This may be surprising, but wedding gowns have only been traditionally white since Queen Victoria’s special day 160 years ago. Pre-then, brides wore all sorts of colors. Having chosen to have a unique Lake Tahoe wedding, why not wear a unique dress that speaks to the surroundings?

Instead of choosing the mermaid cut that looks as though it’s made of one seamless piece of lace, try dresses that incorporate crochet, embroidered flowers (that often call for pops of color), subtle sparkles and sequins, tiers (for added flounce), deep v-necks, feathers, raised hems (to show off shoes), choker necks, waist belts, and shimmery adornments. As per sleeves, there’s sheer, puffy, off-the-shoulder, cape, and the list goes on.

“Unique” when paired with “wedding dress” may raise dollar bill signs in your eyes, but special-looking dresses don’t have to be designer; rather, they can be more affordable, and they’re likely to be something you will wear again and again.

Here are 6 places you can find the indie dress that’ll speak volumes to your personality and your Tahoe wedding, and that’ll make your day feel that much more yours.

1. TOPSHOP Bride

2. J. Crew

3. ModCloth

Mary Costa Photography

Mary Costa Photography

4. BHLDN (pronounced beholden, and which is also the sister of Anthropologie)

5. Free People

6. Stone Fox Bride

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You’re going to be flooded with all sorts of emotion on your wedding day, some unexpected, but all welcome; feeling feelings is okay. But there’s a line between being emotional and letting all the feels get the better of you.

The good news is you’ve already made the right step in ensuring you stay cool, calm and collected on your big day by picking the ultimate place-of-peace: Lake Tahoe. Thanks to the natural beauty of the Sierras, your Lake Tahoe wedding venue has no choice but to be beautiful, and in that beauty you’ll find a deep sense of tranquility. Just one view of the lake is enough to soften any heart.

Nervous or not, Tahoe’s got this way of making you want to get out and explore her beauty. She’s irresistible. The towering pines alone give off an aroma that’ll ease any degree of stress. But besides hugging trees and deeply breathing in their scent, here are some easy ways to quell your pre-wedding nerves.

Go for a hike: We’re not talking 10 miles up vertical terrain; rather, something gentle, something restorative, something you probably wouldn’t need more than a bottle of water and one tasty snack on (chocolate-covered strawbs, anyone?).

In any given situation, your Tahoe wedding location will be within minutes of a trailhead. That’s just the nature of Tahoe—there are trails everywhere. Bringing your bridesmaids with you will mean you can all breathe deeply, all release any last-minute jitters, and all feel that much more in sync.

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Polar-plunge: Crazy as it may sound, jumping into Lake Tahoe is perhaps the best way to feel instantly rejuvenated. The cool water is invigorating, and being brave enough to plunge in will make you feel as though you can conquer anything. Bonus: jumping in and out is quick, making sure you have plenty of time to attend to other “business.”

Stretch on the beach: Whether you’re a yogi or as flexible as LEGO dolls, stretching does any body good. Loosening your muscles will help you feel more comfortable in your dress, and it’ll also clear your mind. Stretching is grounding, and throw in the sand, lake, and sound of chirping blue jays, and you’re guaranteed to come out zen. All it takes is ten minutes.

If you’re not in the mood for endorphins, you can also find a secluded picnic bench where you can jot down your emotions. Not only will this release any bottled-up feelings, it’ll provide something fun to read in years to come.

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Did you know 63 streams flow into Lake Tahoe, but there’s only outlet, the Truckee River? That Lake Tahoe’s the second deepest lake in the U.S., reaching a depth of 1,645ft?! Or that the middle is not the deepest part of the lake; the deepest point is in Crystal Bay?

Your guests are already going to be thrilled you chose to have a Lake Tahoe wedding, and there’s no better way to keep their enthusiasm running strong than by surprising them in conversation with some fun facts about the area. You could even go one step further by listing a few on the back of your menu cards, or by putting one on each place card; this way guests can swap facts amongst one another. How’s that for breaking ice and starting conversation?

