We know that picking the perfect Portland wedding venue can be overwhelming. So we’re here today to discuss our favorite Portland wedding venues. For this blog post, we are focusing solely on venues directly in the city of Portland.
Oregon itself has more wedding venues than one could possible dream of. You have your pick of everything from outdoor wedding venues to urban venues or from Wine country wedding venues to Columbia Gorge wedding venues.
Being long time wedding photographers in this city, we have developed a taste for certain elements in a Portland wedding venue that others might not see. Our criteria for the perfect city wedding venue is one that offers at least two or three of the following elements:
- Great natural light or the ability to capture unique artificial light. We love a venue that has bright open windows. But if not, it’s fun to work with moody indoor lighting or vibrant art installations (you’ll see what we mean below).
- Nooks and crannies. We like creative little spaces to photograph in as well as interesting architecture to frame our photos.
- A space that is friendly to formal photos. Sometimes a cool venue will have literally nowhere to take family photos, which we consider a minus no matter how rad the space is. We gotta capture your awesome fam somewhere!
- Friendly and accommodating venue staff. Luckily for you readers, all these venues listed are AMAZING to work with!
- Portland city views! If we can have it, we love it. However, we included a couple that may not have views per se, but definitely encompass that PDX vibe you’re searching for.
- All-in-one venues. This describes the type of Portland wedding venue that offers both location, catering, coordination and alcohol. One and done as they say. That said, this is rare but we’ve chosen to include it as we do have a favorite place that does offer the all-in-one experience. Read on!
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Wow, Lindsay and Daniel, that’s a tall order.” Or maybe you’re thinking, “How LONG is this list?” And you’d be right on both questions. We can’t fulfill every requirement in every venue. There are a ton of amazing PDX venues to choose from. So the following view are venues that have 2-3 of the above criteria, and are in our top 5 from the past few years.
The following list is NOT in order of preference. Just six of our faves. Enjoy!
If you have any others that you absolutely love -we’d want to hear about them! Leave a comment below.
Best Portland Wedding Venues:
The Portland Art Museum is literally in the heart of city. You’re surrounded the infamous Portland Park blocks and only a short walk away from the historic “Portland” sign at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
A Portland Art Museum wedding nearly checks almost all the boxes. It has amazing architecture – lending itself for perfect backdrops for photos. They have a sculpture garden outside that makes for a good spot for creative wedding portraits or wedding party formals. It’s also a good spot to have your “first look.” You have plenty of space to work with and can fit a high number of guests.
When you walk into the venue you’re greeted with a stadium view of where the ceremony site usually is. An open air hallway wraps around the entire ceremony and reception area highlighting the wedding venue.
Since it is an art museum, you have a built in artistic element to your wedding decor. Art and sculptures are everywhere you turn. It’s really fun for your guests to walk around and enjoy during cocktail hour or reception. We love to incorporate the art into your wedding photos which makes for some unique and creative shots.
The hallways are perfect for shooting in and getting interesting compositions. The lighting in the Portland Art Museum uses a lot of spotlights because they’re highlighting the art. We use this to our advantage, creating dramatic flair to some of the wedding photos.
Portland Art Museum weddings require you to bring in catering and coordination. We have worked with Bridal Bliss, Ella Events and Soiree Event planning here, and they are all rockstar in making your Portland Art Museum wedding a seamless production.
The Exchange Ballroom offers the BEST view of downtown Portland. Hands down.
One of the best things about this Portland wedding venue is their rooftop. The rooftop offers sweeping views of downtown. It makes for a perfect place to have your cocktail hour but for us, it’s a wedding photographers dream.
Our favorite time to utilize the rooftop is at sunset. If we miss the sunset or if it’s raining – don’t stress because night or day, sun or rain, we can create amazing photos up there. We’ve literally photographed up there in every condition. But look at the gallery above and you could never tell.
The Exchange Ballroom is the all-in-one venue we mentioned above. Vibrant Table leads this venue and therefore you can have your coordinator, venue and caterer all from the same place. It’s pretty great and they run a seamless operation. If you choose to have an outside coordinator, that is fine too! We have worked with Morgan Harris and BLC Events at the Exchange Ballroom, and loved both experiences.
