Random musings and insight from the owners of Power of Love Rentals. 

Power of Love Rentals is a family run wedding and event rental business, specializing in unique decor, event styling and personalization and located in Portland, Oregon. Portland wedding rentals, Portland event rentals, Portland wedding and event rentals, mason jars, milk glass.  Vintage rentals, wedding rentals, event decor, wedding decor, decor rentals, unique, wedding planning, event planning, wedding styling, event styling, lawn games, lawn game rentals, place settings, place setting rentals, Portland wedding rentals.  Portland event rentals.  .  Portland event decor.  Portland wedding decor.  Portland vintage wedding decor.

"You are my Greatest Adventure"

Chalkboard Globe by Brittany Hampton Design-luggage and styling by us

Chalkboard Globe by Brittany Hampton Design-luggage and styling by us

On December 13, we collaborated with a talented group of wedding professionals to give a couple their dream wedding.  Angela and Brandon were renewing their vows after 7 years of marriage.  Through a contest hosted by A Classic Affair, they won the vow renewal specially curated for them. 

The theme was vintage travel, incorporating touches of Paris (a very special place to them) and the Pacific Northwest, where they now live and love.  It's so important to us to make sure that the personal touches are included through out the day, from the hops in the boutonniere because the groom brews his own beer to the cake topper that's a quote from Star Wars-one of their favorite movies. 

Take a look at some of the pictures captured by Amber Hempen Photography.

A HUGE "Thank You" to the following vendors who helped make this day possible:

Styling and Coordinating: Power of Love Rentals

Photography: Amber Hempen Photography

Video: Lindsey Rose Photography

Custom Signs and Cake Topper: BH Design

Custom Invitations: Vintage Mingle

Hair and Makeup: Pure Elegance Artistry

Floral Design: Bohemian Bouquets

Cake Artist: Sugar Momma's Bakeshop

Officiant: Diva Matters Ministry

Catering: Two Girls Catering

Custom Bow Ties: Bridgetown Bowties

Venue: Camas Hotel

Bridal Gown: Brides for a Cause


A unique way to add personal touches to your day without breaking the bank

This past weekend, we had the privilege to style and coordinate a vow renewal for an amazing and unique couple through our sister company, A Classic Affair. 

We wanted to add details that meant something to the couple personally.  Little pieces that they would see and love because they knew that we planned it all for them specifically. 

While planning the specific decor, we decided to think outside the box a bit.  Instead of hunting for expensive figurines and models to add into the centerpieces, we chose Metal Earth models and then spray painted them to match the color scheme.  Yeah, it took more time to put them together and paint than it would have to just buy something.  But this enabled us to find more unique pieces for much less. 

This is what we love to do.  We love to do the creative problem solving for our couples.  We like to think of different ways to help bring their vision to life without breaking the bank.

Notice the small gold models arranged on the suitcases. :)

Notice the small gold models arranged on the suitcases. :)

How can you Be the Light?

There are so many people suffering.  So many who need a little light in their lives.  From the homeless under the bridges, the women and children in protective shelters, the refugees from various countries who are looking for a better life and fleeing violence in their home countries....there are just so many people who need help. I wish that I could help them all at once.  My son, Austen, and I decided to do something to bring light to people during the holiday season (and hopefully beyond).  Our family is organizing Operation: Be the Light. We're hosting a supply drive for a local women's shelter here in Portland.  If you're interested in being involved, check out the Facebook page, Operation: Be the Light

Not everyone will be able to participate, and that's okay!  I just challenge you to find a way to Be the Light for someone this holiday season.  Whether it's taking a pie to a neighbor, buying a stranger's cup of coffee, helping a relative with a project....there's all sorts of ways to Be the Light.

Our styled shoot has been published!

We're so excited to announce that our style shoot from this summer has been published on the super awesome blog, When Geeks Wed!  Check out the link below the picture to see what they have to say.

Our "Alice" model

Our "Alice" model

21 Questions to ask your photographer

We have another guest vendor today who's going to help you with questions to ask your potential photographer to make sure that you're the right fit for each other.  Amber Hempen is an amazing photographer who loves to capture the real moments in life.  If you need a photographer, she's pretty awesome.  Check her out!  And take a look at the advice that she gives you when chatting with your photographer.


