An Engaging Trip through the Tahoe Trees

Audrey and Brian’s love story began when they were in college after moving into houses on the same street. They met at one of Audrey’s house parties and remained friends. After a few years of friendship, the stars finally aligned, and the sparks flew.  In the early days of their relationship, nights were spent discussing their future and being that their visions always aligned. There was no question that this was a ‘forever’ type of love.  Brian says he knew Audrey was the ‘one’ when he learned they both had calico cats – that was all he needed to know.

Their Engagement Session was something straight out of a novel!  A glowing sunset was dipping below the Tahoe tree line while the lovely couple frolicked in the tall yellow grass.  Tahoe Engaged Member Blanca & Brandon Photography had the most delightful time with Audrey and Brian as they celebrated their engagement, documenting their cherished memories for all time!

Brian’s plan was always to propose once he knew for certain he could provide for the love of his life and their future.  So, after receiving the offer for his dream job, he headed straight to his family’s jeweler, Forever Roxx in Incline Village.  He wanted to find a ring that was the “perfect embodiment of Audrey.”  A three stone emerald cut diamond ring with a hand-engraved platinum band was exactly what he was looking for.

On a road trip to Southern California, they reached their final stop in Manhattan Beach. Brian’s original plan was to propose after a lovely sunset dinner by the water. But when he realized that the sun set at the exact time of their dinner reservation, he pivoted last minute and decided on a walk on the beach. Brian dropped to one knee in front of a gorgeous California sunset, the perfect amuse-bouche to a delightful celebratory dinner with some nice champagne.

Though their wedding plans are put on hold due to COVID-19, Audrey and Brian plan to eventually have an intimate gathering surrounded by the ones they love most. The decision to postpone their date was not an easy one, but ultimately it boiled down to celebrating with their friends and families in a carefree environment, filled to the brim with love.

Brian and Audrey know that their special day remains a day to look forward to, whenever time permits. In the meantime, their love will never be canceled.

 

Vendor Credits:

Photographer:  Blanca & Brandon Photography  |  Engagement Ring:  Forever Roxx  |  Location:  Forest Land near South Lake Tahoe

Dramatic and Bold at Thunderbird Lake Tahoe

The iconic Thunderbird Lodge is a stunning historical landmark that hugs the rugged eastern shoreline of Lake Tahoe.  It harkens back to a gilded era from a century ago, and dazzles visitors with its unparalleled views and distinguished design.  In other words, Thunderbird Lake Tahoe is a fabulously spectacular site for a wedding.

Inspired by the Thunderbird’s Sierra stone architecture and the Lake’s beautiful brilliance, a creative team of wedding professionals recently collaborated on a styled shoot to showcase the magnificence of the property. Led by photographer Carly Jurach of Somplace Images and designer Bethany Frediani, this team of nuptial experts developed a bold color palette and dramatic art nouveau styling that captured the essence of the Roaring Twenties while heralding some new trends for the 2020’s.

As the photos below clearly show, the results of this labor of love were way beyond lovely.

 

Benefits of a Styled Shoot

Engaged couples may not initially appreciate the value of a styled shoot, because the “wedding” is not real.  But as photographer Carly Jurach of Someplace Images explains, many couples want something at their wedding that they haven’t seen before at other weddings.  “For me, creating a styled shoot is essentially inspiration that I can give to my clients,” she says.  And for couples who become inspired by the images they see in a styled shoot, Jurach notes that these images “provide an important photo reference for what they are trying to communicate to their vendors.”

A styled shoot also showcases what wedding service providers can do for couples when they are given the creative freedom to come up with something new and different.  Jurach believes that when couples see that creativity, it builds their trust in these vendors.  “Styled shoots specifically show you what vendors are capable of,” she remarks.  

 

Your Fabulous Thunderbird Wedding

Known as “Lake Tahoe’s Castle-in-the-Sky,” the Thunderbird Lodge offers a most enchanting and memorable location for your Tahoe wedding.  The historic stone house and grounds overlook the spectacular shoreline, while the azure Lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains provide a panoramic backdrop for your nuptials.

