Something Old, Something New – Magical Tahoe Memories

Kim was originally from the Sacramento area, and growing up, she spent many summers and winters in Lake Tahoe with her family.   When Guy proposed to her, there was no doubt in Kim’s mind where she wanted to celebrate her nuptials.  A Tahoe wedding celebration not only gave Kim a chance to relive old memories, but it also gave many guests who were traveling from Southern California, New York, Ohio and Colorado a chance to experience Tahoe for the first time.

The couple’s magical wedding celebration was delightfully captured by photographer Ashley Strong Smith.


The Couple’s Story:

Before they finally met, Kim and Guy were separated from each other by a lot less than six degrees.  They both attended California State University Long Beach, lived 5-10 minutes away from each other, shopped at the same grocery stores and hung out at the same places.  But it was technology, a dating app, that ultimately brought them together in August 2016.

Their first date felt more like a job interview to Kim.  “Guy asked a lot of questions”, she recalls.  But through this kind of questioning, Kim learned from Guy “the art of listening.”  Ultimately, the success for Kim and Guy’s relationship was that neither of them had any wild, crazy expectations; they both wanted to have fun with their online dating experience. And what fun it was!

In 2018, they took the next step and moved in together, and in 2020, with the pandemic and working from home, they became even closer.  In August 2020, on a trip to San Diego, at sunset on the beach, they exchanged anniversary gifts (since August was the month when they met).   Guy gave Kim a stuffed animal, and stuffed inside it was a ring box.  The proposal was very intimate, emotional and of course she said “YES!”

Tahoe has always been a special place for Kim – she calls it her “home away from home.”  Nestled along the beautiful shoreline of North Lake Tahoe, Brockway Springs in Kings Beach was where Kim and her family often stayed.  So naturally, the couple chose Brockway Springs for their accommodations.  On the morning of the wedding, October 3, 2021, Kim enjoyed a hair and make-up session with her mom, mother-in-law-to-be and grandmother, while Guy got dressed with the gentlemen upstairs. 

Photographer Ashley Strong Smith carefully arranged their pre-ceremony shots separately, as Kim and Guy chose not to see each other before the nuptials.  During Kim’s photo session, a lucky ladybug landed on her dress.  “There was something so magical about that moment,” she recalls.

The ceremony and reception took place at The Chateau at Incline Village.  Kim and Guy celebrated their marriage outdoors on the lawn as their thirty guests looked on.  Kim meticulously wrote out her own vows while Guy spontaneously delivered his from the heart.  DJ Erik Riekenberg from Epik Weddings & Events provided the ceremony music, and a close friend served as the officiant. 

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed on the deck, giving guests sweeping views of the Sierra mountains, the Lake and the adjacent golf course.  Afterwards, guests were invited inside The Chateau, which featured vaulted timber ceilings, a large stone fireplace, and more mountain & lake views.   DJ Erik introduced the parents followed by the newlyweds.  Four congratulatory toasts ensued.

Guested savored a seated dinner, which included a salad of mixed greens and an entree choice of Seared Scallops, Chicken Breast or Filet of Beef.  Kim remarked, “The food was delicious and we really wanted our guests to have a good experience.”  The evening continued with everyone on the dance floor, a fun photo booth and a delicious wedding cake from Lake Tahoe Cakes

Kim and Guy are now expecting a baby girl in October 2022.  Our best wishes to the happily ever-after couple!


Nuptial Advice from the Bride:

“Be as present as you possibly can, the day goes by so, so fast.  There will always be something that could possibly go wrong.  Focus on the reason why you’re getting married.  Focus on your partner and your guests.  And don’t do anything that doesn’t feel good.”


Vendor Credits:

Venue: The Chateau at Incline Village   |   Photographer: Ashley Strong Smith   |   Music and Photo Booth:  Epik Weddings & Events   |   Makeup Artist: Makeup by Mandie   |   Cake: Lake Tahoe Cakes   |   Cookies: The Cookie Trail   |   Bride’s Dress: BHLDN   |   Bride’s Shoes: Nordstrom Rack

A Festive Fete in the Forest

There’s something magical and enchanting about a wedding in the woods.  Above you, a tapestry of blue sky and boughs serves as your canopy; below you, the sun-dappled undergrowth your floor; and around you, stately trees stand as silent witnesses to your exchange of vows.

For Correen and Kellen, a woodland wedding was a natural choice – since Kellen had lived in Tahoe City, they wanted a wedding with a Tahoe feel and a forested setting. They found the ideal spot for their nuptials tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe:  Twenty Mile House, a historic complex surrounded by acres of lush forests traversed by babbling creeks and a river.

