This intimate night wedding at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe was a small wedding that began after sunset. The bride and groom booked my custom wedding photography package, which is perfect for small weddings like this.
I arrived early in order to photograph the bride getting ready in her hotel room. Since this was a second wedding for the groom, his two kids were part of the wedding party. I knew beforehand that the bride has a special relationship with the groom’s daughter. So, I kept my camera focused and ready for any special moments between them.
I love this special moment the bride and her stepdaughter shared right before heading to the ceremony.
Fireside Terrace Ceremony
The Fireside Terrace can accommodate up to 180 guests. But with the large fireplace, it feels intimate enough for a cozy wedding. As the sky turned blue, guests gathered for a pre-wedding hot chocolate or cocktail. Once the lights were on and the ambiance was set, the ceremony began.
The couple hired a violinist to perform ceremony music during the processional and recessional.
Are you noticing how dark it was at this venue? Since this wedding happened in the evening during fall, the sun was long gone by the time the ceremony began. As a photographer, I anticipated this lighting scenario and prepared accordingly.
Fortunately, most professional camera bodies these days excel at low lighting conditions. In addition to the amazing technology in my cameras, I shot this ceremony with my fastest prime lenses. This helped me capture these moments with sharp photos and as little noise as possible. These lenses can be pretty expensive, but they are a worthwhile investment for special events like this!
Next, the bride and groom took turns exchanging vows. Top of the line equipment matters! I photographed these special moments without taking any attention away from the ceremony. Had I used flash to illuminate the dark scene, it would have been a noticeable distraction. Although I had flash equipment on-hand, I believe that being a natural light photographer during this ceremony was the right move.
Even though the groom was quiet and reserved, he shed some emotional tears of joy during the ceremony. I love photographing authentic moments like this!
After the ceremony, there were some joyful hugs and smiles with family members.
Nighttime Bride and Groom Portraits
As the wedding guests headed indoors for cocktail hour, the bride and groom stayed outside for some portraits. The string lights and pine trees were a perfect, romantic setting for this.
The large stone fireplace is a prominent feature at the Fireside Terrace, so I had to include it in at least one photo! To make this photo, I backlit the couple with a speedlite flash and a warming gel to mimic the light of the flames.
Ritz Carlton Ballroom Foyer
The Ballroom Foyer is a smaller space that works well for intimate weddings. Once I knew the wedding timeline (guests would go here immediately after the ceremony while I shot couple portraits), I planned to arrive early and photograph a few of these details.
After couple portraits, the bride and groom joined friends and family in the Ballroom Foyer. As they mingled with guests, I captured some candid moments.
The groom’s daughter wrote a funny speech which she presented to the couple.
Then, the bride’s sister gave a champagne toast. Her two boys were there to support her!
After the speeches, the bride and groom cut their four-tier wedding cake and fed each other a bite.
This couple wanted a small but formal wedding at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe. After dinner, they performed their “first dance” with each other and then with their parents.
Are you getting married at Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe? I would love to photograph your wedding! Head over to my contact page to find out if I am available. You can see more examples of my work on my wedding photography portfolio page.