(Photo | by Erica Swantek Photography)
Whether it’s a snowy wedding in Sunriver, hiking into a remote waterfall or exchanging vows atop Smith Rock, Central Oregon weddings definitely have a common theme — adventure! Brooke Christensen, owner and operator of Your Day Your Way, a wedding/event planning and design business, loves the challenge of taking a bride and groom’s creative vision and making it come to life — especially when it involves going off the beaten path.
Originally from Florida, Christensen moved to Bend six years ago with her husband for the skiing and outdoor life. Having worked in all aspects of the service industry in several different cities, from serving to bartending to managing — Christensen believes customer service always comes first.
“I’ve [also]worked for numerous event coordinators over the years, expanding my knowledge of weddings and how to make an event flow smoothly. When we moved to Bend, I took what I’ve learned over the years and I decided to start my own business. I’ve received so much support and love along the way,” said Christensen. “It was a great decision on my part, I’ve had a ton of fun working for myself and I’ve met some incredibly talented and creative people through the process.”
Location, Location, Location
While there are several great indoor venues all over Central Oregon to have a wedding, some of the best ceremonies and receptions are in places off the grid with wide open spaces and beautiful views. Dictated by weather, the standard wedding season in our area is the end of May to mid-October, however winter weddings have become more popular in the past five years.
If a wedding ends up being in a place that Christiansen has never been or might have some different logistics, she welcomes it. “I’m always up for a good adventure or challenge. If you want to hike out to the middle of the woods to say your vows, I’m your girl!” says Christensen.
This year, Your Day Your Way will be coordinating weddings on several private properties, as well as one in John Day and some closer to Eugene. Being someone that loves the beach, one of Christensen’s ‘wedding bucket lists’ is to coordinate a wedding on the Oregon coast.
Being that we’re in a relatively small area compared to Portland or Seattle, the wedding and event community is close knit, supportive and respectful of one another’s businesses. When Christensen started her company, she felt very comfortable and supported by others and continues to work with them today.
“There are SO many experienced vendors in Central Oregon. I have met some amazing people since starting my business,” says Christensen. “Referrals are everything in this industry and they mean a lot.”
Christensen belongs to Central Oregon Wedding Association (COWA). The organization puts on mixers for vendors to attend, which helps everyone stay connected to the community and beyond. They also provide educational classes and events to help business owners continue to learn about the ever changing wedding industry.