0The Couple: Michelle LeNoir-Rende and Chris Rende

Wedding Date: Wedding was held on June 11, 2011 in Jackson Hole, WY and reception was held on June 24, 2011 in Newcastle, CA.

Photography by Siegel’s Portrait Design

Tell us a little about you and your beloved:  Chris and I are actually a Match.com couple. Yes, it really works and we were a perfect “match” from the beginning. It’s one of the reasons why I made a sign for our engagement pictures which featured our “Match” date. We both came to realize that the best things in life are well worth the wait and struggle to find.

Chris’ profile didn’t say much about him but other than he was recently out of military service (being an Iraq Veteran), never married, and didn’t have children – qualities that are rare to find in someone within our age group. During the time when we met online, I too was in a transition with my life.

I had never been married, never had children, always very involved in the training and care for my dogs and cats, and dedicating more time to my love of ballroom dancing. I had my home up for sale and was looking forward to packing up the house to traveling across the country, visiting family I haven’t seen for a long time along the way, and settling down to a more simple life in a small southern town. Basically live the country songs we always hear playing on the radio.

Little did I know from Chris’ short emails to me over those few months, that his very outgoing personality would change everything. When I returned home from a vacation and he returned from attending several family events, I asked him out to dinner. Our first date continues to be very memorable as it was during the Perseid Meteor Shower – something we continue to celebrate each year by recreating that special night. Each year we try and find a new restaurant and then search to find a new place out of the lights of our town to spend the evening watching shooting stars fly by.

After meeting Chris, I decided stick around California a little longer and purchase a new home here. In the back of my mind, it was a home that I envisioned Chris and I both living in for some time.

We both have such a passion for travel and since we’ve met, have spent a great deal of time traveling and exploring new places both near and far. Both of us have been to many places around Europe, so we agreed to focus our time to seeing more of the U.S. and expanding our knowledge of history. We have been very fortunate to be able to travel to places such as Camden, Maine to sail on a windjammer to Boston, Massachusetts to learn more about our country’s history.

In searching for a location to get married, we knew we wanted our immediate family and close friends to have a unique experience, one that they wouldn’t ever forget. After many failed attempts to have a dude ranch wedding, we discovered that Jackson Hole would provide a wonderful backdrop for our ceremony and then experience of a lifetime.

Georgia at Newcastle Wedding Gardens & The Red Horse Barn and Chris at Jackson Catering & Events understood this and was able to incorporate all the aspects of that region into our large wedding reception here in California. Our wedding events, both here in CA and WY, defined who we are as a couple and allowed our family and friends have a more clear understanding of us as we start our own life together.

What was the most amazing part of your day?  For the both of us, the amazing part of the day was how Siegel’s Portrait Design was able to allow us to have a great time while capturing all the key points of our day while enhancing all the beauty of it. We both have great memories that we will cherish. In addition to Siegel’s Portrait Design, the use of the Jensen Photo Booth was a big hit with all our guest – young and old alike. The photos, the souvenir magnets, and the scrapbook were all top notch quality. It made our event even more priceless and has provided us with a great laughs since then. With all the pictures and having great weather too, we couldn’t have asked for a better venue. The vendors were outstanding, which is why we felt the need to have the Siegel’s photograph them as well. We were so glad everything came together and did so very professional

What else would you like to share about your big day?  I would say the venue at Newcastle Wedding Gardens & The Red Horse Barn was top notch and very nice. Seeing everyone in the photo booth, at the coffee bar, and dancing inside the barn just made us both smile. We had a great time just watching each other interact with both sides of our families. For anyone who is seeking a barn setting for their wedding, reception, or special family event, we would highly recommend that they check out this venue. Georgia and her staff sure knows how to put on a good time!

Ceremony Site: Our ceremony was held on the last working cattle ranch in Jackson Hole, WY in an aspen grove with views of the Teton Mountains. During our rehearsal, we have several elk just beyond us with was magnificent.

