Oregon Best of 2009

Best of 2009  

 We've tabulated votes from readers and industry pros to determine the best wedding vendors in Oregon.
By Erin Flesch and Martha Byrne

All-Around Best Wedding Vendor
PORTLAND: Evrim Icoz Photography
NE Portland; 503.341.4762; evrimgallery.com

First and foremost, Northeast Portland's Evrim Icoz is an artist. Formerly a full-time techie at Intel, Evrim left in 2005 to focus full-time on photography, and fell in love with wedding photojournalism. Through Evrim's lens, your wedding becomes a story; his specialty is capturing the unique, behind-the-scenes moments. But the real reason you love Evrim so much? We're guessing it's his boundless enthusiasm and infectious smile; he is genuinely excited about each of his couples and it shows.

VALLEY: Willaby's Catering and Event Design
Salem; 503.371.7815; willabyscatering.com

Salem's Willaby's Catering and Event Design offers more than just tons of unique, delicious dining options. It's the Martha Stewart level of presentation that sets them above the others: When you hire Willaby's, it's as though professional food stylists have arranged every single plate, buffet and passed plate of wild mushroom and chevre bruschetta! Bottom line? Willaby's knows that weddings are all about details and they know how to mind them.

Bridesmaid Gifts
STATEWIDE: Twist
Portland; 503.224.0334; twistonline.com

Portland's Twist offers an astounding selection of gorgeous handmade jewelry and crafts the kind that'll make a 'maid forgive you for those 1 a.m. bridal panic calls. Known throughout the country for their spot-on selection and discovery of new artists, Twist owners Paul Schneider and Lauren Eulau have been bringing fabulous hard-to-find items from little-known artists to the masses since 1980.

Best Catering
PORTLAND: Vibrant Table
SE Portland; 503.297.9635; vibranttable.com

Vibrant Table incorporates influences from Asia, Europe and Mexico in their scrumptious Northwest cuisine. But this Belmont company is about more than just the food: it's the mixture of pristine, high-end presentation and flawless event coordination with steadfast dedication to sustainable practices that sets them head and shoulders above the competition  for the second year in a row.

VALLEY: Flavors Catering and Event
Eugene; 541.344.FOOD; flavorsevents.com

Eugene's Flavors Catering and Event caters  ¦ well, everywhere in the Valley.   From the grange hall to the debutante ball, � according to owner Jeanie Loomis. In fact, Flavors is renowned for their stellar customer service. Can't live without a mashed-potato station? Want them to scout the perfect spot to trade vows? Ask Jeanie ¦and you shall receive.

Most Creative Cakes
PORTLAND: The Bakery Bar
SE Portland; 503.546.8110; bakerybar.com

Pastry Chef Jocelyn Barda's wedding cakesare simply adorable. Each cake is decorated with her now-signature dyed and hand-cut fondant cutouts, which make for quirky, colorful creations that are undeniably hip. The cutouts actually remind us of letterpress stationery; and will fit into any wedding theme or color scheme perfectly.

VALLEY: Sweet Life Patisserie
Eugene; 541.683.5676; sweetlifedesserts.com

For three years running, brides have voted Sweet Life Patisserie as the best wedding cakes in the valley. Why? Because the designers at this bakery will work with you to create a high-end confection that could have come straight out of the pages of Oregon Bride; there's no flipping through a booklet of designs (unless you want to!).

Most Creative Favors
STATEWIDE: Le Paperie
Camas, WA; 360.954.5032; le-paperie.com

Imagine each of your guests getting a gift box containing a ruby-red candy Ring Pop with a note attached reading "With this ring, we thee thank you!" That's just a creation from the minds of Mai Lam and Thu Le of the Camas, Washington-based Le Paperie. Owners (and cousins) Mai and Thu meticulously handcraft all of their favors, often using high-quality raw materials.

Getaway Car/Transportation
PORTLAND: Best Car in Town
NW Portland; bestcarintown.com

Oregon's only Silver Wraith Rolls Royce takes another lap as the Best Car in Town. Eric Newland got lucky when he scored this beaut of an automobile from a private collector, and he's kind enough to share it with PDX newlyweds. Newland suggests having your final photo-op as you ride away in style with a complimentary bottle of French Champagne. After all, it's your day to be treated like a queen (and Queen Elizabeth has her own almost-identical version but we guarantee you'll be cuter).

