wedding vendor

Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue

Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue

Booking your venue is one of the most important parts of wedding planning, but I don't have to tell you! Luxury venues with high demand book two to three years out. In order to help you stay organized, I asked Samantha Struck of StruckSured Events to help create a list of the most important questions to ask a venue before booking. You might be surprised by some of the things you should consider before booking!

Vendor Feature: Ania Bridal

Vendor Feature: Ania Bridal

One of the most exciting, and most difficult, parts of planning a wedding, is choosing your dress. Brides will spend months searching boutique to boutique for the right dress to match her style and her budget. I am fortunate to live in Oregon, where we never experience a drought of gorgeously designed dresses. We have some of the biggest names in the industry within our city limits, as well as some of the most beautifully curated bridal boutiques. One of my favorites is Ania Bridal, in NW Portland. Stepping into their shop is an experience, an experience I don't want you to miss!

Vendor Highlight: StruckSured Interiors & Events


Samantha and I met by chance through our mutual love for Instagram and community. We shared a passion for weddings, simplicity, and business. Ironically, we had worked together before without even knowing it at a wedding she was assisting with. I was nervous to meet her in person, because of her lengthy resume and talent, but after a chat over cider I knew her visions aligned with mine so well and we would soon be working on great projects together. 

She is based out of Hood River, living with her husband and one year old son on a family orchard that goes back for generations. She has been privileged to work with brides from all over the country who fly out to Oregon to get married in one of Hood River's many amazing venues. In addition to being a rockstar at wedding coordination, she also excels in interior design. To get to know Samantha a little better, check out the Q&A we did below!

  • In three words or three small phrases, who are you?

    Thoughtful, meticulous, and dedicated to details

  • What piqued your interest in working as a wedding coordinator?

    My formal training is in Interior Design and took a small break from that while we expanded our family. I had planned weddings for friends and family but took the leap professionally because it allowed me to be flexible with my time and it offered more creativity than Interiors did. I really enjoy learning a couple's love story and weaving that story throughout their day. I love curating unique moments from the moment guests arrive to your exciting exit. I carry a lot of my technical background into the events I plan by providing a structured framework of details to help ensure everything is executed flawlessly.

  • What is the meaning behind StruckSured?

    The definition of 'structure' is "1. construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization to." Being a formally trained Interior Designer, I love to plan and organize things. I also love to problem solve. I believe that the details of an event are what drives the overall experience or the story you want to tell. I also want my clients to feel assured that I care about their day just as much as they do; it is an honor to be asked to join them in their journey. The name morphed out of my passion for these things and a fun play on words with my last name being Struck.

  • How do you utilize your skills as an interior designer to elevate your clients' wedding experience?

    I think what sets me apart is my technical background and skill set. I provide a very detailed CAD layout of the venue with seating, stations, and circulation areas. I also use my project management experience within my communication and management of vendors. I provide a comprehensive guidebook that includes a detailed timeline and contact information for each vendor. The guidebook also includes the visual inspiration and expectation for each vendors part which leaves no room for error. I, quite literally, immerse myself in your day, from entrance to exit, and make sure all the details are arranged.

  • Do you specialize in a certain type of wedding?

    I specialize in luxury, destination weddings primarily in the Columbia Gorge. Because of the tremendous amount of time I invest to make sure the details are thoughtfully planned, I am situated at the higher end of the market. I do a very limited number of weddings each season because I prefer quality to quantity and like to dedicate time for each couple I work with. When I talk to prospective clients, I always ask what it is they are expecting from their coordinator. We would be a good fit if you are looking to curate an experience that is so special and unique that it immerses your guest in the journey to your day. That being said, it is difficult to execute that level of detail without being involved for a large part of your engagement. With clients who don't know where to start with the decor or clients who have a high level of design, I prefer to work with them from start to finish and plan for 12 months.

  • Do you do the planning and coordinating yourself?

    Yes. Because I only do a limited number of weddings per season, I am the one to personally plan your day.

  • Any pre-wedding rituals?

    The week before I personally call each vendor to check in and make sure they know when they are expected to arrive and to review what they are expected to bring. I also send out the final workbook for each of them to review the layout and their details. The day before I review all the information, check in with the couple, pack my wedding day essentials kit, and take a long relaxing bath. The morning of, I first check in with the bride and go treat myself to a good cup of coffee from a local coffee shop. I make sure to eat a big breakfast and pack a quick lunch. Then, usually around 11:30, I take off for the venue to ensure I am the first to arrive on site and remain there until I am the last to leave.