The rustic yet elegant essence of Correen and Kellen’s festive celebration was creatively and comprehensively captured by Jeramie Lu Photography.

Coreen and Kellen’s Save-the-Date card featured photos of the couple amid beautiful alpine landscapes. Their invitation was embellished with an elegant sketching of distant mountains surrounded by pine trees.

Hues of mauve, a color Correen loves, plus neutrals of grey, ivory and green, as well as pops of navy, beautifully underscored the antique elegance of their celebration and juxtaposed nicely with the rustic and woodland surroundings.

Correen stunned in her trumpet gown with a lace bodice and gorgeous lace detailing throughout.  Gracing her hand was an exquisite, antique-style engagement ring custom-designed by Kellen.

The bridal bouquets designed by Gray’s Flower Garden consisted of softly hued garden roses, accented with blue-centered white anemones and seeded eucalyptus.  They were the perfect complement to the bridesmaids’ dresses, which were all in the same lovely shade of mauve but varied in dress style, according to the bridesmaids’ choosing.

Meanwhile, in a fusion of style and comfort, Kellen and his groomsmen wore Wrangler dress jeans that actually looked like dress pants, along with cowboy boots, a grey vest and a navy tie over a white shirt.

The ceremony site was in a clearing surrounded by soaring pine trees that reached to the sky.  The pristine natural setting was beautiful and “didn’t need much decorating since it was gorgeous,” recalled Correen.

The forest scene was enhanced by wine barrels topped with lovely flower arrangements and, in front, a wooden arch draped with gauzy white fabric and adorned with a gorgeous assortment of blooms and greenery.

Family was a central theme in Correen and Kellen’s wedding.  On the long pathway leading to the ceremony site, the trees that lined the way were hung with family portraits in antique-looking frames.

Moreover, framed pictures of both Kellen’s mother and godmother, who had passed away, were displayed on the front row of the groom’s side of the aisle.  As Correen and Kellen exchanged vows before the pictures, the officiant who performed the ceremony happened to also be the son of the godmother in the picture, another touching tribute.

A family heirloom belonging to Correen’s family played a significant part in the ceremony as well—an antique flower holder that had been used in family weddings for generations.  This time it was carried, not by Correen, but by Kellen as he walked down the aisle, symbolizing his mother, as well as the blending of two families.

The personal family touches continued through to the reception.  The guest tables were decorated with simple but elegant garlands of eucalyptus greenery woven around wooden lanterns crafted by Correen’s brothers and stained by Kellen’s father.  The metal table numbers were made by Kellen, who happens to be a fabrication supervisor in charge of the welding department at his work.  A friend did the calligraphy for all the signs. “Everyone had a part in helping,” Correen remarked.

Following the ceremony, signature cocktails featured the couple’s favorite summertime drinks: the groom’s drink was jack and lemonade and the bride’s was vodka soda with a splash of sprite and lime.  Hors d’oeuvres consisted of Thai meatballs, polenta bites and loaded potato chips.

The dinner menu served by Pangaea Catering included local grass-fed sirloin with house-made bourbon sauce, lemon and herb-brined chicken drizzled with a chardonnay and sage cream sauce, rosemary focaccia, greens with cheese, apples/pears and toasted pecans, almond pilaf and more.

A dessert bar featured sweet treats like berry lemon shooters, espresso shooters, ding dong cakes and cannelloni.  The couple shared a small personal wedding cake, fittingly topped with a pine cone and decorated in bark-like frosting.

Correen’s advice to couples planning to wed: “It really doesn’t have to be that stressful.  Don’t get stressed, breathe, and have people help.  Have family help you, have friends help you.”  It’s a conviction Correen and Kellen took to heart.  Their celebration was a festive tribute not only to the alpine setting of Kellen’s hometown, but also to family, both past and present.


Vendor Credits:

Photographer – Jeramie Lu Photography  |  Venue – Twenty Mile House  |  Bride’s Dress – Calla Blanche  |  Ring – Diamond Vault  |  Bride’s Shoes – Betsey Johnson  |  Bridesmaids’ Dresses –  Birdy Grey  |  Hairstylist – Maddison Bland  |  Makeup – Nikki Scheerer  |  Florist – Gray’s Flower Garden  |  Caterer – Pangaea Catering  |  Cake – Grandma Jane’s Place  |  Invitations – Minted  |  DJ – Jon Alder, DJ’s in Reno  |  Videographer – Little Wild

The Best of Tahoe Weddings for 2020

In 2020, we learned to love a little deeper, to cherish the things that matter most, and to connect with each other in ways we never had before. While weddings may have changed, we made the most out of everything this year gave us. Many might say that this year tested them in ways that no other year before had done, but in the end, we still found something worth celebrating. Here’s a look back on some of the best moments that 2020 gave us here at Tahoe Engaged, and the incredible couples and vendors who brought them to life.


