Tahoe Wedding Entertainment Takes a Big Leep Forward

A horse and carriage, a bagpiper and two drummers parading down the road would certainly turn the head of any passerby on Highway 28 in Lake Tahoe.  But to Jeff Leep, it was simply all in a day’s work.

The groom in this Indian wedding wanted to arrive at the ceremony in style.  He and his best man rode in a horse-drawn carriage, with a fleet of limos trailing behind them while, ahead of them, a marching bagpiper, snare drummer and bass drummer led the procession in festive fashion.  The musicians were carefully selected and procured for this grandest of grand entrances. 

It’s a role Jeff Leep relishes as booking agent for a wide variety of entertainment through his Reno/Tahoe-based company, Leep Entertainment.  “I love making a party great!” enthuses Jeff, who also happens to be a band leader and a versatile musician who plays the saxophone and flute.

Jeff Leep on the saxophone - Tahoe wedding entertainment

Jeff calls himself the “Rosetta Stone” of musical entertainment, because, according to him, he decodes the potentially overwhelming and confusing world of musical entertainment to unacquainted brides and grooms. In turn, after procuring the right musician, DJ or performer for the couple, he helps the entertainers understand the couple’s needs from a buyer’s standpoint.  “I can interpret the needs of both sides and create a great deal, a win-win situation for everybody,” he said. 

Jeff’s mother was an opera singer, so he started out in the classical music world as a bassoon player for the Reno Philharmonic.  In his mid-twenties, he branched out to jazz and rock ’n’ roll, performing in a variety of bands. 

It was during that time that he discovered he had an aptitude for business. “I saw other band leaders making all kinds of mistakes in these little bar bands, in dealing with the owners and whatnot,” Jeff recalls. “And so I then decided to become a band leader and became successful at it.”

Eventually, in the early 1990s, Jeff opened a talent agency in Reno, booking his own band, other bands, DJs, and a variety of talent, such as classical pianists, caricature artists and strolling magicians.

Strolling Magician from Leep Entertainment

Today, Leep Entertainment provides musical entertainment to corporate events, high-end social parties, traveling shows with big-name performers, Broadway touring shows… and, of course, weddings.

Their weddings run the gamut from three-hour nuptials in mother’s backyard to seven-hour celebrations at major hotels, but each event is unique, Jeff explains.  “We don’t just use a formula and stamp out the same type of wedding every time.  We make it unusual, different and customized to the brides and grooms’ needs.  The bride generally will have an idea in her mind. And we help her be able to create that vision as best we can within her budget.”

Lake Tahoe wedding guests dancing to Leep Entertainment DJ

Selecting the best possible entertainment for a wedding couple often requires fine tuning, and “I’m like a human resources director,” Jeff says.  “Let’s say they want a piano player. Well, I’ve got ten different piano players that I can bring in.  Do they want classical, do they want Broadway, do they want jazz, do they want rock ’n’ roll, do they want somebody who could sing?  You know, all those things that buyers have never thought about before.”

Regardless of the choices his couples make, Jeff is very confident with the entertainment he provides, whether it be his own band or somebody else. “I only hire the very best people, the very best DJs, the very best musicians. I trust them like solid gold that they’re going to take care of the brides and grooms,” he says.

That’s certainly music to a wedding couple’s ears.

Wedding couple dancing to Leep Entertainment music


Jeff Leep’s Top Tips for the Nearly-Weds Planning Their Big Day

  1. Invest in entertainment.

After procuring big-ticket items like the venue and the food and beverage, couples would do well to budget for music, Jeff believes.  “The music is going to set the flavor.  It’s one of the things people are going to remember most about the wedding,” he says.

The pièce de résistance is when guests come up to the bride and say, “’You know, we had a great time tonight.  The food was great.  But where did you get that DJ or where did you get that band? They were outstanding!’  It makes everybody feel good, and the bride’s getting compliments from her own guests,” Jeff remarks.  “That’s what everybody remembers, the entertainment.”

