How to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter - 2022 Guide

How to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter

elopement couple kissing on a rock overlooking Lake Tahoe in the winter

How to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter – 2022 Guide

Here’s how to elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter! I’m so excited to be sharing this guide to help you plan out your epic elopement day in Lake Tahoe during the winter! Keep reading to learn about the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe elopement packages and pricing, the best time of year to elope in Lake Tahoe, permits and logistics, where to stay in Lake Tahoe, and so much more!

Is Winter the best time to elope in Lake Tahoe?

Winter is the second most popular season in Lake Tahoe which brings lots of skiiers and snow lovers in from all over the world. If you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, or sledder, love colder weather and lots of snow, or love a good cozy cabin and a mountain town, winter is the best time to elope in Lake Tahoe for you! The most popular season in Lake Tahoe is the fall, which is a great time to elope as well. Here’s how to elope in Lake Tahoe in the fall.

Winter in Lake Tahoe

On average, Lake Tahoe gets an average of 215.4 inches of snowfall, or a little under 18 feet. Upper elevations can get between 300 and 500 inches per year per this article. I’ve lived down the hill from Lake Tahoe for over 21 years, and I can say this deems true almost every single year. Some years are drier and there’s less snowfall or it comes later winter/early spring, although most years see tons of snow. Some roads tend to close during the winter (Emerald Bay road is almost always closed) since it’s too dangerous to drive a vehicle.

The weather is more of a dry, cold. Whereas Oregon, for example is more of a “wet, cold” due to humidity, Lake Tahoe definitely is more of a drier cold feel. This means you won’t ever feel “damp” unless it rains, so make sure to bring lots of layers. There’s usually 10-15mph winds, unless it’s storming and it can pickup to 25-35mph.

Temperatures range from high 40’s to low 20’s. The temperature almost always drops below freezing during the winter, although it can fluctuate so much during the day! This is why Lake Tahoe is an avid ski town since it’ll be gorgeous on the slopes, and freezing during the night.

If you love colder weather and snow, eloping in Lake Tahoe in the winter is the perfect destination!

Lake Tahoe is the best place to Elope

Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places to elope, and at one point held a top wonder of the world – Emerald Bay. The diversity in Lake Tahoe’s seasons and locations, to its amazing activities year round, Lake Tahoe has it all. There’s big difference’s whether you want to elope in North or South Lake or even more on the outskirts. It’s important to whey the differences to make sure you’re choosing the best location for your elopement, and everything that location comes with.

North Lake vs South Lake

North Lake Tahoe is much less touristy than South Lake. It’s quieter and where a lot of the locals tend to live. It’s also a tad less expensive, since South Lake is where most of the attractions are at. The amount of snowfall in North Lake Tahoe is also usually muchhh less than South Lake Tahoe.

South Lake Tahoe is where a lot of the tourists like to visit. There’s larger hotel chains, Heavenly Village which has lots of shops and activities to do, and home of Emerald Bay. One of the most popular locations in Lake Tahoe to visit.

Both North and South lake have so much to offer, and regardless where you chose to elope, the other side of the lake is less than an hour drive away!

winter elopement couple hugging looking out at the lake and mountains at sunrise

Best Locations to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter

Lake Tahoe is filled with so many diverse and gorgeous locations! You truly have so many options to choose from for your elopement locations- from mountain and lake views, beaches, wooded/forest areas and meadows. Here’s the best locations to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Winter:

Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay is one of the top visited state parks in Lake Tahoe, so naturally it’s a great place! I would recommend eloping at sunrise, since the sun will peak over the mountains on the north side of the lake, which gives that gorgeous golden back-lit effect. Plus, sunrise means less tourists at this epic location.

The road leading to Emerald Bay from the Nevada side can tend to close down if Lake Tahoe gets too much snowfall, but Emerald Bay is still ver accessible by foot if your heart is truly set on it!

Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor is a great location all year round as well. There’s so much variety from open beach to roam, large boulders to climb on, and forested areas to explore. So much diversity in one place! Sand Harbor with snow-capped mountains and boulders are such a gorgeous sight.

Logan Shoals

This location is great for an elopement at sunset in Lake Tahoe. You’re overlooking the gorgeous blue waters of Lake Tahoe and can see the mountains in the background!

Sugar Pine Point State Park Pier

Sugar Pine is such a gorgeous location and they have a huge pier that goes out onto the water. So beautiful!!