Amazing Tahoe Weddings


Love Conquers COVID

Marisa and Dacklin’s love story played out quite like your favorite romantic comedy, with the perfect ‘meet-cute’ in an airport and endless adventures together. They got engaged at the end of 2019 and began planning their perfect wedding. But when COVID-19 hit and the world shut down in March, their plans quickly changed. Marisa, being a reptile biologist, takes the science behind the pandemic very seriously and did not want to plan an event that could put people at risk. She conducted endless research and planned a meticulous and socially distant wedding that allowed everyone to celebrate safely. From bubble guns to maracas to reduce droplets, socially distant tables and individually packaged meals, accommodating vendors and respectful guests, Marisa and Dacklin’s wedding was a celebration to remember. 

Lake Tahoe real weddings 2020 - Marisa and Dacklin at The Hideout

Vendor Credits

Venue: The HideOut  |  Photographer: Sarah Rittenour Photography  |  Videographer: Vow + Covenant  |  Zoom Coordinator: Wedfuly  |  Flowers (wedding party, arch, centerpieces): Inspirations by Gina  |  Decor for Ceremony Aisle: Mama Earth Farm with arrangement by Cynthia Shambaugh  |  Lavender: Bluestone Meadow Farm  |  Masks: Marissa D Poulin Designs   |  Cake: Sugarcoated Cupcakes  |  Beverages: BevMo (South Lake Tahoe)  |  Bride’s Dress: Emerald City Gowns  |  Tailoring: Lammay  |    |  Hair and Makeup: Rah Hair Studio  |  Rentals: Premier Event Rentals  |  Rehearsal Dinner Food: Ray’s Take n’ Bake Pizza  |  Wedding Dinner Food: Swingle Meat Co., Mama Earth Farm


Eloping to the Top of Tahoe

Liz and Matt were originally going to have a family-only, 20-person ceremony in South Lake Tahoe in July 2020. They had already done quite a bit of planning when the coronavirus brought an abrupt halt to their progress. They hemmed and hawed for a few months about what to do.  After giving themselves the space to grieve the loss of their original plans, they decided to move forward with their lives and elope!  Liz later confided, “I’d always secretly found the idea of eloping so romantic.” Liz and Matt used their elopement as a chance to really get away and enjoy each other. With endless possibilities, they chose Lake Tahoe. They knew that they wanted their wedding day to include hiking, their dog, music, and drinks at sunset. Their photographers, VILD Photography, found the perfect mountaintop location. Liz and Matt hopped in their Jeep with Louie, their canine companion, and said “I do” as the sunset over the Sierras.  

Lake Tahoe wedding elopement 2020 - Liz and Matt

Vendor Credits

Photographer:  VILD Photography  |  Florist:  Twine Floral Co.  |  Hair Stylist:  Rah Hair Studio  |  Bride’s Dress:  Show Me Your Mumu  |  Groom’s Attire:  Indochino  |  Ring Designer:  Ben Shemano Jewelry


A Heavenly Experience

Two adventurers at heart, Jason and Angela spent 7 incredible years traveling and growing together. Jason planned the perfect engagement after a rigorous trek with Angela to Mt. Everest Base Camp. At just over 17,000 feet, the trek to Base Camp was one of the most intense and challenging feats they’d ever accomplished together, but it was one they’ll never forget. To keep the adventure flowing, they decided to get married at the top of Heavenly Mountain in Lake Tahoe. They planned an entire weekend of festivities for their guests and their sweet corgi, Basil, even made an appearance in the ceremony. It was truly to most epic Lake Tahoe day!

Lake Tahoe real weddings - Jason and Angela at Heavenly

Vendor Credits

Venue and Catering: Heavenly  |  Photographer: VILD Photography  |  Florist: South Lake Tahoe Enchanted Florist  |  DJ: Cornerstone Entertainment  |  Cake: Flour Girl Wedding Cakes


A Celebration for All Seasons

It’s been said before that rain on a wedding day is good luck. If that’s the case, then Tara and Aaron’s wintry wonderland celebration – which included rain, slush, and snow – must have meant infinite luck and prosperity. Tara and Aaron’s romance began as a whirlwind. They met at a party and quickly fell for each other. Aaron travels frequently for work and soon after they began talking, they jetted off to Hawaii together. The rest is history. Tara and Aaron chose Truckee’s Lodge at Tahoe Donner for their nuptials on what was meant to be a sunny afternoon in September. Mother Nature had other plans. Experiencing 3 seasons in one day, they were forced to bring their wedding indoors, but that didn’t slow them down! They celebrated with the ones they love under the cover of a tent with lawn games and popcorn for the bride who doesn’t love sweets. It was a day they’ll never forget!


