Is it just me or are Portland weddings super fun? They seem to have some of the most playful and thoughtful details. Favorite moments from Anya and Casey’s wedding: the DIY ribbon curtain ceremony backdrop, the understated centerpieces, and the postcard guest book. Also, if you’re looking for inspiration for a non-religious, personalized wedding ceremony, check out Anya and Casey’s right here!
From the bride: “Rather than picking wedding colors or having an overall theme, we tried very hard to just focus on the things we liked and my own decorating instincts. And I’m so glad we did! We ended up with a wedding that was so “us.” We had such a great time gathering the small details and really making the day our own. We had amazing food, gorgeous flowers, colorful stationary, seersucker napkins, medicine bottles, an awesome dance party, personalized touches and so much more. While I did worry that my vision was going to be a little random, I trusted myself and it all came together in the end. It was absolutely perfect!”
“My favorite thing about the wedding ceremony was walking down the aisle and then looking out at all of our guests. There is no way to describe the love and joy I felt standing up there and seeing all of our friends and families look back at us with love and support. It was indescribable.”
Your ceremony in three words. Thoughtful, Personal, Loving.
Why did you choose this venue for your ceremony? Our ceremony was in the same location as the reception. The venue was large enough to accommodate both and I loved the convenience of having the reception and ceremony at the same place.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I wanted our ceremony to be meaningful but I also didn’t want it to be too long. I looked at several templates online and received a few additional templates from our officiant. The templates were good guides but they weren’t quite personal enough. I decided the best way for me to achieve the personal touches I was looking for was to write the ceremony myself. I decided to enlist help from our parents because they have both been married for over 40 years. We had them write a few “words of wisdom” and incorporated their words into our ceremony. It was a really lovely and personal touch and meant a lot to both Casey and me. We also picked two readings and had our sisters read them. We really wanted our family involved in the whole process, and it ended up being perfect. The vows we repeated at the ceremony were very traditional. I liked the history and significance behind the traditional vows.
Who officiated your wedding? Casey and I thought a lot about who we wanted to marry us. We took the ceremony very seriously and wanted others to do the same. The officiant can really set the tone for the whole ceremony. We eventually decided that having a judge perform the ceremony was the perfect choice. Casey and I are both attorneys so having a judge made sense, but a judge also provided our ceremony the integrity we wanted.
Processional #1: “Going to the Chapel” by The Dixie Cups
Processional #2: “Love and Happiness” by Al Green
Bride Processional: “Carries On” by Edward Sharpe
Recessional: “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan
“Casey and I spent a lot of time finding the perfect venue for our reception and ceremony,” says Anya. “We knew from the beginning that we wanted to celebrate our big day with all of our friends and family, which meant we would be planning a big wedding. While we knew we needed a large venue, we didn’t want to sacrifice the character we were looking for. We focused on what we liked and knew we wanted something, modern, urban and a bit industrial. So we searched for the perfect open warehouse-type space that we could make completely our own. It was also important to us that the space have large windows so we could showcase all the beauty Portland has to offer in the spring as well as provide the space with a lot of natural light.”
How would you describe your reception? Our reception was overwhelmingly joyful and happy.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The venue was the first thing we planned for our wedding so it really set the stage for the rest of the wedding planning process. Because the space was so open, it was important to us that it did not feel cold or too impersonal. We still wanted it to feel romantic and welcoming. In order to achieve the vision we were looking for, we brought in a lot of lighting, including market lighting overhead and up-lighting on the beams. This made for the perfect atmosphere for our friends and family to dance the night away.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We had some very important DIY elements to our wedding. My mom is an amazing seamstress and decorator. She was instrumental in helping me bring all of my ideas to life in a cohesive manner. In addition to helping us plan the wedding, she also hand-made 225 seersucker napkins for the tables, and she was the inspiration and brilliance behind the gorgeous 12- foot ribbon backdrop for our ceremony. Also, Casey and I spent 9 months collecting over 150 vintage blue and green medicine bottles for the reception. We had a great time! And it was a fun way to add a our own personal touch to the wedding. While the flowers and lighting transformed the space, it was the personal details and touches of the handmade napkins, vintage medicine bottles, handmade ribbon backdrop, personalized favors and matches that really made the day perfect.
