WHERE TO WED
Your guide to regional venues and expert tips on choosing one.
WRITTEN BY NATASHA BOURLIN
Parker Stremmel kisses his new bride, Megan, on the roof of the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. Hair by Katie Shy at Sage Hair Studio. Makeup by Lindsay Lu. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
Falling in love, check. Blissful proposal and engagement ring — or, heck, tattoo — check. Now, where to celebrate one of the biggest events of your life? We can help check that off your list, too.
Betrothed couples living in the Reno-Lake Tahoe region are lucky. Surrounded by some of the most magnificent scenery on the planet, they seek that idyllic venue that reflects their personalities while also setting the stage for a gloriously memorable day among loved ones.
Some locations are perfect for events leading up to the vow exchange, while others offer enchanting ceremony settings.
Across the board, venue experts’ top tip for couples is to have a coordinator on site for the wedding to help weave all the elements together seamlessly. Couples already have enough on their minds. Most locales will provide certain elements needed for the wedding, but nearly all require couples to at least find their own entertainment and florists. Generally, the venue will offer a helpful list of preferred vendors knowledgeable about the site and area.
A Green Wedding
The amphitheater at River School Farm in Reno
If you love the feel of a farm and want your wedding to go easy on the environment, the River School Farm may be for you.
This sustainably built structure is set against the Truckee River, amid goats and chickens, seasonal flowers and fruit trees, and the Tahoe National Forest. Hot water and lighting are solar powered; water is harvested from rainfall; and eco-conscious practices are adhered to, such as composting food scraps, recycling materials, and using the on-site collection of eclectic dishes versus disposables at the reception. An outdoor amphitheater is one option for the ceremony, and staff will assist with wedding and reception set-up and breakdown.
Graeagle Corner Barn. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
Just north of Reno in scenic Graeagle, Calif., are three sister venues, each with its own personality.
A 1912 dairy barn serves as the first setting. With skyscraping ceilings and more than 5,200 square feet of interior space, the Corner Barn can be the wedding weekend’s central station. Couples get the rustic barn from Friday to Sunday, so there’s no rush. It accommodates a whopping 381 seated guests and 814 standing.
Nearby, Graeagle Meadows — Plumas County’s first golf course — and the rolling hills and expansive spaces of the Whitehawk Ranch course provide two different ceremony backdrops.
The award-winning golf course at Whitehawk Ranch in Graeagle is a beautiful location for a couple’s Big Day
At all three venues, an on-site chef customizes menus and accommodates dietary needs. Multiple options exist for receptions, all with set-up, breakdown, and some wedding essentials provided. Plus, the bride and groom each get a free round of golf.
Ever imagine riding horseback into the sunset with your beloved? Greenhorn Ranch in Quincy can make that and many other dream wedding moments happen.
On this historic 600-acre working ranch, 80 horses roam, awaiting riders. It’s ideal for a weekend or weeklong gathering, with cabin and lodge accommodations for up to 70 people and plenty to entertain property-wide.
“It’s really a mountain retreat,” says Teffany Precourt, marketing manager for Greenhorn Ranch. “I fondly remember coming here as a girl.”
Mingle in the laid-back lodge complete with comfortable seating, a game room with pool table and foosball, a full bar, and a saloon. On-site planners and a gourmet chef help weddings run smoothly, and picturesque backdrops abound.
Fish in the pond, go skeet shooting, make s’mores by the campfire, and take dips in the heated pool. Children can play games, explore the outdoors, and make crafts in the Kids’ Corral. Your pets are even welcome!
Onlookers watch as Jackie and Marius Isidore dance. Tent and rentals by Camelot Party Rentals. Styling by One Fine Day Events. Catering by The Cheese Board. Hair by Elyssa Lee at Greco Rose Beauty. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
When looking for a place to host your shower or reception, head to Pignic Pub & Patio in Reno. On the grounds of the 1916 craftsman home in Downtown Reno occupied by Pignic lives a custom-built kitchen trailer dubbed the Pig Shack Eatery, producing Creole and Southern soul foods, though menus can be customized to suit any budget and cuisine.