Leep Entertainment DJ - Lake Tahoe wedding

  1. Consider the ages of your guests.

Selecting music for all age groups—a little bit of Sinatra, Dean Martin or the Glen Miller Orchestra for the grandparents, selections from the ‘60s, ‘70s or ‘80s for the parents, as well as the songs favored by the bride and groom and their friends—can go a long way toward guest satisfaction, he said.

“In my opinion, the best weddings have music that allows each age group to have at least something that they can relate to,” Jeff observes.  “When you’re planning your music, don’t forget people that are older and younger than you are.”

  1. Have a solid emcee.

A master of ceremonies is essential to keep the guests informed and help with the flow of the event, according to Jeff.

“The power of the microphone is incredibly important because you want to let the guests know what’s going on in the reception and cocktail hour.  You have to have an effective and concise person at the microphone.  An effective and great master of ceremonies will talk and make simple announcements, usually one or two sentences.”

These announcements, for instance, could include the arrival of the wedding couple to the dance floor or when the buffet line will open.  Good DJ’s will not only supply the musical entertainment, but will be able to skillfully emcee the reception as well.

  1. Hire a professional.

Jeff recommends investing in a seasoned professional if your budget allows, versus having that “friend from college” deejay your wedding for free.  The advantages to hiring a professional are many, beginning with experience, skill and the ability to read a crowd.

Jeff explains that before the wedding, when consulting with a DJ or band, the wedding couple should provide a “must playlist” and a “no playlist.”  The “must playlist” will detail all the special songs the couple wants to hear, but the “no playlist” will consist of forbidden songs.

YMCA, according to Jeff, is a classic example of a song that can pop up on either playlist.  “For some people, if you don’t play YMCA, they’re going to be mad.  And for other people: ‘if you play YMCA, we’re going to have to choke you,’” he chuckled.

“But then in the middle, there is this gray area.  And this gray area is where the DJ or band needs to be able to use their judgement,” he continued.  “A great DJ or a great band leader like we have at Leep Entertainment will be able to what they call ‘read the crowd.’ 

“It means they’re looking out.  They don’t know (ahead of time) what kind of guests you’re going to have.  Sometimes it’s all one type of people and one age group.  Usually, it’s a variety of people.  Sometimes, it’s people from other countries.  Or half the audience is Italian.  This might alter the songs outside of the ‘must playlist’ and ‘no playlist,’ the songs that the DJ has discretion to be able to choose, that they think is best.  You’re going to trust the DJ to make the proper selections at the proper moment.  That’s reading the crowd.”

The professionalism will also extend to conduct and appearance, such as adhering to a no-alcohol policy while working or making sure to dress in keeping with the style of the wedding, whether it be a formal affair or a luau.

Jeff Leep Orchestra performing

Last but not least, all musicians, DJ’s and performers should be properly licensed and insured, which is a requirement of many venues.

 

These are all standards that Jeff Leep holds for himself as well as the professionals that Leep Entertainment supplies to its clients.  Jeff remarks, “I have no worries, knowing that I’ve provided the very best talent to the brides and grooms for their wedding, and that makes me feel good at night.”

 

Photos courtesy of Pink Frog Marketing Solutions.

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.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Lake Tahoe Weddings

Typically, this time of the year means back-to-back weddings for professionals in the Lake Tahoe wedding and events industry. However, 2020 is certainly not a typical year. With the impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, weddings have come to a screeching halt in the capacity that we are used to, save for elopements and some smaller ceremonies.

The wedding industry is a complex structure of unique businesses, each providing a piece in the intricate puzzle that is the perfect event, a truly tailored and curated experience for each couple. Many service providers in the Lake Tahoe area have had to reinvent their business structure in order to stay afloat. Some are bracing themselves for the impact of what a slow season could mean to their future, but all are remaining as positive as possible. 

In an effort to capture their voices, we interviewed members of the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group (TWIG) to learn more about their individual experiences. Here are their responses and comments, in their own words.

 

Have you been able to do any weddings this season yet?

 

  • 83% answered Yes.
  • 17% answered No.

 

 

How has your 2020 wedding season been affected by COVID-19?

