Making it Official

To obtain a marriage license, you need to know the requirements for the state you are getting married in.  Here are the easy steps to getting legally wed in Oregon.

Step 1: Visit your county Clerk’s office. You can go to any County Clerks office in the state if you plan to get married anywhere in Oregon. You have to appear together to apply for a marriage license . If you are getting married anywhere in Oregon and you work in Portland, you can meet on your lunch break, go to the Multnomah County office, fill out the form and prove your identity. The standard fee is $60 (may vary for different states and county offices). Some will accept a certified check, debit or credit cards and cash, they will not accept personal checks, please check before you go.

It’s important to note the timing of applying for your marriage license. There is usually a 3 day waiting period in Oregon. Once your license application is approved you have 60 days to make it official. If you are getting married in Washington or any other state you have to apply for a marriage license in that state. You cannot use an Oregon Marriage License in another state.

Step 2: Get married. You must have an official present to officiate your ceremony. You will want two witnesses, in addition to your officiant. If you are eloping, you may use your vendors as a witness, but make sure you ask them in advance. Traditionally the Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor serve as your witnesses.

Step 3: Your officiant is responsible for submitting the official marriage certificate to the County Office in a timely manor. You will be given a decorative, non-official certificate when you apply for your marriage license, and sometimes your officiant has their own ornate certificate – none of these are your legal documentation for official purposes. These are keepsakes only.

Step 4: After your official documentation is submitted by your officiant and confirmed by the state, you will be able to order certified copies from your County office. In Multnomah County the cost is $7.95. We recommend you order at least 1 certified copy for your records and from 3 to 4 copies if one or both of you plan on changing your legal name. You’ll want to be able to mail copies while retaining a copy during the process of changing your ID and documents.

So that brings us to part two of making it legal – how do you change your name legally?

Step 1: Obtain certified copies of your marriage certificate.

Step 2: Visit the Social Security website, print up the name change form and order a new copy of your Social Security with your new name, by mailing in the form and necessary documents

Step 3: Go to the DMV – it will be a long wait. Bring your certified marriage certificate and proof of address if your address has changed.

Step 4: Change your name on your passport once you receive your corrected social security card and ID from the DMV

Step 5: Change your bank account, notify your employer and all accounts.

Step 6: Let everyone else know.


If this doesn’t sound fun, you can use a service, such as Hitch Switch, but it truly isn’t a ton of work and if you just update your accounts with every interaction you have as you go – you’ll get there before you know it.




Helping the environment with your wedding flower choices

English Ivy is a noxious weed, yet still many Portland area homes incorporate English Ivy in their landscaping. The reason it is considered a dangerous pest – the birds spread their seeds to our local urban forest, and those seedlings turn to vines that crawl up our deciduous trees. A bare tree in winter can quickly be covered in winding vines, making it impossible for spring leaves to bud and when left unchecked, choking the trees.

Many local groups volunteer to help clean up our urban forests and keep our trees healthy, but sadly it is a seemingly never-ending problem. The only obvious solution – stop planting English Ivy as part of your property landscaping and remove any already established.

Recently, we blogged about how you can use your wedding budget to do so much good in your community by choosing vendors like Brides for a Cause or venues that are also a charitable organization. Here’s something else you can do, choose English Ivy as greenery and filler for your wedding floral designs.

You might be thinking, “wait, if I use Ivy aren’t I creating a market for a noxious weed?” No – because we aren’t suggesting you go out and buy English Ivy. You see, there are organizations is Portland, completely devoted to keeping our forests healthy and teaching regular people like us to be stewards of the forest. SOLVE is one such great organization.

In the past, I’ve volunteered with SOLVE to go out in to our urban forest, learn about safe Ivy removal techniques, and with a group and an expert guide, helped to carefully remove all of the English Ivy from a large section of forest as a Saturday morning volunteer project. And the cool thing is ANYONE can do this. In fact, they encourage you to learn how to do this.

So what I am suggesting is wedding couples, or bridal parties plan a day about 2 weeks before your wedding. Get your in town friends together to help you clean up the forest. Take the Ivy you clean up home with you in a nice big greens safe garbage bag with a handle. Bring all this Ivy home, clean it up (just rinse it off with a good strainer protecting your drain and capturing any dirt or greens litter). Cut the vines in to easy to store and work with pieces, I recommend no longer than a Meter. Stick one of the ends in fresh water vessels. I use large emptied and cleaned yogurt containers. And then leave them in a cool room of your house. These fresh cuts will last for weeks. The vines used in this photo shoot are still going strong and we collected them three weeks ago.

