Lake Tahoe Wedding at The Ritz-Carlton

Winter is on the way and this wedding gallery has us sipping spiked cocoa by the fire. After poring over this stunning soiree at Lake Tahoe wedding venue The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe and captured by Ciprian Photography, I am sold that art deco meets winter elegance may just be one of my favorite wedding styles. My eyes are aglow with the white floral design by Art in Bloom  and the Northstar Ski Resort backdrop is as lovely as they come. See what the bride, Allison, has to say about her amazing Lake Tahoe wedding day below:


The Story
Rob and I met in 1995 at Cornell through Ski Club. Rob graduated ahead of me and moved out West, so we lost paths for 7 years…until 2006, when we ran into each other in the Pittsburgh airport baggage claim after a flight home for Christmas (also a native Pittsburgher, he happened to be on the same flight). At that moment, we realized we had both been living and working in San Francisco for the past handful of years, exchanged numbers, and started dating. In December 2011, we got engaged on the way home for the Holidays, while once again hanging out in the Pittsburgh airport, at baggage claim K.


The Style, Decor and Planning
Art deco meets vintage winter: my 1920s-style dress set the art deco tone in terms of design elements we used, and I wanted to also incorporate Tahoe/vintage winter sports pieces. Rob and I spend a lot of time in Tahoe so the entire weekend had to feel really different and special to us. The goal was to make the event elegant and chic, with a touch of rustic mountain/alpine details. I chose a palette of champagne gold, icy blue, deep turquoise, and earthy browns as I thought they’d work well in the event spaces, while also highlighting the pretty hues of mid-winter with the classic tones of a wedding.

I run my own business as a web/experience designer and my oldest and dearest friend Kara is a print/graphic designer, so she custom-designed an art deco pattern from my dress details that we used on everything. We selected a wintery fresh palette and deco font, designed a custom logo of Rob and me silhouetted/hanging on a chairlift, as well as an R&A monogram that was on most pieces. We also created a custom stamp, stickers, envelope stamp, etc. Together, it was really fun developing a full suite of design assets and elements that we could use on all of the wedding collateral we created. We designed almost every single design element in the event: the lift ticket save-the-dates, welcome boxes, the trail map, menu, program, custom “A” and “R” s’mores sticks for the welcome party at Petra’s, wedding website, invitations, signage throughout the event, escort card display, guest book skis, family photo display, etc. We used wintery materials like vellums, metallic papers, deep gold accents, rich texture linens, antique sports equipment, etc., to tie it all together.

Throughout the planning, I browsed antique stores, ebay, and craft suppliers to collect vintage gold mercury glass for the ivory florals, wickets for the Save the Dates, paper samples, vintage winter toboggan, mini-snowshoes, vintage fur stoles, gold baskets, ski race cowbells, blankets for the ceremony, vintage skis to be used/signed as the guest book, luminaries for the patio, gold boxes for the cookie table takeout, etc.

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The Ceremony
I am of Greek heritage and Rob is of Syrian heritage, so we wanted to incorporate some traditions from an Orthodox ceremony, as well as the cuisine we know and love. During the ceremony, officiated by our friend Josh who became ordained as a “Dudeist Priest” by the Church of Lebowski (no joke), we used my parents’ Greek Wedding Crowns, which serve as a sign of the bond between the Bride and Groom, and make the couple ‘King and Queen’ of their new family. My sister placed the crowns (which were tied together by a long ribbon) on our heads during the ceremony, and exchanged them three times between our vows.

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The Venue
Lake Tahoe was the obvious choice for our wedding, since we met via Ski Club, took a cat-ski trip to Canada for our first real getaway, and currently spend most of our free time there, when not living and working in San Francisco. We selected the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe because it had the best food and facilities to host a winter wedding, and also had an outdoor patio where we could hold the ceremony. It was the perfect, luxe setting for an extended-weekend of parties in one location, and it minimized logistics for guests who would be traveling from afar. The hotel and staff provided our guests with an amazing Tahoe experience, complete with easy access to the outdoors and slopes, great service, food, spa, gear rentals, attention to detail, transit, etc.


The Reception
We also had traditional Greek Dancing, a Mediterranean menu, and a “Cookie Table,” which is a wonderful wedding tradition from our hometown of Pittsburgh, where in addition to a wedding cake, a large table with different ethnic cookies is presented at the reception. Cookies are generally prepared by family members in advance of the party, and my aunts and mom contributed with classics such as Baklava, Kourabiethes, and Buckeyes.

