GETTING MARRIED AT LAKE TAHOE
Weddings at Lake Tahoe are unique. Cleaner-than-clean waters are splashing onto sandy shores, while gigantic trees and alpine vistas around the lake offer postcard-like ceremony backdrops. It is a preferred choice for destination weddings, elopements, reunions and honeymoons because of the unspoiled nature and romantic vibes. Even during the times of COVID-19, there are outdoor venues where alfresco ceremonies and receptions are allowed. Whether you are planning an intimate gathering or a grand wedding, you are sure to find a gorgeous hotel, high-end resort or a cozy mountain lodge where you can celebrate. Enjoy reading this guide while planning your big day!
WHEN TO GET HITCHED
In spring and summer, nature is in full bloom, fall is filled with moody hues, warmness and romance, while winter is a fairy-tale in white. If you want a beach ceremony and summer vibes, head off to Lake Tahoe in July or August. Touristy areas are much less crowded in September, so this is a popular month for outdoor weddings too. For winter wonderland experience, choose a date from January to March, and to get the lowest prices then aim for March or November. Remember that weather at mountain locations such as Lake Tahoe can be unpredictable. Rain can easily spoil your plans for an outdoor wedding, so always have a plan B ready. To make sure you don’t miss a fabulous outdoor photoshoot, make flexible plans and be prepared to go with the flow. If it is raining in the morning, maybe you can move the photography session for afternoon hours. Another issue can be smoke from forest fires. Since wind can carry smoke for miles, you might want to stay inside for the reception and do a couple of portraits outside.
WHERE TO GO
Lake Tahoe has two main areas where you can find fantastic wedding venues. While South Shore is packed with luxury hotels and resorts, North Shore feels more secluded and pristine. Both areas are exceptionally beautiful with alpine-style ski areas and charming towns, but North Shore is much less crowded even during the peak seasons while South Shore is louder and more popular for tourists. When choosing a location for your event, look for venues that satisfy your criteria in terms of ambience, food, accommodation and services. Because you can easily boat between the two shores, you can even book a venue on one side of the lake and do a photoshoot in another.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
Lake Tahoe is a protected area, which means there are many restrictions regarding weddings and other events. There is a strict “no trace” rule, which means you have to pick up all the litter and leave nothing behind you. The locals are friendly, but they are extremely environmentally conscious, and they take their surroundings seriously. You are not allowed to tamper with trees in any way (this applies even to fairy lights and other decorations), and you must keep the waters clean.Each of the venues has its own restrictions and lists of prohibited items, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them before you start planning. Because outdoor weddings are subject to noise regulations, you shouldn’t party outside after 10 pm. You can either hold a daytime reception or consider moving inside if your venue has an indoor reception area.Parking is not allowed in many locations around Lake Tahoe. If you are booking one of the major venues, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if your wedding location is off-the-beaten-path, then you might need to organize a shuttle or boat service for your guests.
FINDING LOCAL VENDORS
Planning a Lake Tahoe wedding is easy because all the local vendors are working closely with each other. Venues often have all-inclusive packages and can sort out everything from food and drinks to awesome ceremony arbors. Even if they don’t have in-house catering, they’ll give you a list of their preferred vendors. It is much easier to get high-end vendors when you are celebrating at a small place like Tahoe. But sometimes it is best to bring your own team to a destination wedding, so consider booking a photographer, hairstylist and makeup artist close to home. This is convenient when you need the same group of people for the engagement shoot, wedding and other special occasions.
THE COST OF A LAKE TAHOE WEDDING
Weddings at Lake Tahoe can be pretty expensive, especially if you want to tie the knot during the peak season (in summer or winter). The most exclusive venues charge $10,000 or more, plus you can expect to pay around $500+ per night for accommodation. However, you can find small but gorgeous rustic venues where you
can hold a ceremony for as little as $500, throw a reception party for $2,000 to $5,000 and get a discount for group bookings.