Real weddings - Tahoe Donner

Vendor Credits

Venue & Catering: The Lodge at Tahoe Donner  |  Bride’s Gown: Swoon Bridal  |  Cake & Desserts:  Lake Tahoe Cakes  |  Floral Designer: Love and Lupines  |  Photographer: KSL Wedding  |  Wedding Planner:  Marcella Camille Events 


Fantastic Tahoe Vendors


Inspirations by Gina

Gina Lett Shrewsberry discovered her love for floral design by way of her event planning business. She began by offering florals as a part of her wedding packages but loved it so much she made the full time shift over to floral design. Though this year has meant she’s had to adjust her sails, Gina welcomed the challenge. She’s used her time this year wisely, offering delivery and personalized floral arrangements as well as designing for much smaller events and elopements. She puts extra love and care into her designs, and loves to create something truly unique and awe-inspiring. 

Lake Tahoe wedding vendor spotlight - Inspirations by Gina


Blue Sky Events

Kerry of Blue Sky Events began her career in event planning working at Zephyr Cove Resort as a college student at the University of Pittsburgh. After meeting her now-husband, Jason, and receiving her dream job offer from Zephyr Cove Resort, she made the permanent move to Lake Tahoe. Jason and Kerry eventually decided to go into business for themselves, and so Blue Sky Events was born. The two grew their business into an event planning powerhouse, planning events around the area as well as up and down the West Coast for companies such as Google. Though the 2020 season is unprecedented for them, Kerry believes that they can endure anything. She misses creating beautiful events terribly, but looks forward to a bustling 2021 season doing what she loves most.

Lake Tahoe wedding planners - Blue Sky Events


Swoon Bridal

Michelle of Swoon Bridal inherited her love for ‘beautiful things’ from her mother, Kendyl. After working in bridal in the Bay Area, she returned to Reno/Tahoe to share her love with local brides. A year after her mother passed away in 2008, she opened the doors to Swoon Bridal in Reno in her memory. Michelle and the Swoon team take pride in the diversity of their hand-curated collection, bringing designers from all over the world into the area. Through the pandemic, they’ve discovered unique ways to continue to cater to their special brides from virtual appointments to socially distanced dress fittings. Michelle and her team continue to live by the motto ‘love isn’t cancelled’ and look forward to seeing their new brides married in the new year. 

Reno-Tahoe wedding vendors - Swoon bridal salon


Northstar at Tahoe

Nestled atop the Sierra Nevada mountains sits the Zephyr Lodge, with panoramic views and wide-open spaces of everything that the Lake Tahoe region has to offer. Northstar at Tahoe’s wedding destination is built with reclaimed materials and boasts an epic dining hall and patio that can accommodate up to 300 guests. Northstar also offers all-inclusive wedding weekend packages, making it simple for their couples to leave much of the planning to the pros while enjoying their weekend with family and friends. In addition to mountaintop nuptials, Northstar offers a multitude of entertaining activities both on-site and in the area during the summer months. Fun-filled favorites include golf, mountain biking, youth activities, swimming, retail shopping, and dining. Its proximity to Lake Tahoe also makes it the perfect destination to celebrate your Lake Tahoe wedding!

Lake Tahoe wedding venues - Northstar


A Safe Landing at Edgewood

Tim and Kelly met online, as many couples in the digital age do. They got together for ‘quick drink’ on a Tuesday night. What was intended to be a casual meeting turned into 5 hours of wine and banter. The chemistry was there from the start, and that ‘quick drink’ was the beginning of a truly adventurous relationship. Their wedding website mentions, “Kelly liked to say…she was only using Tim for his free flights on United and the laundry machine in his apartment. Tim would say Kelly was his personal tour guide to the city.” Two months after they began dating, Kelly traveled to meet Tim’s family in Ohio. A month later, they headed to Egypt, where they discovered a love of traveling together. Since Tim is a pilot for United Airlines, they have been able to travel to unique and beautiful places all over the world. Until, of course, COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.  Feeling the pressure of the unknown and a desire to be safe, Tim and Kelly decided to plan their wedding sooner rather than later. They selected a date in June in Lake Tahoe.Lake Tahoe safe wedding at Edgewood - ceremony, bouquet and couple on pier