Since I’m a local and know Lake Tahoe very well, I have tons of locations that are hidden gems that I’d love to share with you to elope at or share your vows! Click here to inquire and learn more amazing locations for your elopement!

Traveling to Lake Tahoe in the Winter: Flight Info, Car Rentals, Hotels/Airbnb’s

There’s a lot to know when traveling to Lake Tahoe for your elopement in the winter, so let’s break it down! Here’s my top tips for flights, car rentals and places to stay:

Flight Info

If you’re eloping in Lake Tahoe and want to fly in, you have a few options. The closest airport is RNO – Reno/Tahoe International Airport (50 minutes from North Lake Tahoe and about 1 hour 15 minutes from South Lake Tahoe). The second closest is airport is SMF – Sacramento International Airport (1 hour 54 minutes from South Lake Tahoe and 2 hours 5 minutes from North Lake Tahoe).

Since Lake Tahoe gets lots of storms and snowfall, it’s best to check the weather before buying your flights into RNO. Depending on the weather and road conditions, it might be better to fly into SMF instead.

How to Check Lake Tahoe Road Conditions

Thankfully, Lake Tahoe has road cams and updated road conditions to read about and view through videos. Go to https://www.dot.nv.gov/travel-info/road-conditions/traffic-cameras to stay up to date! You can even see road cams coming into Lake Tahoe on the California side, so this is always my first recourse I use to check road conditions.

Car Rentals

If you decide to drive in or rent a car, it’s very important to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle in Lake Tahoe in the winter. You can easily rent 4WD cars at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport! It’s also important to snow chains for your tires handy, just in case the snow levels are too high or the roads require them if there’s a storm.

Where to Buy Snow Chains in Lake Tahoe

If you don’t own snow chains or want to travel with them, here’s a few places you can buy snow chains in Lake Tahoe. Also, most of these places have the sweetest owners (as well as nice locals) who will be able to help you put them on if you’re not sure how!

Les Schwab Tire Center

1901 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

+1 530-541-2852

NAPA Auto Parts – Lakeside Auto Parts Inc

1935 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

+1 530-541-1850

O’Reilly Auto Parts

2317 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

+1 530-544-1974

AutoZone Auto Parts

2605 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

+1 530-539-9050

Kingsbury Automotive & Supply Tahoe

180 Shady Ln, Stateline, NV 89449

+1 775-588-2441

Tahoe City Ace Hardware & Lumber

715 W River Rd, Tahoe City, CA 96145

+1 530-583-4248

North Shore Ace Hardware

200 Secline St, Kings Beach, CA 96143

+1 530-546-3505

Tahoe Dave’s Skis & Boards

8299 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

+1 530-546-5800

Mountain Hardware and Sports Incline

910 Tahoe Blvd #103, Incline Village, NV 89451

+1 775-831-2020

Incline Village Tire Department

919 Incline Way, Incline Village, NV 89451

+1 775-833-1577

pine trees in Lake Tahoe while it's snowing

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

There’s so many warm and welcoming airbnb’s and hotels in Tahoe from cute little a-frame cabins, to bigger homes with lake front views, or larger hotel chains if that’s what you’re looking for! The options are endless when it comes to where to stay in Lake Tahoe. Keep scrolling to see some of my favorites!

North Lake Tahoe Airbnb’s

Tahoe Hideaway – Freestanding Luxury A-Frame Home

Completely Remodeled Cabin w/ Hot Tub, Near Beach

Little Black Cabin By The Lake

North Lake Tahoe Hotels

South Lake Tahoe Airbnb’s

Hygge Barn Modern Cabin – 5 Min walk to the Lake

Click here to view the elopement I shot at this Cabin! They came back here after they eloped, made some coffee, put on a fire and listened to records — it was amazing.

Unforgettable Lake Tahoe Cabin

Updated Lake Tahoe House w/ Hot Tub

South Lake Tahoe Hotels

wedding couple hiking down a rock with snow covered mountains and a lake behind them

Planning your Winter Elopement in Lake Tahoe

Now it’s time to plan your epic winter elopement in Lake Tahoe! Here’s some key things to keep in mind when planning:

  • Marriage License
  • Permits and Logistics
  • Lake Tahoe Vendors
  • Sample Timeline
  • Lake Tahoe Elopement Photography Packages and Prices 

How to get a Marriage License in Lake Tahoe – Nevada side

If you’re getting married on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, go to the Washoe County Clerk’s main office, located at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building A, in Reno to obtain your marriage license. It’s $85 to get legally married in Nevada. Click here for more info. 

