Lake Tahoe is ideal for an outdoor wedding and reception. There are really few places like it in the world, and with the variety of services and venues available, the clear alpine Sierra skies are the limit. I have done dozens of weddings and events up at the Lake and every now and then I get to experience a new venue, and with the help of John & Kelly I was able to play at the West Shore Cafe & Inn at Homewood, at the western edge of Tahoe.
Kelly & John had definite ideas and a vision for their day that incorporated their personalities and tastes, and they really hit a home run with their guests (and their vendors, especially this DJ). First they found this fantastic venue- normally a restaurant with a few rooms on the upper floors for visitors, but when a wedding is planned they shut down the public restaurant and give the bridal party and guests exclusive access to the property. The Inn is as much situated outside as in, and its large deck, private dock, and side gardens give the guests an unfettered chance to roam and experience the fabulous views of the lake and of the party and Inn from the dock. Nicole and her staff were exceptionally friendly and super competent, and they set up furniture, heaters and cafe-style seating all around the deck and dock and put up chairs in the side garden for the ceremony. I heard so many compliments about the staff and the venue all night long- on a lake with many gorgeous venues, this one is truly special and unique.
To help document their day in the finest way possible, they had Marielle Hayes as their photographer. Her work is superb (see the link to real pics of the wedding, not cheesy DJ ones) and her dedication was extraordinary, as she was in her third trimester! She did super, and to help her second-shoot she had Kaylynne Kroshus who is becoming one of my favorite photographers as well. Two amazing artists capturing every moment! I am in awe of their photographic talent, as I have none myself...
Finally, adding to the venue, the photographers (and a mighty good DJ lol), John & Kelly had Liane McCombs of Liane McCombs Wedding & Event Planning as their coordinator. I've written about Liane before. She is a force in the local wedding world and her knowledge of events and how to keep them running smoothly is encyclopedic. With Liane on the case, I can relax as she is constantly monitoring the event and a myriad of details, both small and large. I really cannot remember any hiccups or missteps during the entire event, and a great majority of that is due to Liane's diligence.
The ceremony was officiated by Kelly's brother Brian, who I thought did a great job marrying his sister and new brother-in-law. A grandfather was under the weather and could not attend the ceremony or reception, but with technology as it is, there was no reason for him to be left out of the day. A family member had a iPad and used Facetime to transmit the entire ceremony and some of the reception so Grandfather could witness it in real time. After the ceremony, I could see him congratulating the newlyweds through it. Very cool! Just one more amazing touch to a special day.
When the ceremony concluded everyone moved to the deck while the bridal party posed for pictures. Kelly & John, instead of a sit-down dinner had various stations set up with delicious salads, veggies, hors d'eurves, and skewers of chicken and beef. It was a casual, but gourmet-casual! Servers passed delectable little bites around and kept wineglasses full. In just a little while, the bridal party returned from pictures to "Bring Em Out" by TI and we welcomed the newlyweds accompanied by the Beastie Boys' "Make Some Noise" and the great party atmosphere kicked into high gear and never really diminished all night. Soon we were toasting Kelly & John as they stood at the foot of the dock surrounded by friends and family. The dancing started with Steve dancing with his daughter Kelly to "Father & Daughter" by Paul Simon, which led in to John and Kelly's first dance. They started with a couple of verses of Ben E. King's classic "Stand By Me" but then surprised everyone when Rob Base's "It Takes Two" suddenly cut in. Everyone jumped in to dance with the bride & groom and the dance floor never emptied the rest of the evening. I played from an extensive playlist they had given me and took requests off the floor and people danced to everything from Icona Pop to Stealer's Wheel; from the Beatles to the Black Keys, and from Michael Jackson to Zac Brown Band. A diverse and fun playlist. As night set over the lake, they tossed the bouquet and garter, had a brownie bar for dessert instead of cake, and had a photobooth up and rocking inside the Inn. It was truly a memorable evening, one that the guests and this DJ won't ever forget. Perfect day, perfect venue, perfect crowd and above all, a perfect couple! Thanks to West Shore Inn, Liane McCombs, Marielle Hayes, and Kaylynne Kroshus for all your superb help and hard work. What a team! But thanks most of all to Kelly & John for sharing their day and evening with me. Congrats you two!