Pssssssst – I have a secret insider bit of info for you. Never-ever in the history of my 12-year wedding career has a client ever told me that they regretted holding a microwedding or an elopement.  And many times in the history of my career, clients have admitted regret of not opting for a more intimate celebration. Why is this? For one, wedding planning isn’t for everyone. Second, weddings (especially large affairs) can be incredibly overwhelming on the day of. Third, most of my clients who opt for small microweddings and elopements are consistently happy with their decision. Elopements and microweddings provides a unique experience with an intimacy that isn’t found in a large event. There’s something uniquely special about a small event and regardless of size, Lake Tahoe is one of the best backdrops in the world for a wedding.  We have everything you need to create an unforgettable experience. If you are considering scaling down and planning a Lake Tahoe microwedding or elopement instead, I’ve got all the information and inspiration you need for planning a Lake Tahoe microwedding or elopement – whether you’re planning far ahead or scrambling last minute.

Lake Tahoe Micro Wedding
Intimate Backyard wedding

The Microwedding

By definition, a microwedding is a wedding with no more than 50 guests. Unlike elopements, which often involve just the couple and perhaps a witness, microweddings still encompass many of the elements of a larger wedding—ceremony, reception, and often, some form of entertainment or meal—but on a much smaller, more intimate scale. Guests typically include only close family and friends, allowing couples to celebrate their day without the stress and expense associated with larger events. While microweddings have always been quite common in Tahoe, they’re becoming popular again across the states as couples have to cut down guest lists due to inflation and rising costs (sorry, Aunt Brenda).

Microweddings focus on quality over quantity. The smaller guest list allows for more meaningful interactions and a greater emphasis on the couple’s unique story and relationships with those in attendance. If details matter to you and your fiance, but you’re balling on a budget, a microwedding might be the way to go. Still not convinced? Head over and read my post on downsizing your plans without downsizing your expectations.

Planning a Lake Tahoe microwedding?  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Guest List: Usually between 10 to 50 guests.
  • Venue: Often more flexible and can include unique, non-traditional spaces like private homes, small venues, or scenic outdoor locations. I think that the Arch at Lakeside Beach is a perfect microwedding venue space.
  • Budget: Generally lower than traditional weddings, allowing couples to allocate more resources to specific aspects such as a plated dinner service or a more experienced professional photographer (ahem *me*).
  • Extended Celebration: With a smaller guest list, you have the opportunity to turn your wedding into a weekend-long celebration. This creates a vacation-like atmosphere where you get to have more quality time with the people you love – especially here in Tahoe where the beach days, adventure activities, and long summer days allow for more opportunities for fun beyond the wedding day itself.
  • Pros: More flexibility in choosing a venue.  Backyards, small boutique hotels, and gardens are all options!  Extended celebrations over a long weekend foster a greater sense of togetherness. You can be more selective with vendors (more complex passed apps, am I right?)
  • Cons: You have to be careful with that guest list.  Only the closest survive.
Tahoe Elopement Packages
planning a lake tahoe micrwedding?

The Elopement

Different than most other weddings (including microweddings), elopements are typically unplanned or last-minute, intimate wedding ceremonies, where only the couple and officiant are present. More recently, elopements have slightly grown to include one to ten immediate family members or close friends. The beauty of being a Lake Tahoe elopement photographer is experiencing the simplicity of love without the stress and chaos of several vendors and guests. Elopements, by definition, end up feeling intimate and special as they focus solely on the couple’s commitment to each other. I love them for this very reason.  They are private, personal affairs with an exchange of vows in a very meaningful and personal setting. Because of the nature of an elopement, you can go rogue and hold them almost anywhere. The top of Cave Rock? Heck yes!  A meadow under Tallac?  You’ve got it!  While elopements were once seen as spontaneous or secretive, they are now a popular choice for couples seeking a more personal and heartfelt celebration.

Elopements focus on the couple’s connection and the simplicity of their commitment. The lack of a guest list means that the day is entirely about the two of you, creating an environment where you can truly be present and enjoy each moment. If you and your partner value intimacy, spontaneity, and adventure, an elopement might be the perfect choice.

Planning a Lake Tahoe elopement? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Guest List: Just the couple and sometimes a handful of guests and witnesses (read: less than 10)
  • Venue: Endless possibilities and in some cases, no permit required. Think secluded beaches, mountain meadows, or private boat charters.
  • Budget: Focus on what matters most. Significantly lower costs than a traditional wedding and fewer logistics to manage.  That means you can splurge on that bottle of Veuve at dinner. Limited fixed expenses: a wedding license, officiant, and photographer. Many elopers choose second hand suits and dresses, and DIY florals to save money on the occasion. Check out my elopement packages to see important considerations and my favorite Lake Tahoe elopement locations. 
  • Extended Celebration: Eloping doesn’t mean your celebration has to be short. Many couples choose to turn their elopement into a weekend or even a week-long adventure here in Tahoe. You can wrap your elopement into your extended honeymoon!
  • Pros: ALL the flexibility in choosing a venue – any place that speaks to your heart is fair game. You get an extremely personalized experience.  Stress-free planning (in fact, little to no planning in some cases). Adventure and exploration of Lake Tahoe go hand in hand.
  • Cons: Guest exclusion means you might ruffle some feathers.  There is a perception surrounding weddings that leads to dissapointment and feelings of exclusion. Whether or not those are valid – that’s up to you to decide.
Cave Rock Elopement
Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages
Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages

Choosing to elope or have a microwedding in Lake Tahoe offers a unique blend of intimacy, adventure, and duh – the wide gorgeous expanse of one of the most beautiful places on earth (not that I’m biased or anything).  As a professional wedding photographer with extensive experience capturing events of ALL sizes and kinds in Lake Tahoe, I am passionate about helping couples capture images that accurately reflect the way their day felt and unfolded.  Whether you’re planning a Lake Tahoe microwedding or elopement (yes, there’s always some planning involved), I’ve got customizable photography packages to suit your needs. Reach out to me, and let’s talk about how I can capture your day!

Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages