If you’re planning a destination wedding, we are fully convinced that a Lake Tahoe wedding should be at the top of your list for consideration. There are plenty of reasons to get married in Lake Tahoe, like the wide selection of wedding venues and the unforgettable, almost surreal views, just to name a couple. Not only that, but it is also consistently ranked one of the best places to elope in California if you’re looking for a more intimate wedding experience.
As professional Lake Tahoe elopement planners, wedding photographers, and videographers in NorCal, we want you to have the best Lake Tahoe wedding experience. It is your big day to celebrate your unique love story, after all. This Lake Tahoe Wedding Planning Guide gives you the ins and outs of everything you need to know to plan your perfect wedding day.
Honestly, most couples initially underestimate the cost of their wedding, simply because there is so much that goes into planning the perfect day and costs add up quicker than most couples anticipate. But, creating a realistic budget from the start is so important. There is nothing worse than paying a deposit on a venue you’ve fallen in love with only to figure out that now you’ll end up spending thousands more than you wanted in total, or finding and touring the perfect place only to realize that there’s no way it’s within your budget limits. So, establish a wedding budget before you do anything else.
Although hiring a wedding planner is optional, there are many benefits to having a wedding planner as a part of your wedding preparation team. A wedding planner can help you create a cohesive vision for your wedding, coordinate with vendors and venues, provide creative ideas and suggestions, research and negotiate contracts, manage your budget, keep track of deadlines, and provide support and guidance throughout the planning process. In addition, a wedding planner can be your advocate, helping you make decisions and manage stress, so you can focus on enjoying your special day. With their expertise and knowledge, a wedding planner can help make your wedding planning process much smoother and less overwhelming.
Organizing and planning a wedding is a huge task, and it is essential to keep everything organized. Keeping everything organized will help ensure that the wedding runs smoothly and you can enjoy your big day without any issues. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and energy, so having an organized system can help streamline the process and make it easier to keep track of everything that needs to be done.
Keeping track of details such as budget, vendors, and essential tasks can help to ensure that the wedding day goes off without a hitch. An organized system, whether a binder, planner, or digital folder, can help you get the most out of your wedding day by avoiding any last-minute surprises or issues. An organized system can help ensure that you can reflect on your epic wedding day for years to come. Start your organization process from the beginning to ensure no detail gets misplaced or forgotten.
Now that you’ve set your budget and created a way to keep everything organized (with or without a wedding or elopement planner), its time to decide who you want to spend your special day with. Deciding how many people you want to join you at your wedding can impact nearly every additional detail of your wedding day, from the size of the venue needed to the size of your catering or wedding photography bill. While many couples want everyone from their immediate family to the stranger they met in line at the grocery store to join them on their big day, the guest list begins to shrink when they see the price difference.
So, how do you choose who is on your wedding guest list? Choosing who to invite to your wedding can be a difficult task. Of course, you want to ensure that you include all your closest family and friends, but it’s also essential to understand your budget and the venue size if you have one in mind.
When deciding who to invite, consider how close you are to each person and how meaningful their presence would be at the event. Consider prioritizing the people you are closest to, such as close friends and family. You can also invite coworkers or close acquaintances with whom you have a good relationship but don’t feel obligated to invite everyone you know.
When making your wedding guest list, consider the atmosphere you want to create. Don’t leave it up to your parents and friends to determine who should and shouldn’t make the final cut. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your partner to decide who will be invited to your wedding. It is your day!
While this may seem like a weird choice to put higher up on the list of things to do, if you have a vision for your wedding, you’ll want to make sure that you set your theme right from the start. Having a wedding theme influences not only your venue choice, but also your wedding party attire, food selections, and even the style of the Lake Tahoe wedding photographer and videographer you hire.
Popular wedding themes can include rustic, romantic, classic, vintage, bohemian, beach, modern, industrial, garden, and winter themes. These themes offer unique ways to customize and personalize your special day.
No matter which style you choose, your wedding theme shouldn’t just be about what is beautiful but should also reflect you and your other half’s personalities and interests. After all, you may choose to decorate your walls with your wedding photos to enjoy them for years to come.
Now that you have a vision in mind for your wedding theme, plus your budget and guest list, now is the time to find a Lake Tahoe wedding venue that will suit your needs. Choosing the right wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning your big day. It is so important that some people put it closer to the top of the list. However, we feel that this is the perfect time to choose your venue so you can scout your locations based on other important factors, rather than falling in love with a location only to find out that it won’t accommodate your whole guest list or it’s too far out of budget.
