Spotlight Series: Charlotte Bell of Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel

ASK THE EXPERTS. SPOTLIGHT on Charlotte Bell, Director of Catering and Conference Services at Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

Please describe your service in 3-5 sentences. Tell us about your team (or if you work alone).

Kimpton RiverPlace is downtown Portland’s only waterfront property, and prides itself on being an all-inclusive venue that welcomes everyone from kids and dogs to betrothed pairs from near and far. Whether you choose to share your joyous day with 20 guests or 200, RiverPlace offers one of the greatest settings among Portland’s wedding venues, with an outdoor courtyard overlooking the Willamette and a marina ballroom for larger affairs. We have a roster of event experts on our team to take care of all the minor to major details, and on-site catering from King Tide Fish & Shell, one of the city’s top seafood restaurants.

Favorite flower (to work with): Orchids

Complete this sentence.  A wedding can never have too many personal details.

Best describe your style: Curated Glamour

Champagne: Rose

What trend are you happy to see in the past?  Chocolate fountains.  They are such a mess!    What trend are you excited about?  Food and beverage pairings in cocktail hour such as a mini cheeseburger with a shot of beer.

What (if ever) is the most thoughtful or romantic gesture/surprise a client has planned for his/her spouse?  I had a bride participate in a flashmob of “Gangnam Style” with a full dance troupe as a surprise to her groom.

What is the wildest or most challenging event that you have ever been a part of?   I planned 1,000 person corporate party with $100k budget and 20+ outside vendors to produce the event.  With all the different outside components (aerialists, LED wall, 180 photo booth, espresso cart, celebrity DJ, lighting, custom creative and build out of installations) along with our catering and beverage service for the large number of guests, it was definitely a night to remember.

Why should people hire an event planner?  Peace of mind.  A planner can be your advocate for your wedding day while you are truly in and experiencing the moment.   You would not want to be interrupted when Aunt Bernice wants to have her seat moved to another table. The planner can also help anticipate your needs and keep things on schedule.

Tips of the trade: please provide 3 tips or tricks for each event category:  

  • Outdoor (wedding or any other celebration).  What are 3 things everyone planning an outdoor wedding should consider:
    • Have a weather back-up plan, though hopefully you will never have to use it.
    • Place yourselves in the shoes of your guests from arrival, parking, getting to the site and departure. Is the space ADA compliant so grandma can attend?
    • Check with the venue if they have anything that would enhance the party and is already onsite (outdoor heaters, fire pits, blankets, or even lawn games!).
  • Indoor (hotel/event space). What are 3 things everyone planning an indoor wedding/event should be mindful of:
    • What are the time and noise restrictions of the space?
    • How do vendors get in and out of the space? Are there any limitations to the size or items being brought in?
    • Check with the venue manager to see photos of past events.  Why reinvent the wheel when you can get feedback on what they have seen in the space that worked well.  

  • At home. What are the 3 things everyone planning a “simple wedding” at home should consider:
    • Where do people park?
    • Bring a bottle of wine to your neighbors to let them know what is happening.  They may allow your friends to park in front of their house and be a bit more lenient if your party goes over the neighborhood noise ordinance or curfew.  
    • Don’t overdo the DIY projects. You only have so much time to do every idea you pinned on your Pinterest board. The reality is, life still goes on and there will come to a point where you will need a few weekends to take a break from all wedding-related tasks.
  • Destination (remote).  What are the 3 things everyone planning a destination wedding (in a hard to reach place; ie, not a major city), should consider?
    • Figure out what is important to you and keep those priorities in mind while making your decisions.
    • Let your guests know well in advance of your wedding plans.
    • Consider hiring a local planner. They would have connections with area vendors and able to advise on how to create and execute your wedding vision on location. 


 Favorite quote about celebrating or planning: 

"Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” 

-Hazrat Inavat Khan

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