Celebrate Your Love and Say Yes to a Tahoe Winter Proposal
East Coast natives Jen and Max relocated to San Francisco to pursue their professional careers. In their spare time, they both love outdoor activities, especially skiing and snowboarding. So when Max was ready to propose, he planned a wintertime trip to Lake Tahoe to pop the question.
For this surprise proposal, the groom-to-be hired Marie-Louise Palmqvist, owner of Vild Photography, to capture the special moments on camera. “He didn’t plan to have a photographer there originally but decided it would be worth documenting,” says Palmqvist.
In addition to surprising his bride to be, Max had to contend with a surprise from Mother Nature – a huge snowstorm moving in. While snow in Tahoe is the norm, this particular storm was supposed to drop several feet of the white stuff, which meant that the lakeside view Max had originally planned would be a white-out.
But Max knew he wanted to pop the question at Edgewood Tahoe since that’s where he and Jen were staying. Plamqvist helped him find a good spot that was easy to get to, beautiful and special. The photographer met with Max while Jen was in the Edgewood Spa, finishing up her hair for dinner. “That gave us a chance to show him the location we had in mind. It was all very quick and uncomplicated,” Palmqvist recalls.
So, after a day of skiing and getting warmed back up in their room, the couple made their way to dinner. Along the way was a cozy outdoor fireplace, where Max dropped down on one knee and pulled out the ring. The proposal was a complete surprise.
“We managed to capture the moment perfectly – everything from the traditional on-the-knee proposal to the just-after-saying-yes reactions,” says Palmqvist. “And, of course, we made sure to find those perfect show-me-the-ring shots, too.”
Afterwards, the newly engaged couple enjoyed a champagne toast inside the restaurant at Edgewood. The restaurant’s dark wood and black trim decor served as a great contrast to the rest of the snowy pictures.
Jen and Max plan to return to their East Coast roots to get married. Our best wishes to the nearly-weds!
Proposals from the Photographer’s Prospective
Palmqvist and Rob Cole, her fellow photographer, work hard to be sneaky and blend into the background when they’re shooting proposals. “We normally just pretend to take photos of each other or the landscape before we aim our cameras towards them,” she says. “It’s really exciting and we always feel like CIA agents.”
Palmqvist wants couples to know that with surprise proposals, “ANYTHING is possible.” She continues, “Do something that is special and true to you! Don’t just follow trends because you think that that’s the right thing to do. Make it about you.”
She reminds couples to document the proposal too so you can “treasure it forever.”
While it’s smart to keep things low key when planning a proposal, make sure you communicate your plans with key people, such as the hotel, server, photographer or any other vendors/people you’ll be working with.
Other Pro Tips for Proposals and Engagment Sessions
What to wear for proposals: According to Palmqvist, “They are totally free to wear whatever they like.”
What to wear for engagement sessions: “We always suggest they wear something they love that has neutral colors and that complements the season. Our number one priority is for them to feel comfortable. Then we always suggest that they should coordinate, not match each other.”
Plan ahead. Both proposal and engagement sessions typically last about an hour. However, some sessions last longer. Palmqvist notes, “Some of our engagement sessions can be two to four hours if we decide to go hiking.”
It doesn’t have to be perfect to be right. “Proposals always happen quicker than you think and no matter how much you plan and think about the details, it never quite goes according to plan, normally because of nerves,” says Palmqvist. “But that’s OK! Those imperfect moments become perfect as they are the ones making it truly special and cute.”
Lisa and Mark’s Extraordinary Winter Destination Wedding
Mark says he felt “Lucky!” when he first saw Lisa on the wedding day. She remembers feeling giggly. “I really love this man more every day,” she says.
They live in Louisiana, where winters are mild. So when Lisa and Mark got engaged, they knew the Lake Tahoe area was exactly where they wanted to exchange vows. “A winter wedding seemed different,” says the bride, who grew up in Northern California.
The couple dated for two years before getting engaged while they were taking their Dachshund to meet Santa Claus. They married a year later in a winter wedding at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California.
This stunning venue provided a fitting backdrop for the gorgeous couple! Adventure wedding photographer Charleton Churchill captured the couple and the day’s beauty. “My favorite part of Mark and Lisa’s wedding was being able to enjoy the unique winter snowcapped mountains of Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley throughout the entirety of their wedding day,” says Churchill.
Lisa’s favorite wedding day moment was when Mark cried during their first look. “It was true to who we are,” she says. “It was unrehearsed.”
The December ceremony, which was officiated by Lisa’a father, was an intimate gathering with 57 close family and friends in attendance. The 12-person wedding party included the bride’s sister who was the Maid of Honor, as well as her best friend who served as the Man of Honor. The groom’s father was his Best Man (which is a very Southern tradition).