The guest capacity for a wedding at Thunderbird Lake Tahoe is generally 120 people.  There are three main areas that can be used for weddings:

  • The lakeside Main Lawn with its jaw-dropping views is available either for ceremonies or outdoor dining (weather permitting).
  • The Lighthouse Room seats up to 90 dinner guests. It offers some of the best views of the Lake and has an adjacent state-of-the-art kitchen for catering.
  • The Old Lodge is historically significant and may be used only by special arrangement.

More information about weddings the Thunderbird Lodge can be found on their website.

 

Vendor Credits

Venue –  Thunderbird Lake Tahoe  |  Photographer –  Someplace Images  |  Event Designer –  Bethany Frediani  |  Bride’s Attire –  The LAW Bridal  |  Cake Designer –  Rebel Pioneer Bakery  |  Calligrapher –  Sugar Pine Calligraphy  |  Design and Decor –  Lucky Burro Event Rentals & Design  |  Equipment Rentals –  Forever Vintage Rentals  |  Floral Designer –  Twine & Dandy Floral Design  |  Linens –  La Tavola  |  Hair Stylist –  Gypsy Roots Co  |  Makeup –  McKenzie Morrison  |  Jewelry –  Trunk Show

 

Southern Barbecue Meets the North Shore

Moe’s Original Bar B Que, known for its Southern victuals, is an amazing spot in Tahoe City for a rehearsal dinner, engagement party or other wedding event.

Ginger Karl, Catering Manager at Moe’s, handles all of their special events and group gatherings. Although she has a busy schedule, Ginger recently chatted with Tahoe Engaged about her life and her work.

Moe’s Grows in Tahoe City

First, some background about how Moe’s made its way to Tahoe City. Owners Joshua Wallick and Eric Pilcher studied under the founders of Moe’s BBQ for five years to perfect their “pit master” Southern Barbecue skills. Then in 2013, they moved Westward to North Lake Tahoe.

The next year, Moe’s opened its first lakefront location, at 120 Grove Street. Then in 2018, they moved next door into the Tahoe City Marina building. This facility, at 700 North Lake Boulevard, has four times the seating capacity of their previous space, as well as additional catering capacity for larger groups. Patrons of Moe’s can arrive by car, boat or bicycle.

“Moe’s is a great option for casual lakefront catering in the dining room,” says Karl, noting that the dining room seats 70 people, the front porch accommodates 60, and the outdoor patio can host 80 guests.

Dining area inside Moe's Bar B QuePhoto: Julie Stanley
Group Dinner at Moe's Bar B Que Lake Tahoe wedding rehearsalPhoto: Jacqueline Robbins

Moe’s also caters off-site events with a BBQ trailer that can be incorporated for smoking ribs and chicken at outdoor locations.

Recently Moe’s released their first brewed beer, the “Moe’s-aic IPA.” The restaurant also has a full bar.  Their next project is a brewery bar which will open in a new space within the 700 North Lake Boulevard location.

“We focus on a fun, casual experience for the group,” Karl says, explaining that groups can choose from paper plates and plastic-ware or upgrade to porcelain plates, cloth napkins and silverware. 

 

Meet Ginger

Ginger Karl enjoys live music, camping, biking and anything in the great outdoors.  She loves spending lots of time with her new black lab puppy, Roxxy.

Ginger Karl with Joshua Wallick, Moe's Bar B Que Lake Tahoe
Ginger Karl with Joshua Wallick, Moe’s Bar B Que

A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Karl graduated from Mississippi State University and moved to Vail, Colorado, where she handled catering at a high-end bowling alley. Later she moved to North Lake Tahoe, where she became Membership Director for the North Lake Tahoe Chamber. In 2018, she became Moe’s Catering Manager.

Karl comes from a long background of restaurant and catering/event experience. She says Moe’s serves the style of BBQ she grew up on in the South. She says it’s the perfect venue and food for laid back couples who want to have a good time with their friends and family. Think red and white checkered table cloths, casual fun and great food!

