An Intimate Wedding at South Lake Tahoe

Photograph of a bride and groom gazing at each other while seated on a staircase at Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Sometimes, the body of water closest to you isn’t the right one for a wedding. Erin and Mike’s love story may have been filled surfing the Pacific Ocean, but when finding the perfect spot to celebrate their wedding, they knew it had to be the waters and woods of South Lake Tahoe.

Perhaps it was the West Coast waves lured Mike out here to California, but I’ll bet it was Erin that kept him here. Their first date played out in San Francisco after a not-so-lethal surfing accident. Rather poetically, they were engaged after another surfing session together over a year later. They had fallen in love over the course of exploring the California outdoors, travelling, and adopting their “fur baby” Henry.

So they set the date. They invited their loved ones. They found the spot. All the pieces were in place to tie the knot for an intimate destination wedding at one of crown jewels of California: South Lake Tahoe.

Here’s how that day played out…

A blond, caucasian bride remains seated while getting some makeup applied before her wedding.
Let me introduce you to our heroine, Erin.
Portrait of a makeup artist applying some lip color to a young bride.
Already lovely.
Photograph of a hair stylist holding a bride's braid in place with hair spray.
Keeping Erin’s hair all in place.
A hairstylist uses a wand to curl a bridesmaid's hair.
…While also getting Maid of Honor Amy’s hair curly to the max.
A makeup artist works on the mother of the bride's makeup.
Even Erin’s mom got in on the makeup fun.
Black and white image of a bride gazing at her wedding dress, suspended by a hanger.
Saying “yes” to the dress.
Close up of a bridesmaid helping a bride put on her heels.
One last touch…
A bride's mother helps her down the staircase in her wedding dress.
…and the look was complete!
A moody, high-key portrait of a bride in her wedding dress.
Making the most of a woman at her most beautiful with just a kiss of light.
A gracefulu bride stands in front of a staircase in preparation for her wedding ceremony.
What are staircases for if not for making us look graceful?
Black and white photo of the train of a bride's dress.
How often does your dress have a train, after all? Work it!
Closeup photograph of two boutonnieres made with eclectic design.
Meanwhile, at another room nearby, the awesome vibe kicked in as quickly as you could say “boutonniere”.
A photo of a groom in a blue vest, preparing for his South Lake Tahoe wedding.
Why, there’s the groom himself. Mike was so reflective I didn’t even have to pose him like this.
A groom buttons his blue vest in preparation for his wedding ceremony.
Buttons come naturally to this guy.
Black and white photo of a groom putting on his jacket prior to a the wedding ceremony.
Mike makes suiting up for action look downright heroic.
Photograph of a woman's hand placing a boutonniere on a young caucasian groom's lapelle.
But for all his skill in suiting up, he still needed a hand with that boutonniere. Like every other guy.
A groom stares out over a pier fence along the shores of South Lake Tahoe.
When you’re wearing as much blue as Lake Tahoe, you flaunt it.
Moody, black and white portrait of a groom standing on a South Lake Tahoe pier.
Moodier than Batman. I mean the photo, not the groom.
A bridal portrait of a young women in an Aspen Grove in South Lake Tahoe.
Erin was whisked away to a South Lake Tahoe Aspen grove for her first look with Mike.
A portrait of a groom dressed in a blue tuxedo, standing in an Aspen Grove.
Mike…also whisked away to an Aspen Grove.
A bride steps toward her groom for their first look at each other on their wedding day.
You can only keep a woman from her man for so long. It was time for that first look.
A bride and groom's first look in a South Lake Tahoe Aspen Grove.
The wind-up…
A bride and groom turn to take a first look at each other before their wedding ceremony.
…The look!
A bride and groom look off toward an Aspen forest.
You’d have thought they were exchanging vows right then and there. Nope, just getting cozy.
A bride and groom nuzzle each other in this close up bridal portrait.
Speaking of cozy.
A bride and groom stand in a forest in South Lake Tahoe.