When planning a Lake Tahoe wedding, there are a few important things to consider:
The venue will set the tone for your wedding, from the décor to the room’s layout. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the venue you choose will fit your budget and accommodate the size of your wedding party and guests.
Additionally, the venue should provide the necessary amenities, such as a dance floor, food and beverage service, and a sound system. A great wedding venue will also provide a memorable background for taking beautiful photographs. Ultimately, the right venue can make your wedding day the most special and memorable day of your life.
No matter how hard you try to accommodate everyone, chances are, not everyone will be able to make it to your wedding. Have a plan in mind for guests who can’t celebrate your big day in person with you. Some venues offer live streaming services so all of your guests can be a part of the celebration, no matter where they are. Don’t fret if they don’t because many wedding vendors can offer video streaming or wedding videography services. Either way, considering those who can’t make it ahead of time can relieve stress down the road.
Choosing the ideal date for your wedding in Lake Tahoe is essential to the wedding planning process. Factors such as your venue’s availability, vendors, and other accommodations, as well as weather considerations, should all be considered when deciding a date.
It is also important to consider the availability of family and friends and any special events or holidays that may conflict with your desired date. If you’re planning to have your wedding in the summer months, be sure to book as far in advance as possible, as these months are very popular for weddings in the area. Be sure to also check for any special permits or regulations for a Lake Tahoe wedding, as these can add additional restrictions to the date selection process. Taking the time to carefully consider all of these factors when deciding upon a date will ensure your Lake Tahoe wedding is a memorable and successful occasion.
Research is key when choosing the right wedding vendors for your Lake Tahoe wedding. Look for vendors with plenty of wedding experience in the area and read reviews from past customers to find those who are reliable and trustworthy and get an idea of what to expect. Then, consider their portfolio of work to ensure they can provide the quality of service you require for your wedding day.
You should also decide what type of services you need so that you can narrow down your list and find the right vendors to make your wedding dreams come true. Ask plenty of questions to better understand their services, prices, and availability for your wedding date.
Whether you’re looking for a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer, videographer, florist, caterer, or live entertainment, make sure you take your time and find the best vendors for your special day.
Once you have found the vendors that meet your criteria, make sure you have a contract in place to ensure your expectations are met, and the vendor is held accountable for delivering the services promised.
Whether your guests can attend your wedding or not, everyone will want to celebrate your upcoming nuptials and set you up for success by showering you with gifts. So do yourself a favor, and create a wedding registry before you’ve even sent out the “Save the Dates,” because trust us, they will ask.
Creating a wedding registry is fun and can be done right from the comfort of your home. In addition, it is an excellent way to ensure that your guests know what gifts you’d like to receive and what your style is.
Many different websites offer a variety of items for you to choose from. You can add items from various categories such as kitchen, home décor, bed & bath, and more.
Some websites even offer the ability to create a wedding website that can be shared with your guests. This way, your friends and family can easily purchase the items you’ve selected and have them shipped directly to you.
Creating a wedding registry is a great way to make your special day even more special. Just don’t forget to write “thank you” notes later!
Mailing out “Save the Date” cards to wedding guests is a great way to ensure everyone can make it to your special day. It is an essential step in the wedding planning process, and it lets your guests know they are important to you and are invited to share in your special day.
Save the Date cards are typically sent out 6-8 months before the wedding and act as a reminder for the guests to mark their calendars.
It is also a great way to let your guests know the theme, color scheme, and atmosphere you are trying to create for your wedding. Plus, since you’ve already set up your wedding registry, you can include that information, too!
When picking out a wedding dress, tuxedo, bridal party and guest attire, there are a few things to consider, such as color, style, fabric, and fit.
For the wedding dress, consider the venue and decide on a color that complements the setting and season. There are different styles of wedding dresses to choose from, such as A-line, ball gown, mermaid, and sheath. The dress’s fabric should be comfortable and easy to move in, and the fit should be flattering and make the bride feel confident.
For the tuxedo and bridal party attire, choose a color that coordinates with the wedding dress and a style that complements the formality of the wedding.
Guests should be given an idea of the dress code to dress appropriately.