The two had a trip planned to go to Costa Rica for her birthday last year, and Kelly caught the hint that Tim might propose. The week before their planned vacation, Tim and Kelly decided to take a camping trip to Big Sur on the California Coast. To Kelly’s surprise, Tim dropped to one knee and asked her for forever as the sunset over the Pacific. In a comical turn of events, their cockapoo puppy ventured off on his own in the emotion of the moment. When Tim and Kelly finally realized he was gone, a couple who were also walking on the beach returned him to his newly-engaged parents. Not wanting to interrupt, the strangers waited with him patiently, mentioning they were more than happy to watch the darling pup during the festivities. 

Edgewood Lake Tahoe Wedding reception tablesEdgewood Tahoe safe wedding - couple kissing after ceremonyEdgewood Tahoe wedding date changed to be safeEdgewood Tahoe wedding - flowers by Create with T - Blue Lotus Photographywedding at Edgewood Tahoe - table centerpiece by Create with Tlakeside wedding ceremony at Edgewood Tahoe - bride reads vowstoasting couple from safe distance at Lake Tahoe weddingEdgewood Tahoe wedding newlyweds walking on beachLake Tahoe wedding - Blue Lotus Photography - candles and table decorEdgewood Tahoe lakefront ceremony with social distancingEdgewood Tahoe wedding table decor by Create with TEdgewood Tahoe wedding couple on pierEdgewood Tahoe wedding - ceremony floral structures by Create with T - Blue Lotus Photography


Kelly is originally from Georgia and Tim is from Ohio, but they currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tahoe is a special place for them as they both enjoy skiing Heavenly together each winter. Heavenly became their dream location to say ‘I do’. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the area, the California side of Lake Tahoe remained locked down through much of the summer. Their original wedding date was June 20th, and to be safe with restrictions, it was pushed to July 19th. Two weeks before Tim and Kelly’s Heavenly nuptials were set to take place, the venue had to cancel. But the incredible Lake Tahoe wedding community came together to give Tim and Kelly their dream day. The team at Heavenly assisted them in finding Edgewood Tahoe Resort to host their wedding, which is located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. They pared the guest list down from 88 to the approved 50 people and went with the flow, hosting their ceremony lakeside rather than high atop Heavenly. 

Tim and Kelly took the appropriate precautions to keep their guests safe. They placed the chairs during the ceremony 6 ft apart and guests maintained distance where necessary. Kelly’s best friend was their ceremony officiant, and Kelly was the officiant at her wedding last year. Kelly originally ordered her gown through Novella in San Francisco, but due to the virus, her dress would not make it in time for the wedding. She made the decision to go to Gesinee’s Bridal in Concord, CA to purchase her dress because San Francisco was shut down at the time. 

On a breezy, sunny afternoon in July, Tim and Kelly said ‘I do’ on the shores of pristine Lake Tahoe. It was the perfect evening with the people Tim and Kelly love most in one of their favorite places. All of their wedding vendors worked seamlessly to make Tim and Kelly’s day incredibly special: the captain of their rehearsal dinner cruise on the Safari Rose; their florist, Tahoe Engaged Member Create with T; their photographers, Blue Lotus Photography; and the staff of both Edgewood and Heavenly.  Everyone was committed to making their Lake Tahoe wedding dreams a reality in an uncertain world.  

Lake Tahoe safe wedding at Edgewood


Vendor Credits:

Venue & Catering: Edgewood Tahoe  |  Photographer:  Blue Lotus Photography  |  Florist:  Create with T  |  Bride’s Dress: Gesinee’s Bridal  |  Music: Jeff Jones  |  Rehearsal Dinner: Safari Rose



Eloping to the Top of Tahoe

Liz and Matt were originally going to have a family-only, 20-person ceremony in South Lake Tahoe in July 2020. They had already done quite a bit of planning when the coronavirus brought an abrupt halt to their progress. They hemmed and hawed for a few months about what to do.  After giving themselves the space to grieve the loss of their original plans, they decided to move forward with their lives and elope!  Liz later confided, “I’d always secretly found the idea of eloping so romantic.”

Liz and Matt’s photographers, M and Rob with VILD Photography, helped them find a spectacular alpine setting to wed in true Tahoe style.  And of course, they also photographed (and even officiated) the couple’s mountaintop marriage.


