White Wedding: The Perfect Oregon Venues for a Winter Wedding

A fantasy fête with a wintery backdrop can be had with a little extra planning and the right venue.
From: Fall/Winter 2016 edition
Sunriver Resort outside Bend

If Oregon were to play a game of poker, it would have been dealt a full house. With the ocean, valley, desert and mountains all in one state, couples have a heap of prime wedding backdrops to choose from here. More and more, couples striving for the unique and memorable wedding day are finding it in white winter weddings.

Just think: candle-lit reception tables, snowflake-kissed cheeks, celebrating with family and friends around a warm fireplace. Sounds dreamy, right? While a winter wonderland wedding is gorgeously romantic, it can also come with some logistical and practical considerations. In other words, expect the best but plan for the worst.

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New Year’s Eve wedding at Timberline Lodge || Photo: Powers Photography Studios

“We can certainly get the best-case scenario of a bright, beautiful and crisp winter day,” says Portland wedding coordinator Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss, “but plan your wedding expecting rain or snow. Executing a well-thought-out weather plan rather than scrambling a few days before the wedding will save you immense amounts of stress.” Double-check a venue’s indoor and outdoor capacities in case of rain or snow and plan accordingly.

Keep the comfort and safety of your guests at the forefront and be sure to give them a heads-up regarding proper clothing and shoes. A decorative box filled with wool blankets, hand warmers and umbrellas will keep guests cozy and warm in case of inclement weather.

If the wedding is in the winter months, consider the wedding day’s events carefully. “Consider lighting for pictures,” says event planner Kerry Bergler of Mint in Bend. “As it gets darker sooner, your timeline may need to be adjusted to capture desired photography during daylight hours.”

Luckily, finding a suitably snowy location that’s only a short drive from Portland isn’t difficult. Whether the vibe is more rustic or glamorous, there’s a snow-sprinkled venue close by.

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FivePine Lodge in Sisters || Photo: Tullis Photography

Central Oregon’s Snowy High Desert

Nestled in a ponderosa pine forest, FivePine Lodge is located outside the charming town of Central Oregon’s Sisters. Whether it’s tying the knot outside with a pond and tall pine trees towering over the ceremony, or inside the Lodge’s cozy Elda Teresa Event Center, FivePine Lodge can accommodate wintry nuptials. “Ninety percent of our weddings are outside, regardless of the season,” says Kelly Newcombe, FivePine’s director of sales and marketing. “If you’re wanting perfect snow, Central Oregon is the prime location for that because we are at a higher elevation.”

Located about 20 miles from Bend, Sunriver Resort’s 4,200 acres offer a variety of lodging options for guests for nuptials in the snow, from large cabins to standard hotel rooms. Most couples get married in the Great Hall, a two-story log cabin that can host up to 300 guests. As a resort that focuses on outdoor recreation, Sunriver offers a variety of activities for wedding parties and guests, such as snowshoeing, skiing and even sleigh rides.

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Cozy blankets for guests at FivePine Lodge in Sisters || Photo: Kimberly Kay Photography

Marrying on the Mountain

Timberline Lodge is one of the more popular choices for a wedding in the snow. Located 6,000 feet above sea level on Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge offers a variety of facilities to host a winter wedding. “There is something extremely romantic about being in a cozy lodge with the smell of the wood fireplace going and the soft white snow falling outside,” says Chandra Orton, events manager. “We have the most incredible, majestic fireplace that is 95 feet tall and runs down the middle of the lodge. It is truly breathtaking.”

For a more intimate option, Silcox Hut, just a snowcat’s ride uphill from Timberline is perfect for informal weddings with up to 40 guests. Buried up to the windows in snow, but made cozy by the stone fireplace in the dining hall, Silcox Hut creates an intimate environment that’s a true Northwest experience.

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Silcox Hut ceremony near Timberline Lodge || Photo: Blaine + Bethany Photography

Mount Hood Skibowl is for the daring couple. Coupled with an adventure park, the 960-acre Mount Hood Skibowl, located in the Government Camp village allows couples to get in touch with their playful, adventurous side. “Imagine yourself all dressed up, harnessed in your wedding dress and ziplining into your wedding ceremony,” Becca Kolibaba, director of catering and sales says. “Our weddings are centered around fun and adventure.”

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Mount Hood Skibowl at Government Camp || Photo: Mitchelldyer Photography

If small, quiet and private is what you’re looking for, Mount Hood Bed and Breakfast might be the ideal venue. Built in 1910, the picturesque Craftsman has been a bed and breakfast for over 20 years. With Mount Hood as its backdrop, the bed and breakfast only offers elopement packages and is completely private the day of the wedding. “Couples always tell us the reason they wanted to get married here is because no one is around the day of their wedding,” co-owner Jackie Rice says.

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Mount Hood Bed and Breakfast near Parkdale || Photo: Blaine + Bethany Photography