Lake Tahoe Sunset Elopement : Matt + Liz

This elopement proves that all you need is love. And a super cute dog doesn’t hurt either 😉

Liz and Matt were already planning a tiny wedding when Covid hit. But with families all over the place and travel being a no-go they decided the best thing for them would be to elope. So they proceeded with their new plan, hopped in the jeep with their dog Louie and said I do in the mountains.

They incorporated some nods to home with their beer selections and watched the sunset on the perfect day.

Check out their photos and Q&A with the couple below!

Photography: VILD photography

Florist: Twine & Dandy

Dress Store: Show me you Mumu

Hair Stylist: Rah Hair Studio

Groom’s Attire: Indochino

Jewelry: Ben Shemano Jewelry

Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

A: Matt and I met on Hinge in 2016! He’s from Buffalo and I’m from Boston, but we met in SF where we both lived. We moved in together after one year together and got our dog, Louie, during Year 2.After dating for almost 3 years, Matt and I went to Crissy Beach (our go-to spot for walking our dog) on a random Monday in September. (September 9, 2019 to be exact.) While I had some inkling that he’d been working on a ring, I had no idea that he was going to pop the question that day.The sun was nice and the beach was empty, so I told Matt to pose with the dog, and he seized the opportunity to pull out the ring box while I was snapping their photos. Between trying to get the dog to look at the camera and squinting into the sun, he was crouching on his knee for a few seconds before I even realized what was happening!The ring was better than I could’ve dreamed—a teal, oval sapphire. Solitaire setting. 4.63 carats. He gave the most beautiful speech, then ran back to our Jeep to get a bottle of champagne he’d stashed in the back. We sat, listened to music, and drank some Veuve—enjoying the moment, just us, for a few minutes before starting to call family and friends.Our proposal was perfectly “us.” On a random Monday, walking our dog on the beach in our happy place. The second-happiest moment of my life, second only to finally marrying him this summer!

Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

A: Well, Matt and I were originally due to have a family-only, 20-person ceremony in South Lake Tahoe in July 2020. We’d already done quite a bit of planning when COVID happened in March.We hemmed and hawed for a few months about what to do—postpone our wedding weekend to a later date OR say, “screw it,” and elope. While it was exclude family, I’d always secretly found the idea of eloping so romantic. So after giving ourselves the space to grieve the loss of our original plan, we decided to move forward with our lives and elope! That’s when we started to get excited about the new plan.We kept our original photographers, Rob and M of Vild Photography. And it was serendipitous because they specialize in amazing, adventurous elopements in amazing Tahoe locations! In formulating the new plan, Rob and M wanted to know how we wanted to spend our wedding day. Now that we were eloping, the possibilities were really endless. Did we want to hike? Go to the spa? Chill on the beach? It was totally up to us. Matt and I knew that we wanted to hang out with our dog, have some drinks, listen to some music, and watch the sun go down. (This is basically our weekend routine living in SF.) Rob and M took that information and scouted a completely awesome mountaintop location. While it was tricky to get to, we have a Jeep Wrangler, so we could get there! The entire vibe of our day was adventurous, casual, spontaneous, and rustic. I threw on my hiking boots after our ceremony, we popped champagne, and watched the jaw-droppingly beautiful sunset. We got to hang out with our dog. We filled in the details as we went and the evening flowed so organically. We NEVER could’ve enjoyed that moment, in that location, together if family had been there. It all worked out the way it was supposed to.As for our ceremony, we incorporated elements of Matt’s Judaism and my Christian upbringing.

Q: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony ? 

A: Well, given our nontraditional elopement on top of a mountain, there wasn’t much to consider in terms of decor. And that’s exactly why we did it that way. I was never interested in having a big wedding (our pre-COVID plan only originally involved immediate family) and the idea of venues and decor and invoices made my head spin.When we changed our plan to truly elope, there was nothing to think about other than what we were wearing and where we were going. It’s cliche, but it really allowed us to focus on each other and be present in the moment, not fussing over external details. Our “decor” wound up being Lake Tahoe views, alpine forests, mountain vistas, and a pink and orange sunset.

Q: Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

A: Our sunset elopement had a few special touches 🙂 Our dog, Louie, wore a blue bowtie from The Foggy Dog. We brought champagne glasses from my brother and sister-in-law and a bottle of vintage Dom from my parents. We also drank Labatt Blues (a tribute to Matt’s hometown of Buffalo) and Sam Adams beers (a tribute to my Boston stomping ground). We got to give our dog lots of kisses and watch him run around like a maniac  across the mountaintop.The best part of our wedding? Driving down off the mountain in the dark, with the top down on our Jeep, blasting Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.”

