As the Labor Day weekend approaches, many people around the country are heading to a wedding or even two. White lace, the chicken dance and (hopefully) an open bar lay at our disposal. But what happens when the tables are turned and you are the one planning the wedding?
Chelsea Howard, a Portland bride-to-be, found herself in a sticky situation when she began planning her wedding (to the most lovable guy, Leland from Revive). As a bride, she wanted Portland’s flair to be incorporated into her big day so, she decided to produce Spoke For, an alternative spin on the traditional Bridal Expo. With the help of the ladies from The Weaver House, this unconventional event will have all the Portland couples sighing in relief.
E+E: How did you get the idea to start Spoken For?Chelsea Howard: The idea for Spoken For began back in January when I started to plan my own wedding. Friends and family encouraged me to attend the Portland Bridal Show at the Expo Center, so I went, hoping it would be a great place to see what the Portland wedding scene had to offer. The event itself was a bit disappointing for me, as no particular goods or services spoke to me or inspired my planning process. I have the privilege of knowing some amazing artisans and small shops in town, and kept wondering to myself why they weren’t promoting themselves as a wedding resource for alternative brides like myself.
Disenchanted by the mainstream options available and excited by the potential I saw in including non-traditional businesses, the notion of Spoken For was born. The name for the event was conjured up shortly after over a cup of coffee with my good friend Jen Powell… we liked the name because it’s straightforward, a bit old-fashioned, and represents both men and women in celebrations of all kinds. E+E: Who is involved in planning the event?CH: I’ve known Hannah & Kelty of The Weaver House for a while, now, and approached them with my idea for Spoken For. They are photographers, designers and shop mavens, so I was confident that their creative talents would lend themselves naturally to helping make my idea become a reality. Kelty designed our website, blog and print materials and Hannah defined our mission, curated participants with me and has been featuring them on the Blog. We make a pretty awesome team, and I feel very lucky to be working with Hannah & Kelty- Spoken For would never have become what it is today without them.E+E: What are you looking for in the various vendors? How are they different from traditional Wedding Expos?CH: Most wedding shows incorporate vendors who are purely wedding-centric - very good at what they do, but only involved in a couple’s life on the wedding day and rarely, if ever, after. We have primarily sought out participants who may not be found at the top of a Google search for “wedding vendors”, but who can contribute a fresh approach and aesthetic to events. Kelty and I are both planning our weddings and realized how natural it feels to want to involve local shops, artisans, designers and restaurants that we feel a kinship towards, and can envision being part of our lives long after our wedding.That is essentially what Spoken For represents: the idea of opening up our collective awareness to include talented, creative and hard-working small businesses that we may admire and use often, but possibly overlook when it comes time to plan a celebration. In some ways it’s a really old-fashioned notion - one’s community comes together to help put on a big celebration, and a couple is then able to give back to them with their support and business in the years following, building an even stronger web of local community.E+E: Who are some of your favorite vendors who will be at Spoken For?CH: Man, that’s a hard question to answer! We’ve tried to involve a diverse array of participants, from florists to designers to craftsmen to bakers to shops to artists to restaurants… We’re kicking the notion of a traditional booth set-up and allowing the participants to create their own space as they see fit. Imagining them all in one room is overwhelmingly exciting to me! We’ll be adding participants to the roster until mid-September, so be sure to check in on our blog to view the current line-up of folks… And if you’d like to nominate any talented friends or local businesses, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.E+E: We love when weddings are planned by both parties getting married - are there vendors that the male population will go ga-ga for just like the brides?CH: We’ll be featuring participants that don’t necessarily cater specifically to “men” or “women”, but appeal to the couple as a whole! Celebration planning is becoming more of a balanced, shared endeavor between two people, and we want to emphasize that in the participants who will be featured, as well as the public that will be attending. Women can wear Goorin Bros hats or Harding & Wilson bowties, and men can appreciate a beautiful bouquet from Erba Floral or want to take part in choosing what kind of dessert is served! Spoken For is about finding beautiful goods, quality craftsmanship and unique services together as a couple, an approach to celebrations that that we hope others will value as much as we do.GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY! Just as excited to attend the event as we are? 5 lucky people will get a pair of tickets to the event. Just post on our Facebook your favorite song to boogie to at a wedding!Saturday, September 22ndTime: 12-7pmCost to attend: $10 online, $15 at the doorSandbox Studio420 NE 9th Ave.Portland, OR 97232
Photo courtesy of the BWC website.