21 Questions to ask your photographer

1. How long have you been doing photography?

If they're just starting out, they may not know all the tricks and tips to make everyone look their best in pictures.

2. Do you have a plan of action if you can't make my wedding due to something? (i.e. like a death or getting hurt)

We never want to think of something bad happening.  But it always helps to have a back up plan.  Especially when it comes to your wedding day.

3. do you have back up equipment?

Again, if something breaks, you want to know that your photographer has it all taken care of.

4. Can you think quickly on your feet?

Things happen quickly at weddings.  You don't want to miss the fun moments of your flower girl flirting with the ring bearer because you were saying your vows.  Make sure your photographer thinks fast and can catch the details that might otherwise be missed.

5. Do you have back ups of our photos?

You know people say that you should have a back up of a back up?  Computers crash.  You don't want to lose all of your precious memories because your photographer didn't have a back up of your pictures.

6. What sort of packages do you offer?

Many photographers offer different types of packages to easily fit what you need on your big day.

7. Do you have insurance?

Definitely definitely definitely want your photographer to have insurance.  'Nuf said.

8. How many weddings have you covered?

This goes back to how experienced they are.  Covering a wedding is a whole different ball game than newborn pictures or family photos. 

9. Can I see a few whole weddings?

Your photographer should be willing to share some of their work with you.  That way, you can get an idea of their style.

10. How long before we get our images back?

You're itching to see the gorgeous pictures.  To re-live your magical day.  But you also want to make sure that your photographer has enough time for editing. 

11. Do you give us reprint release?

Can you do whatever your little heart desires with your pictures once you have them?  Or do you have to get everything approved and credited to your photographer?

12. Do we get high resolution images?

If you want to be able to print your pictures, you want high resolution images.  As Amber says, "Low res photos, you can't print since they'll look like crap." Okay then.

13. Have you worked with a videographer before?

When you have different vendors coming together to make your dream day a reality, they need to understand how to work best with each other.

14. What makes you a good photographer?

I always hate this question.  But it helps to know why they think they're a great fit for you.  Or not a great fit, as the case may be.

15. Why do you love your job?

Why did they become a photographer in the first place?  It helps to know where your vendors are coming from.

16. What is your style?

If you're having a more fun, laid back and creative wedding, you probably don't want to go with a photographer who specializes in formal poses and images.

17. What is your deposit?

You need to make sure that you know what the financial commitment will be prior to actually committing.

18. Do you have a contract?

If your photographer doesn't have a contract, you have no way to guarantee that they're going to deliver.  And they have no way to guarantee that you're going to pay.  Contracts are there to protect both parties.  Have one.

19. Do you have references or online reviews we can see?

References and reviews are a great way to see what other people think about your photographer.

20. How did you get into wedding photography?

This is a fun question to ask to get to know your photographer personally a bit more.

21. Do you have any pre-wedding paperwork to help you know who my vendors are?

Not every photographer will have this.  But it helps to have a timeline for them, along with different shots that you definitely want them to take. 

I know that there's like a thousand questions here (ok, only 21).  You don't have to ask every single one of these questions.  The main goal is to make sure that you are completely and totally comfortable with your photographer.  They're one of the vendors that will be everywhere at your wedding.  You want to get along with them.  It'll make the day so much easier!  I know I keep saying this, but I will get better at staying on track with this blog.  I promise.  I have a lot more tips and tricks and wedding hints up my sleeve this summer!

Creative Ideas to incorporate your personalities into your wedding day

Today's "special guest" is yours truly.  I wanted to share with you something that is extremely important to me.  Making your wedding your own and not a cookie cutter wedding that doesn't reflect you as a couple. 

Lego Unity Ceremony- Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Lego Unity Ceremony- Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

When I was planning my own wedding, there were two questions that I kept asking myself:  "Have I seen this before?" and "Does this reflect us and our personalities?".   If you're asking yourself the same questions, than this is the blog post for you.

How can I personalize my Ceremony?

One of the most common ways to personalize your ceremony is to write your own vows, which of course, we did.  Don't be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to your vows and what you want to say to one another.

Another way to make sure that your ceremony is about you as a couple is to look at different options for a unity ceremony if you want one.  Lots of couples do candles or sand.  I've even seen cocktails (which is awesome!).  But I've never seen a Lego ceremony until our wedding.

