Location - Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub

The banquet rooms above the restaurant and pub were some of the nicest rooms we saw. Having the tables, chairs, table clothes, china, and labor all included was a big perk as well. We were excited that we could basically just pick a menu and show up. Honestly, I'm unimpressed with the event coordinator. They double-booked our date, so we had to switch. (They offered a complementary champagne toast to prevent us freaking out - which worked - but then we didn't get one). They didn't tell us that they were going to have a party for the Red Bull Flugtag at the same time as our wedding until about a week before. They didn't have a floor layout to scale, which made table arrangements impossible. (We ended up measuring the place ourselves!) And email communication was consistently poor. However, they are great in person and know how to manage an event. Absolutely nothing went wrong during the wedding! The staff was so courteous and sweet, everything was set up as requested, and Tracy checked in regularly to make sure that everything was going well. The food was wonderful and  our guests loved it. The rooms looked great, and the chandeliers provided beautiful "candlelight." Plus, there was a crowd of half-drunk revelers already on the street to wish us farewell as we left the reception! lol. Overall, I'm so happy that we got married at Kells because of the attractive space and tasty food.

Photographer - Randy Boverman

I'm so happy we found Randy. He is not a 'wedding photographer' so we didn't get an album, blog posts, or over-used lines. But I didn't need the fancy wedding bells and whistles - I just wanted great photos for a great price. Randy was willing to work with us on our request for a la carte service. Plus, we felt comfortable with him - he is such a nice guy.  Because of traffic (f***ing Flugtag!), Richard and I were 45 minutes late for photos, but Randy was a whiz with the family portraits got us back on schedule. My single complaint is that he used a special effects lens that I specifically asked him not to use. And while I don't mind, he didn't take any of the common "detail photos" of my bouquet, or rings, centerpieces, etc. What we wanted most from our wedding were a handful of really great portraits and good photos of the ceremony - and Randy completely delivered. If I were to do it all over, I'd hire him again.

Officiant - Hon. Adrienne Nelson, Multnomah County Judge 

Arranging for a judge was fast, easy, and inexpensive. We don't need (or want) a religious ceremony or marriage counseling or 'getting to know you' consultations, so we are very pleased with this decision. Hon. Adrienne Nelson performed the ceremony, and she was great. She was prompt and well-organized. She did a wonderful job of reading our ceremony, and she was so easy going when we (a) forgot the rings and the groom and best man left to get them in the middle of the ceremony and (b) Richard and I walked out before she had finished declaring us married. I highly recommend her.

Dessert - Pix Patisserie

Pix was sooooo easy to work with. We ordered our croquembouche a couple of weeks in advance - no drama. They even worked with us on reducing the order (and getting money back) when we realized before the wedding that we had ordered too much. Hooray for easy vendors! The only downside is that we had to pick it up and transport it to Kells ourselves, but it's sturdier than a wedding cake, so it's really not as scary as it sounds. Richard and a friend did it the morning of the wedding without any problem. It was so beautiful that people didn't even realize that it was our "cake" - they thought it was art! It tasted so good (I caught my MOH and MIL practically licking the last pieces off the plate) that we wished that we hadn't reduced our order after all! It cost about the same as a simple wedding cake, but delivers much more bang for the buck. It's been two months now, and everyone keeps telling me how much they loved it!

Printing - DocuMart

Don't use Kinkos! Ugh - I used two Kinkos (Lloyd District and Corvallis) and both were a complete mess. I was SO happy with everything at DocuMart. Their staff were friendly, helpful, and experienced. I left with exactly what I wanted. Note: I went to the one on SW Macadam - I recently went to the one on NE Broadway, and while still better than Kinkos, I prefer the one Macadam).

Hair - Michelle, Roberts of Portland

Michelle was highly skilled and easy to work. I had her make a slight adjustment from my trial, and she hit it on the nail. When my MOH decided at the last minute that she wanted flowers in her hair, Michelle not only did it for her for free, but gave her directions to a nearby flower market! Her prices were reasonable. Anther stylist did an equally fabulous job with my MOH's hair, but I don't know her name! A perk is that the salon doesn't book more than 12 weeks in advance, so they aren't booked up months in advance.

Make Up - Darbey Bacchus Budd

Darbey was so easy to work with, even when I kept calling to rearrange schedules. But do keep a record of your times and payment, since he doesn't seem equally skilled at keeping books. At the trial, he did exactly what I asked for (which was quite vague). When I asked for no fake lashes and a slightly toned-down look for the real deal, he completely delivered. He is a really fun guy, too. He even calmed down my mother who showed up in the salon in tears because she had gotten lost (and had some - okay, a lot - of pre-wedding jitters!). She looked amazing as well, so Darbey can do "girls of all ages!"

Band - Djangophiles

I had a rough start with the Djangophiles. The contact stood us up at our meeting (although he was very apologetic), and it seemed to take a long time to get the final arrangements made. If FI hadn't been so dedicated, I don't think we would have booked them. And although he originally said they could fill any request we had for processional/recessional songs, when I told him what I wanted he shrugged and said "sorry, we don't know that one." 

