Real Weddings: Julia and Tony’s Lake Tahoe Nuptials

Tony and Julia had been together for seven years when they decided to finally make it official.

“Tony and I were already very settled as a couple when we became engaged. We bought a house, adopted a dog, and were our own little family already. We definitely wanted to celebrate such a special occasion, but couldn’t picture ourselves having a big, traditional wedding,” explains Julia.

An intimate wedding with their nearest and dearest in South Lake Tahoe was the perfect fit!

Thanks to photographer Anita Martin for the lovely photos!

outdoor wedding

Julia, 26 & Tony, 25 

South Lake Tahoe, CA

Wedding Date: August 18, 2012

Number of Guests: 12

Wedding Cost: $8,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Deerfield Lodge, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Wedding Reception Location: Riva Grill, South Lake Tahoe, CA

outdoor wedding - lake tahoe
dog ring bearer

lace wedding gown

diamond wedding band

Groom in striped tie

Lace wedding gown

White rose boutonniere

dog bow tie

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We were already settled as a couple ….  After reviewing all of our options, we knew that a small, intimate wedding with our immediate family and close friends would be the best fit for us.

Navy bridesmaid dresses

White and green bouquet

Groom and father

Lake Tahoe wedding


What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Apart from the guest list, I actually think intimate weddings are much easier because everything is on a smaller scale. We didn’t have to follow all the wedding rules and could focus on what was most important to us. And because we were so close with everyone that was attending, we knew that they would be happy with the outcome no matter what.

Lake Tahoe wedding

Lake Tahoe wedding

Lake Tahoe wedding

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Yes! We both have great families and amazing friends. In the end we decided to just have parents, grandparents, siblings and my best friend. It was a difficult choice not to include everyone, but thankfully everyone was very supportive.

Lake Tahoe Wedding

Lake Tahoe Wedding

Lake Tahoe Wedding


Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Everyone was very supportive and excited that we were having an intimate wedding. I’m sure some people were disappointed, but we received so many cards and well-wishes. Our family and friends were very happy for us.

Lake Tahoe Wedding

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

There was a very good chance that it was going to rain during our ceremony. As I was about to walk down the isle, it thundered and started sprinkling lightly. I was so worried it would get worse and we’d be forced to move indoors, but as we said our vows the sun started to peek out, and as soon as he pronounced us “husband and wife,” the sun completely came out and it turned out to be a wonderful day! Another special part was when we thanked our parents during the ceremony. It was a special moment that I was really able to enjoy because the setting was so intimate. And last but not least, marrying my best friend!
Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

What were the highlights of the reception?

I loved having both of our families together, celebrating at one big table. Since it was a small group, we didn’t do a preset menu and everyone was free to eat and drink whatever they liked. It was nice so nice to finally relax and enjoy the evening with the people that are closest to us.

Deerfield Lodge wedding

White wedding cake

Bride and Groom Chair Signs

Lake Tahoe Wedding

mini topiary place cards

Lake Tahoe wedding

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I felt that the intimate setting really allowed us to be in the moment. We were free from so much of the pressure and stress of a big event. Our families told us they felt the same way. We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding.

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Lake Tahoe Wedding

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Stick to your guns and do what makes you happy.

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Wedding Reception


Photography: Anita Martin Photography

Venue: Deerfield Lodge

Reception: Riva Grill

Wedding Cake: Katie Cakes

Officiant: Reverend John from A Couples Choice

Flowers: Enchanted Florist

Attire: House of Fashion (Wedding Gown), Ann Taylor (Bridesmaid’s dresses).

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11 Comments  |  Filed Under: Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Destination Weddings, Elopements, Real Weddings

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  1. Posted by Sarah on October 15th, 2012 at 1:03pm

    What a beautiful wedding! The dress is absolutely gorgeous, who is the designer?
  2. Posted by Becky on October 15th, 2012 at 1:25pm

    Such a gorgeous wedding! I'd also like to know the wedding dress information!
  3. Posted by Julia on October 15th, 2012 at 9:26pm

    Thanks for the kind words!! The designer is San Patrick and the style is Bagdad in ivory. Hope that helps! :)
  4. Posted by Jenny on October 16th, 2012 at 1:25am

    Beautiful wedding! I too am wanting a small but nice wedding. Did you have a planner? Also at the Riva grill, did you just have a table reserved like a regular dinner or did you have some sort of wedding package? Thank you for any feed back!
  5. Posted by Rev John on October 16th, 2012 at 1:35pm

    Thanks for the plug and having me help with your wedding. It was a nice relaxed event.
  6. Posted by Chelsea on April 7th, 2013 at 1:28am

    That is easily the most beautiful wedding dress I've ever seen. Gorgeous Bride! Your wedding sounded lovely, and it's a very encouraging story as we're having a sit-down dinner reception at a restaurant as well.
  7. Posted by Leticia Banuelos on April 19th, 2013 at 2:17am

    Well, I know it's been a while since this has been posted but I am sure hoping for a response from the Bride.

    When I first came across your wedding, I thought someone somewhere stole my exact thoughts for a small intimate wedding. My situation is very much the same, my fiance & I are very settled (home, cats, etc.) and a big wedding isn't for us.

    First question, was wondering if you could share the details? Did you pay for your guest stay? Did you mail wedding or elopement announcements to family & friends? Did you decorate for ceremony or was that included with the ceremony costs?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  8. Posted by Audrey on May 3rd, 2013 at 11:31pm

    You wore this dress better than the designer's model! Such a beautiful wedding!
  9. Posted by Rebeca on November 12th, 2013 at 8:19pm

    So lovely. I plan on having s small gathering myself. Her dress is gorgeous.
  10. Posted by Chantana on December 2nd, 2014 at 11:33pm

    I'd really, really like to know where your cake toppers came from??? I'm searching for the perfect, plain, simple little love birds and I cannot find anything except for salt & pepper shakers! Would really, really appreciate it if you could let me know.
    Thank you!
  11. Posted by Sarah on January 24th, 2015 at 7:54am

    I also love your cake topper! Where can I find one like that?
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