The reception was held at the Six Peaks Grille, a gourmet restaurant inside the resort. “They closed down for the night and we had the place to ourselves,” recalls Lisa. “It was perfect. Food was amazing. Cake was even better.”
“My dress wasn’t anything like I planned,” says Lisa. “I wanted a lace ball gown with long sleeves. I’m a curvy girl and I’ve never felt comfortable in a fitted dress.”
That all changed when she saw “The Dress” on a hanger and had to try it on.
“I’ve never felt that good in a piece of clothing before,” she says, explaining the simple crepe gown had a boat neck, t-shirt like sleeves, and a cut out back. She hired a seamstress in Louisiana to take off the original sleeves and add full length sleeves.
She wore a second dress, a strapless A-line, to the reception. It was comfortable and easy to dance in. Best of all, it meant her wedding gown would stay clean for her post-wedding photo shoot.
Lisa and Mark loved the beautiful resort, where they and their families were able to spend a lot of time together.
“Lisa always considered her family and guests’ comfort and experience during each stage of our planning,” says planner Donna Nice Hoekstra of Joy of Life Events. “Skiing, ice skating, swimming, fireside warming, dinners and dancing were all part of the guest experience for their Louisiana family. The Resort at Squaw Creek was the perfect venue for this destination winter wedding.”
The couple stayed at the resort for a week after the wedding, a delightful setting for a mini-honeymoon. They’re still planning a big honeymoon trip.
Lisa’s advice: “Get the dress you want. Hire an amazing photographer. Don’t skip the video either!”
Sharing is good. “A previous client of mine gifted me her gold Glitter aisle runner,” says Hoekstra. “Lisa loved it, so it was incorporated into their ceremony design.”
Plan your photos. “If you’re going to plan your wedding in Lake Tahoe to enjoy the views of the Lake and the Mountains, make time in your photo session, whether it be the day of your wedding or an adventure session the week after, to capture the beauty of Tahoe you can proudly print,” says Churchill. “If you want to capture the adventurous spirit, try and plan another day to go out and hike in your wedding attire, so you can enjoy your wedding day, yet get some creative outdoor photos when you have more time.”
Ceremony & Reception Site: Resort at Squaw Creek | Photographer: Charleton Churchill Photography | Wedding Planner & Designer: Joy of Life Events | Linens: Creative Coverings (Sweetheart Table and Guest Tables), La Tavola Fine Linen Rental (Cake Table) | Bride’s Gown: Pronovias | Bride’s Veil: Blanca Veils | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Hair & Makeup: The Hair Loft | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Bella Bridesmaids | Grooms & Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Rings: Lauren B | Officiant: Rick Haining, Bride’s Stepfather | Catering, Cake & Desserts: Resort at Squaw Creek | Flowers: Love & Lupines | Music: Brian Hess Music | Videographer: The Best Man Films | Seating Chart: Ivory Isle Designs
Oh So Pretty on the Big Day – Hair and Makeup
Bonus Interview with a Pro – Michelle Campbell
Every bride wants to look and feel beautiful on her wedding day. You will certainly want your hairstyling and makeup to hold up throughout the day while you’re enjoying the celebration (and while your photographer is snapping away). Since this is one of the most important days in your life, you should seek out the services of professional hairstylists and makeup artists, who have the skills and knowledge to make you look spectacular!
Your attendants, your mom and future mother-in-law will also want to get their hair and makeup professionally done. In most cases, you’ll need to secure 1 hairstylist and 1 makeup artist for every 4 ladies in your group. It’s an amazing, fun experience spending this time together with your attendants and moms!
All Photos Courtesy of Underwood Photography
But on your wedding day, you don’t want to be running all around Lake Tahoe to get your hair and makeup done. Tahoe Engaged recommends a full-service salon that can do both hair and makeup, and that can travel to the location where you and your bridal party are getting ready. It’s a super timesaver for them to come to you, because you can slip into your gown immediately afterwards, while your photographer and videographer capture every moment.
You will want to find hairstylists and makeup artists that are state-licensed cosmetologists and aestheticians, and have a business license and business insurance. Licensed stylists and artists have been through many, many hours of training and certification. The right hairstylist and makeup artist will enhance your natural beauty, not cover you up with a mask. These beauty experts will help you truly look your very best on your wedding day.
You may be wondering if makeup artists who work at department store cosmetics counters would be an appropriate cost-saving choice. Keep in mind that these people are not necessarily professional makeup artists and usually do not have a state cosmetologist license. Typically, they are trained only on the products that the stores carry, and are behind the counter primarily to sell the line of cosmetics they represent. They are generally not required to blend or create specific colors needed for a professional quality of makeup, and are limited to the colors and products they have in stock.
