22 Apr I Do. With a View
Three Stories of Tying the Knot in Central Oregon
April & Jasper Wong
October 10, 2015
Pronghorn Resort • Bend, Oregon
Number of guests: 70
Photographer: Byron Roe Photography
“Our first date was awkward,” laughs April Wong, a business data analyst living in Portland. “Jasper is an engineer—reserved and methodical. I’m more outgoing.”
But after talking it over with her younger sister, who advised that something different could be good, she decided to give another date a try. The couple’s second date to a French bistro was a success. “I liked that Jasper was a straight shooter,” says April. “He was different than men I had dated before.”
Both Jasper and April grew up in the Portland area and enjoy the outdoors. They like to spend time with their niece and nephews and travel as much as they can.
Two years into their relationship, Jasper popped the question with a custom engagement ring designed by a friend. April said yes, and the wedding planning was on.
They knew they wanted to get married on October 10—to remember April’s brother who passed away 20 years ago. “To get married on his birthday was a celebration of life,” says April.
The couple wanted a destination wedding that showcased the beauty of Oregon. They checked out venues around the state, including Pronghorn Resort in Bend.
“It was absolutely breathtaking,” says April of the resort known for its stunning golf course and ancient juniper trees in the high desert east of Bend. “And because we were getting married in October, I loved that they offered an inside option for the ceremony.”
The inside option was not needed; the Wongs were married under a blue sky on the front lawn of the Pronghorn Clubhouse.
Jasper’s family is Chinese, and before the wedding the couple participated in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. April and Jasper poured tea for their parents out of respect for the elders who raised them. During the wedding, the couple planted a bamboo tree together to symbolize the strength of their union.
Near the end of the ceremony, there was a little bit of thundering and rain resulting in a huge rainbow over the high desert. At the memorial service of April’s brother, there was also a rainbow. The family smiled.
The reception was held inside the main clubhouse, which April describes as “simple, elegant and rustic—but not too rustic.”
It was important to the couple that their guests were not just bystanders. Instead of signing a guestbook, guests could add their names to a painting of the Portland skyline made by Jasper’s younger sister. April created a special fill-in-the-blanks “Mad Libs” game where friends could give advice to the couple. And they created a time capsule with notes from the day that they’ll open on their one-year anniversary.
Jasper and April agree the day could not have been better. Pronghorn Resort transformed seamlessly from a golf course to a stunning venue, and April achieved her goal of a stress-free, fun wedding surrounded by friends and family.
Josh & Julia Forcier
August 22, 2015
Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards • Terrebonne, Oregon
Number of guests: 200
Photographer: Byron Roe Photography
Julia and Josh’s families tried to set them up for a year—Julia’s mom and Josh’s aunt and uncle are neighbors in Redmond and thought the two would hit it off. Josh was leery of a family set-up, but at a Fourth of July parade the families ran into each other, and Josh immediately changed his mind. The rest, as they say, is history.
Julia had moved to Central Oregon to be close to her mother after the unexpected death of her father. Josh was also grieving the loss of his father and the couple connected, sharing stories and memories of their loved ones.
Josh knew he wanted to marry Julia, so he went out and bought a ring and began to think of special ways to propose. But when Julia came over that afternoon he found he couldn’t wait. Josh got down on one knee the minute she walked in the door. He took Julia completely by surprise, and she immediately said yes.
The couple wanted their wedding to be as simple and heartfelt as their engagement. The two checked out venues all over Central Oregon for their August wedding. “I had been to Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards before and loved it,” says Julia.
The vineyard in Terrebonne boasts sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains and Smith Rock. Weddings are held on a lush garden surrounded by grapes with a view of the incredible Old World European style barn and llamas in a neighboring field.
Julia and Josh liked the rustic, relaxed feel of the vineyard and set the date. Close to 200 guests joined them to celebrate.
The vineyard was hosting a live music event the night before the wedding, so the couple turned it into their rehearsal dinner, inviting their wedding party to enjoy wine, music and food carts.
