Evoking Awe-Inspiring Designs
A floral and event designer extraordinaire, Inspirations by Gina has transformed ordinary flowers into works of art at weddings and events all over Northern California. Last summer, we saw Owner Gina Lett Shrewsberry work her magic at a meeting of the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group, and shortly thereafter, we were delighted to welcome her as a member of Tahoe Engaged.
Photo credit: Charleton Churchill
Gina’s journey to becoming a floral designer began with a wedding planning business, which she started in 2008. For many of her weddings, she found herself designing floral arrangements for her ‘DIY’ brides and quickly discovered a new passion. Then, Gina began taking classes in floral design and slowly started incorporating floral design into her business offerings. But between both event planning and floral design, she was carrying too heavy of a workload. So she decided to transition her business to focus solely on floral design for weddings and events.
Photo credits: Simple Joie Photography and IQ Photo
Recently, due to COVID-19, Gina has learned to adjust her business strategy accordingly. She heard a quote that truly resonated with her. The speaker stated that many businesses are not going to be around when we get to the other side of the pandemic, and it really stuck with her. So instead of having a “whine and cheese party”, as she calls it, Gina decided it’s time to buckle down and innovate her business model.
During this time, Gina is utilizing her extra time to reinvent her brand, hone her craft via webinars and workshops, and reach out for new opportunities. More recently, she has found a need for floral arrangement deliveries for special occasions such as Mother’s Day and birthdays. She finds that offering this service has helped to brighten people’s days during such uncertain times. Plus it’s a great way to support her local community.
Photo credit: Emily Jean Images
As for Gina’s 2020 weddings, many of her couples have rescheduled their celebrations to 2021, and some are in what she calls a “holding pattern”, anxiously awaiting their next steps moving forward. But Gina has gotten quite creative in helping her clients continue to celebrate love during the pandemic. One couple ended up having to postpone their big day until December 2021. But the lovebirds decided they still wanted to get married this year. Gina looked into it further and discovered that Santa Cruz County was still issuing California marriage licenses despite COVID. She then contacted a photographer, sent flowers out to the bride with care instructions, and the couple was married in a small ceremony. Not only was Gina able to go above and beyond her bride’s requests, she will also be designing florals for their larger celebration next December!
Photo credits: Adrienne & Dani, Emily Jean Images and Simple Joie Photography
When it comes to growing her business, Gina loves the organic approach through authentic interaction and word of mouth referrals. Once, she booked a wedding simply by taking her pet labradoodle out for a walk. Striking up a conversation with another woman who was also walking her dog, Gina learned that this woman needed help for her daughter’s wedding, and they made a connection right then and there. Gina believes that moments like these are simply “meant to be.”
Though times are uncertain for many in the wedding industry, Gina is focused on keeping her momentum going. Through Gina’s one-on-one connections and dedication to her craft, Inspirations by Gina is an inspiration to us all.
An Engaging Trip through the Tahoe Trees
Audrey and Brian’s love story began when they were in college after moving into houses on the same street. They met at one of Audrey’s house parties and remained friends. After a few years of friendship, the stars finally aligned, and the sparks flew. In the early days of their relationship, nights were spent discussing their future and being that their visions always aligned. There was no question that this was a ‘forever’ type of love. Brian says he knew Audrey was the ‘one’ when he learned they both had calico cats – that was all he needed to know.
Their Engagement Session was something straight out of a novel! A glowing sunset was dipping below the Tahoe tree line while the lovely couple frolicked in the tall yellow grass. Tahoe Engaged Member Blanca & Brandon Photography had the most delightful time with Audrey and Brian as they celebrated their engagement, documenting their cherished memories for all time!
Brian’s plan was always to propose once he knew for certain he could provide for the love of his life and their future. So, after receiving the offer for his dream job, he headed straight to his family’s jeweler, Forever Roxx in Incline Village. He wanted to find a ring that was the “perfect embodiment of Audrey.” A three stone emerald cut diamond ring with a hand-engraved platinum band was exactly what he was looking for.
On a road trip to Southern California, they reached their final stop in Manhattan Beach. Brian’s original plan was to propose after a lovely sunset dinner by the water. But when he realized that the sun set at the exact time of their dinner reservation, he pivoted last minute and decided on a walk on the beach. Brian dropped to one knee in front of a gorgeous California sunset, the perfect amuse-bouche to a delightful celebratory dinner with some nice champagne.
Though their wedding plans are put on hold due to COVID-19, Audrey and Brian plan to eventually have an intimate gathering surrounded by the ones they love most. The decision to postpone their date was not an easy one, but ultimately it boiled down to celebrating with their friends and families in a carefree environment, filled to the brim with love.
Brian and Audrey know that their special day remains a day to look forward to, whenever time permits. In the meantime, their love will never be canceled.
