Virginia City Wedding

Virginia City Wedding | Piper’s Opera House | Brenda + Dillon

WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME ABOUT VIRGINIA CITY?!?

Oh man, I’m just kidding.  My friend Holly talks about it all the time because she’s obsessed with ghosts and she likes to take her ghost hunting equipment (it’s a thing).

When Brenda first contacted me she gushed over my love for guacamole, enticed me with BBQ and promised me a man dressed as a miner with a donkey.  We never found the miner, or the donkey, but they did have a pistol packing preacher in a top hat (he had to check his gun at the Opera House gun check), fry bread, delicious promised BBQ, and both Brenda and Dillon have really wonderful and calm spirits.  When some things didn’t go as planned (sometimes red lipstick gets on wedding dresses), there was nary a beat in anyone’s steps because these two are so incredibly cool (so hot they’re cool!  so cool they’re hot!).  For future incidents: laughter helps and so do Tide pens!

Their venue was was full of wonder and intrigue: the Piper’s Opera House is a historic performing arts venue.  The current building was built in 1885, to replace the version built in 1878 that burned down in a fire.  It’s actually the third iteration of the Opera House: the Piper’s 1863 venue was destroyed by the 1875 Great Fire in Virginia City!  Piper utilized a lot of what could be salvaged from the original buildings when he started running out of money and you can see the use of it in the hallway leading into the great hall.  I was given a private tour by the onsite volunteer earlier in the evening and she told me that at one point they had to institute a gun check because the miners would get super drunk and rowdy and start hanging from the rafters and shooting their guns off!

I feel really incredibly lucky to have connected with these two amazing people and explored such an unbelievably picturesque strange retro town with them.  Although no one was swinging from the rafters and shooting their guns off at Brenda and Dillon’s wedding, there was a rowdy dance party!

In summary, Virginia City is quite the place, with quite the demeanor, and it was overwhelmingly awesome to photograph there.  I mostly spent the entire day freaking out over one texture or another.  Y’all, there was brick!  REAL BRICK!

I had a difficult time trying to narrow this one down to 10 photos and so I just gave up and refused.  So here’s a lot of photos from Brenda and Dillon’s wedding that I love.

Venue: Piper’s Opera House | Coordinator: Jalie Premier Event Planning | Officiant: Rev James Matthieu, aka, “The Pistol Packing Preacher” | Bakery: Whole Foods Reno | Fry Bread: Muha’s Indian Tacos | Catering: Carson City BBQ | Bride’s Attire: Elizabeth Dye from Alt Brides | Groom’s Apparel: Saks Off Fifth | Groomsmen Attire: Macy’s | Hair and Makeup: Chellsie Danielle Kiger | Rentals: Camelot Party Rentals

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Tahoe Engagement Photography

Tahoe Engagement Photography | Kiva Beach | Rosa + Justin

I’m so thrilled to be connected with these two!  Justin is brother to one of my clients, Julie.  Julie, Michael and I had an incredible day romping around San Francisco once for their engagement session.  Since then, I photographed their wedding and they had a child!

I love staying connected to clients and their families afterwards and this is one family that is so fantastic to be part of.  Rosa and Justin are getting married at the Landing Resort this summer and I can’t wait!  I envision gorgeous blue skies and an awesome holiday weekend in their future.  I expect it will look very different from their super snowy winter engagement session at Kiva Beach!

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Chateau Winter Wedding

Chateau Winter Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Lisa + Jeff

Any couple who has It’s Its instead of cake is cool in my book, literally and figuratively.

I know Lisa and Jeff because of Lisa’s sister in law, who has been a good friend and client of mine for many years. I’ve watched Lisa’s nephew, Jack, grow up over the years. I think I was supposed to be taking photos of Lisa and Jeff’s wedding but what I was really doing was taking photos of Jack.  His cuteness is irrefutable.

Lisa and Jeff, I’ll always be the fifth wheel on dinner dates with you and the fam.  I know y’all are going to have a lifetime of happiness together purely based on the simplicity, genuineness and care put into your wedding day.  Weddings that are about spending time with the ones closest to you, and not about burlap, have a special loving place in my heart and I’m so honored to have been part of yours.

May your lives be filled with whiskey, wine and laughter.

Venue: The Chateau at Incline Village | Coordinator: Cloud 9 Event Company | Florist: High Sierra Gardens | Hair and Makeup: Michelle at L’Atelier | Bride’s Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Jos A Bank | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Bakery: It’s-It

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Winter Senior Portraits

Winter Senior Portraits | Sugar Pine Point | Madelyn

Madelyn has grown up as a competitive tennis player, so it was important for her and her family to incorporate that aspect of her life into her Tahoe winter senior portraits.  Hysterically, although it hadn’t snowed for weeks before her session, when the day came it was freezing cold and a dusting of snow had fallen.  We had planned on doing the session at Sugar Pine Point State Park, because it has such a great mix of forest, pier, and lake options, plus, the added bonus of actually offering a tennis court.  Little did we know when we planned our day that Madelyn would be playing tennis in the snow!  It was a fun and comical way to end our day and I think her smile really came out and shone genuinely when she was on the court!

