Thunderbird Lodge Wedding

Thunderbird Lodge Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Laura + Ryan

George Whittell liked all things fast: cars, planes, boats and women.

Wait, you thought this would be a post about Laura and Ryan and their wedding?  Just hold on a hot second, we’ll get there.

George Whittell’s antics started young. Out of highschool, much to his high society parents chagrin, he ran away and joined the circus, eloping with a chorus girl.  After deftly removing his family’s assets from the stock market before the great crash, George was left as the sole heir to their treasure trove upon his mother’s death in the 1930s.  He amassed a collection of cars (he loved Dusenbergs) and a menagerie of circus animals that included tigers, a giraffe, an elephant, and a bear. A lion cub named Bill was his constant companion.

After Tahoe was logged for mining, Whittel bought up 95% of the coast line for pennies on the dollar, building himself a summer playground in the Thunderbird Lodge.  The elephant didn’t fare well in the altitude and had to be sent home.  The lion however, was always afoot.  Without regulatory interference in Nevada, Whittell was able to pursue his dreams: gambling, partying, drinking and going fast.  He owned a number of planes, dozens of cars, and the most infamous piece in his collection: the Thunderbird.

Whittell commissioned John Hacker, a Naval architect, to design a yacht in the style of his personal DC-2 aircraft and his many Duesenbergs.  It cost $87,000 (which would be the equivalent of $3.3 million today) and thanks to its twin airplane engines, could cross Lake Tahoe at speeds of over 70mph.   

Today, Lake Tahoe has Whittell to thank for most of its pristine beauty and undeveloped land in Nevada.  Before his death, Whittell donated land to the University of Nevada and Zephyr Cove, where a high school bears his name.  Most of his 27 miles of shoreline were sold to the National Forest Service.

Today, taking my summer guests and visitors on tour’s of this eccentric man’s home is one of my favorite things to do.  It is a breathtaking piece of architecture, with stone pathways, waterfalls, and intricate rock work.  It is the most beautiful of the older estates on Lake Tahoe and quite possibly the most beautiful wedding venue that Tahoe offers.  There is no need for decor when you have this estate as your backdrop.

Laura and Ryan actually didn’t intend to wed at the Thunderbird Lodge despite the fact that they had family members on the board of directors for the Preservation Society.  They looked at a number of other venues to begin with but found that the rigidity of their event rules weren’t going to work for them.  Laura’s late mother was an extravagant and enthusiastic host, whose legacy was partially remembered for one very specific appetizer that she always prepared for her guests.  Laura desired her wedding to be a nod to her mother in remembrance and the small details that her mother never forgot were important to not overlook.  From the chargers that her mother would have insisted on to the appetizers she would have served, the tribute would be a small but important reminder that she too was present.  While many other venues weren’t willing to accommodate some of these important requests, Thunderbird Lodge was and it was all the more special since the Lodge itself has played such a large part in Laura’s family history.

Laura and Ryan were wed on the lawn in the late afternoon and then presented with another surprise: they had been gifted a ride with their wedding party on the actual Thunderbird!  Captain Dave took us out for a short 20 minute ride and it was absolutely incredible!

When I look back over their wedding gallery, I am still in awe of how breathtakingly special it is to dine at sunset on the lawn of this historic lodge.  I’ve taken the tour of the lodge many times and am well versed in some of the more eccentric stories of Whittell, but to spend an entire evening there is humbling and incredible.  If you can’t find someone to hold their wedding at the lodge for you to join in on, the Preservation Society does offer a summer dinner series and seated wine-maker dinners.  You can tour the property in the summer and I would suggest going by water, where you’ll arrive via vintage wooden boat from the same era and enjoy lunch on the grounds.

Laura and Ryan’s wedding culminated with touching toasts and a non-stop dance party, mostly enforced by her energetic and charming father who even made me put my camera down to dance for a bit.  I normally try to limit my blog post photos to just a few, but I think I would be doing a disservice to the venue if I didn’t share the incredible venue photos that my amazing second Brian Walker took for me.  So, without further adieu, here are waaaaaay too many photos from Laura and Ryan’s gorgeous Thunderbird Lodge Wedding.