 

Michelle Morton, Operations and Sales Manager for Valhalla Tahoe

  • Valhalla Tahoe is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic Heller Estate while hosting cultural events like weddings, concerts and plays. Like many wedding vendors and concert venues, we’ve lost or moved more than 96% of 2020 revenue. This has been difficult for all our couples whose dream weddings had to be postponed or modified, and because we’re unable to make the upgrades and improvements to the property that were slated for this year.
wedding ceremony at Valhalla Lake Tahoe impacted by COVID-19
Photo: Michelle Morton, Valhalla Tahoe

 

Christa Deane, Officiant, Mountain High Weddings

  • Busiest summer I have had.

 

Michelle Depoali, Owner of Swoon… A Bridal Salon

  • Our brides have found many paths forward to a joyful union. We had many brides elope and are planning a large party next year, postpone to 2021, or embrace intimate gatherings of 50 of their favorite people.  It’s inspiring to see!

 

Cathy Becker, Manager of the North Tahoe Event Center

  • We have cancelled all of our wedding receptions in 2020.

 

 

If you were able to do any weddings, how were they different in the “new normal”?

 

Christy McDougal, Sales & Venue Manager at Tannenbaum Event Center

  • They are tiny, with masks and spaced tables.

 

Danell Wilson-Perlman, Managing Member of Reno Tahoe Limousine

  • They were much smaller and mostly held in outdoor areas, while being shorter ceremonies and receptions.

 

Charleton Churchill of Charleton Churchill Photography

  • More adventure elopements, less party weddings. Intimate and family gatherings, less money spent, etc.
wedding elopement under the stars - Charleton Churchill PhotographyPhoto: Charleton Churchill

 

 

What are you offering to your couples who are having to postpone or cancel their wedding dates?

 

Nancy Rice, Owner of Nancy Rice Artistry

  • We allow them to postpone within a full year without any penalties. Deposits are rolled over.
Nancy Rice Artistry - applying makeup for Lake Tahoe wedding

 

Cathy at North Tahoe Event Center

  • We postpone with no penalty, if they cancel we refund 50% of what they have paid, if we cancel we refund 95%.

 

Blanca & Brandon, Owners of Blanca & Brandon Photography

  • We are moving their retainer fee to 2021.

Lake Tahoe wedding couple kissing by the beach

Photo: Blanca & Brandon Photography

 

 

What are some changes you’ve made to your business as a result of COVID-19?

 

Michelle of Swoon Bridal

  • We have made so many changes–we are limiting guest count in our store and so our brides have to pick two of the most important people to them to attend and it has been a lot of fun for the brides and for us. It feels intimate and special and like we are planning something so wonderful to show the world at a later date.

 

Cathy at North Tahoe Event Center

  • We are prepared when we are allowed to re-open with our COVID plan in place.

 

 

How have you been spending your time in quarantine?

 

Erik Riekenberg, Owner of Epik Weddings & Events

  • Pivoting our packages to fit the times, helping couples move to new dates, working on our business, website, blogs, social media and finding ways to help others affected.
Epik Weddings - Lake Tahoe engagement photo - impact of COVID-19
Photo:  Epik Weddings & Events

 

Harpist Anne Roos

  • Teaching online harp lessons and performing livestream mini-concerts.

 

Danell of Reno Tahoe Limousine

  • Transportation remained a necessary business so we didn’t quarantine. However we did take the precautions needed to be safe during COVID-19.

 

Christy at Tannenbaum Event Center

  • Answering emails and giving private tours for 2021.

 

 

What is the best advice you’d give to 2020 couples who are facing uncertainty this year?

 

Michelle from Valhalla Tahoe

  • If you have to get married in 2020, be flexible and creative. Understand that things aren’t going to be exactly like you dreamed they were going to be. Things will look a little different, but it doesn’t change your love for one another. A wedding is two families coming together to celebrate becoming one. Show the love and respect you have for your friends and new family members by wearing masks when not eating, drinking or taking photos.