After she came down to earth from her amazing nuptial experience, Liz was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific
theme or style?

Since we were eloping, the possibilities were really endless. Did we want to hike? Go to the spa? Chill on the beach? It was totally up to us. Matt and I knew that we wanted to hang out with our dog, have some drinks, listen to some music, and watch the sun go down.  (This is basically our weekend routine living in SF.) Our photographer took that information and scouted a completely awesome mountaintop location.  While it was tricky to get to, we have a Jeep Wrangler, so we could get there!

The entire vibe of our day was adventurous, casual, spontaneous, and rustic.  I threw on my hiking boots after our ceremony, we popped champagne, and watched the jaw-droppingly beautiful sunset.  We got to hang out with our dog.  We filled in the details as we went, and the evening flowed so organically.  We NEVER could have enjoyed that moment, in that location, together if family had been there.  It all worked out the way it was supposed to.  

Let’s talk wedding decor.  How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the

Well, given our nontraditional elopement on top of a mountain, there wasn’t much to consider in terms of decor.  And that’s exactly why we did it that way.  I was never interested in having a big wedding (our pre-COVID plan only originally involved immediate family).  When we changed our plan to truly elope, there was nothing to think about other than what we were wearing and where we were going.  It’s cliché, but it really allowed us to focus on each other and be present in the moment, not fussing over external details.  Our “decor” wound up being Lake Tahoe views, alpine forests, mountain vistas, and a pink and orange sunset.

What were the florals like in your wedding?  Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

After stripping down our ceremony and deciding to elope, I knew one of the only things I still wanted to make me feel like a “bride” was a big, rustic wedding bouquet.  My vision for the bouquet was an “undone” look, with pops of color and quintessential elements of California (such as pampas grass). Andi from Twine & Dandy brought my vision to life beyond my wildest dreams.  She curated bright blue delphiniums and red ranunculus, with orange and pink touches and a few dusty elements to soften the palette.  She called it my “Tahoe Sunset” bouquet.  It was massive and asymmetrical, which lent itself to that wild, “undone” vibe I wanted.  Andi also wrapped a piece of my mother’s wedding veil around the stems—a personal touch that meant so much to me (especially without our families physically present).  In addition to the bouquet, we did a boutonniere for my husband and a flower hair piece for my updo. This bouquet ended up being such a large part of our pictures and really matched the adventurous, spontaneous vibe of our elopement.  I felt so special carrying those flowers around that mountain.

Did you personalize the day in any way? What were
some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

Our sunset elopement had a few special touches 🙂 Our dog, Louie, wore a blue bowtie from The Foggy Dog.  We brought champagne glasses from my brother and sister-in-law and a bottle of vintage Dom from my parents.  We also drank Labatt Blues (a tribute to Matt’s hometown of Buffalo) and Sam Adams beers (a tribute to my Boston stomping ground).  We got to give our dog lots of kisses and watch him run around like a maniac across the mountaintop. The best part of our wedding? Driving down off the mountain in the dark, with the top down on our Jeep, blasting Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.”

How did you both choose your wedding day look? 

Well, I never had a really specific vision for how I wanted to look on my wedding day.  Unlike a lot of other women, I had never daydreamed about a particular dress or “fashion moment.” Once Matt and I got engaged and started planning our original ceremony, I thought I might even wear blue instead of white.  When COVID happened, I realized that it was going to be really difficult to try on dresses with SF in lockdown and no boutiques open.  

But then I had a thought: if we are eloping and I don’t have family there to help me maneuver a traditional wedding dress (AND I want to be comfortable if we’re riding in our Jeep up a mountain), I’m not going to be relaxed in a big, fussy gown.  And I knew that the ONE thing I wanted to feel on our wedding day, given our unique elopement circumstances, was to feel PRESENT and relaxed. So I decided to order a few dresses online from Show Me Your Mumu, tried them on in my living room in front of my husband (we’re not super traditional!), and picked a short dress with flowy, lace sleeves.  I bought some simple sandals from Soludo’s, some jewelry from Mejuri and Rellery, and had my little cousin paint my jean jacket with a classic Tahoe illustration.  (Her name is Daisy Gulla and she’s an amazing artist. ) The Blundstones and high socks were a completely spontaneous, last-minute decision on the day of our wedding, but, again, I knew I wanted to be comfortable.  I’m so glad I threw them in my bag because those boots are my signature look and the pictures are that much more “us.”

My husband bought a custom suit from Indochino (and did two road trips to Sacramento just to find a showroom that could do measurements during COVID). He opted for a beautiful, deep linen blue that complements his blue eyes.