What happens when Erin, Mike, and the fall season come to South Lake Tahoe.
Black and white photograph of a bride and groom not looking at eachother.
The cologne ad shot, you know, where nobody is looking at anyone.
A brie and groom gaze at each other while standing against a pine tree, featuring lens flare.
High altitude, chill temperatures, and plenty of sun is a recipe for romance.
Black and white environmental portrait of a bride and groom standing inbetween a grove of pine trees.
Lost in the woods of South Lake Tahoe. But lost together.
A bride and groom looking epic in front of an Aspen Grove.
I don’t know that anyone expected quite this much beauty and color to frame Erin and Mike.
An image of the bride and groom walking away from the camera out of a forest.
Making an escape…
A black and white image of a groom leading his bride out of the woods
Since, you know, the wedding ceremony was soon to begin.
Photograph of guests seated on a South Lake Tahoe beach in preparation for a wedding ceremony.
Meanwhile, back at the shores of South Lake Tahoe, the guests had arrived…
Photo of a groom, his dog and his future mother-in-law walking down the aisle on the beach.
Mike is first to step up, arm in arm with Erin’s mother.
Photograph of the Best Man and Matron of Honor stepping down the aisle on a sandy beach.
Then came the bridal party.
Two boys step down the aisle at a sandy beach wedding at South Lake Tahoe.
Redheads make everything better.
Photograph of a flower girl with a wand walking down the aisle on a sunny day under blue skies.
So do flower girls with wands.
A groom stands at the edge of Lake Tahoe, looking back toward his bride
Mike was ready for anything…
A dog dressed as a groomsman sits at the groom's feet.
…With his wingman Henry at his side.
A blond, caucasian bride and her father step down the aisle at the start of a wedding.
And then she stepped on to the beach.
Black and white photograph of a bride and groom standing by their officiant on the shore of South Lake Tahoe.
Right where she wanted to be.
Photograph of a bride and groom at the end of the aisle of their wedding on the shore of a lake.
We Californians call this “hitching your wagons together”. Or maybe that’s just me.
A bride and groom kiss during their wedding ceremony alongside Lake Tahoe.
The kiss!
A bride holds her bouquet high as she walks down the aisle, hand in hand with her groom.
Bouquets flying high can only mean that the kiss was a success!
Portrait photograph of a bride, a groom and their dog.
The family portrait.
A portrait photograph of the bridal party standing at a beach on South Lake Tahoe
Bringing the party.
A bride and her Matron of Honor posing for a portrait at Lake Tahoe.
They may not be sisters, but they’ve got sister power.
A close up of a bouquet in the hands of a bride wearing a fur coat.
Oh, and hats off to Matron of Honor Amy who designed the florals herself!
Just as the breeze picked up it was time to head inside Riva Grill and kick off the reception.
A candid photograph of a bride and a groom walking to their reception.
Pleased as punch.
A bride and groom consult each other before entering their reception.
Stealing a quick moment before stepping inside the room. Probably agreeing about how much they loved their photographer.
A bride in a fur coat and a groom dressed in a blue tux enter their reception.
Making their entrance grand.
Portrait of the father of the groom enjoying a colorful drink.
Mike’s dad was certainly impressed. Though I’m not sure it was the entrance as much as that drink.
A silhouette of a bride and groom at the shores of South lake Tahoe.
Before they could even get settled, Erin and Mike returned to the dramatic Tahoe shoreline for a sunset sneakout. Too good to miss!
A bride and groom pose together at sunset on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
These two.
A groom dressed in a blue tux dips his bride in a dance at the end of a pier.
Taking his lady out for a dip…just not in the always icy waters of Lake Tahoe.
Black and white close up of a bride and groom nuzzling each other.
Close up portrait of a bride and groom nuzzling each other at sunset.
Swoon, in color.
A bride and groom pictured from behind, standing at the edge of a pier.
What a stunning place to vow “forever together”!