Our son was 7 when my husband and I got married.  Legos were (and still are) HUGELY popular in our house.  While planning the wedding, I literally had a dream about creating a Lego heart with 3 missing pieces, a different color for each one of us.  I woke up the next morning and decided that that would be the perfect unity ceremony to represent our family.  It's now in a shadow box in our living room and we've added another block of a different color for our youngest son.

But there's only so many ideas that you can do for decor...

Centerpiece from the Sweetheart Table-notice the title of the books?   Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Centerpiece from the Sweetheart Table-notice the title of the books?   Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Close up of my husband's grandparent's wedding picture.  And the "groom" drinking glass.  Notice the cow in the background?  That's an inside joke from my maid of honor.  Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Close up of my husband's grandparent's wedding picture.  And the "groom" drinking glass.  Notice the cow in the background?  That's an inside joke from my maid of honor.  Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Is there?  Let's look at centerpieces...vases, candles, wood rounds, books, table runners...they're all awesome.  They can all be absolutely gorgeous.  AND they can all also be personalized in some way.  For my wedding, I had books, assorted milk glass, assorted Pearl China, some candles, and pictures of our family members and ancestors on their wedding days and other great family pictures.  I would encourage you to look for 2-3 things that show your personalities or that are important to you and incorporate them into your decor.  Even with our books, I had Star Wars books and theatre books as an added detail to reflect my husband and me.

What else can I do to make my wedding unique?

So here's the deal, I could probably write a book about all the different ways that you can make your special day all about you as a couple.  But if I give you all the ideas, then it won't reflect you.  What I do recommend is that you don't rule anything out as too "weird" or out of the ordinary.  From brewing your own beer, light saber hilts, a cardboard cutout of Chewbacca and the groom entering to Star Wars music to antique window panes as a guest "book" and stuffed memory teddy bears to honor lost loved ones, there are so many different ideas out there to make your wedding day something that definitely breaks the mold. 

If you'd love some guidance on ideas, please don't hesitate to contact us for a consultation.  It's what we love to do.  I'll leave you with a picture of our favor-a Swedish Love Knot- that was a nod to my heritage.

Miniature Swedish Love Knot- Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Miniature Swedish Love Knot- Picture by Natalie Arabadzhi Photography

Casual sliders or a 7 course sit down meal, these are the questions you want to ask caterers.

Today, Wil and Kris from fabulous White Pepper are writing about what questions you should always plan on asking your caterer.  This duo definitely brings out the best in food.  I had the privilege of working with them at A Classic Affair and I was so impressed by their delicious treats!


12 Questions for your Caterer.

Congratulations - you're engaged! One of the most thrilling times of your life is upon you - there's little that compares to the celebration of love and commitment between you and your spouse! While planning your wedding with your fiance is fun and exciting - it's likely that you'll be navigating waters you've never seen before, and catering is a big part of the puzzle. No matter what your budget is for your event - couples will spend anywhere from 30% to 50% from their whole budget on their caterer. With such a large chunk of money headed to one part of your big day - it's important to be fully informed and confident before making a final decision. Below are 12 questions I would expect any of my clients to ask me. These questions will give you confidence in hiring your caterer, or.. they'll give you confidence in moving on to the next.

1 - Are you licensed and insured?
All professional catering operations should be licensed to do business in the state and county that they serve, and they should be insured as well. They should also be happy to offer proof of their insurance policies and their business license. Hiring a caterer that does not hold insurance and isn't licensed is a huge liability for the bride and groom. Not only does it offer zero credibility to the caterers operation, but liabilities could fall on the bride and groom if something were to go wrong. For me, this is the first question, because if the answer is "no" - it's a done deal to move along.

2 - What type of service styles do you offer and what's included in those?
It's always important to know whether a caterer is the right fit for you and your wedding. Some caterers offer limited styles of service and before wasting your time - find out if they even cater the type of style your looking for. Some caterers only offer buffet meals with limited on-site staff, some offer fully plated and coursed meals.  Know what styles of service you're looking for going into the meeting, and ask how the caterer plans to execute that on site.

