Ceremonies by Meredith Richmond

Welcome the newest member of Tahoe Unveiled, Meredith Richmond. A seasoned wedding officiant, Meredith creates incredibly beautiful and personalized ceremonies for an unforgettable wedding. Being a Lake Tahoe native and living in Truckee, she has a deep reverence for the wild beauty of her surroundings.  We can assure you that Meredith will be the best addition to your Lake Tahoe wedding. Find out a little more about Meredith in our interview below.

Ceremonies by Meredith-4 Photo: Chelsea Jean Photography

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be a part of couples’ wedding ceremonies. As a wedding officiant I lead couples through the process of developing their customized wedding ceremony that expresses who they are and tells their unique love story.

How and when did you decide to become a wedding officiant?

Years ago I was asked a few times to perform a few of my friends’ wedding ceremonies. I truly loved the experiences, though at that time I didn’t think about offering officiant services commercially. Then a couple of years later shortly after moving to Maui, I became friends with a woman who was in the wedding industry. I shared that I love performing ceremonies, and she immediately got so excited to hear this. She believed that there was a huge niche for an officiant with my style and approach. This conversation led me to begin my officiant business in Maui. Within just 3 years I had the opportunity to perform over 250 ceremonies.

Ceremonies by Meredith-1 Photo: Jana Dillon Photography

What’s your favorite part of the job?

That’s a tough one. Every step of the process is so thrilling. I love meeting each couple, getting to know them and share in their excitement of being engaged. I enjoy writing each unique ceremony and learning about new wedding customs. The ceremony of course is such a big finale to the whole process and such a pleasure to be a part of.
Describe the type of couple that will have the most success working with you.

I find that I fit in with all types of couples. I always listen to their requests and craft each ceremony to fit. I work with couples from across the spectrum, from those who want something short and sweet, to those who come to the table with a vision and many ideas for customs and rituals to include into their ceremony.

What is your inspiration for writing ceremonies?

Each couple inspires the type of ceremony. From getting to know them and learning about their story, I like to learn about what is important to them to include into their ceremony. There may be cultural/religious traditions or customs that they feel should be recognized. Additionally, a couple may have a wedding ritual that they know or that I offer that speaks to them. I also offer couples to partake in a questionnaire, that each partner responds to separately. I then weave their responses throughout the ceremony.

Ceremonies by Meredith-3 Photo: Maui Maka Photography

What is the most unique ceremony you’ve written?

Ooh, now that’s a good question. The first that comes to mind was an interfaith wedding ceremony. The bride was Jewish and the groom was Hindu. It was very important to both of them that many of the wedding traditions from each of their religions were recognized. I enjoyed learning and the challenge of researching the different wedding customs. In the end it was so interesting to learn that numerous of the wedding rituals mirrored each other, in the rituals and shared similar meanings.

I also have to mention the triple surprise vow renewal. I was asked to perform a vow renewal for a father and his two sons, who all wanted to surprise their wives with a vow renewal ceremony while on their Hawaiian vacation. The father celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary and the two sons were each celebrating their 20th anniversaries. The men had dresses and new rings for their wives. It was so fun to be in on the surprise and see the wives’ surprised reactions. I also enjoyed the challenge of intertwining three ceremonies into one.

What is the cutest or funniest thing you’ve seen happen at a wedding?

I’ll never forget when the groom’s cell phone started to ring during his vows. He quickly handed it off to his best man and looked at his new father-in-law and said, “I never take a day off!”.

Ceremonies by Meredith-2 Photo: Caitlin Cathey Photography

What is the most rewarding part of officiating a ceremony?

I feel so lucky that I get to be a part of couples’ most special day. It is such a sweet window that I get to see in people’s lives. I continually get to be surrounded by joy and happiness.

What are some of your favorite venues in Lake Tahoe?

There are so many beautiful venues around Tahoe. I love the simplicity and natural beauty that the outdoors provide. So really, anywhere around here is my favorite!

What is the most challenging part of being a wedding officiant?

For smaller weddings and elopements, I often serve as the wedding coordinator as well as the officiant. When the weather isn’t behaving, and there is no indoor or covered option, it can get tricky to have a backup plan.

Ceremonies by Meredith-5 Photo:  Chris J. Evans Photography

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love enjoying the outdoors with my family. We love hiking, biking, lounging by the lake and skiing in the winter. I also love yoga and date nights with my hubby.

 

Where can we find you on a Sunday morning?

On an outdoor adventure, summer hike or winter skiing

If you’re getting married in the Northern California area, reach out to Meredith. She’d love to hear from you!

Meredith Richmond
Website: www.ceremoniesbymeredith.com
Phone: 808-268-7985
Email: ceremoniesbymeredith@gmail.com

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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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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.

elevated photo booth

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.

 

photo booth props

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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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.

lake tahoe summer wedding Virgil Bunao Photography

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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Our new favorite blogger Chloe MacKintosh of Boxwood Avenue is sharing a sneak peak at a calligraphy DIY project she created for her own wedding.  In fact, this beauty and her hubby were married, here, in Lake Tahoe at the West Shore Cafe and Innand we are dying to see the photos! Chloe teamed up with Tahoe Unveiled vendors Melina Wallisch Photography and Dax Victorino Films to give you a quick look into the art of calligraphy.

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After Greg and I got engaged, I decided I was going to learn calligraphy, in order to do myself, what would have traditionally been outsourced to a calligraphist. After a few practice sessions, I fell in love with calligraphy, and haven’t looked back. I definitely don’t consider myself a calligraphist, more of a hobbyist experimenting with different techniques, but as I learned, I found some amazing resources, and have decided to share them with you! If you’ve been wanting to learn calligraphy, I’ve just launched a completely free workshop on my blog, so head on over and sign up! I promise, all it takes is a little patience and a whole lot of practice.