 

Erik of Epik Weddings & Events

  • Your love story is not cancelled. Let’s find a way to have the wedding of your dreams, even if it is smaller this year and a sequel reception next year.
Epik Weddings photography - engaged couple in lake - impacts of COVID-19
Photo:  Epik Weddings & Events

 

Danell of Reno Tahoe Limo

  • This pandemic isn’t going to last forever, being with your loved ones is going to help you through these tough times. Stick through, you’ll see it all pay off.

 

Charleton of Charleton Churchill Photography

  • Get married now, elope with a small group of close family and friends, then plan a massive party for guests who couldn’t attend.
couple by Lake at Edgewood Tahoe - wedding impacted by COVID-19
Photo: Charleton Churchill

 

 

As a business owner, what has been your saving grace during these trying times?

 

Christa of Mountain High Weddings

  • I can issue marriage licenses.

 

Blanca & Brandon of Blanca & Brandon Photography

  • Our amazing couples who are communicative, vendors that we can chat with, and the much appreciated “day off”.

 

Harpist Anne Roos

  • I am grateful for every day! Things could be sooooooo much worse. I have my health, I have food and a roof over my head. Life is good.
Anne Roos, Celtic Harp Music at small wedding ceremony Lake Tahoe
Photo:  Hall Creations Photography

 

Michelle from Valhalla Tahoe

  • Living in such an amazing place has been my saving grace. The ability to go out early in the morning or to catch an amazing sunset is worth its weight in gold. Talking to new 2021 couples has also been a saving grace. It’s good to hear hope and excitement in people’s voices. It has been hard to be the bearer of bad news, so being able to share joy again has been uplifting!
couple at sunset - Lake Tahoe wedding impacts from COVID-19
Photo:  Michelle Morton, Valhalla Tahoe

 

Nancy of Nancy Rice Artistry

  • Trusting god and knowing that as long as I have my health and my family has theirs, it will all be OK.
Nancy Rice Artistry - hair & makeup for Lake Tahoe weddings

 

As the response to the pandemic has put an end to large gatherings for the foreseeable future, the wedding industry, and many industries like it, has been severely affected.  Though these are uncertain times, one theme remains consistent throughout the industry – “love is not cancelled”.

A Celebrated Celtic Harp Virtuoso

In the Fall of 2016, Anne Roos first captured our attention with her gentle manner and thoughtfulness when she inquired about membership in the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group. Within days, Anne had completed the rigorous membership application process, receiving the highest of accolades from former clients and wedding industry colleagues.

Who is this impeccable lady with the cool Celtic harp and gorgeous hats?

Anne Roos with Celtic harp and hat

Anne Roos is a Los Angeles native who went to North Hollywood high, then slightly westward to UCLA, where she studied a seemingly unlikely duo – Math and Music.  But Anne was quick to point out, “Einstein played the violin, so it’s not such a strange combination!”

The love of music was instilled in Anne at an early age, as her father frequently took her to summertime concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.  Anne recalls, “I have fond memories of experiencing the L.A. Philharmonic performing classical works, watching the bows of the stringed instruments rhythmically undulate up and down.”   Professional musicianship also ran strong in relatives on her mother’s side of the family – a concert pianist, a jazz pianist, a guitarist, and another Celtic harpist in Israel.  So it’s obvious that Anne was born to be a musician!

An important turning point in her life came when Anne attended a Winter Solstice Festival, which included an exhibit booth populated with all kinds of Celtic harps. The woman in the booth said, “If you want to learn to play, I can rent a harp out to you and teach you.”  Anne remembers thinking to herself, “I have a stressful job. This is exactly what I need.”   The rest is history, as Anne got hooked on the harp and her wedding business was born!

Anne Roos Celtic Harp Lake Tahoe wedding

Now based in Lake Tahoe, Anne has been creating beautiful music for more than 30 years, with consistent 5-star ratings across social media platforms and a prestigious Grammy® Award to her credit.  She stays on top of the latest wedding music trends by perusing lists of popular downloads on iTunes, listening to “Wedding Music Radio” on Pandora, and checking out new movies containing song possibilities for weddings.  Anne adds, “Of course, when a couple requests a new song that is not in my repertoire, I quickly order up the sheet music online and create a harp arrangement.”

