The Best Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide and Packages [Updated for 2021]

The Lake Tahoe pier.

Table of Contents

Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide

Lake Tahoe is known as one of the most beautiful places in California and Nevada. Not only does it have some epic scenic spots, but it also has endless activities you can do for your Lake Tahoe elopement. Within this guide, I included everything and more about what you need to know when it comes to eloping in Lake Tahoe, including Lake Tahoe elopement packages, which can be found at the bottom of this page.

Let’s get into everything you need to know about how to elope in Lake Tahoe.

North vs. South Lake Tahoe

While both sides of the lake are absolutely beautiful, the difference between the two are pretty night and day. I recommend reading the differences about both sides to help you narrow down your side of the lake you resonate most with for your Lake Tahoe elopement.

North Tahoe

North Tahoe is much more quiet and serene than South Lake Tahoe. On this side of the lake, there is often less people and more mountainous terrain. The north side also has more ski resorts than the southern area. This is definitely the place to elope if you’re looking for some snow during the winter months. My couples who are wanting something a bit more intimate and private tend to choose the northern area of the lake.

South Tahoe

South Tahoe is known as the “Las Vegas of Lake Tahoe,” and it’s no surprise why. South Lake Tahoe is known for their nightlife, casinos, and lodging options. However, the hustle and bustle doesn’t just happen during the evening. During the morning and afternoon, people can be seen walking on trails and trying out the local pubs. This is also a popular area for festivals during the summer. My couples who want tons of things to do with a beautiful scenery tend to choose the southern area of the lake.

Snow covered trees and mountains in Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Weather

One of my favorite things about Lake Tahoe is the weather. Lake Tahoe experiences all four seasons, which can be quite rare in California and Nevada. 

During the spring, Lake Tahoe climbs into the 50s and 60s. While the spring season is short, it’s sweet. You will probably still encounter some snow on the popular trails during the traditional spring months, but during the late spring season, Lake Tahoe will be flooded with lush greens and crystal clear waters.

During the summer, the temperatures in August and July often climb into the 80s. The average temperatures are usually within the 70s. This is the most popular season in Lake Tahoe. With so many activities like swimming, hiking, and boating,  you’ll definitely get your fair share of people.

The fall is one of the best times to visit Lake Tahoe. I liken the fall to the spring, but with less snow. During the later fall months, specifically after Labor Day, is when the off season starts for Lake Tahoe. This means lower prices and people. I recommend eloping in the fall if you’re wanting to avoid the large crowds. While the weather isn’t as nice as the summer months, the fall is still enjoyable. It’s cooler with light rain.

If you’re into snow and wanting a winter wonderland elopement, definitely check out Lake Tahoe within the winter. Lake Tahoe gets an average of 215 inches of snow each year, or just under 18 feet! This is one of the prime areas in the United States for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. It’s the perfect spot for those cold winter weddings.

A couple hugging during their Lake Tahoe elopement.

Best Places to Elope in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is one of the best places to elope in both California and Nevada. It also has some of the most jaw dropping wedding venues. Below are just a few of the many different elopement locations Lake Tahoe has to offer.

Emerald Bay State Park Lookout

Emerald Bay State Park Lookout is Lake Tahoe’s most popular place to elope. Emerald Bay is located in South Lake Tahoe on the California side. Known for the gorgeous turquoise water, lush pine trees, and tall mountains, Emerald Bay is the perfect elopement location for any couple. Plus, the state park itself has plenty of beautiful areas for couples portraits.

Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sierra-at-Tahoe is primarily known as being a large wedding venue. However, you can also elope at this stunning location. Sierra-at-Tahoe is a ski resort located in California on the south side of Lake Tahoe that can be accessed year-round. This rustic Lake Tahoe elopement destination is best known for their ceremony site. Here, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous views of Pyramid Peak, Mt. Ralston, and Desolation Wilderness

Resort at Squaw Creek

Resort at Squaw Creek is one of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe, in my personal opinion. I specifically love the dramatic meadow that offers 360 degree views of the nearby mountains. Squaw Creek itself has a handful of different wedding venues that are worth checking out.

Northstar California Resort

Northstar California Resort is another one of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe, and definitely another one of my personal favorites. If you’re wanting something a bit more mountainous, you need to check out Northstar. You’ll be floored by the jaw dropping views of the nearby mountains and forests. Their ceremony site is one of the most beautiful places for pictures.

West Shore Cafe and Inn

West Shore Cafe and Inn is a simple and minimalistic wedding venue right on the edge of Lake Tahoe. Their ceremony site is located on the outdoor pier, giving you the perfect view of Lake Tahoe. You can also enjoy an intimate, private dinner in the actual restaurant, eating some absolutely amazing food.

Sand Harbor

Sand Harbor is located in northern Lake Tahoe on the side of Nevada. Similar to Emerald Bay, this elopement location is also another wildly popular spot. Sand Harbor is right on the beach and is known for its crystal clear waters. This specific area is super popular during the summer months. I recommend this elopement location in late fall or early spring to avoid all the crowds.

