Photography by Christy Cassano-Meyer.
When you get to look at gorgeous weddings all day every day, it’s not very often one makes you gasp out loud. I have never seen anything like this wedding – it’s part fashion editorial, part glamorously dark fairytale – one with a happy ending, of course! Louise & Cameron had their hearts set on marrying in the Pacific Northwest, where Cameron is from, but didn’t let the practicalities of a forest setting sway them from the romantic, elegant day they envisaged. This is no exaggeration – not only did bride Louise wear Oscar de la Renta‘s modern take on a classic silk ballgown and (stiletto!) Manolo Blahnik d’Orsay pumps to walk down the forest floor aisle, but she did it with live grand piano accompaniment! Dive right in now to see more of the seriously special day, and meet the couple who could not only dream of a black tie forest wedding but pull it off with such style.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We knew right away that we wanted to have our wedding in Oregon. No question. Not only because it is where Cameron was born and raised but also because we love the Pacific Northwest. Being born in the Philippines and growing up in Florida, I have always been around tropical places all my life, so when Cameron first took me to Oregon I just fell in love with the place. The tall trees, mountains and all the greenery! It’s just a totally different scenery from what I’ve always been around. Horning’s Hideout provided all that without being too far removed from the city of Portland where most of our guests were staying.
Your ceremony in three words. Fairytale, traditional, intimate.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I’ve always imagined having a small intimate ceremony within tall trees. Birds chirping, a babbling brook – a very organic yet elegant feel. I wanted to stick to a classic and elegant look that was in a somewhat unconventional environment.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? One day, about six years ago, Clair de Lune by Debussy came on. I’ve heard this piece before but never the solo piano version. It was very unlikely of me, however, I started envisioning it as the song to walk down the aisle to! Yes, I have been dating Cameron already for some time by then, and yes, I may or may not have turned into ‘that girlfriend’ that also envisioned him at the end of said aisle. Haha!
Every time I heard that song, it always struck an emotional chord for me for some reason. I love classical music and there’s just something about the sound of a piano solo that I have always appreciated. So as bizarre as it may have been to get a baby grand piano in the ‘middle of the forest’ it was something I really wanted to include. Cameron was also all for it… and it turned out to be a great talking point amongst our guests asking how we managed to pull that one off. So with that said, I’d like to give huge thanks to all the vendors involved and of course to my amazing wedding planner J29 Events for turning this bride’s dream vision into a reality!
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Did you include any traditions? I had my ideas of what I wanted and then J29 Events helped with the planning and coordination to bring everything together. Cameron and I very much value sentimental traditions and heirlooms. We both wore rings that are very personal to us. My engagement and wedding rings are heirlooms from Cameron’s father’s side (they originally belonged to Cameron’s grandmother and great grandmother.) Cameron wore his late grandfather’s World War 2 Bombardier Ring, as he likes to do on special occasions. It’s his way of including Grandpa in special times like this.
On my end, I wanted to make sure the traditions from my Filipino culture were incorporated, because my parents, their parents (and so on) have also followed them. I wanted to keep that tradition alive, hoping our kids, their kids (and so on) will see what we did and follow the same. We included the following Filipino and Hebrew traditions:
Veil Ceremony: Symbol of being clothed as one in unity.
Cord Ceremony: Symbol of the lifelong bond between the couple.
Presentation of Coins: Symbol of the couple’s commitment to mutually contribute to their relationship, children, and their community.
Signing of the Ketubah: (Marriage Covenant) and Marriage Certificate
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Pastor Carroll R. Myers. We had such great conversations with him. He is just a really genuine and caring person. Also, we were able to playfully banter back and forth with him a little, which was great since Cameron and I enjoy that kind of good humor!
What were your ceremony readings? 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
What were your vows like? We went for the traditional vows. We feel these vows encompass all the things one should say when committing themselves to one another. Also, for us, nothing is more meaningful than reciting the same words that have been used by our parents and even other couples from history’s past to bond their marriage for years and years.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? From the processional to the recessional, literally every piece of our wedding ceremony held meaning for us. So seeing it all come together in the moment was our favorite. We were just both overwhelmed with emotion. The love, encouragement, and joy that we felt from everybody there was something that we will never forget.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We chose this spot overall because of the tall trees, greenery and landscape. It was just all breathtaking. We also wanted to give our guests who have not been to the Pacific Northwest a chance to enjoy what we love so much, however this time, in black tie style, of course!
