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Candle-Lit Wedding on the Columbia River Gorge | Samy + Jessica

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

January 5th, 2023

A beautiful venue, an adorable couple, and a whole lotta love

From the very first time I met Samy and Jessica at a McMenamins for dinner last fall, I knew we were going to hit it off, and I was also pretty certain they were going to put together a gorgeous wedding. Both of those things ended up being true!

It was apparent from the beginning that these two loved each other deeply, and they could not wait to start this chapter of their lives together. You could see their love in the way that Samy looked at Jessica with a gleam in his eyes or the way that Jessica giggled when Samy said something cute - which she did a lot! Jessica was one of the giggliest brides I have ever met! She has one of those contagious laughs that when you hear it, you can't help but laugh along with her.

Their love, paired with an incredible venue, made for the most romantic candle-lit wedding.

An Elegant Wedding with a Dash of Culture

One of the first things Jessica and Samy told me about their wedding was that they wanted elegance. Their ceremony was going to be almost completely at night, with the ceremony taking place at 5pm - which in January in the PNW means the sun has set well before then. But that just meant that rather than natural lighting, they were able to create the ambiance they wanted with candles and warm globe lights. Candles lined the isle along with white rose petals, and an elegant wooden cross stood behind them - all adding to the elegance they wanted.

Both Samy and Jessica came from Christian backgrounds, so they made sure to include moments of prayer throughout their ceremony. As an outsider looking in, you could tell the weight that these moments held for both of them. There were just as many tears as there were smiles, and anyone could see that the meaning of their marriage was serious to them.

Since Samy is from Egypt, his family wasn’t able to make it, but they still made sure to include aspects of his culture into their wedding. There was traditional Egyptian song and dance and an Egyptian prayer from Samy’s pastor. Jessica, on the other hand, was Russian so they also made sure to have a Russian prayer at the beginning as well which was said by her mother.

You can tell that having that support from their friends and family was special to them, and they were so excited to start this chapter together.

About the Black Pearl on the Columbia

Nestled within the Gorge and situated right along the Columbia River, this wedding venue is the perfect location to feel close to nature while also bringing an industrial and modern setting that so many PNW wedding venues aim for these days. The Black Pearl is only a 30-minute drive from Portland, but still makes you feel like you escaped to a romantic destination away from home.

With a hotel just across the parking lot from The Black Pearl, it's a convenient spot to get ready and have a place close by for your family and friends stay.

The best part about this PNW wedding venue is that the bare bones are gorgeous enough without having to go overboard on decor. With floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides and sleek black detailing, this venue is gorgeous all on its own. Going along with their theme of elegance, Samy and Jessica decorated with simple globe lights, white and black drapery, and a ton of candles. Whether you decide to dress it up with lots of decor and staging or go simpler like Samy and Jessica did, it will be beautiful either way! You really can’t get it wrong with this venue!

From The Black Pearl:

"The Black Pearl is an open concept industrial space that can be customized and decorated to fit your needs for your event. Our goal when designing the building was to create a space for the community where you can feel like it’s your own." (read more about this gorgeous venue here)



HMUA | Dina Kozlov - @dinaxmuah

Planning + Coordinating | Heather Anderson (friend)

Take a look at Samy and Jessica’s wedding gallery below and get some inspiration for your wedding along the Columbia River Gorge!


Getting Ready

The Details and Venue

First Look and Bridal Portraits

A Moment of Worship and Prayer

The Ceremony

The Reception

First Dances

Dancing with Loved Ones


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