The Ultimate Wildflower Wedding at Northstar’s Zephyr Lodge

What if we told you that we found the ultimate wildflower wedding? Think flower arrangements in custom blue ceramics and place cards tied with bundles of wildflowers that looked like they could have come from the mountain outside. So what are you waiting for? Check out Neile and Ryan’s gallery captured by Nichols Photographers!

The couple met when a mutual friend organized a hike in San Francisco. Neile explains, “We talked most of the hike, and then when we all got pizzas, he bought me a beer and told cheesy jokes. I was sold right then.” Adventurous San Francisco restaurant dates, hikes, coffee excursions, and Giants baseball games soon followed. Four years and one dog later, Ryan proposed at a vineyard in Sonoma, where they had one of their first adventures together. He even got Neile’s family in on the surprise!

With the couple from the east coast and their family and childhood vacation spots so far away, one might ask, “why Tahoe?” But, according to them, they found their special place in Lake Tahoe. Ever since they’ve lived in San Francisco, they have spent the better part of their winters in Tahoe, finding any excuse to get there in the summer. “We love all things outdoors, from camping to skiing and snowboarding, to boating and hiking; we’re always happiest when we’re outside in Tahoe. We have so many memories of the mountains and lake that we thought it would be the perfect occasion to share the place we love with our east coast family and friends. Many of whom had never been, so we saw their amazed faces all weekend!”

They all hung out on Friday for a lake day with kayaks, paddleboards, and beach games. They then transitioned to the mountains for their Saturday wedding on top of Northstar. “We loved the unique element of gondolas and chairlifts taking our guests up to the ceremony and reception. It was our flower girl’s first ever gondola experience that she still talks about! We smile at the idea of guests mingling on the rustic gondolas/chairlifts while all dressed up for a wedding!” Another highlight for the couple was that they could have family play memorable roles at their wedding – making it even more personal and thoughtful. With Neile’s two brothers being professional musicians, they entertained their guests with an acoustic version of Here Comes the Sun and Father John Misty’s Real Love during the ceremony. Neile’s mom is an artist, and she designed their whole whimsical and beautiful invitation suite. And don’t forget their fluffy dog, Foggy, who walked down the aisle wearing a flower wreath. When the sun set and guests returned to the gondolas after a night of dancing, they handed out glow sticks for a festive ride down the mountain to the after-party and silent disco at Rubicon Pizza. They transformed the pizza place into a late-night dance party with the help of disco lights and a local DJ, DJ Cindy B.

The wildflower theme was prevalent throughout the day. The couple worked with a local farmer florist, Sierra Flower Farm, to achieve the wildflower look in sorbets, oranges, and greens throughout the evening. “We wanted the wildflower look to be present throughout the day/evening and help bring some outside into the large lodge.” Guests found their table assignments by gazing at glass jugs of varying sizes filled with stems that sat outside the lodge. At their tables, their place cards were tied with more bundles of wildflowers that looked like they could have come from the mountain outside. Varying-sized flower arrangements in custom blue ceramics also sat at each table, where their family and friends shared a meal in family-style fashion. When the time came, Ryan and Neile danced to Wildflowers by Tom Petty, performed by the band Roem Baur. They saw this song live when they first met and always knew it was their song.

If there is one thing Neile would recommend to brides, it’s that couples make decisions that are right for them. “We learned that there is no right way to throw a wedding. Though it’s hard with the pressure and norms of wedding planning, the more your day reflects both of you, the more authentic and beautiful it will be. We ended up thinking about our wedding as more of a dinner party on top of a mountain. I’d also recommend that couples plan ahead to take time for just the two of you on your wedding day. The day moves so fast, so we are glad that we had planned ahead for a first look where we read our personal vows to each other and a private cake cutting where we could laugh and take in the memory together, just us. Those moments stand out to me when I think back.”

Congrats on your special day, Neile and Ryan. May your future be bright and filled with lots of blessings and joy!

Wedding Vendors
Photographer Nichols Photographers / Planner Jalie Events / Florist Sierra Flower Farm / Band Roem / Venue Zephyr Lodge at Northstar / Hair + Makeup Megan Cary Artistry / Bakery Lake Tahoe Cakes / Officiant Meghan Ruiz Ceremonies / Rentals Celebrations! Party Rentals / Linens Creative Coverings / DJ Cindy Berman / Dress Laure De Sagazan /Suit Bonobos