What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

I think the most special moment of the elopement was getting to the top and seeing the views—and then having that space all to ourselves.  We were so immersed in the natural beauty of the location that it took our breath away.  It was a bit overcast at the start of our ceremony, but as Matt started reading his vows, the sun emerged from behind the clouds and beamed directly down onto us.  As we drank champagne and the sun started to go down, we were basically just continually gasping at how beautiful the sky looked. Marrying Matt was the best day of my life, but to do it in such a unique way—in SUCH a beautiful location—was by far the coolest part.

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other
couples planning their day?

As a “COVID couple,” Matt and I chose to look at the pandemic—and ultimate decision to elope rather than postpone our original ceremony—as a silver lining.  While it was bittersweet not to have family there, eloping the way we did was so romantic.  Everything stripped away.  Just us and Louie (and the amazing Rob and M, who were our photographers, wedding planners, location scouts, and hiking buddies all wrapped into one).  Neither one of us had ever felt so present as we did on our wedding night.  It was the most meaningful way to enter our marriage, standing on a mountaintop alone. All the bells and whistles of a more traditional ceremony are great, and those things may mean a lot to some folks, but at the end of the day, it’s really just about you and your partner. If I could tell engaged couples anything, it would be not to sweat the small stuff.  Constantly reminding ourselves about what the day was REALLY all about—marrying each other—kept us positive and sane. When you’re looking into each other’s eyes, reading vows, you realize that none of the small stuff matters at all.


Vendor Credits:

Photographer:  VILD Photography  |  Florist:  Twine Floral Co.  |  Hair Stylist:  Rah Hair Studio  |  Bride’s Dress:  Show Me Your Mumu  |  Groom’s Attire:  Indochino  |  Ring Designer:  Ben Shemano Jewelry

Celebrating Safely – Love Conquers COVID

An Intimate Yet Socially Distanced Wedding

On September 5, 2020, during some of the most uncertain times, Marisa and Dacklin promised each other forever, surrounded by their socially distanced loved ones in one of the most unique places on Earth, The HideOut in Kirkwood, California.  Their warmhearted (and COVID-free!) wedding celebration was delightfully captured by Sarah Rittenour Photography.


How Their Relationship Began

Marisa is a reptile biologist who travels the world studying snakes. Dacklin is a visual effects artist who works on Hollywood productions. Being that movies are a big part of their lives, it’s only fitting that Marisa and Dacklin’s love story unfolded much like some of our favorite ‘Rom-Coms’.

In 2015, Dacklin had just moved up to San Francisco from Los Angeles. Missing his family and friends, he celebrated his 30th birthday by taking a trip to Southern California for a visit. In the perfect “meet cute” manner, he crossed paths with Marisa at the airport, where she teased him for leaving his Ray Bans sitting out as he went to throw his trash away.

At first Marisa didn’t think she and Dacklin were the perfect fit, so she actually set him up with a friend of hers, but that didn’t work out. After a close relationship as friends, they grew even closer, adventuring all over the world, and eventually moving in together in San Francisco. They each adopted their own cat, and Marisa warned that once the cats became friends, they couldn’t be separated. Luckily for the cats, and Marisa and Dacklin, it was never an issue. Dacklin eventually popped the question after a snorkeling trip in Maui, and all that was left was to make it forever.

How the Wedding Came Together

Though Dacklin had proposed in November 2019, he was on set of a major production until March 2020, right when the world shut down due to COVID-19. Marisa got a little “quarantine crazy”, as she calls it, and decided to plan their nuptials in the middle of a global pandemic. Being a biologist, Marisa took the threat of COVID-19 very seriously, following the situation closely through the media and in the science world. An indoor venue was out of the question, but she knew that if they had the right outdoor venue, and could get everyone to participate in proper social distancing, they could very well pull off the wedding of their dreams!

Marisa discovered The HideOut in 2018 during a fishing trip with her father, and she knew it was the perfect outdoor space to say “I do”. So the couple sent out a Google Form with questions to family and friends, to gauge interest as well as learn more about how comfortable their potential guests would be with certain elements of the wedding. They then made a YouTube video “pitching” their nuptial ideas, further explaining precautions they would be taking to ensure the safety of all parties involved. To their surprise, everyone was enthusiastically “in.” Marisa got right to work and planned the entire wedding in 5 weeks completely on her own!

