Countdown to an Amazing Tahoe Wedding
Step 1 – A Sparkling Proposal
The magic of the holiday season is in the air, and now you can begin to plan your fabulous Lake Tahoe wedding. But first things first – the proposal!
A wedding tradition that has endured the test of time together with the proposal is the diamond engagement ring. But what is the best approach to proposing – a surprise question-popping without a ring, or a not-so-unexpected proposal with the perfect engagement ring?
In either case, most proposers do not want to take on the burden of buying the engagement ring without consulting their partner first. Regardless of how you choose to approach the buying process (surprise first buy later, or spoil the surprise and go shop together) it’s important to understand your investment. Since engaged couples are older and more financially established today, according to The Knot, the average amount spent on an engagement ring is $6,351. So you need to do your research!
When searching for an engagement ring today, the most beloved cut is the round diamond because it provides the most sparkle.
While the emphasis during engagement ring shopping is rightfully placed on the stone, you can’t properly display your dazzling diamond without choosing an appropriate setting. Most couples select a prong setting to maximize the diamond’s sparkle. The most important choice in selecting a prong setting is whether to get four or six prongs. Four prongs show off more of the diamond, but six prongs hold the diamond much more securely.
The final element of your engagement ring is the ring itself. The most popular material chosen for a 2018 engagement ring is white gold. However, to others, platinum is worth the added expense, because it is an extremely hard metal and it will never tarnish. While white gold looks very similar to platinum, over time the rhodium plating in white gold will wear off and fade to a yellowish tinge. You would need to re-polish and re-plate the white gold ring to look white again.
According to The Knot’s survey data, an average of 26 rings are looked at over a period of 3½ months before the purchase is made. Although online shopping has become more popular, we recommend going to brick-and-mortar stores to buy an engagement ring. Every diamond is unique, and you should have the opportunity to see and feel a purchase this important.
Begin by identifying reputable jewelers in your area and check the Better Business Bureau and online references for 5-star reviews. Or to support the local economy in the North Lake Tahoe area, please consider these sparkling shops (listed in alphabetical order):
Regardless of where you choose to shop, never lose track of the reason why you’re buying an engagement ring. This symbol of your commitment to your future spouse is to be enjoyed together for the rest of your lives!
Choosing a Wedding Theme with Style
Written by Joyce Scardina Becker
The Knot California magazine recently published an article entitled “Wedding Themes 101”. We love The Knot, but want to set the record straight. What they characterize as “themes” – Art Deco, Bohemian, Classic, Country, Modern, Rustic, Vintage, Whimsical – actually should be considered as “styles.”
Modern Wedding Décor
Photo: Tanja Lippert
Art Deco Wedding
Photos: Alicia Pyne Photography; Unknown
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a style is “a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed” such as a style of furniture. In fact, most couples do not choose a wedding theme, but instead choose a “style.” Over the last several years, “rustic” and “vintage” have been popular styles at weddings, but these are not themes. Many couples may not have even recognized the difference between a rustic style or vintage style.
A Rustic wedding employs weathered, time-worn pieces (furniture) and accents (accessories) in a more casual setting. Examples include an old barn, or a vignette of weathered wicker furniture.
Rustic Wedding Décor
Photo Credit: Unknown
Vintage applies to more refined furnishings, from the 18th century to the 1950’s, typically more “refined” than rustic. Think antiques. Examples are painted French chairs, glided scones, chinoiserie toile fabrics, mercury glass containers, pieces of silver and crystal chandeliers.
Vintage Bridal Attire and Décor
Photo: Jodi McDonald
Again, it’s important to note that neither Rustic nor Vintage should be considered “themes” – instead, they are “styles.” So then, what is a “theme,” and how does it differ from a style for a wedding?
While style is typically reflected in the type of accessories or furniture used in a wedding, the theme is a specific design concept that starts with your Save the Date and carries all the way through the end of the celebration. You can design a theme wedding that reflects your heritage, your combined personalities or your lifestyles (we wouldn’t recommend selecting all three, but just one).
Let’s say you are foodies, savoring the opportunity to dine out at innovative restaurants, as well as cooking up culinary delights in your own kitchen. For your meals at home, you love to try the many spices available to you from local or ethnic grocery stores. Voila! You could have a theme for your wedding focused on “spices.” But your style could be Art Deco, Bohemian, Classic, Modern… you get the picture.
