Become Newlyweds at Oregon’s Brasada Ranch
The panoramic views surrounding Brasada Ranch are the stuff of John Wayne's dreams. The only difference? When the setting sun turns the sky fiery shades over Central Oregon's high desert, you'll be taking in the vista from a luxury suite instead of a tent.
This 1,800-acre resort does rustic right. Located just 20 minutes from Bend, Brasada has all the western charm a country bride needs plus the modern amenities a city-loving gal can't do without. Arrive a few days early to soak up the great outdoors -- and the luxurious spa treatments -- then get hitched with the Cascade mountains like a backdrop behind you.
Reserve a Ranch House Lodge suite (shown) at the center of the resort for you and your groom, and you'll score a private terrace that possesses grandstand-quality views of the glorious landscape.
Family and friends can choose from the resort’s one, two, or three-bedroom Sage Canyon Cabins nestled around the property. Be advised that cabin life at Brasada is nothing like summer camp -- each comfy abode comes with amazing extras like soaking tubs, outdoor BBQs, and a wrap-around deck.
Host a Welcome Dinner
Greet your guests with a taste of what locals call "New Ranch Cuisine" at The Blacksmith. It’s like a fancier take on cowboy cooking, think pork chops that are cider-brined and mac-and-cheese made with smoked cheddar.
The restaurant has three party spaces that can handle from 36 to 60 people, but you can also rent out the whole shebang for an extra-large group.
Sample Brews with Your Bridal Party
Kick off your wedding weekend by loading your bridesmaids and groomsmen onto the Bend Brew Bus for a tour of the area's best breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Each bus can seat 14, but they’ll take out multiple ones in tandem if need be, so the more the merrier. All the town’s breweries are fair game, however your itinerary will be capped at four to ensure ample sampling time.
Locally made DANI Soy Wax Candles are a smells-so-good present your bridal party will adore. There are nine blends to choose from so go crazy and pick a signature scent for each of your maids. Of course there are staples like Passionfruit and Pear, but we're a bit partial to their cool combos like Grapefruit Ginger, Lemongrass Lavender, and Bamboo Birch.
Indoor Ceremony Space
If you're planning to wed in the winter, the most popular spot at Brasada is The Barn. Floor-to-ceiling windows let you feel at one with the landscape while an oversize fireplace keeps things toasty. This space offers dining for up to 140 seated guests, and in warmer months, plenty more out on the grassy terrace.
Outdoor "I dos"
During summertime, take advantage of the beautiful weather and recite your vows on The Great Lawn. Major bonus: Aisle décor can be kept to a minimum since all eyes will be on you, your soon-to-be husband, and that epic view. The lush green grass has space to seat up to 250 guests.
Take a spin in Cowboy Carriage Company's horse-drawn carriage after the ceremony for a few classic cowboy-esque portraits.
Even the biggest city slicker can't resist melted chocolate and gooey marshmallows on crisp graham crackers. Set up a s'mores-making table at the reception for guests in lieu of a traditional candy buffet -- the resort makes their own marshmallows and graham crackers, and will source local chocolate for you. Or, order a batch to be pre-made and wrap them as favors. Either way, guests will eat them up -- literally -- around a cozy bonfire as the night winds down.
A Cool Souvenir
Before you head home, stop into the charming Canyon Creek Pottery to pick out a unique piece of handcrafted stoneware that will serve as a reminder of your celebration. The pottery, Kenneth Merrill, does beautiful work -- everything from vases and bowls to lamps and teapots.