Lake Tahoe Wedding at Thunderbird Lodge :: Jessica & Matthew

Lake Tahoe is such a beautiful location year round, it seems especially so on the day of Jessica and Matthew’s June wedding. From the bride’s timeless look to the classic white cake, simple details let the natural beauty of the venue shine through.




Jessica mother and sister rode with her to the ceremony. When she asked for some pearls of wisdom to a happy marriage, her sister advised the importance of each partner keeping their individuality within the partnership. “My mother quoted Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandschaften,” says the bride. “In chemistry, one compound alone is not stable until paired with another.”




The Ceremony

“We wanted to get married at Lake Tahoe because of its breathtaking and pristine beauty and because of the sentimental value it has to us. This is where our romance started, where we got engaged and where we have our home.”




Your ceremony in three words.  Dream come true!

Who officiated your ceremony?  Mike Elmore, a friend that is like family to us. We wanted an intimate ceremony very personal to us. Because Mike knew us so well, he was able to give us spiritual guidance as well as add personal anecdotes to the sermon.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We each poured sand into a vase symbolizing unity. Our lives now being intertwined, impossible to divide once mixed together.

What was your ceremony music?  We had a live string quartet playing classical music during the ceremony. Matthew’s father joined them on his bassoon for a piece called “Plaisir D’amour” before the processional. The bridal processional music was “, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

What were your ceremony readings?  I am half German, so my father recited the Lord’s Prayer in German. Also the Sh’ma Deuteronomy 6:4.




What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Our vows – it was very important to us to write our own. We did not know what the other had prepared beforehand. They were emotional to say and even more emotional to hear from each other. They are words I will never forget.




Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  After the ceremony we had the fortune of taking a ride in the Thunderbird yacht. Just the groom and bride, no one else. We wanted that moment for just ourselves, by ourselves. This is when Matthew revealed the honeymoon location (Costa Rica & Nicaragua) which he had kept secret until then.




The Reception

“The sit down dinner was outdoors, with a view of the lake during sunset. We had one very long feasting table where everyone sat. After dinner, the live band started playing and the guests danced, drank around the alfresco bar and smoked cigars in the outdoor gazebo. There was such a fun, happy, carefree feeling to the event!”




What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The beautiful location inspired us most in designing the event. Being a destination wedding for our guests, we also aimed to make the day as special for them as for ourselves.

Why did you choose this location for your reception?  Our dinner location was on the lawn, the same as ceremony. The space therefore, needed to be transformed between the ceremony and the reception. During that time, there were cocktails served elsewhere on grounds and tours of the estate, gardens and underground tunnels were given.




Special dances:
First dance: “Feels Like Home” by Randy Newman
Father/Bride: “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
Grandmother/Groom: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Our first dance. I surprised Matthew by having my brother play “Feels Like Home” by Randy Newman acoustically on the guitar. My brother, in turn, surprised me with the most touching speech beforehand. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  Matthew loves a good cigar, so I surprised him with a cigar bar set up in the outdoor gazebo after sunset.

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  The bride personally hand-lettered the envelopes in calligraphy for the wedding invitations as well as the name place cards. Her sister made the bridal bouquet.




What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t sweat all the tiny details so much. The day goes by in the blink of an eye and it doesn’t really matter if you chose the silver or the gold napkin rings. What matters are all the special moments during the day, most of which are unplanned, that will touch you and the ones you love and will be forever ingrained in your memory.





Al Fresco




Mountain West

Vendor Credits

Photography: Josh Gruetzmacher / Venue: Thunderbird Lodge at Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Nevada / Event Planning & Design Once Upon a Time Events / Officiant: Mike Elmore / Dress: Vwidon / Suit: District Homme / Stationery: Paper Source / Bride’s Bouquet: Bride’s sister / Hair: Lindsy Shontz / Makeup: Ashley Holz / Ceremony Music: Accent Music / Reception Music: Hip Service / Catering: Hyatt / Wine: Frank Family / Cake: Sugar Pine Cakery / Boats to location: Wild Goose, Woodwind II / Bride & Groom Boat: The Thunderbird / Floral Design: Thran Flowers / Rentals: Stage Commander


Josh Gruetzmacher is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor. This post contains affiliate links.

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