If you are using a floral designer, like Vareus Events design services, just give your cuts over to your florist. You will save a lot of money on greenery and your environmentally conscious designer will be ecstatic to participate in this noble effort. Please be sure you talk to them first don’t spring it on them.

If you are doing your own designs, you can wrap your vine pieces to twine using about 22 gauge floral wire up to two weeks prior to your event if you have a floral cooler for storage, or up to a week before your wedding if you at least have air conditioning and a cool room to store your prepared vines in. Never use bundled pieces on ropes or twine in pieces larger than 15-25 feet in length. They get too heavy, especially if you plan to add flowers to the greens pieces to decorate Chuppas, arches, chandeliers, mantles, or as table runners at the reception. These pieces easily connect together if you leave a little excess twine at the ends.

So have we convinced you yet? If so here’s your next step, if you have a friend with English Ivy on their property and you can encourage them to let you help them remove it, AWESOME!

If you want to remove Ivy from our public forest, you can actually help do that. According to Monica Gunderson, Program Coordinator at SOLVE, in Portland:

We have English Ivy removal events throughout the year! Every Thursday in the summer  there is an ivy removal event in Vancouver, WA. Every first and third Saturday and first Wednesday of the month all year there is an ivy removal event in Forest Park in NW Portland. There are additional, less regular ivy removal projects throughout the year that you can find on our online calendar at Ivy cuttings stay green for a while, but just how long I’m not sure!


One thing to encourage people to recognize is that by removing native flowers from the landscape they are depriving bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds of food sources. I’d instead recommend brides go with greenery like ivy.

The next majorly important step after your wedding or event is complete, please make sure you enlist your wedding planner, or a trusted friend or family member who appreciates your decision to make this environmentally friendly choice, to gather up all of the Ivy and take it home to throw in their curbside greens recycling bin. You should not dispose of English Ivy in a backyard compost area, it can sometimes reseed itself, but it is absolutely safe to put it in your curbside compost bin.


If you have any questions, not answered in this blog post, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to give you free advice on using ivy in your wedding floral designs, any time!

Your guests are not going to put their phones away. So now what?

We’ve read a lot of blog posts lately about all the ways you can try to get your guests to put their phones away at your wedding. So as the parents of teenagers, let us tell you the only way to get them to put their phones away is to take them, put them in a basket and not hand them back until they leave the Thanksgiving table. No really, your guests are not going to respect your wishes to put their phones away. It’s 2017!

We applaud your noble attempts to fight the culture, and by all means follow all of the blog tips we’ve all read lately, they may or may not help a little. Or, rather than fight against the culture, use the culture to your advantage. Here are real actual useful tips for helping to guide your guests towards using their phones for good instead of evil.

#1 You’re engaged! Awesome! We are all so excited that #shesaidyes and now we want you to create a wedding brand, all forms of social media accounts, and a website. You can use many of the free wedding driven cookie cutter sites out there. If you’re tech savvy you can create your own free lifelong wordpress or squarespace site and blog. Or if you’re busy, you can hire an expert like us to do it for you.  Whatever you do, do it soon. Have a designated email account, website, snapchat, instagram, and facebook page. All of this will come in handy while you are planning your big day and this will all last a lifetime as you grow as a couple and family, throughout your life together.

#2 Hashtag your wedding. That’s right, embrace the fact that it is 2017, we’ve all had iPhones for nearly 10 years (or ok ten years for some of us electronics nerds) and even your grandma knows “#” doesn’t mean “pound” or “number sign” anymore. So #hashtag your wedding with a brand to last the ages. You can bring it back for all of your future events – anniversaries, holiday parties at your house, birthdays, milestones, family photos and life events.

#3 Make a point of putting a heartfelt blog post on your website asking your guests to respect your wishes regarding their phones and social media. Keep them off and away during your ceremony. Always keep the volume on silent, turn off notifications and vibrations. If they do take photos, videos, or snapchats on your wedding day, ask them to make sure they don’t obstruct anyone’s view, especially that of the paid photographer, or the bridal party. Remind them that if they take any pictures or videos for any form of social media, you want them to share it with you using your hashtag. This is important! It will remind them if it isn’t something appropriate to post publicly connected to your wedding then they shouldn’t post it PERIOD. It makes a difference if they know you will be looking.