Strong Bindings at Squaw Valley
Michelle and Will’s love story began in the towering peaks of Squaw Valley, California, a place firmly entrenched in both of their lives. Michelle’s family has deep roots in Squaw Valley, growing up in the area and skiing these runs their whole lives. Her parents were also married in this very same place in 1986. To Michelle, it only seemed fitting to follow in their footsteps. There was never any question for Michelle and Will, Squaw Valley was the only place to say “I do”.
Michelle and Will met while coaching the Alpine Ski Team at Squaw, and according to Michelle, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. But after coaching summer camp together one year, they quickly grew inseparable. Sharing a love for all things outdoors, they spent every day of that magical summer together adventuring through all the beauty that Lake Tahoe has to offer.
During a relaxing vacation in Colorado, the two ventured up to watch the sunset behind Mt. Sopris. After making Michelle reluctantly exit the car in the cold, Will dropped to his knee and asked Michelle to be his wife as the sun quietly set behind the mountains.
On a flawlessly sunny September afternoon with panoramic views of the Sierra Nevadas, Michelle and Will promised each other forever in their favorite place in the world.
Michelle’s dress, by Spanish designer Pronovias from Swoon Bridal in Reno, encompassed a modern boho style with a classic elegance and lace buttons all the way down the train. Michelle wore her mother’s wedding earrings and kept a sixpence in her shoe given to her by her godmother, who was unable to attend. Having these beautiful keepsakes to walk with her down the aisle made the day so much more meaningful.
Before the ceremony, Michelle and Will shared their first look, which quickly took an interesting turn. While it was a beautiful moment to see one another “dressed up” for each other and not in ski clothes for once, Michelle was stung by a bee on the way to meet Will. Never having been stung in her life, she joked that it was either good luck or a bad omen! And judging by the beauty of their special love, we’re willing to bet it’s the former.
Every last detail of their day was personal, intimate, and filled with joy. Many of Michelle and Will’s friends and family lent a helping hand to bring all the wonderful aspects of their wedding to life. Michelle’s friends helped her build all the florals the morning of the wedding, and she even constructed her own beautiful bouquet of white roses and greenery all by herself! Another friend handmade their boho-inspired signage, surprising Michelle by naming each table after ski runs at Squaw Valley.
The creativity and thought behind every last detail enveloped their day in love. The lovebirds celebrated their mutual love of tacos with a catered Taco Bar by PlumpJack Squaw Valley. Their cake featured an original Nao by Lladro vintage cake topper that sat atop Michelle’s parents’ cake 33 years before.
During their vows, Will mentioned that he hopes Michelle will wait for him at the bottom of the mountain on a powder day. Though Michelle has yet to beat him down the mountain, she is definitely up to that challenge! Under the magical spell of their favorite mountain, Will and Michelle’s day was an incredibly thoughtful and heartfelt tribute to their undying love for one another.
Ceremony & Reception Site and Catering: PlumpJack Squaw Valley | Photography: Annie X Photographie | Bride’s Gown: Pronovias from Swoon Bridal | Wedding Planner: Justeen Ferguson | Hair & Makeup: Jamie Latchaw, bride’s sister-in-law | Officiant: Jeff Colt, groom’s brother | Music: Mr. D DJ Services | Cake: Nancy Delumyea, bride’s mother
Love Wins Out at The Hideout
Tawny and Andrew first met during their senior year of high school near Houston, Texas. Andrew caught Tawny’s eye, and she convinced a mutual friend to set them up as dates for the prom. Following high school, they were separated for eight years by college and career building. Nevertheless, a long-distance love sprouted and continued to grow.
After orchestrating a surprise proposal in their hometown, Andrew finally joined Tawny in Southern California, where she had established a thriving career as a professional dancer. In seeking a secluded site for their wedding celebration, the couple chose The Hideout at Kirkwood. Not only is The Hideout located on forty acres of pristine mountain terrain, but it allows couples to create weddings that are personal and unique, choosing which parts of the venue they want to use and when.
Complete with fun wooden signs hung on trees to set the mood, and a gorgeously delicate lace dress for the bride, Tawny and Andrew’s special day was delightfully chronicled by Marie-Louise Palmqvist and Rob Cole of VILD Photography. “By choosing neutral and natural colors,” Palmqvist commented, “the couple allowed the natural beauty to really shine through all of the pictures we captured.”
What was the photographer’s most memorable moment? Palmqvist recalls, “While it’s hard to choose a ‘favorite shot,’ getting to capture the couple beneath their ‘send off’ parachute really was something we’ll never forget.”
Venue: The Hideout at Kirkwood | Photographer: VILD Photography | Bride’s Dress: Ventura’s Bridal Fashions | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids Dresses: Vera Wang for David’s Bridal | Groom’s Party Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Hair and Makeup: Bridal Beauty On-the-Go | Flowers: Enchanted Florist | Rentals: Forever Vintage Rentals | Invitations: Vista Print | Caterer: Lake Tahoe Catering Company | Cake: Lake Tahoe Cakes | Music: Music in Tahoe
Dramatic and Bold at Thunderbird Lake Tahoe
The iconic Thunderbird Lodge is a stunning historical landmark that hugs the rugged eastern shoreline of Lake Tahoe. It harkens back to a gilded era from a century ago, and dazzles visitors with its unparalleled views and distinguished design. In other words, Thunderbird Lake Tahoe is a fabulously spectacular site for a wedding.
