Balch Hotel
40 South Heimrich Street
Dufur, OR, 97021, USA
(541) 467-2277


Artist Beth Kerschen

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My Artistic Journey
Beth Kerschen
Everything that I have learned throughout my adult life seems to have led me to my current art. I received a bachelors in fine art from Colorado College, where I focused on photography and printmaking. After I graduated, I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. I found myself involved in graphic design; working for design firms and individual clients. I strengthened my knowledge of manipulating and arranging images for the most impact. I have always been drawn to the culture of cities; from the architecture to the signage and unique graffiti to the feeling of the neighborhoods. So, I continued to practice urban photography as a side interest. After 10 years designing commercial artwork for clients, I really wanted to explore and experiment with my own work. I moved to Portland, Oregon. I fell in love with Portland and began trying to document the diverse and unique neighborhoods with my photography. Though I enjoyed photographing Portland, straight up, single, full-color images were not quite capturing the culture that I was looking for. I was experimenting with creating scenes with my photography around the same time I took a Solarplate Intaglio class. I learned the technique of making etching plates from my photographs and how to run them through a press. I had come full circle; back to the printmaking I had loved in college. I knew this was the style for me.

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My Creative Process
To start, I make a trip through the area I want to capture. I shoot with a Digital SLR (Canon 5D) with a wide-angle lens so I get really high quality detail and capture the full buildings in the frame. I take lots of photos and try to walk with a heightened awareness; staying open to all this around me. I never know exactly how I will use each photograph to create my scene, but I am taking visual notes. It usually takes 2-3 photo sessions to really capture enough images to work with.

After I get home, I download the images to my computer and then start the long process of editing the photos. I pick out the buildings, people, signage, etc, that best represents the area for me. Editing individual images is necessary to remove objects that are in the way, or to make sure I have a full building with the correct perspective. I silhouette the objects and people (basically isolating images from the background) that I want to use in my scene.
Next, I slowly compose the scene in Photoshop. I try many different iterations; seeing which objects look best together visually. I focus on scale, depth, and what should stand out. This is one of the exciting steps for me; I feel like I am solving a complex puzzle. When I am finished, the scene just works. Once I am happy with the scene, I break up the images into different sections (each for a different plate) and print out each section onto transparency film. I am now ready to make plates.

I place the transparency film on a photo-sensitive Solarplate and shine U.V. light through it.The plate is placed in water. This etches the light exposed area and leaves grooves that match the image I want to print. I then rub ink on the plate and thoroughly, but lightly wipe off the excess. I am ready to make a print by laying damp paper onto the plate and rolling both together, under pressure, through an etching press.

I print each plate on to separate pieces of paper to make sure they are all consistent. Most of my scenes contain at least 5 different plates and so I must create a registration sheet to keep the composition together.

I lie the registration sheet down on the press and build the complete scene 1-3 plates at a time (depending on how the plates overlap each other). I place the background elements first (run them through the press) and then the foreground images. The final piece can take anywhere from 2 to 5 passes through the press.

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Beth’s finished products are hanging in the Balch right now! They are truly beautiful. They are the type of art that I find myself drawn into. The more I move closer to it, the more I discover. We’re excited that Beth is working on some postcards for us! This spring they are slated to be at the Balch. I met Beth at the Portland Open Artist Studio Tour – something I’ll definitely do again next year because it was so fun. I was initially drawn to her postcards, not really to the other printmaking. However, when I saw it in person I completely changed my tune. I LOVED it. You can check out her site here. She has designed a return address stamp for herself that I’ve got my eye on!

NYE at the Balch!

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We had such fun we’re doing it again this New Years Eve! Last year we had a dinner and storytelling event (fashioned off the Moth on NPR – not familiar? Click here to read about it on the official site). It was a BLAST!

December 31st, New Years!
New Years Party with Mayan-inspired menu

Appetizers 6:00-7:00
Corn cakes with Habanero Jelly and Queso Fresco

Cumin-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Pepper-Almond Sauce

Flank Steak Skewers with Tomato-Papaya Salsa

Four Course Dinner 7:00-9ish
Chicken Mole Skewers with Cabbage and Jicama Slaw.