#4 Buy a geofilter for snapchat for your wedding venue on your wedding day. It’s very affordable. They offer templates you can customize online at their website, or you can hire an expert like us to create a custom geofilter for you. Again, if they know their videos are going to be something you will watch while you’re waiting for your plane the next day, they are NOT going to embarrass themselves or you. You’ll have the added benefit of being able to save and capture all of these moments right away. It’s like the table disposable cameras of the 90’s but with instant gratification, and really cute frames for every picture.

#5 Remind your guests on your wedding day. Use your signs to remind guests of your hashtag, and your requests. Ask your ushers to remind them. Put a note on your wedding programs and menus. Use these printed materials and signs to remind them of your hashtags, and ask them to tag your social media wedding accounts.

#6 Use your hashtag for fun at the cocktail hour and reception. You can even incorporate your social media pages and hashtags in to your wedding day by asking people to post a message on Instagram using a video and the hashtag during the cocktail hour or reception. If you have reception games, incorporate the hashtag and social media in to your games. Have a contest for different categories, or just one – the best candid shot, the prize can be the first dinner party with the couple in your new home after you return from your honeymoon and are ready to entertain.

You and your guests have all grown very attached to your phones. You can stress about keeping them out of your wedding day, or try directing how and when they are used. We hope these ideas help you make a choice that works for you and your guests.


2017 Rustic Chic Farm and Vineyard Weddings

This summer in Portland is all about rustic wine country farms. Rustic open fields and barns are hot and chandelier-adorned ballrooms are not. The most important thing you need to know about a rustic wedding is that they are not necessarily more affordable than a classic black-tie worthy ballroom wedding.

We know you paid close attention to your basic econ classes in high school and college, so rule #1 of economics–supply and demand determines market price–applies here. In Portland, we have a large supply of rustic farm style venues (good for the consumer bride) but the demand is so high nationwide that we see now people coming to Portland for our venues, food and perfect summer weather weddings as a hot destination spot from California, Seattle, and even New York. What that means is you have to trust an expert to help you find the venues everyone hasn’t searched for online from far away, if you want to find a good price for an in-season rustic farm style venue (assuming they aren’t already booked through 2018).

Things to keep in mind: Some rustic venues include basic tables and standard sturdy wedding chairs, white or black basic linens and lots of natural beauty – but very little else. Your typical rustic venue is going to cost between $3,000 and $7,000 for a peak Saturday. That does not include catering, decor, rustic chic wooden rental tables, upgraded chair rentals, flowers, lighting (beyond what is standard at the venue)–did we mention flowers? I’m going to say it again because flowers are an often overlooked necessary expense you should splurge on if you’re going for a rustic venue.

It’s important to note that farm venues are working farms, sometimes open to the public vineyards, and people’s homes and property. Therefore many require you to work with only a select group of vendors, their specific wedding planner, and if they allow you to choose your own vendors, they will at least require you to work with a very inclusive caterer or a “Day of” wedding planner.

The term “Day of” wedding planner confuses a lot of couples planning a wedding on their own. Most wedding planners are booking up for 2018 already, many don’t have any availability left in the summer of 2017. So if you thought you could wait until close to your wedding to hire a “Day of” planner, you are going to be out of luck. In Oregon, event planners book up for our very short very peak summer season. If you find a team or planner you like you have to book them early. And if they are a smaller planning company, or a diverse company that also does non-profit and corporate events, they only have so much bandwidth to take on “Day of” weddings.

The problem with “Day of” weddings, the wedding planner’s event planning bread and butter is the referral and the guest who enjoyed their experience so much they want to know who the planner was. It’s impossible for a professional to accept a true “Day of” job in an industry where your reputation and style are everything. It’s hard enough for a professional to put their name on an event they didn’t play a part in planning. If it is not their decor, floral and table setting designs, and vendor suggestions, they don’t want anyone faulting them if the quality is out of their hands. You will find for this reason most professionals will not accept “Day of” events. Instead, we offer “Month of” services.

With a month of service, professional planners will typically find the gaps in your design, and plans long before your wedding day. They’ll be able to tell you months before it is too late how you could save money, stress, or disasters by making a few small tweaks. They’ll make your last several months before your wedding FUN, less stressful, and worry-free. They’ll help you dot every “i,” cross every “t,” confirm every single detail with every single vendor and handle a ton of those last minute calls, emails and details you really don’t need to do – since you’re required to pay for their services anyway. Some of us can and will offer you floral designs, set up and assistance for your seating charts, place cards, favors, place settings, specialty linens and rentals, sweets table design, signage, and we’ll be there for your rehearsal and every minute of your ceremony and reception, to make sure everything happens exactly according to schedule.

