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.

The wedding site was "just grass, big trees, a dock and a fishing pond," says René. "We had to rent everything from silverware to port-a-potties." Big and small paper globe lights were strung in the tent and through the trees outside. Although the couple had originally considered having a Motown-style band at the reception, René and Jason hired the bluegrass band they heard and loved at a friend’s birthday party. The musicians played the mandolin and banjo for the ceremony, then picked up the tempo for dancing at the reception.

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