Contemporary Portland Ballroom Wedding

Take a step back and you’ll see this wedding is much more than your typical ballroom affair. In fact, it’s a springtime garden wedding brought indoors with crisp, clean design sensibilities woven in along the way. Christina Fuller of Bridal Bliss planned the day to perfection and Christy Cassano-Meyer caught it all behind the lens. Ready for more? It’s all waiting right here.

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From The Bride…We decided to have an April wedding in Portland, despite the fear of a potential, classic Portland downpour, and therefore chose to do an indoor wedding. We are both from large families with a substantial group of college friends and work colleagues, and knew we could have a lot of guests. So the Governor Ballroom in The Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland was the perfect space to accommodate a large party, while being a blank slate where we could decorate and make it our own. Initially we thought we were the “outdoor, wine country wedding” couple, but found that our wedding really epitomized “Us.”

We both graduated from the University of Portland, so when looking for a church for our ceremony, we thought the University of Portland chapel would be perfect. Small, intimate and with a much deeper meaning for us than any other church in Portland.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to hire a planner/coordinator. As much as I love to plan and be organized, I knew I wouldn’t manage my stress very well since I was also in the process of opening up my own business! So we hired Christina from Bridal Bliss and it was the best money spent! She made the entire process so stress-free and FUN! We just wanted a party where people would be well fed, with good music and flowing drinks.

Pete is incredibly easy going, while I have some OCD tendencies that can creep into my laid back nature, so planning together was the perfect mix of quick decisions while paying attention to the aspects that really mattered to us. For me, I really wanted to focus my attention on the flowers and overall look that would be organic and relaxed. We worked with Hailey Bernstein from Zest Floral and Event Design and she (and Caitlin) were absolutely superb! Plus, Spring is the perfect time for all blooms! I chose florals such as roses, garden roses, freesia, cherry blossoms, anemones, ranunculus, with touches of eucalyptus, succulents and greenery. Pete and I strived for a romantic garden wedding, and wanted to bring the outside in as much as possible without it looking disjointed being inside a grandiose ballroom. We ditched the majority of the traditional round tables for long, exposed mahogany tables with matching chairs, with blush and white linens. I also really wanted a large, lush, hanging floral arrangement for the escort card table, which they successfully executed, and it was SO beautiful.

My dress was very simple with clean lines and also extremely comfortable. Originally I thought I wanted a dress with sleeves or lace, but without really any fore-thought, I ended up finding a gorgeous, lace overlay jacket to wear that made the dress like two dresses. I wore a mid length veil trimmed in silk with the lace jacket for the ceremony, but for the reception I decided to have an outfit change; with a crystal belt instead of the jacket, and a floral crown, which was oh so divine. And a little more laid back for the party.

I did not want the responsibility of choosing one single dress for all of my bridesmaids, and there were 9 of them (!), so I decided to let the girls pick any dress they wanted in the nude, blush pink family. And it turned out so beautifully! I was so pleased to see the dresses come together and I was even more happy to see all of my bridesmaids comfortable and looking like themselves! For the boys, we really struggled with finding the best option and it was important to Pete — to rent, or buy, etc — but I came upon a company called The Black Tux, where you can rent really fabulous designer-like suits and tuxes for any occasion. I showed Pete and he was on board in an instant. You can curate your entire look for the groom and groomsmen (again, there were 8 of them) and it’s shipped to your door 2 or 3 days prior to your event, and you ship back the next business day. Such a great company. Pete wore a navy blue bow tie to distinguish himself since all the men wore modern, midnight navy blue tuxes, with suspenders and black bow ties. So dapper if I do say so myself.

Christy Cassano Meyer was our photographer and she was perfection! She shot with her husband Kyle since it was a pretty large wedding/group, and it couldn’t have been more fun and easy. Both were so professional, but never in our faces and she really captured the essence of the day.

Our invitations and Save the Dates from New and Blue were all letterpressed; also white, with hints of blush. We wanted our entire aesthetic to be clean, simple, elegant and timeless. I also began to have an aversion to anything bright or too colorful, so we stayed in the blush and cream zone for everything.

My sister Madeline Guzzo (of Clarus Ink) is starting her own hand lettering business and so I asked her to do all the signage and hand printing for the wedding – from the escort cards, to the menu and dessert table signs, she did everything. Major DIY and she knocked it out of the park.

Jakes Catering did all of the food, and we chose a classic NW meal of salmon and beef tenderloin. We also had signature His and Her cocktails during the cocktail hour — his whiskey, hers vodka. Naturally.

We chose to have a small, personal wedding cake since Pete isn’t much of a cake eater. My best friend’s mother is the best baker EVER (seriously) and she made us the most delectable dark chocolate cake with italian, coconut, buttercream meringue icing (!!). Guests were treated to an assortment of mini pies from The Pie Spot — chocolate hazelnut, lemon vanilla, triple berry, marionberry and s’more pie. And since I am somewhat of a coca-cola addict, we also offered Coke Floats, which was probably my favorite little touch.

Lastly, we loved the idea of a photobooth, and guests could take home their photo strip as their wedding favor, and it was such a blast! Our guests really got into it, and looking through the photos later was a total crack up.

We were surrounded by so much love and support and although the day went by much too quickly, I can honestly say we had the most amazing time that we will never forget. From the balloon church exit, and dancing the night away, to the stolen minutes we had for just the two of us, it was pure magic.

Photography: Christy Cassano-Meyer | Floral And Event Design: Hailey Stern Bernstein // ZEST Floral And Event Design | Event Planning: Christina Fuller Of Bridal Bliss | Invitations: New And Blue | Ceremony: University Of Portland Chapel | Reception Venue: The Sentinel Hotel | Bride’s Shoes: J Crew | Rings: Todd Reed | Food: Jake’s Catering | Hair: Kate Pierovich From Ginger Salon | Groom’s Suit: Black Tux | Grooms Shoes: Black Tux | Bride’s Dress: Nicole Miller | Bride’s Hotel For Getting Ready: The Sentinel Hotel | Dessert: The Pie Spot | Groom’s Hotel For Getting Ready: The Nines | Handwritten Signage: The Bride’s Sister, Madeline Guzzo | MUA: The Bride | Music/DJ And Photo Booth: Chad Dowling // Chad Dowling Productions

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