Q: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?

A: Well, I never had a really specific vision for how I wanted to look on my wedding day. Unlike a lot of other women, I had never daydreamed about a particular dress or “fashion moment.” Once Matt and I got engaged and started planning our original ceremony, I thought I might even wear blue instead of white. When COVID happened, I realized that it was going to be really difficult to try on dresses with SF in lockdown and no boutiques open. I eventually talked to a bridal boutique on Zoom and they showed me options, but I had a thought: if we are eloping and I don’t have family there to help me maneuver a traditional wedding dress (AND I want to be comfortable if we’re riding in our Jeep up a mountain), I’m not going to be relaxed in a big, fussy gown. And I knew that the ONE thing I wanted to feel on our wedding day, given our unique elopement circumstances, was to feel PRESENT and relaxed.So I decided to order a few dresses online from Show Me Your Mumu, tried them on in my living room in front of my husband (we’re not super traditional!), and picked a short dress with flowy, lace sleeves. I bought some simple sandals from Soludo’s, some jewelry from Mejuri and Rellery, and had my little cousin paint my jean jacket with a classic Tahoe illustration.  (Her name is Daisy Gulla and she’s an amazing artist.) The Blundstones and high socks were a completely spontaneous, last-minute decision on the day of our wedding, but, again, I knew I wanted to be comfortable. I’m so glad I threw them in my bag because those boots are my signature look and the pictures are that much more “us.”My husband bought a custom suit from Indochino (and did two road trips to Sacramento just to find a showroom that could do measurements during COVID). He opted for a beautiful, deep linen blue that complements his blue eyes.

Q: What were the florals like in your wedding?  Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

A: After stripping down our ceremony and deciding to elope, I knew one of the only things I still wanted to make me feel like a “bride” was a big, rustic wedding bouquet. My vision for the bouquet was an “undone” look, with pops of color and quintessential elements of California (such as pampas grass.)Andi from Twine & Dandy brought my vision to life beyond my wildest dreams. She curated bright blue delphiniums and red ranunculus, with orange and pink touches and a few dusty elements to soften the palette. She called it my “Tahoe Sunset” bouquet. It was massive and asymmetrical, which lent itself to that wild, “undone” vibe I wanted. Andi also wrapped a piece of my mother’s wedding veil around the stems—a personal touch that meant so much to me (especially without our families physically present). In addition to the bouquet, we did a boutonniere for my husband and a flower hair piece for my updo.This bouquet ended up being such a large part of our pictures and really matched the adventurous, spontaneous vibe of our elopement. I felt so special carrying those flowers around that mountain.

Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

A: It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment from our sunset elopement because the entire evening was such an adventure. We literally off-roaded in our Jeep Wrangler to the top of a mountain, which was a blast in and of itself. (Matt couldn’t stop saying, “I can’t believe I’m off-roading to my wedding!”)However, I think the most special moment of the elopement was getting to the top and seeing the views—and then having that space all to ourselves. We were so immersed in the natural beauty of the location that it took our breath away. It was a bit overcast at the start of our ceremony, but as Matt started reading his vows, the sun emerged from behind the clouds and beamed directly down onto us. As we drank champagne and the sun started to go down, we were basically just continually gasping at how beautiful the sky looked.Marrying Matt was the best day of my life, but to do it in such a unique way—in SUCH a beautiful location—was by far the coolest part.

Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

A: As a “COVID couple,” Matt and I chose to look at the pandemic—and ultimate decision to elope rather than postpone our original ceremony—as a silver lining. While it was bittersweet not to have family there, eloping the way we did was so romantic. Everything stripped away. Just us and Louie (and the amazing Rob and M, who were our photographers, wedding planners, location scouts, and hiking buddies all wrapped into one). Neither one of us had ever felt so present as we did on our wedding night. It was the most meaningful way to enter our marriage, standing on a mountaintop alone.All the bells and whistles of a more traditional ceremony are great, and those things may mean a lot to some folks, but at the end of the day, it’s really just about you and your partner.If I could tell engaged couples anything, it would be not to sweat the small stuff. We had to outright cancel our wedding, which probably qualifies has the biggest possible thing that could go “wrong.” (LOL.) Constantly reminding ourselves about what the day was REALLY all about—marrying each other—kept us positive and sane.When you’re looking into each other’s eyes, reading vows, you realize that none of the small stuff matters at all.