If there’s one thing 2020/2021 has given us in the Oregon wedding industry, it’s intimacy. Stricken from the schedule are the 300+ guest golf course weddings to photograph. Rather, the forest has played host to small groups searching for the perfect scenic overlook to elope and the private residence has reemerged as a favorite for those wishing to do things their own way.

I’m particularly fond of the private residence as it reminds me of my in-laws property nearly twenty years ago when Lauren and I said our vows on the edge of the pond. We spent months working on the property, cleaning the barn and hanging mason jars in the trees (which was trend-setting then). The joy with a private residence is you aren’t hindered by a contractual timeline with which to share your vision with friends and family-just the timeline in your head (which, admittedly, can be pretty loud.)

One of my favorite private residences sits atop Rebel Hill in Canyon City, Oregon. The Schoolhouse, as its name implies, is a reclaimed and remodeled early 1900’s school building sitting in the county seat of Grant County. While the house itself is one of my favorite places to visit, it’s the people that make it feel like home. Steve and Shelley Fischer purchased the property years ago and together with their daughter, Elizabeth, set out to make a home to share with friends, family, and even those they hardly know-that’s just who they are.

Like her parents, Elizabeth is a talented woman. When she wasn’t busy planing historic hard wood flooring for the Schoolhouse, she was traveling the world for NGO’s as a storyteller or working for ministries in the USA in a similar capacity. Lauren and I met Beth in 2005 while we were preparing to do some storytelling work in Uganda with an NGO we both began working with.

Lauren and Beth hit it off right away and became fast friends. Beth, an only child, decided she needed a slightly older Brother who at times might act slightly younger, so I was adopted.

For many years and many countries Bette and I traveled to tell stories for those working in the trenches. Some of the most difficult moments of my life were by her side (it wasn’t her fault). Likewise, some of the best memories included her as she was there for the birth of some of our children and spent time with me and our dear friend Mama Naomi in Eastern Rwanda. Steve, Shelley and Beth invite us to the Schoolhouse now and then – there’s nowhere we’d rather be at Christmas than with them. As I’ve told Beth, should it ever be up to me who I go into battle with, she is amongst a list of 3-4 people I know I can count on. Truly, truly count on.

For some years we’ve been hoping, praying, thinking and wondering who Beth may end up with as a life partner. There were options, of course. This was going to need to be a very special person. At times Elizabeth was a left coast, right coast, continent hopping elf-like-sprite -perhaps always looking for a place to call home.

The interesting thing about looking for home is, sometimes, it’s always been there.

Sometimes, the journey leads you down a path to learn, grow and become your proper half-to-a-whole.

Sometimes, that journey leads you back to where you started.

Enter Jayson. A long time friend to Elizabeth. A man once ghosted by his future wife. He never gave up when it mattered. He had his own long journey that brought him back home.

And now, Elizabeth’s teeter has found its totter. Jayson brings a beautiful balance to Beth’s life.

Our long time friend has found a life long partner. Let a new journey begin.

Below, a few of our favorite moments from Elizabeth (always our “Bette”) and Jayson’s intimate Oregon wedding.

Location: The Yellow Schoolhouse

Hair + Make-up: Classic Beauty By Heather

Dress: Bella Brides + Maggie Sottero

Jayson’s Suit: Men’s Warehouse 

Rings: Saxon’s Fine Jewelers

Catering: Cascade Catering Company

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