This Couple Tied the Knot in a Wildflower-Filled Forest Beside Lake Tahoe
It was just a matter of time before Cody and Lauren met—they both grew up in Reno, Nevada, and shared plenty of mutual friends. Timing was of the essence when it came to their engagement years later, too. "It was Lauren's 29th birthday weekend, and we invited our loved ones to her family Lake Tahoe house in Glenbrook, Nevada," Cody shares. "The night before Lauren's birthday, we all walked to the end of the dock to watch the sunset, per tradition. I proposed at the end of the dock as the sun went down with all of our friends and family around to celebrate."
Lake Tahoe was eventually the site for the couple's rustic-meets-elegant wedding, where 255 guests gathered to celebrate the pair's love. They chose the park at Tahoe's Gatekeepers Museum as their venue, because Lauren and Cody both love the outdoors and knew they wanted to be married next to the water. "We fell in love with the 100-foot-tall Jeffery pine trees throughout the park and the stone path that led to the water," adds the bride. A palette of rich fall colors, with burgundy and eggplant, was softened with touches of sage green, mauve, rose, and cream; a splash of tangerine lightened the woodsy ceremony garden space. Boxes of blooms lined the winding path to the arch, under which the couple exchanged personal vows in a spiritual ceremony. A grand tented reception, filled with flowers and designed by Elise Events, followed; guests dined on a fabulous Italian meal courtesy of a hotel owned by the bride's family. And then they danced until they couldn't anymore.
As for the bride's best advice to couples currently planning their nuptials? "The best advice we received was to be present during all the festivities," says Lauren. "There are a million things going on around you, but enjoy each detail and conversation in the moment you experience it."
Drawing on the design of the wedding, Paper Birch Designs incorporated lush, full florals in a mix of mauve, taupe, and porcelain tones into the couple's romantic invitations. Deeply letterpressed on handmade paper, the suite featured a mix of calligraphy and a classic font throughout, and was tied together with green silk ribbon featuring an embossed leather tag engraved with the couple's names. Custom vintage stamps brought the event's colors to the outside of the neutral envelope.
The second she saw her Monique Lhuillier wedding dress, Lauren knew it was the one. "The lace looked like leaves growing in a forest and complemented the venue perfectly," she says.
The Groom's Custom Look
Cody donned a custom blue tuxedo from Tailor's Keep for the occasion, including a sleek bow tie.
Lauren's natural, organic bouquet from Bows + Arrows featured roses, dahlias, hellebore, and more blooms in shades of ivory, blush, mauve, burgundy, and wine.
A Joyful First Look
Cody and Lauren shared their first look in a shaded forest ahead of the festivities. "We both had tangible amounts of nervous energy prior to the first look and then after felt calm and ready to celebrate!" says the bride.
Blues and Greens
Lauren's attendants were resplendent in green dresses with a range of necklines, while Cody's groomsmen wore blue three-piece suits paired with long ties.
Bows + Arrows created lush floral boxes which bordered one of the venue's stone pathways (this served as a natural aisle during the ceremony).
An Exquisite Arch
That pathway culminated in an extra-tall arch at the end of the aisle, which gave way to beautiful views of the lake.
A Memorable Stroll
Lauren's mother and father both escorted her down the aisle to the sound of Ellie Goulding's "How Long Will I Love You," played by a five-piece band.
A Sentimental Service
The couple exchanged personal, handwritten vows during the service; sharing these promises in the company of their family and friends is one of their big-day highlights, they say.
A Stylish Cocktail Hour
A wooden bar accented with floral arrangements served as the focal point during the cocktail hour.
A Stunning Escort Display
Guests found their table assignments via shelves stocked with mini bottles of olive oil, to which names were tied with green silk ribbons.
Under the Tent
Enormous pine trees surrounded the exposed dinner tent, offering beautiful views for guests. Floral centerpieces in striking fall hues lined the center of farm and round tables, while elegant seating offered a lovely contrast to the rustic surroundings. "We named each table after a beloved family member to help celebrate all of the important people in our lives," says Lauren.
A Fantastic Floral Finish
Bows + Arrows created a stunning floral installation, composed of delphinium, larkspur, clematis, andromeda, stock, and white majolica roses, that was hung above the dance floor.
Pretty Place Settings
Place settings incorporated natural, handmade ceramics as well as brushed-gold utensils. Leather bands embossed with attendees' names were wrapped around hand-torn menus.
A lush profusion of blooms cascaded down the stacked tiers of the couple's buttercream wedding cake, created by Eldorado Resort and Casino.
A Sweet Dessert Buffet
Pastries were offered on marble shelving as part of the rich dessert course.
A Romantic First Dance
Cody swept Lauren into his arms for their first dance to Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic."
Photography, Ryan Ray
Venue, Gatekeeper's Museum
Catering and Cake, Eldorado Resort and Casino
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Elise Events
Flowers, Bows + Arrows
Invitations and Stationery, Paper Birch Designs
Bride's Gown and Veil, Monique Lhuillier
Hair and Makeup, Janet Villa
Groom's Attire, Tailors' Keep