Toasted Chile, Tomato and Cod Soup with Avocado and Black Beans.

Papadzules: Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Pumpkin Seed Paste Smothered in Mole Verde, Jack Cheese, and Pickled Onion. Served with Chop Salad.

Black-Bottom Banana Cream Pie: Chocolate Cookie Crust, Cinnamon-Chocolate Ganache, Bananas, Vanilla Bean Custard, Whipped Cream, and Chocolate Rum Sauce.

Storytelling 9:30-midnight
This year’s theme for your story is “The Final Countdown”. Stories may be up to 5 minutes in length. No notes. No do-overs! We’ll record your great story so be sure to practice, practice, PRACTICE! We’ll have 36 Guests and we can have about 10 story tellers in the bunch. The rest of us will be rapt listeners. There will be a prize for the best story told!

Complimentary Champagne Toast with Homemade Tacos!

45- p.p. + grat.

Guest seating is limited to 36 so call to get your reservations today! 541-467-2277

December 10th Supper Club!

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The Balch Family

• Steak and Arugula Salad with Stilton Cheese and Apple Tarragon Vinaigrette

• Smoked Trout and Clam Chowder

• Pippin Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce served with a slice of Quicke’s Oak Smoked Cheddar from England (Jamie’s current favorite cheese!)

• Sourdough Bread and Butter Flake Rolls with dinner.

• Iced tea and coffee with dessert!

Sorry, but no substitutions on this one

Call for reservations 541-467-2277

$31.00 p.p. and B.Y.O.B!

There will be one seating only at 6:00 so call right away! Be sure to check out all the fun happening in town December 10th for Home Town Christmas. Click here to see the schedule!

Celilo Catering

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Celilo Catering if one of our participating vendors in the Primp My Bride Sweepstakes. Their commitment to quality is reflected in Ben Stenn’s (executive chef) thoughts on weddings! To tantalize your tastebuds click on the link above and explore their catering site. You’ll be inspired!

What makes your business unique?

I feel there are many things that set Celilo Restaurant and Celilo Catering apart, but what it boils down to is this- we have a true commitment to being conscientious about everything we do. Celilo Restaurant is made of a group of food service professionals who have been in the industry for more than two decades. Many of us have been working together for over 15 years. We have been practicing and developing sustainable food purveying methods and responsible recycling and composting management for all of that time. Of course, this is the responsible way to run a business, but for us, it goes beyond marketing and strategy, this is the way that we choose to live our lives.

Share a story about one of your favorite weddings.

I feel like every wedding I work on has elements I love, but one bride always comes to mind when I look back on our events. She wore a Vera Wang dress and a pair of worn in cowboy boots. She was absolutely beautiful. I think she always comes to my mind because I feel like she summed up our philosophy, our aesthetic- simple elegance, high quality but also comfortable and real.

What’s the “special thing” that you choose to do for your customers?

I honor them. A wedding is an event that happens over the course of one day, but preparing and planning for a wedding is a process that takes place over months, or even years. A bride and groom and their families deserve to be honored throughout this process. I do my best to make their entire planning experience something to be enjoyed and respected. It is a personal goal of mine to make my client’s weddings as stress free as possible so that they can truly revel in their day. They should feel like newlyweds well before and well after their actual wedding day.

Based on your experience as a wedding vendor, what’s the one piece of advice you wish you could share with every bride?

Relax. A wedding requires a lot of pre planning and involves many details, but a great celebration happens when the hosts and those around them are truly having a good time.

This Weekend Special!


This is the last weekend we’re open for November AND tomorrow is Samantha’s 42nd birthday. So, we decided November needed something special!

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This Friday, November 18th, and Saturday, November 19th,
ANY room you like is 42% off.

Just call the hotel at 541-467-2277 and say “Happy Birthday”!