You can also go to the Washoe County Clerk in Incline Village. It is located at the Incline Village General Improvement District, 893 Southwood Blvd., and is open Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, except holidays.  Phone:  775-784-7260.  Click here for more info.

If your wedding is on the Nevada side of Tahoe’s South Shore, you can pick up your marriage license at these locations:

All this information was found on tahoeengaged.com

How to get a Marriage License in Lake Tahoe – California side

If you’re flying into Sacramento, San Francisco or Oakland Airport, and driving to North Lake Tahoe on Interstate 80, you may find it convenient to stop at the Placer County Clerk’s office, located in the city of Auburn at 2954 Richardson Drive. This office processes marriage license applications between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Click here for more info.

If you are traveling up Highway 50 to South Lake Tahoe, you can stop at the El Dorado County Clerk’s office at 360 Fair Lane in Placerville. You can also get your marriage license in South Lake Tahoe at the El Dorado Center, 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Room 108.  For either location, call 530-621-5490 for an appointment.

You can also obtain a Marriage License right in North Lake Tahoe – at Placer County’s satellite office, located at 5225 N. Lake Blvd. in Carnelian Bay.  However, you must have an appointment, and the office hours only run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  To schedule an appointment, call 530-886-5610.  Click here for more info.

All this information was found on tahoeengaged.com

Permits and Logistics

Some locations in Lake Tahoe require a permit to get married and/or have professional photos taken there. I know the rangers and have yearly permits for all state parks in Lake Tahoe, and will help you secure your permit for your elopement! Other locations that aren’t as well known or aren’t a state park don’t require permits to get married. I’m here to help you navigate all the permits and logistics for your elopement. 

Here are links/contact info for the top Lake Tahoe locations and their permit information:

To secure a permit at Emerald Bay State Park – Contact the Special Events Coordinator at (530) 525-5060. (info found on tahoesouth.com/parks/emerald-bay/, updated as of 4/2022)

To secure a permit at Sand Harbor State Park, here is the application!

Lake Tahoe Vendors

Elopement Photography & Planning

Hey y’all!! I can’t even wait to help you plan out your epic elopement day and capture all the moments. Click here to see my photography and what it’s like to work with me. If you’re interested in packages, scroll to the bottom of the page!

Videographers

Florists

Officiants

Hair and Makeup

Activities to do during the Winter in Lake Tahoe

Ski or snowboard at some of the top Ski Resorts in Lake Tahoe

Ice skating at Heavenly Village

Snow Tubing in South Lake Tahoe

Shop, dine and enjoy live music at Heavenly Village

Or see the lake from the sky on a helicopter tour

Sample Winter Lake Tahoe Elopement Timeline

Not sure what your elopement day could look like? Let me paint you a picture.

Example timeline:

7:00 am || Be by yourselves and write your vows next to the fire in your a-frame cabin, with coffee of course

8:30 am || Enjoy some breakfast and alone time with your partner

9:00 am || Lay out your details to be photographed and get ready for the day

10:00 am || First look with your partner in the forest by your cabin. You see each other for the first time and feel ALL THE FEELS

11:00 am || Helicopter tour around Lake Tahoe — seeing the vast beauty of Tahoe together

12:30 pm || Lunch at your cabin with all your loved ones

1:30 pm || Have your private ceremony lake side with your closest friends and family

2:30 pm || Hike to a gorgeous lookout, share some peppermint hot cocoa and snacks together while dreaming about your future together looking. Explore the area together and take gorgeous winter photos

4:30 pm || Sunset

5:00 pm || Head back to your a-frame cabin and enjoy the evening with your loved ones

6:00 pm || Dinner, dancing and telling stories next to the fire!

2022 & 2023 Lake Tahoe Elopement Photography Packages and Prices 

I have packages starting at 4 hours to 2 full day experiences starting at $4000. Since I live local to Lake Tahoe, there are no travel fees involved! Yay! 

All packages include: 

  • Unlimited zoom/phone calls to plan out your elopement experience
  • All my resources for location planning, vendor recommendations, activities to do, and more
  • Full resolution, high quality images delivered in an online gallery, with unlimited downloads
  • 72 hour sneak peak gallery, to relive your elopement day and share photos with your loved ones
  • 8 week full gallery return time
  • 85 page elopement guide full of tips & ideas to make planning stress-free

Does this sound like what you’re looking for? 

Checkout How to Elope in Lake Tahoe in the Fall!

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