A fun, eye-catching way to convey your theme is to give it a tagline – for example, “Love Is the Spice of Life”. When choosing a theme, make sure it can be communicated through not only the save the date and invitation, but also your décor, music, food, beverage, tablescapes and vignettes. The most powerful way to experience your theme is to see, hear, touch, smell and taste it (an entire experience).
For example, the wedding invitation could be an Art Deco spice bottle with the invitation text etched on the glass. For your music, you can select songs like “Hot Hot Hot” and “Cinnanmon Girl”, and for favors, a collection of your favorite spices and recipes packed to go!
Creating not only a style, but also a theme for your wedding will truly make your special day uniquely your own!
Weddings at the Big Water Grille
A Spectacular Setting with Spectacular Culinary Creations and a Renaissance-Man Manager
Before we get to the Grille, let’s find out a little something about the man who runs the show there. Jack Chinn is no ordinary restaurateur – we think the term “Jack-Of-All-Trades” must have been named after him!
Jack grew up in Southern California, and majored in Music at California State University Northridge. He was introduced to the hospitality industry at the tender age of 18, when Jack got his first “taste” of food & beverage service at a Chili’s Restaurant in SoCal. In subsequent years, Jack bounced (no pun intended) from restaurant to restaurant and bar to bar, working just about every position within the restaurant industry.
But Jack is a man of many interests, so he took a break from the hustle and bustle of Southern California and landed a job with the Boy Scouts as a backcountry employee at Philmont Scout Ranch. For those of us who have never heard of it, Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts’ premier High Adventure base, set in 214 square miles of rugged wilderness in New Mexico, offering backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades and training programs. Who wouldn’t want to be a Boy Scout if you could go there!?
After a few years, California was calling again, and Jack’s sense of adventure was still flaming hot, so he became a wildland firelighter for CalFire! Unfortunately, Jack got injured on the job and needed to consider other career opportunities at that point. But this is where the good news begins for engaged couples – in 2016, Jack landed the most amazing job at the Big Water Grille as their General Manager and Event Coordinator!
Perched above Lake Tahoe’s shores in Incline Village, the Big Water Grille is widely known for being a premier restaurant around the lake. Jack has an amazing, dedicated team and an unmatched commitment to be of service to you and your wedding guests. For your wedding, they create culinary memories that last, because the cuisine is exquisite – seasonal, fresh and local. Chef Manny Baez works diligently with each wedding couple to create an award-winning menu.
Photo credit: Jon M Photography
For ceremonies, The Big Water Grille can accommodate your guests outdoors on their deck overlooking the lake, or in front of their large river rock fireplace for cozier winter days.
Photo credit: Fifth and Chestnut Photo Company
Immediately after the ceremony, your reception will begin with butler passed hors d’oeuvres and premium cocktails from their bar. Dinner is served in their multi-level dining room with spectacular views.
Photo credit: Fifth and Chestnut Photo Company
Sunset from the Dining Room
After your scrumptious dinner, you can celebrate in style on the dance floor.
Photo credit: Fifth and Chestnut Photo Company
Jack promises you uncompromising attention to detail and an “elevated” dining experience for your North Lake Tahoe wedding! For more information about having your celebration at the Big Water Grille, please call Jack at 775-833-0606.
Helping Napa-Sonoma Wedding Couples Affected by the Wildfires
Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the horrific Wine Country wildfires. Included among those who have been impacted by this terrible devastation are venues that host weddings, and couples who booked their weddings at these venues.
Many couples in this situation are now wondering what they should do next, if their venue can no longer host their wedding. First and foremost, review your venue contract. Typically, there is a standard clause in your contract that addresses this kind of circumstance.
This clause might be labeled “Termination,” “Force Majeure,” “Acts of God” or “Impossibility.” It allows you and the venue to terminate your obligations (the venue’s obligation is to provide space, and your obligation is to pay the venue) without liability, if it is impossible to have the wedding at the venue due to Acts of God, which include fires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes.
So if you have a clause like this in your contract and your venue is not able to host your wedding, you may terminate the contract and receive a refund of the payments you have made to the venue. Once the contract is terminated, you can look for a new venue for your wedding.
The community of wedding professionals in the North Lake Tahoe area are here to help you if you need to find a new location for your wedding. In the words of Caity Hunt, Senior Event Sales Manager for the Hyatt Lake Tahoe Resort, “We are so saddened to watch what is happening in the Napa/Sonoma area, and would absolutely love to help if we can.”
Photo: Nina · Photography
Below we have compiled information from wedding venues in North Tahoe that may be able to host your wedding. Clicking on the venue name will link you to the venue’s website. When specific available dates are provided by venues, this information is accurate as of October 12, 2017, but is subject to change as bookings take place.