Guys, this is a great gift for you to give to your sweetie. She will love that you thought of giving her some time just with you (or girlfriends, or by herself!) before the big holiday rush. It’s important to relax a little. Come on and enjoy the hot chocolate and cookies!

Supper Club November 12th


November 12th, 2011

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’The Brady Bunch’

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Cream of tomato-orange soup with a grilled fontina cheese sandwich.

Pork Chops and Applesauce
1/2 rack of pork baby back ribs with apple cider sauce, served with smashed red potatoes, sour cream and green onions.

Ding Dong
Homemade chocolate buttermilk cake with marshmallow filling, iced with bittersweet chocolate ganache.

Sourdough baguette and butter served with dinner.

Iced tea with dinner and coffee with dessert.

Sorry, but no substitutions on this one

Call for reservations 541-467-2277

$29.00 p.p. and B.Y.O.B!

OPB is Coming to Dufur

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Celebrate friends and community at the Balch Hotel with OPB!

Spend an evening with Steve Amen, executive producer of Oregon Field Guide. Steve will share behind the scenes moments along with his insider’s view of one of OPB’s most popular programs. It’s also your chance to share your story ideas or comments with Steve Amen and Steve Bass, president and CEO of OPB.

Here are the numbers…

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  • 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

This event will be held at the Balch Hotel, located at 40 S. Heimrich Street in Dufur, Oregon.

Seating is limited to the first 50 guests. To RSVP, call or email Jeri Kasal at 503.293.1941 or

Jim Semlor Answers to Brides Persistent Questions

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I decided there was a need to interview one of our fabulous photographers (participating in the Primp My Bride Sweepstakes!) and ask some questions I have heard out and about. Enjoy reading Jim Semlors insights!

Does it make a difference in photos to have my makeup professionally done? I don’t want to look garish and not like myself but I’ve also heard that there is some special photography makeup.

It is true it makes a huge difference having professional makeup on wedding day. Natural outdoor light tends to wash you out. A professional artist can add a little drama to help counteract the washing out. A great makeup artist helps you to look your very best on your wedding day.

Usually you will have a makeup run through before hand. That’s a good time to say, ‘this is good for me; or ‘I feel like I look like a clown’. It’s important to look like yourself even though you’ll have a little more makeup than usual. But, it is your wedding day and you want to look absolutely your best.

I’m not really comfortable in front of the camera. I don’t know how to take good photos. What do you recommend? Should I study other photos, magazines, practice? I really want my photos to look great.

When you pick a photographer look through their portfolio. You want to really love what you see. If you’re asking questions like ‘can you do this or can you do that’ you might not be working with the photographers strong points. You should really love the work that photographer does. THEN it’s time to open up.

Be completely open about yourself with your photographer. What are your interests and hobbies? What things are important to you? Are there special things between you and your groom? Even if you don’t think it’s important a good photographer will use this information to help create your story.

Jason and Jolleen are an excellent example. She brought a parasol prop that matched her dress and it worked beautifully out in the elements. They are both firefighters so we incorporated that into photos. It was very different and super awesome. It was uniquely personal to them.

Chocolate Retreat Oct 22-23rd

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I’ve been waiting for this!! It’s going to be a blast!

Saturday, October 22nd 1-4p.m.

Basic Chocolate with Pete Lockhart
Get intimate with chocolate on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 from 1-4pm. Demonstrations, hands-on chocolate making and chocolate tasting will put you in touch with the “food of the gods.” You will learn how to make the basic chocolates: truffles, mendicants, and dipped fruits and nuts. Then, practice your new skills by making your own. Next you will learn a method for tasting chocolate and then apply it to several flights of chocolates, chosen based on class preference. Finally, you’ll assemble your own boxes of chocolates from the candies produced by the whole class. Note: dress for a mess or bring an apron

Sunday, October 23rd 11a.m.-2p.m.

