Keeping the Faith
Reverend Mark Frady is a minister based out of Carson City, who officiates both non-denominational and religious weddings all over Northern Nevada and California. Mark has been involved with weddings in the Reno/Tahoe area for over 25 years. He believes wholeheartedly in the institution of marriage and loves to bring an air of humor, spirituality, and unconditional love to his ceremonies.
Photo Credits: THE GOODNESS, HARMONY HILDERBRAND, CHRIS WERNER, CMYK PHOTOGRAPHY
Along with his years in the ministry, Mark has led an incredibly interesting life. He served in the army in Germany for 4 years during the time that the Berlin Wall stood. Mark recounts many memories of driving alongside the wall and seeing fully armed men with weapons pointed right at him. It was a scary time to be in Germany, but he embraced it fully and remained in the country for 4 more years after leaving the service. Mark spent that time driving a delivery truck, which enabled him to travel all over Europe and become fluent in German in the process.
When he returned to the states, Mark moved to Nevada with his parents to attend the University of Nevada, Reno and study German. He was an outstanding student, taking 24 credit hours per semester. Mark began student teaching German classes in Carson City but knew he didn’t want to teach forever.
Just after marrying his wife, Carla, Mark accepted a job overseas in Switzerland. Later, he was transferred back to the U.S. to work for the same company in Chicago. But after a while, Mark and his family decided they wanted to leave the big city and return to the West, so they relocated back to Carson City in 1986.
Mark decided to get into the dry cleaning business, purchasing his first shop in South Lake Tahoe, and quickly expanding to more locations around Northern Nevada. He further grew his business to include tuxedo rentals. At this point, Mark became hooked on weddings, and he eventually started an organization called Weddings of the West.
In 1998, Mark felt his calling to become ordained as a minister. He went through a 3-year training process at Fountainhead FourSquare Christian Church in Carson City. In 2005, he began officiating weddings.
Photo Credit: ZINSER PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark did not simply want to be an officiant for his couples, he wanted so much more. From previous experience in his own life, Mark and his wife, Carla, took a class through their church. And after 20 years together, they credit this class with saving their marriage, as it taught Mark and Carla how to communicate and be vulnerable with each other, an aspect of their relationship that was missing at that time.
Mark now teaches that same class, many times alongside his wife Carla, to all of his couples. The class lasts for 8 weeks and is conducted over Zoom for one hour each week. Since he began, he has taught the class to 369 couples, on every continent except Antarctica. As of January 2020, 342 of those couples are still married.
It remains important to Mark to build strong relationships with his couples. His wedding packages include a “get to know you” phase as well as the class, the wedding rehearsal practice, wedding, and lifetime marriage counseling should his couples ever need it. The deep relationship that Mark builds with all of his couples goes far beyond their wedding day. He keeps up with their lives, sends them holiday and congratulatory cards, and receives them in return. He always jokes with them that ‘Mark’ is a great name for their first child. It’s his goal to create a lifetime of friendship and his couples quickly become like family to him.
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year for the wedding industry, but Reverend Mark Frady has adjusted his sails to weather the changes. Many weddings this year have been smaller affairs or elopements, and he has even officiated some online weddings. Mark’s ultimate goal is to provide a service to his couples that is unique as they are, providing them with the tools they need to not only enjoy the experience of their wedding day, but a beautiful life together thereafter.
A Heavenly Experience
Jason and Angela met at a friend’s 21st birthday party when they were 22 years old in Orlando, Florida. They quickly discovered that they both lived in the same town two hours away in Sarasota, and only 5 minutes away from one another. The two dated for 7 years before they tied the knot at age 29 in Lake Tahoe. Jason mentions that there wasn’t quite an “Ah-ha, she’s the one” moment, but instead many years of growing together until they couldn’t imagine not being with each other. They loved the excitement that every new experience gave them and they simply wanted to carry it on for the rest of their lives.
As two adventurers who love everything about the outdoors, Jason devised a spectacular plan for a dream engagement. After a little bit of research, he decided that a trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp would personify everything that they loved most. At just over 17,000 feet, the trek to Base Camp was one of the most intense and challenging feats they’d ever accomplished together, but it was one they’ll never forget. Upon reaching the top, Jason dropped to one knee and asked Angela for forever. It was truly the perfect moment!
Since they had a mountain proposal, it only made sense that they get married at the top of one! There was simply no better place than the rustic, panoramic views of Heavenly Mountain in Lake Tahoe. Jason and Angela chose to make their wedding a three-day affair, which made for a one-of-a-kind, memorable experience for everyone involved. The joy of their nuptial celebration was captured in the lovely photos below from VILD Photography.
In preparation for the ceremony, Jason and Angela met in a spot overlooking the lake for their first look. The emotions flew as they saw each other and set the tone for the rest of the beautiful day. The wedding party was shuttled up Heavenly Mountain on the tram where Jason and Angela would say I do with an expansive view of all the splendor Lake Tahoe has to offer.
Jason and the groomsmen donned vibrant blue suits with red bow ties while the bridesmaids wore dark red and gold gowns of their choosing, all coming together to paint a flashy, unique vintage feel. Angela wore an orange flower crown to compliment her beautiful, classic lace gown and carried a gorgeous bright colored bouquet designed by South Lake Tahoe Enchanted Florist.
Unique accents were the name of the game with their wedding details. Jason and Angela’s pet corgi, Basil, was the perfect addition to their special day. As the third member of their family, there simply was no wedding without him. So Jason walked down the aisle with Basil in tow. During Angela’s vows, Basil popped his head between Jason’s legs and turned an already emotional moment into an even more special memory.
When Jason first began his career, he moved to California from Florida while Angela stayed behind to finish her senior year of college. The two sent handwritten letters to each other sealed with wax, and they continue to read them back to each other on their dating anniversary. It only seemed fitting for a sweet handwritten note to make it into their gifts to each other.
Jason’s groomsmen’s gifts were incredibly unique. He wanted to give them something that would “blow their minds”, something they’d never expect. So he gifted them each their own figurine that represented a memory that the two had shared together.
The reception took place at the Lakeview Lodge at Heavenly with the catering and drinks provided by Heavenly. Their three-tier cake from Flour Girl Wedding Cakes was topped with blueberries, the couple’s favorite, and a rustic cake topper with their initials, A & J.
The guests enjoyed games, libations, and dancing courtesy of Cornerstone Entertainment. The night ended with the song, Angela, by The Lumineers, where everyone took to the dance floor to slow dance with each other. It was a beautiful moment for Angela and Jason to share with their guests.
After a truly memorable weekend with all of the people they love most in the world, Jason and Angela remain deeply in love after almost a year of wedded bliss. Quarantine and COVID-19 have drawn them much closer together and they are truly grateful to have one another and their health during these times. Here’s to many more adventures for these beautiful lovers!
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