Is a Tahoe Elopement for You?

Today’s post is a guest blog by Lake Tahoe elopement expert and photographer Ruthanne Z. Like what you see here? Check out Ruthanne’s new podcast – The Elopement Podcast – for even more elopement empowerment and inspiration!

Lake Tahoe is home to an ever growing wedding industry. Lakeside estates, mountaintop venues, and incredible local planners are all excited to help couples celebrate their wedding day. But what about elopements? When people consider eloping – oftentimes, they think of a courthouse and Vegas. Guess what? Tahoe is definitely a better backdrop. Trust me.

Imagine taking a small hike up a mountainside that opens up to an incredible panoramic view of Big Blue (Tahoe locals’ affectionate name for our favorite lake). Imagine waking up after a winter storm to fresh snow as your witness… It sounds amazing, right? It’s my mission to inform couples who are thinking about eloping that elopements are fluid. They are adaptable, customizable, and unique… and a totally valid option for those not ecstatic over a guest list and centerpieces.

As an elopement-specific photographer based here in Lake Tahoe, I often get questions and comments from my couples saying things such as: “We’re not really outdoorsy, but we love the mountains!” or “Tahoe seems like it has a lot of tourism…can we still enjoy Tahoe but get away from the people?” I am here to tell you a big, fat, resounding YES to both of those.

I have a saying, and that is “the mountains are for lovers…” because, no matter who you are, the mountains will make you feel tiny and yet invincible all at the same time… and what better way to start off your marriage?

Here are a few typical questions people ask when deciding if Tahoe is the place for their intimate elopement. I hope they help you feel confident that YES, a Tahoe Elopement is for you!

Q: “We love the mountains and we want privacy for our elopement, but we’re not big hikers” -or- “Is there anyway to escape the crowds during peak seasons”?

A: YES! The beauty of Tahoe is experienced everywhere. From hiking trails, to beaches, to overnight backpacking treks – there is something for every level of adventurer. In general, there are spots to avoid during every season, but it’s pretty dependent on what the season itself looks like. Be sure to work with vendors who know the area and will help you find the best of all worlds for you!

Q: “We don’t like winter…can we elope in the summer?” -or- “what season is best to elope in Tahoe?”

A: Tahoe is actually just as good (if not better) in the summer! Sitting high in the Sierra, there is nothing like basking in California sunshine on a beach and admiring snow-capped mountains well into July. Year round, Tahoe is incredible. Winter plans require quite a bit of flexibility – we can get massive amounts of snow in just a few days. Springtime can be rainy sometimes, but is generally sunny and full of beautiful, bluebird skies. Summer will greet you with daytime temps in the 80’s usually, as well as an occasional thunder storm and evenings cooling off enough to soothe your sunburn and make the mountain air smell extra fresh. And autumn? Don’t even get me started…it’s my favorite time of year here.

Q: “We love the idea of Tahoe as our elopement location, but how do we get there efficiently?”

A: Reno-Tahoe international airport is situated a mere 40 minutes east of Truckee, California. Interstate 80 will get you to and from the lake with ease, and most major airports have direct flights into Reno, no problem. Check out Reno-Tahoe’s guide to direct flights here. Alternatively, you can fly into Sacramento, but will drive 2 hours to reach Truckee/Tahoe – and honestly, Reno is easier!

Q: “Rustic mountains are great…but we still want to wine and dine and celebrate. We’re worried the area doesn’t have enough options for this.”

A: We’ve totally got you covered! Historic Downtown Truckee is home to lots of wonderful restaurants and amazing craft cocktails. However, the whole lake is scattered with fantastic options for incredible meals and fantastic drinks. Some favorites of mine are Truckee Tavern, Evan’s, Christy Hill, Pioneer Cocktail Club, Sunnyside, and Wolfdales. Your palate won’t go without while in Tahoe!

Hopefully this Q+A eases some concerns and reaffirms that YES, your Tahoe elopement will be as magical as you’ve dreamed – and maybe even better than you could imagine. I think I speak for everyone on the Tahoe Unveiled team when I say: We can’t wait to welcome you to our beautiful home and help you celebrate the best day, together!