Reception Venue: Newcastle Wedding Gardens & The Red Horse Barn

Photographer: Siegel’s Portrait Design

Wedding Planner: Georgia Barron at Newcastle Wedding Gardens & The Red Horse Barn did an OUTSTANDING job and her advice was valuable and very accurate.

Caterer: Jackson Catering & Events. We worked closely with Evan, the Beverage Manager, who helped provide us with micro brews we became familiar with during our time in WY. We felt it was necessary to incorporation a bit our WY & MT experience into our CA reception.

Cake: Divine Desserts by Aguirre

Flowers:  Visual Impact Design

Favors: 1. Munchies in Old Sacramento individual Moose Munch Harry & David Candy Bars. 2. Custom Made Lip Balm featuring our names and wedding date from Lip Balm Express. 3. Magnet keepsake to store photo booth pictures in.

Bridal Attire: Miosa Bride

Bridesmaids’ Attire: David’s Bridal

Hair: Rebecca Maggio from Lush Salon & Spa

Makeup: Rochelle Phelps from Lush Salon & Spa

Invitations: Monumental Design

DJ/Entertainment/Band: A & A Music Events


Photo Booth: Jensen Photo Booth. Each guest was provided a magnets for their pictures so they had an extra souvenir/gift from our wedding. We also had someone scrapbook all the pictures with notes from the guests. It was a fun option in lieu of the traditional guest signature book. Ours is still by far one of the most elegant books I’ve seen put together by a photo booth vendor. Our album is definitely one of our favorite pieces of memorabilia from our reception. We had a great laugh looking through it when we left our reception.

Honeymoon Location: After hosting 5 days of events which included our WY wedding and farewell breakfast with our guests the next morning, we drove to West Yellowstone. We were accompanied by two of my cousins which gave us a bit of time to catch up personally. Chris and I spent three days touring the region, getting to know the locals, and taking pictures of all the amazing views and wildlife.

Since both of us have already been to Europe, we decided to take a more formal honeymoon in April 2012 to see more of the United States. We flew into Asheville, NC and visited the Biltmore Estate. We then drove around the Blue Ridge Parkway, and across NC to see my family roots in Lenoir, NC. We stopped in to visit family from both sides of our families who ironically who moved out of CA to the same area of NC within the last year. After spending time catching up with family, we drove along the coastal region down into South Carolina. We loved Georgetown, Hilton Head, and Charleston. We continued on to Savannah, a town we also fell in love with. We had a great time exploring all the haunted and historic areas that town is known for. It was a wonderful and relaxing trip exploring more our U.S. history.

Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out? Suits from Men’s Wearhouse, Limo Service from California Limousine, Espresso Bar from A Whole Latte Love, Cocktail Napkins from The Knot, Guest Hotel at Larkspur Landing, Jewelry from Sharif Jewelers, Handpainted Bridal Boots from Laurie Theriault and apples for centerpiece arrangement from Boa Vista Orchards.

First Dance Song: WY reception, “Then” by Brad Paisley. CA reception, “To Make You Feel My Love” by Garth Brooks.

Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? I spent more time planning the care and well-being of all our guests in every aspect of our wedding events when I should’ve spend more time on the needs of both Chris and I. We were very disappointed by the actions of many of our guests in the end. As they say, “It should be about the two of you, and not everyone else.”

A wedding planner who clearly understanding your needs, is experienced, reliable, organized, well networked within the industry, creative at problem solving, and is willing to go above and beyond to help in any way possible, is a critical part of any wedding event.

Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? I would’ve taken Siegel’s Portrait Design, our CA photographers, with us to our destination wedding in Wyoming. They understood us so well and knew exactly what we were wanting. We ended up learning the hard way by hiring a local photographer in WY. We were VERY disappointed by our photographer in WY who missed photographing many special moments and many of our family and friends, despite that fact there were only 35 of us.

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

Photos courtesy of and copyright Siegel’s Portrait Design. Photo booth photos courtesy of and copyright Jensen Photo Booth.

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