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A Lovely Lake Tahoe Love Story, Destination Wedding | Molly & JJ

Bride and Groom run across golf course in South Lake Tahoe Squaw Valley Resort

When Molly and JJ called me to ask if I wanted to shoot their three-day destination wedding in North Lake Tahoe, I was so excited to say yes! As someone who has never been to Tahoe before, let me tell you something: the drive from Carmel, CA to Lake Tahoe going up the mountain was jaw-dropping. Those trees are spectacular!

South Lake Tahoe Squaw Valley Resort Wedding Portrait
South Lake Tahoe Squaw Valley Resort Wedding Portrait and sun flare
Bridal portrait and detail shot of diamond earrings
Squaw Valley Resort South Lake Tahoe Wedding Ceremony Chairs
South Lake Tahoe Squaw Valley Resort Reception with tables and calligraphy table number
South Lake Tahoe wedding in the trees ceremony

Lake Tahoe Wedding Vibes

Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for a destination wedding since it has hills covered in tall green pine trees and the shore meets a lake that shimmers in the sunlight. In the summer, it is a haven for sunbathing, jet skiing, and hiking. In the winter, it is a dream destination for all skiers and snowboarders globally.

Molly and JJ’s destination wedding at Squaw Valley Resort in Lake Tahoe was bright and sunny. I initially photographed one of their best friend’s weddings in Napa the year before, where Molly was a bridesmaid. Once Molly and I met, we instantly connected!

Bridal toast with bridesmaids in red silk robes
family heirloom wedding details with mrs. box
Shades of Blue wedding invitation and something blue shoes with rhinestone heel
Incorporating dad on wedding day dad's picture on bridal bouquet
Bridal portait south lake tahoe something blue peep toe shoes

About Molly and JJ

Molly and JJ initially lived in Chicago, where they went to high school together. JJ had a crush on Molly, but their relationship did not blossom until years later, where they both happened to live in San Francisco at the same time. They found each other on Facebook, which led to JJ inviting Molly to a Halloween party. Molly, being a fun, down-to-earth, and hilarious prankster, told him that they wouldn’t dress up. When they met at the party, JJ realized that she came fully decked out in a costume. They have been best friends ever since.

Groom details blue Phish socks floral pocket square
South Lake Tahoe Squaw Valley resort bridal party portraits in the mountains
Fun bridal portaits in South Lake Tahoe

Their proposal story is extra special. As someone who loves music and has an interest in photography, JJ had been making albums of their pictures together for years. One album, he put a picture of him kneeling in their home with a ring in their hand on the last page of the book. When Molly saw that page, he knelt down and proposed!

Reception Details in the mountains with sign that says "you + me = awesome"
Candy dessert bar with Polaroid Instax wedding guestbook
Customized wedding cocktail napkins and vow book

Notable Wedding Moments

Since this was a destination wedding in Lake Tahoe, all of the events were spectacular. The rehearsal dinner was on a boat called TAHOE GAL, which meandered the lake at sunset.

Happy couple south lake tahoe portaits candid

There were heirlooms and beautiful symbols in this wedding: the purse was an heirloom from Molly’s great grandmother that has passed through each family. JJ is a huge Phish fan, so all the groomsmen’s socks are Phish socks. JJ’s tie clip had his initials and their wedding date.

Reception wedding details pink rose and childhood photos
Bride stops to pet golden retriever and bridal portait in the pines

Molly’s father, who passed years ago, had a presence at the wedding. Molly held rosary beads that were originally from her father. His pictures were on her bouquet as he walked with her down the aisle. There was an empty seat in the front for her father. Molly’s mom gave two speeches: the first speech she had a hat on and spoke as if she was her husband speaking to his daughter, which had everyone in tears. The second speech was without a hat on and was as a mother to her daughter, which still had everyone in tears!

Grampa's wedding speech in Lake Tahoe
Commemorating dad in mother of the bride speech
Tears of joy from wedding speeches south lake tahoe

Molly and JJ have such fun and outgoing personalities: Molly made funny faces throughout the day (she even scored a gallery of bloopers!); their friends all created great energy, and there were touching moments during the speeches that had all the guests in tears. At their first look, Molly even brought a picture of a basketball player from an inside joke, and JJ turned around to Molly with a picture of the basketball player in front of her face!

Silly and fun first look
Silly and fun first look with groom's reaction
outgoing personality for wedding south lake tahoe
Funny faces for bride south lake tahoe wedding ceremony
Bridal portaits South Lake Tahoe mountain
bride band fun wedding south lake tahoe reception

Photographer Tips: Destination Wedding

One piece of advice that I would recommend for any photographer shooting a destination wedding is to walk the venue before you shoot there! Because I scouted beforehand, I was able to find a place that had an unobscured view of the trees and mountains prior to the shoot, I had the best location for portraits. If I hadn’t done the initial walkthrough, I would not have been able to capture this venue as well.   


If you have a destination wedding coming up, I would love to be there for you! Click here to get in touch.

comments +

  1. Molly says:

    We LOVE you, Amandarose, you beautiful, unbelievably talented, kind, amazing human!!!!


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