Your Guide to Tahoe Wedding Transportation
As a Managing Member of the leading transportation company in the Lake Tahoe region, Danell Wilson-Perlman is always on the move. But she was kind enough to put the brakes on her busy schedule at Reno Tahoe Limousine and talk with Tahoe Engaged about her background and business. Danell brings amazing life experiences to the Reno – Lake Tahoe community, and she is a wealth of information about moving people in style.
Born and raised on the southernmost tip of Africa, Danell started working at a local tourism office when she was 16 years old, and that’s when she began to dream about living overseas. After graduating from a college in Cape Town with a degree in Tourism and Travel Management, she landed a job in 1994 at the Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort near Soda Springs, and eventually was offered full-time employment there. In 1997, when Danell went to rent a car from a Truckee rental agency, she happened to meet the owner, Ron Perlman. She not only rented the car, but ended up marrying the owner!
Danell has many fond memories of both her life and business partnership with Ron. She recalls, “My husband started Royal Limousine in 1987 in Truckee as a hobby. He had an automotive shop, part shop and car rental agency at the time, but always had a love for cars, so he bought a used limo he restored for fun. Then his friends started calling to see what it would take to rent it, and that is how it all started. I already saw the potential of the company from early on, so in 2002 I came on board to assist him with the operations of the car rental and limo companies. We moved the operation to Reno in January 2008 with 6 vehicles. We now have 28 in our fleet.”
Danell and Ron are very proud of how they have built Reno Tahoe Limousine from the ground up to become a leader in the transportation industry. Wedding couples often have important concerns about getting their guests – and themselves – to their celebration, so we asked Danell to enlighten us all on the finer points of people-moving.
What are the most common issues you encounter when providing transportation for weddings?
Timelines are crucial and it’s very important to realize that we are in larger vehicles and in commercial vehicles, so we cannot drive the speed of a race car. Our chauffeurs have to abide by strict rules – you have to account for traffic and for loading and unloading passengers. It all takes time. Summer in Tahoe on a Saturday, you have to account for major traffic delays. In winter, there is traffic between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. from the ski resorts, and you cannot get around Emerald Bay.
If the couple or planner is not familiar with the layout of the property, we will send one of our staff to go scout the location to make sure certain vehicles will fit in tight spots, turnaround areas, steep uphills or downgrades. Certain vehicles will bottom out, so you have to be mindful. During winter, can the vehicles get into the property with snow on the ground or do we have to drop at the street and have SUV’s shuttle them in and out?
Are there any common misconceptions about wedding day transportation services?
Transportation can make or break an event, that’s why it is such an important piece of the wedding day plans. We still have couples call the day of, looking for last minute transportation, because someone forgot to order car service. We have pulled it off many times, but it adds unnecessary stress on their wedding day. The idea that family members or friends will be their drivers for the day – that is a recipe for chaos.
What things should couples ask about before booking their wedding transportation?
First and foremost, they need to ask if they are licensed in the state that the couple will need transportation in.
Ask for a certificate of insurance. Most commercial transportation companies these days carry $5 million, but they need to carry a minimum of $1.5 million if they are a commercial transportation vendor.
Make sure their drivers are drug tested and are part of a drug testing consortium where they will also be randomly tested throughout the year and that background checks are done before they are hired by the company.
What is the required uniform of their chauffeurs? This is super important, I’ve seen some scary outfits in this area before.
During winter, they want to ask if their drivers have snow driving experience, this is important. Ask if it’s a coach, will your driver be able to chain during winter conditions?
Finally, ask for testimonials from their clients which will include contact details.
How do you keep up with the latest developments in transportation services?
We attend the annual global limo and bus conference in Las Vegas to stay on top of trends. Our area is very unique and different than the large cities. The day of the stretch limo is done, unless you are based out of Vegas. Most weddings are using Mini Buses, SUV’s and Mercedes Benz Sprinters these days.
Any other advice for wedding couples?
Take transportation for your big day seriously and if you are moving large groups of people, make sure you have your wedding planner’s staff on the ground to help load and unload guest passengers onto the vehicles. Having ground staff is crucial when passengers are missing, and they can help make the process so much easier. Reno Tahoe Limousine needs to be in communication with your wedding planner and we need to know if cell service will be an issue. So many times with remote areas, passengers are not at the addresses where they are supposed to be, or they are running late, the list is long, so the chauffeurs need to be able to be in constant contact with a planner.
When you’re not working at Reno Tahoe Limousine, what other forms of transportation do you enjoy?
I love horseback riding, taking long walks with our dog, and motorcycle trips with my husband during Spring and Summer. Also, I started a travel program to take women entrepreneurs to South Africa to collaborate and exchange with like-minded women entrepreneurs and see part of my beautiful homeland. So this keeps me busy, but it feeds my soul!
