Why a Forest Lodge is a Versatile Spot for a Wedding
Evergreens frame meandering rivers and cloak mountain slopes surrounding Oregon’s lodge venues as special celebrations unfold within. Nestled across the state, Pacific Northwest–style lodges set the scene for both intimate and boisterous gatherings, evoking an atmosphere of deepening love that is so well-suited to a fall or winter wedding.
Scenic vistas of the Cascade Mountains at Skamania Lodge (Skamania Lodge)
On the other side of the Columbia River in Washington state sits Skamania Lodge, located on 175 acres of wooded terrain and with vast river views. Couples can marry at the property’s outdoor amphitheater, in The Pavilion or in the Stevenson Ballroom, which features a floor-to-ceiling fireplace. Guests can stay in the Cascadian-style lodge rooms or even in a tree house, enjoying the luxuries of the spa, or perhaps something more energetic, such as hiking, zip-lining or playing golf on the lodge’s course. “When you come to visit the Pacific Northwest, it’s the right fit, whether it be the Cascade Mountains or river or evergreen trees around it,” says director of sales and marketing Kara Owen. “It has that true feeling of being the Northwest.”
The Griffin House, set high above the Columbia River Gorge and with expansive views of the river, offers a profound backdrop for romance. Both indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception spaces are available, and plans are in the works for an event space that captures the stunning vistas. The Griffin House Great Room provides a place where the bride can get ready and features floor-to-ceiling windows; for the groom, a swanky garden suite with French doors that open onto a patio.
Trees on the property lit from below create a special ambiance, and in fall or winter months, couples often rent tents with clear ceilings to watch the possible sprinkles of rain. “The outdoor experience to a wedding is something that people crave because it adds a little bit of raw elegance and maybe a little bit of unpredictability,” says Brendan Griffin Lyddon, venue manager. “Unpredictability of what the trees look like, what the flowers look the like, what the river is doing, how the hues of the rock change through the sunset or the evening.”
Tie the knot at Timberline Lodge (Blaine Bethany Photography)
At 6,000 feet in the mountains sits Oregon’s historic Timberline Lodge and Ski Area. Built in 1937 as part of the Works Progress Administration program, the lodge hosts several venues for winter and fall weddings, such as the stone and timber Silcox Hut, to which guests are transported in SUVs or Sno-Cats. With such a rich history and its location at the base of Mount Hood, Timberline is an ideal spot for a wedding, with seasonal recreational activities available right outside the door. It also serves as an everlasting landscape for wedding couples. “They will always have a place to go back to, and their kids will know where their parents got married,” says senior sales and catering manager Chandra Orton. “It will always be here as an icon of Oregon and sharing that part of it is pretty special.”
Loloma Lodge was built in 1932 on the banks of the McKenzie River. The property features a main lodge, four mid-century cabins, a 1928 family cabin and unlimited camping options. Truly off the grid in the wooded landscape, guests can visit nearby hot springs or fish the river, and the bridal party can embark on foraging excursions to collect flowers for the celebration. It is a place of relaxation, where guests can flow with the natural happenings of the day rather than always checking the clock, and where people can truly spend time with one another in a place that has stood the test of time. “You feel like you are doing something important,” says owner Wallis Levin. “It adds nostalgia and feels wholesome and authentic, which is all the things people are trying to embody when they are heading into a new marriage.”
House on Metolius is another property that sits on the banks of a river. The resort and nature preserve, which spans more than 200 acres, was first homesteaded in the late 1800s, and is situated within romantic woodlands, with views of Central Oregon’s mountain peaks. The main lodge, built in the 1950s, offers a kitchen in which some grandmothers and aunts may cook for small weddings, or there is space for food trucks and outside caterers. Guests may hike on the property or fly-fish the peaceful river. “There is a different rhythm here. It gives you the chance to slow down and observe and go with the flow of the river,” says general manager Rachel Gonzalez.
Rustic luxury at FivePine Lodge in Sisters (Stott Shots Photography)
FivePine Lodge, tucked away in a haven of ponderosa pines on the outskirts of Sisters, accommodates weddings from 2 to 220 people. With 36 private cabins and 8 rooms in the lodge, the intimacy of the friendly location provides a space to gather in celebration of a couple’s vision. Working with local cowboys, horse-drawn wagons can be arranged to add Western flare to the celebration, and wedded couples are served breakfast in their cabin upon waking the next morning—ready to begin life anew in the midst of one of Oregon’s reposeful landscapes.