On the other hand, seasoned makeup artists will have the skills and expertise that are beyond what most behind-the-counter artists are required to learn. The professional licensed makeup artist works with both professional makeup and consumer products, custom blending and color matching whenever necessary. Their goal is not to sell you more makeup, but to beautify your face on your wedding day.
Timing Is Everything
Having a relaxing, fun start to your wedding day is crucial, and your professional hair and makeup artist team will certainly get you off to the right start. That’s why it’s important to choose wisely, with a team of professionals who understand punctually and timing – they will develop a detailed timeline of services for you. Without a professional team to help you, if your hair and makeup runs late and creates havoc and stress, it just might ruin your day!
Tahoe Engaged believes in a flawless execution of hair and makeup, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. We highly recommend that you allow 45 minutes for each bridesmaid or mom to have her hair done, and 45 minutes each for makeup. For the bride, we recommend 1 hour to have your hair done, and 1 hour to have your makeup done. We prefer having hair done first, followed by makeup. The bride always goes last, so she looks freshest for photos.
For more insights into the essentials of professional hair and makeup, Tahoe Engaged spoke with Michelle Campbell, Owner of Love Is In The Hair. With over 15 years in the beauty industry, Michelle has trained under Eufora Global, Kevin Murphy, Glo Cosmetics, Redken and MAC, along with several nationally recognized freelance artists. One of the top professional companies in Lake Tahoe for hairstyling and makeup artistry, Love Is In The Hair offers the best in fully mobile, on-location services. Each artist on Michelle’s team is handpicked, licensed/insured, and continually educated.
What beauty tips do you have for a bride-to-be who is newly engaged?
Love Is In the Hair is a destination bridal beauty glam squad, but you will also need to assemble a local glam team and stick with them! Select one hair dresser, one aesthetician and one spray tan tech, etc. Don’t skip around town and try every beauty pro, you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen. Allow time for your hometown pro to develop a haircare/skincare regimen, and stick to a schedule to allow time to work toward your beauty goals.
Make sure NOT to introduce any new products or services in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Use the months leading up your big day to hone in on your beauty regimen. The last thing you want is to have a reaction to a new product or new services in the days leading up to your wedding or worst have an orange spray tan.
Once the couple has selected Lake Tahoe as the destination for their wedding, what should the bride do?
Book a trial appointment. With Love Is In The Hair, the trial appointment is a great opportunity for us to get to know one another, for you to see how your hair and makeup will look on your wedding day. And it gives us a chance to look over your skin and hair. We also can determine if hair extensions need to be incorporated to achieve your desired hair style. Book this appointment up to three months prior to your wedding date.
What else should the bride do as her wedding day approaches?
Schedule pre-wedding day beauty appointments. We recommend booking hair color appointments 10-14 days prior to your wedding day to allow hair color to settle and blend. Don’t overlook the peach fuzz because the camera won’t! Squeeze one last facial in with your trusted skin care pro along with waxing appointments two weeks prior to your wedding.
Make sure to avoid salty, fried food or alcohol leading up to the wedding. Think green and lean. I recommend the Glowing Green Smoothie from Kimberly Snyder:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 to 4 stalks organic celery
- 1/2 head of a large bunch or 3/4 of a small bunch of spinach
- 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
- 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
- 1 organic banana
- Juice of 1/2 fresh organic lemon
What about when the bride arrives in the Lake Tahoe region for her wedding?
Be sure to stay hydrated especially at Lake Tahoe’s high elevation. We want to avoid dehydrated skin and lips because healthy hydrated skin equals youthful illumination and glow.
Are there any misconceptions about wedding day hair and make-up services?
The most common misconception about wedding day hair is to arrive with dirty or day old hair. This is the exact opposite, please arrive with clean dry hair and let the beauty pros prep your hair with the proper products to ensure longevity to your wedding day style. Oftentimes dirty or day old hair has an excess of oil, weighing down the style or making the hair look greasy. Your wedding day pro will be able to properly evaluate your hair and prescribe just the right hair care cocktail for success.
Any other advice for bridal beauty?
Skin Care is EVERYTHING. Make sure you have major moisture in your skincare routine. Hydrated skin illuminates and radiates youthful beauty. Great makeup starts with great skincare.
At Tahoe Engaged, we are your trusted confidante for wedding professionals that have been carefully vetted by submitting their references, business license and insurance. We are grateful to Michelle Campbell, a Tahoe Engaged member, for offering her professional advice to our readers. If you would like to learn more about her company, Love Is In The Hair, click here.
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.
* * *
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.