  • Why Community over Competition?

    The wedding industry is cut throat and divisive but I believe there is room for everyone. I stay rooted in knowing who my couples are and where I sit in the market. This makes it easy to know which vendors align with based on where I sit and what I expect. This also allows room for supporting other planners because they may cater to a different clientele and I am more than happy to refer couples to them should they decide they would be a better fit for their budget. There are planners who specialize in Day-Of coordinating and there is a definite need for that. I don't see them as a competitor since they offer a completely different service. Furthermore, I have great relationships with vendors who work at different price points. I am more than happy to steer clients in the direction that fits their style and their price. Again, I believe in supporting each other and allowing us to grow and learn from each other. Knowing who you are and what makes you unique in what you have to offer allows you to see your peers unique skill sets and assist in connecting clients to them if need be. Some of the sweetest comments I have are from inquires who I have connected with other planners. Really, at the core of each planner & vendor is the same desire to make your day special.

  • What is your dream or vision for StruckSured?

    My dream would be to maintain the perfect balance of Interiors & Events. I thought about giving up events at one point and couldn't bring myself to do it. I just love, love. I feel so privileged to be a part of telling your love story. I also have also enjoyed pursuing editorial event styling with Katie and am excited to see what comes of that.

  • What is the most important piece of advice you have for brides?

    Be true to yourself. In an industry that is inundated with pretty centerpieces and invitations, stay true to yourself and who you are. So your favorite colors are deep jewel tones and you want to get married in the summer. Go for it. Do it. You don't have to do what is trendy. You want to be able to look back at your wedding and see yourself woven throughout all the details.

Vendor Feature: Bramble Floral Design

Meet Alli of Bramble Floral Design. She is based here in Portland, Oregon and makes use of her backyard garden on any possible occasion. Her designs are wild, creative, and independent. You could spot her bouquets anywhere! Her fine art approach is what drew me to her creations. Every design is equally stunning, in every different way. Everytime I work with Alli, I leave feeling inspired by her work, as do many of her other peers and clients. I'd love for you to get to know her and learn more about what makes her so special! She answered a few of my questions that might be on your mind as well. Enjoy!

  • I'm an artist, maker, and floral obsessed (design + gardening) creative entrepreneur. I'm a native Portlander, a wife, and a Jesus follower. I love reading (especially Harry Potter), my fluffy little dog, and playing board games.
  • Growing up around plants, gardens, and nature walks combined with years of art training, and a compulsion to get my hands dirty and make things.
  • According to Wikipedia, "In British English, a "bramble" is any rough (usually wild) tangled prickly shrub—specifically the blackberry bush (Rubus fruticosus)—or any hybrid of similar appearance, with thorny stems." The English style of gardening and garden inspired floral design has been really important to me and my love of flowers, so a more English term felt right to me. The whole idea of a free-growing, wild, and beautiful in it's own way sort of plant also is something that I wanted to use to represent what I love and what I do. I'm a perfectionist by nature, so working with things that grow and are a bit wild and unpredictable is a really good foil to my pickiness and helps me be more free in my creativity. It's a good reminder to be yourself, explore, and ramble a bit, and be happy no matter where you end up.
  • Well, Queen Anne's Lace is my favorite flower, so I incorporate it where I can. I also love to use roses - you kind of can't help it when you're from Portland. The rest of my "favorites" change from year to year, but I usually try to incorporate ferns and herbs whenever possible, too.
  • Yup! I've had some incredible interns, assistants, and extra hands this year who helped make 30 weddings possible, but I do the designing and most of the construction/hands on work myself.
  • Try and get as much sleep as possible? (Sometimes even if that is only 4 or 5 hours!) I mostly just make lists and wear essential oils - the real ritual is going out and stuffing myself at Cha Cha Cha afterward with my husband!
  • Because we are better together! We all bring something different to the table and can learn so much from each other. Also, I don't know a whole lot of florists who want to work every weekend and there are so many weddings - we gotta share the love!
  • Right now my dream is to keep doing what I'm doing for a long time! I have a mix of little and big dreams - including building a beautiful backyard studio and giving one-on-one instruction to others intersted in floral design. I'd also love to visit Australia and attend a floral workshop there - they've got so many of my fave flowers!! Other than that, I'd love to be able to spend more time in nature to make sure I have all the inspiration I need to keep serving my amazing Oregon brides!
  • Be yourself and do your wedding your way! Look at what YOU love to get inspiration for your wedding - don't just look at trends. Also, trust your florist! It's totally okay to love flowers but not actually know that many or what they're all called. I got you! We'll be a great team.