Advanced Chocolate with Pete Lockhart
Uplevel your chocolate game in this three-hour intense experience on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 from 11am-2pm. Demonstrations and hands-on (and hands-in) chocolate-making will build on the fundamentals you learned in Basic Chocolate. You will learn to make filled chocolates: soft truffles, caramels, cremes and cordials. Then, practice your new skills by making your own, using professional chocolate-making equipment. Next, we’ll trace the origins of the cacao plant and make chocolate from scratch, starting with the magical cocoa bean! No chocolate experience would be complete without a “taste of heaven” where we’ll introduce your palate to several flights of exotic chocolates. Finally, you’ll assemble your own boxes of chocolates from the candies produced by the whole class. Note: dress for a mess or bring an apron

Saturday and Sunday class, breakfast Sunday and room Saturday night just $160.00! If you’d like to extend your stay and have a leisurely Saturday morning (which I highly advocate), mention Chocolate retreat and we’ll discount Friday’s room 25% for you. That’s a great deal!!

Call today as space is very limited. (12 guests) 541-467-2277

If you can only make the Saturday class you can a la carte it. Call for pricing. Look how happy chocolate makes people!

October 23rd Haitian Dinner


Frank (you read about his Haiti trip in a prior blog) has teamed with Jamie Snell, owner of the Lamb’s Table catering for a fun afternoon filled with food, photos, fun, and a raffle with great prizes! One of the prizes is two tickets to Theatro ZinZanni’s in Seattle. . . You have to attend the dinner to be eligible to purchase raffle tickets (unless you’re volunteer labor. Frank made an exception for the grunts).

This fundraiser dinner will top of your weekend of chocolate amazingness just perfectly. Jamie is donating her skills and the food; the Balch is donating the space and accouterments; many great places are donating items for the raffle. Dufur businesses are donating loads of fun items for a prize that will be titled “A Day in Dufur!” I’m saving my pennies!

Haitian Fundraiser Dinner
Sunday, October 23rd

Haitian Griot with Pikliz
This is pork shoulder cubes that are marinated in bitter orange and shallot sauce then braised and fried. It will be served with a homemade spicy cabbage slaw.

Soup Joumou with Epis
You’ll love this hearty butternut squash and beef soup topped with herb sauce. It’s served with rice, a baguette, and butter. This dish is eaten every New Year’s day in Haiti; it’s very traditional!

Jamie’s homemade Coconut Cream Pie served with coffee. The perfect ending!

Tickets are limited so call right away to purchase yours! 541-467-2277
We have space for 36 and Frank has already sold 5. We haven’t even promoted yet! Tickets $30.00 each

October 22nd Supper Club


Ahhh. Finally, it’s back! A three month Supper Club hiatus is far too long. I am SO looking forward to Jamie’s wonderful creations! If you’re in the mood for food and greatness, join us the entire weekend Oct. 22-23rd. I’ll be blogging about Pete’s chocolate retreat and Frank’s Haitian dinner fun! I’m going on a diet right now so I don’t have to worry that weekend. I’m already dreaming. . .

‘Salt for Chocolate’
October 22nd

First course:
Three appetizers: creme fraiche devilled eggs with black Hawaiian salt, Beehive Cheese Company’s ‘Seahive’: cheddar style cow’s milk cheese rubbed with Redmond salt and wildflower honey. Heirloom apples from Hood River sprinkled with Maldon salt. Roasted red potato rounds with smoked duck and alder smoked salt.

Second course:
Lemon and salt roasted chicken breast, with sauteed kale, roasted acorn puree and lemon-caper sauce.

Pear pie with whip cream and French gray salt caramel sauce and salted almond toffee!

Call for reservations because there is just one seating that night!
$30.00 p.p. and B.Y.O.B!

Primp My Bride


Congratulations to this year’s winners – Brent Moszer & Katie Zolman!

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Brent and Katie received 50% off their venue at the Balch, flowers from Lucy’s Informal Flowers, hair by Kalyn Benaroya, rentals from Discover Rentals, and complimentary appetizer from the Lamb’s Table! and other vendor offerings for the wedding at the Balch Hotel.

Check out their amazing Menu!