VALLEY: Dove Express Limousines
Eugene; 541.607.DOVE; doveexpresslimos.com

Everybody wants to ride in high style on their wedding day, but if you're looking for something a little more high end than your typical stretch Hummer  hello so high school, not to mention environmentally silly) check out the bad boys in the Eugene-based Dove Express fleet. There you can find an original not stretch four-passenger Excalibur limousine, one of only 12 ever made.

Best Custom Dress Design
PORTLAND: Love, June
North Portland; 503.788.5280; lovejunebridal.com

Brides often approach Sara Temme, owner of Love, June, in her North Portland shop with multiple pictures saying, "I like this sleeve, and this neckline, and this skirt." It's Temme's pleasure to put the puzzle together and, like Tim Gunn says, "Make it work." When it comes to the construction of the gown, Temme is an old-school couturier: She does all the handiwork herself, spending between 25-50 hours on each gown. That's what we call made with love.

VALLEY: BellaMissa Couture Gowns
Eugene; 541.343.8880; bellamissa.com

Sometimes, the dream gown just doesn't speak to you from the racks. When Eugene brides have to take matters into their own hands, they turn to the hands of BellaMissa Salon. Owner and couturier Bess Nobel has over 20 years of experience. Her signature style is clean, well-proportioned lines, but she will work with you to design and create your ideal gown. Remember to book in advance because custom perfection takes time 6 months to a year in advance.

Best Hotel for Guests
PORTLAND: The Ace Hotel
Portland; 503.228.2277; acehotel.com

If you want your out-of-towners to have the perfectly hip downtown experience, send them to the Ace Hotel. This place is Oregon through and through: Guests can browse the local and international art featured throughout, grab a cup of Stumptown coffee and cozy down under the Pendleton Woolen Mills blankets on every bed in the minimalist, military-chic rooms.

VALLEY: Valley River Inn
Eugene; 541.743.1000; valleyriverinn.com

Even though it's centrally located in Eugene, the Valley River Inn is a serene escape from downtown's "hustle and bustle" (if you can call it that in Eugene!). Our favorite rooms are those with river views in the main hotel (there are 56), where guests can overlook a bucolic stretch of the Willamette River from a private porch.

Best Florist
PORTLAND: Blum: Design in Flowers
NW Portland; 503.851.1672; blumfloraldesign.com

Garden roses, dahlias, peonies and sweet peas. It sounds like the layout of a lush English country garden, doesn't it? Actually, those are Jordan Gladow's  favorite flowers. The owner of Blum: Design in Flowers brings years of experience from London and Boston to Portland brides. The designs from her NW waterfront studio are simple and modern, yet lush at the same time a very European aesthetic if we say so ourselves.

VALLEY: Shamrock Flowers and Gifts
Eugene; 541.343.1717; shamrockflowersandgifts.net

In this economy, it's comforting to work with a family-owned business a place that has history, experience and dedication. The Eugene-based Shamrock Flowers and Gifts is exactly that. Using fresh and wonderfully luxurious flowers, this flower shop knows how to make arrangements that are bright, cheery and endlessly smile-inducing.

Best Gown Boutique
PORTLAND: Charlotte's Weddings and More
Portland; 503.297.9622; charlottesweddings.com

In an unassuming building on Beaverton's SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, you'll find the elegant Charlotte's Weddings and More. Charlotte's provides  stellar service and a gorgeous and reasonably priced selection of dream gowns for everything from a wedding at the beach to an urban cathedral extravaganza. So what's the more? Accessories, bridesmaids gowns, tuxedos, children's apparel and MOB gowns. That's called convenience, girls.

VALLEY: The Bridal Gallery
Salem; 503.363.2161; bridalgallerysalem.com

The Bridal Gallery has been in Salem for more than 17 years, and new owner Angie Oven knows a thing or two about how to make things easy for brides. Be it a ballerina-inspired ball gown or a sleek, strappy backless number, Oven is an expert in matching your personal style with your dream ensemble. With three in-house tailors, seven collections of bridal shoes and nonstop service, The Bridal Gallery has you covered (in beautiful dresses, that is).

Most Fabulous Hair and Makeup
PORTLAND: Event Cosmetics
NE Portland; 503.233.9076; eventcosmetics.com

Is your bridal makeup style over-the-top fashionista or minimalist or somewhere in between? Whatever your fancy, Katharine Sealy, founder of Portland-based Event Cosmetics, will take a red-carpet approach to perfect your wedding look. Think airbrush makeup, waterproof mascara and extra lashes. Hey, why not it's your day to be a celebrity.

