best tip for last. The best way for guests to have fun, is to have fun yourself. Ensure you have comfortable dancing clothes and comfy shoes. Also, be sure to hire a day-of-coordinator to handle details so you can relax, cut loose, and have a ball. Guests will take their cue from you. If you have a “dance like no-one is watching” approach to your wedding reception, your guests will too, and then you will have a wedding reception to remember!

Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Coordinator

Real Weddings

Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Coordinator

With wedding season arriving, we want to do our part to make sure all couples have a fun and relaxed wedding day. One of the best ways a couple can ensure this is by hiring a wedding coordinator. Day-of coordinators work hard to make certain couples and their friends and families are able to enjoy everything the wedding day has to offer by taking care of set up and clean up and by managing all the details of the day.

With there being so many  “coordinator” titles in this industry,  many couples end up confused about who does what! We wanted to take a few minutes and explain the differences between a venue coordinator ( or a “venue host” as we like to call them ) and a wedding coordinator to help avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

Very simply put, a wedding coordinator’s client is you, the couple. A venue coordinator’s client is their manager (the venue). A venue coordinator is there to coordinate anything that relates to the venue; where as a wedding coordinator is there to coordinate anything that relates to your wedding. Most importantly, a wedding coordinator represents you and all of your wishes on the day of your big event.

Both the wedding coordinator and the venue coordinator are very important, but they play very different roles. The roles may overlap slightly, depending on the venue and the wedding coordinator. Our biggest tip is to make sure you discuss specifics with your venue coordinator to guarantee that  everyone is on the same page and to avoid any surprises the day of your wedding.

A venue coordinator will:

  • Give you a tour of the space
  • Book your date
  • Answer questions/explain rules of the space such as “no candles”, or “music off by 11”
  • Create a floor plan
  • Set up table and chairs (this varies greatly depending on the venue and what is included)
  • Organize a tasting, if there is an on-site catering company
  • Provide you a list of vendor partners the venue prefers
  • Unlock the doors
  • Be present during set up, ceremony and/or reception to make sure that all venue regulations are followed
  • Take care of any emergency issues with the venue such as overflowing toilets or blown fuses
  • Ensure that the event ends at the time indicated on the contract
  • Lock up the venue at the end of the evening

A wedding coordinator will:

  • Provide trusted vendor recommendations tailored to your style and budget
  • Partner with you to make sure you stay within your budget
  • Assist with your décor vision, tailoring it to your venue and your budget.
  • Assemble a master timeline and make certain that it is understood and followed by all vendors
  • Review contracts, identify any potential, and ensure all vendors follow through with contractual obligations
  • Answer etiquette questions
  • Keep you on track with your to-do list throughout the planning process
  • Order your rentals
  • Organize and run your dress rehearsal
  • Decorate your ceremony and reception area to your specifications
  • Line up and cue the bridal party and musicians/DJ for your processional
  • Direct and assist guests through ceremony and reception
  • Attend to the needs of the bride and bridal party
  • Distribute final payments and tips to vendors
  • Set out personal items (guestbook, escort cards etc)
  • Coordinate your grand entrance and exit
  • Ensure your photographer knows when all of your special moments will take place
  • Adjust the timeline as necessary and communicate with all of the vendors
  • Coordinate all of the special announcements with the DJ
  • Create a seamless wedding by being your liaison between your family, friends and vendor
  • Clean up your décor and pack up your personal items
  • And most importantly, a day of wedding coordinator will take care of any last minute changes and emergencies that come up on your wedding day

We hope that this break down of responsibilities helps you understand the differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator and most importantly we hope it helps you prepare for a smooth and picture perfect wedding. And of course, if you find that you would like the benefits and peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a team of professionals there to ensure your plans are executed perfectly, reach out to a local wedding coordinator. Some of our favorites are: Your Perfect Bridesmaid who was featured recently in a Vendor Shout-out  as well as Blush Bridal Events and Soeil Bliss Event Productions

Rooftop Wedding in Portland Oregon

Ceremony Couples Inspiration Real Weddings Reception

Rooftop Wedding in Portland Oregon

This classy and intimate rooftop wedding is the summer event we all hope to be invited to! One of the best things about living in Portland, is this city’s beauty. The Desoto Rooftop Terrace is the perfect location to highlight the beauty of our city, and treat your guests to a night they won’t soon forget.
Local Portland wedding photographer Brittany Lauren did a fantastic job capturing the musical vibe and floral details of this dreamy urban affair. The dress and bouquet, alone, make us swoon.
In Brittany’s words, “Sarah and Alex were married in downtown Portland on the DeSoto Rooftop Terrace. Their wedding was elegant and intimate. Sarah looked stunning in her form fitting gown and Jordan from Blum  Floral Design did an amazing job transforming the space with her beautiful floral creations. Sarah and Alex are both professional musicians for the symphony down in Texas and it was important to them that they have quality music. They trusted Dan Balmer Quartet to deliver and they 100% did! They provided the perfect soft music for the ceremony and kicked it up during the reception while everyone was dancing.” Check out these gorgeous images captured by Brittany Lauren Photography. And see a list of all vendors below.
A few of our favorite details about this stunning wedding are the colors and textures Blum used in the bouquets. It really gave the floral styling a lush, modern vibe, perfect for this urban affair. We are also so in love with the ruffles that accent the back of this dress. Such a unique (and stunning) detail.
Wedding Coordinator: Blush Bridal
Florist: Jordan Gladow of Blum Floral Design
Cake: Helen Bernhard Bakery
Do you have a real Portland wedding you’d like to see featured on our blog? Contact us at!
Pressure Point Band: A Portland Wedding Band


