Love is in the details. When Portland Bride & Groom’s talented editor Anna Sachse asked me to fill in at the magazine during her maternity leave, my answer was an immediate “I do.” I couldn’t wait to check out all the wonderful fêtes local couples have been dreaming up (p. 41). After all, when I married my husband, David, in 2005, Portland was a very different place, wedding-wise. We searched in vain for a traditional venue to accommodate our wild ideas, with little luck. Instead, with help from forward-thinking local vendors, we transformed a grimy parking lot underneath Portland’s Broadway Bridge into a sunset-hued ballroom with a dramatic view of the Willamette, where our nearest and dearest devoured a whole roasted pig and danced to live soul jams. It was a tough process, but it was worth it to celebrate in a style that truly reflected both of us—as well as the city we love.

Nowadays, “personal” and “unique” are bywords of local weddings. Whether they’re expanding their receptions to family mini-vacations or mounting DIY festivities in warehouse spaces (p. 104), Portland couples are finding more and more ways to create their own traditions and honor the past. It doesn’t stop at the venue door: order up a delicious alternative wedding menu, from vegan to gluten-free feasts (p. 94), find a new twist on classic “something blue” fashions (p. 66), or nab the perfect wedding photos (p. 100).

Abi Mates, one of the brides featured in our Look Smart beauty story (pictured above with her groom, Octavian Goga, and on p. 38), told me something that nails this mind-set: “I had this stubborn idea: why should I change who I am for one day when this is the one day that should express exactly who I am?” She’s got it right. Weddings are all about honoring who and what you love. With any luck, this issue helps spark your imagination and expand your idea of what’s possible on your own big day. Enjoy yourselves. And stay stubborn.

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