Here’s how it works: for a standard catering menu, couples would typically pick one meat: Chicken, Pork or Turkey; and then choose two sides, such as Mac & Cheese, Marinated Slaw, Baked Beans or Potato Salad. Top off the meal with desserts like Banana Pudding, Mud Pie and Chocolate Icebox Pie.

 

“We’re experts in portioning meat for parties,” says Karl. “You’re never going to run out of food with Moe’s.” Aside from meats, Moe’s also offers items for guests with dietary restrictions, including a gluten free, dairy free, or egg free menu. Many of the sides at the restaurant are vegetarian – they even offer a smoked tofu called “SMOFU”.

Karl’s advice to couples planning their rehearsal dinner?  “The wedding day is such a whirlwind, it’s nice to incorporate something that’s going to be memorable,” she says, noting that some couples have added lighting or special decorations to their rehearsal dinner.

Flower arrangement on table at Moe's Bar B QuePhoto: Julie Stanley
Moe's Bar B Que Lake Tahoe wedding rehearsal - table decor

 

The mood at Moe’s? “Laid back, fun, not stressful, with great music playing,” says Karl.  And best of all, “You’re right on the Lake.”

 

Contact Moe’s Original Bar B Que:

Ginger Karl, Catering Manager

Website: moesbbqtahoe.com

Phone: 530-580-8770

Email:  [email protected]

Visiting Three Sides of Lake Tahoe

Three perfect days on three shores

This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Tahoe Trifecta”

Author: Kirsten Jones Neff

Whether you explore Lake Tahoe by boat, hike to the highest peak, paddle into a secret cove or mountain-bike down a sandy incline, the views will surely take your breath away. Of course, there are those wonderful lazy Tahoe days when it is enough to relax on the deck, sipping ice tea and staring out into the deep blue bliss of the lake, but it is hard to stay put for long when natural wonders and adventures await in every direction. Tahoe is a land of possibility; whatever your age or preferred activities, there are beaches and boat rides, massages and mountaintops, trails and treasures to be found. Below are three suggested itineraries — Tahoe summer days tailored to your heart’s desire, depending on whether you are searching for restorative quiet, vigorous activity or playful family time. On the northern beach at Sand Harbor you will find several rental outfits. You can rent SUPs and kayaks at Sand Harbor Rentals, Jet Skis at Sand Harbor Water Sports, and even jet boots at Tahoe Jetovator. Bring your goggles and swim and boulder along the shore, exploring sandy coves north and south of the park.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Lake Tahoe wedding group activities

For dinner, make a reservation and enjoy lakeside views at the Lone Eagle Grill at the Hyatt or head up the mountainside for stunning panoramas from the Big Water Grille. Or if you just want to grab some grub on your way home from the beach, stop by T’s Mesquite Rotisserie in Incline or the Char Pit in King’s Beach, a classic old-time joint serving burgers, fries and shakes.

 

East Shore: Outdoor Adventure

Hoping for one of those days where you leave it all on the trail? Whether you prefer to hike or bike, Nevada’s Incline Village and East Shore offer excellent opportunities to utterly exhaust yourself as you soak up the sights. If you’re a mountain biker, Flume Trail Bikes is the place to start. Bring your own bike or let the staff set you up with a bike and all the gear you’ll need. The shop offers shuttles for two exhilarating rides — the Flume Trail from Spooner Lake or, on even-number days of the month, the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe Meadows.

Both are one-way rides, and you’ll get your climbing in on either one, as well as some technical downhill. Both routes bring you back to Flume Trail Bikes at the base of the mountain. If you prefer to travel on foot, you can head straight up Tunnel Creek Trail. It’s steep, which is exactly why you’ll be rewarded with some of the most dramatic views of Lake Tahoe available. Whether you’ve biked or hiked, when you finish you’ll be hungry, so stop by Tunnel Creek Cafe next door to the bike shop, where delicious salads and grilled sandwiches are the order of the day, along with an array of craft beer on tap.

