Once you’ve decided to tie the knot in Lake Tahoe, there are a few things you’ll need to do – decide on a place, and set a date! The good news is that there’s truly no bad time to get married in Lake Tahoe, but it’s still important to do some research about weather (because it can get pretty extreme), and crowds (because privacy is essential for an elopement) so that you get the experience you want. We’ve broken it down for you – so keep reading this guide to learn the best time to get married in Lake Tahoe, and what you can expect throughout the year.
First, we recommend deciding which season you want to get married in before you get more specific with your elopement date.
Winter is the second most popular time to visit Lake Tahoe! The peaks and mountain slopes bring skiers from all over, and Lake Tahoe is a pretty idyllic winter wonderland. If you’re dreaming of getting married with a fuzzy coat and some hot chocolate, you want to ski in your wedding attire, or you just want to experience the serenity of the snow covered landscape, the best time to get married in Lake Tahoe will be winter!
Of course, you’ll need to be prepared with lots of warm layers, but average highs are usually in the low 40s, so daytime temperatures aren’t too frigid. If you get married in the winter in Lake Tahoe, keep in mind that blizzards are pretty common, and snow storms can sometimes get in the way of wedding plans! And sometimes you are also required to have snow chains for your tires to drive around.
Spring is a sort of “in between” time in Lake Tahoe – the peaks are usually still covered in snow, but the lower elevation areas are clear. Skiers leave this area, so there are a lot less crowds around. Early spring is still pretty cold, but by the end of the season you can expect daytime temperatures in the 60s.
This is one of the best times to get married in Lake Tahoe if you want to avoid the crowds, but be prepared for unpredictable weather and spontaneous snow flurries!
Summer is definitely the most popular time for tourists in Lake Tahoe, so you’ll need to plan your elopement for a weekday (we recommend doing that no matter when you get married, though). This is the best time to get married in Lake Tahoe if you want to hike, because the trails will be snow free. It’s also the best time if you want to hit the lakeside beaches, because the water will be warm and the sun will be shining! Prepare for crowds, and make reservations early if you get married in the summer.
Another thing to know about Lake Tahoe in the summer is that unfortunately, wildfires are a huge part of this season. Smoke can get pretty bad, and there are sometimes evacuations of the area – which can affect wedding plans.
Fall is one of the best times to get married in Lake Tahoe, because the summer crowds clear out, and skiing crowds haven’t arrived yet! Early fall is usually still warm and sunny, so it’s the best time for hiking. Temperatures drop towards the end of the season, but you can see some snow before ski season begins, and enjoy some privacy.
Once you have a general idea of what kind of experience you want when you get married in Lake Tahoe (a winter wonderland, a hiking elopement, a beach day), it’s time to set a date! Here’s a breakdown of every month, and what you can expect throughout the year.
January is one of the best months for skiing. There’s no more human made snow, so it’s all natural, fresh powder! This is the season with the most snowfall, so you can expect all the hiking trails to be covered.
February is still snowy, with skiers coming from all over the world! It’s slightly warmer than January, and this month is popular for snowshoeing, sledding, and fun in the snow around Lake Tahoe. So even if you don’t plan to hit the slopes, getting married in the winter can still be a great experience!
March kicks off the transition from winter to spring. Though it’s still pretty chilly, and the hiking trails are covered in snow, there are a lot of festivals around Lake Tahoe to celebrate the end of winter. March is pretty rainy – in high elevation areas this rain freezes and snow flurries are common, but lower elevations see a lot of rainfall.
By the end of March, there are hardly any people around, so this is one of the best times to get married in Lake Tahoe if you want to experience the snow, without all of the ski crowds.
April is very unpredictable – some days are sunny and warm enough for boating (though you probably won’t want to hop in the chilly water), while other days bring more snow flurries to the mountains. You’ll get some of the best deals on lodging and travel in April, which can be a great perk of getting married in the spring!
As long as you’re prepared for unexpected weather and aren’t opposed to going with the flow, eloping in April can be fun, and ensure some privacy. Most higher elevation mountain trails will still be snowy – but many trailheads will open up, and hikes closer to sea level can be clear.
May weather usually depends on the year. Some seasons, there are still skiers around in May, and other times it’s warming up to 60 degree temperatures. Beaches and campgrounds open up again, and most years, you can hike the mountain trails by the end of May (though you may run into snow or ice at the top).
June kicks off the busiest time in Lake Tahoe – summer. It’s sunny nearly every day, and temperatures start getting up to the 70s. The beaches fill up with tourists, and even though the water is still too cold for swimming (unless you’re into polar plunges), getting married in June can be amazing if you want to paddleboard, kayak, or lounge on the beach!
In July, the waters of Lake Tahoe are finally warm enough to swim in! July is by far the busiest month of the summer, so you’ll definitely need to plan ahead, tie the knot on a weekday, and maybe schedule your ceremony for sunrise. Hiking is amazing this time of year as well, and the trails are usually free of snow!
August is similar to July – the weather is warm and sunny, and though it’s slightly less crowded, you likely won’t notice too much of a difference as Lake Tahoe is still super popular for hikers and beach goers.
August begins the fire season, so having a backup plan incase of smoke is essential!
Fire season continues into September, so be aware and make sure to prepare for the possibility of having to reschedule or come up with a backup locaiton Summer tourism begins to wind down in September, but Lake Tahoe is usually still pretty popular until Labor Day. After Labor Day weekend, prices begin to drop and you’ll have a much easier time finding some privacy to say your vows.
We think the end of September is the best time to get married in Lake Tahoe for most couples – it’s still warm and sunny, so you can hike, enjoy the beach, and see everything that Lake Tahoe has to offer, without the crowds and high prices. You do need to be prepared for unexpected weather or an early winter, but most years, the cold holds off until October.
In October, temperatures begin to drop more – but this can still be a good time to get married in Lake Tahoe! Daytime temps usually stay in the high 50s, so it’s still pretty pleasant for hiking or hitting the beach. It might be too cold for swimming, and some of the high elevation peaks do start accumulating snow in the end of October, but you can still enjoy the outdoor beauty and the fall foliage.
November is the best time to get married in Lake Tahoe if you’re on the hunt for good deals – this is the cheapest time to visit, and usually the least popular. The weather can get chilly, and it rains more often – so you’ll need to be prepared with layers and waterproof boots if you want to hike the (muddy) trails, and you may be greeted by snow on high elevation trails.
Lake Tahoe becomes a popular tourist destination again once December rolls around. Snow starts to accumulate, and ski season kicks off once again. There are also lots of celebrations around the holidays, making this a popular winter getaway! Most hikes will be inaccessible once winter begins – but you can snowshoe instead.
As an elopement photographer and videographer team who have spent countless hours exploring Lake Tahoe (whether we’re location scouting for our couples or just getting outside for fun), a huge part of our job is to help you plan your one of a kind elopement day!
Don’t worry if you haven’t got things figured out – if you’re still deciding between hiking and skiing, or beaches and snow. Contact us, and we’ll work with you to find the best time to get married – every couple is different, so it all depends on what you want from your wedding day!
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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