The Best in the West

A Touching Tahoe Wedding


June 1, 2016
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Tim Halberg Photography

Jake and Jenna have a longtime love affair with Lake Tahoe, California, so it came as no surprise to their loved ones that the pair decided to host a destination wedding at this lakeside paradise. “We love Tahoe and spend a lot of our time up there,” explains the bride. “We wanted to share our love of Tahoe with our family and friends! Everyone just said that it made sense that we would get married there and thought that it fit with our relationship. No one said anything negative.” With everyone on board, it was full-steam ahead for Jake and Jenna. 

Because the couple was so familiar with their chosen destination, they had a unique solution in mind when it came to accommodations and a wedding venue. “We knew that we wanted a place where we could stay and have that be a gathering spot for everyone to hang out during that weekend,” says Jenna. “We also wanted the ceremony and reception to be at the same place. The Bear Paw Lodge offered enough beds for our family and bridal party to stay there for the weekend. We also loved that it was in the mountains instead of right on the lake. We love skiing and being in the mountains, so it just made sense. The Lodge also had a great view of the lake, which was a huge bonus!”

We asked the couple what their most important resource was during the planning process and they didn’t hesitate with their answer. “Definitely get a wedding planner that is local! She knew vendors in the area that were able to provide great service.” Their planner, Merrily Wed, also came to the couple’s aid when an unexpected problem arose with their chosen venue/accommodations. “About three to four months before the wedding, the owner of the house went bankrupt and the bank took over the lease,” explains the bride. “There were about two weeks where we were not sure if we would be able to have the wedding at the lodge. Merrily was able to secure another venue in Tahoe City in case the new owner didn’t want to have weddings. In the end, the Bear Paw Lodge was able to accommodate our wedding!”

Not only did the couple provide accommodations for their family and bridal party during the wedding weekend, but they went above-and-beyond for their guests too. “Some of our guests that were flying from out of town decided to make a trip out of our wedding and came to town earlier to enjoy Tahoe. Hotels were a little expensive during the weekend, so we decided to help rent a house for some of our friends to use. It ended up being much more affordable for them. Plus, it was a great way for everyone to meet and by the time the wedding came around, they all knew each other!” In addition to Tahoe, some of the couple’s guests used the wedding to stay-on and visit places like Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. 

We asked the couple if they felt a hometown wedding would have been more or less expensive than their destination wedding in Tahoe City. “That’s hard to say because we didn’t look at any venues by our home,” says the bride. “However, I believe we saved some money because we used the [wedding] venue for the rehearsal dinner and a breakfast the morning after. Usually you would have to rent-out an entirely new venue for that.”

With some hard work and the help of their planner, Jenna and Jake successfully executed the destination wedding they had always envisioned. When asked about her overall experience and what advice she would give other couples currently planning a wedding away, this is what Jenna had to say: “Take extra time off work to spend more days at the venue right before the wedding. That will help you get everything done that you need and will keep you and your family relaxed…it made the days leading up to the wedding go much more smoothly. I really liked taking the time to enjoy the wedding and the days leading up to it. I feel like if we didn’t have [the wedding] away, I would not have had the opportunity I did to spend more of the week with family.” 

Vendors: Photographer: Tim Halberg Photography, Wedding Planner: Merrily Wed, Ceremony/Reception Site: Bear Paw Lodge, Florist: Martha Bernyk Floral Design, Stationery: Lavender Ink, Pies: Ikeda’s California Country Market, Hair & Makeup: Salon Bella Vita, Gown Designer: Ines Di Santo, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Bonobos (suit) and MTailor (shirt), Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: MTailor (shirt) and Banana Republic (pants) 

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