Pressure Point Band: A Portland Wedding Band

The music you choose makes a huge impact on how much dancing there will be. A wedding band ensures your guest will have a blast, especially when you choose a talented Portland wedding band like Pressure Point. We recently chatted with local musician and band leader Michael Winkle about his Portland based wedding band, Pressure Point. Take a look!


All photos courtesy of Pressure Point Band


AOW: Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?

Originally from the Bay Area.  Alameda. Moved here in 1970. 

AOW: What is your favorite thing about Portland?

Spring and Fall

AOW: What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?

There is a coffee house that we love in Sellwood. The Blue Kangaroo! Many great restaurant options, the diversity of the music scene and the jam at Clyde’s on Sunday nights!

AOW: How long have you been working as a professional wedding musician?

I have been a musician who performs at weddings and other events since 1976. Probably in excess of 2,000 weddings.

AOW: What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?

My wife encouraged me along with a guitar player who answered an ad in the Oregonian. I was young and inexperienced, he taught me the fundamentals of being a band leader and what it meant to be a professional musician, instilled confidence, then patted me on the backside and sent me on my way.  I will forever be in their debt.

AOW: How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a Portland Wedding band for their wedding day?

I tell clients all the time that they really need to be careful when hiring a band … as the band can be one of the most important elements of the entire wedding. In many cases, the memory of the band might be one of the only things that guests take home with them. It was fun, or it wasn’t. Many bands sound fine but don’t have the experience to execute a sometimes complicated and evolving time line. As experienced professionals, we understand that “game plans” are subject to change on a moment’s notice. There is protocol for weddings in particular that is unique to that event. Inexperienced band leaders may not be prepared to follow through with the finer details that are expected from professionals.  You get one shot at this, hire pros!

AOW: What is the best part of your job?

The satisfaction comes usually post event when the couple and or family make a point of thanking us, hugs, smiles, tears and just a sense of a job well done. The joy comes from performing with people whom I have grown to love over time and are in a sense, family. I never get tired of that!

AOW: What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?

The actual selling process of the band gives me no joy. I love booking the band, but trying to sell the band to folks with a DJ budget can become tiresome. It is rare when a client’s first priority is music. I love those folks as I know that they will not be disappointed if they hire our band.  The performance part is not the work. Depending on the venue, set ups can be challenging.  So, trying to sell the band to folks who have an unrealistic budget and set up are the most challenging and demanding aspects of my job.

AOW: Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?

I have a team.  A great team!

AOW: What do you attribute to your success as a wedding (fill in blank)? What do you think makes you stand apart from other Portland Wedding Band?

We have a great product. We have stability and continuity as the band’s nucleus has been together going on 16 years now. That is unique in this business and a source of pride.

 AOW: At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire a Portland Wedding Band?

Clients who put an emphasis on music should lock us in right after they book their venue. Many of our weddings book a year out or more.

AOW: Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?

I know who my competition is and if I see that they are doing something great that I am not, my competitive juices go to work and I will try to surpass what they are doing or at least emulate the successful aspects of their approach and incorporate them into my own. I guess that could be called inspiration.  When you are successful as we have been, it is easy to become complacent and I never take any of this for granted.

AOW: What is the most important thing that couples should ask a Portland Wedding Band before hiring them?

What actual wedding experience do you have?  How do I know that the band I hire today will be the band that plays at my wedding?

AOW: What is your best advice for wedding clients?

Relax and enjoy the event.  Don’t micro manage and allow the professionals that you have hired to do the job for which they were hired.  

AOW: Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?

Music is something that I am really good at and has always been an important part of my life and defining to a degree. I love the band, my band mates, making clients happy and to be honest, the wedding band business has been very good to me. I am a team player and will work together and support other vendors when needed to help achieve our mutual goal of “the best wedding ever!”

Best ways to contact Michael are:



Phone: 503-234-2492

Cell: 503-680-5201



Choosing Your “Something Blue”

Inspiration Tip & Ideas Vendors

Choosing Your “Something Blue”

Photography Credit: ANIKO Photography

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. We have all heard it. It is one of the most popular wedding traditions. If choosing the items you will wear has your head spinning, we are here to help. Here are a few subtle ideas to get that pop of something blue.

