Kevin Costner & Christine Baumgartner
As a groom, Kevin Costner took one of his signature movie lines to heart: If you build it, they will come. The morning before his Sept. 25 wedding to handbag designer Christine Baumgartner, the actor tended to a field of dreams built especially for a prewedding baseball game featuring the couple and some of their 300 invited guests. “It was snowing, so it was all muddy, and he was out there at 6 in the morning fixing the field to make that game happen,” says wedding planner Yifat Oren. “He really wanted Christine to have a wedding she’ll remember for the rest of her life.”
Mission accomplished. Set in the breathtaking scenery of Costner’s 165-acre ranch outside Aspen, the nuptials—which drew Costner pals Bruce Willis, Tim Allen, Don Johnson and Robert Wagner, among others—combined Hollywood glamor with the kind of rustic cowboy charm that is the Oscar winner’s big-screen hallmark. “It was excellent. Beautiful. Brilliant,” says Mary McDonnell, his costar in 1990’s Dances with Wolves.
The festivities kicked off Sept. 23 with a barnyard barbecue on Costner’s property, which features a newly built house in addition to several lodgings. “Kevin did a welcome speech and said, ‘Anyone should feel free to walk into the homes as if they were your own,'” says Oren.
The next day Costner, 49, and Baumgartner, 30—who met on a golf course and began dating in 1999—invited guests to share their passion for the outdoors with hiking, canoeing, fishing, a mini rodeo and a baseball game. At a rehearsal dinner later that night, Willis and Johnson took the stage for an impromptu jam session.
The main event followed at 3:30 the next day, with Costner arriving in a horse-drawn wagon. The bride pulled up soon after in an antique truck driven by her father, Jim, who walked her down the wood-plank aisle for the 20-minute nondenominational Christian ceremony conducted by Baumgartner’s pastor.
After a canoe ride on the property’s lake, the couple retreated to the reception, where they shared a first dance to “Unchained Melody” and were toasted by Costner’s daughters from his marriage to Cindy Silva: bridesmaids Anne, 20, and Lily, 18. (Son Joe, 16, was best man.) “It’s obvious that they’re a united family,” says guest Leigh Jude Vogel. “Their speeches came from the soul.”
The partying lasted until 11 p.m., with country singer and Costner pal Clay Walker serenading the newlyweds before they retired to their new home for the night—leaving guests to savor their memories of the affair. “It was intimate, very romantic and beautiful,” says one attendee. “The highlight for me was the look Kevin had as he watched Christine walk toward him. They’re madly in love and it showed.”
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