This Couple Chose an Unexpected Orange Color Palette for Their Formal Wedding on Lake Tahoe
Making their wedding feel personal was paramount to Emily and Cole, so their planning process centered around decisions and choices that felt like them. "From the start, we knew we wanted to get married on Lake Tahoe," notes the bride, whose family now resides there permanently. Over the course of her and Cole's four-year dating relationship, they lived in San Francisco—but Tahoe had become a frequent destination for ski seasons, summers, and holidays for the pair. "In fact, it was the first place we ever said, 'I love you,'" says Emily. "Beyond the personal significance of Lake Tahoe, we've also always been enthralled by the area's natural beauty."
Natural beauty was also the main reason the couple chose Mitchells Mountain Meadows as their venue. "It was a beautiful blank canvas in the middle of the mountains, off the beaten path, and unique as far as Tahoe wedding venues go," says Emily. "We loved its privacy and the fact that we could make the event completely our own—not to mention that the owners, Fred and Pam, are just about the most lovely and hospitable people we've ever met."
Aesthetically, Emily wanted the event to feel bright and modern, a unique contrast to Tahoe's more rustic and neutral backdrop. "There was something fun in thinking about the strange juxtaposition of a dressed-up party in the middle of the woods," she says. Always drawn to color, the bride ultimately landed on orange as the anchor of their palette. "It felt a little risky, but I loved the way it popped against all the green at our venue, as well as the warm, late-summer feel it lent to the event," she says.
The couple began their wedding day with a private morning together where they read each other handwritten vows over coffee and croissants. "We loved having a private moment to share our personal vows, filled with personal jokes and references that nobody else would understand," explains Emily. "We wanted to have the space to cry and laugh and ramble without feeling like we needed to keep it together in front of 200 people at the altar! This ended up being one of most special moments of the weekend, and while the decision was nontraditional, it felt true to us." The pair exchanged shorter, more traditional vows at the actual ceremony, a choice that was perfect for them.
When looking back on their wedding day, Emily and Cole were most grateful for the experience of having all the people they love in one place to celebrate—and for the time and resources all of their friends and family committed to do so. "It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with so much love," Emily says.
The couple's custom letterpress invitation suite by Love Notes Paper Company featured a details card that was die cut in a mountain-range silhouette, a nod to nature and the venue's landscape. The envelope liner was decorated with watercolor motifs, and the outer envelope featured hand-lettered calligraphy. "The vellum inner envelope and crossing geometric lines on the back of the invitation kept the suite feeling modern," adds Emily.
Emily's bouquet was a lush, organic, and hand-tied arrangement that highlighted some of summer's most notable flowers. "Emily wanted a pop of orange, which came from punchy, vibrant dahlias," says the couple's florist from ARVO Floral Studio. "In order for the bright orange to really shine, we laid a foundation of creamy, buttery tones that faded softly into pale oranges. Cosmos made an eye-catching addition with their fluttery white petals and cheery yellow center, and noteworthy accent flowers included cream lisianthus, dusty cappuccino roses, and perfectly peach fata morgana scabiosa."
This and That
ARVO Floral Studio turned to their stash of foraged and dried elements to construct the boutonnières for Cole's half of the wedding party. Each was slightly different, with common themes running throughout, including dried grasses, coffee berry, bits of quinoa, pieris, seed pods, xeranthemum, and the tiniest pinecones.
Emily and her entourage fell in love with her stunning A-line wedding dress by Costarellos while it was still on the hanger, and it was the clear winner once she put it on. "I loved the nude undertone, and the floral appliqué felt right for our meadow venue," she says.
The Perfect Silhouettes
Bridesmaids chose champagne-hued gowns in a myriad of styles. "I wanted to give my friends the flexibility to choose their own dresses, and thought the neutral color theme would work nicely against the natural backdrop and with the colorful flowers," says Emily.
The Littlest Member
The couple's flower girl wore a dress similar to the bride's own—it featured romantic floral appliqués. "She did a great job walking down the aisle!" says Emily of the smallest member of the wedding party. "The best part was that at the very end of the aisle, she realized she still had petals left and turned the basket over in one big, grand gesture."
A Family Moment
The bride shared a joyful moment with her parents ahead of the ceremony.
Not wanting the décor to compete with the breathtaking natural beauty of the ceremony site, the couple settled on a stunning, minimalistic round arch adorned with flowers and greenery.
A Scottish Tradition
From the onset of the planning process, one of Cole's special requests was that a bagpiper be present at the wedding. "Bagpipes have a special place in our family traditions and have played a ceremonious role on many occasions," he says, "and, they tie in well with the Scottish heritage on both sides."
A Personalized Service
A close family friend officiated their ceremony, overseeing the exchange of traditional vows tweaked slightly to reflect Emily and Cole's personalities. At the end of the service, they recessed back up the aisle to the song "Mr. Quiche" by the band Wildcat! Wildcat!; Emily and Cole met at one of their shows five years prior.
A Special Escort Display
Since the duo met at the music venue "The Rickshaw Stop," Emily and Cole have continued to reference the rickshaw as an ongoing symbol in their relationship. "So, for our escort display, we worked with Love Notes Paper Company to customize a deck of cards featuring an old-fashioned rickshaw with a vellum wrap detailing the table number for each guest," says Emily. "We chose decks of cards because playing cards is one of our favorite activities while on Tahoe time."
A Tent with a View
The reception took place in a beautiful meadow under a tent that featured open sides, so as not to disrupt the view.
Industrial black bookcases held the evening's glassware, bringing a modern edge to the rustic landscape.
Pop of Orange
Orange velvet clothes were alternated with natural linen on tables adorned with lush floral centerpieces; local ceramicists were commissioned to hand-make all the florals' vessels.
The florals on round tables were designed in low bowls, with the table shape in mind, while those on the rectangular stations alternated between focal and accent arrangements placed in cylindrical vases. "Round orange dahlias, dusty cappuccino roses, and cheery cosmos stole the show once again, with supporting roles from fata morgana scabiosa, persian carpet zinnias, cottage yarrow, pieris, xeranthemum, quinoa, and sweet peas," says the couple's florist.
Timeless Place Settings
Clean and Classic
Clean and minimal, the couple's classic cake featured fondant icing; orange flowers were the focal point.
A Sweeping First Dance
Cole swept Emily into his arms for their first dance to the song "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers. "We both knew the song, but it randomly came on Cole's Spotify a few months before the wedding when we were sharing headphones on a flight, and we both decided that was the one!" shares the bride. "We knew we wanted something fun and upbeat, and this song felt like it captured the energy and excitement we feel about being together, every day."
Photography, The Edges Wed
Venue, Mitchells Mountain Meadows
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Elise Events
Flowers, ARVO Floral Studio
Stationery, Paper Goods, and Favors, Love Notes Paper Company
Bride's Gown, Costarellos
Veil, Daphne Newman
Shoes, J. Crew
Hair and Makeup, Greco Rose Beauty
Music, Hip Service
Catering, Farm to Table Catering
Cake, Delicious Designs
Rentals, Glassybaby; Theoni
Linens, La Tavola
Transportation, Northstar California Resort