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Allison’s Favorite Wedding Day Memories
Skiing laps that morning with Rob. Walking down the aisle with my Dad. Seeing Rob for the 1st time at the altar. Our vows. The overwhelming feelings that hit me the moment the ceremony was complete. Dancing up on stage with Rob during “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Having a great friend marry us. Our dog as a “Ring Beast.” Dancing with our parents, family, and dearest friends. My niece Greek dancing. Putting on my dress with my mom, sister, and niece. The Mediterranean eats. Group shot-skis. The live music. A close friend showing up at 9pm after having emergency appendix surgery at Truckee-Tahoe Hospital earlier that day! All of our friends and family re-meeting in a place we absolutely love.

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From the planner, Shannon Leahy ~
The weather was perfect for a Winter Wedding… snow on the ground, sunny skies and the temperature allowed for the ceremony to be outside by the fireplace with some cozy blankets and cider. Perfect.

I just adore the paper materials that the Bride created and the table numbers from Yonder. It was also my first time seeing the Greek Orthodox tradition of the wedding crowns and it was absolutely stunning and beautiful to watch.

Lake Tahoe Wedding Vendors:
Photographer : Ciprian Photography | Ceremony & Reception Venue : The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe | Event Designer & Planner : Shannon Leahy Events | Florist : Hattie Reed with Art in Bloom | Catering & Cake : The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe | Rentals & Lighting : Crux Events | Linens : La Tavola Fine linen | Paper : Yonder Event Design | Music : Guilty Pleasures | Invitation Designer : Chapas Design &  Kara Reid | Wedding Gown Designer : Jenny Packham from Nouvelle Vogue | Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer : Aidan Mattox from Saks Fifth Avenue | Jewelry : Custom by Sally Rumble & Maria Elena | Hair : Talia from The Ritz-Carlton | Makeup : Jennifer Ergut Makeup | ShotSki : Andy Costigan

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Lavender’s aroma is flowery, light and incredibly pleasant. Known in the apothecary world as having a feminine scent, it supports our ability to turn inward and increase our awareness.  It has also been used for many centuries in the area of love, used as a perfume to attract the opposite sex and used to scent love letters. For these reasons, and for its aesthetic beauty, we love to incorporate lavender into a Lake Tahoe wedding any chance we get. From bouquets to centerpieces, see below for all the ways your can incorporate this delicate flowering plant into your wedding.

lavender wedding details

clockwise from top left: lavender tied to ceremony chairs via Style Me Pretty | lavender cake via Style Me Pretty | lavender lemonade from Skinny limits | lavender dcor and lavender favor via André Teixeira, Branco Prata | lavender bridesmaid bouquet via The Bride Link by Jose Villa

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Wedding Tips | Best Wedding Apps

Technology has become an incredible part of our lives, and if you’re anything like us you spend most of the day on your smart phone tapping and swiping away. It’s not rare that I hear about an engagement over instagram or facebook. So while we are busy staring at our screens, why not make the time a bit more worth-while and start planning your wedding. With a slew of wedding apps on the market it’s hard to decide which one’s are the best. Well, we did the work for you. Here are some of the best wedding apps when it comes to planning your wedding. In the comments below, let us know what your favorites are!

1. Appy Couple


Much more than just a wedding app, Appy Couple is literally your own customized wedding app. This much-buzzed-about service allows users to create a personal wedding site and app to share important travel, lodging and event information with guests. Invite your guests to download your app and they’ll have all the wedding information at their finger tips. They can share photos, learn your story, allow guests to message each other without leaving the app, and even RSVP!

2. Pinterst

Like we’ve said before, Pinterest is a great tool to find wedding inspiration and ideas. Pin your favorite images and share them with your friends and family. Be careful, you could end up spending all day on this app!


With brides can browse images of products and decor by theme, color and brand, among other tags, and save things they like in “bundles” to share with friends, family or even wedding planners. It’s a lot like a bridal Pintrest, except highly curated. All images are selected by Loverly.

4. Postable


We have all been there at some point, trying to collect mailing addresses. This is 2014 and other than invitations, who uses mail? Mortgages, utilities and letters are all paid and sent online. This can be one of the most time consuming parts of planning your wedding.  Well, finally there is an easy way to get your guests’ mailing addresses thanks to Postable! Postable takes all the pain out of this extremely annoying process. Plus, it’s totally private, secure + free!