The more personalized elements you add, the more you need a professional wedding planner. So why do we not just show up on the day of your event? Because our services are priceless, and we book up for peak season with all the couples who need full service or month of services. Professionals aren’t available for “Day of” for the same reason venues are more expensive during the summer – supply and demand.

My best advice to any couple who’s just gotten engaged, hire a full service planner FIRST. A good professional will offer you a free consultation. From that consultation most will offer a basic inexpensive guide to planning your wedding, including venue and vendor recommendations, they’ll help you set a very realistic budget and give you a complete guide to doing it all yourself. These packages at Vareus Events start at $50 for very basic starting points, if we met through a referral from a preferred venue or vendor, or if we met at a show or pop-up wedding planning workshop. It’s only $200 for complete getting started plans. If you are just engaged, call us first and you’ll probably save up to ten times that amount in your time and wedding costs. If you later book us for complete or Month Of services, we will deduct that up front amount from your total services package price.


Money saving tips cheat sheet for rustic chic farm style weddings:

Step 1: Call a professional planner for assistance getting started

Step 2: If you already selected a venue, and you know you will need a wedding planner hire your planner ASAP. Their “Month of” Services don’t mean they won’t get involved in your planning process before the month of your wedding. The sooner you book them, the more help you will get and it is usually already included in your package.

Step 3: If you are coming up on your wedding date and realize you need a “Day of” planner, look to a novice or mom n pop style planners who may not be booked up far in advance. Don’t hesitate to call a preferred planner first, you never know if there may be a date they just never completely booked, and they may be available to help you at their “Month of” rate. If you are still finding it hard to find a “Day of” planner, call your caterer. They often have connections within the industry and may be able to help you.


Personally, We Think The Ceremony Is The Most Important Part

There are many reasons couples turn to a friend or loved one to officiate their wedding: They don’t belong to a specific church or feel attached to a specific clergy member; our kids’ fourth birthdays are a big spectacle why wouldn’t our wedding ceremony be something to remember and completely unique; it only takes a few minutes to become ordained online; and couples enjoy having their ceremonies in very non-traditional personally meaningful ways.

While we are certain your best friend is going to be just great at this, we’re also betting they may not have done this before. Even if you don’t want or need a professional officiant, we highly recommend you turn to a professional to help you write and plan your ceremony.

Personalized ceremonies are our favorite, but they can also be the absolute WORST! There is nothing more embarrassing than a wedding where the bride and groom clearly worked on their own or with a planner to create an amazing and unique reception experience for them and their guests, but they failed to pay the same attention to detail in planning their ceremony.

Sure, the couple knew where they wanted to stand, the decor, even the chairs are comfortably fantastic, and the processional and recessional music Had guests dancing in their seats or crying tears of joy, but what about the ceremony? What’s in a ceremony? Do you have to pledge obedience or other creepy antiquated ideals of a sexist past you’d like to not participate in? Of course not!

Writing and poetry are not every person’s strong suit. Even if you as a couple are determined to write every word of your vows yourself, what about the other parts of the ceremony? Your friend may be brilliant, an excellent public speaker, or even a writer, but are they going to write your perfect ceremony from start to finish? What readings or traditions will you include? What would you like to keep out completely?

This is why hiring a wedding planner can help you in ways you may not have even considered. You thought they were just going to arrange who stood where, but no, your modern planner is also an ordained minister (remember it only takes a few minutes online and come on when we say we are ready to solve any problem that may arise, that includes being ready to officiate because it was the plan all along or because your officiant got caught in traffic between weddings). We are experts, we won’t let you forget a single detail. And most importantly, at Vareus Events and other modern planning firms, you can turn to an expert just to help you craft the perfect custom ceremony plug in the parts from your friend – the officiant, and your personalized vows. It’s stress free, and more importantly it will be the part you most look forward to.

Our Vareus Events Custom ceremonies start at $200. For $500 you get a custom ceremony, an officiant, and a rehearsal. As part of an existing package, writing and planning services may already be included. Our full service planning packages always include a planner as an emergency back up officiant – where local laws allow (void in some states or counties).


To Elope, or Not To Elope…That Is The Question

Many Modern couples are opting to get married in a courthouse with just a handful of people, or elope somewhere non-traditional and special to them, in lieu of a large church ceremony.  Millennials do not have the same attachment to a Church their parents or GenXers may have had, so a religious ceremony is not a necessity.

There are a lot of pluses to feeling free to marry exactly how and where you want to. For starters, we are big believers that the Wedding Ceremony, itself, is the most important thing about your upcoming nuptials. Why? Because your promises made to each other are truly what this is all about.