Venue: Thunderbird Lodge | Planning and Coordination: Blue Sky Events | Linens: Creative Coverings | Florist: Thran’s | Wedding Music: Stacy Farnan with Serenade Services | Catering: CoCoMoe’s Drop Off Gourmet | DJ: Reno Tahoe DJ Company | Rentals: Celebrations Party Rentals | Hair and Makeup: Tahoe Salon Be | Shuttles: Northstar Transportation | Restrooms: Quickspace | Second Photographer awesomesauce from Brian Walker Photography

 

Thunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge WeddingThunderbird Lodge Wedding

LGBTQ Friendly Wedding Resources

Wedding planning can be an enormously stressful undertaking all by itself, but when you add in the additional worry that that you might not be treated fairly, or have you concerns taken seriously it just exasperates the stress.  Yet, that is something that many LGBTQ couples face when planning their weddings. The fact is your wedding is yours and should be the amazing day that you have dreamed it to be without the added stress.  Unfortunately, trying to find vendors who will support you and help bring your vision to life is not always rainbows and roses. It can be time consuming trying to find and sort through good vs. bad and supportive vs not supportive. Here’s a selection of LGBTQ Friendly wedding resources filled with vendors who you know will be positive and help bring the vision of your perfect LGBTQ wedding to life.

Plymouth CA Same Sex Wedding

Rainbow Wedding Network

Rainbow Wedding Network is the producer of hundreds of boutique-style Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expos throughout the nation. These boutiques help connect LGBTQ couples to wedding vendors in their communities. These are vendors who support LGBTQ rights and are comfortable with making your day unique and special.  The network is lesbian-owned organization that has produced over 200 wedding expos in 33 different states. They produce 25 new events every year.

The site itself has an abundance of resources for any LGBTQ couple. It houses an online directory where couples can input their location to find a list of wedding vendors who will be comfortable working with you and your partner. The site also contains a blog where you can browse articles and find wedding ideas and inspiration.  What sets this site apart from the others is that the Network has a podcast where the team discusses trends, how to work with vendors and keeps you updated on LGBTQ current events.  Of course, the most important page on the site is the list of dates for the upcoming wedding expos they are hosting in different cities.  The expo for Texas will be held on May 19, 2019.  There is normally an expo in Austin and San Antonio in the spring every year as well, so, if you are planning your wedding for the fall or winter of 2019-20, this might be one to catch.

Overall, the site is user friendly and a great resource for finding LGBTQ friendly vendors, wedding tips and keeping up with LGBT news.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Pridezillas

Pridezillas is also a wedding resource site for the LGBT community.  Their focus appears to be on connecting couples with LGBTQ friendly vendors. Like the Rainbow Wedding Network, they allow you to search for vendors by location.

The site also boasts an extensive blog with articles on many topics including “Tips from Officiants,” and photography guides. In addition to the blog, the website includes an album of beautiful LGBT weddings to help get your planning creative juices going.

Though not as intricate as the Rainbow Network site, the simple website design makes this site easy to use and less time consuming which might be helpful when you are on an already tight wedding planning timeline. 

San Deigo Firehouse Wedding

Purple Unions

Purple Unions LGBT wedding directory was founded by Scott & Mark, a gay couple who met in 1992 and legally married in 2008. According to their site, Scott and Mark “want to help others find welcoming, friendly and supportive wedding vendors to plan your day together.”

The resources on the website are amazing and like the others already mentioned, they allow users to search for vendors by location. A unique feature of this site is that it hosts travel giveaways thanks to the help of their sponsors.  The site also includes a wedding blog and includes a page of links to other wedding and non-wedding related sites that may be of interest to LGBTQ couples.

Though this site hosts a pretty solid directory of LGBTQ friendly wedding venues, what makes them most unique is the abundance of links to other resources.  The site owners Scott and Mark also run Purple Roofs which is now one of the most popular gay and lesbian travel directories on the web.  So be sure to check that out as you reach the honeymoon planning phase!