Without further ado, here are some facts pertaining to your Lake Tahoe wedding location you’ll be chomping at the bit to tell your friends and family. To them, you’ll not only be a bride, but a fountain of knowledge. Cheers to that.

Lake Tahoe is:

Over 2 million years old, making it one of the 20 oldest lakes in the world.

The largest alpine lake in North America.

2/3 in California, 1/3 in Nevada.

16th deepest lake in the world, so deep it never freezes, and so deep you could stand the Empire State Building in it and not see the top.

22 miles long (that’s as long as the English Channel is wide), and 12 miles wide.

99.994% pure water, making it one of the purest large lakes in the world. To compare, commercially distilled water is 99.998% pure.

So clear because half the water entering it is rain or snow falling directly on it.

Lake Tahoe has:

72 miles of shoreline.

270 days of sunshine per year.

Enough water to submerge California by 15” if it were emptied.

A lighthouse in Rubicon Bay that was once the highest elevation lighthouse in the world.

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Yes, weddings are all about the love between two people, but they’re also all about getting down and having a good time.

To encourage the latter, Jason and Kate Abraham started Elevated Photo Booth. Their booths have a charming vintage feel, blend into the venue, and produce high-end images. Most importantly, they generate laughter and fond memories.

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Here are 10 Elevated Photo Booth tips and tricks that’ll give your wedding that extra “wow:”

 

1. The more, the merrier: Invite up to 15 of your friends (both old and new) and family into the booth. The more faces to capture, the more opportunities for deep belly laughs.

2. Embrace the props: Silly props make the photo booth experience. But avoid feather boas! They can get messy.

 

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3. Strategically place the booth: Set up the booth near the main action. This way, it won’t be overlooked. Elevated Photo Booth’s booths are attractive, so there’s no need to keep it out-of-site.

4. Take advantage of commonalities within the guests: See five ladies in red dresses? Bring them together for a group shot. What about five guys wearing pink ties? Tell them to do something unconventional with them, and bam, that’s another fun photo. Bonus: encouraging guests to find similarities amongst one another is a great ice-breaker.

 

photo booth ideas Photo: M2 Photo

5. Use decorations as props: Strike a pose while holding the wedding menu in front of you, or borrow the centerpiece flowers for a quick snap or two. This way, you’ll get a unique photo and integrate a personal touch that’ll remind you of the beautiful venue.

6. Shake up your pose: Always tilt your head to the left and smile? Try a serious face instead. Diversity is priceless.

7. Jump for joy: If you’re in the booth with just a few others, say, “Everyone jump on the count of three!” Action shots are some of the best. Pro-tip: avoid large group jumps; these can often end with knees in places knees shouldn’t go, or heels on unappreciative toes.

8. Direct your attention to one person: For medium-sized group shots, tell everyone to lift one person while pretending they weigh as much as an elephant. Or, ask everyone to look like they’re fainting while the smoking hot bride and groom kiss.

9. Engage your inner animal: If you’re in the booth with upwards of 10 people, stick to expressive faces. Tell everyone to pull their best monkey face, or to stick out their tongues while widening their eyes as much as possible.

 

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10. Act: Instead of posing, tell a story. Pretend your friend’s a shark chasing you, or act as though you’re on a rollercoaster after having just eaten half (!) the wedding cake. Organized actions create a story, and who doesn’t love a good tale?

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Sailing with Tahoe Sailing Charters is our go-to wedding event. From welcome parties to day-after Sunday sails, don’t visit Lake Tahoe and miss this opportunity!

From Captain Tyler: The snow is sticking around, but we are sailing every day! With the prevalent weather swings we have had to break out the jackets and blankets a little more often than we would like. Sometimes, when the weather isn’t its normal –always perfect– self, the level of adventure increases. Our guests get a little more than they bargained for and the result is often a significantly more profound and indelible experience. We encourage you to grab some layers, brave the cold and come out with us for some chilly springtime sailing. In the meantime, we are going to pray for summer…

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Troy and Annika’s Al Fresco Wedding at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn was warm and welcoming. The whimsical lighting, and long, rustic feasting tables fit beautifully in the gorgeous garden and pool deck at PlumpJack. Top the design off with pretty as can be florals from Art in Bloom and romantic table runners from La Tavola Fine Linen and you have the most stunning elegant affair.

