During the snowy months, PlumpJack Inn is the perfect place for a cozy winter wedding. Lake Tahoe is a favorite destination for these two grooms. So, this was the perfect place for them to exchange vows and tie the knot.
I photographed this wedding on a clear, crisp December day with blue skies. The photo below is one of my favorite photos from this LGBTQ wedding at PlumpJack Inn.
Once the snow begins to fall, Olympic Valley becomes a winter wonderland. On the wedding day, arrived early and drove to the east end of the valley. From here, I shot a few landscape images to document the beautiful location and surrounding peaks. PlumpJack Inn sits at the base of the Tram Face. The Tram Face is the shaded cliff area just right-of-center in the photo below.
First Look in the Courtyard
Shortly after I arrived, the grooms met one another in the courtyard (aka “Upper Pool Patio”) for a quick first look. Since PlumpJack Inn is a fairly small venue, this outdoor space is a versatile, multi-use area. At most weddings, I make a couple location recommendations for the first look.
In this case, I recommended that I photograph their first look on the patio looking west. This offered the best lighting, and a clean backdrop that did not include the ceremony location and all of the chairs.
Since the courtyard is on the smaller side, I like to get creative when I photograph the space.This is where I get to exercise my artistic eye and create some unique compositions. In the photo above, I used some nice backlight to focus on the two grooms as they looked into each other’s eyes.
In the photo below, I framed the grooms between two aspen trees. Again, the sun backlit them from behind, creating a beautiful atmospheric glow. With snow on the ground, there was lots of natural light to illuminate their faces and fill in the shadows.
I also photographed the grooms with their wedding party and family members. A strategic use of the space and careful framing yielded some nice group portraits for their album!
Upper Pool Patio Ceremony
With blankets and an outdoor fireplace nearby, the Upper Pool Patio was a quaint location for this wedding. Four groomsmen on each side flanked the grooms as they read their vows in this sweet, emotional ceremony.
In the photo below, I used a wide-angle lens to show the complete ceremony setting. As you can see, the staff at PlumpJack Inn know how to position the chairs so that everyone can see the grooms.
First, the grooms exchanged rings. Then, the officiant led a handfasting ceremony. Handfasting is an ancient Celtic ritual in which the hands are tied together to symbolize the binding of two lives.
Next, the grooms read their wedding vows. These vows were personal and poignant, sharing their personal journeys through the different stages of their relationship.
Sunset Groom Portraits
Owing to the winter timing, the sun set early at this wedding. Timing was crucial in order to avoid shooting in the dark! Since PlumpJack Inn sits right at the base of the mountain, direct sunlight at this venue is short-lived. So, I used off-camera lighting to create a few artistic portraits of the two grooms.
In the first portrait, I positioned a speedlight unit behind the grooms and off to the side. I added a couple CTO gels to the flash in order to create a warm light that mimics the setting sun.
For the next photo, I wanted to create an intimate portrait that captured the cold winter environment. So, I placed another flash unit behind the grooms at waist height. By using a transceiver device, I triggered this flash remotely with my camera shutter button. This flash illuminated the mist of their warm breath, creating exactly the type of look I had in mind.
Dinner Reception in the Valley Room
The Valley Room is the lower level of the PlumpJack Inn’s two story banquet facility. More often than not, this is where you see couples hosting dinner on their wedding day. After the catering team served the main courses, a few friends and family toasted the couple with speeches. Before heading upstairs to the dance floor, the grooms cut into their wedding cake.
Dancing in the Mountain Room
After dinner, everyone went upstairs to the Mountain Room for a dance party! The grooms opened the dance floor with their first dance as a married couple.
With the dance floor open, everyone joined in to celebrate these two grooms!
During a reception with lots of dancing, I love joining the action and photographing everyone having an awesome time. I also continue to document important moments off the dance floor. Below, I captured one of the grooms sharing a special exchange with his parents.
After many years as a wedding photographer, I learned that some of the best reception photos happen towards the end of the night. Without fail, wedding guests rally and join the dance floor during the last couple songs. These are the types of photos that tell the story of a couple and the love and support they receive from all their friends.
Wedding Photography Packages
These grooms hired me for 8 hours of wedding photography coverage. I arrived immediately after getting ready preparations, and began by photographing their first look. Although I was not present to photograph the beginning of their wedding day, this package allowed me to capture their entire reception.
Are you planning a wedding at PlumpJack Inn in Lake Tahoe? I would love to be there! To find out if I am available on your date, click over to my contact page and submit an inquiry. You can also check out my main portfolio page here. And you can see more Olympic Valley weddings here.