A Romantic Ranch Wedding in the Sierra

While this ranch wedding is slightly different from our usual Lake Tahoe weddings, held in the stunning Carson Valley just a short drive from South Lake Tahoe, it was too perfect not to share! Taking place at the bride’s family ranch and captured by Courtney Aaron photography, the wedding was filled with family, friends, and personal touches that made the day even more special to the bride and groom, all in the against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Read on below to hear more from the bride about her ranch wedding and her favorite moments from the day!

From the Bride: Getting Married at the Ranch

The ranch is an amazing place and there aren’t many like it left in this country. It’s a multi-generation cattle and horse ranch. Getting married on a functional ranch has a kind of realness to it that was incredibly important to me. Our love is real, it’s raw, it’s true, and I wanted the environment we invited our loved one into to witness our lifelong commitment to be in a place that also felt real, raw and true. We even opted out of a dance floor so that we could feel the mown hayfield beneath our feet. And we danced under the stars and twinkle lights. An added plus, getting married in the hayfield meant we could stay and dance and play music as long as we liked!

It’s my Aunt Julie and Uncle Todd’s ranch, and ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of getting married there. And, the older I get, the more I admire Julie and Todd’s marriage. Their ranch symbolizes love and family and respect for the land and the ranching lifestyle.

When asked what I wanted my wedding to be like, I said a family reunion. Like the best family reunion in a beautiful setting, relaxed, and full of love and fun. What better place to host such an event than at my own family’s ranch?! The ranch allowed for us to take incredible pictures. We got engaged in the mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park so it was only natural that we’d get married in the mountains, too. By getting married at the ranch, we could capture the most amazing back drop of the rugged Sierra Nevada.

What were some of the most memorable moments from your wedding day?

A few moments really stand out:

-My best friend doing my makeup on the floor of my Aunt Julie’s. I used to play with Aunt Julie’s makeup on that same floor. Walking down the aisle toward the love of my life. I’ve never felt more at peace or more thankful in my whole life. And it was a long walk! I intentionally had a very long walk to Zach so that I could savor all the meaning of that moment, of walking toward the man that I would become one with.

-Running through sparklers and driving up the mountain to our special boutique hotel right on Lake Tahoe. The sweet anticipation of that drive is something we will always cherish.

-Dancing. Our entire ceremony and reception were outside. In fact, when the guys came to set up the dance floor, I looked over and thought no. No, I just want to dance on the grass under the lights and the stars. So that’s what we did. Zach and I and the people we love most danced the night away on dirt and grass and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-The rehearsal dinner. We all got together in the cottage yard. We had Mexican food and a big fire pit and yard games. That was a magical evening of relaxing and soaking up everything that would happen the following day.


Photographers Courtney Aaron Photography / Planner Gansberg Ranch / Venue Gansberg Ranch / Gown Morilee by Madeline Gardner / Boots Frye (vintage) / Invites Minted / Cake Brides Mother