Lake Tahoe has incredible photo backdrops with crystal blue waters, iconic pine trees, waterfalls and green meadows flanked with vibrant wildflowers. You’ll have fantastic portraits even if you don’t go far from your pretty hotel, bungalow or spa retreat. But if you feel adventurous, you can try to find hidden beaches and coves, pose in front of a steamy waterfall or on a small island nestled in the middle of the lake. Here are some of the picturesque photoshoot locations I love:
15 MOST BEAUTIFUL WEDDING VENUES AT LAKE TAHOE
Sparkling lake surrounded by sandy beaches, pine trees and luxury retreats make a beautiful setting for an intimate alfresco ceremony any time of year. There is
a huge selection of gorgeous venues, but I hand-picked 15 most intriguing and visually exciting locations that range from remote and idyllic rustic lodges to
high-end lakefront resorts. Some of them might not be open for visitors right now due to COVID-19, but check them out if you are planning a wedding later this year, in 2021 or beyond.
Image Courtesy of hyatt.com
Hyatt Regency is famous for hosting weddings across the globe, and it is always a great choice if you want a classy event. At Hyatt Lake Tahoe, you can wed on a sandy beach or on a green lawn, amid the water gardens or in a lakeside park. For the reception, you can choose one of the two spectacular ballrooms.
Price: You can book a ceremony site for $2,500 – $5,000, while meals cost $50 – $150 per person
Perks: There is a lakeside cottage for the wedding couple plus by booking this venue you are earning bonus points towards your honeymoon at any Hyatt resort worldwide.
Image Courtesy of edgewoodtahoe.com
Nestled on the shore or Tahoe Lake, Edgewood Tahoe is the perfect place to dine, relax and get hitched. You’ll love this place if you appreciate unique lake views, superior comfort and laid-back resort vibes.
Price: packages start at $3,000
Perks: amazing choice of outdoor spaces for ceremonies, cocktails and receptions.
Image Courtesy of thelandingtahoe.com
The Landing is a romantic, year-round outdoor wedding venue with a view. This resort has a beautiful terrace overlooking the lake, but also offers luxury accommodation for the couple and guests, fantastic spa amenities and incredible menus featuring the freshest seafood, seasonal vegetables and locally-sourced
Price: $1,500 – $5,000
Perks: Exquisite lodging, luxury spa and a grand
rooftop terrace ideal for both ceremonies and receptions.
Image Courtesy of tahoeblackbear.com
Tucked behind the towering pine trees that surround Lake Tahoe, Black Bear Lodge is a cozy venue for low key destination weddings. Whether you have 10 or up to 50 guests, it will feel like an intimate gathering, and the lodge sleeps up to 22 people.
Price: Rental fees start at $3,000
if you book this venue, you get to use beautiful
outdoor lighting, kitchen facilities and dressing areas for the bride and
groom. You’ll also have a day-of coordinator.
Image Courtesy of granlibakken.com
Offering a gorgeous rustic setting amid pine trees, Granlibakken Tahoe is close to the lake and yet beautifully hidden in a peaceful 74-acre wooded
valley. It looks stunning year-round with a lovely garden, lakeside and indoor venues suitable for both intimate gatherings and grand weddings.
Price: $500 – $7,000
Perks: multiple indoor and outdoor wedding sites,
elaborate sit-down and buffet meals, superb lodging and a fantastic day spa.
Image Courtesy of tahoeresorthotel.com
Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel has a superb location, gorgeous venues and unique photo opportunities.
The property has access to a sun-drenched sandy beach where you can host your ceremony during spring and summer. It also features a lush garden atrium for
indoor ceremonies along with an opulent ballroom and an intimate dining area.
Price: ask venue
Perks: fantastic photoshoot locations, versatile
venues, amazing balcony suites for the couple.
Image Courtesy of thunderbirdtahoe.org
Located on the north shore, Thunderbird Lodge
is different from all other venues because the property boasts an impressive stone house and the famous Thunderbird Yacht. You can say ‘I do’ at many postcard-perfect places such as the waterfront gazebo, the waterfall, the lakeside lawn or one of the secluded terraces connected by stone pathways.
Price: from $10,000
Perks: a selection of, roofed and open-air outdoor
ceremony locations plus an awesome indoor reception area and plush accommodation rooms.
Image Courtesy of tahoedeerfieldlodge.com
Deerfield Lodge is a hidden gem in Lake Tahoe’s south shore surrounded by landscaped gardens and
towering trees. Here, you can host the perfect intimate celebration and unwind at comfortable rooms.