Pignic’s distinctive grill yard packed with wood smokers, ceramic charcoal, and gas grills is perfect for cooking and chatting over open flame.
“Pignic Pub & Patio offers a unique environment, perfect for anything from a classic, homestyle wedding to a rowdy reception in a vintage venue,” says co-owner Ryan Goldhammer. “It comes complete with a shaded sun deck with sunset views and edible gardens full of herbs, veggies, fruits, and flowers. And we have recently partnered with Revision Brewing to open The Revision Taproom in the second story of our space.”
Goldhammer suggests couples have honest conversations with their caterer and venue about expectations, budget, and desired guest experience, and not to get caught up in tradition or others’ anticipations.
In the vast, bright spaces laden with industrial décor at Downtown Reno’s The Depot, Nick Strowmatt, general manager and executive chef, can help with “the whole shebang,” from rehearsal to reception.
The Depot, one of the area’s premier venues, features compartmentalized spaces that span three stories, with its newly refurbished 25,000-square-foot warehouse being what Strowmatt calls a “one-stop shop” for weddings — especially for the do-it-yourself crowd on limited budgets.
Rent a portion of the facility or the whole thing. The restaurant can accommodate about 250, with the warehouse space holding another 100 to 200. Ceremonies can be performed in front of the still or on the patio.
Bride Morgan Watchous, in a Morilee by Madeline Gardner gown, looks out over the Gansberg Ranch property in Gardnerville. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
“When choosing a venue in Reno-Tahoe, it is wise to consider a location that has a built-in Plan B,” says Nevada Museum of Art senior vice president of communications Amanda Horn. “We all love a venue with a view that immerses guests in a stunning environment, but weather must be considered a factor.”
Reno’s internationally renowned art museum fits that bill. Combined, the NMA’s Fred W. Smith Penthouse, Nightingale Sky Room, and Stacie Mathewson Sky Plaza offer capacity for up to 700 guests, reception-style, along with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors that create an indoor-outdoor feeling while also being protected from the elements. Some of the most scenic, panoramic vistas in the area are found on the rooftop venue. Other indoor spaces provide additional festive options for the couple.
Dana Rivers, director of catering for the Tahoe Mountain Club, has heard many in her eight years there and shares some expert advice for couples.
“Don’t listen to everyone’s opinions; you’ll receive a lot of them, largely unsolicited, and often you’ll second guess yourself,” Rivers says. “Just focus on what you want and creating the most incredible day of your life just how you want it. Don’t allow (anyone) to direct you; make it your own day.”
Tahoe Mountain Club in Truckee
With four venue options nestled in Truckee, Tahoe Mountain Club offers something for everyone.
Toast the couple from the private patio at the Alpine Club while overlooking the ice rink and Village at Northstar year round, with accommodations for up to 70. Take in views of Mount Rose, Grey’s Crossing golf course, and the surrounding forest from PJ’s. Available all year, it offers room for up to 185 outdoors lovers, a high-end option in summer and a more intimate venue during the colder months. Rustically elegant and removed, the Old Greenwood House features sweeping views of Old Greenwood Golf Course’s 18th fairway and the Truckee River Canyon; it’s ideal for cozy events for up to 50, with catering and a full bar. Or feel like you’re on top of the world with 7,900-foot-elevation ceremonies at Schaffer’s Camp. From the top of Northstar California, gondolas float guests to the site. Indoors, a rustic restaurant replete with open kitchen, pizza oven, and rotisserie tantalize taste buds, and a bar full of potent potables helps wash it all down. Outdoors, a deck with firepits and brightly lit torches provide ambience for the special occasion and up to 100 guests.
At Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Shawn and Adam Weinke's wedding guests make s'mores. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
At Tahoe Mountain Club, a banquet manager works with planners, catering is provided on site, and most vital elements are supplied at the venues, but call to confirm what’s available.
Wherever you plan to exchange your “I do’s,” each venue’s main mission is to please, and customization is key. Arrange a tour. If it proves the right fit, share your vision and let a representative put together custom pricing and a plan to create the day of your dreams!