Wedding Floral:

Incorporate blue in the wedding floral. A bold blue flower like Iris, Orchids, Hydrangeas, Forget-Me-Nots or even blue tinted Roses could be used in the table centerpieces. These are perfect for spring and early summer. Having a fall wedding? The florist could easily add a sweet touch of privet berries, stems of thistle or dried blue salvia clusters to the bridal bouquet.

Photography Courtesy of Powers Photography Studios

Bouquets can be decorated just like bride can. In lieu of changing up the flowers, the bouquet can be wrapped in blue satin ribbon or held together with lace but pinned with blue pearl pins. A more garden themed wedding could add mini blue butterflies to the bridesmaid bouquets for a whimsical effect. Alternatively, a growing trend is to honor loved ones who are no longer with couple. Brides have used this moment to remember them by adding charms to the bouquets with loved ones pictures or names. These charms come in a multitude of colors- including you guessed it- blue!


Speaking of charms, the something blue can be easily viewed in the wedding day accessories. The blue could be worn in a necklace, earrings, bracelet or even the I do ring. Ask the hair stylist for their suggestions. They could easily build into the wedding day hair a headpiece or hairpins that have a pop of blue in them. Some women have even simply attached a gemstone charm onto their wedding dress zipper.


Some women have opted to go for the more non-traditional route and opted for a tea length dress. If this is the case why not make a bold statement and enjoy some glittery blue pumps. Even if they don’t make it past the first look shot, they will certainly add some sparkle to the photo. Maybe sparkles aren’t the right style. What about comfort? Countless brides exchange heels for shoes that can move when it’s time to hit the dance floor. Everyone will get a kick, while busting a move, when the bride reveals bright blue Converse or some neon blue Nikes.

Photography Credit: Sweetlife Photography


You can choose to add a personal touch to those classic white designer pumps. In blue sharpie have the finance write a message on the soles the night before. It’s always a sweet moment for the bride to read them before walking down the aisle. Want to involve the bridal crew? While getting ready, have them secretly each write a note on the soles. Keep it short and sweet. Limited space on those shoes and can’t make her cry before the aisle!

For an even more sentimental touch, add a piece of blue into the clothing. This is where any bride can get extra creative. Sew into the bottom of the dress a blue heart. It can be made from great grandmothers sweater. Tie into the bottom bustle a son or nephews blue ribbon they were sent home with from the hospital. Hand-stich on the back of the fiancés tie an I love you message. Who said the blue had to be on the bride?


Since there will be guaranteed pictures of the brides hands displaying the beautiful new ring, most brides opted for a manicure. Perfect opportunity to check that something blue off the list. The options are limitless. All blue from dark navy to robin egg blue. Do an ombre from clear to pale blue. Maybe a french manicure with blue tips or just an accent nail in blue.


The something blue is not limited to something that needs to be worn. Allow the guests to be the something blue. At each place setting or greeting table display the party favors. Whether it’s a local coffee roast, homemade chocolates or a succulent plant to go- have it wrapped and packaged in blue.

Photography Credit: Sweetlife Photography


At the bar:

Want to have a something blue that can disappear? Have the signature drink during cocktail hour be colorful. Anything involving the liquor blue curacao will do the trick. It can be mixed with most alcohol types- just let the bartender know in advance if tequila, vodka or whiskey is the preferred flavor of the day. Separately, the passed toasting drink during speeches could be blue. There is brand of sparkling wine called Blanc de Blue, blue made specifically for that purpose.

And if all else fails, the easiest go-to way to incorporate a touch of blue into your wedding day is to put your bridal party in blue. Dresses, suits and ties all come in a variety of colors, and pretty much everyone looks great in blue, so that is an extra bonus!

There are literally countless ways to have that pop of color on the big day. We hope this has helped you find the perfect touch of blue for your big day!

Oregon Coast Shoot: Cape Kiwanda

Couples Engagement Inspiration Vendors

Oregon Coast Shoot: Cape Kiwanda

Looking for some inspiration for your Oregon Coast or Portland area engagement shoot or upcoming elopement? Get swept away (just like we did!) by the love and emotion captured in these breathtaking images taken at the Oregon coast recently by talented local photographer, Lindsay Blair Photography.  Stunning!

In Lindsay’s words:

“I have been wanting to photograph a couple at Cape Kiwanda (off the Oregon Coast) for as long as I can remember, and after meeting Lauren through a friend, I knew that she and her boyfriend Ryan would be the perfect couple to ask to come along for the adventure. It was important to me to work with a real couple, as my ultimate goal is to capture the unique emotional connections between everyone I photograph. When I told them my vision and more about the project, they were so excited to participate. I wanted the focus of this inspired engagement session to be the the connection, love, and most importantly friendship between these two in an amazing scenic location. With that said, other than one dress change, we went very minimal on the details of this styled shoot. “


All photos: Lindsay Blair Photography


Spring and Summer is the perfect time to plan your own engagement or wedding photos at the Oregon coast! Be sure to watch for weather, plan ahead, and find a photographer that blends well with your personality.