Wedding and Travel to Hood River
What a week! It was magical. I’m talking about the wedding of our youngest to the girl of his dreams.
The wedding planning began over two years ago, right after Nicolle and Jordan became officially engaged. So we’ve been talking wedding plans for a long time!
Past blog posts have included mother of the bride/groom dress shopping, dressy sandals, evening purses, and a review of leg makeup. And my Instagram page peeked at wedding dress shopping with the bride last year.
And now it’s all behind us. The happy couple is off on a European honeymoon and enjoying some time not planning a wedding and focusing on each other.
The wedding was stunning. The venue was a dream location. And all the fun with family and friends was the cherry on top.
Wind in the Hood River area can be a factor (see below: “windsurfing capital of the world”), and we experienced cloudy skies and windy days every day leading up to wedding day. And then … at the 4:30 time of the wedding we had warm sunshine and the river looked like glass. It was perfect!
It was our family’s first wedding, so I may sound a little gushy (oh well 🤷🏻♀️). But since I’ve been sharing for some months about this special event, it wouldn’t be polite to skip over the details.
The Wedding 💍
And … in this post I’m finally revealing my mother of the groom dress. You may recall that I’d wanted to keep it under wraps until the wedding.
We had a fabulous time. It was a destination wedding at a spectacular venue, The Griffin House, overlooking the Columbia River in Hood River, Oregon. Since every guest traveled to be there, the bride and groom planned a night-before welcome party and a day after casual gathering at a local winery. It was such a loving and meaningful way to welcome and appreciate their guests.
Some of the very personal touches: our oldest son (older brother of the groom) was the officiant and wrote a beautiful and personal wedding script that completely captured their relationship, each guest found a handwritten note from either the bride or groom expressing appreciation and noting special things about the relationship at their dinner place setting, our daughter (groom’s sister) wrote a song for the couple and performed it at the reception (she’s a songwriter and musician), the cocktail napkins were printed with images of several of the love notes Nicolle and Jordan leave for each other at home, and our son wrote and recorded a song for his bride for their private last dance (with some help from his songwriter sister and music producer brother-in-law). And the families of the bride and groom happily welcomed each other’s new extended families.
Kind of sounds like a fairy tale! And that’s exactly what a wedding should be. 💖
All of these touches created such a special event for every single person there.
Maybe the very best part for this mom was that our four kids were together for the first time in four years. They all live in far flung places: Melbourne, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles. So our being together these days is infrequent. It was the BEST.
Mother of the Groom Dress
Remember that silly UN-reveal of my mother of the groom dress from the Mother of the Bride / Groom dress shopping post back in May?
Ta-da! Here’s the dress IRL.
It’s not like I had a fashion photographer getting all angles, but the early photos in my house (before the dress was hemmed) and several from some wedding pics are enough to share what it looks like.
I love the simple elegance of the dress. I opted to keep my jewelry minimal to give the statement bow all the attention. I wore long, single strand, crystal earrings that reflected all the colors in the environment as well as a matching bracelet stacked with one of my simple silver bracelets. (The crystal jewelry was customized for me by Etsy artist Kelli of Glitter Fusion. She was so easy to work with and the jewelry is beautiful.)
The Griffin House–Wedding Venue
The stunning Griffin House was the wedding spot. From their website:
A rare combination of unrestrained natural beauty and curated luxury come together at The Griffin House, nestled upon the southern cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. Here, sweeping lawns lead to stone terraces, unfurling spectacular views that inspire wonder.
We’d seen many photos of the venue (check out their Instagram page) prior to actually visiting in person. Discovery: No photo can capture the expanse of the property and the gorgeous views overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. It’s a special place and was the perfect setting for our son’s and daughter-in-law’s beautiful wedding.
Other Wedding Festivities
I chose the vibrant green dress in the images below for the rehearsal dinner. The dinner was held in the vineyard of a local winery. That day, once the sun when down, it got pretty cold, and most of us (including the guys) bundled up as much as we could. So outfits were under wraps until we transitioned back to the town of Hood River for a welcome party at a local wine bar.
The welcome party the evening before the wedding and the outdoor gathering at a different winery the day after the wedding were perfect for this destination wedding. None of the guests were local, and the hosted social get togethers gave those who had traveled something to do and the opportunity to meet other wedding guests.