3 - How much of your food do you make fresh in house and how much do you purchase pre-made?
Catering a wedding for 150 people is no easy task. Many caterers have tricks to pull something like this off. But one trick, should never be cooking all the food and holding it hot for several hours. This definitely works for some foods, but expensive items, like meat entrees and seafood, should be cooked on-site whenever possible. A great caterer will be able to speak to this and why it's better for everyone. They'll also have specialized equipment that ensures their ability to do it well.

4 - Where do you source your food?
If you're like me, you know that food is best when it's grown seasonally and regionally. If that's something that's important to you, ask your caterer how they feel about that and where they source their food. They should be able to speak to their different food vendors and why they've selected them. Good food is expensive to source, but the end result at your wedding will speak volumes.

5 - Will we be able to have a tasting?
There's no better way for you to understand a caterers food style and quality that at a tasting. The tasting should be outstanding. If you have a sub-par tasting, think about how that will reflect when they're cooking for 100+ people vs. 2 people. The tasting is a great chance to meet your caterer if you haven't done so already. It's a great chance to ask questions about the operation, food service options, menu cost differences, food sourcing, and anything else you want to know!

6 - How are your buffet/bar/beverage stations decorated? Can I have say in how they're decorated?
Every client has a style that is as unique as they are. It's important to know if your caterer has a setup style that will blend well with your wedding style. For example - a very modern caterer probably wouldn't look great with a very rustic themed wedding. Ask if your caterer will blend their style with yours to find something that will complement your wedding day, instead of detract from it.

7 - How much time is needed for setup and tear down?
Many clients think that since they're having a 5 hour reception that they should only be billed for 5 hours of staff. Don't forget that many caterers require at least 2 hours of load-in and setup and at least 1 hour of break down and load-out. That 5 billable hours just turned into 8 and if you weren't expecting that up front - you may be caught off guard!

8 - How do you handle headcount changes when it comes down to the event week?
If you start with a headcount of 125, then, then month before your wedding you're only at 75 - how will the caterer work with that. Do they offer to bring the contract price down since you'll have less guests? What if your guest-list expands by 10 or 15 people in the last few days? How will your caterer handle that? Be sure to ask how that changes the contract price and if there's any penalties that come with late headcount changes.

9 - What are some other fees charged that I should know about up front?
When a caterer presents a menu with pricing, that often doesn't reflect the full price you'll be paying. If your caterer hasn't sent you a full and formal proposal, ask about extra fees. Are rentals included? Do you have a travel fee? What is your service charge? Does that price include non-alcoholic beverages? Does it include full service staff? This will help to avoid last-minute charges and surprise expenses!

10 - How many events do you cater in 1 day?
Some caterers are set up to do multiple events in 1 day, some are not. Regardless of how they go about doing multiple events in 1 day, it's good to know if you'll have their full dedicated staff, or if you'll have 1 team of staff. If they do handle multiple events in one day, they should express confidence in their ability to do so and should be able to speak to that ability.

11 - Who will be my main point of contact?
Sometimes you'll need to contact your caterer with a question or a concern - and sometimes your point of contact will change while you're working with them. Once you've decided to work with them and sign a contract, ask if you should contact your accounts manager directly with questions, or an accounts assistant. If a caterer does book multiple full-service events on the same day - ask if you can have to contact information for the catering manager that will be at your event. Reaching out to the right person often means getting a quick solution to a question or problem. If they don't have a catering manager for your event - that's probably a red flag and should cause concern.

12 - Will you refer some previous clients to me?
When I hire someone for a job, I want to know that they will do outstanding work and have a great reputation. Be sure to ask your caterer for a couple references. Ask if they have a wedding coordinator AND a past client who will be able to speak to the integrity, quality and value of their business. Any decent caterer should be more than happy to do so!

Don't be afraid to ask your caterer questions. You're paying them a lot of money to feed everyone coming to your wedding - you should feel very comfortable and confident in their ability to do so! A great caterer sees themselves as a teammate with you. We're working together to bring your vision to fruition - it should never be a battle of wills - and if it is, they're probably not the right caterer for you.

Who is White Pepper?

White Pepper is not only a marriage between a chef (Wil’s second love is his cast iron skillet) and a visual artist (Kris has credentials as an interior designer); it’s a marriage between good food and great presentation. It’s a marriage between fresh, local ingredients and creative vision.
Portland based and inspired by Pacific Northwest cuisine, Wil and Kris work with you to create custom menus featuring fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. We are real people, making real food, creating real experiences; and we want you to eat well.

