It doesn’t get any better than this – a beach wedding filled with love and laughter on a gorgeous Tahoe day at the family cabin! Emily has lots to share, from all the meaningful details to why they were dancing and singing on the beach.
“I love the shots of us in the meadows outside the cabin. They are magical and whimsical, which is how the entire day was.” ~ Emily
How we met:
Ryan and I knew each other for fourteen years before getting married! We met in high school but were not high school sweethearts – just friends – for years! We didn’t actually date until after college (we each lived in different states for college). Even then, we lived far apart (me in Austin, TX and he in Denver, CO), and did the long-distance thing for two years. Once I finished graduate school (in Advertising), I moved to Denver to be where Ryan was. After a year of dating there, we got engaged.
I knew I wanted the wedding to take place at Tahoe – it is where I’d always imagined getting married. My family is very blessed to have a cabin there on the water with a big, sandy beach – perfect for a celebration!
Our cabin was built by my great-grandparents in 1929. My mother has been there every summer of her life, and likewise my sister and I have spent time there each of our summers. It is my favorite place in the world, and I wanted to share it – its beauty and love – with our loved ones for the special occasion. As such, an August wedding, when the weather is best in Tahoe, was planned.
Ryan’s parents have a printing company so I was able to design my own save-the-dates, invitations and programs and have them printed by his parents. Additionally, they surprised us with a big banner announcing our wedding that mimicked the font and design of the invitations! My save-the-date was one of my favorite details. It was “storybook” style, and told the story of our meeting, dating (finally), and getting engaged…and then told guests the story of my family’s cabin. It was designed to be sort of like a “travel-brochure,” and informed guests of the myriad of fun to be had at Lake Tahoe!
We had a large bridal party (10 people per side) – all of Ryan’s best friends, and I had close friends, Ryan’s sister, and my sister was the matron of honor.
My jewelry was a combination of new items I chose and just fell in love with, including my bracelet and earrings, and borrowed items. The necklace I wore belongs to my mother, and was given to her by my father. The ring I wore on my right hand originally belonged to my paternal grandmother, and she passed it down to my sister.
Everyone knows the “something old/something new” adage, but many don’t know that the final line is “and a sixpence in her shoe.” I had my dad track down a sixpence for me, which I put in my sandal! My bouquet was wrapped with a blue handkerchief that belonged to my grandmother, and was pinned on with my “something old;” a gold and pearl cross pin that had been my great-great grandmother’s! My “something borrowed” was the aquamarine ring from my father’s mother, which had been my sister’s “something blue.”
I found my dress in Denver at a pre-owned shop when I went to look “for fun” and to sort of determine what style I wanted before making appointments at boutiques. It was one of the first ones I tried on and I knew it was the one! (…And it was my first wedding-related purchase). It was elegant but simple – perfect for the beach without being too casual. I love the back of the dress and the slight cap-sleeves – it is different from most dresses I’ve seen, and that is just want I wanted.
Colors & Decor:
I knew from the get-go that I didn’t want “traditional” wedding decor.
I decided on yellow and grey as my colors – I thought the yellow would really “pop” against the blue of the lake and the sky.
I told my bridesmaids to choose any dress they wanted – the only requirements were that it be yellow, grey, or any combination thereof. Patterns, solid colors, and any lengths were welcome! It created a really fantastic mis-matched, but cohesive “look”, and contributed to the homespun, whimsical and very personal vibe I was trying to accomplish! We also gave each of the groomsmen different patterned yellow and/or grey ties – no two the same – and these awesome grey and yellow boat shoes I tracked down, to complete the “look”. My bridesmaids also carried clutches in mismatched yellow and grey fabrics.
Flowers were white with pops of yellow. We used mason jars to decorate the fence and aisle, but felt that the natural beauty of the lake was the best decor we could ask for! The exception to the simple flowers was my amazing bouquet, which was bursting with vibrant colors and featured a succulent in the center – a touch I really wanted and am so glad to have had!
