I’ve been a wedding photographer for over a decade now. I’ve photographed over 250 large weddings in my career, yet this remains one of my favorites of all time. Maggie and Joe held a Tahoe Private Estate wedding in 2016 at their family’s home in Zephyr Cove Resort. They managed to celebrate their nuptials with over 200 people in attendance, which is some sort of incredibly special feat. Although I don’t normally want to photograph my friends’ weddings (I want to party y’all!) I had a wonderful right-hand woman on hand in this event to make sure that we captured all the moments AND I got to celebrate.

Joe, who remains one of my nearest and dearest friends to this day, is overwhelmingly responsible for teaching me to love Kirkwood and snowsports and powder days.  I often wonder if he knows how empowering he is for the people around him – and girls in particular.  He has an incredibly supportive, kind, and bolstering nature when he skies with you that allows you to gain skills, and the confidence necessary to pull them off, and have an unbelievably awesome time while doing it.  There have been so many days in my winter life where Joe has possied up with a group of girls and taken us around the mountain, telling us where to jump and where to straight line and where to go fast, with patience, enthusiasm and encouragement.  Not only did he help me fall in love with winter, but he is one of the major reasons I finally fell in love with Tahoe.  Today, Joe and Maggie have their own little girl and there is no doubt in my mind that he’s going to empower his little girl with the same enthusiasm that he’s empowered me with.

Maggie is an effervescent basket of laughter.  She is all smiles and wide eyes and beauty.  She is fun, smart, incredibly beautiful, and has this way of responding in conversations with this perfectly deadpan voice that cracks me up.  It’s so obvious how much she and Joe care for each other – it carries over in their laughter and smiles and the twinkles in their eyes.  And oh, do their eyes twinkle.  Just look at these photos.

My friends are rambunctious, adventurous, obstreperous people with a thirst for life that inspires me on a daily basis.  I love Maggie and Joe and all of them so much – I just want the whole world for all of them.  I want them to be happy, healthy, successful, and to live a life of no regrets because that’s what they inspire me to do.

Mags and Ruckus: send it huge, stay safe and have fun, always. This post was updated in 2023. The original Tahoe private estate wedding was held in the summer of 2016.

Venue: Private Estate in Zephyr Cove, NV | Caterer: Sonny’s BBQ | Ceremony Music: Lake Tahoe Bagpiper | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Bride’s Attire: Jeanelle Hardin | Hair and Make-Up: DIY | Second Photographer: Annie Robillard 

Things to consider when holding a Tahoe private estate wedding.

If you’re considering hosting your wedding in your own backyard or private Tahoe estate, you’re in for a unique and memorable experience. From the natural beauty and intimacy of the setting to the flexibility and personal touch that come with hosting an event in a private space, backyard and estate weddings can be a wonderful option for couples looking to create a one-of-a-kind celebration. However, there are also some important things to consider when planning a wedding in a backyard or private estate. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your special day:

  1. Consider the logistics: Before you commit to hosting your wedding in a backyard or private estate, make sure you carefully consider the logistics of the space. Does the venue have ample parking for your guests? Maggie and Joe barely squeezed all those folks into their property – it was impressive! Are there restrooms on site or will you need to rent portable outhouses? Are there any noise ordinances or other local regulations that you need to be aware of? Are your neighbors going to hate you?
  2. Rent the right equipment: you’re going to need to rent tables, chairs, linens, lighting, and even a dance floor. Make sure you work with a reputable rental company that can help you choose the right equipment for your needs and ensure that everything is properly set up and taken down.
  3. Plan for inclement weather: One of the biggest challenges of hosting a wedding in a backyard or private estate is dealing with inclement weather. While you can’t control the weather, you can plan for it. Consider renting a tent or canopy to provide shelter in case of rain or extreme heat. You may also want to have a backup plan for your ceremony or reception in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
  4. Hire the right vendors: depending on how many people you are hosting, you may want to consider outsourcing some of the duties. It may be a breeze to provide catering for you and 20 of your closest people personally, but when feeding a crowd, it might be a better idea to hire a caterer. Don’t want that alcohol flowing QUITE so freely? Hire a bartender to keep an eye on your wild drunken friends. You obviously should always hire a photographer and a DJ is going to keep that dance floor going! Make sure your vendors know that they aren’t working in a professional event space so that they can anticipate any problems or needs they might have ahead of time.
  5. Communicate with your neighbors: this should go without saying, but if you’re hosting your wedding in a residential area, it’s important to communicate with your neighbors ahead of time otherwise Karen next door might not be so pleased and could put a real damper on the festivities. Let them know the date and time of your event, and ask if there are any concerns they have about noise or traffic. Heck, invite them and make sure it’s a block party if you feel like that will sway their opinions to the positive.
  6. Consider transportation: If you’re hosting your wedding in a private estate that’s off the beaten path or lacking a very large parking lot nearby (which is likely in Tahoe), you may need to consider transportation options for your guests. In Maggie and Joe’s case, folks parked in the casino corridor and took shuttles to their small neighborhood so that they didn’t inconvenience the neighbors.

Planning a wedding in a backyard or private estate can be a wonderful way to create a unique and personal celebration, whether it’s going to be intimate and small, or massive and raucous like Joe and Maggie’s. By carefully considering the logistics of the space, renting the right equipment, planning for inclement weather, hiring the right vendors, communicating with your neighbors, and considering transportation options, you can ensure that your backyard or private estate wedding in Lake Tahoe (or anywhere for that matter) is a success.

Planning your own backyard wedding? I have a wealth of wedding planning resources and other real weddings up on my blog!