All Saturdays are available for the next few months with the exception of 10/28 and 12/2.
We have full availability for the rest of this month at the Gatekeeper’s Museum. Saturdays in April, May and October 2018 are still available, but June – September are fully booked. We also have quite a few Fridays and Sundays available if anyone is interested.
Here are the available dates for the rest of the year:
Dates for 2018:
Below are Saturday dates available for the remainder of the year and first part of 2018. Size of group we have availability to take, and also the specific venue location may vary between each of these dates:
11/4/17 – up to 80 Guests
Contact Danielle McCord Padgett, Banquets Manager, 530-583-0188, [email protected]
A buyout of the restaurant required for groups over 70, a banquet room is available for groups under 70.
Contact Brett Fox, Wedding Sales Manager, 530.562.3830, [email protected]
For wedding groups of 75 guests or less, the Tavern 6330′ restaurant has available dates.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe does have availability for various dates for this Fall Winter 2017 and next summer 2018.
Below are our available dates for 2018 on the weekends.
Open weekends for The Village Lodge, 2018:
June 2nd, 9th, 16th
September 15th, 22nd, 29th
October 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
Open weekends for Lake Mary, 2018:
August 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th
September 15th, 22nd, 29th
October 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
We’d love to help out as much as possible. Unfortunately we don’t have anything in October available. In November we have the first weekend 4th and 5th, 18th and 19th, and 25th and 26th. We are also available for rehearsal dinners as well.
For 2017, we can offer up the following:
Alder Creek Adventure Center
Up to 100 people for full sit down meal, and 150 people for stations
Up to 65 people availability
We could offer up a full buy-out of the Lodge, which can accommodate 175. Site Fee TBD. Same dates apply as above.
We are definitely open to helping and can offer our venue as an option, and would love to talk further with the couples.
Venue: Outdoor Ceremony & Reception
Event Guest Count: (up to 130)
Lodging: On-Site Accommodations (up to 105-110)
Alcohol & Catering: BYO
The Truth About “Day-Of” Wedding Planning
About 25 years ago, the term “Day-Of” Wedding Planner worked its way into reporting by the bridal media, to describe the minimum level of service that Wedding Planners would provide for couples on a limited budget. Unfortunately, this term is very misleading – for reasons which we explain below – but even more unfortunately, it still remains in the vocabulary of some wedding industry professionals today.
To help you understand why this term is inappropriate, let’s think about a possible life experience that is the polar opposite of a blissful wedding day. Suppose you get hit with a lawsuit, so you need to hire an attorney. Would you attempt to save money by telling the attorney to simply show up in court on the “Day Of” your trial?
Just as an attorney cannot effectively represent you without advance preparation before a trial, a Wedding Planner cannot make your wedding day flow smoothly without advance preparation. Any prospective Wedding Planner who tells you they can just be present on the “day of” your wedding is not providing a valuable service.
Of course, it is always an option for couples on a budget to do most of the wedding planning tasks themselves, then hire a Wedding Planner later on. But in order to properly manage and execute a wedding that a couple has spent many months planning, the Wedding Planner should begin work at least 4 weeks before the wedding, and ideally 6 to 8 weeks before. At that time, you will want to have a phone call or face-to-face meeting with your Planner to discuss all the details you have planned, and you should also be willing to relinquish the remaining planning responsibilities to the Planner.
Photo: Kate Pease Photography
Since you are giving the Planner the responsibility to execute your wedding, it is important that you also give them the authority at the same time. So it is strongly recommended that you send an email to all of your service providers (vendors) to introduce the Wedding Planner, and to let the service providers know that from this day forward, the Planner is now their primary contact for your wedding.
One of the first things your Planner should do is review all of your service provider contracts, and read them carefully to understand what products and services will be delivered to you. From these contract documents, the Planner can also generate a list of final payments that you will need to make before the wedding day.
Another important task for your Planner to perform shortly after beginning work is to conduct a site inspection of the ceremony and reception location(s), in order for schematic floor plans to be developed. If you are available to join the Planner for this site inspection, that can be very helpful.
At least three weeks before the wedding, the Planner should begin to develop a very detailed timeline of the entire wedding day. The timeline is a sequential listing of tasks to be completed, describing in detail who is performing the task, what the task is, where the task is being performed, and of course, when the task is being executed. Two weeks before the wedding, the wedding day timeline and floor plans should be emailed to all service providers.