Vendor Feature: Delectable Baked Goods

Today I would love to introduce you to one of my all time favorite talents, Melanie! Melanie owns Delectable Baked Goods based in Beaverton and has created some of the most breathtaking, and not to mention delicious, cakes I've ever seen. She is crazy good at what she does and always manages to blow me away. I first worked with Melanie in September of last year and have been trying to work with her even more ever since. However, I don't always get the chance because she is a busy busy lady. Not only is she an incredible girl boss, she's a wife, and mom of an adorable little boy. You can see her beautiful work on instagram @_delectable and on her website at I hope you love her as much as I do:

  • What piqued your interest in baking and design?

    I grew up in a family that ALWAYS baked during the holidays. My grandmother made cookies and truffles, and my mom made (and still makes) the most delicious homemade bread. When I traveled across the US (from Idaho to Arizona) to finish an art degree, my friends and I were severely lacking home baked goods. So I started making cookies for everyone I knew. I very quickly became known for my cookies...and had to limit my production to only the holidays so I could finish school and start a career! After 10 years, and lots of nagging, they finally convinced me to start a business. I ran a business for just over two years in California when we lived there, took a break to have my son, relocated to Beaverton, and now I've been in business here for just over a year.

  • Do you have a favorite or specialty recipe?

    I'm not sure if I can pick a favorite...I've been perfecting them all for over 15 its hard to pick just one. I do really love a good classic chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream though. Oh and lemon curd...I love a good lemon bar!

  • Do you prefer cakes or smaller treats?

    Cakes hands down. But I do tend to gravitate towards the smaller personal cakes. Those giant 5 tier ones make me nervous!

  • Do you bake & design yourself?

    As of right now, I am a one woman show. I do all the designing, prepping, baking, dishwashing and paperwork. I do take a lot of inspiration from the fabulous bakers in this world, but I try never to copy a design exactly.

  • Who inspires you the most in the kitchen?

    My mom and grandmother have always inspired me (in and out of the kitchen) but I as far as cake designs I pull a lot of inspiration from Australian bakers (such as Cakes by Cliff and Unbirthday Bakery) and England's Fondant Fox.

  • When you have a large order to deliver, do you have any pre-wedding rituals?

    I do not. I am generally not a superstitious person, I just have to trust that everything is stacked right and it will make the journey!

  • What keeps you sane during the busy seasons? I do love to run and do yoga. Both help me deal with stress in a good way, but they do fall by the wayside when I get super busy.

  • Why Community over Competition?

    Community over Competition is SO important to me. I worked in non-profits for many years, and know that you can do a lot more good when you work together than when you fight amongst yourselves. In our baking community (which is HUGE here in Portland), we may all have similar passions, but we all have unique talents. For example: I excel at buttercream, but am not skilled in detailed fondant work. So when I get a request for all fondant work, or fondant work I don't think I can successfully do, I refer them to the bakers I do know who can execute the vision of the client. Without reaching out to my fellow bakers and working together, I would never be able to do that.

  • What is your dream or vision for Delectable Baked Goods?

    So many! My main focus right now is to find a retail space or sublet a micro space to open a retail shop in Beaverton. We Westsiders like great food and cake too!

  • What is the most important piece of advice you have for brides?

    Enjoy the moment. No matter what happens...if it rains... or the schedule is running late... or if your cake falls over...just enjoy the moment. Everything will come together and at the end of the day you will be married to your best friend. (And you may have a few good stories to tell your children and grandchildren one day!)

Vendor Feature: Letters & Dust

Meet Brittany Hampton, a Portland based Invitation and Chalkboard Designer. She owns Letters & Dust and has found herself creating some of the most incredible wedding suites and signage in the Northwest. She has an eye for style and perfection. You can find her work on Instagram at @lettersanddust and her website at You can learn a little more about her in this Q&A:

  • In three words or three small phrases, who are you?

    In three words I would say that I am observant, practical, and creative

  • What piqued your interest in invitation and chalkboard design?

    After I had graduated with my design degree I discovered quickly how many amazing designers live in Portland and that the job market was very saturated. I landed an internship with Nimbi Design where this whole new world of design was opened up to me—I had never thought about the fact that wedding invitations and paper goods are "designed", and I loved the creative freedom in being able to choose any theme and create beautiful pieces that would be treasured by couples tying the knot! The chalkboards and signs had the same appeal, but I also love the added urgency in that they are not permanent, you have to say good bye to the artwork which makes it that much more special.