What better way to start your life together, than by bringing your absolute true selves out to seal the deal. For some that means a religious ceremony in a house of worship, for others, even if they are deeply faithful, it may mean they have to share this moment in a very different and special way for them. You’re in luck. It is 2017 and you do not have to look at your upcoming marriage as something you have to do in any set way in order to please the world.

The question you should ask yourself is how do you stay true to who you are as people in this commitment to each other to become one – and should you sacrifice having the giant party to celebrate even if you don’t want the traditional ceremony? Of course not! You can have it all.

Let’s look at some of the options you have available to you for your perfect Wedding:

  • Get married in the religious house you love and are an active member of – If you go to Services most weeks, are active in your community and can’t imagine getting married without your religious leader giving the Consecration, then do it! You don’t have to have a traditional reception just because you opt for a traditional ceremony. Think about some venues not too far from where your ceremony will be and plan a day that fits you and your personality. If you worry the formal wedding gown you will wear for your ceremony will not work for the venue you want for your reception, change your close before the Grand Entrance. Brides today are opting to wear traditional or family heirlooms to the ceremony and a different look that is more modern and fun for the reception.
  • Just make it legal – getting married in a courthouse with no big crowds is the perfect way to have a simple ceremony that checks off all the boxes, secures the legality, and makes it all official. If you are a no-nonsense kind of person who really doesn’t want a large ceremony, or to customize your own vows, and add a lot of detail to your ceremony, a Justice of the Peace may be exactly what you need. Many Justices of the Peace will work with you to allow for minor personalizations but they are not typically where you go if you want a unique, completely you ceremony. This may also be a great option for you or your families are very religious, you are not, or your religions do not fit in to your ideas for your marriage. Having an intimate ceremony does not mean you cannot have a huge or traditional reception. Also, some courthouses will even allow for large massive ceremonies so you don’t necessarily have to make this small or intimate. Another great plus, the flexibility. You can get married on a Friday morning and host a massive celebration Friday or even Saturday evening. You can marry on a Tuesday in the town you live in and then fly to your parents’ town for a huge celebration.
  • Get married somewhere that is deeply special to you with only your select few key people around. It can be a destination ceremony. A ceremony at the top of a mountain. You can marry in a park, on a trail, at the Coast, or in your own backyard. It’s really and truly OK to marry wherever you feel it’s right to commit to forever together. Maybe your first trip was to Joshua Tree or Yellowstone and you want to have a small ceremony in the park. Do it! Make sure you abide by Park rules, get the proper permits, and bring along a legally ordained Minister. Also be sure you’re legally marrying by abiding by local laws for getting legally married. Do you need a license (definitely) Do you need witnesses? Is there a waiting period? Do you need a blood test? Plan your special ceremony months to a year in advance and still plan the reception of your dreams. It doesn’t have to take place the same day or in the same town so truly make this completely your dream. We highly recommend you use a professional planner for this type of event. Serious planners and planners who work with non-traditional couples are often ordained Ministers, too – so we can make sure your unique ceremony is legal and done right.
  • Host a large traditional ceremony, even if you don’t belong to a church. You may want everyone you know and love at your ceremony, you may even want religious aspects, or a blending of traditional and non-traditional elements, but you don’t attend weekly services or even feel there is a Church you belong to or would feel welcome or comfortable marrying at. There are many Open Churches. Seriously, this is Portland in 2017! There is no pressure to become a member of many of our area churches, and they will still happily welcome you in to their doors to get married. Even better, some will let you use your own officiant or will just meet with you in a welcoming way, before the wedding, and then happily marry you in a way that makes you feel welcome and comfortable. Some Christian Churches are very excited to have you get married in their Church, and they won’t judge you for blending religious values or doing it your own way. The pluses are they often ask for a reasonable venue rental fee you don’t need a lot of decoration or any chair rentals and they even have a lot of additions like a large organ, lighting and included standard decor or runners. You can spend more on the flowers and less on large decor rentals.
  • Have a large, medium or intimate ceremony at a Vineyard, elegant hotel, on a farm, at a local venue, or rent out an estate for a full day, where you also host your reception.
  • A final idea – a destination wedding. Make sure you use a planner! Professionals like us have contacts everywhere. We can help you secure all the details you want, book rooms for your friends and family, and save you stress, time and money.

The key is to have the exact wedding you want. These are just some basic ideas, and truly your options are endless. Think about the exact perfect Wedding for you and then go for it!