Anne Roos Celtic HarpPhoto:  Ciprian Photography

When asked what she loves most about working with wedding couples, Anne remarked: “I love the surprise element of creating music organically for weddings.  The experience leaves everyone in amazement and touches their hearts in ways that the original recording of the same song can’t duplicate.  Frequent feedback from guests is, ‘Wow! I didn’t know you could play THAT on the harp!’” From classical to Broadway, from Celtic to new age, from rock classics to heavy metal, Anne can do it all!

Anne Roos playing Celtic Harp at wedding Lake Tahoe

 

Selecting Music for Your Marriage

So what should you do for your wedding?  When guests first arrive at your wedding ceremony location, they are filled with anticipation for your big day ahead.  But if they are greeted with dead silence, it’s an awkward feeling. That’s why it’s important to have music in the air, to set the tone for your ceremony. It signifies that “something special” is about to happen.

Your ceremony venue may control the type of music selected for your auspicious occasion.  If you are in a house of worship, you may be required to abide by strict rules and regulations.  Check with your ceremony site before you have your heart set on a particular selection of music and musicians.

On the other hand, if your ceremony site is in the great outdoors of the Lake Tahoe region, you may select just about any kind of music that you love.  There are hundreds of options beyond “Here Comes the Bride,” so consider your favorite songs – whether Top 40’s or classics, just make it sing to you! 

No matter what kinds of tunes you choose, your ceremony is typically divided into five musical phases:

  1. The Prelude Music typically begins 30 minutes before the ceremony. For example, if your invitation indicates a four o’clock ceremony, begin your prelude music at 3:30 p.m. The music welcomes and entertains your guests as the excitement builds. Depending on the length of the songs, you will want to select up to ten pieces for your prelude music.
  2. The Processional Music is for the Wedding Party to make their grand entrance. This is where the “celebration” comes into play – you definitely want to get your guests’ attention. You typically will select three music pieces: one for your officiant, readers, and groom’s party; another selection for the bridesmaids; and a third selection for the bride’s magical moment as she walks down the aisle.
  3. During the Ceremony, you may have several opportunities to personalize your musical selections. You could have musicians playing if you choose to have a blending ritual or some other symbolic rite. Also, ask the musicians to play an interlude while readers are walking to and from their seats.  Another great moment for music is immediately following your exchange of vows and rings.
  4. The Recessional Music is played when the wedding couple exits back down the aisle as newlyweds. Making this piece lively and celebratory is definitely the way to go. Your attendants and parents may or may not walk out to this same selection; if not, select two recessional pieces.
  5. The bucks you paid for ceremony musicians shouldn’t stop here – they should continue playing the Postlude Music as your guests continue to file out of their seats. Festive music should continue until all guests have departed the ceremony area.

If you are planning to have live music for your Lake Tahoe wedding ceremony, please consider Anne Roos and her Celtic harp.  Her versatility makes her the perfect choice for every wedding.  And if you want to hear more, the harp harmonizes well with just about any instrument. Common choices are the flute, violin, and guitar, but Anne has also played with a piano, sax, percussion, and even a trumpet!  

Anne Roos with bride and Celtic Harp wedding Lake Tahoe

Your selection of ceremony musicians is of course dependent upon your personal tastes.  But in any case, music brings a sense of joy that amplifies the amazing experience of a wedding celebration.

 

Contact Anne Roos

Website:  HarpistAnneRoos.com

Email:  [email protected]

Phone:  530-541-2575

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.”

 

Vendor Credits

Photographer: Vild Photography  |  Venue: Edgewood Tahoe

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!

The Bridal Party After Hair & Makeup for Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe weddingAll 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. 

Bride getting ready with bridesmaids after hair and makeup

 

Qualifications

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. 

Bride hair and makeup from Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe wedding

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.

Bride smiling with groom after hair and makeup by Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe wedding Underwood PhotographyGlowing bride after hair and makeup by Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe wedding

 

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.

Bride looks fresh after hair and makeup by Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe wedding

 

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.

Trial appointment for hair and makeup with Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe wedding

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.

Bride posing for photos after hair and makeup by Love Is In The Hair Lake Tahoe wedding

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.