Lucky for us, we’ve got the entire day captured by Wild Whim Photography in the gallery below.

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Venue: PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn | Planner: Sarah Renfro of With Grace & Love Events | Photo & Video: Wild Whim Photography | Photo booth: Rose Street Studio | Florist: Hattie with Art in Bloom | Ceremony & Cocktail hour musicians: Avalanche Acoustics | Rentals: Crux Events | Reception music: DJ Anthony Sanchez | Linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | Beauty: Hello Darlings

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What happens when a Texan and a New Yorker living in Los Angeles get engaged? They get married in Lake Tahoe of course! Rachel and Rob knew they wanted to have a destination wedding that was unique and would capture their love of the outdoors. They found both in Lake Tahoe.

From the lakeside ceremony to the reception at Homewood Mountain Resort, the wedding planners at Elise Events created an incredibly gorgeous scene. We especially love the colorful bouquets from Art in Bloom,  cross back chairs and farm tables from Celebrations Party Rentals and we know HIP Entertainment kept the dance floor full!

Scroll the entire gallery from Gagewood Photo below:

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From the bride… After four years of traveling near and far to attend the weddings of friends and family, Rob and I wanted something that would truly be unique and would capture our love of the outdoors. We knew that we wanted to have a destination wedding and upon my parents’ recommendation after having spent their 40th wedding anniversary there, we headed to Tahoe for a scouting trip the summer after getting engaged. When we saw the view at Hellman-Ehrman Mansion in Sugar Pine Point, we knew we didn’t need to see any more venues – this was the perfect spot to recite our vows.

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Because we were an 8 hour drive away and couldn’t regularly make the trip to decide every detail, having someone in the area with an intimate knowledge of Tahoe’s best venues and vendors was incredibly important to us. After interviewing several local wedding planners, my mom stumbled on the Elise Events website and we instantly fell for Danielle’s style, attention to detail, and her sweet, outgoing, take-charge personality. She was exactly who we needed to make our dreams of a fun, family-oriented wedding weekend come true.

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Sugar Pine Point is a California State Park, so it presented several challenges to hosting the entire night of events there. We decided after the lakeside ceremony & cocktail hour we would shuttle our guests to the nearby Homewood Mountain Resort South Lodge for sunset mountaintop views, dinner, and dancing.

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 Several of our married friends had advised us to find some time in the night to have a moment for just to the two of us, which we accomplished by arriving to the Lodge early and riding the chairlift to the top of the mountain, where we were greeted by an acoustic guitar player from the band, Apple Z. This was, to me, the most special part of our day. For a moment it was just us, as newlyweds, enjoying a beautiful sunset over Lake Tahoe for the first time as husband and wife with a sweet serenade in the background. We greeted our friends and family as they joined us at the top, and everyone took in the beautiful view, making sure to document it all on social media. Once enough wine was served with dinner, we opened the mic for live band karaoke, a must from our long list of little details that would make the night feel more “us.”

VENDOR CREDITS:
Photography: Gagewood Photo | Ceremony Venue: Ehrman Mansion | Reception Venue: Homewood Mountain Resort | Event Planning + Design: Elise Events | Video: Dax Victorino Films | Floral: Art in Bloom | Hair and Makeup: Hello Darling | Paper Goods: Vita Popov Studios | Dress: Shareen Bridal | Bridesmaid Dress: BHLDN | Table Number Holders: Esselle SF | Silk Ribbons: Frou Frou Chic | Officiant: Jackie Phillips | Accommodations: Cedar Crest Cottages | Ceremony and Reception Music: HIP Entertainment, Apple Z Band | Rentals: La Tavola LinensCelebrations Party RentalsTheoni Collection

