When it’s two wedding photographers at the altar, you know you can expect some inspired design elements throughout the day. Lauren + Craig’s Lake Tahoe micro wedding included everything from a mountain ceremony with a lush floral hoop by The Posh Posey to a bistro style reception with petite farmhouse tables beneath market lights. With their wedding date in October 2020 (and original plans that looked quite different), L+C were conscious of the health and safety of their 25 guests in all the right ways. Not only did they lean into health protocol with “Spread Love, not Germs” sanitizer stations and limited guest numbers at each table, they found a variety of ways to still include their guests who could not attend in person. They pulled it off beautifully with the impeccable help of their Coordinator, With Grace + Love, and the entire day was captured with such captivating visual storytelling from Ivory Blush Photography. We can’t wait for you to read the full story below!
From the Bride, Lauren: Being wedding photographers, we’ve had the privilege of photographing some of the most exquisite weddings. But because of our experience, we needed our wedding to be our own. When COVID hit, we were faced with the extremely tough decision: cancel our big wedding or postpone. Since we are in the Wedding Industry ourselves and 2021 could be a very busy year with all the couples who moved their 2020 wedding to 2021, we decided to keep our wedding in 2020, but opted for an intimate 25-person “wee wedding”, as we dubbed it and we made it a weekend affair.
Our 25 guests (just our parents and wedding party, plus significant others) quarantined for 14 days prior to our wedding so that we could enjoy without fear of spreading COVID. We coordinated with our videographers to livestream our wedding for the other 200 guests that would have been invited to our big, in-person wedding. We even created an online guest book so people to drop notes to us that we later printed and added to our guestbook. We used The Guest App to have guests add selfies of them all dressed up at home, watching our livestream. And we carved out 15 minutes during dinner to sneak away to say hi to our at-home guests via Zoom. It wasn’t how we wanted our wedding to go, but it turned out to be a fantastic way to make our virtual wedding guests feel as included as possible. We even asked everyone who had a speaking role at our wedding to be sure to address the folks at home as well, so they really felt included.
The venue: We originally had our wedding planned at an old brick warehouse, so when we moved to a “wee wedding” we decided to do more of a destination. Craig and I are both mountain lovers, so we decided on Lake Tahoe, just 2 hours away from home.
Held at the Tahoe Blue Estate, a 9,000 sq ft home overlooking Lake Tahoe, our guests enjoyed an extended weekend in luxury – master suites, an extra large jacuzzi, indoor sauna with a view of the Lake, and an oversized chef’s kitchen complete with professional-grade appliances. Each guest was greeted with a Welcome Box, which of course as a photographer, I had to design and photograph a flatlay of these details. You’ll find those photos mixed in with the images from our amazing Wedding Photographer, Ivory Blush Photography.
Note: Almost all the photos are by Ivory Blush, but I snuck in a few by us, because I did our flatlays and detail photos as I was packing up for our wedding weekend.
Being mountain-lovers ourselves, we knew we wanted our wedding to be outdoors and amongst the trees. Well, this estate offered just that. We said our vows on top of a mountain, on the ceremony platform of the Estate and 25 guests were seated, overlooking Lake Tahoe. You can see just how high of a mountain top we were on when looking at the long rock staircase we had to walk down to the aisle of the ceremony.
The reception was held out on the front patio of the Estate, under stings of market lights. We wanted our wedding to feel more like an intimate dining experience, rather than a wedding reception, so we interspersed bistro tables amongst our elegant wooden tables. We had a few guests who couldn’t totally quarantine and stay with us at the house, so we seated them at little bistro tables away from the group. We let our parents also sit at their own bistro table too, because they are more at-risk for COVID and we wanted to take extra precautions. Plus, the bistro tables were adorable and really added to the outdoor restaurant vibe! And about the wooden tables – note the detail on the legs, giving each of these tables a modern, romantic spin on the farm-table classic.
Owner and chef of Butter + Salt prepared our dinner in the restaurant-grade kitchen and each plate of farm-to-fork fresh ingredients were brought down in 3-courses.
During the reception, we surprised our parents with a wedding-dance for just them – honoring mine and Craig’s parents’ 38 and 40 years of marriage, respectively. But that wasn’t the only surprise. We sang their dance song, accompanied by a guitarist.
If I had to describe the “look” we were going for with our wedding, it would be a “modern, fresh spin on classic romance”. Tall candlesticks with chimney tubes lined the tables. We used gold accents and flatware for a modern spin. We also sourced gold name laser-cut-outs for each place setting, adding a very personalize component to our intimate reception. Guests were also gifts a personalized blanket to keep the bite of the Tahoe fall cold at bay at our al fresco reception!
Oh! And in additional to it being set amongst the radiant blue of Lake Tahoe, we also added the slightest (and I mean slightest!) touch of a travel theme. Craig and I have been to over 48 countries combined and it’s a passion we realized early-on that we share. Can’t see the travel-theme? Good! We wanted nothing cheesy. Hint: The table numbers are the names of some of our favorite countries we’ve traveled to together. And even better? I (Lauren, the bride) designed them myself from our photos we’ve taken during our travels.
Speaking of modern, we opted for sleek signage instead of traditional frames and boards. The table numbers, bar signs, Welcome Sign, and seating chart were designed by me, the bride, because again, we needed our wedding to be a unique, personal experience. I designed each of these elements with minimalism in mind. We wanted everything to enhance the beauty of Lake Tahoe, instead of over-taking or pulling from it.
Our florist, The Posh Posey, helped us achieve our goal of adding a modern-flare to our wedding by designing our arrangements in a minimalist Ikebana style. Flanking the larger Ikebana centerpieces were smaller stems popping up out of dainty white dishes, adding to the fresh, minimalist design. She brought local elements to the design as well, sourcing golden California ferns to adorn the circle arch for our ceremony and sweetheart table.
My Pronovias dress was the perfect complement to our modern romance wedding, with lace cut-outs along the ends of the train and a long cathedral veil.
Don’t miss their sweet highlight film from HT Weddings below!
I think we can all agree Lauren and Craig’s Lake Tahoe micro wedding is one for the books! Head here next for more tips, tricks and real life examples on how couples are navigating wedding planning during COVID.
Coordination: With Grace + Love
Venue: Tahoe Blue Estate
Catering: Butter + Salt Gatherings
Photography: Ivory Blush Photography
Floral Design: The Posh Posey
Hair & Makeup: All Dolled Up Nor Cal
DJ: Function 45
Music: Nate Woodward
Officiant: Emily Woodward
Cinematography: HT Weddings
Rentals: Memorable Events and Celebrations Event Rentals
Dessert: Urban Acres
Bridal Boutique: Grace + White Bridal
Bridal Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes
Gift Flatlay Photography: Lauren Alisse Photography
Wedding Dress: Pronovias