This is just a short list of LGBTQ wedding planning resources to get you started and help shorten your to-do list just a little bit.  All of them boast of vendors who come highly recommended and have already shown support for the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ weddings.  Hopefully this list will help you find positive vendors who will help you create your ideal wedding.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

West Shore Cafe Wedding

West Shore Cafe Wedding | Morgan + Vittawat

I have loved Morgan and Vittawat from the moment I met them.  They are bright, vibrant and smart. They exude happiness, confidence and love. They make you feel like a better person just being in their presence.  I had looked forward to their West Shore Cafe wedding all year and now that it’s come and gone I wish that I could do it all over again.  To be honest, we (my buddy Tyler came down from Seattle to help out) CRUSHED this wedding.  I’m so proud of the work we did and the final product that we gave to Morgan and Vittawat to celebrate their amazing day.

Morgan is a bit like me: she moves to laughter with ease and particularly in moments of great emotion.  Vittawat is all great emotion.  The results are touching, and, in my opinion, amazingly hilarious. These two are going to do great things in life together and I can’t wait to see what the world has in store for them.

Venue: West Shore Cafe | Planning and Coordination: Atypical Events | Officiant: Jack Cross | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Florist: Thran’s Flowers | Bakery: Lake Tahoe Cakes | DJ: DJ Beau Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Swoon Bridal | Bridal Party Attire: Azazie | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Marchele’s Bridal Boutique | Second Photographer: Tyler Ray of Gull Photo

 

West Shore Cafe WeddingWest Shore Cafe WeddingWest Shore Cafe WeddingWest Shore Cafe WeddingWest Shore Cafe WeddingWest Shore Cafe Wedding

Landing Resort Wedding

Landing Resort Wedding | Lake Tahoe, CA | Kristina + AJ

Kristina and AJ are both of Ukrainian heritage.

Let me tell you something: the Ukrainian know how to party.

Seriously, I’ve never seen a dance floor so incredibly packed!  Kristina and AJ hired one of my favorite wedding bands, The Lucky Devils, who travel all over the Western US playing weddings and events and they always know how to get the dancefloor moving. What was really insane though was when the band took a break and they started playing traditional music! Words cannot describe how epic this Landing Resort wedding raged so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

I feel super fortunate to have gotten to spend a ton of time with this amazing couple and their friends and family – we started our relationship off with both Tahoe and SF engagement sessions and I photographed their ceremony at City Hall in SF the week before their Tahoe ceremony and reception.

Venue: The Landing Resort and Spa | Day Of Coordinator: Lynne Barthe | Florist: Art in Bloom | Bakery: Flour Girl Wedding Cakes | Band: The Lucky Devils | Bride’s Attire: BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Hugo by Hugo Boss | Hair and Makeup: Art of Beauty | Second Photographer: Shelby McAuliffe

Landing Resort WeddingLanding Resort WeddingLanding Resort Wedding

Senior Pictures

Reasons You Should Have Senior Pictures Taken

It’s finally the time of year when the sun begins to poke its head out again and we have the types of days that lure you out to the city parks.  In addition to the sun creeping out, the retail store shelves have suddenly become lined with stuffed animals bearing a cap and gown and space for signatures and “Oh the Places You’ll Go” books out front.  Not only does this time of year signal the beginning of spring, it’s also a signal that many people are completing an educational milestone. Its graduation season.  Though people graduate throughout the year, May and June tend to be the biggest months for celebrating these accomplishments, with one of the biggest being high school graduations.

High school graduations have come with their own traditions since just about forever.  Some are ancient and over the top, but a few are worth continuing: one of which is senior pictures. Having senior pictures taken is a good idea for several reasons and most of them are extremely unselfish or vain.  So, before you think about skipping out on them, read ahead for a few reasons that you shouldn’t.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 1: The Family

Your family and close friends like having solid proof that all the love and support they have provided to the graduate over the years has actually matriculated into a finished product and a more well-developed person.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even 2nd cousins have watched you grow up and it’s nice to have comparison photos throughout the years.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 2: For Practical Reasons

If you are a proper person or just someone who likes people to receive gifts for their accomplishments, you will likely send out invitations to the graduation ceremony. A nice addition to any graduation invitation is a picture of who is exactly graduating.  Many of your guests may not have seen you in some years, so including a picture will help them put a name to a now-grown-up face. If you slip and miss sending out the photos with the invitations, they can also be saved and sent with the thank you notes.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 3: To Share and Exchange with Friends

I know you may have heard this before, but it is very likely that you (or the graduate) will never see some of these high school friends again. Everyone grows up and moves to different places and chooses different paths in life, so having the ability to exchange photos makes sure they have something to show when they are telling stories about how much of a blast you guys had in physics class. 

