Whether you love wedding planning or hate it, choosing your vendors is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. Your vendors do SO much more than what you hire them to do. Your wedding vendors typically do weddings all the time, so they not only know how to do their jobs, but they know how weddings normally flow, how to work with difficult family members and how to work around strange relationship dynamics. Even though they are there to do a certain job, they also support the couple throughout the wedding planning and even more importantly, on the day of the wedding, when you are likely running around like a chicken with your head cut off. The best Tahoe wedding vendors can make your day!
There are vendors in the world that make my job easy and more efficient and there are vendors in the world that are the bane of my existence. There are videographers like my friends Sky and Jason, who see the world exactly how I do, or there are videographers who are constantly in my shot and have little disregard for framing and all staying on the same side. There are caterers who feed me on time, which, if you’re wondering, is when you are eating because once you’re done eating, I generally need to be back at work. On the flip side, there are caterers who refuse to feed me until every person in your wedding has eaten and then by that time, I can’t eat because I need to photograph toasts and I’m literally stealing bread off your guests tables because my stomach is eating itself. There is a venue in Graeagle that once didn’t feed me until 11 PM at night. Needless to say, I did not send them photos for marketing.
If you’re planning a Lake Tahoe wedding and want to know who my favorite people and the best Tahoe wedding vendors are, look no further!
Planners and Coordinators
As Karie Macleod of She Said Yes! Weddings points out, “There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding and it can get overwhelming especially if a couple doesn’t have a game plan.” If you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to start, she has some advice for you: “Set a good budget and find a wedding planner. Having a team to help set wedding expectations from the very beginning can potentially help couples save money in the long run. We really do rely on other wedding professionals (vendors) to make a wedding day perfect and we need them as much as they need us! I think one of the biggest misconceptions of wedding planners is that we get to order other vendors around, which is not true! We value the team of vendors and try to communicate with them as much as possible during the planning process. I think that is what sets our company apart from other planners. We value their contribution to a wedding and fully understand that it takes a village to run a successful wedding. When we help couples select a vendor team, there are a few things that we consider. Our planning process does include vendor input, so communication is important. We also consider how vendors work with other vendors. We pride ourselves in creating vendor teams, so communication and a team attitude are keys when selecting a vendor for a wedding!”
Karie is one of my favorite vendors to work with, personally. She is efficient and relaxed and totally gets how I work. She’s not afraid to get her ass on the dancefloor and have a good time (pictured above). She knows that I always get things done in the amount of time I say I will and never micromanages me, which I LOVE. This Type 8 doesn’t work will under someone else’s thumb.
Kerry Hawk and her team at Blue Sky Events reminds us that your vendors are often more about personality. I know that the majority of people hire me not necessarily because they identify with my imagery, but more often because they enjoy my incredibly vibrant personality. Kerry says, “A wedding is very personal, you’ll want to feel comfortable with the vendors you are going to work with. A meeting with your vendor is to assure they fit your style and personality, and that you can trust them to deliver what they are promising.” Kerry recently wrote a blog for Tahoe Unveiled with a ton of other wedding planning tips. If you want some additional reading, head here.
Christi Nasser of Epic Thyme Events is one of my all time favorite Tahoe vendors. I’m not gonna lie: when we’re together we make a power punch no nonsense dream team. Last year we worked on two awesome weddings together – Philbert and Ming’s incredible relaxed affair at the Basecamp Hotel and Ashley and Troy’s blustery but beautiful Hyatt Tahoe Wedding. Christi loves working in Tahoe. She says, “I knew I was home from the first moment I saw Lake Tahoe. Time just stood still and allowed for a deep, crisp, breath of fresh air. I could not imagine a better place to get married. Epic Thyme stands out from other planning companies because our background is not only focused on planning but design and styling as well! We have a keen eye for staging and decorating from conceptualizing your vision to making it a reality. We focus on new innovative ideas that show who you are as a couple while integrating the things you love! We also work with an online planning platform to help keep us on-track and organized with to-dos, a checklist that can be accessed online and through your phone!” I can ascertain that Christi and her team are 100% everything they say and I adore working alongside her.