How to know you're booking the right DJ for you

Today, we have a guest post from Nicole with Sundown Entertainment NW.  She's going to help you figure out what you should be looking for and asking when you're booking your dj. I recently had the opportunity to work with Nicole on A Classic Affair, and she was fantastic!  She definitely knows her stuff.   I hope that this guest blog helps you a bit with your planning.  What other wedding professionals would you like to hear from?  Comment and let me know.

Top 10 Questions to ask your DJ


1. Do you offer a contract?

All of the wedding disc jockeys you interview may not have the same standards of professionalism. A written, legal contract is one of the first indicators of whether a DJ is professional and reliable. Furthermore, a contract establishes the DJ’s obligation to the client and outlines what is required for the DJ’s success. For this reason, a written contract is absolutely essential and any DJ not using a written contract in our opinion, should not be considered for a wedding.

2.  May we meet with you in person before we sign a contract?

Many wedding DJs and DJ companies attempt to conduct their interviews over the telephone and through email instead of meeting face-to-face with prospective clients. In our experience, there are two reasons a DJ company would do this – either they don’t feel you are worth their time, or they have something to hide. So ask them this question, because a great company will want to meet you as much as you want to  meet them, so they can figure out if they are also the best fit for you.

3. How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done?

A wedding is such an important occasion, and you don’t want your DJ’s first wedding to be your own. The number of years someone has been a DJ will give you some indication of their experience level, but some DJs only perform for a few events (and fewer weddings) each year. A DJ with half as many years in the industry may have many times as many weddings under his belt, so you should also ask how many weddings the DJ has done. 

4. How many weddings do you do each year?

Just like any other profession, performing for weddings requires one’s skills to be in top form. If a DJ performs for only a few weddings per year, they may not be “at the top of their game” by the time your wedding date arrives. Asking how many weddings they do per year will give you an indication of their level of commitment to your type of event.

5. Do you perform for more than one event in a day?

Some DJs will do as many events as they possibly can, and often try to pack their weekends with all types of DJ work. If a disc jockey has already done an event in the afternoon before your wedding, they will likely be physically exhausted by the latter half of your wedding, which is exactly when they need to be the most alert and active. This is most common at large agencies, where “weekend warriors” may perform at four to six events over a three-day period. It is hard to believe that any DJ could give that many couples an adequate amount of attention leading up to, and on, their wedding day. For us at Sundown Entertainment, we have each DJ only perform one wedding per day.

6. Have you played at our Venue before?

Wedding experience is important, and so is familiarity with your reception site. Every site poses different challenges – different load-in and security procedures, different room sizes and configurations, different acoustics, even antiquated electrical outlets that need to be grounded manually. Hiring a DJ that is familiar with your site will give you peace of mind that you won’t have any surprises on your wedding day. Obviously, even the best DJs can’t have performed at every site in the area (since there are hundreds available in any area), but if he hasn’t been to yours, he should be willing to adequately prepare himself prior to your event by visiting the venue and/or speaking with the site contact and studying a floor plan. At Sundown Entertainment we actually like to meet up with our clients a few months before their wedding date at the venue, to go over the layout of the spaces and the overall plan of the day. So when we walk in, we are prepared, know where to go and place our equipment, and are fully prepared for the events throughout the wedding.

7. Do you act as the “emcee” and make all of the announcements?

Any professional wedding disc jockey should be comfortable with making announcements and serving as the emcee for the wedding, it is a standard part of the job. Some DJs, however, are not comfortable with this and prefer to pass these duties on to someone else, such as a site manager, who may not have a professional voice or experience speaking on a microphone. 

8. Can we visit you at a performance?

Hopefully the answer to this question is “no.” We’re sure that you wouldn’t appreciate the DJ inviting prospective clients to your wedding to see him in action. A professional DJ should be willing to take a stand for his clients’ privacy and not offer this as a possibility.  Professional wedding DJs never allow this.

