When it came time for Veronica and James Frank to plan their nuptials, the choice to make it a destination wedding was pretty obvious. With family scattered all over there wasn’t any one location that would work for everyone, so instead they went with a sentimental pick: The dock on South Lake Tahoe where James proposed. There they had an intimate ceremony and reception with their two children serving as flower girl and ring bearer. Read on to see what other lovely details made it into this destination wedding and how to plan your own wedding in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Destination42: What was your favorite part of the day?
Veronica: Even more than celebrating with family and friends, my favorite part was being able to sort of “re-live” the proposal. Exchanging vows on the dock where he first asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, and being able to share that moment with the people we love most … that was very special.
D42: Let’s talk food. What did you serve and what did you and your guests love most?
Veronica: We had a brunch-style buffet with unlimited champagne and mimosas (early wedding = more time to celebrate). I don’t remember exactly what was served (besides the crab cakes — yuuummaaay) because everyone was so excited to mingle and catch up.
The cake was a two-tiered chocolate cake with hazelnut filling and white chocolate buttercream frosting. A huge hit! The guests talked about it for weeks after.
D42: Did you incorporate any personal elements or details into your wedding day?
Veronica: I did. The guestbook, center pieces, and flower girl dress were all custom made.
A friend of mine suggested using a collage of pictures to make a guestbook. So I went online to research photo books and found tons of beautiful layouts to make my own guestbook. It was easy, cheap, and the guests loved it!
I wanted to save money on flowers, so I planned on making my own centerpieces and buying flowers when we got there. I went to Michaels and bought these small, $3 unfinished wooden crates that fit four $1 glass milk jars. I painted the crates white and then sanded them to create a distressed look, tied some twine and yellow ribbon around the bottle necks, and voila. Cheap, easy, beautiful centerpieces. I numbered each crate, and on a chalk board I wrote the names of each guest and their table number (crate number). After the wedding I kept two of them for night stand decorations.
A friend of mine is a wonderful seamstress, and as part of our wedding gift she offered to make my daughter’s flower girl dress. She was able to find material that perfectly matched my own dress, and added details of lace that matched my own. It was very special and probably my favorite of all the gifts.
D42: Did you go on a honeymoon after the wedding?
Veronica: We did not go on a honeymoon. We have two young kids (4 and 5 years old), and we wanted them to be included in this special time, so the destination wedding served as a great vacation/honeymoon for all of us as well. We arrived a couple of days early, and left a couple days after, so we could relax and enjoy South Lake Tahoe as much as possible. [It was] another great reason to wed out of town.
D42: Did you work with a wedding planner or DIY? How was that experience?
Veronica: I did work with a wedding planner. The dock was on part of the property for a waterfront hotel [Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe]. I contacted them for a quote and was put in touch with the hotel’s event/wedding coordinator. [But] I had so much trouble getting in contact with her, as she never returned my calls or emails, that I ended up working directly with her assistant. [Editor’s note: a representative from the hotel said they were going through staffing changes during this time that have since been resolved.]
The assistant was wonderful! She returned all my calls and emails promptly, answered all of my questions, provided me with all the menu/beverage options as well as contact names for local vendors had I needed anything additional, and even put together a package deal that included musicians, a photographer, and a cake.
D42: How was the process of planning a destination wedding? Do you have any advice for couples also planning a destination wedding?
Veronica: My best advice would be to make sure you know who exactly is in charge and responsible for orchestrating the entire event. Weddings can get messy with so many different vendors and multiple people planning. With that said — it can be very helpful to have the assistance of a wedding coordinator to put all these details together, especially when you are from out of town and unfamiliar with the location.
Another piece of advice — don’t pick buffet foods that are time sensitive. I remember being disappointed the Eggs Benedict (my favorite brunch item) was hardboiled, as the ceremony start time was pushed back by half an hour.
Venue: Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe
Photographer: Lauren Lindley Photography
Music: Avalanche Acoustic Duo
Cake: Witt’s Cakes
Caterer: Blue Angel Café
Flowers: Thran’s Flowers
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