Elopement Lake Tahoe 2020

The Ultimate Guide For The Best Lake Tahoe Destination Wedding!

When it comes to planning a destination wedding the madness of it all can feel overwhelming at times. This is totally natural. After all, shouldn’t the point of getting married be the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, not strange family dynamics and which in-laws can’t sit near each other? As a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer, I have seen more than my fair share of awkward family moments at weddings so I totally get it! As a result, many couples can find themselves daydreaming about a stress-free elopement in the mountains where fresh air and cold champagne are the only things in attendance. However, your perfect wedding doesn’t have to just be a daydream, either, as Lake Tahoe elopement packages—even Lake Tahoe winter elopement packages—can be incredibly freeing for every bride and groom, and they can be readily inexpensive, especially compared to some of the big wedding alternatives. Let’s take a closer look at why going simpler—say, with a South Lake Tahoe elopement—might prove perfect for you two!

Lake Tahoe Wedding Photos

Best Time of Year To Get Married In Lake Tahoe

If you want to consider starting the next chapter of your life with elopement Lake Tahoe, two of the keys questions you’ll want to ask yourself are when—and then where. If you’re a snow sports person, then Lake Tahoe winter elopement packages might be your scene (and few things are more magical than a winter elopement Lake Tahoe style), but if you are interested in beaches, stand-up paddleboarding, or being out on the water, you’ll need to look at summer Lake Tahoe elopement packages. Both shoulder seasons have their appeal as well; changing colors can make a fall elopement Lake Tahoe magic and a spring wedding might allow you both beach photos and spring skiing or snowboarding. The other inviting reason to consider a shoulder season wedding? Venue prices and accommodations may be significantly more reasonable if you’re looking at planning your Lake Tahoe elopement on a budget.

Top 10 Lake Tahoe Wedding Venues

Of course, if you’re considering Lake Tahoe elopement packages, you’re hardly alone in doing so; when it comes to elopement locations, Lake Tahoe may be one of the most popular in the entire country. And rightfully so because Tahoe is f***ing gorgeous! As a result, it makes sense to do your research when it comes to looking at venues. These are our 10 best Lake Tahoe wedding venues, plus a few quick bonuses:

  1. Emerald Bay State Park. One of the most iconic spots on Lake Tahoe for good reason, Emerald Bay is also one of the most popular South Lake Tahoe elopement ceremony locations. While a ceremony-only location, the 600-acre state park offers both cliffside and scenic viewpoint locations that are spectacular settings for small ceremonies.
  2. Aboard a boat on Lake Tahoe. In the same spirit, if you and your bride or groom are tying the knot with just a few friends and families, doing so on a boat can be a great way to celebrate both your love and everything Tahoe has to offer, from the crystal-clear water surrounding you to the peaks above dotting the bright blue sky.
  3. Donner Lake. While some couples choose to have their ceremony on the lake, numerous venues are nearby, as well, the best of which is The Lodge at Tahoe Donner. Outdoor weddings are available from June into October, with the lodge’s warm interior spaces available for November-May weddings.
  4. The prettiest beach you can find. Some of our favorites? As far as private beaches go, Zephyr Cove and Lakeside Beach are both great. Reagan Beach offers both public and private options, meaning you can either reserve a private space for your ceremony or have a small celebration with just a handful of friends and family on the public beach at Reagan Beach Park. Of course, numerous other beach options exist, too, so if you’re looking at Lake Tahoe elopement packages keep in mind that we can help you find the perfect beach setting for you and your bride or groom.
  5. Sand Harbor. Not only does Sand Harbor offer one of the most photographed beaches in the Tahoe area, but between the Nevada State Park and private facilities, there are numerous venues that might work for you—from a small ceremony with family and friends all the way up to a big party!
  6. High Camp at Squaw Valley. The stunning lodge requires a 2,000-foot gondola ride to access and holding your ceremony on the Upper Deck guarantees some of the best 360-degree views in the Sierra Nevadas. The Terrace Room is perfect for your reception, too, with mountain chic decor and sweeping mountain and meadow views.
  7. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort. The iconic resort—often what comes to mind when people think of a Lake Tahoe wedding—offers a sprawling lawn perfect for spring or summer weddings or a mountain lodge ballroom for winter weddings—and with capacity for 400 guests, it’s one of the larger venues available. They also offer numerous Lake Tahoe elopement packages, so you can customize what works best for you.
  8. Black Bear Lodge. For cozy ambiance and charm, it’s hard to do better than the Black Bear Lodge’s gorgeous hand-hewn logs, river rock fireplace, and onsite cabins set amidst towering pines. It’s perfect for a winter celebration, too, with Lake Tahoe and Heavenly ski resorts just minutes away.
  9. Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe. With a range of options regardless of season (two elegant ballrooms, a charming slope-side meadow, an ethereal wooded area), the Ritz Carlton also offers floor-to-ceiling windows for majestic mountain vistas, all accented by wood-beam ceilings and wrought-iron chandeliers.
  10. Edgewood Tahoe. Offering one of the best sunset locations, they offer both ceremonies on the beach or on their lakefront deck—and the post-ceremony sunset wedding photographs are guaranteed fantastic, too!

Lake Tahoe Wedding Photos

Permit for Elopement Tahoe

Another consideration for your elopement Lake Tahoe? Permits! While many Lake Tahoe elopement packages may include any and all necessary permits in your bundled costs, it is important to note that you are responsible for acquiring the proper permits. If you are planning the elopement yourself you will need to consider whether or not your desired venue requires a permit. For instance, any outdoor wedding on National Forest System lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin unit requires you to have a special use permit. So head over to the National Forest System website and get the paperwork filled out before flying out for your Lake Tahoe elopement!