Photo: Tracey Buyce Photography
Another shorter version of the timeline, the Wedding Party Timeline, should also be created by the Wedding Planner. The Wedding Party Timeline lists only those tasks involving members of your wedding party (such as group photos, the ceremony Processional order, and toasts being given). This abbreviated timeline should be emailed to the Wedding Party and immediate family members, also about two weeks before the wedding.
Two or three days before the wedding, the Planner should be calling all of your service providers, to reconfirm they have received the Wedding Day Timeline and Floor Plans, and to discuss their role in executing the wedding day. This is the time for the Planner to practice risk management and to be on top of all the logistics, and tending to the needs of the service partners as a team player.
Lastly, before your big day, your Wedding Planner is also on site to oversee your wedding rehearsal, making sure that everyone in your wedding party understands what they need to do for the ceremony. Then, on the actual “day of” your wedding, the Planner is on duty up to 12 or more hours, ensuring that everything runs according to plan, so that you have a wonderful, memorable celebration.
Photo: Ciprian Photography
So overall, a Planner who provides this service for you is working far longer than just the “Day Of” your wedding. Typically, a Planner who provides the services described above is putting in about 40 to 60 hours of work.
Because of the confusion and inaccuracy associated with the term “Day Of,” there have been some attempts to alter the terminology being used. In 2008, as the Founding President of the Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA), Tahoe Engaged Publisher Joyce Scardina Becker helped write a White Paper (an authoritative report giving information on an issue) called Debunking the Myth of the “Day Of” Planner. WIPA recommended that the term “Wedding Director” be used, instead.
So, if you are looking for a stellar Wedding Planner who will provide an appropriate level of service for your celebration, Tahoe Engaged sets the standards for the Lake Tahoe Wedding Industry. Our members all belong to the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group (TWIG), whose mission is to “raise industry standards by providing our valued wedding clients with the highest quality of services and products through professional conduct and dedication to our craft.”
Framing the Event: An Artistic Viewpoint
Tahoe Engaged recently had the pleasure of speaking with Emily Williams, Owner of Manzanita Glow, a company that rents natural arches, trees, centerpieces and other visually pleasing structures for weddings in the Lake Tahoe area.
Emily had the best of both worlds growing up, as she was raised on both the West Coast and East Coast. In fact, she attributes her interpersonal skills to being a “military brat.” Being thrown into new environments and having to make friends each time, those frequent moves helped Emily to develop a more outgoing personality, which has helped her to create wonderful relationships with her clients and other wedding industry colleagues.
She began her professional career as a hair stylist after receiving her cosmetology license. Following many successful years in that field, Emily wanted to transfer her artist talents into the great outdoors. But she wasn’t quite sure how to make that happen, so she enrolled in an entrepreneurship class at the University of Nevada Reno. At about the same time, her daughter became engaged to be married. So entrepreneurial Emily decided to design the centerpieces for her daughter’s wedding, using manzanita branches. Emily discovered that she not only loved this work, but she realized that it could be a unique service to help other couples elevate their special day.
Emily decided to name her company Manzanita Glow, which refers not only to the kinds of branches and lights she uses in her designs, but also the exceptional service she brings to each and every client she serves. Emily cares deeply about the sound structure of her finished artistic creations. Of course, Emily has trade secrets and couldn’t share everything with us. But you can rest assured that every branch engineered so that even if you were on the highest peak in Lake Tahoe with high winds, “it’s not going to fly off the mountain!” says Emily.
In addition to manzanita branches, Emily also loves to work with birch and aspen branches. Because she works with branches, people often assume that she is also a florist, which is not the case! Instead, Emily partners with many florists to create the gorgeous finished products of both branches and florals.
There are three expressive words that Emily uses to describe her work: Natural, Ambiance and Anywhere. She explains, “Natural, because we strive to surround events with the beauty of nature by using natural products that are sustainable. I love Ambiance – the lights, the whole theater that is created to transform the space, it speaks to my soul. Anywhere – because I can set up my creations anywhere – lakefront, mountains, you name it! Those three words really define my creativity!”
When we asked Emily about her sources of inspiration or influences on her work, she replied, “I’m a very visual and tactile person. I love complementing and contrasting textures, lines, shapes, and colors. I find it immensely important to listen to the client, understand what their vision is, and match that to my own styles.”
We wrapped up our interview by asking Emily what advice she had for couples planning their wedding: “The best advice I’ve given is to not work with any vendors who you wouldn’t like as guests. Planning your wedding should be as enjoyable as the day itself, so don’t invite anyone into the process who would change that.”