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If you’re like me you have this Pinterest mood board that is doing the most. It is the dream venue, styled to the nines, with everything you could possibly want. We love the dream!! But when choosing a venue, there’s a couple things you should also consider!! First off, set a budget with your babe. I know, I said the B-word. Im crying too. It hurts the dreams a little bit. But hear me out- setting a budget prevents you from looking at venues that are already out of question and lets you be more realistic about affording other things like florals, a DJ, your photographer (wink wink)!! From here start to think about a solid guest count! This will also help narrow your search and let you focus on venues that are catered for a particular audience size (imagine a giant warehouse vs. smaller art gallery). Finally, with the less fun details out of the way- go back to that Pinterest mood board! The dream!! Pick what your favorite details are! Is it the lighting, is it the style of the decor, is it the urban vibes that get you! Once you have decided what visually gets you amped, use those things as your deal breakers as you go to explore your venues!! At this point, you have a reasonable expectation of what you want/you know that you can afford it and you deserve to have it!!
As a wedding photographer I have had the opportunity to photograph at so many beautiful venues (Portland and beyond)!! Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in your life, but I imagine looking for venues can be super exciting until you hit like venue #7 and everything starts to blend together!! So I decided to compile some of my absolute local favorites!! These venues are not only incredible when it comes to the vibe and visual appeal, but they are owned by some of the best people who are dedicated to making your day run seamless!
This venue is my personal all time favorite. It is a large warehouse space in NW Portland and I swear was literally designed for dreamy photos and the most beautiful ambiance. Between the open floor layout, the exposed wood beams, and walls of windows, there is so much room to let the space shine on its own or to completely transform it and make it your own! The location is ideal not only for an indoor ceremony but also an outdoor one if you are wanting to switch up the space throughout the day! One of my favorite weddings here used the outdoor area as a cocktail hour after the wedding ceremony and then had completely transformed the inside for the reception! This venue is ideal for 100-200 guests while still leaving plenty of room for you to put in your personal spin! I also love this venue for its location! When it comes time for wedding party photos or your portraits there is no shortage of options!! Down the street there are some beautiful urban backdrops (the all white and all black ones being my go to for the clean minimal look) and right next door is a nursery that can be rented out! So if you are wanting to combine earthy and urban, this is definitely a potential option for you!!
This venue in Northwest Portland takes the cake on being another favorite!! It is located in a historic industrial area, which is right by the Pearl District, making it not only an ideal place for a wedding but also something enjoyable for guests and family making a trip out to Portland! The venue itself is modern and intimate- it honestly feels like it is right out of a storybook. The best thing about this venue in my opinion is that you can also rent the plant nursery next door, Pomarius, and now you have an entire venue that has both indoor seating, a patio space, and this beautiful green and lush space that can be transformed into a ceremony site or a reception space. Plus- with how naturally stunning the space is from all the greenery, so much of your “decor” is already taken care of for you! Now you can spend your time going in with just the finishing touches and details!
This urban venue is in the heart of Southeast Portland, which is such a great area (I actually lived here for awhile, some of Portland’s best kept gems are here)! The space itself combines modern industrial with the perfect moodiness. Between the tall ceilings, natural light, rustic wine barrels, and oh my gosh ALL the plants you could possibly want- it is so stunning! There are two levels to this venue so you have some design opportunity here- maybe having a cocktail hour at the upper mezzanine and then the ceremony down below, or maybe even set up a Photo Booth and some games, the options are endless!
This is a newer venue, but they are coming in with so much knowledge already about what makes for an incredible space! Imagine a more sleek and gallery style space, this modern venue is also in Southeast Portland, right in Kerns neighborhood! It is the perfect setting for a more intimate wedding or micro-wedding with indoor seating being perfect for a guest count of 50! The best thing about the set up of this venue between the indoor space and the roll up garage doors opening up into a private patio, is that you have a great set up for your entire wedding from ceremony to reception without going far. Also, with the space being so modern and bare, there is endless opportunity here to style it to your aesthetic!
Right by the waterfront, this warehouse space is in a great location for photos! I love offering my couples the opportunity to be photographed at the venue itself and nearby spots, and this venue is prime for that!! The venue itself gets beautiful light and has so much potential for an indoor urban venue. I personally adore the original wood floor and exposed industrial ceilings and of course- the cafe bulbs that just make it feel so warm and inviting! I would go as far as to say, this is one of those venues that is iconic in the wedding industry and between us vendors, it is always such a joy to be invited to this space!!
We are back in Southeast Portland with this venue! What can I say, it truly is such a great area!! This space is incredible for larger weddings, it has so much space! Between the hardwood floors, brick walls, and my personal favorite- the arched windows, there is so much design and thought put into making this space unique and stunning! It brings in both the historic vibes, but also leaves opportunity for modern touches. The best part about this venue for my couples who like to have a party is that it connects to The Loyal Legion and makes for such a unique cocktail hour while your space is being transformed for the reception! This spot is also so great at night for portraits, it feels so romantic and vintage!!
There is something so magical about rooftop venues and this one is not different! Located in Northwest Portland, this venue gives you the most breathtaking view of the city. This cozy space has some other notable and great qualities as well! A stunning outdoor fireplace, lush greenery, and my personal favorite- the living roof, truly make you feel as if you are in your own bubble while the city is alive below you! I have to say, this space is also incredible for portraits! Where better to be at sunset in the city than a rooftop with a clear view around you and perfect access to golden hour!
This intimate space was actually originally built as a house back in 1908! It has now been converted into a romantic and vintage place to host weddings and other events! Indoors there are so many hidden gems, my favorite being the slate-like walls that would be the perfect backdrop for ceremony. Outdoors the twinkly lights and patio space give the feeling of a backyard wedding with all the work done for you! Opal 28 has some of the most incredible owners and they truly make your day special.
This is a beautiful contemporary venue in Portland's Pearl District! This building has actually been a historic corner since the early 1900s when it was occupied by the Denby Motor Truck Company! It still has some of those warehouse-like qualities with its large windows, exposed ceilings, and open floor plan! This space would be amazing if you are looking for something more intimate and closer to a micro-wedding! With the location there is also plenty of portrait options nearby and around the venue itself!
This venue space is connected to the Ace Hotel, and is actually one of my favorites in terms of design and vibes!It is truly such an experience and great for intimate weddings. With it being connected to the hotel it also is an easy way to provide convenient stay for all of your guests! The space has original hardwood floors, expansive windows and high ceilings that make for a perfect canvas for a ceremony or reception!
The most affordable and still most beautiful spaces to hold a wedding ceremony and reception would have to be the parks in Portland! While they might not be the typical wedding venue, they have so much potential! Even if you choose to have your reception indoors, having the ceremony outdoors as a park opens up endless doors for photo opportunities! Just make sure to check in about permits and make sure you have properly reserved these spaces since they are ultimately public areas!
If you are stuck between venues here are some tips!!
Naba Zabih is a wedding and elopement photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. Servicing the local area of Vancouver, Washington, and Greater Portland. Photographing all couples of all backgrounds. Often traveling for weddings across the U.S and worldwide. Capturing beautiful wedding photos filled with artistic portraits and candid storytelling to preserve the most emotional of moments.Contact Me