9. When do we need to submit our music requests and event details?

Most professional DJs will give you a printed song list and planning worksheet with which to communicate the details of your event; others will give you access to an online planning system that will guide you throughout the entire process. You should be given ample time to make decisions regarding your music choices and event timeline, but the DJ should also require this information far enough in advance so that he can adequately prepare for your event. A DJ who doesn’t ask for your requests at least a couple of weeks before your wedding, may not be able to fulfill them. In addition, the DJ should be willing to accommodate any later changes or additions whenever possible, rather than locking you into a first dance song that you later regret or refusing to alter the order of your toasts.

10. Do you bring backup equipment with you to the wedding?

Even the very best and most well-maintained equipment will malfunction at some point. Your DJ needs to be prepared in case this happens at your wedding. The only way you will not suffer a setback on your special day is if the DJ brings a full second sound system with them to each and every wedding. Having backup equipment in a warehouse 50 miles from your reception site won’t do much good if there is no music at your wedding for an hour.

We hope this helps to ease a little stress, when choosing your next DJ for your wedding day! Just remember, professional companies will answer these questions and more. They WILL want to meet with you ahead of signing a contract if they genuinely care about you and the outcome of your day. I know that we take pride in meeting our clients and building a friendship with them. How else would we be able to cater our equipment to your specific needs and be able to make your day how you envision.


Check us and our reviews out at:



What questions should you be asking while you're planning your wedding?

Some of you might know that we're helping my sister plan her wedding.  Over the next couple of months, I'll be sharing insight from various businesses on what questions you should be asking your vendors during the planning stages. 

We recently toured my sister's venue, so this week, I'll share the list of questions to keep in mind while you're looking at different venues.

Here's a link so that you can print the questions off to add to your planning binder if you'd like.

What other questions would you ask?

Questions to ask your venue:

What is your capacity?

What all does the rental cover (tables, chairs, décor, etc)?

How long is the rental time frame? 

Does that include set up and tear down time?

Do you have preferred vendors?

Are there any noise limitations?

Are there limitations on décor or supplies?

How many events do you host a day?

Does rental include rehearsal time, and if so, how much time?

What parts of the venue are included in the rental?

Is set up and tear down done by the venue or by the clients?

Is there a go-to person available on the day of the event?

Jolynn from The Troutdale House (one of my personal favorite venues yet!) had some great questions to add as well.  Don't forget to check out their bridal event on March 8th!

Who cleans the event space after use?  Venue or client?

What type of insurance do I need for my event?

Do you provide any discounts? ( Military, off-season, etc.)

Do you provide any visual or audio equipment at the venue?  Is it included in cost or extra?

Do you have indoor/outdoor event space?

If outdoor space is used do these areas have electrical power outlets?  

Is all of your venue wheel chair friendly?

Do we have access to kitchen areas?  What type of kitchen supplies are provided?

Are pets allowed in/at venue? 




So many new and exciting things going on!

First off, I have to apologize for slacking on the blog.  I cross my heart...I'll get better!  Eventually. 

I've been so busy working on producing A Classic Affair, a bridal event that I'm planning with a group of other amazing wedding vendors.  Come by and visit us on March 20th from 4-9 at Gray Gables!  We're so excited for this show and for our part in this show.  Don't forget to stop by our booth and take a look at our new inventory of luxury rentals.

We've also been hard at work creating new packages from just linens to all inclusive styling and coordination.  We definitely still offer all of our rentals ala carte, but we wanted to offer packages to our couples who might need just a bit more than the basic place settings or one style of vase. 

Are you not quite sure what you want?  That's totally fine!  We can meet with you for an hour long complimentary consultation and help with whatever planning needs that you might have.

Take a look at our new packages and services by either following the link to our page or clicking below for the pdf.

Power of Love 2015 Services and Packages

Wedding Planning Timeline

It's been three years since I planned my own wedding.  But I'm currently helping my sister plan her wedding.  If only I had known then what I know now, my own planning would have been just a wee bit less stressful (or, you know...if someone had done the planning for me!)

So, dear readers (however many there are of you), you get the joy of following along with my sister's wedding planning.  Which will, hopefully, help you with yours.  Last week, I talked about budgeting- just scroll down the page a little bit and check out the handy, personalizable (it's a word, I swear!) spreadsheets.

This week, I want to talk about what you should be looking at after you figure out your budget.  Do your budget first!  Believe me.  It'll make everything that much easier.  Plus it'll save time because you won't waste hours looking at venues, dresses and vendors that are out of your budget.

