Location Guides

Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide

In between California and Nevada, you will find beautiful Lake Tahoe. This large freshwater lake is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Being the largest alpine lake in North America, this iconic location is one of the best places to elope. Despite being so popular, many couples don’t know where to start and think, “How do I even elope in Lake Tahoe”? Luckily for you, our team is up for the challenge of providing you with the ultimate Lake Tahoe elopement guide.Here’s what you need to know to start planning your elopement. Feel free to jump to the section you are most interested in.

How to Plan Your Lake Tahoe Elopement: Decide North or South Lake Tahoe

We weren’t kidding when we said Lake Tahoe is big. When you first hop over to the Lake Tahoe website, you will see a divider asking if you want to go south or go north. Even though both sides of the lake are beautiful, both also have different aspects to consider and appreciate. So how do you choose, and what are the differences? The biggest difference is South Lake Tahoe is much busier, with a flourishing art scene, and filled with energetic tourists. North Lake Tahoe, on the other hand, is quieter and more laid back. Both sides of the lake will give you endless location options to explore. 

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Best Time of Year to Elope in Lake Tahoe

One of the many reasons we love Lake Tahoe elopements is because it’s a beautiful place to get married, year-round. Do you want a winter wonderland elopement? Tahoe is gorgeous during the winter and has fun snow sports you both can participate in. Are you both more beach bums? In the summertime, Lake Tahoe is bustling with fun summer activities including beaches, paddle boarding, and more. We also love Fall for the changing colors you can appreciate around the lake and Spring for a cooler-weather option. Thus, there really is no best time to plan your elopement. We do, however, encourage you to steer clear of holidays and the peak season, June-August. 

Places to Elope in Lake Tahoe

So you’re thinking about eloping in Lake Tahoe, but you don’t know where to plan your elopement ceremony or portraits. Since this location is so big, our biggest advice is to team up with one of our awesome Wandering Wedding Members in the area because let’s be honest, they know Lake Tahoe inside and out. Our members are perfect resources you can depend on to not only location scout for you, but to help create a gorgeous elopement that will reflect who you both are as a couple.

Here are some of our favorite elopement locations in Lake Tahoe:

Emerald Bay State Park Lookout

Located in South Lake Tahoe you will find one of the most scenic spots you can go to. This is the perfect spot to plan your elopement ceremony. You can easily admire the shimmering blues, greens, and turquoise colors of the lake against the mountain in the background. You can find Emerald Bay in a short drive from South Lake Tahoe and its accessible via Highway 89. This lookout point is also located within Emerald Bay State Park, which gives you plenty of other options for gorgeous elopement portrait locations near you.

If you want to plan your elopement at Emerald Bay State Park, then you should check out these 5 post-wedding hiking tips.

Sand Harbor

If you’re looking to elope sometime in the summer, then Sand Harbor is a great option. Sand Harbor is known for its crystal-clear waters on the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe. You can admire the gorgeous blue lake and sloping beaches in the area perfect for kayaking, scuba diving, and swimming. If you are planning a summer elopement here, be careful to avoid July and August since these months are crowded with people.

High Camp at Squaw Valley

High Camp at Squaw Valley is beautiful year-round. This location is ideal for mountain explorers as you will have the freedom to roam at an elevation of 8,200’. We love this location for its panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and for feeling like you’re literally on top of the world. If you’re thinking about having a winter elopement, then this location is perfect to ride the slopes together!

Sugar Pine Point State Park

If you’re looking for more of a whimsical setting, then Sugar Pine Point State Park is gorgeous. This is also the largest state park at Lake Tahoe and contains two miles of lake frontage and 2,000 acres of dense forests. Located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, this park is 10 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89. Like many elopement locations we have mentioned at Lake Tahoe, this park is beautiful year-round. You can swim and explore during the summer, or you can enjoy cross-country skiing in the winter.

One of Lake Tahoe Beaches

Lake Tahoe has over 70 miles of shoreline and is home to several public beaches. Some of these beaches do get busier than others, and we always recommend planning during the weekday and offseason to ensure a more relaxing elopement experience. Sunrise elopement ceremonies can also be beautiful here. 

What Do You Need To Elope in Lake Tahoe? Permits and LNT

Depending on where you want to elope, you’ll have to acquire a permit to have access to National Forest lands. If you’re trying to get a marriage license, then make sure to consider where in Lake Tahoe you will be getting married. For example, if your ceremony will be taking place on the California side, you’ll need a public marriage license or a confidential marriage license. If, however, you’re getting married on the Nevada side of the lake, then you’ll need a Nevada marriage license. If you still aren’t sure where or how to plan your elopement, we stress how our California and Nevada photographers are pros at all things Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Elopement Packages and Wedding Vendors

We hope that this information on Lake Tahoe elopement locations and tips are handy for you to create your very own Lake Tahoe elopement package. If you need help eloping in general, then our how to elope guide is a great place to start! If you know how to elope, but need help announcing your elopement, then we got you covered too! Our team works hard at providing the most up-to-date resources for elopement couples.

The only thing to add to your Lake Tahoe elopement package is awesome elopement vendors who specialize in Lake Tahoe elopements. As we mentioned, elopement vendors in both California and Nevada are great resources to brainstorm with. We encourage you to check out the photographers below and connect with them.