VALLEY: Essential Skin Solutions
Creswell; 541.895.3307; essentialskinsolutions.com

Don't worry about that wedding-day zit. Seriously, don't worry: Essential Skin Solutions at Serendipity, the spa at the Emerald Valley Golf Resort in Creswell, has you covered. From a luscious lip treatment (exfoliate that pucker no cracked lips on your big day) to Xtreme Lashes (that's lash extensions, ladies!), the artists at this studio will ensure you're buffed and beautified for that red-carpet er, aisle walk.

Best Invitations
PORTLAND: Studio Olivine
NW Portland; 971.570.5461; studio-olivine.com

Owner Julie Dutton uses organic and textile inspiration for her purely hand-drawn, custom designed invitations at Studio Olivine in Portland's NW industrial district. Want to incorporate the lace from your dress or the peonies from your bouquet? No sweat; Julie can do it. Each invitation is lovingly printed on a vintage letterpress, so there will be imperfections which is all part of the charm.

VALLEY: Nick and Nora's Classic Interiors
Eugene; 541.484.5522; nickandnorasclassicinteriors.com

While this Nick and Nora's isn't a teen movie about puppy love and musical snobbery, it is the best place in Eugene to unearth your ideal invites. This  bountiful, recently remodeled boutique carries a wide selection of sophisticated lines of wedding invites. We're talking everything from traditional Crane's and William Arthur, to the fashion-forward Vera Wang and the preppy Kate Spade.

Best New Wedding Reception Site
PORTLAND: The Nines
Downtown Portland; 503.222.9996; thenines.com

It's not surprising that the first wedding at the Nines was a New Year's Eve soiree; this brand-new downtown Portland hotel is the epitome of chic, clean and modern with a nostalgic twist. It boasts four elegant ballrooms and can accommodate fifty to five hundred guests. We can see why you voted it the best new facility we loved this elegant and modern space in the historic, Meier & Frank glazed terra cotta building so much we photographed our recent fashion story!

VALLEY: Paradise Springs
Monroe; 541.847.5700; paradisespringsevents.com

In spite of being brand-new, Paradise Springs in Monroe pulls off a rustic country elegance straight from the pages of a J. Crew catalog. Our favorite part of the facility is its enormous, barn-like hall with wrought-iron chandeliers and gigantic rock fireplace and that doesn't even begin to cover the seven acres of naturally landscaped grounds with a picture-perfect valley view.

Best Jeweler
PORTLAND: Carl Greve
Downtown Portland; 503.223.7121
Bridgeport Village; 503.968.2868; carlgreve.com
With all the heart and soul of a locally owned business, Carl Greve has been an Oregon favorite since 1923. From the brilliant Hearts on Fire diamonds to the signature pave of Michael B., the collections at Carl Greve are every Oregon bride's dream. Even better? All diamonds are conflictfree and that is so Portland.

VALLEY: Blue Moon Jewelry Designs
Eugene; 541.687.7859; bm-jd.com

Located in downtown Eugene, Blue Moon is a favorite stop for brides who want out-of-the-box jewelry. Blue Moon Jewelry Designs offers only local artisans; shop here and you'll be sporting a design that's uniquely you and totally Oregon.

Best Rehearsal Dinner Locale
PORTLAND: Andina
Pearl District; 503.228.9535; andinarestaurant.com

Executive chef Jose Luis de Cossio de la Puente (whew!) prepares both traditional and new-wave Peruvian fare in his kitchen at Andina. We don't know if it's his cuisine, the lustrous ambience or the yummy pisco sours, but dinner at this Pearl restaurant is truly a treat and the perfect way to spend an evening before the big day. Guests can try unfamiliar dishes in a number of ways: choose from three-, four- or five-course meals, or try a wider array of the restaurant's signature dishes by ordering family-style. Seems like a good idea for getting to know your in-laws better.

VALLEY: Ristorante Italiano at the Excelsior Inn
Eugene; 541.342.6963; excelsiorinn.com

Even with room to accommodate up to 150 guests, Ristorante Italiano at the Excelsior Inn feels like a home dining experience and a luxurious one at that! The dining room's richly colored interior expresses a refined elegance (think antiques and romantic lighting). Owner and chef Maurizio Paparo is all about the   slow food movement, so he uses only the freshest local and organic ingredients. Yum!