1) Determine what feel/theme/look that you're going for.  Are there specific colors that you want to incorporate?

2) What time of year?  If you're dreaming of an outdoor wedding and you're in the Pacific Northwest, plan on looking at June-September.  But also keep in mind that this is also prime "wedding season" so venues often have higher prices in that time frame.  Do you dream of a ballroom wedding?  You can do anytime of year, which is definitely more flexible with pricing options.

3) Now that you've figured out time of year, that will help you determine what kind of venue you need.  Once you know what kind of venue you're looking for, the location is the first thing that you need to book.  The location determines everything else, from what date is available to vendor limitations.  After your venue is booked, then you can start your search for your vendors.  Ask friends and family who they would recommend.  Google your vendors before you book them, and make sure to meet with them in person at least once prior to your wedding.

So how do you find a great venue without spending hours and hours googling and hunting online?  Funny that you ask.  I'm actually working on creating a list of venues in the Portland Metro area.  I'll be publishing that on this blog in late January (after the Christmas and New Years madness).

PS-There are a TON of wedding planning timelines out there on different websites. was the one that I used.  It helps to find a timeline that you can personalize for your needs. 


You're Engaged!!!!! Now what?

It's the time of year that a lot of couples are getting engaged.  It's such an exciting time!  You want to figure out all the fun details...what your colors will be, who's going to be part of the bridal party, what your first dance will be...but guess what?  Before you jump right on in and start getting stressed by all the little things, you can't forget the most important planning aspect that will help you immensely (believe me! I know!). 

Figure out your budget.

Yeah.  Money.  It can be boring to talk about when you really just want to figure out what flavor cake to have.  It can even be stressful and uncomfortable.  But, I promise you, if you figure out the budget BEFORE you start making any other decisions, it will make your life easier.  To help take one more thing off your plate, I've included links to three different wedding budget planners.  They can be personalized and edited to fit your unique needs (not everyone wants a limo).  These planners break down all the little details that you might otherwise forget while planning.

Wedding Budget Planner 1

Wedding Budget Planner 2

Wedding Budget Planner 3

So there you sit down with your fiance and take a look at the different spreadsheets.  Happy planning!!

It's all about the money....or is it?

I hear a lot of people wondering which is more cost effective…renting or buying supplies and décor for their wedding.  To be honest, it all depends.  One can save you valuable time while the other might save you some money in the long run.  How about we break it down comparing linens?

Especially around the holidays, you can find amazing deals on buying tablecloths (check out  Quite often you can find linens for as low as around $5 a piece for a basic white or black.  Normal, non-holiday sale pricing is closer to $12 a piece.  A couple of things to keep in mind with linens would be the shipping cost as well as washing and drying them and de-wrinkling them. 

I would definitely recommend that you wash, dry and hang your linens up before your event.  Hopefully that will save you the hassle of trying to iron all the obnoxious creases and wrinkles out of them the night before your wedding like I did. 

If you were to rent your linens, most places in the Portland area run right around $7-$12 a piece for basic white or black, depending on size and shape.  You’ll most likely have a refundable cleaning/security deposit to pay to cover any damages to the linens, but those should be the only fees coming up.  They’ll come already cleaned and ironed, so all that you have to do is worry about returning them to the rental place after your wedding. 

To buy (on sale):  10 - 90” white rounds @ $4.55 a piece= $45.50 + $10 s/h = $55.50 + 4 hours of laundry total

To rent (from us): 10 – 90” white rounds @ $8.50 a piece = $85.50

So while it’s less expensive to buy linens at the extreme sale price than it is to rent, you also have to ask yourself how much is your time worth?

I could go on with various rental items like place settings and décor. But it’s all going to boil down to the fact that you might find a better deal if you buy, as long as you take the time to do your research for the best deal.  Rentals will definitely save you time and energy, which can be just as valuable as money when you’re busy planning a wedding.   

Hot Chocolate and Pinterest

I have to admit something.  I try my hardest not to go on Pinterest all that often.  I know that it has some great ideas and all that...but I know myself.  I'll get sucked in and never find my way out of the rabbit hole that is that world.  I would find way too many projects that would take up way too much of my time.  Whether they were art lessons to do with my toddler or gorgeous wedding designs, I'd have to do them all.  That's just how I work.

