Happily Ever After Begins With a Tahoe Lakefront Setting

It was truly an honor to have world-renowned photographer, Catherine Hall, submit her lakefront wedding for publication in our blog. Catherine has fabulously photographed weddings all over the world, but until we received her submittal, we had no idea how strong her connection to the North Lake Tahoe area is… so strong that once Erik proposed, they knew immediately where they wanted to have their wedding celebration.



As a photographer and creative director of Catherine Hall Studios, Catherine knows how to capture the moment. So when she spotted Erik on a dance floor at the Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, she knew that she had to take action. After some urging from her sister, Catherine asked Erik to dance. They stayed up until 3 in the morning, and the rest was history.

“I knew she was the one after our first kiss that night,” Erik says. It was on a trip to the Redwoods that Erik, owner of Strategic Event Evolution and Design, made it official. He led Catherine to a secluded redwood grove. Surrounded by the towering trees, Erik proposed.

“I was so shocked that I did not even answer yes for a long time,” Catherine recalls. “He had to ask me twice!” Of course, she happily accepted the ring, a sparkling vintage piece carefully chosen by the groom.

Catherine’s artistic DNA came into play during planning, as she and Erik envisioned a wedding that truly represented the couple: warm, modern, unique… and of course, Lake Tahoe. You see, not only did the couple meet in the North Lake Tahoe area, but Catherine was practically raised on the slopes of Squaw Valley, racing as a member of their Ski Team for 10 years. So, for their perfect wedding venue, the couple chose a stunning, secluded retreat – a charming lakefront home owned by a close family friend.

“The environment of Tahoe and the lake is so beautiful that we wanted the wedding design to compliment, not compete,” Catherine says. With the couple’s direction, their team of service providers created perfect blend of romantic and rustic: elegant white roses paired with natural greenery, tiny glass vessels filled with wildflowers, tables adorned with pinecones and knotty wood accents. A swirled white cake from Sugar Pine Cakery sat atop a tree stump, while lights twinkled from the ceiling of the tent installed by Camelot Party Rentals.

With Lake Tahoe’s serene waters as their backdrop, Catherine and Erik joyfully exchanged vows in their lakefront location. The bride wore a delicate fluted lace dress from Pronovias, while the groom donned a handsome blue Ted Baker suit. The bridesmaids wore floor-length BHLDN dresses in a pretty shade of periwinkle, paired with JBalducci moondrop earrings gifted by the bride. The groomsmen wore gray suits, complete with matching Michael Kors ties gifted by Erik.

Personal touches made the big day all the more special. For her “something borrowed” and “something blue,” Catherine wore her grandmother’s favorite aquamarine ring, and her grandmother’s wedding band was displayed on the bouquet. For drinks, they served specialty cocktails, both hilariously named by Erik: “The Bridezilla” and “The Yes Man.”

Erik also surprised the bride with a heartfelt gift that symbolized their relationship. “When we first started dating, we were at a gallery and I noticed an art piece that showed an extreme, most beautiful connection between the couple,” Catherine recalls fondly. “I remarked that this connection reminded me of us. He surprised me with the original painting.”

Through the excitement, Catherine and Erik treasured being in the moment during their lakefront wedding celebration, and from that experience, Catherine offers this word of advice for other brides-to-be: “Be present on the wedding day,” she says. “Don’t stress out. Enjoy every minute.”

Vendor Credits

Photographer: Sallee Photography | Planner: MAP Events | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Estate in North Lake Tahoe | Floral Designer: Asiel Design | Dress Designer: Pronovias | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: BHLDN | Wedding Dress Boutique: Novella Bride | Groom’s Wardrobe Designer: Ted Baker | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan | Bride’s Jewelry & Accessories: Nordstrom | Groom’s wedding band: Jewelry by Johan | Engagement ring: Vintage | Hair & Makeup: SHE artists | Invitations: Starboard Press | Wedding Paper Goods: The DIY Store | Officiant: Robert Novogratz | Caterer: As You Wish Catering | Cake & Desserts: Sugar Pine Cakery | Rentals & Lighting: Camelot Party Rentals | Linen: Napa Valley Linens | Ceremony & Reception Music: Mixx Company Band | Videography: AVR Films | Transportation: Northstar Transportation

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Your Perfect Tahoe Winter Wedding

Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, or you just love the beautiful sight of evergreen trees frosted with snowflakes, a wedding celebration in the splendor of winter may just be the perfect plan for your dream wedding.  And what could be more magical than celebrating your marriage with a spectacular snow-scape of North Lake Tahoe as your backdrop?

Imagine exchanging vows on top of a winter-white mountain, with your true love holding you close to keep you warm.

