eloping in lake tahoe

Eloping in Lake Tahoe [The Ultimate How-To Guide]

eloping in lake tahoe

Thinking about eloping in Lake Tahoe and want to know more? We’re covering elopement locations, how to get a marriage license and more!

Eloping in Lake Tahoe: What You Need to Know

When you’re looking for a place to elope, typically you want something with incredible views, an intimate spot, and opportunities to just explore. And Lake Tahoe has just that! What I love so much about Tahoe is just how many options there are for incredibly beautiful locations that would all make for a perfect elopement spot.

You can choose a spot that fully fits you and what you’re looking for, and all of them will be gorgeous! But there are some things that you should know before eloping in Lake Tahoe to make sure you’re fully prepared for your day.

eloping in lake tahoe

Lake Tahoe Wedding Locations

Lake Tahoe has two very different sides of the lake, and both are absolutely stunning! But they are definitely different, and you want to make sure that you choose the area that fits you and your partner!

North Lake Tahoe has more of a mountain feel and is much more laid-back, quiet, and serene than South Lake Tahoe. There’s a lot more opportunities for outdoor activities, and typically a lot less people. This is perfect for anyone looking for more of an intimate adventure elopement! It also is the place to go if you’re looking for snow for a winter elopement. It has so many beautiful locations to choose from for an elopement!

South Lake Tahoe is a lot different! It’s much more busy, with it being known for its nightlife and high-end resorts and casinos. It still has a lot of stunning locations for an elopement on the lake, but if you’re also looking for trendy restaurants and that nightlife, then South Lake Tahoe may be a great option for you. It’s important to keep in mind though that this area also means a lot more people, and that some of the locations for elopements may get crowded. So if you’re looking at locations here, you may want to start really early!

Here are a couple locations that would make a great option for your Lake Tahoe Elopement!

Sand Harbor

Sand Harbor Beach is a beautiful spot in North Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side, and it’s perfect if you’re wanting a Lake Tahoe beach wedding. It is definitely a popular location, and it’s for good reason! It’s right on the beach, with rocks peeking out of crystal clear waters. It’s the perfect spot for an elopement with such a picturesque backdrop! Since it gets very busy in summer months, it’s recommended to plan an elopement here in either fall or early spring.

There is an area, the Ramada, that is an option for elopements where you have a covered area with some tables, as well as a perfect open spot for a ceremony. It can’t be reserved, and is on more of a first come-first serve basis, but if you can snag it, it can make a great option if you have any guests joining you!

Monkey Rock

Monkey Rock isn’t as well known, but it’s an incredible location in North Lake Tahoe, not far from Sand Harbor. Because you have to hike to this location, it means it’s more secluded but is absolutely worth it! It’s a 2.6 mile hike with a 500ft elevation gain, so if you’re okay with a short hike with a stunning view, this is an amazing option. You’ll be able to see panoramic views of the lake and all of the surrounding mountains. This is a perfect option for anyone looking for a bit of an adventure elopement with a more intimate feel!

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay is definitely the most popular spot to elope in Lake Tahoe! It’s located in South Lake Tahoe on the California side and it has beautiful pine trees, turquoise waters, and the surrounding mountains that come together for a pretty breath-taking view. This is why it’s such a perfect spot for an elopement: it has the best backdrop for your photos! The state park itself has a lot of different spots for photos, so you can have a range of locations to choose from.

Something to keep in mind is that since this is a super popular tourist attraction, it gets really busy! So if you want to avoid crowds, try to do a sunrise elopement, a weekday, or just during an off-season like late fall or early spring.

Here are some other great Lake Tahoe Elopement locations!

  • Eagle Lake Trail
  • D.L. Bliss State Park
  • Hidden Beach
  • Donner Lake
  • Tallac Point
eloping in lake tahoe

When to Elope in Lake Tahoe

So when should you elope in Lake Tahoe? It all depends on what type of vibes you are looking for, but I have a few recommendations!

In the spring

A big part of why spring is a great time for eloping is it’s off-season! This means less stress over crowds and having to work around other people in your location. You have a little more freedom to explore without a bunch of people around.

But another reason is also the weather! There will probably be some snow on the trails still, but the water will be incredibly crystal clear and the air will still be pretty crisp. But it’s warm enough to be able to go out exploring and capture a stunning elopement!

Just consider the location that you’re choosing and how much potential snow to prepare for, and expect cool temps in the mornings and evenings.

