Frequently Asked Questions About Oaks Pioneer Church

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and their answers about the OPC. 


SERVICES INCLUDED. What services does the rental fee include?
Your rental fee includes use of the church and its facilities. Renters are welcome to utilize the clothing armoires, coat racks, umbrellas, pipe organ (by qualified musicians) and all furnishings on the property. An on-site host will be present as a resource and to answer any questions about property during your event.

REFUNDS & CANCELLATIONS. What is your refund and cancellation policy?
Rental fees are non-refundable. As a non-profit we cannot offer refunds because our proceeds go directly back into the community and the care of the facility. However, we are always more than happy to change the date and time of your reservation, depending on availability.

  • In the event that Renter must change the agreed upon rental date and/or time, SMILE will make every effort to transfer the reservation to the newest requested date.
  • Any additional fees incurred will be the sole responsibility of the Renter, are due immediately, and are not refundable.
  • 24-month limit on rescheduling from original date. 
  • Client is responsible for rate difference of new date
  • Reservation is non-transferable
  • No reservation postponement to exceed 24 months

INSURANCE. Do I need Day of Event Insurance?
If any food or beverages (including alcohol) will be served on the grounds at Oaks Pioneer Church, you will need to secure Day of Event Insurance. This can be easily and affordably acquired the Event Helper, an insurance company which specializes in event insurance. You can get the insurance or get a quote by clicking here or the link below. This event insurance is also readily through most car and home insurance companies as well. PLEASE review your contract with the required details before securing your insurance through your own company.

  • SMILE requires that the Client provide a Certificate of Insurance naming Sellwood Moreland Improvement League as additional insured.
  • The limits on the certificate must be no less than $1,000,000.00. The insurance shall provide coverage for not less than $1,000,000 for personal injury to each person, $1,000,000 for each occurrence, and $1,000,000 for each occurrence involving property damage; or a single limit policy of not less than $1,000,000 covering all claims per occurrence.
  • The name and address on the certificate must read as: Sellwood Moreland Improvement League 8210 SE 13th Ave Portland OR 97202. The Certificate of Insurance and a copy of the Endorsement to the policy must be submitted to SMILE at least two weeks prior to the date of the Event. date. 
  • We STRONGLY encourage renters to utilize TheEventHelper online event insurance. It is easy and affordable and they are set up specifically to meet our requirements. You can get the insurance or get a quote by clicking here or the link below. This event insurance is also readily available through most car and home insurance companies as well. PLEASE review your contract with the required details before securing your insurance through your own company.

Special Event Insurance From TheEventHelper.com

SCHEDULING. Are other events scheduled on the same day?
As a “ceremony only” venue, we often schedule several events throughout the course of the day. Weekends primarily see the bulk of these multiple bookings.

WIFI. Does OPC have Wifi?
Yes! We have wifi and many guest Zoom/Livestream/Facetime their event to loved ones in far away places. Before your event you will receive and email with wifi access details.

REHEARSALS. How do I a schedule a rehearsal?
All wedding reservations include a one hour weekday (Monday-Thursday) rehearsal at no charge. Friday or Saturday rehearsals may be scheduled for a one hour rental fee but are not included with the rental. Elopement rentals DO NOT include a complimentary rehearsal.

BOOKING TIME. How much time should I book for my event?
We’ve learned a lot over the many years of scheduling events and weddings at OPC. One thing we know for sure is, DO NOT SKIMP ON TIME. Wedding ceremonies most often go very smoothly and without hiccups, but not always. STUFF HAPPENS. Traffic makes people late, flights are delayed, people faint, zippers pop, heels break. Photographers often want extra time with the bride and groom inside or on the grounds alone and this can take time; more time than you anticipate. The more guests you have adds significantly more time to your event too.

ELOPEMENTS. How much time do I need for an elopement and how many guests can I have and still be considered and elopement?
The minimum time allowed for an elopement rental is 1.5 hours. The maximum number of guests, including the couple and officiant, is twelve (15).