Senior Pictures

Reason # 4: To Capture Who You Are at This Moment

As mentioned in reason number 3, you may end up going down many different roads as you progress into adulthood.  Your habits, interest and friends may change, so senior photos are a good opportunity for you to capture exactly who you are in this moment.  Has playing basketball defined your high school years?  Maybe the debate team or spanish club?  No matter what your interests are at this moment, try to capture them in your photos.  Meet your photographer at an empty basketball court and use that as a setting or bring props that have special meaning to you. Make your photo shoot representative of you.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 5: To Celebrate Your Accomplishment!

I would say the most important reason to get those senior photos done, is that it gives you the opportunity to celebrate your own accomplishment!  Finishing high school is a big deal.  We have all been there and know how crazy those 4 (or maybe 5!) years can be, but you have done it and done it well.  That deserves a celebration.  That deserves photos that you can look back on and smile or share with the future graduates that come after you.

Senior Pictures

Landing Resort Wedding

Landing Resort Wedding | Lake Tahoe, CA | Rosa + Justin

One of the best parts of my job is that family’s so often keep me in the family: hiring me for their events again and again. In some cases, it’s for growing families – engagements, then weddings, then for family portraits as they grow in size.  In other cases, I’m hired for one wedding, and then another wedding, and then another, all within the same family.  It’s amazing because the guests even start to remember me!

Justin’s sister Julie and her now husband Michael originally hired me to photograph their engagement and wedding and then Justin and Rosa followed suit for both their engagement and wedding. 

Rosa and Justin had an incredible Landing Resort wedding on a beautiful holiday summer weekend. Their reception was held in the pavilion tent instead of the ballroom and it offered tons of space for an epic dance party and a super fun photo booth.  Almost a year later, Rosa and Justin have added a small new addition to their family and I couldn’t be happier for them and all their family members who I have come to know and love.

Landing Resort WeddingLanding Resort WeddingLanding Resort WeddingLanding Resort WeddingLanding Resort WeddingLanding Resort Wedding 

Venue and Catering: The Landing Resort and Spa | Bakery: Above & Beyond Cakes | Florist: Safeway | Bride’s Attire: Enchanted Gowns | Bridal Party Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse | DJ: High Sierra Sounds | Hair and Make-up: Gypsy Dawn Beauty Bar | Videographer: Stand Up Films | Second Photographer: Chris Arson

Landing Resort Winter Wedding

Landing Resort Winter Wedding | Michelle + Rich

Michelle and Rich originally intended to elope, and then it turned into a small wedding, and then it turned into a bigger wedding. The Landing Resort and Spa offered the perfect location: a gorgeous rooftop deck, in house catering, and incredibly comfortable resort style hotel rooms that allow for pets, which was a must since they’ve rescued quite a few dogs over the past year.

Since Michelle and Rich both work at media school that offers courses in film, photography, theater and other visual arts, most of their close friends are all photographers and videographers.  As such, it was important to them to find someone that was relaxed, laid back, and wouldn’t be concerned with other folks taking photos.  Among my loud charm and wit, I am certainly relaxed. Oh, and I can help you find a DJ the night before you wedding.

I’m incredibly thankful that Rich and Michelle found me. I had such an amazing time with their friends and family and I now count them, as well as a few of their friends, among my friends. 

Also, that first look face.  Amiright?

Venue: The Landing Resort and Spa | DJ: Gabe Gavilanes | Florist: Thran’s | Bakery: Icing on the Cupcake | Bride’s Attire: Pronovias from Miosa Bride | Groom’s Attire: R. Douglas Clothier custom suit designed by David Garibaldi

Landing Resort Winter WeddingLanding Resort Winter WeddingLanding Resort Winter WeddingLanding Resort Winter WeddingLanding Resort Winter WeddingLanding Resort Winter WeddingLanding Resort Winter Wedding

 

Fun Family Portrait Photography – Lake Tahoe, NV

The Kallaher family is like my own personal dream come true. They read that I love happy hour on my website and thus decided to start our family portrait session at their vacation rental with wine and cheese. Be still my heart! They also used to live in Belgium and I spent at least an hour after their session picking their brain on the country and the best places to visit. Their kids were energetic, definately not camera shy, and great to work with. The entire family was relaxed and wasn’t afraid to just let their kids be kids and the end result was a fantastic well rounded gallery of really fun family portrait photography to enjoy for years to come.

