This Couple's Destination Wedding in Lake Tahoe Looked Even Better from the Chairlift

couple wedding portrait on beach of lake tahoe
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly and Mike, both commercial insurance brokers, met at work in June 2016, where the small staff meant that everyone was able to grow close. The two were friends for a few months before their relationship turned romantic. In August of 2019, the couple invited Mike's parents to spend a week with Kelly's family at their home in Lake Tahoe to celebrate her birthday. On the trip, the group planned to boat to another location for lunch. As they waited for their ride, Mike's parents asked the couple to take a photo at the end of the dock, where Mike got down on one knee to pop the question. Not only were Kelly's parents watching the proposal from the boat on the water, but her brothers suddenly appeared on jet skis spraying Champagne. "It was another amazing surprise," Kelly says. After a celebratory family lunch, Kelly was in for yet another shock when she found her closest loved ones waiting to celebrate back at the house.

Kelly and Mike originally planned to tie the knot on July 11, 2020, but decided to postpone the wedding to July 31, 2021, due to pandemic restrictions. They were thankful to have hired Jenn Robirds Events, who managed to find three new dates that worked for all of their vendors. The pair was able to keep their original plans to invite 163 guests to their ceremony at Homewood Mountain Resort and their reception at West Shore Cafe in Homewood, California. The décor was inspired by Lake Tahoe, where Kelly's parents grew up, and where she and Mike shared a vacation as friends before they even got together. "We kind of feel like we had our first spark in Tahoe and we go up every year both in the summer and winter as much as possible," Kelly says.

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Personalized Suite

blue and white wedding stationary
Scott & Dana Photographers

The couple worked with Little Bird Paper Company to customize an invitation suite that set the tone for the destination wedding weekend. A map of the lake highlighted the couple's favorite locations, and the details card included a line drawing of the reception venue. "Kelly's overall wedding style emerged as timeless, so we kept the fonts classic and added petite tree details as another subtle nod," says wedding planner Jenn of Jenn Robirds Events. "Shades of blue and sage united our day-of design elements."

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Custom Illustration

watercolor of chairlift at lake tahoe
Scott & Dana Photographers

Watercolor envelope liners featured an illustration of the chairlifts that would take guests to the ceremony location on the big day. "We thought this was so unique for our guests and for us," Kelly says, and it ended up being one of the main reasons the couple chose their venue.

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Finding the One

bride in white wedding dress with flowing veil
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly went to nine different stores with her mom and maid of honor while searching for her wedding dress. She bought an Alexandra Grecco gown early on, but when she saw the designer's "Sabine" gown online, she knew she had to try it on. "I just loved the silk and the simplicity and elegance of it," Kelly says. "I felt like I could be myself, easily move around, and feel comfortable throughout the whole day." With approval from her mom, she knew the silk crepe garment with a deep V-back was the one. She added a belt and buttons to make it her own.

After finding her dress, Kelly and her mom decided to pop into Vera Wang around the corner on a whim. When she tried on a veil, her mother had a strong reaction; Kelly agreed it would pair perfectly with her dress. "We liked how the lace on the veil added complexity to the look" she says.

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Simple Accessories

bride's white wedding shoes, flowers, and ring
Scott & Dana Photographers

She completed her bridal ensemble with Stuart Weitzman shoes and a diamond tennis bracelet and diamond earrings—both borrowed from her mom.

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Peachy Bouquet

pastel pink and yellow floral wedding bouquet
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly held an organic bouquet of delicate garden roses, dahlias, ranunculus, and seasonal blooms. "The romantic design paired perfectly with her sleek, yet timeliness dress," Jenn says.

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Dapper Groom & Co.

groomsmen in black tuxes
Scott & Dana Photographers

Mike donned a three-piece tuxedo from The Black Tux paired with a shirt from Nordstrom and a black bow tie; his groomsmen wore similar suits paired with blue satin ties to create a cohesive look with the bridesmaids.

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The 'Maids

bride looking back at camera with bridesmaids in blue
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly chose a steel blue color for the bridesmaids' dresses to play off the color of the lake. Each attendant chose her favorite style. "I liked these dresses because they had a waterfall cascade that I knew would move in the wind at the top of the mountain," Kelly says.

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Ceremony Scenery

outdoor ceremony setting at lake tahoe with floral arch
Scott & Dana Photographers

The couple's ceremony took place in a secluded area overlooking the lake, where a floral arch with blush-and-white roses framed the mountains and water. Whimsical floor arrangements lined the aisle.

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Petal Bar

wedding rose petal bar
Scott & Dana Photographers

Guests visited the petal bar before taking their seats; they curated bags of blossoms to toss at the end of the ceremony.

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Processional in the Sky

bride and father on chairlift above lake tahoe
Scott & Dana Photographers

The bride hopped on a chairlift with her dad to travel to the ceremony spot. "The ride up with my dad was so peaceful and serene," she says. He then walked her down the aisle as a band played "Canon in D."