  • Before you were Letters & Dust, you were BHDesign. Why the change?

    I have a practical reason for the name change—getting married! I plan on changing my last name and didn't want to create confusion with my brand. I also felt that Letters and Dust really conveyed where I wanted to take my business, which was doing much more custom sign work as well as chalk murals and sidewalk art projects. Not that I don't love the paper goods, I still do them very frequently, there is just much more joy for me in creating with my hands and again the non permanence of chalk I find very alluring.

  • What are your favorite kinds of design projects so far?

    I do love my chalk work, but lately I have also been doing wood signs as well as mirrors and glass. I particularly love when people come to me looking for unique ideas for displaying information such as creative ways to display table numbers, or writing on leaves and leather. I also love a challenge, like creating intricate designs in small spaces or conversely, filling a space with a large-scale design.

  • Any projects you've been dying to do but haven't yet?

    I would love to do some agate slice calligraphy! I love seeing this concept on pinterest and I really want to try my hand at it—I am also hoping to find a way to do an agate / marbling concept with chalk, it's still in the planning stages but I think I am about ready to test it out! I also have yet to do a portable chalk wall for a wedding, which I would love to do this summer if possible, just looking for the right couple to say "I do" to lots of chalk!

  • From friends and family, to actual designers, who inspires your work?

    Like most other creatives, pinterest is a huge resource to me for inspiration, but in terms of people who inspire me—it's always my clients. Working in the wedding industry, I think it is very natural to form a relationship with the clients as well as other vendors working with you to create this vision that the couple has created. I love my unique clients who think their ideas sound crazy but are looking for beautiful execution and to bring a touch of who they really are to such a significant day in their lives. That is what I am inspired by, people who truly know themselves and are not afraid to step outside the norm to create something really lasting and inspiring with something as commonplace as a wedding.

  • Do you do the planning and design yourself?

    Currently I am a one woman operation—hopefully soon that will change and I can hand off some tasks to others who are more qualified than I. In terms of chalkboards and paper goods, I do all the brainstorming, research as well as conceptual planning for what I am going to create. I love the planning stage to be honest, that is where I really start getting excited for a project.

  • Any pre-wedding rituals?

    For me it's all about planning for the Oregon weather on the day of a wedding! I'll wake up, check what the weather is going to do as well as if the wedding venue is inside or outside and start taking proper precautions for transporting goods to the venue. I have mastered the art of stacking chalkboards so that they don't smear each other, as well as wrapping them to protect them from rain if there is a short walk to the venue. Short of that, I always get coffee, triple check spelling on the boards, and then send positive vibes to the happy couple.

  • Why Community over Competition?

    Portland is so diverse in it's culture and the everyone here is so unique that it only makes sense to value community over competition. I have no problem referring couples to other chalkboard artists knowing that they are looking for a specific style that I may not be as strong at, and I would much rather they be happy with the end result knowing that I was happy to refer them elsewhere rather than try to keep their business and not have the result be what they were looking for. All the vendors I have worked with here have their mentality that we are all in the same boat and there is plenty of business for everyone—it's much more about lifting us all up rather than keeping anyone down which is why I love it as much as I do. Everyone feels like extended family and everyone has their special style which means there is a vendor for every couple no matter what they are looking for.

  • What is your dream or vision for Letters & Dust?

    I started Letters and Dust honestly because I couldn't find my dream in-house graphic design job that I thought I wanted, now I get to have limitless creativity that I am being paid for and working in my own house! For me I feel like my dreams have come true in this regard, but in a grander scheme of things, I would love to have a few employees to handle aspects of business that I am not as strong at, as well as some other designers to free up a bit of my time as well as allow me to take on more clients. Basically I want Letters and Dust to be without limits, where I never have to turn clients away due to overbooking, as well as be able to expand my client base to other states—I wouldn't say no to doing chalk art in hawaii!

  • You're getting married this October! What have you learned about wedding planning from this other perspective?

    One lesson I have really taken from working in the industry before experiencing my own wedding is that weddings are most successful when you are true to what you want it to be. I have seen many clients pressured by friends, family, traditional standards and the like, where they have ended up unhappy with the actual result because it is not what they wanted. One thing my fiancee and I have been very clear with each other on is what we want, what we don't want, and that we are not going to compromise for what others expect of us. I have also gained a renewed respect for the vendors I have worked with and now have them working for me—I really sought out the vendors that I knew would take my vision and also bring their own style to their service without me feeling the need to micro manage. I believe woking with the vendors that you really vibe with and that you feel you can talk to anytime as a client or friend are the ones you really want to work with. Most of my wedding day will be a surprise to me, which I find much more exciting than having a hand in everything. Lastly, don't bite off more than you can chew! Being that I do paper goods and signs for other clients led me to grand DIY dreams of what I can do for my I am thinking it may be easier to just hire someone! I have many projects that as of now may or may not happen based on my own availability and I am trying to be more realistic with my expectations of myself and what I will contribute to our wedding.