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Sand Harbor Family

Sand Harbor Family Portrait | Breaux Family

Sand Harbor State Park is an amazing location for your family photos at Lake Tahoe.  The depth and and interest that the boulders of the park lend to photos really creates awesome images. There are so many options at the park for great locations that offer a ton of variety: the cove, the beach and the forest are all within walking distance and perfect for variety.  To really set your photos off from anyone else’s, I also recommend including a dog in a coat.  Because why not.

Note: for a Sand Harbor family portrait there is an additional $50 permit fee for the location.

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Tahoe Winter Proposal

Tahoe Winter Proposal | Stateline, NV | Erik + Alex

Making your marriage proposal meaningful by taking her back somewhere special to the two of you is an awesome way to go, especially when it’s a place that will always be there.  Like Lake Tahoe – whose massive features and pristine waters aren’t apt to disappear anytime soon.  It’s unlikely that anyone will even be around if you plan a Tahoe winter proposal like Erik did for Alex.  There was nary a soul in sight when he went down on one knee on the pier at Edgewood Golf Course.

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Valhalla Wedding

Valhalla Winter Wedding | South Lake Tahoe, CA | Mary + Scotty

Mary and Scotty are pretty much the raddest kids around with the best hair.  Until Scotty shaved his hair off on his wedding night.  True story.

Mary ascertained that he needed “marraige hair” instead of “bachelor hair.”  What I think probably started as an inside joke grew to actuality as the dance party went on into the night and the whiskey flowed.

Other reasons they are rad: they wanted a Viking themed photo booth because they were getting married at Valhalla.  Their Hope Valley engagement session featured golden light, stylish threads and dogs.  Their grandma facetimed them while they were getting ready.

Venue: Valhalla Estate | Wedding Planner: Tahoe Dream Events | Florist: Enchanted Florist | Bakery: Cakes by Grace | Catering: Blue Angel Cafe | Bride’s Attire: Nicole Miller from The Wedding Party | Groom’s Attire: J Crew | Second photographer: Nicky Lockman of Nemus Photography

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Snowshoe Engagement Session

Snowshoe Engagement Session | Eric + Melissa

“I’m not sure if you quite understand what’s happening up here,” one of my emails to Melissa said, when I told her that we weren’t going to be able to just walk into the forest for their winter engagement session.  Melissa and Eric became engaged at Lake Tahoe and she had a specific adventurous outdoor mission in mind for her engagement photos: she wanted a snowy thick forested wonderland.  I could certainly deliver it, but in light of the five feet of snow we’d received in the two days before we were set to photograph, it wasn’t going to be easy.  It was the first of a series of snowstorms we’ve deemed “snowmageddon” which has since turned into “rainmageddon.”

“You’re going to need snowshoes,” I said.  They found snowshoes.

“You’re going to need a sense of adventure,” I might have said, “and some good natured enthusiasm.”

As it turns out, a sense of adventure and good natured enthusiasm is inherent in this dynamic duo and there was absolutely no reason that I would have needed to say that!  We spent an hour frollicing, falling, post holing, and burying ourselves in snow for their winter snowshoe engagement session and I loved every minute of it.  I can’t wait to photograph this rad couple’s 2018 wedding and spend more time laughing and adventuring for their photos.  After this, I am quite positive that they would be up for absolutely anything that included scrambling, climbing and adventure!

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Winter Portraits in the Snow

Winter Portraits in the Snow | Frank Family

You can’t fake candid: it’s always a little contrived.  Capturing real innocence, warmth, silliness and frustration is a little different and the magic happens only if I get to stop directing and families just start being themselves.  Most kids don’t love taking direction and would rather either completely ignore you, or be completely involved in the process, so frankly, why not let them?  I promise that often the best images happen when you think everything is a failure.

I couldn’t have asked for better moments during this winter family photo shoot in the snow.  Daily family life isn’t perfect and neither should the memories of your kids be.  I’m always thankful when winter portraits in the snow erupt into impromptu laughter and tear inducing snowball fights!  This is absolutely one of my favorite winter sessions of family photos at Lake Tahoe that I’ve photographed this year.

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Tahoe Winter Proposal

Tahoe Winter Proposal | Emerald Bay, CA | Kyle + Madeline

Kyle had to wait a LONG time on bended knee.

It was an incredibly blustery day.  A snowstorm bringing 12-16 inches of snow was blowing into Tahoe just as Kyle bent down to patiently await his bride-to-be’s reaction.  The wind was howling relentlessly.  Madeline was pre-occupied taking photos of Emerald Bay and she couldn’t get her phone to work.   After what felt like minutes while I giggled under my breath, she finally turned around and of course, said yes.

To escape the wind, we left Emerald Bay State Park and headed down to explore the Taylor Creek Visitor Center for a quick engagement session which was thankfully significantly more comfortable than it was up in on the ridgeline!  I’m excited for this awesome couple of five years and their future together!

Are you planning a Tahoe winter proposal?  Hiring a professional photographer is a great way to have your special moment captured and secure awesome save-the-date photos all at the same time!  I’m happy to help you come up with a plan and a location.  It’s always good to remember that Tahoe roads can close in the Winter so back up locations and realistic expectations are always recommended.  After all – there could be a snowstorm blowing in that day!

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