Fun Family Portrait Photography Fun Family Portrait Photography

Dancing with the Tahoe Stars

Reaching for the Stars!!

I am happy to announce that I’m going to be starring in winning Dancing with the Tahoe Stars on March 3rd!  I’m the star!!  I look like a star, don’t I? 
 
Dancing with the Tahoe Stars
 
Dancing with the Tahoe Stars is the major fundraiser for our local non-profit The Tahoe Arts Project which pairs 10 local stars (that’s me! that’s me!) with 10 professional dancers (my partner, Spencer) who put on a show in order to raise money for the Tahoe Arts Project
 
The Tahoe Arts Project is a 501c3 non profit that was established in 1987 by a group of parents, professional musicians and teachers to bring performing arts and cultural enrichment to schools in the South Lake Tahoe region in both CA & NV.  TAP reaches over 5,000 students, within 10 schools in El Dorado, Douglas, and Alpine counties of California and Nevada. The artists whom students meet through the TAP programs serve as role models that demonstrate the values of self-discipline and the pursuit of excellence.
The mission of TAP is to provide cultural enrichment and diversity for the community through the arts and education with particular focus on our youth.

As you all know, community involvement is important to me.  In addition, I’ve made it my mission as a business owner to dedicate part of my gross each year to giving back.  In the past three years, I’ve personally donated over $11k to the three non-profits I chose as my beneficiaries: The Baltimore Dance Crews ProjectMary’s House, and Hope Shines.  I’m happy to announce that my 2018 beneficiary is the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe!  
 
Now I’m asking for YOUR HELP.  Part of my commitment to Dancing with the Tahoe Stars is to fundraise for the Tahoe Arts Project.  Please consider donating in my name today.  Even $5 helps bring the arts to our local schools!  I’ve created a very lofty goal of $10k in fundraising and if everyone I know donates $20 I’ll get there in no time! Because, after all, everyone knows Lauren Lindley, am I right?  
 
As of today, I’ve already raised over $3k!  I’m almost half way to my goal and I have just under two weeks left!
 
 
Thanks so much for your support!  
 
Aspen Grove Wedding

Aspen Grove Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Kelsey + Nick

Nick and Kelsey met in college at UNR and now reside in Las Vegas, NV.  They were excited to wed in Lake Tahoe and their venue is one of my absolute favorites in the area – it always has amazing light, regardless of the time of day and although it’s right in the heart of Incline Village, NV, you feel tucked away into your own private space.  Their Aspen Grove wedding was an absolute blast from start to finish.

Nick and Kelsey’s friends and family were right up my alley: whiskey drinking, dance floor maniacs that spent the whole day laughing.  Their dance floor was epic from the get go: both Kelsey and Nick were crowdsurfing at one point and the end of the night culminated with pants being torn off a groomsmen.

 Related note: shout out to Kelsey for being part of a really amazing non-profit that I considered as my recipient for this year.  She’s on the board of S.A.F.E. House, a comprehensive anti-domestic violence organization that offers free 1) shelter, 2) advocacy and counseling services, 3) community education to end domestic violence. The organization serves primarily women and children in Southern Nevada, but also serves men who are victims of domestic violence, as well folks from outside Nevada.  If you aren’t aware, I pick a different non-profit beneficiary every year to give a percentage of my sales to and I always choose one that is directly connected to my clients. 

Venue: Aspen Grove | Catering: Aspen Grove | Florist: Moana Nursery | Bride’s Attire: Celebration’s Bridal | Groom Attire: Brooks Brothers | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Second Photographer: Annie Robillard 

Aspen Grove WeddingAspen Grove WeddingAspen Grove WeddingAspen Grove WeddingAspen Grove Wedding