We wanted the decor to mimic the attire, so we rented mismatched china and small vases in assorted shapes, sizes and colors to hold seasonal flowers. Ryan’s mom made us ALL of the table runners from various grey and white patterned fabrics, and also sewed yellow and white and grey and white chevron patterned table toppers for the small cocktail tables.
Our guest book was covered in the same yellow and white chevron fabric, and we asked guests to take photographs of themselves with a Polaroid camera and glue them into the book with messages for us.
In addition to beer and wine, we decided to provide a bourbon bar featuring various bourbons for our guests to sample. Ryan and I love bourbon, so this was a fun, personal and unique touch! The bar was on wine barrels which looked really cool out on the beach, and we served the drinks in mason jars.
My other favorite personal touches included:
· The grey T-shirt with a yellow heart and “Ry” on it which my sister made for me
· Having an Elvis impersonator perform during cocktail hour (I LOVE Elvis)
· Serving a “Nacho Bar” which featured Ryan’s famous homemade salsa and queso for guests
· Our wedding favors: homemade jam by my mom in both raspberry and strawberry – yum!
· Our dessert table — with an incredible cake by Sarah at Flour Girl Bakery – the middle layer was “Funfetti” cake + peanut butter mousse filling and almond poppy seed cake with amaretto butter cream filling on the other layers…and it was devoured!
· Our surprise ring engravings. We each had each other’s ring engraved but didn’t read the inscriptions until after the ceremony. It was a really special surprise.
· Our tandem beach cruiser getaway…Ryan and I rode away on a tandem bike decorated in yellow and white streamers! Such fun!
We love how involved the guests were able to be – we had a “bean bag toss” for them to play with “Mrs” painted on one and “Mr” painted on the other board, and Ryan’s mom also made us beanbags for the game (in the same yellow and grey fabrics used for the runners).
Ryan went to Gonzaga and anytime the song “Zombie Nation” is played, the students and alumni jump up and down to the beat and often throw people in the air. It was the first song played by the DJ to get everyone in the dancing mood, and, because it was my wedding, I got to be tossed into the air during the song (even though I didn’t attend Gonzaga) which was a blast!!
We also did a unique wedding video. I had seen wedding videos mimicking music videos before (called “Marryokes”), and asked a friend and videographer I know if she could do one for us — and she obliged! The video was so much fun to make – guests were able to participate and Ryan and I had a special performance session on the beach were we sang to each other. It was hilarious and fun – and such a great memory! We chose a song from our teenage years, knowing it would really get our friends excited about the song, and also because the lyrics are sweet and true to our love story. (“All My Life” by KC & JoJo) The video turned out wonderfully – it is both sweet/sentimental but funny at the same time – see it here.
· My favorite moment of the day was finally walking down the aisle. We had a few hurdles with getting the guests in and started a little late (shuttle didn’t show!), and by the time I walked, I had become very anxious to see Ryan. The moment I looked at him, and saw him tearing up upon seeing me, was the best part of the day.
· Eating dinner at a sweetheart table under the arch where we had been married, and enjoying the perfect weather while looking out at the incredible friends and family we are so blessed to have, is another top memory.
Wow – that is impossible to choose! Nina captured so many incredible shots from that day! If I had to choose, it is probably the photograph of the moment just after Ryan and I kiss at the altar. It was such a wonderfully emotion-filled instant and we both look as happy as we felt!
I also love the shots of us in the meadows outside the cabin. They are magical and whimsical, which was how the entire day was. The meadows, much like the lake, have always been a beautiful, esthetically soothing part of my life, so having wedding pictures in them is so wonderful.
ceremony and reception location: South Lake Tahoe family cabin · catering: Exquisite Grill · wedding coordinator: Angelina Ellis · make-up: Tahoe Weddings A-Gogo · floral design: Shirley · Rose Petals · bridal gown: Nicole Miller · veil: Ruche · DJ: Johnny Means · cake: Flour Girl Wedding Cakes · videography: Jenny Marlowe