Consider a horse-drawn carriage pulling the bridal party up to the reception through gold, auburn and emerald leaves paving the charcoal black streets. Or pictures of a snowball fight post-ceremony with the groomsmen in their sharp tuxedos.
At South Lake Tahoe, you and your photographer will have free reign over the empty beaches, and the colors can be tremendous. If you’re planning a spring wedding, you’ll be one of the few to take pictures on the beach with the sun shining and the blue-gray mountains still capped with white snow. For the fall, the crispness in the air is conveyed in the photographs–the blue of the water contrasts strikingly with the sand, and the sky in the fall can fade into hues of magenta, tangerine, and aqua. The peculiarities that come from having an off-season wedding at South Lake Tahoe will give you the flair that your guests will thank you for.
Now, for the economically savvy. Having an off season wedding in South Lake Tahoe is the best way to get your dream wedding for less–you’ll be bringing your guests to a world class spot, you’ll skip the hustle and bustle of tourism over the summer, and, most importantly, you’ll save money! (Another bonus is that you won’t be competing with other couples for the same vendor.) Some wedding coordinators suggest that you can even expect as much as one-third off of your vendor costs from having a wedding between September and May! Another cost savings tip is to skip the traditional Saturday wedding by holding your wedding on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon–even plan a mid-week wedding, and invite your guests to plan for a true vacation.
In terms of planning, there are three main things that you will want to tackle. First, think of the mood that you will want to set;
that will help you determine the location of your ceremony and reception–whether it’s at a world-class golf course, a cozy lakefront home, a grand hotel, an open park, a small sailboat or right on the beach. Do you want a small, mid-morning English-style ceremony or do you want a New Year’s Eve bash that lasts until the sun comes up? Do you want a large reception of 600 or do you and your spouse-to-be want to elope to one of South Shore’s many chapels? Do you want one location for the ceremony and reception, or two? Do you want your wedding lakeside or in the mountains? These questions will affect the date that you and your fiancée will set, the color choices for your bridal party gowns and tuxedos, the floral colors and rental equipment, whether your caterer will prepare an outdoor barbecue or a formal sit-down dinner, or if you need to plan the transportation for your guests.
Second, plan your budget. In the off-season, you can get everything you can imagine for less, so set your budget, and then realize what prices you can look at and areas of your wedding that you might want to compromise on. Third, look at your “dream team” of vendors. Find the vendors that you absolutely love, and with your fiancée, determine the order of importance. Some brides want to be whisked away early in a 1940s antique car after the reception, while others would prefer to dance the night away to a great jam band. Another question to ask yourself is, can I find another vendor that can do the same job as my “dream team” with a little coaching? There are plenty of talented men and women working to break into the wedding industry that just need some references–and they’ll lower their prices to get your referral! It’s important to do these things in this order. If you have everything laid out in your mind, it will be a lot easier to find a competent vendor for less that can make your ideas a reality!
An additional caveat: Lake Tahoe can have unexpected weather, so plan accordingly. If you’re planning an outdoor soiree, taking the precautions of renting a large tent for all of your guests can be a real life saver if rain comes in. On the same token, before booking an indoor site on top of the mountain, think of your guests that are unfamiliar with the terrain. Creating a little guide for them to navigate with can save you the many phone calls that can come in!
Whatever your taste and whatever your budget, South Lake Tahoe will provide everything and more for you and your guests!