Of course, these are just traditional wedding suggestions. Your wedding is YOUR day, so if you’d prefer to throw all traditions out the window and walk down the aisle in your favorite pair of Converse, Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses, we’re here for it! Do what makes you happy! But now is the right time to start planning what you’d like everyone to wear so your bridal party and guests have time to prepare.
Plan ahead for your Lake Tahoe lodging and accommodations, especially if you don’t live in the area or are planning a wedding during the peak season. If you plan early enough, you may be able to find lodging at the same place as your wedding ceremony and reception. However, if that doesn’t work out, there are plenty of places to stay in Lake Tahoe.
Accommodations at Lake Tahoe range from the most luxurious resorts and hotels to charming and cozy cabins, providing something to suit every taste. Whether you’re looking for an upscale and modern retreat or a traditional and rustic experience, Lake Tahoe has something to offer everyone. With options ranging from lakefront properties and ski-in-ski-out lodges to rustic cabins nestled in the woods, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay.
Plus, if you coordinate with your bridal party and guests early enough, you may be able to lock in a block rate, which is a group discount for everyone booking a stay.
Finding the right wedding officiant is an essential part of planning your wedding. The officiant is the person who will officiate your ceremony, guide you through your vows, and help you create a meaningful and memorable experience for your guests.
When choosing an officiant, it’s important to consider their style, background, experience, and beliefs. An officiant can make or break the entire ceremony, so choose wisely!
Of course, if you decide to forgo a big wedding, throw caution into the wind, and elope in Lake Tahoe instead, we’d love to be your wedding officiant!
Consider scheduling hair and makeup appointments for yourself and the wedding party. Although this step is optional, your wedding day only happens once in a lifetime, and you’ll have wedding photos and videos to look back on. The occasion is an excellent opportunity to splurge, if there is room in the budget.
Before scheduling, determine how many people need hair and makeup services, including the bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and other wedding party members. Once you have the total number, you can begin scheduling appointments.
When scheduling, factor in enough time for each appointment; the bride may need more time than the bridesmaids, for example. You should also schedule the appointments far enough in advance to allow for any necessary changes or cancellations. Finally, let the salon or makeup artist know the date and time of the wedding and any special requests.
You should also discuss payment arrangements ahead of time, as some salons and makeup artists may require a deposit or full payment upfront.
Finally, set yourself a reminder to confirm the appointments a few days before the wedding. This will ensure that everyone is ready and on time for the big day.
Setting up a wedding rehearsal dinner can help ensure the wedding ceremony and reception run smoothly. The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the wedding party and their families to get to know each other, practice the ceremony and familiarize themselves with the venue.
Plan the rehearsal dinner in advance to ensure that all the necessary details are taken care of, including choosing the venue, menu, decorations, and any special activities. Be sure to send out rehearsal dinner invites and information so that all the wedding party members can plan accordingly.
As a general rule of thumb, send wedding invitations 4-5 months before the wedding day. As a fair warning, some won’t RSVP, and you’ll want time to follow up, but sending too soon may lead to losing or forgetting your invite. The 4-5 month mark is the sweet spot for sending out those invitations for the most success.
Your wedding invitations should include all the important details about your special day, such as the couple’s names, the date, time and location of the ceremony, the names of parents, the dress code, any special requests, and the RSVP details. You may also include a short note to your guests, a venue map, and other necessary information such as registry information and rehearsal dinner and accommodation details.
When it comes to wedding decorations, pick decorations that match your wedding theme and venue. To get the perfect look, consider the overall feel of your wedding. Think about the color scheme, style, and atmosphere you’re trying to create. Once you have an idea of the look you’re going for, you can start shopping for the decorations that will help you achieve that aesthetic. Try to match your theme, such as hanging paper lanterns for a rustic wedding, or using crystal candelabras for a formal event.
You should also consider the size of your venue when shopping for decorations. Large venues will require more decorations to fill the space, while smaller venues may need fewer decorations. So consider the size of your venue when deciding the type and amount of decorations you need.
Finally, think about your budget when shopping for decorations. You don’t have to break the bank to have beautiful decorations. Instead, look for budget-friendly options such as DIY projects and second-hand items. With some research, you can find decorations that will help you create a photo-worthy wedding atmosphere.