Even though the rooftop is the shining star, the Exchange Ballroom also has a ton of other little unique places to photograph in. It’s flooded with great natural light and there are plenty of nooks to photograph in. The stairways make for unique creative portraits and their urban open loft style venue space makes for a great ceremony spot.
The Sentinel Hotel is a great downtown Portland wedding choice. Newly renovated in the past few years, this wedding venue has a few different options for ceremony & reception. Let’s get into it!
For starters, you’re welcomed by a beautifully lit check in area with plenty of space for wedding party portraits and creative portraits. It gives way to a beautiful open staircase which is perfect for larger family formals. Jackknife, the attached bar is great to share some drinks with your wedding party while we capture candid moments before the ceremony. Not to mention the perfect after party hang out spot.
Of course, a big bonus to a Sentinel Hotel wedding is that it’s also a hotel. The rooms are lined with rich dark colors that provide dramatic portrait opportunities.
For your ceremony, you’ve got a couple options. Our personal favorite is the Library room. It’s quite literally…a library. Dimly lit, lined with books and enclosed by dark wood, the library room is both romantic and unique. Don’t worry about the lighting being too dark. We bring our professional lighting that we tuck into two corners to provide additional light without distracting from the ceremony. We can also capture family and couple portraits in this space.
Moving to the reception space, their grand ballroom is just as it sounds: big with tall ceilings, a stage for your band/DJ and plenty of room for lots of tables. We recommend the Sentinel Hotel for slightly larger weddings that need to accommodate a lot of guests, with the additional of lodging and downtown entertainment.
The definition of luxurious industrial design, the Leftbank Annex has become a favorite for a Portland wedding that feels modern yet sophisticated.
Leftbank Annex offers a plethora of natural light and beautiful lines. Vast windows meet concrete floors in this upscale Portland wedding venue – ideal for larger gatherings. Although, we did photographer a smaller winter wedding here and the venue was able to close off half the room, making the large space feel cozier.
What’s neat about Leftbank Annex weddings is that it’s stone’s throw from the Pearl District while located in Northeast Portland across from the Moda Center.
Another really cool feature of having your wedding here is that there are 2 floors for diverse planning options. Many of our couples have had babysitters in the upper balcony to watch little kids while the grown ups party below. LeftBank requires you to bring in your own coordinator and caterer, which means you can get creative with the space. It’s a blank canvas, and you are the artist to make it our own. TWICE we have been here and there was a a Salt N Straw ice cream truck….done and done! :)
The Benson Hotel
The Benson Hotel has recently gone under new management, as well as a major renovation to it’s guest rooms. While it’s one of the oldest hotels in Portland, it’s classic charm is now elevated to meet today’s modern wedding trends.
Dark wood and rich red influenced decor give a classic yet romantic feeling to the lobby, where your guests can mingle and also grab a drink from one of the hotel’s awesome bartenders. The Starlight ballroom is popular for ceremony and receptions. At our last wedding, we were able to gain access to the balcony above the ballroom to capture the first kiss from a new (to us) high vantage point.
We love photographing Benson Hotel weddings. Like Exchange Ballroom, this Portland wedding venue has the all-in-one perks that some couples desire when choosing their wedding site. There is a delicious in house restaurant for catering, a top notch wedding coordinator on site and also the ability to house all your overnight guests. The staff and management have created a special downtown wedding experience with the Benson Hotel and we can’t wait to be back for another wedding. Maybe yours!
Here’s a few reasons why you might love having a Castaway wedding.
- You love views of Portland, outdoor nursery-like gardens and big ballrooms for your 200 guests. Say WHAT? You heard that right. Castaway has all 3.
- You love the idea of an urban venue that’s off the beaten path. Castaway is in the Pearl district, but on the edge in the midst of the industrial remnants from this party of the city. So you’re in the city within minutes to upscale restaurants and the waterfront, yet tucked away in a unique part of town that feels special and different
For these main reasons, we have loved working at Castaway. We have photographed both a big Jewish wedding and a 2 day Indian wedding here. Both weddings were big and busy. Castaway is the perfect place to house a lot of people and a lot of fun for your Portland wedding. You bring in catering and coordination, and we recommend Simpatica Catering, Soiree Events and Emee Pumagree Coordination- all amazing vendors that we’ve worked with for our Castaway weddings.