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Tying the knot at the lake: South Shore offers many options for a dream wedding

Phillip L. Sublett
Friday, March 17, 2006
Sherry McManus / Associates in Photography / A bride is photographed in front of the icy waters of Lake Tahoe.
Sherry McManus / Associates in Photography / A bride is photographed in front of the icy waters of Lake Tahoe.
Sherry McManus / Associates in Photography / A cruise on the lake is one option for a unique Tahoe wedding.
Sherry McManus / Associates in Photography / A cruise on the lake is one option for a unique Tahoe wedding.
Sherry McManus / Associates in Photography / A newlywed couple enjoys a Tahoe sunset after a wedding ceremony atop Heavenly Mountain Resort.
Sherry McManus / Associates in Photography / A newlywed couple enjoys a Tahoe sunset after a wedding ceremony atop Heavenly Mountain Resort.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Groom Troy Gilbreath and minister Robert McIntyre wait for the bride to enter the chapel.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Groom Troy Gilbreath and minister Robert McIntyre wait for the bride to enter the chapel.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Flower girl Sara Jack-Davis, 5, is all smiles before entering the chapel to begin the ceremony.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Flower girl Sara Jack-Davis, 5, is all smiles before entering the chapel to begin the ceremony.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Everyone shares a laugh during the March 4 wedding ceremony for Troy Gilbreath and Michelle Smith of Stockton at Chapel of the Bells.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Everyone shares a laugh during the March 4 wedding ceremony for Troy Gilbreath and Michelle Smith of Stockton at Chapel of the Bells.

While Tahoe's tourism-fueled economy is supported by many ski resorts, casinos and other businesses, one segment of the community many locals may overlook is the wedding industry.

From florists, formal wear specialists and photographers, to hotels, wedding chapels, caterers and DJs, many South Shore merchants are aimed at making the big day for a bride and groom memorable.

Photographer Sherry McManus has been at Tahoe for nearly 19 years, and her business, Associates in Photography, covers about 100 weddings a year, with the busiest times being Saturdays from May through October.

"Our weddings consist of two to 500 people," said McManus, "churches, golf courses, ski slopes, meadows, boats, beaches, private homes, hotels, conference centers, mountain tops." She offers one-hour to all-day coverage, digital and film photography, online posting, albums, fine art prints, proof magazines, and CDs. Associates in Photography can be contacted at (530) 541-7225 or on the Web at www.tahoephoto.net.

According to Modern Bride magazine, $39 billion was spent on weddings in the United States last year. The average cost of a wedding has hit $26,000 and is still rising. "Destination" weddings are also becoming more popular.

To take advantage of these trends, the South Lake Tahoe Wedding and Honeymoon Association is working to get the word out and promote Tahoe as a wedding destination. The non-profit organization of over 100 South Shore wedding and honeymoon professionals spends 90 percent of its budget on marketing.

"Our primary market is the San Francisco Bay area, with Sacramento coming in second," said Jill Hansen, the association's marketing chairperson. "Other markets are Southern California and Texas."

Robert McIntyre at Chapel of the Bells sees many drop-ins, due to the chapel's high visibility on Highway 50 for the past 30 years. The chapel performs hundreds of ceremonies a year, around 10 to 15 per week through the summer, and is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

McIntyre said that all a couple needs to get married is picture IDs - driver's licenses or passports. The chapel has California State Marriage License applications, and certified notaries on staff to file all the paperwork. Couples can also get a California public marriage license in another county and bring it with them to the chapel. A typical wedding ceremony takes around 40 minutes, McIntyre said. Chapel of the Bells can be reached at (530) 544-1112 or on the Web at www.tahoechapelofthebells.com.

 
 
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Photo Credit:
Honesco Photography

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1 (800) 247-4333

2700 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
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