5. Blurb


Not necessarily a wedding app but still, we love it! Blurb let’s you easily create a gorgeous, unique wedding album that can be shared with friends and family. The designs are incredible creative and the step by step instructions are a cinch to follow. Don’t let those wedding photos sit on a thumb drive anymore, out them to good use!

Blog content & curation by Andria Gutierrez

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With a beautiful Bride, a dashing groom, and one seriously gorgeous wedding captured by Catherine Hall Studios , it goes without saying that your Monday just got a little brighter.  Every picture perfect moment of this couples’ stunning Martis Camp wedding makes us want to jump right in the photo and join in on their exquisite day. Catherine Hall tells the couples’ tale and describes their wedding day below:

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Advice from the bride
For a couple who values spending quality time with the people who matter most,
understanding that their wedding would be centered around exactly that ideology was an easy decision for Karissa and Todd to come by. And if there’s one piece of wisdom Karissa could pass along to brides to be, it would be to not leave the last few details for the few days before the wedding; because when family and friends start arriving in town, you definitely would rather spend quality time with them than attend to the last few details of your big day. So basically, carpe diem, as the last few days leading up to the wedding fly by in a buzz, and you want to make sure you savor the moments with those who are dear to you.

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The Proposal
The kind-hearted couple met at a Leukemia and Lymphoma charity luncheon and
was introduced by a mutual friend years ago. A surprise proposal later took place on
Karissa’s 35th birthday on their way to a ski trip in Whistler BC, where the couple enjoyed their time together and shared elated phone calls announcing their news to friends and family. What Karissa had originally believed to be just a birthday celebration had turned into the most memorable ski trip of her lifetime!

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The Details
Karissa a partner at KPMG LLP, and Todd a partner at a private equity company,
Alpine Pacific, knew they needed creative help when planning their wedding and were
delighted to employ the expertise of Janel Ellefsen from Occasions LLC. She gladly kept the coordination of themes aligned and Karissa and Todd could rest easy knowing that the details would not be forgotten. The wanted an outdoor wedding, and decided that North Lake Tahoe would be the perfect location. The private luxury community of Martis Camp turned out to be a perfect venue choice to suit their picturesque day, with its abundance of natural textures and sophisticated scenery of the High Sierras.

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The Ceremony
With fall at its peak, the theme colors of vivid green and soft white created a natural motif throughout the ceremony, where it was obvious love was in full bloom. Her father shared loving words of wisdom as he walked her down the aisle in her Monique Lhuillier gown to the sweet sound of the String Beings on September 15th, 2012. The couple said their vows to a backdrop of sweeping hills full of pine trees, as the breeze softly gave movement to her veil.

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The Reception
As the guest gathered at the reception they sipped on Rose Estate Grown Champagne, or if they preferred Todd’s favorite, Vesper Martinis, and enjoyed specialty catering from Martis Camp. Blush colored roses blended with greenery and baby’s breath gave a crisp feeling to the reception, and stood out amongst the silver undertones of the place settings. As the reception lingered into evening, guests could stay cozy with a luxury wrap that was provided by the couple to keep warm as the day cooled down. The toasts that were given at the reception were particularly spot on, and even now, Karissa says that she remembers them vividly as some of the most treasured moments of her wedding day. Needless to say Martis Camp turned out to be the perfect venue, and their day could not have been more exquisite.

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For a day that was supposed to be all about them, the Markers could not have focused more on their loved ones and the meaning they brought to their occasion. The couple kept up with their theme of giving, while Karissa gave her bridesmaids Tiffany Dove bracelets to commemorate their contribution to the wedding day, and Todd gave his groomsmen special cufflinks crafted from old nickels. The couples gifts to each other were even more unique; Todd had his grandmother Marker’s engagement ring converted into a diamond necklace for his bride, and Karissa hunted down a rare bottle of Todd’s favorite Scotch, shipped it from London, and presented it to him with custom engraved glasses which read “May we always find our glasses half full with the good stuff”. Their day came to a close surrounded by the most open-hearted energy, and as their new journey as a married couple begins, they plan to embark on many more philanthropic endeavors, just like the one that brought them together years ago. But before they could go diving back into their busy working lives, the couple took off on their honeymoon to Maui and enjoyed their newlywed status in true Hawaiian fashion.