Best Wedding Planner
STATEWIDE: Soirée
SE Portland; 503.230.9311; bonsoiree.com

Whether your taste is a comic book-inspired superhero wedding (complete with a blood-red dress and good vs. evil), a whimsical masquerade ball or an elegant traditional wedding, Molli Barss and her team of talented coordinators at Soirée will make it happen and with serious class.

Best Photographer
PORTLAND: Powers Studio
NW Portland; 503.478.0997; powersstudio.com

The extreme customer service from Powers Studio is what makes this team your favorite. Owner Ben Powers has a variety of fab photogs on staff. But who to choose? Powers has each couple fill out an online survey that includes looking at a variety of images from each photographer to atch them with the right one. After all, the selection of a wedding photographer is a big decision so why not be scientific about it?

VALLEY: Studio Coburg
Coburg; 541.342.8332; studiocoburg.com

James McCormick of Studio Coburg in Coburg has fun with his weddings. His brand of down-to-earth playfulness helps each couple relax and be themselves, allowing those small, tender moments to shine through making for a stellar batch of wedding-day photos. It kinda reminds you why a bride pays professionals to take pictures beautiful results every time.

Best Videographer
PORTLAND: Hybrid Moon
NW Portland; 503.295.1991; hybridmoon.com

Portland's Hybrid Moon has won this award three years in a row. Why? Because owner Eric Newland isn't just a videographer; he brings artistry to each job. Eric and team feel that each wedding is a chance to tell a unique story and make the bride and groom feel (and look) like a celebrity couple in the process.

VALLEY: Focal Point
Salem; 503.588.0251; focalpointvideo.biz

Since opening their doors in 2004, Salem's Focal Point has captured priceless moments in more than 150 weddings. Using a unique style of video editing they call cinematic short-form, � Focal Point turns your wedding day into a tightly edited movie-like experience, complete with a custom soundtrack.

Most Romantic Wedding Night Hotel
PORTLAND: Heathman Hotel
Downtown Portland; 503.241.4100; portland.heathmanhotel.com

The Heathman Hotel is all about traditional four-diamond luxury, complete with high thread count linens and Jacuzzi tubs in the rooms and what's better than that for your first night as a Mr. and Mrs.? We recommend asking about the Romeo and Juliet package: Candles, truffles, roses and special romantic gifts hidden in your room are only part of the lavishness! Your own Romeo couldn't do it any better himself.

VALLEY: Jacksonville Inn
Jacksonville; 541.899.1900; jacksonvilleinn.com

We can see why The Oregonian also dubbed the Jacksonville Inn the most romantic lodging in Oregon: it delivers historic, old-world charm in droves. The inn is snuggled in the most adorable gold rush town in Southern Oregon, complete with boutique shopping and wine tasting nearby. The inn's antique-filled rooms with exposed brick and fireplaces are quaint, luxurious and somehow sexy. Plus, the candlelit Jacksonville Inn's Dinner House has spectacular cuisine and a wine list that won the very prestigious Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. You can't go wrong here.

Best Quintessential Oregon Reception Site
PORTLAND: Timberline Lodge
Government Camp; 503.272.3311; timberlinelodge.com

Built in the 1930s as a stimulus project, this historical landmark with its vast and natural backdrop is oh-so-Oregon especially for a winter wedding. Seemingly perched on the top of Mt.Hood, Timberline is an exquisite mountain lodge replete with grand fireplaces and exposed pine. It's old world and rustic at the same time. Looking for more? Check out our Grey Gardens story it was shot right behind the lodge!

VALLEY: Willamette Valley Vineyards
Turner; 503.588.9463; willamettevalleyvineyards.com

A double winner, Willamette Valley Vineyards is a clear favorite among the wedding set, and for good reason: No other place captures the beauty and uniqueness of the Oregon valley better. Breathtaking views of the Amity Hills, recently renovated facilities, award-winning wine made right on location and excellent cuisine (thanks to exclusive catering by Willaby's) all make Willamette Valley Vineyards a beautiful place to host your big day.

Best Location for a Sunset Wedding
PORTLAND: Garden Vineyards
Hillsboro; 503.547.9046; gardenvineyards.com

Picture this. A mile-long driveway leads to the Tuscan-style home used for events; the extensive gardens are in full bloom during the wedding season. No need to plan for extra décor or floral arrangements because the grounds speak for themselves. The skyline horizon at Garden Vineyards is what's purely breathtaking. After enjoying a couple of hours of daylight for your ceremony, the sun sets while you and your guests enjoy dinner and dance the night away.

