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  • Writer's pictureJeanette Schenk

10 STEP GUIDE: Planning an Outdoor Wedding in the PNW

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

When it comes to planning your dream outdoor wedding in the Pacific Northwest, assembling the perfect wedding team is the key to turning your vision into a reality. The stunning natural landscapes of Oregon and Washington provide a beautiful backdrop for your special day, but they also come with unique challenges that require a team of experienced professionals.


In this blog post, we'll share with you a 10 step guide to planning an outdoor wedding in the PNW. Included are the essential members that you'll want to be sure to have so that your wedding is as magical and picture perfect as the Pacific Northwest.


A newlywed couple standing in the beautiful vineyard at Abbey Road Farm in Carlton
From the desk of Jeanette Schenk, owner of Shortcake Photo LLC and Hammie The Photo Booth

1. Decide Whether to Hire a Wedding Planner, or Coordinator:

  • If you have the budget and want to take (most of) the stress out of wedding planning, "hands down," hire a Wedding Planner. Planners are great for destination weddings, large-scale weddings, and helping you keep track of your budget. They're also good at getting the job done quickly if you happen to have a short engagement. They have a wealth of knowlege and have preferred vendors at their fingertips.

  • Are you organized and detail-oriented? Do you have the time and energy, and want to have an active role in planning your wedding? Then maybe a Wedding Coordinator is for you. Coordinators usually have a shorter timeline than a planner and are more budget friendly.

2. Venue:

  • Oregon and Washington offer a plethora of outdoor wedding venues; lush forests, vineyards, orchards, barns, golf courses and beach locations. Choose a venue that aligns with your vision and has the necessary infrastructure for an outdoor event.

3. Photographer/Videographer:

  • Capture the natural beauty of Oregon and your special moments with a skilled photographer and videographer. Look for professionals experienced in outdoor weddings who can work with changing light conditions.

4. Florist:

  • Find a florist who understands Oregon's climate and can create seasonal floral arrangements that complement the outdoor setting. Consider incorporating native and local flowers for a unique touch.

5. Caterer and Bar:

  • Select a catering company with expertise in outdoor events and a menu that highlights PNW's culinary delights. Choose a Bar Tender that uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients for their mixed drinks and mocktails.

6. Tent and Rentals:

  • Be prepared for Oregon's unpredictable weather by renting a tent for shelter. Rent other essential items like chairs, tables, linens, and tableware.

7. Lighting and Decor:

  • Enhance the outdoor ambiance with suitable lighting and decor elements. String lights, lanterns, and candles can create a magical atmosphere as the evening progresses.

8. Music and Entertainment:

  • Make sure you have something engaging and fun for your guests to do. Choose music and entertainment that matches your style and, of course, can be in an outdoor setting. Check for any noise restrictions or sound system requirements at your chosen venue.

9. Transportation:

  • Arrange transportation for you and your guests, especially if your venue is in a remote location. Shuttle services can make moving guests to and from the site easier.

10. Weather Contingency Plan:

  • Given the Pacific Northwest's unpredictable weather, have a backup plan such as a tent or an indoor space in case of rain or extreme weather.

In conclusion, planning your dream outdoor wedding in Oregon or Washington is an exciting journey, and having the right team of professionals by your side is essential. These experts will not only help you overcome the challenges of an outdoor wedding but also ensure that your special day is filled with beautiful memories against the backdrop of Oregon and Washington's breathtaking landscapes. So, start building your dream wedding team today, and get ready for an unforgettable celebration in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

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