A meadow filled with pine trees and purple flowers in Lake Tahoe.

How to Get a Marriage License in Lake Tahoe

Getting a marriage license in Lake Tahoe sounds much more complicated than it actually is. In order to get a marriage license in Lake Tahoe, you first need to decide what state your ceremony will take place in. If you decide to get married on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, you’ll need to get a Nevada marriage license, officiant, and one witness. 

If you want to get married on the California side of Lake Tahoe, you’ll need a public or confidential California marriage license, officiant, and one witness. To figure out how to get a marriage license in California, check out this article.

Finalizing Details For Your Lake Tahoe Elopement

Don’t forget to tie all those loose ends up by booking your flights and lodging. Also, don’t forget to book your vendors! I highly recommend booking Lake Tahoe vendors as soon as you can, in order to make sure that they’re available for your special date.

Lake Tahoe Flight Information

If you decide to elope in Lake Tahoe, you’ll want to fly into the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. This airport is only 45 minutes away from North Lake Tahoe. You also have the option of flying into the Sacramento International Airport. However, the drive is 2 hours long to reach Lake Tahoe, but it might be a more accessible option for you.

Lake Tahoe Airbnbs

Lake Tahoe has some of the best Airbnbs and hotels around. Below are a few Airbnbs I recommend for your Lake Tahoe elopement!

Mid Century Modern Cabin – The Tahoe A-Frame

The Little Dipper

West Shore Hideaway

The Stargazer

The Lake Tahoe House

Lake Tahoe Elopement Vendors

If you’re wanting to hire vendors for your Lake Tahoe elopement, I suggest hiring a photographer, makeup artist, hair artist, and florist. You can also hire an elopement planner, cake decorator, and even a stylist to help bring your elopement vision to life. Hiring vendors who offer Lake Tahoe elopement packages and know the area well can help you plan your elopement.

A ski lift during the night in Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Elopement Example Timeline

Wondering what to do for your Lake Tahoe elopement? Check out this example timeline to get some inspiration.

Things to do in Lake Tahoe For Your Elopement

Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages

If your looking for Lake Tahoe elopement packages, you’ve come to the right place. I’m a California elopement photographer who offers Lake Tahoe elopement packages and helps plan Lake Tahoe elopements. To view all the details about my elopement packages, check out this page.

Lake Tahoe elopement packages:

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage in Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area
  • A hands-on Lake Tahoe elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • personalized Lake Tahoe elopement locations
    • vendor recommendations
    • permit assistance
    • customized elopement timeline
  • Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
  • 24-48 hour sneak peak images
  • Travel fees to anywhere in California and Lake Tahoe already included
  • Starting at $2,500

FAQ

How much does it cost to get married in Lake Tahoe?

It costs $60-$100 to get married in Lake Tahoe. All you need is a marriage license from California or Nevada, both of which vary from $60-$100.

Where can I get married in Lake Tahoe?

You can get married anywhere in Lake Tahoe. A few places you can get married include Emerald Bay State Park, California Northstar, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and Sand Harbor.

What do you need to get married in Lake Tahoe?

All you need is a marriage license from Nevada or California to get married in Lake Tahoe.

Can you get married at Lake Tahoe?

Yes, you can get married right on Lake Tahoe.

Need help planning your dream Lake Tahoe elopement?

Snag your FREE elopement guide! The same exact one I send to all my couples, filled with tips and tricks about how to prepare for your dream elopement, whether it’s a sunny elopement in California or a cold elopement in Alaska!

A free guide all about how to elope, created by a California elopement photographer.
A free guide all about how to elope, created by a California elopement photographer.

Snag your FREE elopement guide! The same exact one I send to all my couples, filled with tips and tricks about how to prepare for your dream elopement, whether it’s a sunny elopement in California or a cold elopement in Alaska!

Brianna Parks, a California elopement photographer.

Hey there, I'm Brianna!

I’m a California elopement photographer who had a big traditional wedding, and I can’t tell you how many arguments there were about my day.

I was pressured to pick a certain venue, certain colors, certain guests, and it felt like I was spending thousands of dollars to play host at a party that had nothing to do with the connection between my husband and I.

Don’t fall into the trap society has constructed around big weddings. Instead, buy the plane ticket, get the wedding dress  dirty, and turn your stressed out wedding day into a carefree, adventure filled elopement experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Brianna Parks, a California elopement photographer.

Hey there, I'm Brianna!

I’m a California elopement photographer who had a big traditional wedding, and I can’t tell you how many arguments there were about my day.

I was pressured to pick a certain venue, certain colors, certain guests, and it felt like I was spending thousands of dollars to play host at a party that had nothing to do with the connection between my husband and I.

Don’t fall into the trap society has constructed around big weddings. Instead, buy the plane ticket, get the wedding dress  dirty, and turn your stressed out wedding day into a carefree, adventure filled elopement experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

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