VALLEY: Willamette Valley Vineyards
Turner; 503.588.9463; willamettevalleyvineyards.com


The Rest of the Best

Best Boutique Registry
PORTLAND: The Real Mother Goose
Portland; 503.223.9510; therealmothergoose.com

VALLEY: Nick and Nora's Classic Interiors
Eugene; 541.484.5522

Best Spa
PORTLAND: Dosha
Multiple locations; 503.228.8280; dosha.org

VALLEY: Serendipity
Creswell; 541.895.3307; serendipitysalon.biz


Best Rentals
PORTLAND: The Party Place
Portland; 503.292.8875; thepartyplacepdx.com

VALLEY: Parties To Go
Eugene; 541.485.5587; parties-to-go.com

Best Groom's Cake
PORTLAND: Voodoo Doughnut
Portland; 503.235.2555; voodoodoughnut.com

VALLEY: Sweet Life Patisserie
Eugene, 541.683.5676; sweetlifedesserts.com


Best Mother-of-the-Bride Apparel
STATEWIDE: Joy's Up town Style
Portland; 503.223.3400; joysuptown.com


Best Children's Apparel
PORTLAND: Anna's Bridal
Lake Oswego; 503.636.1474; annasbridal.com

VALLEY: The Kid Shop
Corvallis; 541.754.0185


Best Wedding Show
PORTLAND: Portland Bridal Show
Portland; 503.274.6027; portlandbridalshow.com

VALLEY: Oregon Wedding Showcase
Monmouth; 503.838.2226; oregonweddingshowcase.com


Best DJ
PORTLAND: Mobile Music Entertainment
Portland; 503.638.0624; mobilemusicentertainment.com

VALLEY: Bass Is Loaded
Eugene; 541.607.0027


Best Ceremony Musicians
PORTLAND: Duo Con Brio
Milwaukie; 503.526.3908; duoconbrio.com

VALLEY: Trio Dolce
Eugene; 541.484.6554; thetriodolce.com


Editor's Choice

Best Eyelash Extensions
Jenna's Makeup & Waxing Studio
SE Portland; 503.747.4785; jennamakeupartist.com

I wasn't sure how I felt about eyelash extensions. Uh...what? Sitting still for three hours while someone painstakingly glues fake lashes one by one all around my eyeballs? No thank you. And then I saw a good girlfriend of mine (and soon-to-be-bride) fluttering her extensions all up and down the Pearl District like a modern day Betty Boop. I have one word: jealousy. Turns out a local makeup artist, Jenna Schneider, did them. This girl is a genius at gluing eyelashes while you relax in a chair our friend actually fell asleep. No need for falsies. Cry all you want: there's no need for mascara. For $250, they last for two to three weeks long enough to bat those fab lashes through your honeymoon!

Best Vintage Gown
Xtabay Vintage Bridal Salon
SE Portland; 503.230.2899; xtabayvintage.blogspot.com

Xtabay, one of the original shops on the now-trendy SE Clinton Street, is a must-hit for vintage glamour hounds. But recently proprietress Liz Gross remodeled the space and added in a natural extension to her already bustling business a bridal boutique. Inside the oh-so-Parisian shop (we're talking pink walls, gold sconces and chandeliers, girls), you'll find a treasure trove of fabulousness. Liz is a master at scouring estate sales and other unnamed locales (a lady has to protect her sources, after all!); we've seen everything from a bias-cut number in French lace from the '30s, to tafetta ball gowns with huge circle skirts to a '60s lace babydoll minidress with a pink ribbon. And Xtabay isn't just for brides either; bridesmaids can choose from hundreds of candy-colored cocktail gowns. Want to take over the store in the evening for a private shop sesh with your maids? Done free of charge. So let's review: at Xtabay, you're saving money, you're recycling and you'll have an über-unique gown? That, dear friends, is a find.

Best New Bachelorette Venue
Voicebox Portland
NW Portland; 503.303.8220; voiceboxpdx.com

Tokyo has them, New York has them, and now Portland has them: private karaoke lounges. Recently, I had the privelege of crowding 16 of my closest friends into a tiny square room with our own high-tech karaoke machine for a bachelorette party. At $7 per hour per guest, we had two mikes and were in complete control of the music. Yep, that's right: no KJs. Want to replay Total Eclipse of the Heart five times? No problem. Be as loud and as obnoxious as you want: no one's gonna stop you. And let's be honest: there's nothing more obnoxious than a bachelorette party, right?