Your Guide to Tahoe Wedding Transportation
Every couple planning a Lake Tahoe wedding should consider arranging transportation to and from their celebration. Since some of your guests may be unfamiliar with the area, they will appreciate the convenience of leaving the driving to someone in the know. More importantly, securing the services of a transportation company will avoid the risk, worry and liability involved with drinking and driving.
At some wedding venues, it may not even be feasible to accommodate all of your guests’ cars, anyway. Contact your site to find out how many parking spaces are typically available for guests, and for your vendors too. If the venue doesn’t have enough parking, ask if there is another location nearby that can be used, such as a schoolyard or open space. You would then need to transport guests from that location to the wedding.
From a timing standpoint, you need to think about transportation for your guests first, because you will want to make any necessary arrangements before ordering your invitations. If you decide to provide transportation for guests, include that information on an insert card that accompanies your invitations.
According to WeddingWire, most couples spend anywhere from $500 to over $1000 on transportation. The average is about $750. But before booking your rides, you need to do your homework.
The Coach Awaits!
Buses, commonly referred to as “luxury coaches” by transportation companies, come in variety of capacities, ranging from about 15 passengers up to around 55. There’s always a minimum rental period required – depending on the transportation company and the type of vehicle you want. The minimum can range from three to five hours.
Like buying groceries at a supermarket, the larger-size coaches cost more, but they are generally less expensive on a unit price basis. If you’re considering larger coaches, check with your venue to make sure there is enough room to accommodate them.
In providing transportation for guests to get to your Lake Tahoe wedding, you will also need to transport them back to where they were picked up. Depending on the length of your wedding and how the transportation company prices its vehicles, you may or may not need to secure two separate transports. Sometimes it’s less expensive to hire a coach for the entire day and pay for standby time while the coach isn’t needed. The transportation companies you contact should do the math and let you know which alternative is cheaper.
If you need to hire two separate vehicles, consider a shuttle arrangement at the end of the wedding with a smaller vehicle to save some money. Some of your guests may want to leave early, especially the older guests. You can start shuttling your guests back to their original location about two hours before the official end of the festivities.
Transportation for Yourselves
Since this is one of the most important days of your life, you certainly want to get to your own wedding in style. And to properly recognize your wedding party for the role they are playing (and for all their support), it’s a great idea to arrange special transportation for them, as well.
Standard limousines typically come in 6, 8, and 10-passenger sizes, however the passenger rating is always higher than what is really comfortable, especially when you’re all dressed up and holding a bouquet. So, if you need to transport 6 bridesmaids, get at least an 8-passenger limo. Regardless of the limo size, there is always a minimum rental period, usually three or four hours.
Photo: Alpine Peak Photography
For a waterfront wedding, consider arriving at your ceremony in grand style aboard a motorboat or sailboat. The beautiful, classic “woody” boats are a Tahoe treasure, and really make a statement.
Photo: Rachel Havel Photography
If you like to be different, there are many unconventional modes of transportation that you can also consider for your wedding day. Check out these possibilities:
Samantha Hartery Photography
Mark Williams Studio
Michelle Lange Photography
Choosing a Transportation Company
Call transportation companies for price quotes. Make sure you know what types and sizes of vehicles you need, as well as the pick-up and drop-off locations and the estimated times of service. Ask for a written quote first before you provide a deposit.
Ask the following questions:
- How long has your company been in business?
- Do you own your own vehicles? (the answer should be “yes”)
- How frequently do they undergo routine maintenance?
- Can you provide an insurance certificate for your vehicles?
- What training and licensing do your drivers have?
- What kind of attire do your drivers wear?
- Does your quoted price include all taxes and gratuities?
If possible, make a trip to the company’s lot and take a look at their fleet, and note their state of cleanliness. Also, make sure the vehicles have currently valid commercial license plates.
After you have selected your preferred transportation provider, request a contract if the written proposal they provided doesn’t also serve as a contract. Check all the details very carefully – the date, times, number of passengers, make, model, and color of vehicle – before signing and paying a deposit.
Instead of a multi-hour rental period, ask if you can pay in advance for a “one-way transfer” to get to your wedding. If this is possible, you can make the same kind of arrangements to leave the reception at the end of the day.
Another cost-effective choice – you can also arrange for ride sharing, such as Uber or Lyft, or a local taxicab company to transport your attendants to and from the wedding.
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Overall, it takes some effort to make transportation arrangements for your Lake Tahoe celebration, but your guests and wedding party members will really appreciate the thoughtful gesture. Then, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride on your special day!
Protect Your Tahoe Wedding Investment
You’re engaged (CONGRATULATIONS!!) and about to start planning your Lake Tahoe wedding. You will need a venue and a team of qualified wedding service providers to help you have a fabulous wedding day. But before you venture out to research and interview wedding professionals, it is important to understand that not all venues and service providers are alike.
