Well, after giving some tips about South Lake Tahoe Elopements in another blog post that you can read here, I realized that I needed to also help out those who are looking for help with planning their North Lake Tahoe Elopements. With COVID still causing so many unknowns and people wanting to keep things small for safety, we are seeing more micro-weddings and elopements than ever. It is so fun for us since we love, love, love elopements! We also love Lake Tahoe.
We have put together a simple guide to planning an elopement in North Lake Tahoe that we hope will answer most of your questions & inform you of things you didn’t think about before starting this process. We are here to help make your elopement dreams come true. Photographing one of the best days of a couple’s lives is something we know we are so lucky to be a part of. We have a wealth of knowledge that we are happy to share with you! Plus there is even a useful elopement packing list at the end!
General Lake Tahoe Location Info:
Lake Tahoe is split up in several different ways. The lake and its surrounding areas are very diverse, and each part has something to offer! You are sure to find something fitting for your personality. Two of the main distinctions to be aware of are:
North Vs. South Lake Tahoe and California Vs. Nevada side
This site can help you figure out which location is right for your elopement. Since we are focusing on South Lake Tahoe in this post- here is their visitor site that is full of useful information!
When is the best time to elope:
Trying to decide the best time of year to elope in North Lake Tahoe? That is easy to answer! Any time of year. Really! This is the same answer we give for South Lake Tahoe too. Whether you are looking for a Winter Wonderland Wedding or incorporating snow sports, springtime blooming with life, summer beach bum style on the lake, or fall foliage with colors bursting all around you… North Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to elope year-round! The only times that we’d suggest trying to avoid would be on holidays/holiday weekends.
Marriage License- This is pretty critical. We can help navigate you through this process. It is important to make sure to consider where in Lake Tahoe you will be getting married. For example, if your ceremony will be taking place on the California side, then you’ll need a public marriage license or a confidential marriage license from California. However, if you’re getting married on the Nevada side of the lake, then you’ll need a Nevada marriage license. If you still aren’t sure where or how to plan your elopement or get your marriage license, then reach out to us and we can help you figure out these details! Officiants and Witnesses- We are a photographer and officiant team! So, we’ve got you covered! We can take care of your witnesses too if necessary. Or, maybe you already have these people all figured out- that is awesome too! Permits- In some places- depending on where you want to have your elopement- you’ll have to acquire a permit to have access to National Forest lands. Just something to be aware of!
Where to elope:
North Lake Tahoe is home to some amazing views- we don’t take for granted how lucky we are to live close enough to drive! We know a few secluded spots that we keep secret for our lovely client couples 😉 – but there are also some general areas that are known for being perfect locations for elopements that you can look into!
High Camp at Squaw Valley– There are amazing views at this location where you feel like you’re on top of the world. It offers several location options for any type of elopement. Winter wonderland weddings are especially beautiful here- plus you can ski off into the sunset together! 🙂
Commons Beach– This area of the lake offers both beachy feels and calm grassy, tree-filled areas for the best of both worlds in Tahoe.
Secret Cove– This is actually one of a series of beaches that are each unique and beautiful. Take into consideration that you have to do a little hike to get to the destination.
Kings Beach– It boasts being a ‘funky little beach town that never seems to change.’ Definitely a place worth checking out!
Hidden Beach– What a fun little gem. This place is more secluded and involves some planning for parking and hiking, but it’s totally worth it.
With COVID-19, it isn’t easy to find places to elope indoors, but it isn’t impossible either. North Lake Tahoe offers the beauty of nature that you just can’t beat, but sometimes that option isn’t right for a couple. Check out North Lake Tahoe’s site for more info on how to find an indoor/reception location!
Where to Stay:
Most of these ideas are places you have thought of already, but we wanted to make sure you had all your options to weigh. Finding a place that suits your budget, style, size of wedding party/people attending, etc. can be easier than you think. Some options to consider:
Hotels and Resorts- they offer simplicity and peace of mind to many. They have amenities, package options, multiple rooms, etc.