The Celebration

Every aspect of Marisa and Dacklin’s wedding had to be planned around safety. If social distance and mask-wearing were maintained, the risk of aerosol and respiratory droplet transmission was low. Most of the guests were camping on site and all events were outdoors. Dancing was replaced by movie nights. Shared surfaces were minimized by creating boxes for each quarantine group to stage plates and utensils while not in use. Each guest was provided a metal tumbler labeled with their name to help prevent mistaking each other’s drinks. Maracas were provided during the ceremony to replace cheers for the happy couple. Even the guest book was in the form of a large puzzle (everyone was given a piece to sign).

The HideOut was the perfect place to accommodate everything Marisa and Dacklin needed to have a celebration in the Lake Tahoe wilderness while also keeping everyone they love safe. The venue has 4 ovens, 2 grills, 3 kitchens, 3 large refrigerators, and chest freezers for ice. The HideOut also installed new COVID measures of their own, with hand washing and sanitizing stations scattered throughout the property.

In selecting service providers, both Marisa and Dacklin wanted to support small, local, women-owned businesses in the area. Marissa D Poulin Designs provided handmade masks for guests with a custom sunflower fabric, as sunflowers and lavender were chosen to be the floral theme.

Inspirations by Gina brought Marisa’s vision for the perfect bouquet to life with a gorgeous arrangement that included multiple types and sizes of her trademark sunflower with stasis to add purple accents. Gina wanted the florals to flow beautifully with the landscape of The HideOut, so she added in unique textures like globe thistle to give the arrangements a rustic but delicate feel. Marisa also purchased more local flowers and vegetables from Mama Earth Farm. Marisa’s mother then assembled additional arrangements with locally grown flowers in rustic milk jugs to line the aisle.

Marisa originally had trouble figuring out what to do for food options that were safe for their guests, and many vendors were either busy that weekend or unable to get to the HideOut. For dinner Friday night, Marisa and Dacklin went into Pioneer and purchased pizzas from Ray’s Take and Bake, and each table was able to enjoy their own pie. Marisa purchased chicken from Swingle Meat Co. in Jackson, CA, which Dacklin’s brother in law barbecued for the wedding dinner, accompanied by local vegetables from Mama Earth Farm. As a no-contact breakfast option, Marisa made eight different types of individually packaged oatmeal that guests could simply add water and eat.

BevMo in South Lake Tahoe was able to deliver all of the beverages to The HideOut. For desserts, Sugarcoated Cupcakes prepared five different flavors of individually packaged cupcakes, handmade with love. Dacklin was especially partial to the Chicken & Waffle flavor.

Marisa ensured that guests were kept safe by creating to-scale maps for seating with proper space between parties, chairs, and tables. Each quarantine group was at its own table, and they rented two-top cocktail tables for the smaller parties to maintain an intimate vibe. Marisa and Dacklin sent out a written letter to each of their guests in attendance requesting everyone to acknowledge each other’s space and comfort level to protect both physical and mental health. They were delighted that all of their in-person guests were extremely accommodating and respectful.

An online option for the ceremony was essential, as Dacklin’s parents were unable to attend in person. Over 60 of their guests were able to tune in virtually through Wedfuly. Even their Officiant, Dacklin’s uncle, was remotely in attendance to marry them. Dacklin worked diligently to make sure the ceremony would translate well on the virtual platform using The HideOut’s satellite internet. Fortunately everything went smoothly!

Though these times are uncertain, love has the power to prevail above all else. Marisa and Dacklin’s wedding was not only an incredibly thoughtful representation of their love for each other, but the high level of respect that they have for those they love the very most. With each detail carefully thought out and executed, this perfect wedding celebration was an amazing experience amidst a global pandemic. Everyone remained safe and happy and left the weekend full to the brim with love and cherished memories. Congratulations to Marisa and Dacklin!

Vendor Credits

Venue: The HideOut  |  Photographer: Sarah Rittenour Photography  |  Videographer: Vow + Covenant  |  Zoom Coordinator: Wedfuly  |  Flowers (wedding party, arch, centerpieces): Inspirations by Gina  |  Decor for Ceremony Aisle: Mama Earth Farm with arrangement by Cynthia Shambaugh  |  Lavender: Bluestone Meadow Farm  |  Masks: Marissa D Poulin Designs   |  Cake: Sugarcoated Cupcakes  |  Beverages: BevMo (South Lake Tahoe)  |  Bride’s Dress: Emerald City Gowns  |  Tailoring: Lammay  |    |  Hair and Makeup: Rah Hair Studio  |  Rentals: Premier Event Rentals  |  Rehearsal Dinner Food: Ray’s Take n’ Bake Pizza  |  Wedding Dinner Food: Swingle Meat Co., Mama Earth Farm