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 incredibly scenic outlooks, but it also has endless activities you can do for your 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.
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 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 is known as the “Las Vegas of Lake Tahoe.” South Lake Tahoe is known for their nightlife, casinos, and luxurious resorts. 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.
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.
The Best Places to Elope in Lake Tahoe
Along with their elopement locations, Lake Tahoe 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. Keep in mind though that this place is heavily populated!
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 the 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 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.
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. To see detailed instructions on how to get a Nevada marriage license, check out this helpful article.
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 if you decide to stay on the California side.
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!
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. Hiring vendors who know the area well can help you plan your elopement.
Hair and Makeup Artists
Photographer and Planner
That’s me! I specialize in planning and capturing adventure and outdoor elopement photography all throughout California. I offer vendor recommendations, timeline assistance, and location scouting. I also offer all-inclusive elopement packages that include full planning services for elopements in and around 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.
- 9:00 am: Photographer arrives at the A-Frame Airbnb for some getting ready shots.
- 9:45 am: Intimate first look and couples portraits in the nearby forest.
- 10:30 am: Start a small hike up to a mountain near Lake Tahoe for some portraits and a picnic.
- 12:30 pm: Hike down after the picnic and head towards the lake for an epic boating adventure.
- 2:00 pm: Head back to the Airbnb to meet up with family, eat snacks, and touch up before the ceremony.
- 4:00 pm: Start the intimate ceremony in your favorite Lake Tahoe elopement location.
- 5:00 pm: Family and/or couples portraits.
- 6:00 pm: Head back to the Airbnb for a romantic, intimate dinner with friends and family.
- 8:00 pm: Catch the sunset and start your lives as a married couple.
Things to do in Lake Tahoe For Your Elopement
- Go skiing at Squaw Valley
- Grab some lunch at Empanash
- Test your luck at the Hard Rock Casino
- Go on a helicopter tour of Lake Tahoe
- Take a wine tasting boat tour around the lake
- Try parasailing over Lake Tahoe
- Take a hike at a popular Lake Tahoe trail
- Go shopping and take a gondola ride at Heavenly Village
- Check out the Tallac Historic Site
Lake Tahoe Planning Advice (Must Know Tips)
#1: Prepare for snow. Lake Tahoe is one of the snowiest areas in the United States. If you’re eloping during the snowy season, you’re required to have snow chains. A 4WD vehicle is also very useful!
#2: Plan ahead for traffic. In the summer, traffic can get pretty bad. Parking is also very limited in certain areas. Be sure to add some buffer room into your schedule to account for traffic.
#3: Set a budget. Rentals, food, and activities come with a higher price-point in the Tahoe area. If you’re wanting to stick to a certain budget, definitely plan ahead.
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 Package Pricing:
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in California
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in California are already included
- Starting at $5,500
It costs $60-$100 to elope in Lake Tahoe. All you need is a marriage license from California or Nevada, both of which vary from $60-$100.
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.
All you need is a marriage license from Nevada or California to get married in Lake Tahoe.
Yes, you can get married at Lake Tahoe. You can get married right on the lake if you want!
Yes. Most places will require you to obtain a special use permit in order to get married at Lake Tahoe.
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.