I'm helping my sister plan her wedding.  For her, I actually spent some time on Pinterest, making sure that I didn't spend more than half an hour on the addictive site.  Ohh the goodies that I found for her winter wonderland themed wedding! Baby's breath and candles, clear vases with a hint of silver, white twinkle lights scattered through out the venue...

But my most absolute favorite find is something that I'm actually probably going to do at a holiday party soon.  And I now have to have a holiday party so that I can do this....a hot chocolate bar!  How cool is that?!   With the wind chill in the 20's and the possibility of snow tomorrow, this idea is really appealing to me.  It can be set up for a quick after school gathering with friends, a fancy holiday soiree or it can add a unique touch to that wintery wedding that you're planning. 

How sweet is this picture from and

Down time...kinda

Whew!  Now that Committed is all done and over with (check out the pictures from our booth at the end of this post) and now that "wedding season" is wrapping up, we get some down time here, right?

Pssh!  Wrong!  Now's the time that we get to work on updating our inventory.  Adding and subtracting and organizing.  And, thank you to our guests at Committed, 'cause we're adding a giant Jenga lawn game by spring of 2015!  We're so excited!

And we're excited for another new project in the works that we'll be launching soon.  Yeah. We love projects around here.  We're always adding more.  So, keep an eye out on this blog for updates coming soon. 

COMMITTED! and Wedding Show Tips and Tricks

So October is the end of the summer "wedding season" here in the Pacific Northwest.  That means that the season for bridal shows are upon us.  Some are huge affairs in convention centers with over a hundred vendors (think Portland Bridal Show in January).  Some are smaller, more intimate affairs like Plucky Maiden that was earlier this month.  And there are shows that break the mold.  The shows that are more of an event and a party than a trade show.  Committed! is one such event. 

Committed is this Friday, October 24th, from 5pm-9pm.  We're so excited to be part of this awesome party ('cause it's so much more than just a show!).  Think full bar, fashion shows, awesome vendors all in a fun and inspiring atmosphere.  I mean, how fun is this picture?!

If you're planning your wedding at all, you would seriously be missing out if you don't go to Committed!  Click on the picture to go to the website and pre-order tickets. 

So whether you're going to join us at Committed, or you're planning on checking out some of the other bridal shows in the Portland area this winter, there are some tips from other brides (myself included) who have been there and done that and know how to get the most from a bridal show.

1) Wear comfy shoes!  Even at the smaller shows, you're going to have some walking to do.  You want to be able to concentrate on meeting people and seeing all the cool stuff and not wincing every time you take a step.

2) Bring a larger purse.  Some of the shows have bags that you use for all of the goodies that you'll be getting from vendors.  Other shows don't, so you're going to want to have a larger bag so your hands can be free to sample food and desserts and fill out drawing slips.

3) Speaking of drawing slips, a lot of vendors will have forms that you can fill out for more information and also to potentially win prizes.  To avoid hand cramping and to free up more time to be able to talk to more people, print off some address labels (name, email, mailing address, wedding date) to just stick onto the forms.  It'll save you a ton of time and pain!

4) Once you get home, go through all your business cards and goodies that you got from all the different vendors and make notes.  That way, it's still fresh in your mind. 

5) This is coming from the viewpoint of a wedding vendor...don't automatically assume that the vendors are all going to pounce on you or that you're automatically going to get your email completely full of spam.  Most of us genuinely care about you and helping you make your day awesome!  If we're not the best fit for you, that's totally okay!  If we are a really good fit and we have some awesome stuff that you'd like, please, let us know!

6) Take advantage of the sign ups and giveaways from the different vendors at the show.  Some of them are absolutely great deals!

Don't forget to come visit us at Committed! this Friday to see what awesome deal we have going on at our booth!


Vendor Spotlight Clark County Floral

The lovely ladies over at Clark County Floral created the GORGEOUS bouquet, hair piece, boutonniere, and flowers for the table décor for the A Classic Affair style shoot. They were wonderful to work with, and their designs were exactly what we requested! Make sure to check to like them on Facebook!  I've worked with them on a couple of style shoots now and they are so prepared and easy to work with!  They definitely go above and beyond!!

Photo Credit: Lindsey Rose Photography and Amber Hempen Photography