Wedding Vendors:
Photographer : Catherine Hall, Catherine Hall Studios | Wedding Venue : Martis Camp | Wedding Coordinator – Janel Ellefsen, Occasions, LLC | Dress Designer : Bliss by Monique Lhuillier | Hair : Jordon Duncan | Makeup : Nyla Fritz | Groom’s Wardrobe Designer : Wall Street Clothiers | Shoe Designer for Bride : Christian Louboutin | Shoe Designer for Groom : Ferragamo | Bridesmaids Dresses : J. Crew | Bride’s Jewelry and Accessories : Paris by Debra Moreland | Invitations & Wedding Paper Goods : Merchants Design | Officiant : Sam Chapin | Florist : Martha Bernyk, Tahoe Florist | Ceremony Music : String Beings, String Quartet | Reception Music : Larry Williams | Transportation : Bell Limo | Rentals & Lighting : EventMasters | Linen : Choice Linens

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With its breathtaking views and proximity to the shores of Lake Tahoe, The Chateau in Incline Village is one of our top Lake Tahoe wedding venues. We had the amazing opportunity to speak with Maggi Vandenburg – Sales & Event Coordinator for The Chateau. Maggi’s years of dedication and experience in events and catering has made her an expert in the industry. See what Maggi has to say about wedding trends and the incredibly delicious wedding menus The Chateau has to offer.

the chateau tahoe wedding location

How did you end up in your profession?
I grew up on the coast of Maine where my family owns several restaurants and each summer we catered events, mostly in unique coastal locations. I practically grew up in a seafood restaurant and worked in every type of F&B position. Part of my job was picking lobster; one for the bucket, one for me…

My mom was the catering manager and we catered a few events on islands- taking a fleet of lobster boats to our event locations with tables, chairs, china and food! It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with Catering and Event coordination.

What do you love most about working at The Chateau?
Each time I walk out onto the deck I am amazed by the stunning views. Each day of the year as the landscape changes we are blessed to have the most amazing vistas. The green golf course, the mountains and of course having Lake Tahoe as a backdrop is just spectacular.

How would you describe your personal style?
Clean and classic- the weddings that impress me the most are layered with rich subtle details. I don’t think that you need to go over the top in our venue; there are small ways to make a huge difference like using a beautiful overlay, a lovely display of family wedding photos or a thoughtful menu tucked in the napkin at each place setting.


What is your mission behind the menu?
I think of our menu as a jumping off point. It is not written in stone and we customize most of our menus. Customers use the menu as more of a price comparison tool. Once they sign the contract and we talk further details, they may make minor changes. Banquet food needs to please a large audience, so there’s a careful balance in offering the basics or go with a daring idea. My mission when I write our menu is to offer delicious ideas that we can build on or just leave alone.

What are the newest food trends you are seeing?
Pinterest is really opening up new horizons for our clients and helping them with the big picture of their events. I really enjoy meeting with a bride who brings along her iPad and we are able to pour over the great ideas that are shaping her vision. Food trends for this next year statistically are going to be a growing awareness of the origin of your plate. I think our clients will also continue to push us to find new ways with old methods of preparation to meet the increased demand for vegetarian, vegan and gluten free guests.

It’s important to keep up with the trends and listen to my customers. I’ll visit their favorite restaurants, research what they like and also work closely with the Chef to push the boundaries on what we can offer.

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What are your 3 favorite menus items on your catering menus?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE our little soup shooters- they are easy to eat and have a super cute presentation. I think our New York Steak is the most impressive entrée- it’s cooked perfectly and the portion is generous- definitely not your typical wedding food. Lastly, being from Maine, I am seafood junkie and think that our Asian Seared Salmon is layered with over-the-top flavors.

What is your favorite event menu of 2014?
We have a bride and groom who are organic heirloom farmers out of Northern California, so a lot on the menu is fresh from their farm. Their wedding favors are homemade jam from their cherry trees. It’s been really fun to work with them on how to prepare their tomatoes and work with a couple that has such a personal input to their menu. We are happy to tailor an item to how their favorite chef makes it, but people rarely take us up on that.

What was your favorite dish served this year?
It’s hard to pick just one dish…we did a 1960’s Supper Club event and took old ideas and reconstructed them to make it more current. We took deviled eggs and added applewood-smoked bacon with chives and remade the traditional wedge salad and organized it on the plate so people could pick and choose their toppings. We took a beef wellington and had the cookie-cutter puff pastry on top of the meat so that it holds more shelf life. Thinking out of the box like that is what makes my job interesting.


What do you love most about weddings?
I am a wedding geek. I share the excitement with each of our clients. My guilty moment at a wedding is when I am standing with the bride just before she walks down the aisle. The energy and excitement is palpable and I’m honored to get to be there for that.