Cabin & Vacation rentals- There are plenty of sites out there to navigate all the cool Tahoe/Cabin-feel rentals in the area. Whether you are staying as just a couple, or you want family and friends there- South Lake Tahoe offers a variety of vacation rentals for short or long stays.
Bed & Breakfasts- A romantic Tahoe elopement with a cozy B&B?! Yes, please!
RV Parks & Campgrounds- We know plenty of hardcore campers who would absolutely love to make a weekend camping trip out of their elopement in such a stunning place. Luckily, Tahoe has a ton of options for those adventurous couples!
Airbnbs/VRBO- In this day and age this is such a common option for securing a place to stay. South Lake Tahoe has plenty of places that people use simply as their own vacation homes and then they rent them out when they are away!
Things to do after the ceremony:
Trash the dress- As a photographer- I LOVE this kind of thing! But, it is also a stress-relieving, fun, new tradition for couples to just let loose and live in the moment. We can help you find the perfect spot/idea to go through with this idea too.
Wedding traditions- Just because you are eloping doesn’t mean that you have to forgo all traditions. Sometimes incorporating a little something traditional can make your day even more special to you- cut a cake, **pop champagne**, first dance, open a present, etc.
Breweries/Wineries-Take a moment to find one of the many places you can grab your favorite beer or wine to celebrate your big day!
Hiking-AllTrails is an awesome resource for finding the perfect hike for you- keeping it simple and find someplace with an awesome lookout for photographs is smart. Plus- their app is easy to use on the go.
Picnic & Announce your big news- Firstly, know that it is crazy how often brides forget to eat on their wedding day! You will probably be so ready for some snacks shortly after your ceremony. Second, what is more romantic than a picnic in a beautiful location like South Lake Tahoe?! And, it is the perfect time to make some calls to share your big elopement news with friends & family!
First dinner as a married couple- Skip the big party and find a restaurant just right for you. Enjoy each other’s company as newlyweds over a nice meal. North Lake Tahoe has so many great options- check out a few here!
A post-elopement party!- If you want to invite others into your secret bubble, then a little reception can actually be as simple or complex as you would like. You can elope alone or with guests around, then celebrate however your style fits into the day- make it what you want!
Elopement Packing List:
Storage Bins are your best friends! So easy to keep organized, stack, and travel!
Celebratory drinks/glasses- popping champagne on a mountaintop can make for some pretty fun pictures to treasure
Some Final Thoughts
Here are some basic things to consider when planning an elopement in South Lake Tahoe:
Decide who you’re going to invite. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this step. If you want to keep things intimate and small, then stick to just you and your soon-to-be-spouse, or your immediate friends and family. Try to remember that this is your day. You can also always have a celebration with more people at another time.
Are you going to have a First- Look? It has become a sweet tradition over the years to see each other before the ceremony and we love it! It is a private moment (minus me being a fly on the wall) that you can treasure for the rest of your lives. There are so many beautiful places to do a first-look in South Lake Tahoe too!
Where are you going to have your elopement ceremony? Your wedding can be wherever you want it to be. We have seen some pretty amazing backyard/AirBnB weddings, mountaintop ceremonies, beach ceremonies… what fits with your personalities? If you want to have an adventure together, then make a day of it and do some hiking to different locations even!
Are you having a reception after? A lot of couples opt to have a post-elopement party to celebrate their union with family and friends at a later date too!
Put together your vendor list for your wedding. Usually, elopements are about keeping it focused on the love of the couple and keeping it simple. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box- put together your own bouquet with flowers from the grocery store, have a friend make you a small cake to cut after the ceremony, borrow things from family/friends, or do your own hair & makeup! No matter what route you go- it is wise to keep a list of vendors with phone numbers/emails, etc. just in case you ever need it. The plus side of having an elopement in South Lake Tahoe is that there are vendors in both California and Nevada- so many great resources to brainstorm and we are here to help if needed!
If you have questions or comments about doing your elopement in South Lake Tahoe, then feel free to reach out to me! I’m happy to help make your special day a dream come true!
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