René and Jason chose a wedding site in the unspoiled countryside near the Cascade Range of Central Oregon, but they were not seeking a too-rustic mood. Once the couple found the right backdrop, they set out to create a wedding that was casual enough to be relaxed but formal enough to feel special.

The ceremony, which took place beside a pond, began with the bride walking down the aisle with both her father and stepfather. René's friend and business partner performed the ceremony, weaving in the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and asking guests to bless the couple's wedding rings as they passed them around. When René and Jason sent out their invitations, they had requested that guests reply with a bit of marriage advice; during the ceremony, friends read their words of wisdom—ranging from the funny to the profound.

A wide-open outdoor spot marries a rustic setting with a touch of elegance

René and Jason chose a wedding site in the unspoiled countryside near the Cascade Range of Central Oregon, but they were not seeking a too-rustic mood. Once the couple found the right backdrop, they set out to create a wedding that was casual enough to be relaxed but formal enough to feel special.

The ceremony, which took place beside a pond, began with the bride walking down the aisle with both her father and stepfather. René's friend and business partner performed the ceremony, weaving in the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and asking guests to bless the couple's wedding rings as they passed them around. When René and Jason sent out their invitations, they had requested that guests reply with a bit of marriage advice; during the ceremony, friends read their words of wisdom—ranging from the funny to the profound.

"There are many beautiful places to get married in Central Oregon," says René, "but none of them seemed quite right." When they visited Alder Creek Ranch, the couple fell in love with the parklike grounds and the setting on a 13-acre lake. Renting a big white tent, wooden chairs, linens, glasses and china added elegance to the rustic setting. Weather was a big concern as the wedding day drew near. "We did not have a plan B," explains René, "which is very risky for Central Oregon. It has been known to snow on the Fourth of July." Fortunately, the day was clear and warm.

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