What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part is creating a personal relationship with the couples- I actually get kind of sad when the event is over and their off starting their own lives. However, I love learning the dynamics of their families and a few of them come back to the Chateau on their vacations (and 90% of them are pregnant!)

Thank you so much Maggi!

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Maggi Vandenburg
The Chateau – Incline Village Facilities and Events
Incline Village, NV

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6 No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

I think we’ve all been there, Halloween is on the way and at the last minute you are feeling festive. Instead of searching for the rusty pumpkin carving knife, take a modern approach to your pumpkin decorating and utilize some DIY ideas. From decoupage to a simple paint job, these 6 no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas will have your Lake Tahoe wedding, home, dinner party, or event looking fresh and fabulous.

no carve decorated pumpkins Clockwise from top left : Painted Pumpkins from Chatelaine | Decoupage Pumpkins from Shelterness | Gold Geometric Pumpkins from Lovely Indeed | Lacey Pumpkin from Better Homes and Gardens | Botanical Pumpkins from Terrain | Dip-dyed Pumpkins from Chatelaine

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Chrissy and Mark’s West Shore Cafe wedding came together with the talents of Lake Tahoe wedding vendors, Jon M PhotographyReel Eyes Media, Celebrations! Party Rentals, and  Blue Sky Events. Wedding photographer Jon M, describes this glamorous day below:

From Jon M Photography ~
Absolutely STUNNING… is the perfect way to describe everything about this amazing wedding and the wonderful people that made it great.

From the beginning of the day everyone was in a great celebratory mood, all set to the perfect backdrop. The West Shore Cafe at Lake Tahoe is where the bridal party got ready. When I arrived Chrissy was in the Mount Watson Suite with 10 of her best friends getting ready. They were all having a great time, getting ready, and drinking champaign. The guys were just across the hall in the McKinney Bay Suite hanging out, and keeping things very relaxed. After everyone got ready we did a first look out on the lawn south of the West Shore Cafe.

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We headed about 6 houses down where the family owned a beautiful lake front home which was completely done up for the wedding. Complete with new landscaping and a custom platform that was built at the waters edge just for this great day. 

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Following the ceremony we all headed back to the West Shore Cafe to have the reception on the south lawn. It was there that everyone started to let loose and the laughter and smiles were everywhere. The day was filled with activities from start to finish, and the bride and groom wanted to spend as much time with their family and friends as possible. So when there was a small break we quickly went inside and on the beaches of the West Shore Cafe to snap some gorgeous photos of the newly weds, which are some of my all time favorite photos! Following that the party went late into the night.

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It was a treat for us to be a part of this great wedding. A special thanks goes out to Kerry Hawk with Blue Sky Events and Darren Baca with Reel Eyes Media. Without Kerry there would have been no way such an action packed day would have went off without a hitch. The entire week prior to the wedding we were exchanging emails to make sure we could fit everything in and keep it as easy on the couple as possible. Having worked with Darren before I know how beautiful his wedding video will be. He shot along side us all day, we collaborated on shots and I know by how well ours turned out that his will be equally amazing.

Lake Tahoe wedding vendors:
Photographer : Jon M Photography | Cinematography : Reel Eyes Media | Wedding Venue : West Shore Cafe and Inn | Wedding Planning and Design : Blue Sky Events | Ceremony Catering Company : Steve Montez Special Events| Rentals: Celebrations! Party Rentals | Florist : Thrans Flower Shop | Valet : Paul Grace Valet | Transportation : Northstar California Transportation and North Tahoe Executive Shuttle | Ceremony Music: Avalanche Acoustic Duo | Reception Music : North Shore Entertainment

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lake tahoe wedding blog

- We are ready for fall with these tasty Salted Caramel-Glazed Pumpkin Donuts from Glitter Inc.’s collection of pumpkin recipes.

- We’ve started our search for holiday table inspiration. Loving this table from Apartment 34 with the pops of gold and eggplant.

- Aubrey and Tyler’s Lake Tahoe day after session by Annamae Photo featured on the Tahoe Unveiled blog last month.

Bret Cole Photography’s Lake Tahoe wedding inspiration shoot featured on Ruffled Blog. Lake Tahoe wedding vendor included: Resort at Squaw CreekCalifornia Vintage Rentals, Wanda’s Flower Shop, Eliza Veal, Sugar Plum Invitations, Olive and Emerald, and Maple and Moss

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