MATERIALS

Luxe Cream Paper
Gold Ink
Your favorite calligraphy pen and nib (Nikko G is my favorite!)
Lettermate
Pencil
Eraser
Scrapbooking Trimmer

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1
Cut menus and table numbers into 5×7” pieces, and name tags into 2.5×4” pieces using the scrapbook trimmer.

STEP 2
Using your pencil and lettermate, lightly mark straight lines along the paper. One line for name tags, two lines (spaced far apart) for the table numbers, and multiple lines for the menus.

STEP 3
Shake your gold ink well, dip your pen into the ink, and get to writing! Try printing a few of the lines in all caps to add dimension to the menus.

STEP 4
Allow the ink to fully dry, then erase the pencil lines.

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Vendors:
Photography: Melina Wallisch Photography | Cinematography: Dax Victorino Films | Floral Design and Calligraphy: Chloe Legras of Boxwood Avenue | Venue: The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery

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Now that your best friend, sister, college roommate is engaged – it’s time to start thinking about the bachelorette party! There are so many ideas but we have a few tips to get you started on the right track.

1. Pick the group that he feels comfortable “letting loose” around | Get the invite list from the bride and let her decide who she would like to have join – if she hasn’t spoken to someone in a while or doesn’t feel comfortable in Vegas with work colleagues, they don’t need to get an invite.

Scarlet ONeill Photography Scarlet O’Neill Photography

2. Remember, this is her night/weekend | Focus on what will make her have fun and enjoy a relaxing evening, not what everyone else wants to do.If sipping wine by a roaring fire while glamping, or partying all night in Vegas are things that will make your bride-to-be happy, then that is what your plan should entail.

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3. Create a budget | Once you have the guest list created, ask everyone what they are comfortable spending. If it’s relatively small, keep this in mind and maybe plan a one-night, local adventure. If everyone has a little more wiggle room, maybe consider turning this into a weekend relaxation trip or quick flight to somewhere fun.

erin mcginn Erin Mcginn

4. Elect one person for planning | It’s so easy for everyone to brainstorm and come up with a million locations, ideas, themes, etc. Let one person coordinate all of the details and then as a group finalize everything. That way no one is doing double work and everything will be more seamless.

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5. Take care of transportation | Do everyone a favor and rent either a limo, town car, or party bus. No one wants to be the “sober” one for this fun night out, so everyone should build in their budget an allotment for responsible transportation.

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We are very excited to welcome Tahoe Unveiled vendor, florist Brandie Chisholm of  B&B Designs. Brandie has been creating gorgeous floral designs for Lake Tahoe weddings for years and we absolutely love her creativity and style. Here are Brandie’s top tips for choosing your wedding flowers.

(Photography provided by Handlebar Studios)

1. Where to begin. Create a folder or Pinterest board and place images that you like in it. You should start to notice a pattern or a theme through these images that will ultimately help you decide on your style, theme and color palette.

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2. Choose your color palette. Pick your main color/colors based on colors you have always liked. Remember that not every flower comes in every color, so if a specific flower is more important to you then the color, then you may want to pick your color based on that flower. Couples should also be open to a range of colors, due to the fact that flowers come from nature and may come in shades of your color but not the exact color.

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3. Decide on a style or theme that fits YOU. The flowers are the perfect way to relay your theme to your guests. How your flowers are designed should have a reflection on you the couple. A couple should think about what style best describes them, whether it be elegant, classical, rustic, vintage, country, etc and choose that style that best fits them. Also, keep in mind the venue you have selected because it too may influence this decision.

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4. Set aside a floral budget. Most people don’t realize the expense of flowers and often cut this part of the budget short. Couples, however, should remember that the flowers are what brings everything together. They add the extra beauty to your space and photos, and are a way to transform your venue, represent your style, and create the “wow” effect that your guests will remember.

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5. 2015 wedding flower trends. This year in color I am seeing a lot of whites, creams, and blushes with a marsala/burgundy accent and touches of gold. I am also noticing that bouquets and arrangements are loosening up and overall vases are moving toward a more elegant container. Garland is also making a huge appearance in this year’s wedding scene.

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Emergency Kit-1

On your wedding day, even the smallest of problems can send you into an absolute panic. So, no matter how calm, cool and collective you think you are we suggest packing an emergency kit that keeps you prepared for anything life tries to throw at you on this special day. Here we provide a list, broken down by category, of all the odds and ends you might for some odd reason need in an instant on your wedding day.

And, if the sound of assembling one of these kits sounds like something you want, but the last thing you want to focus your energy on, then we suggest two things. If you have a planner, ask them if they come equipped with such a kit — we bet they do. If you don’t have a planner, these bridal emergency kits can be ordered from sites like Pinch Provisions or With You In Mind Inc.
Emergency Kit

Apparel Emergencies

Sewing Kit
Crochet Hook
Safety Pins
Batteries
Lint Roller
Scotch Guard
Clear Nail Polish
Hem Tape
White Chalk – great at removing red wine stains
Extra Earring Backs
Stain Remover

Beauty Emergencies

Tweezers
Nail Glue
Eyelash Glue
Blotting Papers
Clear Nail Polish
Lipstick
Hair Spray
Face Mist
Krazy Glue
Sunblock
Bobby Pins
Clear Hair Elastics

Hygiene Emergencies

Baby Powder
Tampons
Breath Mints
Tissues
Asprin
Band-Aids
Dentel Floss
Snacks
Deodorant
Blister Balm
Antacid

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