On a warm fall day, I was at Sugar Bowl Resort to photograph a relaxed, fun wedding in the mountains. Sugar Bowl sits at the top of Donner Summit and is one of north Lake Tahoe’s oldest ski resorts. When the snow melts, it is a popular wedding venue where you and your guests can enjoy your very own secluded mountain resort.

The ring bearer at this wedding was the bride and groom’s dog. In case you are wondering, I photograph lot’s of weddings with a dog ring bearer! If you think your dog might want to help out at your wedding, let me know!

Lake Mary Welcome Party

The afternoon before the wedding, the bride and groom hosted a casual welcome party for all their wedding guests at Lake Mary. Lake Mary is just down the road from the main Lodge. It is perfect for small weddings and social gatherings. Because this bride and groom’s wedding photography package included welcome party coverage, I photographed this event as well.

Lake Tahoe is a destination wedding location for most people, so many couples host a welcome party. A traditional rehearsal dinner typically only includes immediate family and the wedding party. But a welcome party is for all the guests. That means everyone can attend and nobody feels left out.

This picturesque little lake is perfect for kayaking, SUPing, and canoeing. Some guests enjoyed an afternoon paddle, while others socialized on the main deck.

This is a rustic, outdoor setting where you can enjoy nature and welcome friends to your wedding weekend in Lake Tahoe! As the sun set, I photographed friends sitting around the campfire telling stories and catching up.

Getting Ready

The Lodge at Sugar Bowl is where most couples get ready for their wedding. If you need more space or prefer a different setting, there are many vacation rentals in nearby Truckee and Soda Springs. The bridal suite is on the third floor at the lodge. This is where I photographed the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready.

I also stopped by the groom’s hotel room, in order to photograph them putting on their ties.

As I mentioned previously. the couple included their dog as a ring bearer on the wedding day. So, I captured a few photos of their best friend getting ready for the ceremony too. Of course, this mostly involved lots of doggie treats!

Wedding Ceremony

The bride and groom married on the lawn below the Lodge at Sugar Bowl. Pine trees flank this beautiful outdoor setting, just steps from the Mt. Disney and Nob Hill chairlifts.

As a photographer, I love this location. In addition to creating a scenic backdrop for the ceremony, the pine trees filter the often-harsh mountain light. This creates softer light one side of the couple, and a nice backlight (aka rim light) when I am shooting from the other side.

Right from the start, this was a fun and joyous wedding ceremony to photograph.

As the bride and groom read their personal and heartfelt vows to one another, I photographed their facial expressions and laughter from the best angles.

The wedding planner and florist worked together to create a colorful setting for the ceremony. The hues were a great match for a fall wedding, and I used the bouquets running down the aisle to frame the couple and create leading lines that lead your eyes straight to the altar.

The couple even invited their dog to the wedding. A groomsmen kept him busy during the ceremony with a steady supply of dog treats.

Traditional Wedding Portraits

My wedding photography style is primarily documentary. I love capturing emotionally candid and authentic photos for brides and grooms on their wedding day. That being said, I also photograph traditional group photos at every wedding.

At this wedding, I photographed the wedding party before the ceremony and the family members afterwards. Based on the position of the sun, I used several different locations for these portraits. When I photographed the bride with her bridesmaids, I used a location in full sun and added my studio lights to fill shadows on faces and under eyes.

Later in the day, I photographed the bride and groom’s family members in an area of open shade with sunlight filtering through the trees behind them.

Due to the high elevation, the sunlight at Sugar Bowl can be very bright at times. Since I know this venue well, I can place these groups in the best locations, adding my own light when necessary.

Cocktail Hour on top of Mount Disney

At a Sugar Bowl wedding, you can opt for a cocktail hour on top of Mt. Disney. After your ceremony, you and your guests will enjoy an exciting chairlift ride to the very top of the mountain, where stunning views await.

For the best wedding chairlift photos, I can facilitate the timing and recommend which chairs we need to be on. It may seem like a small detail, but it makes a difference. Especially since we only get one chance to do this on your wedding day, and we can’t switch chairs once we start going up!

Once you reach the top, a small summit building with a full wraparound deck features a bar and 360 degree views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

This is also one of my favorite locations for couple portraits, so be sure to set aside a little time for some photos before we head back down the mountain!

Lodge at Sugar Bowl Wedding Reception

Featuring Old-World charm with a hint of European flair, the Lodge at Sugar Bowl offers a unique setting for your mountain wedding.

The outdoor deck area is essentially an open floor plan. So, you can set up the tables however you like. At this wedding, the couple hired an experienced coordinator who created beautiful place settings at every table.

This couple made a grand entrance to the outdoor deck area as friends and family applauded and cheered them on.

Before dinner service began, the mother of the bride made a wonderful speech celebrating the newlyweds.

Above, you can see the outdoor reception space at the Lodge at Sugar Bowl. The catering staff at this venue do an incredible job and the food here is delicious!

Next came a few more toasts by the wedding party, and a thank you speech from the bride and groom. After cutting the cake, the couple joined all their friends on the dance floor for a party under the mountain sky.

The bride’s dog made a late-night appearance on the dance floor!

All-Day Wedding Photography Package

This couple chose my all-inclusive package and received an incredible amount of photographic coverage from me. 6 months before the wedding, we met for engagement photos. The day before the wedding, I photographed their Welcome Party at Lake Mary. On the wedding day, I arrived early and stayed late. I provided more than 11 hours of wedding day coverage. Finally, I delivered a gorgeous professional wedding album with all of their favorite photos.

Do you want to get married at Sugar Bowl Resort? I’d love to be a part of your day and capture all the important moments for you! Go to my contact page and send me a message. Hopefully, I am available on your date.

To see more examples of my work, check out my wedding photography portfolio page.

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