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The beauty of eloping is that you get to say “I do” to the person you love however and wherever you want. One of the most iconic locations to share your love is found between California and Nevada – Lake Tahoe. Despite being one of the most beautiful places to elope, many couples don’t know how to get started with planning their ceremony in this wonderful place. I created this Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide to help you arrange everything for your special day.
Why should you choose Lake Tahoe?
Do you wish your big day to be an adventure or simply a day to enjoy stunning views with the person you love? For either of these and many in between, a Lake Tahoe wedding will be an incredible experience for both of you. Not only does it provide you with the most picturesque backdrops, but it also allows you to have an adventure by hiking one of the many trails, such as the Vikingsholm Trail. This large freshwater lake also offers amazingly beautiful sunrises and sunsets. As your Tahoe elopement photographer, these stunning views offer the chance to capture your intimate ceremony in the most romantic way.
What makes it even better is that Lake Tahoe is so big that it has two sides: North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. Both have phenomenal views but have a completely different vibe from each other. North Lake Tahoe is more serene and laid back while South Lake Tahoe, sometimes known as the “Las Vegas of Lake Tahoe”, is busier and bustling. If you prefer to have an intimate ceremony in a secluded area, then choose North Lake. But if you prefer a luxurious resort, a thriving art scene, and more options for activities, you should choose South Lake.
What are the best months to elope in Lake Tahoe?
Lake Tahoe is one of the amazing places in the world that can be ideal for an elopement all year round. Each season has amazing perks based on what you want your elopement to look like, so you can choose the season that best suits you. I cannot stress more in this Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide how magnificent this place is at every time of the year.
Spring will give you a view of sparkling clear water with lush green foliage and a cool breeze in the air. Summer offers the same gorgeous view but with hotter weather and a lot more tourists bustling about enjoying fun sunshine activities. If you prefer to avoid the crowd, then fall could be an option for you. Not only does it provide you with cooler weather, but it also has the most colorful leaves for beautiful photos. Although there’s a slight chance of light rain or early snow when the season starts early, so be prepared for this as well. Lastly, if you are dreaming of a cold winter wonderland elopement, then choose this season instead. Aside from the gorgeous snow as scenery for a Lake Tahoe wedding, there are also fun snow sports that you can partake in. There are no ‘best months’ to elope in this location, but I do encourage you to avoid holidays and peak seasons since it can get overly crowded.
What are the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe?
One of the most important things I can share with you in this Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide is the list of jaw-dropping places in which you can conduct your ceremony. Since this place is so big, knowing the exact elopement location will help you better prepare for your special day. Furthermore, this will make it even easier to capture the most spectacular photos of your loving moments together. So here are the most perfect places to start your happily ever after:
North Lake Tahoe Locations
A popular destination during the summer months, Sand Harbor Beach offers crystal clear water and rocks that peek out from the blue. Also, you also get to have the wonderful mountain and pine trees as background. My Sand Harbor Elopement post goes into more details about this area.
If you are up for an adventure and prefer somewhere more exclusive, then Hidden Beach is for you. It has this secret pretty cove where you can conduct your ceremony and also features defined alcoves in the classic blue lake. Be aware, though, that you will need to hike down from Highway 28 to reach this location.
South Lake Tahoe Locations
This is the most popular elopement venue in this Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide because it gives the best view of Lake Tahoe. You will see sparkling, aquamarine water, gorgeous mountains in the background, and snowy mountain peaks in winter. Since this location is very famous, you can expect it to get crowded, plus it is heavily populated.
If you love sunsets, Logan Shoals Vista Point just gives the best spot to enjoy the perfect one. You can get your photos taken by your Tahoe Elopement Photographer as you watch the sun go down for the first time as a newly eloped couple. Although, you will need to hike a little bit for this.
For more locations check out Top 5 Best Places to Elope in Tahoe Area.
How to get a marriage license & a special use permit?
Since Lake Tahoe is located in between California and Nevada, you first need to know in which state you are having your ceremony. This is because each state’s requirements vary. The requirements for a Nevada marriage license are different from a California marriage license. Also noted in this Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide is that Special Use Permits are needed to have an elopement ceremony here. The permit usually costs $50 and above, depending on the number of guests that you will have. You can head over to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management and Nevada State Parks websites to find the exact cost for your ceremony.
Marriage License & Permits Checklist
- Know which state you’re eloping in
- Apply for the correct marriage license
- Obtain Special Use Permit
- Set up Officiant to perform ceremony
Where to stay in Lake Tahoe?
There are many resorts in Lake Tahoe that you can opt to stay in but if you want something more affordable, you can go for AirBnBs. Here are the top rated AirBnB’s for your stay:
- Mid Century Modern Cabin – The Tahoe A-Frame
- The Little Dipper
- West Shore Hideaway
- The Stargazer
- The Lake Tahoe House
How can I help you as your Lake Tahoe Elopement Photographer?
Besides capturing your greatest moments, I can help you plan your intimate elopement ceremony. Helping you craft your timeline, plan out the ceremony, and find the best locations, lighting, and arrangements, you can expect your big day to run smoothly. Not to mention the fact that I know what to expect as an experienced Lake Tahoe elopement photographer will be beneficial to you as well.
I hope that you found this Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide helpful. I absolutely love all things Lake Tahoe and helping couples plan their elopements here is my jam! As a Lake Tahoe elopement photographer, I’d be excited to hear from you and start creating your Lake Tahoe elopement experience.
Fill out my contact form and we’ll get started!!! I would be thrilled to capture the moments of your elopement ceremony!