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Email Author: Ellen Hopkins
Story Posted: 6/15/2004 04:58 pm

Mile high ... and more ... weddings

With an elevation of 6,000 feet, Lake Tahoe is over a mile high. The mountains around it rise to elevations of more than 9,000 feet, and the ski industry has taken fine advantage of that. Once the snow melts, those mountains are covered by green meadow grass, wildflowers and evergreens, and you won’t find a lovelier place for your perfectly planned wedding than a Reno/Tahoe ski resort, come summer.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from Squaw Valley’s sprawling village and mid-mountain recreation facilities to Homewood’s beautiful mountain meadows and rustic lodges. On the right weekend, you might find built-in entertainment such as live music, art shows or fireworks. All resorts have special events coordinators to help you plan your big day. Some ideas:

-In South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Valley has long led the way in both skiing and weddings. Your wedding party can ride the gondola to a lodge overlooking the blue of Lake Tahoe. Recite your vows on the spacious deck, or in a stand of Douglas fir. Crowds, a problem in winter, are nonexistent in the off-season. It’s just you, your guests and your officiate.

Enjoy a simple ceremony, or a huge to-do, including reception and all the trimmings. It starts with a simple phone call. (530) 542-5153.

-Off Highway 88, about 15 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe, is Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Here, surrounded by stark granite cliffs, lush meadows and up-mountain stands of old forest, you and your wedding party can enjoy a secluded wedding getaway. Venues include the Village Plaza, Kirkwood Meadow, or an on-mountain site, accessed by your choice of a chairlift or a shuttle van.

The atmosphere is relaxed, and the wedding fee includes the ceremony and reception venues, centerpieces and a 10 percent lodging discount for you and your guests. Call Holly Collins for more information: (209) 258-7210.

-Northstar-at-Tahoe is located near the historic town of Truckee, Calif. Summer activities include golf, tennis, swimming and mountain biking, and all are at your disposal should you decide to make it your all-inclusive wedding/honeymoon location.

This year, weddings big or small move up the mountain to Northstar’s private Lodge at Big Springs. You and your guests will enjoy an express gondola ride to the mid-mountain lodge. Your ceremony can be indoors or out, and you may choose to have your reception right there, or back in the village at the Martis Valley Grille. The wedding fee also includes a two-night stay in a studio unit. Information: (530) 550-2611.

-Located on Lake Tahoe’s west shore is the rustic Homewood Mountain Resort. This local’s favorite is small and lacks the bustle of summer crowds (although the highway does get crowded with people circumnavigating the lake). But if a private outdoor ceremony with the spectacular Tahoe view is what you’re after, this is the place.

The Madden Chairlift carries you up the mountain to a lovely meadow, or you can choose an indoor ceremony at one of the two lodges. Homewood is a full-service resort, so you can host your reception on-property as well. Call the wedding coordinator at (530) 525-2992.

-When people think of Tahoe ski resorts, many think of Squaw Valley U.S.A., which hosted the 1964 Olympic Games. The resort looks a lot different now, with condos, shops, restaurants and even a movie theater. Mid-mountain, the facilities include ice-skating and swimming, and you can treat your wedding guests to either after your mid-mountain wedding.

A number of venues are offered, including a sundeck, a patio or a meadow. The wedding coordinator will help you choose your favorite, and can arrange all the little details, including flowers, music, reception, photographer and more. (530) 581-7122.

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Keeping Your Wedding Party Informed

Chances are the people in your wedding party (not to mention curious relatives and friends) are spread out across the country, or at least across town. You will want to keep these special people informed about
1) important dates;
2) gift registries;
3) directions to places such as the church or your rehearsal dinner; and
4) each other. (This can help them plan showers, bachelor parties, etc.) Rather than spend hours on the phone, why not create a wedding Web site and/or wedding newsletter? If the idea of creating a "wedsite" seems intimidating, relax. Services such as Yahoo offer free or inexpensive Web sites, with custom templates. All you have to do is choose your domain name (mikeandsue.com), pick your design and plug in the information. The domain name may cost you $15 or $20 to own it for a year.
What information should you include? You choose:
·A scanned image of your invitation.
·A map and directions to important places.
·Links to gift registries.
·Places to stay (for out of town guests).
·Weather forecasts. (Update regularly.)
·Stories about how you met, how he proposed, etc.
·A timeline with dates of special happenings.
·"Interesting" facts about your wedding party.
·Photos.
Another idea is to create a wedding newsletter (you can post a copy on your Web site, too!) A word processing program like Microsoft Word allows you to add columns, or you may design your newsletter in a program like Microsoft Publisher, which has pre-made templates. The newsletter is especially important for your wedding party, who may need to get in touch with one another. Be sure to include everyone’s name and contact information, as well as important dates and times, places and directions. You can then mail or e-mail the newsletter. And be sure to e-mail everyone on your list with the address of your "wedsite." Update it regularly so people will visit often.