After lunch, cool down with some lake time at nearby Sand Harbor. It is best to take the East Shore Express shuttle, which runs every 20 minutes from Incline, so you can skip the challenge of parking in the popular state park.

 

North Shore: Peace and Pleasure

Daybreak is Tahoe’s most serene time of day, and there is nothing quite as calming as an early morning kayak or stand-up paddleboard ride, silently breaking the smooth surface of the crystal-clear water, then peering down to see massive boulders resting on the sandy lake floor below. Several North Lake spots rent both kayaks and SUPs, and Waterman’s Landing in Carnelian Bay also rents outrigger canoes. There you will find the Waterman’s Landing Cafe for those who want to caffeinate before heading out. Tahoe Adventure Company in Tahoe Vista also offers rentals, as does Tahoe Paddle and Oar, in Kings Beach.

If you prefer to start your day on land, get your vinyasa fix at The Yoga Room in Tahoe City. Or to bring your yoga practice to the water, try paddleboard yoga through Mountain Lotus Yoga.

For brunch or lunch, Tahoe House Bakery and Cafe in Tahoe City makes sandwiches with fresh-baked bread and has a reputation for the best European-style coffee in the area. For lunch to go, swing by the tucked-away local favorite Sugar Pine Cakery and Cafe in Lake Forest — a great place for gluten-free treats — and take your feast and good vibes into the woods.

At the nearby North Tahoe Cross Country Center you can hike or rent mountain bikes to explore the woods on some of the 45 miles of Tahoe’s most popular trails, including several dog-friendly routes. The rental center provides maps of the well-marked trails. After hiking or biking, get back on track with your rest and recovery regimen at Massage on the Lake in Tahoe City, where the bodywork therapists are “amazing,” according to locals in the know.

Mountain Biking Lake Tahoe wedding group activities

For a perfect finale to a peaceful day, book an evening cruise with Stellar Tahoe out of Carnelian Bay. Owners and charter hosts Matt and Bethany Lund, who offer a variety of set and custom tours, know every nook and cranny of the lake, as well as the most majestic views. Chambers Landing Bar, home of the famous Chambers Punch, is a favorite sunset stop to make before heading home under the rising moon.

 

West Shore: Family Fun

The West Shore is a giant playground for family fun. Start your day just two miles south of Tahoe City at the Fire Sign Cafe, a longtime local favorite for breakfast scrambles and omelets.

After breakfast, you may need a round of roshambo to decide where to go next: rent rubber boats and tubes at Truckee River Raft Company or Truckee River Rafting, to float down the Truckee River? Visit the Granlibakken Resort treetop adventure ropes course? Or head to High Sierra Waterski School, with locations in both Sunnyside and Homewood, where the family can rent an array of waterborne vehicles, or sign up for waterski, wakeboard or wake surf lessons?

If you are a hiking family, try the Stanford Rock Trail, which starts in Sunnyside, a recently reworked route with abundant wildflowers and waterfalls (depending on the time of year) and lake views from the top. This is a rigorous climb (11.4 miles and 1,900 feet of elevation gain) if you do the whole loop, but is easy to adjust for an out-and-back.

For lunch the West Shore Cafe in Homewood has lovely lakeside tables. Another option is to stop by Obexer’s General Store, grab deli sandwiches and head to D.L. Bliss State Park. There you can swim and explore coves or hike south on the Rubicon Trail toward Emerald Bay. This trail, which takes you along the cliffs above the lake and offers some of the best hiking views of Tahoe, is long (6 miles each way) but can also be adjusted for a shorter out-and-back.

Wrap up the fun at Sunnyside, a West Shore lodge with two restaurants — the Mountain Grill (where the music never disappoints) or the Lakeside Dining Room. The lodge is popular with visitors and locals, so reservations are a must.

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.

Picturesque Proposals

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. 

Proposal on Yacht

 

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.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe beach proposalPhoto: 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. 

Proposal by Waterfall Lake TahoePhoto:  Blue Lotus Photography

 

Rainbow Bridge

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.)

Donner Lake overlook engaged couplePhoto: 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.

Proposal overlooking Lake TahoePhoto: 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.