They began with passed appetizers:
Roasted Potato Rounds with Sour Cream, Chives, and Smoked Trout
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Orange-Chile Glaze

Followed by a Buffet Dinner:
Fresh Smoked Steelhead Salmon Fillet with Romesco (YUM!!)
Bertagni Ravioli Stuffed with Buffalo Mozzarella and Asiago, with Roasted Tomatoes, Olive Oil, and Basil Leaves
Smashed Baby Red Potatoes with Roasted Garlic, Olive Oil, and Chives
Pickled Vegetable Plate: Green Beans, Wax Beans, Asparagus, Carrots, Shaved Cucumber, Garlic Cloves, Yellow Bell Peppers, Black Olives – all dressed in Garlic, Dill and White Wine Vinegar Brine
Stone Fruit Plate: Sliced Stone Fruits – Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Pluots, Apricots – garnished with Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries
Spring Green Salad Mix with Raspberries, Toasted Almonds, and Mint. Dressed with White Balsamic-Raspberry Vinaigrette
Artisan Breads

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Oh My!

The wedding party chose Lucy’s Flowers as their flower vendor and were enormously pleased with the results.

Brent was very complimentary of Kevin at Discover Rentals for helping him out with some last minute needs and Katie’s hair turned out beautiful! Kayln does such great work.

From the Bride
“Brent and I had already fallen in love with the Balch Hotel months before hearing about the PMB sweepstakes. We decided within a week of meeting with Samantha that this was where our wedding had to be. Although, winning ultimately allowed us to have the wedding we had been dreaming of and we were able to work with the best vendors as well. Brent and I are so grateful for this once in a lifetime experience. Samantha and Jeff were fantastic hosts and wonderful to work with. They were always willing to answer any questions we had. Brent and I will absolutely come back and stay at the Balch again.” ~ Katie

This year’s Primp My Bride Sweepstakes started a few weeks ago and we hope you’ll enter to win (for you or a bride you know) at our FaceBook Page!

Interview with Frank

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Frank Eckstein works here at the Balch on occasion. We are really enjoying having him here. He’s heading out to his first, and I’m betting not his last, humanitarian trip. It is the 2011 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity. Below is an interview I did with Frank. I really loved learning more about him!

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What is your work background?
I’ve been a contractor since the mid 80’s residential remodeling, new construction, project management, and construction consulting. I did a lot of remodeling and loved taking something old and bringing it back to what it was.

Do you have any hobbies?
I love to go fishing, (we-Jeff & Samantha – were the recent beneficiaries of a beautiful trout!!), reading, volunteer work, chickens, and hobby farming.

Where do you volunteer?
I volunteered at wildlife rehab centers for 7 years in Estacada and Molalla, I’ve done kitchen work for Guide Dogs for the blind for 2 ½ years, volunteered with housing development doing deconstruction of some houses to reclaim usable materials (the Rebuild It center in PDX), and I play piano and do some children’s ministry at church.

What piqued your interest in this project?
Personally I have always wanted to go down to Haiti. It pulls at me because it’s such an impoverished country to begin with. I was actually homeless for a short while in my 20s. It’s a strong desire of mine that people should have place to live and food.

Why Haiti?
There is such devastation. (Please click this link to see why Frank is so passionate.) I have a personal desire to go there and combined with my skills and background it would be a perfect fit. I like Habitat (Habitat for Humanity) philosophy of sweat equity because we’ll be working with Haitians down there. Habitat trained over 1000 Haitians already in building construction. The families who are moving into houses I’ll be helping to build are participating building their homes. It’s similar to what they do here in the U.S.

How did you connect with Habitat for Humanity?
I’ve known about Habitat because I’ve worked around that organize during my work with non profits in PDX for 15 years. I’ve also been involved with affordable housing since the 1990’s.

Anyone you know going?

Done like this before?
No. I was waiting until my son was raised and secure.

What does your son think?
He loves it. He did a blog on his Facebook page titled: “help send my dad to Haiti”. He also made me a Facebookpage. Of course I never go there. I’m not too much into the technical side of things. He set my Facebook up for me.

