Eugene, OR 97405
11:00am – 6:00pm
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Behind the scenes of all the weddings, fundraisers, private parties, and corporate gatherings that we host are our amazing events duo Norah Haughian, our wedding coordinator, and Kelsey Elliot, our private event coordinator. Both are passionate about helping people create memorable experiences here at Sweet Cheeks Winery, and you can learn more about them below!
Have you always wanted to work in events? What was the first job you ever remember wanting “to do when you grew up”?
Norah: I have always loved moments of chaos and excitement. Growing up, I wanted to be a part of the action in any capacity I could. I love being behind the scenes of an event, and the older I got, the more I realized I not only wanted to be a part of it, but I wanted to help manage it.
When I got to college, my love of events, people, and being at the center of the action was only amplified by the magic that falls over the University of Oregon during a game day or a big event. I began a job with the Alumni Association and was able to talk to parents, alumni, and friends of the University about their favorite memories of being a Duck. I helped organize spirit days on campus and got to be behind the scenes for some big moments. One of my favorite memories was riding down 13th in a golf cart with The Duck and feeling like a celebrity.
Another of my favorite memories from my time in college was working with the American Cancer Society for their yearly Relay for Life Fundraiser. This was one of my first experiences spearheading a massive event. Our plans were always changing because of the weather, sponsors, and logistics, but I loved the challenge of jumping over any hurdle thrown in our path. I also loved that my work would make a difference in our community.
I graduated early from the University of Oregon in March of 2020, right before we all stumbled into pandemic life. At the time, I was working for the Eugene Family YMCA in their Youth Development department. I loved my job, and I was lucky to have a position that kept me extremely busy as the world shut down.
While working for the YMCA, I began interning for 5th Street Market and helped execute their transition back into events for the public. I felt so honored to be a part of creating a space where people felt safe and excited to return to our “new normal”. My incredible boss taught me so much during this time, and she was the one who introduced me to the Sweet Cheeks family.
My time with Sweet Cheeks has truly felt like a dream. I feel so honored that I get to come to work every day and do something I love.
Kelsey: From a young age, I have always enjoyed interacting with people and found happiness in creating bonds and connections. In fact, throughout my grade school, every single report card had “Student talks too much in class.” What they didn’t know though was that I was fostering my love of people. I always knew I was either going to be the President of the United States – or work in a field that brought people together. While attending the University of Oregon for college, I took on a job at the Conference Services office which was a great opportunity to try something new, and I was excited for the opportunity to work with an array of groups that visited the university to hold their events. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the entire event planning process. Organization? Check. Creativity? Check. People? So many wonderful people! It was a meant-to-be career path. After a post-college life exploration of trying on different hats to become the best version of myself, I finally found a home at Sweet Cheeks Winery – where it is impossible to not feel like family.
What is your favorite moment during weddings at Sweet Cheeks Winery?
Kelsey: There is always a moment (or several!) where the two beautiful love birds look at one another and take it all in during their celebration. It is in those moments it feels so incredible to be a part of their larger story and help them celebrate the journey that led them to us.
Norah: My favorite moment during a Sweet Cheeks Winery wedding is watching the couple finally come together underneath the arbor on the big day. Months of planning, ironing out little details, and moments of nerves all culminate under the arbor, with the couple locked in a look of love.
I’m an enormous hopeless romantic, and I tell all of our couples that I am most likely going to cry at their wedding. And I do! I feel so lucky that I get to be a part of one of the most important days for our couples, and I will never grow tired of watching them say, “I do”.
What makes a winery + vineyard venue special for events?
Norah: I believe that what makes a winery and a vineyard so special for events is the incredible space we are in. Our founder Dan sprinkled a bit of magic over this property, and you can feel it come to life during an event. Our space encapsulates a family-feel, and we are so lucky that we get to share that with folks who want to celebrate their most important life moments with us.
Kelsey: To know Sweet Cheeks is to love it. It is impossible to not keep coming back for more after you experience the panoramic view, the big, beautiful oak tree, and all the twinkly lights that create such a romantic feeling all around. It creates the perfect backdrop for all styles of events; from weddings to dinner parties or just one big celebration! Our founder Dan created magic with the space which can be felt every time you are on the property. It truly is an unforgettable experience!
What is a fun fact about yourself?
Kelsey: One day it is my dream to live on a ranch and convert part of it into an animal sanctuary.
Norah: A fun fact about me is that I have a twin brother, and we have matching birthmarks! I’m 4 minutes older than him, but he’s been about a head taller than me our whole life.
What is your favorite Sweet Cheeks wine?
Norah: My favorite Sweet Cheeks wine is our 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve.
Kelsey: My current favorite is the 2018 Estate Pinot Noir.
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