Anyone who operates a wedding business should know and understand “best practices” for being in business. You as a consumer should only engage with wedding service providers who not only have a business license and insurance, but also give you a written contract for their products and services. Make sure everything you have discussed and want for your wedding is initially put into a written proposal. Once you accept the service provider’s proposal, ask for a contract.
Don’t sign the contract until everything you wanted is clearly written into the contract. Make sure that you understand the terms (form of payments) and all the clauses. If you do not understand the contract that you are about to sign, consultant with an experienced wedding planner who has an expertise in wedding contracts, or an attorney. If you are happy with the written contract and want to secure the venue or service provider, the wedding couple (buyer) signs and dates the contract first, preferably in blue ink. Then, the couple returns the original contract to the venue or service provider (seller) for them to sign and date. The wedding couple should then request a copy of the signed and fully executed contract for their records.
Can you protect your wedding “I Do’s” with insurance? You absolutely cannot buy wedding insurance for change of heart if you get cold feet. But you can buy wedding insurance to protect your investment in case of natural disasters such as hurricanes, fires and earthquakes. Although there should be a well-written clause in your contract called “Force Majeure” (also known as an Act of God), insurance policies help couples recoup expenses when wedding plans deviate. Policies typically cover lost expenses due to inclement weather, illness, venues or service provider issues, attire damage and military deployments.
Photo credit: Alexi Hubbell Photography
Weddings are an investment. At Tahoe Engaged, we ask that you please understand the legal documents you are about to sign and only engage with reputable service providers and venues. You can be assured that the venues and service providers listed on Tahoe Engaged are all carefully curated and follow best practices.
For a Rustic Lake Tahoe Wedding, Truckee Rocks
Just 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe, the quaint town of Truckee is steeped in history, channeling the old gunslingers of the past. Truckee gives off a rustic, historical vibe – perfect for a mountain destination wedding. There, you will find several wedding locations that are beautiful, intimate, and off the beaten nuptial path.
The Truckee River Regional Park
Spanning 62 acres, the Truckee River Regional Park offers a large outdoor amphitheater where guests can lounge on blankets on the green lawn while the couple says their vows. For a more intimate gathering, head to the lower area and treat your guests to a ceremony right on the Truckee River’s edge. The park is located on Brockway Road and is walking distance from downtown Truckee and nearby hotels, including the Cedar House Sport Hotel and Best Western.
Photo: Just West Co.
The Truckee River Winery
Truckee’s only winery, dubbing itself as the “highest and coldest”, is available for events on its outdoor lawn. With bocce courts and BBQs, the Truckee River Winery treats your guests to down-home time paired with some of the best wine in the Sierra Nevadas. The twinkle lights that make the evening shine only add to the already magical experience of holding your wedding at a winery.
Head to the west end of Donner Lake and recite your vows at the West End Beach Pavilion. As the largest beach in Truckee, the sand, grass, and picnic areas span 10 acres. The breathtaking views of the mountains and the clear waters of Donner Lake make any ceremony unforgettable for all attendants. The pavilion can be rented out for weddings with parking included. There are plenty of house rentals sprinkled along the lake, allowing your guests a true Alpine lake experience.
Photo: Nina · Photography
The Clair Tappaan Lodge
Far above Donner Lake near the Sugar Bowl ski resort, the Clair Tappaan Lodge is an ideal venue for a rustic mountain wedding. Tucked in a forest of towering pines, the lodge is equipped to accommodate up to 145 overnight guests. Affordable wedding packages include your own staff and a personal chef. What could be more romantic than twinkle lights strung throughout the woods as you tie the knot with your beloved?
Photo: Light the Moment
Alder Creek Adventure Center
Spectacular in winter or summer, the Alder Creek Adventure Center in Tahoe Donner offers affordable wedding packages for small and large groups. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy horseback riding, mountain biking, or hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. The mountainous fireplace and monumental windows will give your wedding a truly rustic experience without sacrificing luxury. Tahoe Donner offers many options for home rentals for your guests, so nobody will have to drive too far.
Photo: Bill Stevenson Photography
Besides these lesser-known venues, Truckee is home to hotels, golf courses and ski resorts that offer a variety of wonderful wedding options. Whether you end up choosing a larger venue or one of these smaller intimate sites, you can be sure that your guests will have an experience that they’ll remember for years to come.
Lake Tahoe Winter Activities for Your Wedding Guests
Keeping your guests entertained is not something you’ll have to worry about when planning your winter wedding at Lake Tahoe. No matter what they are into or what the weather is – there are always plenty of activities on the docket around the Lake. From skiing to more “insider” events, here is your guide to giving your guests the best Tahoe experience in the colder months.
