Whether we like to admit it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed some unique challenges over the last year. In an alternate universe, Lake Tahoe would be slammed with back-to-back weddings right now. Luckily 2020 also saw the popularity of alternative weddings rising. You’ve probably heard the words “microwedding” and “elopement” being thrown around lately. But have you stopped and asked yourself what is a micro wedding, and how does it differ from an elopement? And most importantly, is it something that can work for you? If you agree that bigger is not always better, let us deep-dive into this rising trend.
What is a micro wedding?
As the name suggests, a microwedding has to do with scale. It is essentially a new alternative to a traditional, large wedding, accommodating 10 – 50 guests. These weddings are usually bigger than an elopement but more intimate than a large wedding. They can be held at conventional wedding venues or, depending on size, at a private residence. It still features most of the standard wedding elements, like a ceremony, cocktail reception, dinner party, and dancing. You just get to decide which traditions are worth keeping and which ones you’re throwing out.
Elopements involve the couple, an officiant, a photographer, and sometimes a few close family members and friends – usually no more than ten people.
How to plan your micro wedding in Lake Tahoe
1. First things first: Pick a venue
Micro weddings enable you to explore all kinds of unique locations. Here are some of our favorite Lake Tahoe venues that will help you take the guesswork out of your search.
Lakefront views? Check. Lush green lawns? Check. The prettiest ceremony site this side of Nevada? Check. The Hyatt truly has it all. The Lakeside Beach Bar is perfect for summer micro weddings, where you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular sunset complemented by cotton candy skies.
Take your pick from Tahoe Mountain Club’s four venues, spanning all of North Tahoe. Not only do they provide intimate, four-season settings, they also have a venue for every style. From a sophisticated lodge perched above the 18th fairway of Old Greenwood to a romantic outdoor terrace overlooking the Mt. Rose skyline, there is something for everyone.
Sitting on the Little Truckee River banks, Dancing Pines is probably among Truckee Tahoe’s most unique outdoor venues. Part of the venue’s allure lies in the fact that it’s in the middle of the woods. You can exchange vows along the peaceful river and then dance the night away in the middle of the Sierra country pines.
If you’re looking for a venue with a bit of history, you’re in luck. Located in the heart of the Squaw Valley meadow, this premiere location was once a fully operational riding stable and overlooks Squaw Valley Ski Resort, home to the 1960 winter Olympics. If that doesn’t garner a reaction from you, just wait until you see the picturesque meadows, unobstructed views, and rustic charm that makes this venue so unique.
PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is where the grace of an intimate inn meets the services of a grand hotel to create the ultimate wedding destination. Located in the heart of the Village at Squaw Valley, the ceremony location faces the iconic Tram Face, making this the perfect venue for adventurous couples.
From the minute you walk into the Ritz-Carlton’s lobby, you are transported to a magical mountain venue. From the towering indoor fireplace to the outdoor ceremony site by the slopes, this is a venue not to be missed. The picturesque mountain slope-side locations are ideal for summer micro weddings, while the ballrooms featuring sweeping views of the Sierra Mountains will make the perfect winter wedding location.
2. Find your vendors
Contrary to popular belief, micro weddings still utilize various vendors; you just have more leeway in deciding which ones you want to include in your wedding. That’s why we decided to put together a list of services you should consider hiring for your special day. You can thank us later!
Planner: Don’t let a small guest list trick you into thinking that you don’t need a wedding planner. There is still a decent amount of planning that goes into a micro wedding, albeit not on the same scale as a big wedding. If you’ve hired more than three vendors, we’ll recommend hiring someone to worry about the nitty-gritty. That includes coordinating the timeline, managing event logistics, assisting you in creating a wedding day timeline, and navigating any changes to your big day.
Video: Some people are on the fence about hiring a videographer, and we honestly don’t know why. This is the closest friends and family who could not attend your wedding will come to witness your special day. Plus, the more memories, the better, right?