Our daughter did a repeat performance of the song she wrote for the bride and groom the day after (below–improvising by taping the microphone to a chair!). Check out her music here.
A Few Tips
Although I love the 100% silk dress I wore, I now realize that silk isn’t the friendliest fabric. It’s expensive to clean, and sometimes spots don’t come out. Get a drop of water on it, and you may end up with that water stain all night (fortunately, I didn’t). Silk is beautiful, but a little finicky. I think the next time I need a formal dress, I’ll look for a fabric that’s less sensitive.
After trying and returning about 15 pairs of shoes, I ended up wearing the pretty shoes I loved rather than a more practical style (see below the pair on the left). They have 3 inch heels–not typically my MO. I went with the style I liked better, plus the silver shade had a blue tinge that worked well with my dress. But just in case, I had a back-up pair with lower heels and a cushioned foot bed. I went back and forth over which ones to wear–I needed to get the dress hemmed for the shoes I was wearing.
Fast forward to the end of wedding night. My feel were pretty much killing me after a couple of hours of dancing. I switched to the comfy shoes (from Amazon for only $38–see below the pair on the right) about 30 minutes before the end of the wedding. By that time, it was too late to do much good. 🙄
Silly me. In retrospect, I wish I’d just gone with the comfortable shoes that I didn’t love as much. They wouldn’t have even been visible with my long dress (you can’t even see my shoes). That’s my advice. Choose a style you like that’s also comfort forward if you can. It can make a big difference to your enjoyment of an event.
Of the seven or so purses I considered and tried (see the post about evening bags, including what each will fit), I chose the bucket style that had the most room. I was happy with my choice as it fit my phone, sunglasses and regular glasses, lip gloss, tissue, and could have fit more.
Wedding Location: Hood River, Oregon
Traveling east from Portland airport, you’ll drive through some of the most stunning landscape–the Columbia River Gorge. The Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River, up to 4,000 feet deep, and stretching for over 80 miles as the river winds westward through the Cascade Range, forming the boundary between the state of Washington to the north and Oregon to the south. You’ll be treated to striking natural landscape of mountains, lush trees, bluffs, and cliffs that border the Columbia River.
Stopping halfway along your route to Hood River (about 30 minutes) at Multnomah Falls is a must-do. This stunning waterfall cascades a roaring 620 feet from the top. But be prepared for crowds on weekends and during peak vacation periods (parking permits may be required during busy times). You can easily walk over to view the waterfall from its base, or spend a little more time to hike to the top.
We were back and forth to the Portland airport a few times and chose a scenic route for a drive back to Hood River along an “historic” road on one of the drives. It took a little longer, but it was beautiful, and I recommend it if you have time.
Hood River (about an hour from Portland) is a charming town in northern Oregon (about an hour from Portland and 3 1/2 hours from Seattle) situated at the junction of the Hood River and the Columbia River in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. The city is about 30 miles north of Mount Hood, the tallest peak in the state.
Many of the photos in the post are courtesy of Follow the Bride, wedding content creators. They delivered thousands of wonderful images the day after the wedding. More will come from the official photographer and the videographer.
Some of My Wedding & Travel Favorites
Linked below (click the image) are a few things that I wore or used on this wedding adventure.
Cape – I purchased the light cape that could cover my shoulders and not interfere with the bow on my dress. It was a great solution but ended up being a little too chilly at night so I wore it for only a few minutes and switched to a short jacket.
Purse & Shoes – The bucket bag was great; also pictured and linked are the two pairs of shoes I’ve talked about above (the cute ones and the comfy ones!). The higher heels are great going-to-dinner shoes when you’ll be sitting more than dancing. Maybe adding a little cushioning to the foot bed would make them easier to wear for a long period.
Backpack – I’ve now used my BEIS travel backpack on four trips and I think it’s the best solution I’ve tried for a carry-on. It has a separate compartment for a computer and plenty of dividers and pockets for all kinds of things. I usually empty my purse into the backpack when I’m flying. I love being hands free!
Mirror – The little rechargeable travel mirror is the best I’ve found for applying makeup when traveling. It has a 10x magnifying attachment mirror and three light settings.
Leg Makeup – And the leg makeup. Check out my full review post on leg makeup. I used the Westmore Beauty makeup when I wore the green dress and it gave my legs a flawless look. Applying with the brush is a must–it really helps to distribute the makeup evenly.