In the fall

Fall is also an off-season so you won’t see quite as many crowds and you’ll have more of the locations in the area to yourself if you go at the right time! This means keeping your elopement very intimate & private.

This time of year can definitely have cool weather, and there is more chance of rain than there is in the spring. But the fall leaves are absolutely stunning, and if you’re looking to have that fall foliage in your elopement photos, then you’ll definitely get that here in Lake Tahoe!

eloping in lake tahoe

How to Elope in Lake Tahoe

Because Lake Tahoe lies in both Nevada and California, you have to make sure you have the right marriage licenses for the side you’ll be on! This means having your location completely nailed down.

Getting a marriage license in California

For getting married on the California side, you will need to obtain a marriage license that you can get at any County Clerk’s office. You will need a valid ID and it’s typically between $90-$100. These licenses are valid for 90 days and can work in any part of the state; it doesn’t need to be done in the same county.

You can even have the option of getting married the same day you pick up your marriage license if you want! But if you’re traveling from outside of California, you can look into the Sierra, Placer, Nevada or El Dorado counties to get a license.

You will need both an officiant and a witness (the photographer counts!).

Getting a marriage license in Arizona

If you want to get married on the Nevada side, you’ll need to make sure that you find an officiant certified in Nevada! You can actually search to find out if they are legal to facilitate marriages in Nevada here. If you are traveling from out of town, you can get your marriage license in Washoe, Douglas or Carson City counties on your way!

Again, you will need both the officiant and one witness! Just be prepared ahead of time to get your marriage license and you’ll be ready for your Lake Tahoe elopement!

lake tahoe elopement

boat couples photos

Boat Rentals in Lake Tahoe

Renting a boat can be such a fun touch to your elopement! It lets you get out and explore more of what Lake Tahoe has to offer, and the photos can be stunning! Here are a few places where you can find boat rentals.

Alpenglow Boat Company

If you want the exact boat used for these photos, this is where you need to book! It’s such a classic wooden boat that you can take for private charters around the lake. And just enjoy a different view of Tahoe. This boat can do a maximum of 6 people, so it’s perfect for just you and your partner. Or if you have just a couple guests you want to join, along with your photographer of course!

The best times to cruise around with this boat are the early mornings or evening hours. So this could be a great way to end your elopement here in Lake Tahoe!

The prices for this boat rental starts at $650 for a 2 hour cruise.

Find out more about Alpenglow Boat Company here!

Rent a Boat Tahoe

This rental company is based in North Lake Tahoe and has a very large selection of boats to choose from! You can really pick which style fits you and what you’re looking for. And you have the option to add on a captain as well. They are located at Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort and even have private beach access.

They have three different boat types to choose from: Cruiser, Sport and Premier. And with each boat type, there are multiple boats for each that you can pick from. The Cruiser and Spor boats have comfortable seating space, Bluetooth stereos, and plenty of power to get you around the lake. But if you’re looking for more of a luxury feel, then the Premier boats are definitely a better option.

Another fun thing that this rental company offers is that if you have a house in Lake Tahoe, it can be delivered directly to your home! They do offer multi-day rentals in case you were wanting to use it longer than just a few hours.

Cruiser and Sport boats start at $825 for 4 hours, and the Premier boats start at $1100 for 4 hours.

Find out more about Rent a Boat Tahoe here.

Tahoe Wakebusters

This family-owned rental company offers a wide range of rentals for you to take advantage of! Whether you’re looking for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, tubing, or just a pontoon boat, they have a boat that will fit your needs. They offer 10 person powerboats, 13 person pontoons, party barges and wakesurfing boats. They really had a wide range of options!

You can do either hourly, daily, or weekend rentals and there are multiple different dock locations all around the lake. Tubes, wakeboards, and water skis are also included with all of the open bow power boats.

Wakesurf charters start at $800 for 2 hours, pontoon boats start at $1100 for 4 hours, and party barges start at $1700 for 4 hours.

Find out more about Tahoe Wakebusters here!

lake tahoe boat rentals

boat rentals lake tahoe

lake tahoe boat rentals

Lake Tahoe Elopement Photographer

Hi, I’m Rachel! I’m a Destination Wedding Photogapher that travels to capture elopements all over the world, and that includes Lake Tahoe! I create an unbeatable experience for easy going couples + capture the intentional moments in-between and I want to make your wildest wedding day dreams come true. If you’re looking for a Lake Tahoe Elopement Photographer, you can reach out to me here and we can plan your adventure!