Photo: Russ Levi Photography

But if you want to make sure your guests are also keeping warm, you can always pick an indoor site with a wonderful winter view, like this cozy location at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

You can also bring winter inside at your reception, with centerpieces that evoke a feeling of glistening snow and ice.

Photo: Peter Spain Photography

A winter wedding is not only beautiful; it is typically easier on your wallet. As an example, the 2017 facility rental fee for a Saturday wedding at The Chateau in Incline Village is $7,260.00 during the “peak season” of May through October. But for a Saturday wedding taking place from November through April, that fee drops to just $4,235.00. With this kind of cost savings, you could certainly buy a lot of lift tickets!

Speaking of which, there are a multitude of wintertime activities for your guests to enjoy while they are staying in North Tahoe for your celebration – downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and snowmobiling, just to name a few.  A group gathering in the snow can be a great “ice breaker” for guests who are just meeting for the first time at your destination wedding.

Photo credit: Trudi Lee

Unfortunately, all good things, including a wedding, must come to an end.  But when your celebration is over, how about a grand get-away in snowy style?

Photo: Ciprian Photography

Overall, a wintertime celebration in North Lake Tahoe is a joyful yet economical way to celebrate your marriage.  The weather may be cold, but the festivities will be a heartwarming experience for everyone.

Kings Beach: Not Your Ordinary Cup of “Joe”

Many visitors to North Tahoe get their first view of the Lake’s awesome beauty as they drive over the Brockway Summit on California State Highway 267.  If you continue down to the road’s end by the shoreline, and turn left onto Highway 28, you will be entering the lively lakeside town of Kings Beach.

With such a magnificent waterfront, you might think Kings Beach was named after royalty. But its name actually came from a regular Joe who turned out to be not so ordinary.  Joe King moved to the North Tahoe area in the Roaring 1920’s. He landed a job in Truckee as a Bouncer at the Pastime Club, which featured a “Game Room” with slot machines and poker tables.  There, Joe apparently honed his poker-playing skills, and according to local legend, he won the land that now bears his name during a high-stakes game against a wealthy real estate magnate.

Joe was instrumental in shaping Kings Beach into a bustling community, and over the years, the town’s landscape continued to change as times changed.  Here’s one interesting example:  Joe King originally had a shopping center built by the Lake, then it was subsequently converted into a bowling alley in the 1960’s. Incredibly, this bowling alley began hosting live concerts featuring iconic bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Grateful Dead.  But the music venue shut down at the end of 1968, and the building was completely renovated.  Today, this building is the North Tahoe Event Center, which is one of the area’s most popular places for weddings.

Kings Beach wedding at North Tahoe Event Center

Photo credit: Ciprian Photography

But of all the changes that have come to Kings Beach over the years, perhaps the most significant was the recently completed “Commercial Core Improvement Project.”  This $50 million upgrade of roads, sidewalks, parking areas, and landscaping has improved pedestrian safety, increased the clarity of the Lake water, and greatly enhanced the overall experience for visitors.  So this makes Kings Beach a better place than ever to bring your group for your destination wedding!

There are an abundance of attractions to enjoy in Kings Beach.  Let’s start with the beach itself.  Due to its south-facing shoreline, Kings Beach gets more hours of summer sunshine than any other beach on Lake Tahoe.  And the water near the shore is relatively shallow, which means that it’s typically warmer than other beaches.

Kings Beach in summer

Photo credit: TahoeActivities.com

For group activities at the beach, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards at Adrift Tahoe, North Tahoe Watersports or Tahoe EcoSports.  On Friday evenings between mid-June and early September you can listen and dancing to free live music performances at a concert series called  Music on the Beach.  Across the road from the beach, another fun group activity is Kings Beach Miniature Golf, where your guests can not only enjoy a round of putt-putt golf, but there is also space available to rent for a casual party.

Among the numerous dining options in Kings Beach, check out the Log Cabin Caffe for breakfast, then grab a burger at the Char-Pit for lunch.  Dinner options include Jason’s Beachside Grille and Caliente’s Southwestern cuisine.  You could even have your rehearsal dinner at Caliente with a buy-out of the restaurant.

There are a wide range of overnight accommodations in Kings Beach.  The Brockway Springs Resort offers a collection of well appointed condominiums along a half mile of private shoreline.  Another popular beachfront lodging choice is Ferrari’s Crown Resort.  For your friends who are paying off their college loans, they can check out and check into Hostel Tahoe.  And finally, there are numerous options for rentals of private homes or condos by visiting websites like VRBO and FlipKey.

So whatever you have in mind for your North Tahoe wedding, Kings Beach provides great opportunities for your guests to have an unforgettable experience.