5 Reasons to Elope to Lake Tahoe

Planning a wedding is arguably one of the most exciting, albeit intense, part of getting married. This year, that process looks a little different. 2020 has been an unprecedented year for us all. Plans have changed for many and the world is a very different place than it was a year ago. With that, weddings have transformed in many unique and creative ways as we adjust to our new normal with COVID-19. Many couples have now chosen to elope to Lake Tahoe for its incredible attributes.  Here are some of the reasons why we believe Tahoe is one of the best places to run away and get married.

1. The Scenery

Lake Tahoe boasts one of the most unique landscapes in the world. From its pristine, crystal clear waters to its jagged mountain peaks, it’s an incredible location to promise forever to the one you love most. It is truly an unforgettable experience to be around the natural majesty that this area has to offer all year round.

Lake Tahoe micro ceremony overlooking Emerald Baycouple eloped to Lake Tahoe walking near forest with fall foliage

Photo Credits: Jocelyn Noel and Shines Photography

 

2. The Intimacy

Make your day all about YOU and your partner. Lake Tahoe is known for its panoramic alpine views and vast wilderness. It’s an easy place to sneak away into the pines for an intimate elopement or micro wedding. If you’re looking to elope in this area, we recommend hiring a local elopement photographer or officiant. They know all the ‘top secret’ locations to truly make your big day one of a kind. 

couple with officiant under pine tree at intimate location near Lake Tahoecouple at intimate beach at Lake Tahoe

Photo Credit: AJ Photography 

 

3. Talented Wedding Professionals

When it comes to wedding professionals, Lake Tahoe is home to some of the best creative talents in the world. If you’re looking to run away to the Sierras, look no further than the incredible vendors here in our area.

Christa Deane Mountain High Weddings officiating elopement in forest near Lake TahoePhoto Credit:  AJ Photography
eloping couple kissing at end of Lake Tahoe pier

 

4. Year Around Activities

Not only is Lake Tahoe picturesque in every way, but it’s also an adventure destination. Whether you’re looking to have guests in town or spend your wedding getaway with your partner, there is something for everyone here. During the summer, you can hit the beaches, take a boat out on the lake, take a hike, and mountain bike some of the incredible trails in the area. During the winter, you can hit the slopes, snowmobile in the backcountry, and enjoy some apres-ski at one of the many great restaurants and bars in the area. 

couple elopes in summer standing in meadow near Lake Tahoecouple walking in Lake Tahoe water with winter snow on mountains nearby

Photo Credits:  AJ Photography and Kyle Beckmann Photography

 

5. It’s the Perfect Place to Begin Your Honeymoon

No need to jet away to another destination, everything you need is right here. Go from enjoying your incredibly intimate wedding day together into an incredible vacation of a lifetime.

couple elopes to secluded location overlooking Lake Tahoe and Emerald BayPhoto Credit: Jocelyn Noel

 

Final Thoughts from a Wedding Pro:

The above photos were taken at elopements officiated by Tahoe Engaged member Christa Deane with Mountain High Weddings.  Christa was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on elopements with us. 

She remarked, “I am loving all the elopements!  I know 2020 has not been as good as we all had hoped for, but I am loving the creativity that is coming from couples and the vendors who have helped them still get married. So many couples have been disappointed in not having their ‘big’ weddings, but on the flip side many were relieved and amazed. A few couples said they ‘got over the big party’ after being able to move the wedding budget to their honeymoon or wedding week, and were able to afford a convertible or upgrade to a suite.”

 

No matter what you’re looking for in your elopement, Lake Tahoe can provide it. From the rustic natural atmosphere to the year around adventures, the Tahoe region will provide everything you’ve ever imagined and so much more.

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.

Tahoe Wedding at Truckee River Regional ParkPhoto: 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.

Lake Tahoe Wedding at Truckee River Winery

 

Donner Lake

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.

Tahoe Wedding at West End Beach Donner LakePhoto:  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?  

Tahoe Wedding at Clair Tappaan LodgePhoto: 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.

Truckee Wedding Venue Alder Creek Adventure Center Tahoe DonnerPhoto:  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.

skiing at Homewood Lake Tahoe wedding

 

Ice Skating

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.

Northstar Village ice skating Lake Tahoe wedding

 

Snowmobiling Tours

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.

Snowmobiling Lake Tahoe wedding activity

 

Sleigh Rides

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.

sleigh rides at Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe wedding

 

Brewery Tours

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.

craft beer tours Lake Tahoe wedding

 

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.