Inspired by the Thunderbird’s Sierra stone architecture and the Lake’s beautiful brilliance, a creative team of wedding professionals recently collaborated on a styled shoot to showcase the magnificence of the property. Led by photographer Carly Jurach of Somplace Images and designer Bethany Frediani, this team of nuptial experts developed a bold color palette and dramatic art nouveau styling that captured the essence of the Roaring Twenties while heralding some new trends for the 2020’s.
As the photos below clearly show, the results of this labor of love were way beyond lovely.
Benefits of a Styled Shoot
Engaged couples may not initially appreciate the value of a styled shoot, because the “wedding” is not real. But as photographer Carly Jurach of Someplace Images explains, many couples want something at their wedding that they haven’t seen before at other weddings. “For me, creating a styled shoot is essentially inspiration that I can give to my clients,” she says. And for couples who become inspired by the images they see in a styled shoot, Jurach notes that these images “provide an important photo reference for what they are trying to communicate to their vendors.”
A styled shoot also showcases what wedding service providers can do for couples when they are given the creative freedom to come up with something new and different. Jurach believes that when couples see that creativity, it builds their trust in these vendors. “Styled shoots specifically show you what vendors are capable of,” she remarks.
Your Fabulous Thunderbird Wedding
Known as “Lake Tahoe’s Castle-in-the-Sky,” the Thunderbird Lodge offers a most enchanting and memorable location for your Tahoe wedding. The historic stone house and grounds overlook the spectacular shoreline, while the azure Lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains provide a panoramic backdrop for your nuptials.
The guest capacity for a wedding at Thunderbird Lake Tahoe is generally 120 people. There are three main areas that can be used for weddings:
- The lakeside Main Lawn with its jaw-dropping views is available either for ceremonies or outdoor dining (weather permitting).
- The Lighthouse Room seats up to 90 dinner guests. It offers some of the best views of the Lake and has an adjacent state-of-the-art kitchen for catering.
- The Old Lodge is historically significant and may be used only by special arrangement.
More information about weddings the Thunderbird Lodge can be found on their website.
Venue – Thunderbird Lake Tahoe | Photographer – Someplace Images | Event Designer – Bethany Frediani | Bride’s Attire – The LAW Bridal | Cake Designer – Rebel Pioneer Bakery | Calligrapher – Sugar Pine Calligraphy | Design and Decor – Lucky Burro Event Rentals & Design | Equipment Rentals – Forever Vintage Rentals | Floral Designer – Twine & Dandy Floral Design | Linens – La Tavola | Hair Stylist – Gypsy Roots Co | Makeup – McKenzie Morrison | Jewelry – Trunk Show
Snowy Nuptials on the West Shore
For a Lake Tahoe winter wedding, the weather is always unpredictable. It can be bright and sunny, with the Lake looking dazzlingly azure. Or on the other hand, Mother Nature might decide to drop some bridal white snowflakes on the celebration. But no matter what the weather may be on a Tahoe winter day, it’s always a memorable occasion for a wedding!
When Will and Joyce selected the West Shore Café as the site for their celebration, they were hoping for a clear wedding day. They envisioned snow-covered mountains and a brilliant blue Lake on full display for their guests to behold. But instead, Old Man Winter decided to add himself to their guest list.
So when snow began to fall on the morning of their wedding, Will and Joyce were faced with a choice. They could move the ceremony inside the West Shore Café where guests would be sheltered from the elements. Or they could let their guests experience the authentic beauty of Lake Tahoe in the winter, and keep the ceremony outside as they had planned.
Since some family members had traveled all the way from China to witness their marriage, Will and Joyce quickly reached a decision. Celebrating in the snow was the only way to go!
The couple’s wintry wedding was creatively captured by Andrew & Melanie Photography. Tahoe Engaged is delighted to share these photos of Will and Joyce’s unforgettable day.
In the end, Will and Joyce were glad that they braved the storm, and the guests reveled in experiencing a Lake Tahoe winter wedding. Of course, they were also happy to come indoors for a heartwarming dinner and festive dancing afterwards. But the bride’s dad asked the photographers to come back outside for one more memorable moment. Even with all the snow piled up on his car, he was grinning ear to ear, giving a big “thumbs up” for the magical day that he had enjoyed.
Ceremony and Reception Site: West Shore Café | Photography: Andrew & Melanie Photography | Wedding Planner: Wild & Lovely Events | Hair & Makeup: Salon Be | Music: Modern Wedding DJ’s | Catering: West Shore Café | Desserts: Cafe Madeline