I love my friend Tawni over at Pomegranate Occasions because similar to the way I believe that weddings of any size should have great photography on a budget, she believes that every person, regardless of budget, deserves great services and assistance with planning. If you’re having a small, unusual, or otherwise unconventional wedding, Tawni is your girl! You can read more about her approach here.
Whether your wedding is large or small, Lindsay and her team at Cloud Nine Event Co have you covered. Lindsay says, “Lake Tahoe is a unique wedding destination offering memorable experiences for many different types of couples. Whether you are looking for an intimate elopement or a large formal reception, a snowy winter celebration or a sunny lakeside affair, Lake Tahoe has something for everyone … in every season! At Cloud Nine Event Company, we feel lucky to be able to work and live in such a magical place. We enjoy working with our couples to craft unique and personal events that complement, rather than compete with, the innate beauty of this striking setting. With so many incredible venues and vendors to choose from, the sky really is the limit in Lake Tahoe!” Lindsay is such a breath of fresh air: she is fun and energetic, effervescent and endlessly positive, all qualities I love working alongside.
DJs and Musicians
Stevie Wonder, Maroon Five, Journey, JT or Michael Jackson—no matter whose songs you decide to play at your wedding reception, we can all agree that music is important. Yea, we know your family and friends are partly there to see you tie the knot, but let’s face it 90% of their reason for hitting that RSVP button, was to party like a rockstar with you and your new spouse. And who can resist a good dance party?? Of course, the key here is to make sure that you and your DJ are on the same page and that they are playing music that keeps everyone dancing. These guys are all trustworthy choices for your wedding reception and if you don’t believe me about why that’s important, read this first.
- Sky Rondenet of XOXO Video is one of my absolute favorite people to work with. Our sense of framing, pace and views on how much to step in and interrupt or pose your day, which, if you’re wondering, is as little as possible and only when necessary, are identical. She is a calming soothing presence and I love having her by my side as a Videographer. Sky says, “I love filming weddings because I get to see love unfold not just with the couple but with their families and friends too. It is a beautiful thing to capture and never gets old!” I have to agree with her!
- Jason Chesebrough of Videoquest Productions is a delight to work alongside. He’s as fast and efficient as I am, non-plussed and always ready with a sarcastic comment or joke to lighten the day and make everything fun.
- Brandon and his wife at And Ever Films create exceptional work with a relaxed vibe. We once worked together on an amazing event at Sunnyside Resort here in Tahoe and as Brandon points out, “it doesn’t get more beautiful than Lake Tahoe! Getting married near the lake and amongst the mountains makes for a really special experience.”
Cindie Wilding says that she loves what she does because “I get to know so many awesome couples and I get to be their storyteller.” Cindie’s ceremonies have always impressed me because she takes so much time with the couple to write their ceremony “from scratch” and create something that REALLY reflects the couple. Cindie points out, “A lot of couples who enjoy this type of ceremony also enjoy having an outdoor ceremony that is perhaps more adventurous in nature, which by chance is my favorite as well! Lake Tahoe has long been a favorite destination wedding spot for me. No matter the season, Tahoe has a special magic about it that adds to the feel of also having a very special personalized ceremony. It’s the best of all worlds that creates a most memorable day.”
Meredith Richmond from Ceremonies by Meredith is not only a registered officiant, but also a part time planner, especially for small events and elopements. She’ll coordinate your day, location and all the details for you and create an amazing personalized ceremony for the two of you to share. Meredith says, “I love connecting with each individual couple, hearing about their unique love story and learning about significant details that are important to reflect in their own ceremony. It’s such an honor to hold space as an officiant and bring a vision to life. I can’t imagine a job that can bring me more joy.”
