I photographed this backyard wedding at a private home in Truckee. The couple booked my hourly package, with 5 hours of photography coverage. This allowed me to photograph getting ready, the ceremony, a brief reception on the deck, and a portrait session on Donner Summit.

Blowing bubbles for a backyard wedding ceremony exit.
Couple wedding portraits at Donner Summit.

The setting for this backyard wedding was in a rural area on the outskirts of Truckee. Sitting high on a hill, the vacation home had gorgeous views of pine trees and distant mountains. Boca Reservoir and Prosser Creek Reservoir were both visible in the distance.

Warm temperatures and a clear blue sky are pretty typical for the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the summer. All in all, it was a quiet and secluded place to get married and celebrate with family and a few close friends.

Getting Ready

When I arrived, I met the bride for some getting ready photos. Since I spent some time getting to know the couple beforehand, I knew that a big part of this wedding story was the close friendships and loving support from parents. With this in mind, I focused on the special moments that reflected these relationships.

DIY wedding manicure for a bride.

Getting ready for a wedding can be a bit hectic and chaotic. But not on this day. The bride’s friends helped with hair, makeup, and nails. A few times it fell quiet with just the bride and her friend doing her hair.

A bride sits in a chair and has her wedding day hair done by a friend who works at a salon.
A special moment between the bride and her mom.

When the bride’s mom stopped by, I spotted this reflection of her in a mirror as she sat patiently observing the whole process.

Friends help with hair and makeup for a wedding in Truckee.

As a photographer with a creative documentary approach, I often explore camera angles that are high, low, near, and far. By offering a different perspective, I can create artistic photos that are more visually interesting while still telling the story.

White nail polish for a bride.

Next, I popped over to the room where the groom was getting ready. While the bride was putting on her wedding dress, he was playing a game of pool with his friends.

The groom’s dad was fairly quiet and reserved. But I could tell that he was extremely proud of his son. I wanted to capture this aspect of their relationship with a photo or two.

When I returned to the bride’s room her mom was helping her with the final touches.

Mother of the bride adjusts the bride's triple strand pearl necklace.
Helping the bride with a bracelet of large pearls.

The bride’s dad stopped by for a moment and he was clearly happy to see her in her wedding dress!

First look with the father of the bride.

Backyard Patio Ceremony

The backyard patio offered a peaceful setting, surrounded by pine trees. After forming a semi-circle around the groom and the officiant, the small group of family and friends waited for the bride to arrive.

The groom waits for his bride, wearing a black suit with a gold tie and a large red rose bouttonière.

The couple’s friends set the mood by playing a duet with trumpet and guitar.

Then, the couple read aloud their vows to one another. I found a few great angles to capture this heartfelt exchange. By this point, there were a few misty-eyed folks in the crowd.


After the ceremony, everyone gathered on the back deck for hugs and a champagne toast. The couple wanted to enjoy some time with their friends and family before we drove to another location for couple portraits.

Portraits on Donner Summit

After a few group photos, appetizers, and a slice of cake, we drove to Donner Summit for some couples portraits. The timing worked out perfectly on this summer afternoon, when the sun set later in the day. By the time we arrived, the lighting was just the way I like it for photos at this location.

Sunset portrait of the bride and groom on Donner Summit.
Bride and groom portraits on Donner Summit with Donner Lake in the background.
Bride seated in the groom's lap during their Donner Summit wedding photos.
A special moment shared between the bride and groom on their wedding day, captured by Lake Tahoe wedding photographer Chris Werner.
A silhouetted bride and groom walk hand-in-hand below Donner Peak.

Wedding Photography

Are you getting married and thinking about a backyard wedding? I would love to be your photographer! Head over to my contact page to see if I am available on your date. You can also see more examples of my style of photography over on my wedding photography portfolio.

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