Getting Married in Eugene
Eugene, Oregon’s second-largest city, a little over 100 miles south of Portland, is known as Track Town, USA (and thankfully not because of runaway brides). While it is the birthplace of Nike and hosts the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, the city first gained its fame as a running destination thanks to hundreds of miles of trails set among the lush woods and picturesque rivers that run through it.
And that’s exactly what makes this laidback college town an amazing setting for gorgeous weddings. “With its combination of gorgeous landscapes, to-die-for views, wonderful wineries, and the warm and friendly wedding professionals that reside here, Eugene has a very organic and romantic feel,” says local photographer Erika Johnson of Erika Nicole Photography. “It is the perfect place to celebrate your special day.” From all-inclusive locations to beautiful outdoor venues to sophisticated downtown destinations, Eugene has plenty to offer brides and grooms for their perfect celebration.
King Estate Winery (pictured at left and above), located near the town of Lorane, just south of Eugene, is one of the most scenic spots in the state. The winery opened in 1991 and is now known for its Pinot noir and Pinot gris, but only began hosting weddings in 2008. And aren’t you lucky. “The views are breathtaking, the service is phenomenal and the wine melts in your mouth,” says photographer Erika Johnson. “Plus, the setting allows for breathtaking photos similar to those you would see in the Napa Valley. It’s very sexy, romantic and classic at the same time.” Depending on which of the several indoor or outdoor spaces you reserve, the property can accommodate up to 500 guests. The catering menu changes seasonally to take advantage of the freshest local ingredients such as salmon and Knee Deep Cattle Co. filet mignon.
One of the newest all-inclusive spaces in the area is Lewis and Clark Catering, which opened in town in 2010. Nestled along the Willamette River and Alton Baker Park, the venue offers gorgeous photo opportunities. Aside from the picturesque views, guests rave about the food. “Our thing is [creating] custom menus for everyone who comes in; and we do single bites really well,” says owner Anthony Parshall. The contemporary space, which was remodeled with muted earth tones and a Brazilian walnut floor, can accommodate 210 guests.
A slightly larger capacity (up to 300) works well at The Country Inn, with meandering meadows, rose gardens, gazebos and two white clapboard indoor venues that sit on the historic property of some of Eugene’s earliest settlers, the Harlow family. For even larger guests lists, the Valley River Inn, which is located on the banks of the Willamette River, is an ideal spot. The 38-year-old Inn has 15,000 square feet of space in three ballrooms; the largest can hold up to 800 people. Both The Country Inn and Valley River Inn offer everything from coordination and catering to linens and china.
For the couple who wants to exchange vows in the great outdoors, options abound in and around Eugene. Local photographer James McCormick of Studio Coburg calls Whisper-N-Oaks “super cute with a very authentic country vibe.” The venue, which can hold up to 500 people, is about 20 minutes north of Eugene in Junction City.
Also just outside the city, up the McKenzie River to the east, you’ll find Eagle Rock Lodge. McCormick says, “This is the perfect venue for those who really want a place that screams ‘the Northwest.’ It’s right on the McKenzie River with cozy accommodations for the wedding party and guests.” The grounds can hold up to 400 guests for a wedding and reception, but the Lodge, with luxe cabin styling, hosts just 23 overnight guests (with breakfast included), making it a fun option for the wedding party to rent out for a weekend-long party. Surrounded by majestic trees in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Eagle Rock is a natural and relaxed locale perfect for the low-key bride.
Clear Lake Gardens, photo by Joshua Rainey
In town, Ogren Gardens is just a 10-minute drive from the Eugene airport, convenient for out-of-town guests. The reception lawn area in front of the barn and its covered porch, which can hold up to 435 guests, can be as country or as elegant as the bride chooses. Meanwhile, Clear Lake Gardens, which opened in 2007 on the outskirts of town, has a 6,000-square-foot “outdoor ballroom” framed by white picket fences that can accommodate 200 guests.
If you’re looking for more urban excitement, Eugene’s downtown and the lively University of Oregon campus offer a variety of venue choices at the epicenter of the city’s activities. Hult Center, Eugene’s performing arts center, is known for its striking size and contemporary architecture and can accommodate weddings of any size, with spaces that can host between 50 and 2,450 guests. Built in 1911, the Downtown Athletic Club’s elegant top floor can host up to 300 guests and offers a wide range of food, beverage and décor options.
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, photo by William Coit
Because many couples meet in college, getting married on the UO campus is a sentimental option. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is one of the most distinct structures on the grounds, a grand 1930s brick building listed on the National Register for Historic Places. You can fit 100 people per room, plus outside space for larger groups. Catering is arranged through either UO Catering or Marché Provisions, which is arguably one of the city’s best restaurants—and just one more example of the high-end, yet accessible, wedding vendors you’ll have to choose from in this versatile town.
Eugene Wedding Resources
Whichever picturesque setting you choose, you’ll find world-class photographers, florists, caterers and more right in town. Assemble your wedding dream team with some of our local favorites.
- Erika Nicole Photography
Erika Johnson, a 2011 Best of Bride winner, began photographing weddings when she was just 18, developing keen technical skills as well as an instinctual talent for capturing the beautiful, touching and sometimes whimsical, once-in-a-lifetime wedding moments.
- Mark Longstreet Photography
Mark prides himself on thinking outside the box to create memorable engagement and wedding photographs that fit your style. He also supplements the stills with vivid videos.
- Studio Coburg
With a conscientious appreciation of nature and a distinct knowledge of Eugene-area venues, James McCormick brings the setting of your wedded bliss alive in the day-of and day-after photos.
- Sun Blossoms Floral
From a flower girl’s head wreath to cake decorations and bouquets, owner and designer Shannon Kilduff works closely with every bride to come up with all the floral details to fit her vision, theme and budget.
- Shamrock Flowers & Gifts
The close-knit team of designers at this family-owned and operated florist has been a go-to resource in Eugene for 30 years, fulfilling brides’ special requests and handling arrangements at all local venues.
- Sweet Life Pâtisserie
This bakery, specializing in wedding cakes for 19 years, starts with hormone-free dairy products and trans fat-free oils, and finishes with incredibly artistic designs.
- The Divine Cupcake
Couples looking to forego a traditional wedding cake in favor of cupcakes will love the variety of cake and frosting flavors available at The Divine Cupcake, which also offers gluten-, soy- and sugar-free options.
- Brindiamo Catering & Events
The creative team at Brindiamo specializes in Italian and Northwest cuisines that can be served at locations around the state or in their own venue: the beautiful historic Excelsior Inn near the University of Oregon campus.
- Flavors Catering & Events
These caterers do it all—from buffet receptions to sit-down dinners, cocktail receptions and bartending to equipment rentals and full staffing—accommodating any size wedding.
- Marché Provisions
The chefs at this renowned restaurant, which takes a French twist on locally grown and harvested ingredients, take their skills outside of the Fifth Street Market location to provide innovative and delicious menus for weddings and rehearsal dinners.
- Parties to Go
During the past 30 years, this family-owned company has grown to be the area’s largest event rental experts, offering every possible need for your wedding day.
- Blush Bridal Boutique
The helpful staff at this charming boutique makes shopping a true pleasure (complete with sparkling wine) as you browse a well-edited variety of contemporary gowns; they offer men’s formalwear and tuxedo rentals, as well.