When Max and Jordan made the decision to have a destination-style, Oregon-themed wedding, it was because their life together in Eugene played such a major role in their romance. Both graduates of the University of Oregon, they made sure to include their favorite local flavor in their wedding day—Voodoo Doughnut, Party Downtown, Sarver Winery, and, of course, ponchos for the guests. What would a fall wedding in the Pacific Northwest be without a little of our famous Oregon drizzle? It certainly didn’t stop the couple from enjoying their special day.
Max is originally from LA and Jordan is from Fairbanks, Alaska. Only seven of their 104 wedding guests actually live in Eugene—the other 97 travelled from all across the country to attend.
Max booked a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn closest to Sarver Winery for convenience. They also thoughtfully provided a shuttle service with First Student Charter. “We just wanted everyone to have a great time and not worry about driving. It was also a cool way to tie-in how we met at school, because the shuttle was a school bus! People had a great time with it.”
Sarver has special significance for the couple because it is where Max proposed, surprising Jordan one afternoon in February while she was wine tasting with a friend who was “in the know.” Max presented her with a ring he had helped design himself, collaborating with Malka Diamonds of Portland. The gold for the ring was a pre-wedding gift to the couple from Jordan’s father, who looks for gold in Alaska.
As the winery was still open for outside business on their big day, preparing for the descent of 104 wedding guests around the normal flow of customers was a bit of a challenge. The couple says the Tasting Room Manager at Sarver, their friend Ian Etherton, really made the magic happen. “Ian was the glue to make sure everything came together so perfectly. We couldn’t have done it without him.”
Max was in charge of setup the morning of the wedding, and then, as he puts it, “Jordan’s friends swooped in like conquering heroes and made the whole place beautiful just an hour before the wedding ceremony.” The couple emphasizes that Sarver’s staff was also amazing, and that it was truly a team effort. They chose a mutual friend, Rick Jeffreys from River Ridge Golf Course, to officiate the ceremony. “He knew us individually first and then as a couple, which gave it a unique dynamic. It was only his second time officiating and he both took it seriously and made it great,” says Max.
As for the decorations, the couple kept it fairly simple in acknowledgement of the location’s natural beauty and Sarver’s own inviting aesthetic. Their checklist included tents “just in case” of rain, strings of lights, and stunning floral arrangements from Passionflower Design. “Passionflower was beautiful and affordable,” Max says. “They really worked with our budget, and I would highly recommend them. Many kudos to those guys.”
The couple chose Party Downtown to cater because of the restaurant’s reputation for experimental dishes. “We wanted something local, seasonal, and unique,” says Jordan. “We had a delicious menu of Cornish game hens, romaine lettuce with hazelnuts and apples, sirloin, salmon, braised tofu, green beans, potatoes, corn and pesto. We did Reuben sandwiches for the appetizers because we wanted to incorporate aspects of Max’s Jewish heritage.” As for dessert, the couple kept it simple: 150 donuts from Voodoo Doughnut, all of which were gone by the end of the night.
Looking for another nod to Max’s heritage, the two decided to dance the hora, a traditional Jewish wedding ritual. “All our friends are really tall—Jordan is the shortest in her family at 5’8––not to mention our tall athletic friends from school,” says Max. “We were pretty high up.” Jordan remembers that she really began to relax after that dance was over.
Jordan was able to wear her mother’s wedding dress, redesigned by Fairbanks seamstress Gayle Hazen. “My mom offered me her dress and a family friend offered as well. I decided to accept both!” Jordan says.
Barry McGuire, a DJ from local radio station KDUK, was in charge of the music for the evening and came highly recommended to Max and Jordan by their photographers, Jayme and Russ. “We can’t say enough good things about [Barry],” says Max. “He did a great job of keeping the wedding on track, everything flowed so smoothly.”
So smoothly, in fact, that they almost drank Sarver dry. Max laughs as he remembers the bartender telling him “your group really knows how to throw down.” And when someone in the Oregon wine industry pays you a compliment like that, you know you’ve thrown a successful party.