Romantic Matrimony in the Columbia River Gorge Prioritizes Family

Real Wedding
Tori and Stefano planned their wedding with family in mind, capturing the aura of nature in Oregon's Hood River.
Written by
Emily Sweet

Tori Westerhoff and Stefano Johnson's wedding fell on a crisp Oregon autumn weekend, complete with a little bit of wind. In the Spring of 2023, the couple began planning their engagement together with a custom-designed ring, but their plans were slightly derailed when the day the ring arrived, Stefano's dad was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Though the duo initially wanted to postpone their engagement and wedding, Tori said as they grasped the situation more thoroughly it became the priority to make sure Stefano's dad could be a part of the wedding day, which meant their timeline was significantly condensed. Stefano proposed in the same location they shared their first date and in just seven weeks, Tori planned an intimate, elegant weekend with a guest count of just 25 in the Hood River area. "We knew the right choice for our situation was to prioritize flexibility and our parents over perfection," Tori said. 

Tori and Stefano knew Hood River was the ideal wedding locale for them; it remains one of Stefano's favorite places to kiteboard and was the couple's home for a month while they worked remotely during the pandemic. Though planned on a quick timeline, Tori and Stefano's day was not lacking in terms of unique details. Their vision was shaped around integrating the expansive natural surroundings with a warm, cozy atmosphere. The Hood River Waterfront Park framed a ceremony that literally brought family to the altar, featuring Tori's dad as the officiant. The day's palette explored autumnal hues with a hint of classic style, as Tori was also inspired by one of her favorite Van Gogh paintings Oleanders, which elegantly blended in some baby pinks and bolder blues. Florals were effortlessly organic, featuring orchids and dahlias for pops of texture. Bud vases of varying heights were simply adorned with escort cards and filled with single-variety flowers in a trendy twist. It was a curated, minimalistic design that kept the focus on celebrating Tofi and Stefano, marked by personalized touches.  

Tori took matters into her own hands to perfect her wedding day look, transforming her mother's wedding dress into a cascading lace veil. Stefano rocked a pair of wingtip shoes, which paid homage to Tori’s great-grandfather, who patented the invention of the first mechanized leather wingtip embosser. Sustainability became a key element the couple sought to incorporate as well, and their wedding exclusively featured thrifted and locally sourced décor. Instead of paper confetti, the pair also chose to use dried leaves and petals to keep things eco-friendly. The most exciting addition for the guests had to be the two piñatas, one shaped like a prosecco bottle and another like a taco. While the taco piñata was a classic take that rained candy at the end of the weekend, the prosecco bottle was left for guests to leave notes to the couple so they could open it on their first wedding anniversary. To thank guests, Tori hand-drew notes after the wedding featuring each attendee's home state and corresponding state flower. 

We are evidence of a phrase a close friend told us during the hurried lead-up to our wedding: Planning will take all the time you chose to give it. Our short timeline inherently limited our options and clarified our priorities. We were so crisply aware of the people and moments we cared about given our family health situation. 
— Bride Tori 





Bridal Attire
Bridesmaids' Attire
Cake + Desserts
Bartending + Catering
Personal Florals
Groom's Attire
Hair + Makeup
Mike Grodner
Chic Preston
Paper Goods
Escort Cards, Signage + Thank Yous
Ceremony Chair Rentals
Ceremony Venue
Hood River Waterfront Park