Black and white photo of a bride and groom standing at Lake Tahoe, as a seagull flies by.
I’m just glad that rogue seagull didn’t crash into them.
A bride and groom walk along the shore of Lake Tahoe at sunset.
“I’m just glad that rogue seagull didn’t crash into us,” quipped Mike. Probably.
A view of guests at a wedding reception inside Riva Grill.
Back inside and out of the plunging temperatures.
Close up of a bridal table at a wedding reception.
They were grateful for the warm glow…
Closeup detail photograph of a cake topper marked "E & M"
…And probably eager for some cake.
A best man delivers a speech to the bride and groom.
Activate speech!
A Matron of Honor delivers a speech about the bride and groom.
…As well as Amy’s tenderhearted speech.
Black and white photograph of a bridesmaid hugging the bride she attends.
Activate hug!
A bride and groom take their first dance together in Riva Grill at South Lake Tahoe, California.
A couple can only be toasted so long before they’ve just gotta dance!
Photograph of a bride, groom, and their guests dancing close at their wedding.
It wasn’t long before the rest of the room got up to dance…
Black and white photograph of a father swinging his son around a wedding dance floor.
…Including these guys.
A bride dances with a little, smiling red headed boy on the dance floor.
Then this guy cut in on Erin’s dance. Redheads have more fun!
A slow shutter speed photograph of a groom and his friends dance at a wedding reception.
Mike didn’t take it too hard that his wife had been dancing with another (little) man.
A black and white slow shutter speed photograph of a groom dancing at his wedding.
Photograph of a groom talking to friends at his wedding.
Inbetween dances, Mike told fish stories…possibly.
A bride stands around swapping stories with friends at her wedding.
…While Erin humored him. She was figuring out this wife thing pretty quickly.
A bride and groom cut their wedding cake with cake server in hand.
Before long, hunger got the best of our heroes. Cake hunger.
A groom smiles massively after smashing some cake in his wife's face.
Mike was all too eager to smash that cake in Erin’s face.
Black and white photo of a bride feeding wedding cake to her groom.
Erin was a little more subdued in feeding Mike his cake.
A bride dances enthusiastically at her wedding reception.
Before long, Erin had recovered from her cake-related injury and returned to the dance floor.
A wide shot of the architecture of Riva Grill, with a wedding reception happening inside.
She wasn’t the only one on the floor either.
A man gets on his hands at a wedding reception dance floor.
I think this guy was trying to steal the spotlight. The nerve!
A bride and her friends dance on her wooden tile dance floor.
It didn’t matter. She just kept on dancing.
A bride and her friends sing along with their favorite song.
That time when MMMbop blared out through the speakers and the whole floor just stopped and belted it out.
A bride and groom hug the mother and father of the bride at a wedding reception.
Parents like these deserve hugs like these.
An indoor view of South Lake Tahoe's Riva Grill during a wedding reception.
The music played on, even as Erin and Mike took a quick break for some last shots.
A bride and groom stand dramatically on a staircase outside their wedding reception.
Wrapping up the evening in style. Remember what I said earlier about grace and staircases?
Exterior, nighttime photograph of Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe, California.
And the fun went on…

Erin and Mike, your wedding day was chock full of cool breezes and warm hearts—not to mention some truly beautiful vistas. It was a pleasure to get to know the two of you over the course of that day. Your lust for life, shared love for the outdoors, sense of humor, close family ties, and understanding of each other will provide a wonderful foundation for the life ahead. I pray that this first year is unforgettable, only to be bested by each year that follows.  You’ve got this!

Stellar service provided by:

Venue + Catering: Riva Grill

Dress: Trudys Designs and Special Occasions + Pronovias

Tuxes: Tailors’ Keep

Rings: Brilliant Earth + Blue Nile

Makeup: Greco Rose Beauty

Hair: Greco Rose Beauty

Cake: Tahoe Cakes by Grace

DJ: Total DJ

Video: Wild 35

Hotel: Aston Lakeland Village

Photography: Fits and Stops Photography