MUSIC. How do I provide music for my ceremony?
OPC has exceptional acoustics. So much so that we are sought after by musicians as a recording space. If you wish to play a special song(s) during your time at OPC, we recommend the use of a quality blue tooth speaker. That simple device will easily fill the space with your music! We have a quality Blue tooth speaker in the chapel that guests are welcome to use, however this is only available as a courtesy. We also have an antique pump (parlor) organ which can be played by any reasonable skilled pianist. 

CANDLES. Can I have candles?
By the order of the Portland Fire Marshall, no live flames are allowed at OPC. This includes Unity Candles. Flameless candles are a beautiful alternative and encouraged! Consider a “Sand Ceremony” as a nice alternative to a unity candle.

DECORATING. Can I arrive early to decorate or accept flowers, etc.? What kind of decorating can I do?
Unfortunately, no. Your time on church grounds begins at the start of your rental time. Deliveries cannot be accepted prior to your rental period.  If you want time to decorate, please consider that when you book your reservation and allow time in your rental agreement.

  • Nothing may be attached to any walls, fixtures, doors, windows, partitions, light fixtures, or any interior or exterior surfaces which leaves any marks, residue, holes or damage.  
  • Rice, birdseed, confetti, glitter, potpourri, fresh flower petals, spray string (or their equivalent), sparklers, fireworks, sky lanterns or anything that has the potential to ignite are not permitted anywhere in or on Oaks Pioneer Church property.
  • Tape on pews is not permitted. To affix or hang items from pews, please use clear fishing line, ribbon, or fabric.  
  • By order of the Fire Marshall, City of Portland, live candle flames are prohibited inside the church and within 100 feet of this historic building.  
  • Any use of these prohibited items will result in the minimum assessment of a $250.00 fee and may result in additional costs if repairs or cleaning incurred by Oaks Pioneer Church exceed this amount.
  • You are welcome to provide all the fresh flower you would like! Please no dropped fresh petals please! They grind into the carpets. You can drop fresh eucalyptus leaves or silk petals but will need to gather them you before you leave.

ALCOHOL. What is your alcohol/food/drink policy?
Food and drink are permitted on the OPC grounds (outdoors) only by the addition of the Simple and Sweet Adders to your booking. Only bottled water is allowed inside the chapel. This is because of the building’s Historic Building status and our efforts to keep the facilities clean and ideal for all our guests and theirs. We always want to be able to accommodate our guests and help make their dreams come true on their special day. Reach out to us if you’d like us to consider special circumstances. Please note that all requests for food or beverages must be submitted in writing and approved by the Director of Operations.

PARKING. What is the parking like at OPC?
There is a fairly large public parking area to the east of the chapel grounds. this includes some parallel parking next to the sidewalk. We place signs along that strip in advance of events in order to encourage non-wedding traffic to find alterative parking. We cannot enforce or secure any spaces as it is public property. There are instances when there may be events happening along the Willamette waterfront or Sellwood Riverfront Park that can make parking difficult at times. That said, the local neighborhood and surrounding areas have lots of parking opportunities as well. 

RESTROOMS. Are there restroom facilities?
The is one full restroom located in the west vestibule of the church. There is also a comfortable dressing room next door to the restroom.

ADA ACCESSIBILITY. Can you accommodate physically challenged guests?
We are accessible for all guests of all abilities and challenges. The main entrance to the church is accessed by steps, but the west vestibule is wheelchair accessible and through there guest can access the main chapel.

RESTRICTIONS. Are there any restrictions we need to know about?
We are located in a residential section of Sellwood and follow the guidelines of the City of Portland Police Bureau. No excessive noise is allowed in the City of Portland between the hours of 10:00pm and 7:00am. 

THROWING RICE: Can we throw rice/birdseed/etc.?
Sadly, no. There are a handful of other options including bubbles, artificial flower petals and Eucalyptus leaves, that work well at OPC. Please inquire with our Event Director about your options.