World Class Skiing and Snowboarding
Guests can take their pick of eight ski resorts in the North Lake Tahoe region. A Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows lift ticket gives access to over 6,000 acres of terrain across two resorts. Ski both in one day by taking the shuttles that run the six miles between them. Other options include Tahoe Engaged Member Northstar California, where you can cozy up next to a fire pit in the Village, and Homewood Mountain Resort, offering some of the best views of the Lake from the top.
Nothing says winter quite like leisurely laps around an ice skating rink. The Northstar California skating rink, in the Northstar Village, is free to the public. Skate rentals are available. Perfect for the whole family, the rink is lined with outdoor fire pits. Free smores are served daily at 4 pm. Your guests can enjoy a hot cocktail by the fire while their kiddos roast gooey, chocolatey, marshmallows.
Check out the Tahoe Forest backcountry with a snowmobiling tour. Tours accommodate beginners through the more adventurous. Lake Tahoe Snowmobiling offers tours through the wilderness, on groomed trails, in open meadows, and up the mountain where your guests can experience stunning views of Lake Tahoe.
Get romantic on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. All ages are welcome to experience a jaunt through the pines in an old-fashioned sleigh. Your guests will listen to their guide tell stories and they will have the opportunity to take unique photographs that will last them a lifetime.
For your craft beer enthusiasts or for those just wanting to get out of the cold, encourage your guests to check out North Lake’s burgeoning beer scene. Book through Tahoe Brew Tours so everyone can imbibe and not worry about driving the winter roads. Tours take guests to FiftyFifty Brewing Company, Alibi Ale Works, and Tahoe Mountain Brewing.
This is only a snippet of activities that are available for your guests. Tahoe also boasts an abundance of seasonal festivals, live music performances, and other fun events that happen along the North Shore. The North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and the Truckee Chamber of Commerce both offer an extensive calendar of events. Whatever wintertime activities your guests choose to partake in, they will be left with warm memories of your destination wedding.
Top Tahoe Places to Pop the Question
You’re ready to propose to the love of your life! Congratulations!! Now the big decision is… where to pop the question? If you’ve decided on getting down on one knee in the Lake Tahoe area, we have some great setting ideas for you.
You can’t really go wrong anywhere in the Lake Tahoe basin, with its spectacular beaches, pine tree forests, clear blue waters, and towering mountaintops. Here are some ideas you might not have thought of:
Lake Tahoe Sunset Cruise
Lake Tahoe is North Americas largest alpine lake. Make your proposal memorable by chartering a sunset cruise on one of Tahoe’s many sailing charters. Let the captain do the work as you cruise along the cobalt waters in romantic bliss. Bring along some fine cheese and a bottle of your favorite champagne to make the moment complete.
Sand Harbor Beach
More of an active couple? Make your way to Sand Harbor Beach, located just south of Incline Village. One of the most picturesque beaches in Tahoe, Sand Harbor is home to crystal-clear lake water, awe-inspiring rock formations, and stretches of soft, light sand. Enjoy a picnic and then swim out to a boulder. Or better yet, rent some paddle boards and glide along the glassy water surface as you surprise your significant other.
Photo: Lauren Lindley Photography
Shirley Canyon Waterfalls
There exists a place, a short and easy hike from the base of Squaw Valley, where waterfalls flow along granite rocks. The Shirley Canyon trail meanders along singing brooks and emerald pools. Pack some gourmet sandwiches and hike up to a private spot along one of the many waterfalls that spill out of the Squaw Valley mountain range. A proposal here is sure to create misty eyes and everlasting memories.
Photo: Blue Lotus Photography
Get off the beaten path and head over to Truckee, just 12 miles North of Lake Tahoe. Take a scenic drive up Old Highway 40 and enjoy dramatic views of Donner Lake and the surrounding mountains. Stop at the viewing area just before you cross over Rainbow Bridge. Grab a blanket and scramble up on the boulders to the right of the parking area and find a private spot for your proposal. (Insider’s tip: Get there before dawn and ask her to marry you as the sun rises – this is one of the best locations to experience a striking sunrise over Donner Lake.)
Photo: Niki Ross Photography
Top of Homewood Mountain Resort
If you both ski or snowboard, consider a winter proposal at the top of Homewood Mountain Resort. The view is stunning and offers panoramic views of the Lake Tahoe basin. After she says yes, head across the street to the West Shore Café and dine lakeside for a warm and romantic celebration.
Photo: Studio 22 Photography
No matter what your budget may be, one of these Lake Tahoe locations will inspire a Yes! from your soon-to-be fiancé. Be sure to bring a camera – or better yet, hire a Tahoe Engaged professional photographer – to capture the magical moments. There is no better background for your proposal than Lake Tahoe, a waterfall, or a shimmering sunrise.