What Do You Need To Get Married In Lake Tahoe?

If you intend to get married on National Forest land, you’ll need a special use permit as noted above. Regardless of where you chose to get married, you’ll need a marriage certificate, an officiant, and witnesses to sign the marriage certificate after your elopement ceremony. You may also want a venue and/or reception area, as well as accommodations for yourself (and potentially for guests), for your elopement Lake Tahoe. Some or all of this may already be covered, however, if you’re considering Lake Tahoe winter elopement packages there could be additional fees for Gondola rides etc.

Is Nevada Marriage License Valid In California?

Because Lake Tahoe is in both Nevada and California, your chosen wedding venue and how you choose to get married will determine which marriage license you need for your elopement Lake Tahoe. If you’re planning your Lake Tahoe elopement on the Nevada side of the lake, you’ll need a Nevada marriage license. If your ceremony will take place in California, you’ll need either a confidential marriage license (issued to the officiating minister) or a public marriage license (issued by the relevant county clerk). Keep in mind, however, that marriage license requirements may change, so it’s always a good idea to check with the local county clerk. Or if you’re looking at Lake Tahoe elopement packages, taking care of the marriage license may be an included service; be sure to ask your officiant!

Lake Tahoe Wedding Photos

3 Best Locations For Lake Tahoe Winter Elopement Packages

  1. Black Bear Lodge. It’s just incredibly difficult to find a better ambiance for a cozy winter ceremony than at Black Bear Lodge.
  2. Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe. The combination of majestic mountain views and warm but expansive ballroom options—accented by those rustic touches and floor-to-ceiling windows—make the atmosphere hard to top on a wintry wonderland day.
  3. Granlibakken Tahoe. Not only does Granlibakken offer expansive winter sports history (including the first ski jump in the Tahoe area), but winter reception options include the spacious Granhall, the serene Mountain Ballroom, or the cozy Cedar House and its charming large fireplace.

Lake Tahoe Wedding Photos

The 5 Best South Lake Tahoe Elopement Locations

  1. Zephyr Cove Resort. Not only does Zephyr Cove offer breathtaking views, but options include exchanging vows on a paddle-wheeler or on the beach—at sunset, if you so choose.
  2. Valhalla Lake Tahoe. Between the Old Tahoe rustic charm and the picturesque lake views, Valhalla’s Grand Hall also offers a fantastic indoor fireplace and banquet hall.
  3. Heavenly Mountain Resort Lakeview Lodge. From 2,000 feet above glittering Lake Tahoe, exchange your vows amidst stunning views. Two dining rooms, a large bar, and two outdoor decks—as well as a fifteen-minute gondola ride up to 9,136 feet—and the capacity to accommodate up to 250 guests meaning you have a range of options for your South Lake Tahoe elopement.
  4. Riva Grill on the Lake. Between rich mahogany, the nostalgic ambiance of Tahoe’s wooden boat era, and the skylights and lakeside views, Riva Grill promises a light and airy celebration, whether just for your reception or for ceremony and reception both. While best for outdoor summer celebrations, they also offer private upstairs rooms with balconies for four-season celebration potential.
  5. Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. Near the lake and at the base of the Sierra Nevadas, the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel can work with you to help you plan the perfect South Lake Tahoe elopement regardless of season, with both outdoor spaces and elegant indoor ballroom space.

Sand Rock Farm Wedding Photos

Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages

How much is a Lake Tahoe Elopement Photographer?

So you the traditional wedding wasn’t for you and that means leaving your friends, family, and all the other migraine-inducing stuff behind to elope in Lake Tahoe. AWESOME! Good decision! I know it might sound crazy but this is your wedding so stressful is the last thing it should be. Not to mention, the financial kick to the nuts of a big traditional wedding is something every newlywed should try and avoid. Unless of course, getting kicked in the nuts is your thing! Now that you are committed to an adventurous mountain wedding the one thing you will want to do is hire a Lake Tahoe elopement photographer to document the elopement in all of its glory. Lake Tahoe elopement packages will fluctuate depending on the hours of coverage each couple needs for their elopement. Below is a quick break down of the investment for photo services would be:

  1. One hour of Lake Tahoe elopement photography $700
  2. Two hours of Lake Tahoe elopement photography $1,300
  3. Three hours of Lake Tahoe elopement photography $1,850

Ryan Horban is a destination wedding photographer based in California who has documented over 400 elopements and intimate weddings. His hobbies include snowboarding, petting dogs, making 4 minutes of incredibly sweet love to his wife, and photographing kick ass couples.

  1. State Parks. While the requisite special use permits can be a hassle if you have a small wedding party you can plan your Lake Tahoe elopement for as little as a few hundred dollars. If you want less headache, you can still find Lake Tahoe elopement packages for less than a thousand dollars. However, those costs do not include photography.
  2. Lake Tahoe elopement packages specifically designed for couples on a budget are offered by numerous wedding planning companies in the area, including High Mountain Weddings and Lake of the Sky Weddings. Costs can run from a few hundred dollars to just more than a thousand, though group sizes generally need to stay small (a cap of 25 people or fewer, depending on the package). Although wedding coordination services are great for help with all the detail work, please make sure you choose a wedding photographer that fits your aesthetic eye.
  3. Work with a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer. Often wedding photographers know the lay of the land and where wedding planners and venues are more likely to price gouge. As a result, working with an experienced destination wedding photographer can help you find more affordable Lake Tahoe elopement packages that fit with your vision for your special day—and within your budget!