Real Wedding | Mandy & Alex

I love “meant-to-be” stories and that is what I think about when I read Mandy and Alex’s story.  Friends for years before  fate brought them back to the same city again.

At their gorgeous outdoor wedding, the weather cleared just in time and the sun popped out during their vows. How totally perfect…..

Mandy & Alex | September 5, 2009 | The View Point Inn in Corbett, Oregon

How he proposed
Alex and I met back in 1999 while we were both students at The Ohio State University.  We We never dated, but had mutual friends and a common love of music that had us hanging out on a regular basis. Alex moved to Portland in 2001, looking for a change.  We didn’t have much contact after that, but as fate would have it, I moved to Portland in 2005 to attend graduate school.  Alex was the only person I knew in the state of Oregon, so we reconnected.  We had been friends so long that it never occurred to me to think of him in any other way. But, it wasn’t too long after I arrived in Portland that we started dating.

The proposal happened on May 23, 2008 after a dinner cruise on The Portland Spirit, which was the site of our first “real” date a few years prior.  He told me that he won the dinner package from a charity event at work, and since he gets free stuff through work a lot, I didn’t suspect a thing.  After dinner we were on the upper deck of the boat drinking champagne and watching the Portland skyline pass by as we sailed the Willamette River.  It was a cool and rainy night, so we were virtually alone up there.  I was actually making a toast when Alex pulled out the ring and dropped to one knee. I was so shocked that he had to ask me twice before I said yes!

The ceremony & reception
We were married at a beautiful little inn/restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Columbia River Gorge.  We had the entire property to ourselves for the night and celebrated with about 100 of our family and friends. Traditionally, September in Oregon has the most spectacular weather, but the day before, and morning of the wedding were cool with a lot of rain.  I was sure we were going to have to move our outdoor ceremony inside, and I was really disappointed since we picked the venue specifically for the view.  Fortunately, the rain stopped and the weather cleared a couple of hours prior to the ceremony, and we were able to continue as planned.

A close friend of ours married us, and Alex and I wrote the whole ceremony so it was wonderfully intimate and really special.  Guests roamed the property during the cocktail hour sipping on one of our two signature drinks, and taking in the view.  They were a margarita on the rocks and a Gorge Sunset, which is a specialty drink of the restaurant, a citrus flavored vodka martini.  We also had beer and local wines.

The prom scene from the movie Twilight was filmed at our venue, and the Monte Carlo arch used during filming is still on the property, so many guests recreated prom pose photos there throughout the night!

We moved indoors for the reception, and since the venue is so beautiful, we kept decor pretty simple.  The inn was built in the 1920’s and has a casual elegance with a vintage feel, that I love.  Our colors were dark brown and ivory with green accents, which worked well with the dark wood of the inn and the natural ceremony setting.  I told the florist that I wanted white, seasonal, and locally grown flowers, and they included orchids, roses, dahlias, lilies, and others that I can’t name.  There were a variety of arrangements mixed on the tables in different shape and size vases, along with some green and brown ribbon that my aunt found and arranged on all the tables.

Our cake was a delicious 3 tiered chocolate lovers dream.  Two layers of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and fresh whole raspberries, and one orange sponge cake with chocolate ganache.

We had a friend DJ and everyone danced the night away.  It was such a lovely and surreal day, and it was over much too quickly!

The moment Mandy will never forget
There were two.  Though the rain had stopped, it was still a little overcast during the ceremony, but during our vows the sun burst through the clouds.  You can’t script something like that!  And it was especially fitting since our recessional was an acoustic version of “Sunshine of Your Love.”

The other was during the reception when there was an impromptu sing along during Al Green’s “Lets Stay Together” on the dance floor.

How she knew her dress was “The One”

I probably tried on a dozen different dresses before I settled on Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet.  It was more than I wanted to spend initially, but it was worth every penny!  I wanted a simple (i.e. no sequins and beading) lace gown, with a lean silhouette – the Scarlet was perfect for me.  It was that amazing keyhole back that really sold me on this dress.

Her advice for other brides
Decide which details are the most important for you to splurge on, and cut corners, or DIY elsewhere.  For us, the location and photography were really important, but we skipped doing programs, a guest book, favors, and my husband’s sister made us our invitations for free as a wedding gift.  If possible, invest in, or designate a friend or family member as a “day of coordinator”, so you don’t have to stress about details or logistics on your big day.  Don’t sweat the small stuff – there will be things that go wrong, but don’t let it ruin your whole day.  Relax, breathe, and try to be present in the moment – it really will be over before you know it!

Mandy’s Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier Scarlet
Wedding Photography: Mitchelldyer Photography