Perks: Gorgeous courtyard ideal for intimate ceremonies and luxury king suites with super-comfortable beds, jetted tubs and other five-star amenities.
Image Courtesy of ritzcarlton.com
Providing magnificent mountain and valley views, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe is the perfect choice for a couple wanting uncompromised luxury in a unique natural setting. The hotel is famous for creating elaborate weddings regardless of whether they are intimate events for just a handful of guests or big celebrations.
Price: Rental fees start at $2,500 for ceremonies and $4,000 for receptions
Perks: woodland area perfect for both summertime and winter
wonderland weddings + the grandiose ballroom and luxury accommodation for you
Image Courtesy of yourtahoeplace.com
With its idyllic outdoor setting and stone & timber construction, the Chateau at Incline Village oozes romance and rustic vibes. You’ll be instantly drawn to its charms and fascinated by the scenic views, impressive pine trees and the otherworldly creekside area. The venue also features a majestic
ballroom and massive rock fireplaces.
Price: $500 – $1,000 for the ceremony and
$2,035 to $7,990 for the reception
Perks: beautiful outdoor lawn, wrap-around decks and
golf course views.
Image Courtesy of yourtahoeplace.com
Offering panoramic views of the Lake Tahoe, High
Camp at Squaw Valley is one of the most charming venues in the alpine region. Dining areas with sweeping mountain vistas offer a one-off backdrop for your wedding photos!
Price: $3,000 – $4,000
Perks: a selection of 5 spectacular venues, inclusive
wedding packages and organized activities for you and guests.
Image Courtesy of plumpjacksquawvalleyinn.com
Each season brings unique flavors at Plump Jack
Squaw Valley Inn which is located at 6200’ elevation in the picturesque Lake Tahoe basin. This venue is best for couples who want a personalized experience from food and drinks to decorations.
Price: $3,500 – $7,000
Perks: dramatic photo backdrops, seasonal menus, mountain lodge accommodation and a professional wedding planning team.
Image Courtesy of destinationhotels.com
A truly opulent wedding venue surrounded by the quaint mountain valleys, Resort at Squaw Creek is one of the best places to get hitched near Lake Tahoe. You can choose between several picture-perfect ceremony locations including the manicured golf course, by the 250-foot long waterfall and the sunny deck surrounded by the lush greenery.
Price: $3,500 – $5,000
Perks: farm-to-table dining, spectacular accommodation units with mountain views and wedding planning services included in the package.
Image Courtesy of northstarcalifornia.com
Located between Lake Tahoe and Truckee, Zephyr
Lodge feels remote and very private. It is accessible only by gondola and can be booked for both intimate weddings and big celebrations. This exclusive venue was made for couples who want to impress their guests.
Price: $8,500 – $10,000 for the ceremony +
$16,000 – $20,000 for the reception
Perks: packages that comprise absolutely everything
including gondola transport, event planner, ceremony site, outdoor fireplaces
and heat lamps, private dressing areas, discounted accommodation rooms and an
invitation to the wedding preview event and a grand tasting.
Image Courtesy of valhallatahoe.com
At Valhalla Tahoe, you can wed on the sandy shore, in the rustic elegance of the Tallac historical site. The mountain lodge built in 1924 is set amid the giant
pines and opens up to the Grand Lawn adorned with antique lanterns. The scene is easily set for a wonderful alfresco celebration during spring and summer
months, while the stone & timber interior is perfect for winter receptions.
Price: $3,600 – $8,000
Perks: packages include exclusive use of the building
and outdoor areas for up to 13 hours plus you’ll get a one year Valhalla Tahoe
Joint membership when you book the venue.
Lake Tahoe weddings are special because the natural surroundings are ideal for wedding photography and all kinds of sports and leisure activities that will make your wedding memorable. A short ride away from San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and other cities, it is a convenient location for elopements and intimate weddings, but it is also the perfect destination for grand destination weddings and honeymoons. Since it is a popular mountain getaway in California, you need to book your venue at least a year in advance. And to make the most of your trip, include some outdoor adventures in your itinerary.Happy planning!