Planning a wedding in 2021 and not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Many happy couples are in the middle of rescheduling their weddings that were supposed to happen in 2020, and new couples are getting engaged every day ready to start planning their big day! There are still a lot of unknowns, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your dream Lake Tahoe wedding right now! Here are some handy tips for planning your 2021 wedding in Lake Tahoe that will help reduce stress, minimize complications, and help you embrace everything Tahoe has to offer! 

1. Pick a Lake Tahoe wedding venue ASAP. 

There are a lot of amazing Lake Tahoe wedding venues to pick from. From serene lakes, trees, and mountains to sandy beaches and boats to rock n’ roll fun, there’s no shortage of amazing places to promise forever to that special someone. But you don’t want to contemplate too long! Whether you’re rescheduling a postponed 2020 wedding or you’re recently engaged, availability is already booking up fast due to last year’s cancellations. You’re going to want to lock in your venue as soon as possible to guarantee a date and continue moving forward with the rest of the wedding planning process. Consider scheduling a mid-week date, generally more available and can be less expensive, so your guests can stay on through the weekend and have a getaway.  If you don’t get the exact date you were hoping for, don’t worry! There’s no such thing as a bad view or bad time of year in Tahoe, so you really can’t go wrong with any date or venue! 

2. Secure vendors quickly too! 

happy man eating a burger

Photo courtesy of Sander Dalhuisen

Once you have a venue, you can start thinking about wedding vendors. They’re also booking up fast as they reschedule with last year’s couples. If you’re still searching for the right Tahoe wedding photographer, florist, or caterer, many of our top wedding venues — including Valhalla Tahoe and Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel — have preferred vendor lists to get you started and make the process easier. 

3. Review contracts & cancellation policies carefully. 

After last year, we are all expecting the unexpected in 2021. When choosing a wedding vendor or Tahoe wedding venue, don’t hesitate to ask about cancellation policies and adding a COVID-19 clause into your contract. While we are looking forward to safe and happy gatherings, being up-front will protect both you and the venue as we all continue to navigate these unknowns of this pandemic. We’re all working to move forward in the best way we can. 

4. Embrace the outdoors.

bride and groom stand up paddle boarding

Photo courtesy of Tahoe South

Outdoor weddings have been the popular trend for quite a while — especially in 2020 as couples and venues tried to allow people to social distance. All signs point toward outdoor weddings and events remaining as a top wedding trend of 2021. No worries here. There’s no better place for a gorgeous outdoor wedding or reception than Lake Tahoe and we have some of the best outdoor wedding venues in the world. 

With gorgeous mountains, towering trees, and crystal clear waters, South Tahoe is the perfect place to make the outdoors not just part of your wedding, but an actual focal point. Enjoy panoramic views from The Landing Resort & Spa’s Grand Rooftop Terrace, the expansive views and natural  gardens at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Tahoe Ridge Resort, the gorgeous tented beachfront site at the Beach Retreat & Lodge At Tahoe, and more!

Of course, it’s not just about the ceremony and reception. Many of our Lake Tahoe wedding venues have a variety of flexible outdoor spaces that are perfect for engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, gift openings, and whatever other wedding festivities you might have planned. With year-round recreational activities, there is no shortage of ways for you and your guests to embrace your adventurous spirit as you celebrate your big day in Lake Tahoe. 

5. Create mood & vision boards 

If you’re recently engaged, mood/vision boards are a great place to start. Whether you want more of a rustic Lake Tahoe wedding, a whimsical ceremony on the beach, or an elegant event, there are so many great wedding ideas on Instagram, Pinterest, and beyond to inspire your Lake Tahoe wedding. 

While your vision board may include a plethora of exciting ideas and themes to start with, you can start to pair down, connect ideas, and hone in on exactly what it is you want your wedding to look like as you get further along in the planning process. That way, your wedding planner, wedding party, and loved ones can better assist you leading up to your big day. 

Most importantly, these vision boards give you something to focus on and refer to when questions arise or you have to make snap decisions. As we saw in 2020, those moments can be stressful, so it’s important to have something that can ground you and serve as a guide when those unexpected challenges arise during the planning process.  

6. Create customized Lake Tahoe wedding welcome boxes. 

Highly curated wedding welcome boxes are another 2021 wedding trend that we’re absolutely loving. It’s the perfect opportunity to show your guests how much you care and really showcase local Tahoe businesses and culture. Mix outdoor essentials with some local favorites to make your guests feel truly welcome to the area. 

Sunglasses, sunscreen, flip flops, and a summery local wine or beer from The Cork & More would be great additions to welcome baskets for guests attending a wedding aboard the Tahoe Paradise Yacht at Lake Tahoe Cruises & Zephyr Cove Resort.

For a wedding at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, consider a musical-themed gift from a local music store like Make Tahoe Records, some casino chips, and a few tasty treats to help guests settle in and get ready to rock for your big day.  

You can even send thoughtful, well-curated gifts and welcome boxes to guests who may not have been able to attend in person so they can still be a part of the big day. 

Zoom Wedding Meeting7. Think virtually. 

Speaking of guests who can’t attend in person, just because you may have to keep the guest list small in 2021, that doesn’t mean you can’t include all your loved ones in your wedding. Thanks to modern technology, there are lots of ways to get people involved virtually from all over the world! 

With that in mind, be sure you’re asking your venue about internet connections and audio/video equipment available or adding items to your shopping/planning list so you can accommodate live video feeds, online speeches, and more. When it comes to virtual weddings, the more the merrier!

8. Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in Lake Tahoe

It’s still too early to tell how 2021 will pan out. One of the best tips we can give you is to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in Lake Tahoe so you can respond accordingly. While your venues and vendors will also be keeping an eye on things, it never hurts to be proactive. 

The LakeTahoe Visitors Authority is a great resource for all things regarding COVID-19 in the California and Nevada areas — including mask mandates, closures, gathering and travel restrictions, and other details that may impact your wedding plans. They keep their Know Before You Go page updated with the latest info from health departments and government officials to make it really easy to track what you and your wedding guests need to know.

Setting up news and weather alerts for South Tahoe on your phone is another way to stay in the loop regarding what’s going on in the area. These types of details are especially important in the days and weeks leading up to your wedding day so you (and your guests) can plan accordingly. 

We also recommend keeping in close contact with your vendors and venue throughout the planning process. They’ll be able to address some of the more specific details regarding policies and availability for their business specifically. Request frequent updates via email or video conferencing.

If you haven’t already, follow vendors across social media so you can get any timely updates they may be sharing on those platforms. 

Start Planning Now

Hopefully, the above tips get you on the right track for planning your 2021 wedding. Even through all this continued uncertainty, the planning process should truly be a magical and exciting time. If you have any questions, we’re here to help.