Catering: If you selected a venue that does not include food and drinks in their package, you might want to consider hiring a caterer. You can actually have a lot of fun with this one and choose foods and beverages that reflect you and your partner’s personality. Food trucks are also the perfect addition to a micro wedding, especially if you’re after that cozy, laid-back vibe.
Beauty: Regardless of how small your wedding is, you still want you and your bridal party to look and feel like a million bucks. Whether it takes a hairstylist or make-up artist to achieve this, it is definitely something you should consider.
Photography: You have every right to ask a loved one to document your wedding, but who wants that kind of pressure on them? And are they truly going to be present if they’re searching for creative ways to capture your napkins the whole night? Remember, there are no redos on your wedding day. We would definitely recommend investing in a professional photographer to capture your most intimate moments in a way that you will remember forever.
Flowers: Even if you’re not going full out with detailed floral arrangements and extravagant centerpieces, it doesn’t mean you won’t need to make use of a florist. In true micro wedding style, you can adjust the quantity accordingly. Let’s be honest, who wants to stress about boutonnieres and bouquets on their big day?
Design: Not all locations need decor; some places are just so naturally beautiful that decor would be redundant. When you book a venue, try and find out what is included in the package and consider hiring a local rental company for your desired furniture and design details. Let your imaginations run wild with this one!
Officiant: Hiring an officiant is probably the single most important vendor for your wedding ceremony because they are ultimately responsible for performing the ceremony and signing your marriage license. Plus, a professional officiant will assist with ceremony development, customize your ceremony, and guide the marriage license process. Suppose you want a family member of a friend to officiate your ceremony. In that case, you’ll have to ask someone comfortable with public speaking and willing to go through the ordination process.
Desserts: Nothing says “I’m married” quite like cutting that cake! And even if you are not into the whole cake-cutting thing, it’s nice to add a sweet touch to an already sweet day. In other words, this is another golden opportunity to showcase your personality and impress the foodies and the amateurs alike.
Music: It’s true what they say: music sets the mood for your big day. This category usually offers a lot of flexibility. It all depends on the couple and the vibe they are after. You can opt for a DJ, or if you’re a live music fan, it might be worth looking into a trio or even a band.
Photo Booth: Even though a photo booth is not essential, it’s always a great way to encourage guests to take photos at your wedding. And they have fun while doing it, so your entertainment for the evening is basically sorted. Now that’s what we call a win-win situation. It’s also the perfect opportunity to show off your hashtag.
3. Time to get that marriage license
You’ve booked your venue and vendors; now it’s time to make it legal. You can obtain your marriage license directly from the county clerk’s office within the state you want to get married in. If you have any uncertainties, your officiant will also be of great help in this regard.
4. Refine your guest list and send those invites out!
Unfortunately, this is the part where it can get tricky – who receives an invite and who doesn’t? You and your partner have to lay down some ground rules and start with the people you absolutely want there, like your immediate families, close family members, and friends. This is not the time to consider giving your aunt, who recently entered the dating scene again, a plus one.
Seeing that you don’t have an extensive guest list to worry about, you can focus your energy on customizing your wedding invites. Keep in mind; this is your guests’ first glimpse into your special day – make it memorable!
5. Add special touches
Seeing that your wedding budget will stretch a little further with a smaller guest list, this is the perfect opportunity to splurge on something (if you wish to do so). This is where a photo booth, personalized wedding favors, and that rental item you had doubts about come into play. All in the name of giving your special day a certain je ne sais quoi. You can even go as far as to live stream your ceremony to include your loved ones from afar.
6. It’s party time!
The best part about having a smaller wedding? You don’t have to engage in awkward small talk with your partner’s twice removed cousin that you met a day before. You are literally surrounded by your favorite bunch of people, and you will have ample time to have meaningful conversations with each and every one of them; now go and enjoy it!
P.S. If you want help planning your Lake Tahoe micro wedding, you’ve come to the right place. Our innovative Micro Wedding Booking Tool features all the exciting parts involved with booking and designing your wedding and removes all the hassles and time-consuming elements. Check it out here.