How do I look it up?
Whatever my page is. I don’t know anything about it. (I, Samantha, LOVED his answer!! “Whatever my page is.” Made me smile. I searched his name and up he popped! Frank is definitely NOT about the computer side. I came up with another Frank Eckstein and he was also holding a fish! If you search, it’s the older Frank who I’m interviewing here.)

How much money do you have to raise?
$5,000 (Frank has raised $3,300 so far. He has to have $4,500 by Oct. 15th then the remainder is due the end of November. Go Frank Go!)

What does this cover?
It covers costs from Atlanta to Haiti, food, and lodging. I have to Atlanta on my own.

How many volunteers will be there?
There will be 400 volunteers from all over the world.

How long will you be there?
The trip is 7 days and we’ll build 100 houses in 5 days. I’ll be running a crew down there.

(Now THAT’S an organizational Feat!)

Anything they tell you to do or not to do??
We HAVE to stay either at camp or building site for safety.

Are you going to try to sneak out?
I’d LOVE to. It’s a coastal town and I’d love to roam around but they’d probably send me home so I’ll be on my best behavior.

What have you done so far to raise funds?
I’ve contacted friends and family, promoted in the church community, volunteered to run the steak feed at Threshing Bee for 350 people, I’m selling my truck, and we’re working on putting together a Haitian fundraising dinner at the Balch.

How much do you need to raise?
$1700 left to go. I am more of a hands on guy and not great at fundraising so I am VERY open to ideas from anyone!! (Click here to donate.)

Jamie Snell owner of the Lamb’s Table will be catering a fundraising dinner for Frank on Sunday, October 23rd. Stay Tuned!

Staff Trip!

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We had a BLAST at Imperial River Company last Sunday. We arrived and had a bbq lunch then rafted 13 miles on the Deschutes with a wonderful guide – Austin!

The weather in Hood River and Eugene (where Austin and his wife drove from that morning) Sunday morning was sketchy. But in typical Eastern Oregon fashion it was BEAUTIFUL in Dufur and Maupin! Shorts were the prescribed attire and some sunscreen was needed.

I have to say that Austin was a super considerate guide. Three of our six had never rafted before and one was very, VERY scared. Jeff and I were in the back of the bus taking bets as to whether or not she would make it into the boat. Austin took her aside and reassured her of his amazing rafting guide skills. (-: By the time we were done that evening she was ready to do another trip!

As it is when spending an afternoon with someone new, you get to know a little about them. Austin and his wife Cameron, married just a year now, are going BACK to Zambia - committing a year - to build homes and a facility for the Heart of the Bride project. Currently the Nehemiah Boys ranch houses house 23 ex-street boys and they’re expanding to a goal of getting 80 boys off the streets. What an amazing project! With Frank’s upcoming trip to Haiti, it was a great connection for the two of them. Austin and Cameron don’t have a website to refer you to but if you’re interested I would be happy to send you their project information.

The other interesting tidbit I learned (while looking at photos) is that the raft guide does a pretty great job at staying DRY while all of US are SOAKING! Hmmm. We had a BLAST.


Making Language Leap Poetry Workshop


4th Annual Poetry Workshop in Dufur, Oregon

led by Penelope Scambly Schott

Making Language Leap – September 29-30, 2011

Work on thinking in images. Write new poems and take old poems a step further.

Come stay at the charming Balch Hotel in Dufur, Oregon and get a fresh approach to your writing. Sometimes we get stuck in narrative. This time let’s open ourselves to metaphoric leaps and surprising images. You will go home with new poems and drafts.

Making Language Leap is a two-day workshop full of new writing and techniques for revision. We will spend one night (Thursday, September 29th) at the hotel with no television or phones to distract us. There we will work in the beautiful parlor and in our own private rooms. We will have lunch, dinner, and breakfast at the hotel, plus an after-dinner reading just among ourselves at a special writing retreat in Dufur. If you want an individual critique session, that can be scheduled before or after the workshop.