  • From a vendor's perspective, what is the most important piece of advice you have for brides?

    From the clients I have worked with, I think the most important advice I could give them is to enjoy the process. Things happen and rarely does everything go to plan and the more you can be ok with this truth then the more enjoyable everything will be. You spend so much time and energy in planning this event that will be over before you know it, and you should be able to look back on it with fondness rather than remembering all the little things that went wrong. Yes there will be things that are stressful, but you are getting married—at the end of the day what matters is that you are with the ones you love and saying "I do" so that special person. Everything else is just an added bonus.

Vendor Feature: Rose & Stone Planning

Meet Kandice Stone, a Portland based Wedding Planner and Coordinator. She owns Rose & Stone and has found herself creating and curating some of the most incredible wedding and elopements in the Northwest. She has an eye for style and perfection. You can find her work on Instagram at @roseandstonepdx and her website at You can learn a little more about her in this Q&A:

  • In three words or three small phrases, who are you?

    If I had to describe myself in just three words, I would use positive, determined, and fun!

  • What piqued your interest in wedding planning?

    It was actually in the process of planning my own wedding that made me fall in love with wedding planning. I've always been an organized person, a planner, a list-maker, etc., and planning my wedding allowed me to apply those things that I actually enjoy doing, and have them be useful towards making one of the most important days of my life a success. When my wedding was over, I missed the excitement of it all, and realized I'd love nothing more than to be a part of bringing other amazing couples' dream weddings to life.

  • What is the meaning behind Rose & Stone?

    The meaning behind the name Rose & Stone is very personal to me. My husband is Thai and his last name is 11 letters long and a doozie to pronounce if you're not familiar with it. Because of this, he's used "Stone" as a pseudonym for years. And since it was my own wedding that got me info wedding planning in the first place, I wanted to incorporate that. In addition, the juxtaposition between something so beautiful as a rose and something so hard as stone, to me perfectly describes wedding planning.

  • Do you prefer Wedding Planning or Day of Coordinating?

    I honestly don't have a preference with one or the other. I truly enjoy both! With Day of Coordinating, I take over communication with the vendors at least 60 days prior to the big day, and that's after lots of development with the couple beforehand, so I'm actually involved long before the day of. And with full service wedding planning, its so rewarding to help bring a specific vision to life, or even help figure out what the vision is! Both facets of planning are so rewarding.

  • Do you have a niche in wedding planning? What are you favorite kinds of weddings to plan?

    My favorite weddings to plan are the non-traditional ones! Whether it's ditching rituals that don't suit their personality, or adding in their own quirks, I love when the couple wants to make their wedding THEIR wedding.

  • Do you do the planning and coordinating yourself?

    Yes! As of now, Rose & Stone is just me. I love being in control and calling the shots to make sure that everything turns out as perfectly as possible.

  • Any pre-wedding rituals?

    Breakfast and a good night's sleep!! These are important every day of course, but oh-so-important on the big day. I also meticulously check my emergency kit (the kit of supplies ranging from band-aids to hairspray to snacks), to make sure I'm fully stocked and ready for whatever the day might throw at me and my couple (and their guests!).

  • Why Community over Competition?

    I love the Community over Competition movement because it's not only beneficial for myself as a vendor, but for couples getting married as well. It makes it possible to be able to refer a couple to a different vendor if you think they might be a better match. It creates open communication and collaboration between vendors, allowing us all to learn from each other and provide a better service/product to our couples. I also think it makes for a more enjoyable day to day as a vendor, knowing you have a whole community that supports you and wants to see you succeed.

  • What is your dream or vision for Rose & Stone?

    My dream for Rose & Stone is to be big enough that we need an office and a few employees. I want to be able to maintain the personal connection to my couples, but be able to offer that service to more couples.

  • What is the most important piece of advice you have for brides?

    I'm not sure it counts as "advice," but I always tell my couples to try not to stress about all the things that can possibly go wrong because most of them are probably not going to happen, and if something does go wrong, they (and me!) are probably the only ones that will even know something is wrong. The day goes by so fast and I want my couples to be able to be in the moment and enjoy themselves as much as possible!