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.

round engagement ringBrilliant Earth

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.

engagement ring with 6 prongsTiger Gems

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.

engagement rings made of white goldHarry Winston

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!

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait until March 20 – It’s “National Proposal Day”

Whether you have been intently pursuing your career or plotting your wedded-life-to-be forever, the wait was well worth it, now that you have finally met “the one.”  But what’s next for your epic romance?

According to national statistics, 19% of all engagements take place in December.  Oops, well that didn’t happen!  Then along came Valentine’s Day… nope, too trite!!  But wait, the engagement season isn’t over yet!   Your significant other has another chance, as “National Proposal Day” is on March 20th. This day is for those who have waited patiently for that special someone to pop the question.

To help your guy get down on one knee with a sparkly ring, we want to share a hidden “gem” that we discovered years ago in the Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City – Steve Schmier’s Jewelry.

diamond engagement ring from Steve Schmier's Jewelry Tahoe City 

We had the pleasure of recently speaking with owner Michael Grant, professional Jeweler and Gemologist, regarding his retail store, and we wanted to share his sparkling knowledge with you.  By the way, Michael is so “in the know” about Lake Tahoe, he’s also a “go-to” guy on things to do here.

For now, here are his pearls (or should we say “diamonds”) of wisdom:

1.    What 3 words best describe your work?

Unique, Creative & Artistic

 
2.    What are some sources of inspiration or influences on your work?

Art, architecture and design all feed into our creativity. We prefer working with real natural materials born of the earth.

diamond engagement ring from Steve Schmier's Jewelry Tahoe City

 

3.    What trends do you see in engagement rings?

We’ve seen a trend in the “halo” style engagement ring, meaning the center stone is surrounded by small diamonds.  Also the rings with multiple diamonds set in a micro-pavé style.

diamond engagement ring from Steve Schmier's Jewelry Tahoe CityWhite gold, platinum and rose gold are trendy, but yellow gold is gaining in popularity again.

 

4.    If you purchase an engagement ring, do you still purchase a wedding ring?

The tradition of putting a wedding band with an engagement ring is still very much desirable, however, many styles of engagement rings can be worn without a matching band.  We get creative with different options, and it is an individual choice.

  
5.    What is the range of costs wedding couples typically spend on the engagement ring?  the wedding ring?

Engagement rings can be $3,000-$20,000 on an average.  We also do custom work, refurbishing heirloom pieces, too, for those who want to have something updated.  This could be a choice.  Costs vary.  Wedding bands can be $ 1,000.00 and up.

 
6.    How much time should a wedding couple plan on securing an engagement ring – from initially looking to actually having it on the finger?

Most couples begin the process of shopping for an engagement ring up to 2 years in advance.  Most ladies look at wedding rings on a regular basis on the internet, their friends’ rings, window shopping as well, and it is not unusual for someone to have a clear idea of what they want before they even meet their significant other!  Usually, pre-shopping is done before the significant other is brought in to see the selected item.

 
7.    If it’s a wedding couple that is a bride and groom, do they typically shop together for the ring?  If it’s a same sex couple, do they typically shop together for the ring?

Most couples still shop together.  There is excitement and passion in finding that “special ring” together.  The same holds true with same sex couples.

 
8.    Do you provide gemological certificates for your diamonds?

We do supply gemological certificates for all of our diamonds and retail replacement appraisals.

 
9.    Do you have any marriage advice for engaged couples?

Our advice to couples is to keep laughter and joy in your relationship.  Stay committed and focused.  Be present with one another.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, and buy sparkly jewelry often!

diamond engagement ring from Steve Schmier's Jewelry Tahoe City

Congratulations on your engagement…we’re thrilled for you, as a wedding always begins with a proposal.  Happy National Proposal Day!
 

 
Since 1977, Steve Schmier’s Jewelry has been a consistent provider of diamonds, engagement rings, and custom jewelry for Lake Tahoe residents, second homeowners, and visiting out-of-towners. Between owner Michael Grant and his knowledgeable staff, they have a combined 100 years of jewelry experience. Their expertise and commitment is built on integrity, trust and fine quality jewelry for all ages and occasions.

Steve Schmier’s Jewelry

760 North Lake Blvd (Boatworks Mall, Main Level)

Tahoe City, CA 

Phone:  530-583-5709

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.SteveSchmiersJewelry.com