Why have your wedding be one day when you could have it be a week? That is exactly what these high school sweethearts did! From boat and beach days to intimate family dinners, this couple made the most out of their time in Tahoe. Read below to hear from the Bride more about their activity packed week and details from the main event, their wedding.
Tahoe is a very special place to Joe and I and our families. My parents have a home in Homewood, so we have spent most of our winters in the mountains and summers on the lake. During school breaks, my brothers worked at Chambers Landing, West Shore Café and a handful of other local bars and restaurants. As high school sweethearts, Joe joined us on many family vacations in Tahoe over the course of our 14-year-long relationship, so when we were thinking about our wedding location, Tahoe was a no-brainer! Not only did we want to choose a location that was near and dear to our hearts, but our wedding was, as some would say, "a long-time coming" and highly anticipated among our family and friends, given how long we dated, so we wanted to choose a place that was a vacation destination to entice our guests to spend the week with us leading-up to the wedding. Not to mention, both Joe and I have huge families who live all over the country, so we have a lot of close families and friends who had never been to Tahoe.
The Wedding Week:
Knowing this, our wedding was not just about the day itself, it was about the whole week and the special time with our families and friends. Starting on Tuesday, we organized daily activities leading-up to our wedding on Saturday, 9/22/18. On Tuesday, we hosted an intimate family dinner at my parent's home in Homewood; Wednesday, we organized a beach and boat day at Chambers Landing, followed by dinner at Sunnyside where our wedding party and families stayed during the week before moving over to Granlibakken for the weekend and wedding events. Thursday, the guys golfed during the day, while the ladies had a "pamper day", later reuniting for our evening activities at the Tahoe Yacht Club for cocktails, followed by a Dinner Cruise on the Tahoe Gal. Friday, my mom and I hosted a Ladies Brunch at Sunnyside, while the gentlemen set-up camp playing lawn games at Granlibakken, and to greet the rest of our incoming guests who would be staying onsite for the weekend. Later that evening we had the Rehearsal at our Church, Corpus Christi, our Rehearsal Dinner upstairs at Jake's on the Lake, looking out to the beautiful lake. We ended the night with a Meet & Greet, welcoming the rest of our guests at Granlibakken's Cedar House Pub. The week was an absolute dream, every single event was more memorable and special than the last and never in my entire life, had I ever seen Tahoe more beautiful. Not only was the weather flawless the entire time, but the week even coincided with a Harvest Moon. After a week of activities, and just when I thought it could not get any better, Saturday, 9/22/18, the *BIG DAY* arrived.
The Big Day:
To say our wedding day was magical is an understatement. It was truly the greatest day of our lives. But, a lot of planning and preparation went into the process to get to this point. Over our 14-year relationship, Joe and I attended more than 20+ weddings together and thus, had A LOT of time to research and craft how our own would unfold. We planned our day (and the week, for that matter) keeping three main objectives in mind: 1) have FUN and BE in the moment, 2) it's all about the guest experience, and 3) details matter. We were involved in every single step of the planning and decision-making process and our goal was to be super organized and buttoned-up ahead of time, so we could be free and enjoy all of our efforts in the moment, which was exactly what happened! Having been guests many times ourselves and knowing how much effort it takes to travel to a wedding, we wanted to do all of the thinking and planning for our guests, so all they had to do was "show-up" and enjoy themselves. This, too, was accomplished. From arranging transportation to making sure food and beverages were available at all times, I believe the special touches and details infused in our day contributed to not only the guest experience, but our own. Some of our favorite details included: incorporating lace from my Nana's wedding dress in my bouquet, Joe driving his Papa's classic yellow truck as the grand entrance into our reception, serving my parent's "Savant" wine and using the bottles as the table numbers, and inviting my dad's older brother Joe to sing during our ceremony and during the Father/Daughter Dance.
When I walked into the room of our reception to see our work for the first time, I was overwhelmed with emotion. We took the time to soak it in before the guests were invited to their seats and it felt like a fairytale was unfolding around me. I reminded myself to bottle in the feeling and the moment, and that I did. From our "first look" to our last dance with our incredible live band to the beautiful sacred ceremony, speeches and memories in between, the day was flawless. The evening ended with a post-party and late-night snacks at the Groomsmen's Lodge, surrounded by our nearest and dearest. We could not have asked for anything more...other than, perhaps, the ability to turn back time and do it all over again.
Advice from the Bride:
-Make sharable, separate Vision or Pinterest Boards for all major categories: wedding dresses, makeup & hair looks, bridal party attire, florals, table settings, décor & accent pieces, stationary, cakes & dessert displays, to name a few, so you can easily share your vision with your wedding planner or vendors.
-The more organized you are, the less stressed you will be leading-up to the wedding and during.
-One specific example, I highly recommend is create an itinerary for your bridal party and family including ALL specifics: times, addresses, attire, etc. and send it off early, so everyone has all details in advance. In addition, assign one close family member or friend to be the correspondent for the week- and day-of, so you aren't being tasked with responding to a ton of texts and questions the week- and day-of.
-Ditch your phone day-of; everyone else around you will take plenty of photos. But, your photographer's will be the ones you'll ultimately want to post and keep.
-Target your "non-negotiables" early (i.e. live band vs. DJ, for example), this will make budget and planning conversations much easier as the process progresses.
-Surround yourself with positive support system and avoid having too many "cooks in the kitchen".
-Most importantly, have FUN & BE in the moment...you won't regret it.
Tahoe Wedding Tips:
- Plan as far in advance as possible!! Tahoe is a coveted wedding destination. Wedding venues and vendors book up fast and there are limited wedding venues for large weddings. Plus, this will help save money throughout the process.
- Use the local Tahoe wedding vendors as resources. Most of the reputable ones know each other and can be great references.
- Hiring a local wedding planner was the best decision we could have made (besides hiring our AMAZING photographer and live band) because they are so much more in tune with local happenings, activities, vendors, traffic and weather concerns.
- Rain or shine, it will be beautiful! It's Tahoe, after all.