But I'm happy to report that they blew my mind at the wedding. Seriously, the best band ever. They were so adept at picking up on the mood of the party and adjusting their rhythm. The music was dramatic during the ceremony, and not-distracting-yet-joyful the rest of the time. Dave (main contact) even pulled in a different musician to play in the band after we gave him our procession/recession picks so they could play them best. And when we had a five-minute blank spot during the ceremony as Richard and his brother looked for our wedding rings, they picked right up with the processional song and filled the void! Our guests couldn't stop talking about how perfect they were... oh, worth every penny!

Bridal Gown - AniA Collection

Since I bought a sample dress, I didn't need full services. But their staff was always very nice to me. The saleswoman even stayed (way) passed closing time for my first day of trying on dresses. But they also aren't pushy or clingy. And they held my dress for me and had it pressed (free of charge) before I picked it up.

Alterations - Jennifer Phillips 

I needed the dress to be taken in about four inches, plus hemming and a bustle, so it was no simple task. Jennifer was proficient and quick, although not the best communicator. She does three fittings instead of the standard two, with the 3rd near the wedding to make any little adjustments "if your weight changes." The cost of the alterations was much less that I was expecting - it was much lower than what I've heard brides cite for much less work. And she did such a good job taking the dress in, no one ever would have known how big it was at the beginning! My dress fit like a glove and had a beautiful bustle.

Tuxedos - Cromwell Formal Wear

Just like Pix, this was the easiest vendor. I highly recommend them. They are local and have more intimate customer service than you'll find at the chains. (Their tuxes may be less expensive, too?) The saleswoman who helped us pick out the tuxes did a good job of offering opinions without being pushy. Our best man doesn't live in Portland, but he easily submitted his measurements to them online without a problem. What I liked best about them, aside from supporting a local company, was that they had the tuxes ready for pick up TWO days before the wedding and they had the guys try them on IN THE STORE. That way, they could fix any issues before the wedding (there weren't any). I've heard so many stories of missing or mis-sized items at other places, that I see this a huge plus.

Flowers - Swan Island Dahlia Farm

Swan Island was a breeze to work with. If I ever need dahlias again (especially 30 dozen!), I will certainly be calling them. They have a vast selection of dahlias, with a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Their customer service was also very friendly and helpful. I just had to call in advance to place an order and let them know what morning I wanted to pick them up! The only hang up was that we had a cool summer and all crops were late - including dahlias! Since they had a small fraction of their usual stock, I had to place my order sooner than usual and they didn't have enough of my preferred colors. They aren't responsible for the weather!

DIY - Me and people who love me

I did many things myself and with the help of family and friends. I designed the invitations. I loved the design, but had a headache printing them. In the end, I was happy with the results and got many requests for the name of the company I ordered them from! lol. I also made my own veil, which was a fraction of the price but not worth it. I wasn't happy with the result at all. Making a veil is very, very simple. But I couldn't find bridal illusion that was soft and flowing - instead, my veil was crisp and stuck out at weird angles. I made silk-covered vases from tin cans which I looooved - plus, it was all 100% recyclable or reusable. I did all the flowers for the wedding with (a lot of) help from family and friends. I was very, very pleased with the centerpieces. The corsages, boutonnières and bouquets all looked good, but I'm glad that I made extras! A bout fell apart and so did my bouquet. Since I did the flowers for my whole wedding for the cost of a professional bouquet, I definitely don't regret doing them myself and was accepting of my novice errors. I can share my process/tips with anyone who is interested

Dance Lessons - Rachel Lidskog

Our gym fortuitously offered dance lessons right before our wedding. While I am a good dancer, my fiance didn't know a single step. We took the introductory swing lessons, and I was very impressed by Rachel. She is funny, encouraging, and a very good teacher. (Not surprisingly, she is an elementary school teacher by day). I got a good brush-up, Richard learned the basic steps and a few turns, and the lessons didn't break the bank. While we took the classes at March Wellness (which were open to non-members at a slightly higher cost), Rachel also teaches at more public locations. I highly recommend her, especially if you and/or your fiance are intimidated by dance classes.

Rehearsal Dinner - Amy Jackson, Custom Cake Events

In full disclosure, Amy is a friend of Richard's... but that doesn't mean she  isn't still an amazing caterer. We were so tired of planning by the time it came to the rehearsal dinner that she literally handled everything - rentals, flowers, color scheme, even getting childhood photos from our parents! The rehearsal dinner was beautiful and the food was delicious. Everyone had multiple servings... including the bride the day before the wedding! And my cousins asked for the recipes. There wasn't much food remaining, but she even packed up the leftovers for us! Amy's a complete sweetheart, too. Contact her at customcakeevents(at)gmail(dot)com.

Candle Holders -

After extensive price comparisons, I found that frosted votive holders were cheapest at We ordered a gazillion (well, 72) for about $45. The package arrived promptly, but several holders were broken. But a quick email to got replacements in the mail immediately. But in the end, it took nearly a month to get all the holders. We had time, so we didn't care. I would recommend, but not if you are in a rush.