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Personalized Ceremony

wide shot of wedding ceremony by lake tahoe
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly and Mike had a small family-only church service the Thursday before the big day, so although they had a priest officiate the wedding (he married Kelly's parents 33 year prior!), they decided to remove certain religious aspects during their mountain ceremony. They went back and forth on whether they should write their own vows, but in the end, were happy they decided to personalize them. "All our guests were commenting on them the rest of the day," Kelly says. "Now, we have our vow books to look back on over the years to remind us of that special moment."

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Sealed with a Kiss

groom dipping bride of kiss during outdoor ceremony recessional
Scott & Dana Photographers

The band played "All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles during the recessional. As the couple made their way back down the aisle, guests tossed petals in celebration.

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Chairlift Exit

couple kissing on take tahoe chairlift
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly and Mike went straight from the aisle to the chairlift; sharing a drink on the 10-minute ride ended up being one of their favorite parts of the day. "We really enjoyed that moment with no distractions and a beautiful view of the lake and mountains in front of us," the bride says.

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Lakeside Cocktail Hour

wedding drinks inside bright red canoe
Scott & Dana Photographers

Cocktail hour took place on a lawn overlooking the water. Kelly and Mike were the first off the chairlift, so they made their way to the oyster bar to beat the rush. Although there was a full bar (at which attendees could choose between the pair's signature cocktails), the couple filled a canoe with beers and seltzers for a fun touch.

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The Mountains Are Calling

guests looking at wedding seating chart
Scott & Dana Photographers

A custom seating chart display read "The Mountains Are Calling" and was set up underneath a tree and embellished with floral arrangements.

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Boat Ride

bride and groom celebrating on wedding boat on take tahoe
Scott & Dana Photographers

They left the cocktail hour early for a ride on The Wild Goose II, a 36-foot Grand Craft Commuter boat, where they shared a Champagne toast as husband and wife. "Our favorite activity in the summertime is boating, so it was nice to just sit back, enjoy the ride, and watch our reception take place from the water," Kelly says. "The boat brought us back to the dock when everyone was seated for dinner, so we had our grand entrance to dinner from the Wild Goose II!"

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Dock Location

wedding reception on boat dock
Scott & Dana Photographers

The couple chose their reception location mainly for the chef and the view. To enhance the latter, long tables were set up along the shoreline and on the dock.

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Neutral Tables

elegant wedding place setting with flowers
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly wanted a neutral base for the table linens, so Jenn suggested coverings in a vanilla shade with elevated taupe embroidery. "We loved the way the pattern added a subtle, unexpected detail," Jenn says. Place settings featured pale blue napkins, lace edge taupe plates, and rose gold flatware for a metallic element. Custom wooden oars were emblazoned with each guest's name and served as place cards and favors.

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Pretty Florals

pastel pink, orange, and yellow floral bouquet
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The organic centerpiece arrangements included flowers in shades of pink, white, and yellow, with asymmetric touches of greenery.

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Sweetheart Table

wedding reception sweetheart table with flowers and candles
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Kelly and Mike were glad they chose to sit at a sweetheart table, which gave them more intimate time together. "We were able to reflect on what happened and relax and enjoy the time without being pulled in any certain direction!" Kelly says.

During dinner, guests chose between herb crusted filée, pacific salmon, or a chicken dish. The pair enjoyed listening to toasts during the meal, and found Kelly's father's speech particularly touching. "We foreshadowed his speech and our first dance with the lyrics to 'Yellow' by Coldplay on the back of the dinner menus," Kelly says. Her father explained to guests that he would share a dance with Kelly to that song, and he recited lyrics that he had re-written for the occasion. "He had everyone in tears, especially Mike and me," Kelly says.

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Bas Relief Details

elegant three tier wedding cake with flowers
Scott & Dana Photographers

Their confection featured three layers of chocolate, red velvet, and yellow cake with buttercream filling and cream cheese frosting. Intricate piping details were seen on each of the three tiers, and the dessert was embellished with flowers and greenery.

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Spin Me Around

couple dancing on boat dock patio
Scott & Dana Photographers

Kelly and Mike took their first spin to Jake Owen's "Made For You." "The song is about love. It tells the story of falling in love, growing together, and loving every shared moment together, big or small," the bride says.

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boats on take tahoe at sunset
Scott & Dana Photographers

Photography, Scott & Dana Photographers
Videography, Johnny B Films
Venue and Catering, West Shore Cafe
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Jenn Robirds Events
Flowers, Organic Flora
Invitations, Little Bird Paper Company
Paper Products, Shimmer and Stain
Bride's Gown, Alexandra Grecco
Bride's Veil, Vera Wang
Bride's Shoes, Stuart Weitzman
Bride's Hair and Makeup, Love is in the Hair
Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire, The Black Tux
Music, Take Two
Cake, Sugar Pine Bakery
Rentals, La Tavola Linen; Celebrations Party Rentals
Accommodations, Base Camp Tahoe City

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