How To Plan a Winter Elopement In Lake Tahoe

Aug 10, 2021

Elopement Resources

winter elopement in lake tahoe, bride wearing a red fur coat in the snow


How to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter

Lake Tahoe has my heart no matter the season, but isn’t there something special about wintery snow covered trees? It’s like your own real life Narnia! And because of that dusting of extra special magic, many of my couples choose to elope in the winter. If you’re one of them I’m sharing 5 key things to consider when planning a winter elopement in Lake Tahoe!

For a successful winter elopement in Lake Tahoe, it’s important to be prepared for the weather and understand eloping in the summer is different than the winter. If you’re not from around here you might not know that winter can start begin as early as late November or as late as mid January. Go into your elopement with a lot of flexibility and open mind because in the winter months, plans don’t always go accordingly to plan. With the right vendors by your side, you’ll still have an incredibly magical and unforgettable experience, and if you’re looking for someone who knows the area and how to plan a backup for the backup plan – I’m your girl! 

If you don’t know where to even start with planning your winter elopement in Lake Tahoe, check out my How to Elope in Lake Tahoe guide to start gathering some great tips and resources! I also host The Elopement Podcast, a podcast full of value for all couples in the midst of planning their special day. Click here to listen, or find it on Spotify, Google, or iTunes.

Alright, let’s start chatting all things winter in Lake Tahoe!


bride and groom kissing in the snow on their elopement day in lake tahoe

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5 key things to consider when planning a winter elopement in Lake Tahoe


1.    Rent a Car

Winter weather means winter driving conditions. We are in the Sierra Nevada mountains after all! Choosing the right vehicle for navigating to and from locations on your elopement day is so essential, especially if you aren’t familiar with driving in snowy road conditions. Make sure to request all wheel drive to help get you around safely. If just thinking about driving in the snow makes you uneasy, fall and summer are an absolute dream too! 

bride and groom driving a jeep along snowy roads during their winter elopement in lake tahoe


2.     Expect Winter Weather

This means you’ll need to be understanding and flexible with road closures and limited accessibility. It is possible that the spot you’ve been dreaming of hiking to for your ceremony location could be closed off due to weather, depending on the time of year. Planning ahead is highly recommended! I suggest scoping the location out the day before, or as close as possible to your ceremony date to make sure it is accessible. We wouldn’t want any added stress the day of!

Keep an open mind and make sure you have a team by your side that you trust to get you to the most magical spots without compromising yours and their safety. 


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bride and groom eloping in the snow in lake tahoe


3.     Dress Accordingly 

Think layers, wool socks and snow boots. Sorry to break it to you, but Walgreens boots aren’t sufficient, consider investing in Timberlands or heavy duty boots. Your feet will thank me later! The more comfortable you are in the winter elements, the more at ease you’ll be for your entire day. You’ll also feel better prepared for longer hikes to the best trails and scenic look out points! You want to remember all the special moments of your elopement, not how cold you were. 


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bride wearing hiking boots with her wedding dress in the snow


4.     Have an Adventure

Even when accessibility is limited, if you are adventurous souls there’s plenty of ways to get out into more remote locations. Rent snowmobiles, have a ski wedding or go snowshoeing for a full force winter in Lake Tahoe experience!

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5.     Play it Safe

The winter months come with a few extra things to consider including avalanche safety.  While not super common, avalanches are important to consider if you plan on getting out there in our beautiful mountains. If you’re planning for an epic backcountry adventure, plan on also hiring a professional guide or ensure that you have appropriate knowledge to execute your plan safely! Luckily, my husband is a ski guide and knows quite a bit about avalanche safety – you can rest easy knowing that with me as your photographer we’ll be plenty prepared!

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Winter is one of my favorite times here in Lake Tahoe. The crisp air, the blanket of white snow and the transformation of the landscape into a whole different world! It’s definitely something you won’t ever forget and with just a little extra planning and precautions it’s the perfect place to elope! Trust me, Lake Tahoe in the winter is absolutely worth it. I mean, just LOOK at that magical view!

now is the time to start planning your winter elopement in Lake Tahoe, fill out an inquiry form here to get in touch!

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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