Is there any such thing as a couple that doesn’t want to get married at sunset? Lake Tahoe is one of the world’s premier wedding destinations, but it poses several difficulties regarding light when planning a ceremony. You might think, when it comes to photography, that the more available light the better, right?  Wrong. When it comes to photography, it’s all about light, and too much light is just as difficult to work with as not enough light. If you wed at the wrong time (read: too early) on Lake Tahoe, the sun will be reflecting off our giant mirror of the lake and over-exposing the sky and the mountains you so desperately want to capture. When Ashley and Jennifer were planning their combination wedding at the Arch Tahoe and the Coachman Hotel, they dreamed of getting married at sunset. They booked both venues with an enthusiastic recommendation from me.  These two distinct venues came together incredibly well to create an unforgettable sunset wedding experience in the heart of Lake Tahoe for this amazing couple.

The Arch Tahoe: A Scenic Venue for Sunset Ceremonies

The Arch Tahoe is one of my favorite locations for a beach ceremony in Tahoe due to it’s perfect location on the southeastern corner of Tahoe.  Because of it’s location, most of the year there are less totally direct reflections into the ceremony site from the path of the sun. It’s also conveniently located right in the casino corridor, which allows your guests to stay within walking distance and reduce car use.  The Arch offers back to back ceremonies on most days for a number of couples, so the best plan for your wedding at the Arch Tahoe (and the one Jennifer and Ashley utilized) is to hold your ceremony at that location and then move to an alternative nearby hotel for your reception. I have many recommendations for locations within walking distance that work great for this, including but not limited to The Coachman, South of North Brewing at the Base Camp Hotel, and The Landing Resort among others.

Planning Your Ceremony at The Arch

I love love love photographing weddings at The Arch at Lakeside Beach. That being said, as I mentioned above, timing is crucial all over Lake Tahoe for planning your ceremony time. Coordinate with your photographer to determine the optimal time for your ceremony to take advantage of the golden hour, when the soft, warm light creates the most captivating photographs if you would like images that are golden and warm as Ashley and Jennifer’s are. Keep in mind that the timing of sunset varies throughout the year, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Make sure you set your guests up for success and plan for comfort.  While the natural beauty of Tahoe is undeniable, it’s essential to remember that weather varies wildly here and it can snow any month of the year. Make sure you tell your guests to wear appropriate footwear (hot tip: heels are NOT appropriate footwear for Tahoe). While the Arch has a bench in the back that will provide seating options for older or less mobile guests, make sure everyone knows that the rest of the venue is sandy and less stable.  Consider providing blankets or shawls for warmth if the weather is cool.

Transitioning to The Coachman Hotel for a Reception

After a breathtaking sunset ceremony at The Arch, it’s was time to continue Ashley and Jennifer’s celebration at The Coachman Hotel!  The Coachman is conveniently located just a few blocks from the Arch and is easily walkable.  The boutique hotel itself is right up my alley: a perfect blend of rustic charm and modern luxury, making it an ideal venue for wedding receptions in Lake Tahoe.

The Coachman has a great space for large groups and events over their patio.  From corporate events to small private wedding receptions, they are well equipped to host small to medium sized groups.  Jennifer and Ashley held a buffet dinner on the deck under the stars followed by desert and dancing. Any of their guests who booked a hotel room onsite were simply stumbling distance from their comfortable mountain inspired guest room! Whether you’re planning an intimate dinner with close family and friends or a larger soirée with all your loved ones, The Coachman Hotel provides the ideal setting to celebrate in style.

Coordinating Ceremony and Reception between Multiple Venues

As you start planning your destination wedding at the Arch Tahoe, combined with a reception off site, you’re going to need to recognize that you need to do some additional coordinating to make all the venue transitions easy and seamless.  It might behoove you to hire a wedding planner or, at the very least, a day of coordinator, since more than one location will need setting up. A seasoned wedding planner or day of coordinator will be able to set up your venue with ease and little direction and troubleshoot any challenges that may arise ahead of time.

Make sure you communicate to guests that they will be walking from venue to venue. Make sure that you coordinate with vendors (like your photographer) so that they can easily plan to move equipment between venues as well.

By prioritizing effective communication, leveraging the convenience of close proximity, and enlisting the expertise of a knowledgeable wedding planner, you can seamlessly coordinate your wedding at The Arch with your reception at The Coachman Hotel, creating a wedding day that exceeds your wildest dreams and leaves a lasting impression on everyone in attendance, just like Jennifer and Ashley did with aplomb!

Last hot tip: you should definately spray champagne in celebration at every single venue you hit all day long!