Now’s the time: Wedding planning can take about a year

July 2015 Posted in Business
Amy Kvenbo displays her wedding centerpieces and place settings at her mother’s antique store.

Amy Kvenbo displays her wedding centerpieces and place settings at her mother’s antique store.

By Melissa Wagoner

On a night out with friends two years ago, Amy Kvenbo met the man of her dreams; she just didn’t know it yet.

“We met right before hunting season. He was a burly hairy dude who bought me a drink and I thought nothing of it,” Kvenbo recalls.

The mystery man ended up being Matt Alexander from Mount Angel and later when the two ran into each other again they hit it off.

“We met in mid-November of 2013 and I broke my knee a couple weeks after that, neither one of us was looking for a long term relationship so I expected him to leave. I was in a full leg brace, had to walk with a walker and couldn’t get around by myself. Matt was there for all of it; two nights in the hospital, weeks at home recuperating and months of physical therapy. After that I fell more in more in love with him,” Kevenbo said.

Last Christmas Alexander asked Kvenbo to be his wife and the couple have set a wedding date this July at Vanderbeck Valley Farm in Mount Angel.

While now is the prime wedding months, ask any recently engaged couple, now is the time to start planning for the fall and even next summer. Luckily for local brides, there are several venues to chose from for their wedding. Here are a few:

VANDERBECK VALLEY FARMS

Vanderbeck Valley Farm’s barn, which is used to store landscaping and farm equipment during the week, turns into a wedding venue on the weekends; similarly, farm owner Wendy Burton, who runs Old Stone Coffee and Tea in Mount Angel during the week, becomes wedding planner extraordinaire on the weekends.

“We’re going into our seventh year. We just started out with one wedding that first year. Last year I did eight and this year 22 weddings,” Burton said.

The property, though still a working farm raising a small herd of cattle to fill the family’s freezer, is also a picturesque setting with manicured lawns and a wooded trail winding beside a creek.

The barn itself is full of reused items. Much of the doors, windows and lumber came from around the farm and many of the items arefrom Burton’s extensive collection of decorations and her father’s antique collection.

“I let my brides use anything I have. It hopefully saves them some money so they don’t have to buy a bunch of items they will never use again. My coordinating and decorating services is all included in the rate,” Burton said.

Burton’s goal when helping a bride plan her wedding is always to make sure what is important to that bride shines through and the day runs smoothly.

“Plan, plan, plan that’s the key, really planning. If they have a really special look for the table set up, set it up, take a picture, that way everybody knows exactly what it’s supposed to look like,” Burton suggested.

THE OREGON GARDEN

Although Kvenbo allotted herself two years in which to plan her wedding, a year is most common, said Shana Schacher, event specialist for the Oregon Garden Resort.

“I’ve had people book big weddings two months in advance and I’ve booked out a 2016 wedding. There is no limit to how far out you can book,” Schacher said.

The Oregon Garden Resort is able to host several events at the same time due to multiple event locations.

Like Vanderbeck Valley Farm, the Oregon Garden Resort is also seeing an upswing in weddings. “Last year we did 55 total and we already have 50 right now,” Schacher said.

She sees this trend in local wedding planning as helpful for the resort itself as well as also for the local economy.

“In the summertime we have anywhere from 300 to 700 people in town for weddings,” Schacher said.

Schacher is seeing a trend in wedding weekends verses wedding days, with guests venturing into town armed with a list of things to do. She has even partnered with a local florist to create www.silvertonandbeyond.com, a site that lists everything from places to eat to hairstylists and tuxedo rentals. Her goal is to make the weekend as stress free for the bride as possible.

“We love weddings up here and I love my job. It’s such a special day,” Schacher said.

SIVER FALLS STATE PARK

Katharine Kittenger was married last July on the bridge at South Falls, one of the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park.

Kittenger’s wedding ceremony was full of mishaps.

“I don’t think a wedding would be fun if there weren’t a complete disaster around every corner,” she said.

The reception was held at the Old Ranch, built in the 1880s. The Old Ranch is one of several venues rented by the state park itself but brides are left to their own devices when planning the wedding. However for those who would like a bit more guidance there is one part of the park that takes the guesswork out of wedding planning.

Run by a separate concessionaire, the Silver Falls Conference Center rents venue space as well as guest cabins with the help of Adrienne Blomgren, a specialist in handling events.

“My title is event coordinator so I do help them quite a bit with the planning. I give them guidance and help with timelines and the floor plans. I also recommend that they have a personal planner. It helps alleviate a lot of the bride’s worry and pressure and I attend every wedding,” she said.

The current Silver Falls Conference Center concessionaire took over last spring and is in their first big wedding season.

“Traditionally there were 13 weddings but we’re really evolving into more of an event center. We are booked out through Halloween and starting on 2016,” Blomgren said.

The Conference Center has 43 weddings booked with the average size of 108 people.

“We do have a few here and there for 30 to 40 people and in our new 2016 package we added an elopement ceremony,” Blomgren said.

The Conference Center has several areas of the property which are commonly used for weddings but are flexible.

“We’re open to all kinds. We’re a pretty non-traditional venue in a lot of ways and we’re really happy to think outside the box,” she said. “More and more couples are seeing that their wedding can represent them and doesn’t have to go by tradition. Each wedding we’ve had is extremely different and reflective of the couple’s personality.”

Even with the help of a coordinator and staff, planning a wedding is a lot of work but Blomgren suggested, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes it’s really easy to lose sight of the reason you’re doing this and what’s important to you and those close to you.”

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