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Julia & Chris: Organic Chemistry - A Rock Springs Ranch Wedding

During a snowy Valentine's Day cross-country ski excursion at Dutchman Flat near Mount Bachelor, Chris Duke dropped to one knee in the middle of a white meadow and asked Julia Scheri to marry him. In response, she started screaming so loudly an older couple rushed up the trail to make sure they were OK.



Once she composed herself enough to say “yes!” they climbed to the top of a bluff, where he pulled champagne, strawberries and hot cocoa from his backpack, and they celebrated.

A love of adventure, travel and the out-of-doors has united the two Eugene natives, both 28, since they met seven years ago.


Julia and Chris chose Rock Springs Ranch, a former dude ranch in the high desert outside Bend, as their wedding venue. With natural wood, a huge stone fireplace and cowhide rugs, as well as chandeliers, vaulted ceilings and large, bright windows, the facility had the “rustic-vintage-chic” feel they were striving for. “It was rustic,” Julia said, “but not hay bales and wood chips.”

An artistic and crafty person, Julia handmade many of the special touches for the wedding. She fashioned feathers into boutonnieres and earrings, for example, and used cranberry pearls to make bracelets and a head wreath.


The guests contributed their energy and talents to the event as well. The bridesmaids assembled their own bouquets from flowers, sage and rosemary they’d collected from their yards; Julia’s father designed and executed the table décor;and a family friend grew the 100-plus succulents the couple gave away as favors.

The morning of the wedding, the guests partook in a yoga class in the ranch’s main room. “I thought it would be a good way for everyone to put positive energy into the hall,” Julia said. Later in the day, Chris and his friends went bouldering nearby.


Officiated by a family friend, the ceremony took place outside on a tiered patio under a woven-stick arbor. Julia wore a fair-trade silk dress hand-sewn in Portland from Lena Medoyeff Studio, and her bridesmaids wore cranberry-colored cowgirl boots and vintage-style dresses they’d chosen individually. “I wanted them to be themselves at the wedding,” Julia said.

After a local seasonal dinner catered by Tate and Tate and cupcakes by Ida’s Cupcakes, guests danced and partook of the s’mores bar near the fireplace.


“The whole day unfolded how we envisioned it would,” Chris said. “Our stress levels were pretty much nonexistent.”

“It was a very honest wedding,” Julia said. “It wasn’t just for show. I think everyone really did feel a part of it.”

Chris and Julia spent their honeymoon backpacking and climbing in the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina before returning to their home and cat in Bend. Chris works for the U.S. Forest Service while Julia is a community outreach specialist and tour group leader for Trips Inc., a Eugene-based company that takes adults with special needs on vacation.


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