One of the latest trends in wedding planning is going the extra mile to show your guests how much their presence is appreciated. This can be done in various ways, such as giving each guest a gift of appreciation. These gifts could be anything from a small token of appreciation, such as a personalized thank you card or a small gift, to a more elaborate gift, such as a gift basket or a keepsake.
Whatever the gift may be, it is important to make sure that it is something that will show your guests that you are thankful for their attendance and that you truly value their presence.
To legally get married in Lake Tahoe, both individuals must obtain a wedding license. Both people must be present when applying for the license, and each must provide a valid form of identification to prove they are over 18.
If either partner has been divorced in the past 90 days, they must also provide the final dissolution papers as proof. Once the license has been obtained, the couple may tie the knot!
One of the great things about getting married in Lake Tahoe is that there is so much to do. As a popular vacation destination, you can conveniently extend your wedding day activities to include either the pre-wedding celebrations, the honeymoon, or both!
From skiing and snowmobiling, to kayaking, camping, and more, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and all the beauty the lake has to offer. If you’re looking to extend the fun beyond the wedding day, you can explore the many restaurants, bars, and casinos in the area. Plus, you can easily turn your wedding into a honeymoon by booking a cozy cabin or romantic hotel and taking advantage of all of Lake Tahoe’s romantic activities.
Did we mention how beautiful Lake Tahoe is? If you’re planning a wedding in Lake Tahoe, do yourself a favor and make the most of its stunningly beautiful scenery by incorporating it into your wedding day. Whether you have an outdoor ceremony, enjoy a lakeside reception, or take advantage of the breathtaking mountain views, you’ll be sure to create a day that you and your guests won’t soon forget.
Consider taking advantage of local vendors to make the planning process easier, and remember to take plenty of photos to capture the day and the stunning backdrop of Lake Tahoe.
When you’re planning your wedding, it is easy to get swept up in all of the details and overwhelmed by all there is to do. Be sure to schedule some time for you and your other half (and maybe even your guests) to relax as you plan the schedule for your wedding day festivities. Downtime helps you re-center and ground yourself so you can remember what the day is all about — celebrating the beginning of your lives together.
There are plenty of ways to relax and unwind in Lake Tahoe, from taking a stroll along one of the beautiful trails or beaches, to soaking up some rays while lounging on one of the many sandy beaches.
For those looking for a more active experience, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports, such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and sailing. Or, if you prefer to stay on land, you can try your hand at fishing, biking, golfing, or skiing. The options are endless!
After a day of adventure, you can end your day with a rejuvenating massage or spa treatment at one of the area’s many resorts. No matter what you’re looking for, Lake Tahoe has something for everyone looking to relax and unwind.
When planning a wedding or special event, it is important to consider purchasing event insurance to protect yourself from potential issues. Event insurance can cover various things, including cancellation or postponement of the event due to an unforeseen circumstance, loss of deposits due to a vendor’s insolvency, damage to the venue or other property, and liability for any injuries that occur during the event. It can also provide coverage for any additional costs that may arise due to the cancellation or postponement of the event. Depending on your policy type, event insurance can also provide coverage for wedding gifts, photography and video equipment, and other items. Research the various types of event insurance policies available and determine which one is best suited to your particular needs.
Congratulations! You made it! If you’ve followed the comprehensive Lake Tahoe wedding planning guide, then once your wedding day arrives, all that is left to do is to enjoy your wedding day and soak up every moment. You’ll be surrounded by your loved ones, a host of trustworthy wedding vendors, and a wedding photographer and videographer who will make sure to capture every photo-worthy detail, so you can live in the moment and have keepsakes to look back on and remember every special moment.
If you’re searching for a professional wedding photography and videography team to capture your special day in Lake Tahoe, we’d love to help!
Here at Mindful Media Photography, we are a husband and wife team specializing in creating timeless memories of your wedding day that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for wedding photography and videography or an all-inclusive Lake Tahoe elopement package, we’ll work with you to customize a package tailored to your needs, budget, and timeline. Contact us today to get started!
If you're thinking about eloping or getting married in NorCal, our blog is an excellent resource for inspiration. We've got sneak peeks of recent weddings, tips for eloping in Northern California, and more. Let The Adventure Begin is the perfect place to start planning.
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You may also want to add there are two states, which require different marriage license requirements, as well as officiants. To sign a NV license you have to have a NV officiant or have the time to apply from the state. CA is pretty easy.