How did two East Coast transplants come to create and run one of the most popular wedding venues in North Lake Tahoe? Upon arriving in the Sierra High Country to meet Elizabeth and Bryan Mettler, owners of Tahoe Unveiled venue Dancing Pines, it is immediately clear that their partnership is that of the Tahoe power couple variety: strong skiers with an enterprising nature, dog loving DIY-ers, fiercely practical and passionately self sufficient.
Liz and Bryan purchased and named the Dancing Pines property, located about 20 minutes north of Truckee, in 2014. But their story starts years earlier when Bryan, who had ventured to California from Philadelphia in search of fresh powder and the peaceful landscapes of the West, advertised a room in his Donner Lake house for rent on Craigslist. (A “3 sentence listing,” as Liz recalls.) She moved in as a tenant a few months later and the rest, as they say, is history.
When purchased, the 20 acre property was mostly untouched forest, with a charming two story Craftsman cabin sited just uphill from the Little Truckee River. As the couple spent the first year on their new land, originally bought with Liz’s horses in mind, they found it had natural spaces that would be perfect for a wedding ceremony and reception. Inspired by their own wedding in Liz’s parents’ backyard, a vision began to emerge of sharing their stunning property with couples who were starting their own new life together.
Dancing Pines’ first event was a friend of a friend’s wedding in the summer of 2015, demonstrating the potential of the property; Liz and Bryan began prepping and marketing the venue in earnest later that year. “We really only had to remove one tree for the ceremony space,” says Liz. “But we moved a TON of rock!” Their first full wedding season was 2017 and it didn’t take long for word to get out: for couples seeking an outdoorsy, off-grid feel that is still close to town, Dancing Pines’ offers the best of both worlds with a personal, supportive touch. It is also the only private, outdoor wedding venue in the Truckee/Tahoe area that is located on a river.
Maintaining a large acreage is an ambitious venture and the Mettler’s take a “divide and conquer” approach to operating the venue -while still maintaining the outdoor lifestyle that lured them both to Tahoe over a decade ago. Liz has a background in events and marketing, so planning and follow up is right in her wheelhouse. Still, her favorite part of the job is standing with the bride, moments before she walks down the wooded path that serves as the aisle. Bryan does much of the behind the scenes labor to maintain the property but typically likes to lay low during events. He and their cattle dog “Blue,” however, are the venue’s preferred parking attendants. In their spare time outside of weddings, Liz and Bryan have also recently built a barn and the horses will be arriving soon.
Fully booked for 2019 and currently taking reservations for 2020, the Mettler’s wedding venue is most definitely a labor of love, with Liz and Bryan’s own strong, honest partnership setting the tone for every couple who chooses to say “I do” at Dancing Pines. For more information about weddings and retreats at Dancing Pines, visit their website or venue listing on Tahoe Unveiled.
Venue Dancing Pines / Couple photos Taylor Kern