What about your guest book? The “guest book” is something we spent a lot of thought and time on. Casey and I collect old postcards from all of our travels and we wanted to somehow incorporate our travels and this tradition into our wedding day. Rather than choosing a traditional guestbook, we decided to put together a postcard guestbook where guests could pick a postcard and share a memory with us or give us a little advice on the back of the postcard. This was such a fun addition to the day! We focused on choosing postcards from where our guests would be traveling from or had once lived. As we expected, our guests chose their favorite state and shared many hilarious stories and memories with us. We now have so many postcards with written memories from our wedding day!
Tell us about your father/daughter dance. The father/daughter dance was very important to me. Not long after Casey and I got engaged, my father had a heart attack and had to undergo emergency heart surgery. The road to recovery was tough and emotional. Only a couple of weeks prior to the wedding he was back in the hospital with some heart complications. I wanted a song that actually meant something to my dad and family. There is no one song that reminds me more of my childhood or my father than “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver, and it’s my dad’s favorite song. I kept the song a surprise until we were out on the dance floor. When the song started playing, my dad’s face lit up. We both sang the words to the entire song and the crowd joined in clapping and singing along with us. It was a really amazing moment. It was the perfect song for us to dance to.
Mother/Son Dance: “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard
Menu: salad: arugula and spinach salad with strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, toasted walnuts and shallot vinaigrette // first course: gemelli pasta salad with asparagus, feta, fresh peas, meyer lemon and olive oil // entrée: alder smoke-grilled salmon drizzled with fennel aioli, fresh dill and lemon slices / grilled flank steak with fresh citrus gremolata // sides: smashed red potatoes with crème fraiche / asparagus, green beans, shaved fennel, peas with dijon vinaigrette
Signature Cocktail: The end of May can be pretty warm and we wanted our guests to having something refreshing to drink, so in addition to beer and wine, we also served small glass bottles of lemon Pellegrino. We paired the bottles with colorful striped paper straws, so they were both delicious and fun table decorations.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Don’t forget about the costs of the smaller details! It is easy to forget about all of the little things you have to spend on a wedding like menus, vases, personal touches, gifts for the wedding party, etc. But those costs can really add up.
Are there any other special details we should know about? The flowers were absolutely gorgeous! I wanted very natural looking flowers that would help bring out the beauty of the space while also adding height to the tables because the ceilings were so tall. Casey and I love succulents! My florist focused on adding elements of succulents throughout the space, the groomsmen’s boutonnières and my bouquet while my mother and aunts went to local flower growers and collected hundreds and hundreds of peonies, spirea, scabiosa cacausic, mock orange flowers and roses. The result was breathtaking!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received as a bride was to relax and take the time to really enjoy the day. It’s easy to get caught up in making sure every detail is in the right place because of all the planning that has gone into the day.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? My advice to other couples in the midst of planning a wedding is to trust your own instincts and never lose sight of the most important part of the day: getting married!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? If I had to do it over again, I would push back the start of the wedding by about an hour or so. We started the wedding at 5 and I wish we had started a little later. This would have allowed for a little more time for pictures before the wedding and to enjoy getting ready with my bridesmaids and mom.
What was your favorite part of the day? One of my favorite moments of the whole reception was when the DJ announced us as husband and wife and we rejoined our guests. We walked out to “Crazy In Love” by Jay Z and Beyonce. Everyone was cheering and clapping and giving us high-fives. It also set the tone for the amazing dance party that would occur later in the evening. It was one of those moments that is forever etched in my memory. Sheer joy is the best way to describe it.