Elopement in the woods of Lake Tahoe by Jen Vazquez Photography with a Badgley Mischka Wedding gown-4891

Lake Tahoe Elopements and Weddings

Lake Tahoe has such natural beauty, unspoiled nature and romantic vibes, it offers one of the best locations for couples getting married or to elope and it’s my favorite place to photograph weddings.  


2020 brought on a ton of change.  One big change for couples was needing to cancel or postpone weddings.  Many couples decide to just have an intimate or small wedding (also referred to as a micro wedding) or choose to elope just in the woods or on the lake or dock.  

The combination of couples rescheduling and new couples getting engaged, means that there may be a shortage of available venues or vendors.


Why Lake Tahoe? Lake Tahoe is majestic, pristine, eye-catchingly blue and green, and appears to be untouched. Part of that is because of the campaign to “Keep Tahoe Blue”.  This group’s purpose is to protect Lake Tahoe, now and for future generations.

Tahoe is located at the California-Nevada border, just 58 miles from Reno.  Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake on the North American continent.   

Surrounded by the Sierra Forest and numerous rock formations, the lake area is accessible all year long via seven all-weather highways and provides rugged mountain peaks, beautiful meadows, streams, and falls.


Depending upon what look and feel you want, Lake Tahoe offers so many options.  

January to March is great for a winter wonderland experience, 

In July and August you get summer vibes with ceremonies on a dock or beach on the lake.  

September brings less tourists, it’s still warm enough for outdoor ceremonies, and hotel prices drop.  

Weather in Lake Tahoe can be unpredictable. Rain can intrude on your plans for an outdoor wedding, so always have a plan B ready. 

To make sure you don’t miss a fabulous outdoor photoshoot, make flexible plans and be prepared to go with the flow. If it is raining in the morning, maybe you can move the photography session for afternoon hours.

Intimate Elopement in North Lake Tahoe by Jen Vazquez Photography with a pale peach badgley mischka wedding gown-6220


Lake Tahoe has two main areas where you can find beautiful and scenic wedding venues.  Both areas are exceptionally pretty with alpine-style ski areas and charming towns.

South Shore is packed with luxury hotels and resorts, so it could be more active with tourists and thus take longer to drive places.

North Shore feels more secluded and pristine and much less crowded even during peak seasons. 

When choosing a location for your event, look for venues that satisfy your criteria in terms of ambiance, food, accommodation, and services. Because you can easily boat between the two shores, you can even book a venue on one side of the lake and do a photo shoot on another, but you need to ensure you give appropriate time to travel between both.  Don’t rely on GPS for planning purposes because it can suddenly get busy.    


As it’s a protected area Lake Tahoe has many restrictions regarding weddings and other events. There is a strict “no trace” rule, which means you have to pick up all the litter and leave nothing behind you. You are not allowed to tamper with trees in any way (this applies even to fairy lights and other decorations), and you must keep the waters clean.

Outdoor weddings are subject to noise regulations, you shouldn’t party outside after 10 pm. Parking is not allowed in many locations around Lake Tahoe. If you are booking one of the major venues, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if your wedding location is off-the-beaten-path, then you might need to organize a shuttle or boat service for your guests.


As Lake Tahoe is popular, weddings can be on the expensive side.  One way to save money is to get married in spring or fall (off-season). 

Some pricier venues can charge $10K+ and accommodations are around $500+ per night. If you stay in smaller hotels or motels, you can find something more affordable.

lake tahoe elopement photographer


Following are some locatons that are perfect for an elopement or wedding in Lake Tahoe.  It has the most majestic and beautiful scenery from the blue of the lake to the green of the forests.  Here are some locations I love:

Where to Elope in South Lake Tahoe


Emerald Bay State Park | 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

 It is located 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. It’s one of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe.  With iconic views overlooking Lake Tahoe.  The best time to take photographs is during sunrise since the surrounding hills block the sun as it sets in the afternoon.

Logan Shoals Vista Point | Lake Shore Blvd, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448

Logan Shoals Vista Point is situated along the road and is made for elopements.  There is a designated area within a short walk from the roadside parking. The best time to photograph is during sunset because of the scenic views.  

Sugar Pine Point State Park Pier | Tahoma, CA 96142

Sugar Pine Point State Park is known for its pier that offers unique opportunities for photography and of course your elopement ceremony. While it offers a big variety in backgrounds from the pier, to the beach, and our nature, it can be very windy.  You can photograph at sunrise or sunset. 

Lakeside Beach | 4081 Lakeshore Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

This is a unique location as it’s on the lake and boasts a beach.  You have plenty of options for searching and an arbor all with a lake view.  It shares the beach with the public but is separated by a fence so you still have a private area for your elopement.

The Chateau at Incline Village in Lake Tahoe Nevada

Where to Elope in North Lake Tahoe


Sand Harbor | 2005 NV-28, Incline Village, NV 89452

When one wants to visit North Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor is the first thing you think of to enjoy! With rock formations and clear and calm waters, this popular site easily proves it is one of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe

Kings Beach and Dock | Parking lot, Bear St, Kings Beach, CA 96143

Kings beach is public so this is an option if it’s just you two, someone to marry you, and a photographer.  You sometimes have to wait your turn to walk down the dock, but the view is amazing!  You can also book the outdoor plaza and a small stage near the playground which are available for special events. 

The Chateau at Incline Village 955 Fairway Blvd, Incline Village, NV 89451

The Chateau at Incline Village has a classic Lake Tahoe charm with a modern edge. Expansive lake,  mountain, and golf views, vaulted timber ceilings, large stone fireplaces, and spacious covered wrap-around decks.  

High Camp at Squaw Valley | 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, CA 96146

Having your elopement or wedding at a ski resort ensures the customer service and experience will be second to none. Comparing it to doing it on your own at more public spaces such as Emerald Bay State Park or Sand Harbor, you will have guaranteed privacy and not have to worry about the little things that naturally come with eloping.

  • UPPER DECK AT HIGH CAMP: Your guests will marvel at the expansive views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding Sierra while they watch you exchange your vows mid-mountain.
  • TERRACE ROOM AT HIGH CAMP: Newly remodeled and perched at the top of Squaw Valley, with views of Lake Tahoe and the wide-open meadows and surrounding Sierras.

Donner Memorial State Park12593 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161

There is actually a Lodge in this area that can be used for any getting ready options since a majority of this park is meadow and doesn’t have any cover. Visiting Donner Memorial State Park will offer gorgeous scenic views that you cannot go wrong with for your elopement in Lake Tahoe.

Airbnb in North Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe is considered to have an overall higher-income community compared to South Lake Tahoe. Given that South Lake Tahoe is more known for casinos, restaurants, and nightlife, it is fitting that North Lake Tahoe cater to those who are older and prefer the finer things in life. This being said, one of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe could be at a nicely renovated Airbnb!


One of the best tips I can provide at this time is to ensure that you stay updated with what’s happening in Lake Tahoe so there aren’t surprises. I recommend checking LakeTahoe Visitors Authority to check details that may impact your wedding plans.

Are you planning a wedding or elopement in Lake Tahoe?

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