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Cheryl Seidel, etiquette expert, and regular contributing writer for the Huffington Post, shares her expert advice on the do’s and don’t’s of destination weddings. Destination weddings have become increasingly popular and what’s not to love about combining a fun, memorable wedding with a fabulous honeymoon?! We’ve discovered several reasons that couples are choosing a destination wedding over a local wedding:

melina wallisch photography Melina Wallisch Photography

1. It’s easier. A destination wedding can be easy to plan. Many wedding planners specialize in destination weddings and can plan the entire weekend. Also, many venues have become wedding specialists, with full-service ceremony packages and on-site wedding coordinators to help plan the big day, which can help reduce wedding planning stress.

2. Ease any family issues. any problems can be solved with a destination wedding. Sometimes relationships are complicated and family situations may not be ideal. Also, if each set of parents has a different opinion about the style and location of the wedding, a destination wedding may be something to consider.

3. You can start the honeymoon early. Just arriving at your destination is sure to put you in a relaxed mood as the pre-wedding festivities begin. Many hotels offer automatic upgrades to the bride and groom on their wedding night, and you may be able to negotiate an extended minimoon at a reduced rate after the guests have gone home.

4. Enjoy quality time with loved ones. Destination weddings are a great excuse to plan an unforgettable family getaway to commemorate a very special occasion.

5. You’ll share a locale you love. Part of the joy of a destination wedding is showing off a place that has special meaning to you, be it bringing friends and family back to a beloved college campus, sharing where you took your first vacation as a couple or finally going to a locale you’ve always dreamed of visiting.

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Who Pays?

Whether you’re having your wedding on lush tropical island or at a secluded mountain hideaway- you may be wondering who covers certain expenses. Though the costs of destination weddings are shared in the same way as any other wedding, there are additional things to consider since there are added expenses such as transportation, meals, and accommodations that may not be part of a hometown wedding.

Wedding Expenses
Customarily, a wedding is paid for by the bride’s family and this practice can stand true for a destination wedding as well. But as you know, traditions are evolving and couples and their families are sharing expenses in a variety of ways. Before any planning is done, we recommend that the couple meet with all parties involved to determine exactly how costs will be divided.

Guests’ Expenses
It is the responsibility of your guests to pay for their lodging and transportation for a destination wedding. As soon as you have your date and location reserved, we suggest sending out “Save the Date” cards. Try to do this at least 6-9 months in advance and be sure to include information about the destination and hotel accommodations. This will give your guests plenty of time to plan their trip and will ensure they have the opportunity to get the best travel rates.

Furthermore, guests’ typically pay for their own meals during a destination wedding. In addition to the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception, we love the idea of hosting extra events such as a welcome dinner or farewell brunch. After all, your guests have likely traveled a long way and have invested time and money to celebrate with you!

When you mail out your wedding invitations, include information about all planned wedding events so guests know what activities are prearranged as well as which meals will be covered during their stay. You may want to consider adding these events to your response card so that your guests can RSVP for all events at one time.

Wedding Party’ Expenses
The wedding party’s expenses are shared in the same way for both hometown and destination weddings. Traditionally, attendants are responsible for their own transportation to the wedding as well as their wedding attire and accessories. It is the duty of the couple to cover the cost of accommodations for their wedding party. However, it seems that many couples today are expecting the attendants to pay for their own accommodations for a destination wedding. We feel this cost should be included in the wedding budget. Kindly take into consideration the travel expenses and be upfront with your attendants about the costs so there are no questions about who is paying for what. When you ask your bridesmaids or groomsmen to stand up with you, let them know the location of wedding, exact dates you’d like them there, and confirm which of the expenses you will be covering. And as we mentioned about the guests- if at all possible, help cover the cost of some of your attendant’s meals.

Lake Tahoe Riverfront Wedding Mike Larson Photography

Post was in collaboration with etiquette expert Cheryl Seidel of Registry Finder

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