Shirin and Daniel’s intimate Sand Harbor wedding reminded me that some celebrations feel bigger even when there are fewer people involved. After all, a marriage is about people. And although weddings don’t exclude the marriage part, per se, they are often built up around things- like flowers, linens, venues, guest lists, and party favors. These guys put just as much care and attention into the details of their wedding. But in the end the day was about two people, their closest loved ones, and an amazing natural setting in Lake Tahoe.

When Shirin and Daniel contacted me, they were exploring a number of different wedding venues. Over the past decade I have photographed elopements, portraits, and weddings at almost every established venue in Lake Tahoe. So, I shared a list of options and included my personal ‘pros and cons’ perspective on each site. As they were narrowing their list, we met in person to get to know each other. This was another opportunity to find out more about them, and vice-versa. I learned how a girl who spent 22 years of her life in Iran meets and falls in love with German biochemist. And I found out how their fourth date revealed what a long-term match they truly were.

In the end, the day came together very nicely. Lake Tahoe wedding officiant Meredith Richmond walked Shirin and Daniel through a ceremony that was personal, unique, and celebrated their commitment to one another. After a champagne toast and sampling a well-dressed table of hors d’oeuvres, we swung by a Lake Tahoe overlook for some photos. And then, Shirin and Daniel headed to the Edgewood Tahoe to join their families for dinner. Be sure to keep scrolling after the photos for helpful tips on getting married at Sand Harbor State Park!

Tips for Getting Married at Sand Harbor State Park

There are many things to love about photographing a small and intimate Lake Tahoe wedding. First, there are fewer logistics overall to worry about. No complicated timeline. No stressful seating charts. How does that affect your mindset going into your wedding day? I believe it narrows your focus more closely towards the things that really matter. More specifically, your fiancé and your closest loved ones. Next, I am able to document your immediate experience more closely and carefully. Like your father looking at his watch and reminding you not to be late to your own wedding. Not to mention the way he looks at you moments before he walks you down the aisle. Similarly, a less structured itinerary can allow more spontaneity. You have more time to spend with each person. You also have a little extra time to explore the beauty of the venue itself.

Have you visited this part of Lake Tahoe? If you are familiar with the beauty of this shoreline, getting married at Sand Harbor State Park is kind of a no-brainer. But you do need to be okay with a ‘natural’ venue. The ramada structure is available to rent for your Sand Harbor wedding. It makes a wonderful focus point for a meal or appetizers. And in case of rain or snow, you will be glad to have a roof over your heads. However, this is not a fancy ballroom! Although a Sand Harbor wedding may lack the luxuries of some Lake Tahoe wedding venues, I believe it more than makes up for it with breathtaking views and an incredible position right on the water.

More Tips for a Sand Harbor Wedding

Fall, winter, and spring are the best times for a Sand Harbor wedding. If you have ever tried to visit Sand Harbor on a Saturday in August, then you know that the summer crowds are to be taken seriously (the huge parking lot is typically full before 9am). The Sand Harbor wedding rental space is right in between two popular beaches. And beachgoers love to explore the park, often roaming through the rental area itself. If you reserve a date during the shoulder seasons, you stand a good chance of having the entire place to yourselves. This is when it truly feels like paradise!

Lastly, rules about photography have recently changed for Sand Harbor State Park. Even if you pay for a wedding reservation, you may be ticketed or fined for taking wedding photos anywhere else in the park. Photo permits are available (at the time of writing) for $50/day. Some of the most beautiful parts of the park are outside of the wedding site, so it is worth the additional expense.

If you are thinking about getting married at Sand Harbor State Park, check out these photos from another Sand Harbor wedding. The park is also popular for Sand Harbor engagement photos. Either way, shoot me an email if you are in the planning process and have questions!

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