Hair and Makeup
One of the best parts of your day is getting ready. Find a hair and makeup team that does a great job while being fun, calm and has the ability to match their energy to yours. This is one of the reasons that I love the ladies at South Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe Salon Be: they have been by my side for MANY weddings and although I know when they are stressed out, because we’ve worked alongside each other so often, the clients NEVER know. They are calm under pressure, adaptable, and always fun to have around. Make sure that you start your day off right with a great team that will give you the calm, lighthearted and fun experience that you deserve.
When you hold a destination wedding, your week is more than just the wedding day. The best part about a destination wedding is your ability to spend so much time exploring all that Lake Tahoe has to offer with your guests and loved ones. There are a number of amazing activities and businesses that you can use to support your day.
I highly recommend starting out your wedding day with a private yoga practice with Jenay from Lake Tahoe Yoga. Jenay says,
“When I was planning my own wedding in Lake Tahoe I knew I wanted it to be an expression of myself and my groom. From stretch checkered cab to boat to beach I traveled with my bestie, family and close friends to the private lakefront home we had rented for our celebration.
When brides contact me to request a Yoga practice for their wedding day or the man or matron of honor reaches out to inquire about a Private Yoga practice it is my honor to create a Yoga session that honors the individuality of the bride, groom and group. It is not only a pleasure, but also fun for us to practice with you at the beach, on paddle boards, on a mountain, rooftop deck or even on a boat.
I highly recommend including a Private Yoga session as one of the activities for your celebration. Not only does it create an avenue for accessible activity and restoration, it is also an opportunity to bond with friends and family. Unique to LTY is our ability to vary the practices and practice Yoga everywhere. No two sessions are the same because none of us are the same. Whether your request is for a specific location or you want to include a champagne toast, if you are into healing crystals or essential oils, we will do our best to honor your requests and make your day unique to you.”
Interested in reading more about Jenay’s private party yoga practices? Head here.
Steve and Lyndsay Bryant of Lake Tahoe Boat Rides are here for you, whether you are looking to rent a boat for as a fun recreational activity surrounding your day or as part of your ceremony plans. Lyndsay says, “”Our experienced and knowledgeable Captains love sharing both Tahoe’s incredible beauty and unique history showing your wedding guests why you love Tahoe as much as we do.” If you’re looking to go a less traditional wedding route, you can also rent their boats to hold your ceremonies. In fact, we recently collaborated together on a Floatilla wedding (pictured to the left) that involved 9 boats for the wedding ceremony! I promise a blog post on that is coming soon but you can see some photos from it on their post!
Lake Tahoe Boat Rides has multiple boat options for your perfect Lake Tahoe Boat Wedding. You can bring your own officiant or have your Captain be part of your special day. You can also use Lake Tahoe Boat Rides for transportation or private moments from Lakeside wedding venues all over Tahoe.
Did I save the best for last? I might have saved my favorite for last! Anytime a friend comes to visit Tahoe, the first thing I do is book us a spot for the wine tasting cruise with Tahoe Tastings. Take a cruise to Emerald Bay on their 1953 Chris Craft Venetian Water Taxi while sampling local wines. If you have a large group, you can charter the boat for a private tour. They head out twice a day for standard tours, once at 11 AM and once at sunset. Personally, I prefer the daytime cruise – what’s better than blue skies, the warmth of the sun, and day drinking?
Lauren Lindley is Lake Tahoe wedding photographer, also available for elopements and family portraits in the greater Northern CA Area. She also services New Orleans, LA, Dallas, TX, and Austin, TX. Have camera: will travel. She is available to provide services for weddings across the U.S. and worldwide. She specializes in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce photojournalism based wedding photography with classic, clean and vibrant images. Lauren Lindley is currently booking weddings from 2020 and 2021 in Lake Tahoe, CA and other destinations worldwide.
Looking for more wedding planning resources? I was recently quoted in a blog from Milk Photobooks where 85 Wedding Photographers shared their suggestions for wedding planning. You can also find other wedding planning tips and resources on my blog.