How would you describe your reception? Emotionally rewarding, Elegant but relaxed and I gotta say… the food and drinks were unbelievable!
Did you have a signature cocktail? We had four! Blueberry Slims (a pun-ny inspired take on where we first met at Automatic Slims): Portland Potato Vodka, St. Germain, lemons, limes, fresh blueberries, mint and sparkling water // Yokohamade (a pun-ny inspired take on where we had our first date at Yokohama Sushi Restaurant): Portland Potato Vodka, rosemary simple, fresh lemon juice, sparkling water, and fresh rosemary // Groom’s Recommendation, Stubborn Mule: Below Deck Spiced Rum, Cock N’ Bull ginger beer, fresh lime/ / Bride’s Recommendation, Tequila Shot: Olmeca Altos Plata tequila or Olmeca Altos Reposado tequila with salt and lime.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Everything will turn out amazingly regardless of any imperfections that may happen that only you would be able to see. But really… you won’t notice it on the actual day. Also, think of a rain plan from the start for outdoor weddings (including the ceremony portion!) Your plan B should be just as aesthetically pleasing to you as your original plan. It will help prevent from feeling you had to settle on something you didn’t absolutely love just because of the rain.
What was your wedding menu? It was love at first taste with White Pepper, our caterers. Cameron and I love food, so this was top priority for us. We really wanted to step out of the box from the typical banquet wedding food. We went with their in-season Oregon-style menu that included local ingredients. We chose a family style dinner, as wanted to sustain that intimate feel that we had started with the ceremony. Like having dinner at someone’s backyard with all our closest friends and family.
Passed hors d’oeuvres: Belgian Endive, Sun Gold Tomato Salsa Fresca, Preserved Lemon / Grand Central Brioche Toast, Manchego Cheese, Tart Rhubarb, Compressed Oregon Strawberries / Mary’s Farm Chicken and Lacinato Kale Tartlet, Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese, Romesco / Brown Butter Strip Steak Canapé, Horseradish Cream, Arugula, Black Pepper Toast
Family-style meal: Cedar-Smoked Pacific Chinook Salmon, Parsley Pesto, Lemon, Shallots, Roasted Garlic & Caper Aioli / Grilled Bavette Steak, Padron Peppers, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Romesco, Serrano Pepper and Cilantro Chimichurri / Crisp Watermelon, Grilled Corn Off The Cob, Feta, English Cucumbers, Tarragon Vinaigrette / Orzo Pasta Salad, Sugar Snap Peas, Cora’s Crop Duke Blueberries, Arugula, Lemon Vinaigrette / Thyme-Scented New Potatoes, Jacobsen Flake Salt / Grand Central Table Bread, Sweet Cream Butter
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Definitely have a budget plan laid out, no matter how big or small your budget is…and try your hardest to stick to it. No matter how many pretty things you encounter and decide you want!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The speeches. They were so heartwarming and very special to us. You’ll never get these speeches again. They were made especially for that moment. So we really appreciated each and every one.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First Dance: Aretha Franklin’s You’re All I Need to Get By (sung by my sister, Emily)
Father/Daughter Dance: Frank Sinatra’s My Way and New York, New York
Mother/Son Dance: Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Don’t stress over things you can’t control. Thoroughly enjoy the couple of days leading up to the wedding with family and friends. Especially the ones you don’t see often!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had four mini round cakes served per table. Each side of the long tables had two cakes. One was lemon lavender with blueberry compote and one was spiced cake with an apple compote. Guests were free to cut it up and serve themselves as they please.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Make sure to take time to soak it all in because the day goes by FAST!
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? It truly was a magical day that we want to relive at least a few more times! (Thank goodness for our amazing photographer and videography team; because of them, we will be able to!)