On the day of the wedding, Julia got ready in the bridal suite in the loft of the barn above the tasting room. When Josh saw Julia for the first time the day of their wedding he was speechless. “She looked so beautiful,” he says.
Their wedding party was made up of siblings and close friends, and Julia’s 7-year-old son Jacob was the ring bearer. Julia’s brother married them.
During the ceremony, Jacob helped the couple add soil to a potted rose bush the three would take home and tend together. Julia loves rose bushes and Josh grew up on Rose Street. They united as a family, and would grow together.
Brightly colored Gerber daises and wine from the vineyard greeted guests at the reception. Josh wanted live music and Julia wanted a DJ, so they had both.
Julia credits the owners of the vineyard, Cindy and Roger Grossman, for easy wedding planning. “It was a perfect day,” says Julia.
Michael Popnoe & René Gillette Popnoe
January 24, 2015
Brasada Ranch • Bend, Oregon
Number of guests: 60
Photographer: Timothy J. Park
René and Michael—a realtor and a mortgage broker from Portland—met at work a decade ago. Three years ago, they started hanging out together socially. On a road trip to Seattle, the friendship turned romantic and they knew they were more than friends.
Rene’ was attracted to Michael’s fun and spontaneous spirit—he is always up for an adventure. Michael knew Rene’ was a catch—an independent career woman who had made a great life for herself. The couple bonded over travel and adventure, and also love to go to the mountains—she’s a snowboarder and he’s a skier. During a trip to San Francisco a year after their road trip, René had a hunch Michael was going to propose. He fooled her and didn’t on that trip, but soon after surprised her with a ring at the Oregon Coast.
They love the outdoors and have been all over the world together. They decided on an intimate wedding ceremony in Belize in December. For the reception, they wanted to find a venue where their friends and family could spend the weekend. René had been to Brasada Ranch a number of times and was taken with its charming cabins, ranch house mountain views and the ranch’s down-home yet modern vibe. It would be the perfect place to host 60 guests.
It was an unseasonably warm January, so instead of skiing, guests rode bikes, hung out by the pool and took advantage of the spa. People rented cabins and played games and drank cocktails. “We just wanted to spend time with the people we love,” says René.
Brasada is an old ranch in Powell Butte converted into a resort and golf course with sweeping views of the Cascades and high desert. Weddings can be held in the (very fancy) barn, in the restaurant or on the great lawn.
The ranch is famous for its sunsets, and didn’t disappoint the day of the wedding. “The winter sunset was unbelievable,” says René.
Brasada offers the services of a wedding coordinator who helped the Popnoes plan a custom dinner to hold inside of the barn. Guests sat at long wood tables under glowing lanterns enjoying the farm-to-table menu. René is not a fan of traditional wedding cake, so she worked with Brasada to create a dessert bar featuring chocolates and bite-size treats.
People danced into the night and enjoyed cigars and drinks around a fire pit in the cool desert air. When it was time for bed, the cabins were minutes away. “We were looking to get out of Portland for the weekend with our friends and family,” says René. “We wanted a fun, relaxing party.”
And that’s just what the Popnoes got.
Other great spots to wed in Central Oregon
Just outside of Sisters, Black Butte Ranch offers majestic mountain views and a gorgeous outdoor ceremony space. BBR remains a favorite of locals, maintaining its old school charm while adding beautiful new updates.
It really is your night at the museum. The High Desert Museum sits on 135 acres of forest and offers inside and outside wedding options. Wow your guests with a Birds of Prey talk at the reception!
This historic lodge in Camp Sherman was a summer get-away for wheat farmers in the early 1900s. Charming cabins, towering pines and the Metolius River make this a magical place.
The Old St. Francis School has it all—a variety of restaurants and bars, fire pits and outside seating, a movie theatre and a soaking pool. Guests get to stay in old classrooms turned into comfy lodging.
The ultimate Central Oregon destination wedding resort. The Great Hall is magnificent for indoor weddings, or go outside on the lawn surrounded by wildflowers and pine trees. Guests will want to extend their weekend with so much to do in the little village of Sunriver.