Our workshop will be limited to nine participants so that everyone gets time and attention. Cost for the workshop itself is $125 plus hotel and meals (both reasonable).

For more information or an application form please email, phone, or write to:

Penelope Scambly Schott
507 NW Skyline Crest Road Portland, Oregon 97229

Where is Dufur?

Fifteen minutes south of Route 84, exit 87 to route 197

From Portland 1 hour 45 minutes (98 miles)
From The Dalles 13 minutes (13 miles)
From Bend 2 hours 24 minutes (116 miles)
From Pendleton 2 hours 17 minutes (137 miles)
From Salem 2 hours 35 minutes (146 miles)

Why have a workshop in Dufur?

It’s a quiet place with a view of the east side of Mount Hood and a charming boutique hotel where we won’t be thinking our ordinary thoughts. (In case you’re curious, the town is named after Mr. Dufur who settled there.) Looking forward to growing with you! ~ Penelope

Bash on a Budget


I had a FUN time meeting with a fantastic young couple a few weeks ago. They wanted to take advantage of the sunny side of the Columbia River Gorge for their wedding but had a couple of unique challenges. Jamie, our Supper Club chef and owner of the Lamb’s Table was here and had super ideas for them.

Imagine a hip, young, kind, generous, thoughtful, artsy couple into music and good friends. Oh, and they are VERY much in love! Minutes upon meeting the groom to be busted out his laptop and showed us his proposal that he had his friend capture on film. This guy is a definite keeper! Hopeless Romantic is written all over him. What girl doesn’t love that?

This couple has a lot of friends and family. Hundreds of them to be exact. Many of their friends are in similar circumstances: young, single, just out of school and just getting started financially – translation – not a bunch of moolah. Parents aren’t able to foot the bill so the kids are working on the wedding budget mostly solo.

Many people think they cannot have a great wedding because they have a low budget. Not so! All it takes is some creative thinking – sometimes a little out of the box.

Spend your money on items that create a backdrop and capture your celebration. Venue and photography. You can save money on rentals – including tables, chairs, and servingware. They can add up fairly quickly.

This couple has family and guests that are of the ‘older’ generation who would like a regular place to sit for a meal. The rest of their clan loves picnic style! Jamie’s ideas blossomed before our eyes and I loved the final picture!

Since some of the tables and chairs are already included in the package, this would be nice for their older family guests that would prefer a more traditional seating. Jamie started talking and I just took notes!

“Start to comb for cool quilts, fabric, whatever, that you can use as picnic blankets. You can intersperse the blankets for the younger couples among the tables and chairs for the sitting folks. From above this tapestry would make for a gorgeous photo”

“You can also continue with the picnic theme by using those cool old baskets with wax paper in them to place the food on. No need to rent plates for salad and dinner. It’s picnic style! Wax paper is inexpensive and you can find the baskets at Goodwill. Have your sodas and beer in bottles to save on glassware too!”

“To save on food just have a salad side and for the main course a fun gourmet sandwich or burger bar with delicious individual chips.”

“If you want to spend even less on food, skip the meal and simply splurge on a gourmet cake and champagne reception either at 2:00 in the afternoon or evening after dinner. You can have a hot chocolate bar, chocolate dessert reception, etc.”

I thought these were GREAT ideas! Jamie pointed out that she’s done more casual afternoon picnic style weddings at a state park (which I – Samantha - thought was a good money saver). Here was her opinion on that!

“At a park or meadow you have the inconvenience of people and possibly their pets coming right into your event. Is someone picking up errant sticks, doggie leftovers, garbage, etc. before your wedding? What do you do for bathrooms, have your guests use a porta potty or trudge down to the public bathroom? I can’t imagine a bride using a porta potty. Here at the Balch you have beautifully manicured grounds and privacy.”

I’ve got to tell you, I just sat back and enjoyed listening to her creativity flow. I thought the ideas were amazing and definitely worth sharing. Next I’ll capture on camera and post photos when someone takes this ball and runs with it. For now, you can use your wonderful imagination!