Golden Late September Elopement in Lake Tahoe

Golden Late September Elopement in Lake Tahoe

Jul 19, 2022

Real Elopements

2020 was a year for the books, I think we can all agree. Despite being in a global pandemic and feeling uncertain in so many areas of life – I knew one thing for sure: people always get married. And, in a world of smaller events, I was in the right place at the right time as a Lake Tahoe Elopement Photographer. This day was just one of 5 elopements in September that year, all of which were incredible in their own way.

To add to the chaos of the year, after a relatively dry winter and hot summer, Lake Tahoe experienced the impacts of fire season in the late summer . For the first time in my life, the state shut down every single National Forest. Several elopements that year were impacted by this. However, we found a way through each time and this day was no different. Finding golden light & stunning views in Lake Tahoe isn’t hard, though!

Jenna & Hugh rented an incredible home near Crystal Bay and had their elopement ceremony on the lakeside dock with family scattered in the rocks above them. It was stressful at the time, but looking back, I can’t imagine this part of their day any other way.

We then celebrated with a champagne toast with their families, before the three of us set off on an adventure. Believe it or not – the land we accessed opened the morning of the elopement. We’d already pivoted for their elopement ceremony, but I knew we’d still be able to do Golden Hour photos in the forest & above Lake Tahoe with appropriate planning.

I remember working through their portraits and just taking a deep breath. 2020 pushed me in a lot of ways, but it was these moments that really changed the way I showed up for my couples. Intentionality and compassion had to be a core part of my business in this season, and that remains to this day.

As we stood above Lake Tahoe taking in the view, hazy and golden in the Late September light, I prompted Jenna & Hugh to face each other. I asked them a few questions (of which I won’t share, because that’s part of the magic) and guided them through a very special moment. We all cried. One of my favorite images of all time came from this moment.

We ended the evening with a quick little rip around on their E-bikes – which Jenna had bought the cutest signs to stick on the back.

There is something so genuine and authentic about the way this day played out. I’ve never been one for fabricating adventure and days like this prove we don’t have to. This golden September elopement will always be one of my favorites I’ve ever done in my home of Lake Tahoe.



Ruthanne is an Elopement Photographer & Expert based in Lake Tahoe, California. She specializes in elopements inspired by the beautify and elegance of the High Sierra mountains, but you can find her all over the west at any time. She lives in Truckee, California where she was born & raised, with her husband Demetri & Australian Shepherd, Sasha. 


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