Minaret Photography » Mammoth Lakes California Wedding and Portrait Photography

Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe and Mountain Wedding Detail Ideas


Once the wedding date is picked, the venue is set and the photographer and coordinator are hired, it’s time to start thinking about the wedding details.

Ideally, the details of the day are subdued and nuanced, but are one of the most memorable parts of the day. Simple items like centerpieces, deserts, bridal party gifts and signage (as well as the complementary colors that bring them all together) don’t take much work, but are an integral part of the day. It’s often this attention to the small things that set some weddings apart from others.

While this part of the wedding doesn’t require a lot of time or effort the often esoteric decision-making process is tough. You want the details to thematically tell a story, but not to be too indulgent.

I’m not going to pretend to know where to begin when making such subjective decisions, but I will offer this: A sampling of several weddings we’ve seen where the couple, or coordinator advising the couple, left a lasting impression on us.

As we live high in the Sierras, I’m going to approach this from that angle. All these detail shots are from weddings in Mammoth, Yosemite and Tahoe, as well as one in Alaska to add a little PNW flavor.

I don’t recommend copying any of these identically, but they may be a good place to start for those at a loss for ideas. We’re in contact with many of the vendors responsible for these creations so if you want to go after something similar, let us know and we’ll help put you in touch.



Mountain-Themed Cupcakes, Sweets and Bobbleheads:

Wedding cakes are a tradition and most brides spend as much time planning the cake as they do the dress, but cupcakes seem to be common at most weddings these days.

Maybe this is particularly true at outdoor mountain weddings because they lend themselves nicely to stumbling around in the rocks in uncomfortable shoes with a martini in the other hand better than a plate with a piece of cake. That could be a stretch but it makes sense.

Bobbleheads portraying the couple in their formal wedding attire, or in their ski or mountaineering gear, are also very popular lately. Check below for the helmeted couple from a Yosemite wedding last spring. The ropes and ice axes are a clear example of a couple that did their homework.


Pine Cones:

Pine cones at weddings are a bit of a cliche, but it’s only a cliche if you recognize it as one. Most people coming to the mountains to celebrate a wedding are coming from places where pine cones represent everything they expect to see at an alpine wedding, so it’s not a bad idea to embrace it. Here are some cool ideas of bouquets, centerpieces and seating decorations done with pine cones.

Delicious Food, Elegantly Presented for Alpine Nuptials:

We are sure to include ourselves in the culinary portion of the evening at each wedding so we’re well informed on food done right.

Mountain cuisine at weddings is usually good (An at Convict Lake, great), but doesn’t tend to be imaginative or memorable.

One wedding at Meeks Bay in Lake Tahoe stuck out to me above to crowd though. Not only did the food have a classy and rustic aesthetic, but the menu was incredible. It included chimichurri tri-tip and almond-basil-pesto quesadillas, amongst a host of other unique and culturally dynamic plates.


Bold, Original Signage and Decoration with an Alpine Theme:

Signage and media created for the wedding day tends to be well thought out and artistic. There’s something about couples that choose to get married in places like Mammoth–they usually have a creative energy that transfers itself into these types of pre-wedding projects. The lift ticket Save the Dates and invitations from Mike and Stephanie, which you’ll see in another section below, are the coolest such thing I’ve seen. But others, such as Jeff and Lindy’s guestbook door, Mammoth Mountain’s iconic bear-carving signage, and the various stenciled wood projects we’ve seen have all been awesome.

Mike and Steph’s Mammoth wedding was probably the most creative I’ve seen. For blog posts from it for a better idea, click here and here.

Gifts for the Bridal Party, Ready to Ski, Bike, Climb and Hike (And party at 8,000 feet):

Here are a few gift ideas for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and whomever else you deem worthy at the wedding.

As we mentioned earlier, Mike and Steph put A LOT of thought into the wedding-day details and the gifts were no exceptions. The bags included water bottles, sunscreen, snacks, and other such items an unprepared Southern California guest might be in need of for a high-altitude foray.

Skis, Snowboards, Bikes, and Icons that Define the Mountain Couple:

I’d say almost every couple that gets married in Mammoth, Tahoe, or Yosemite was brought together in part due to a mutual love for mountain recreation. Why not make that a theme of the wedding, as Mike and Steph did with the M+S logo snowboard (above), and Abbey and Alex did with vintage skis for their Yosemite wedding last spring.

I think Robb and Meghan’s bike at their Lake Tahoe wedding a few summers ago was my favorite. It was a custom cruiser made by Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing and made for an awesome visual as the couple pedaled around the Tahoe peninsula’s wooded dirt roads in the dress and suit. We also used it as a prop in the photo booth and it was a big hit, if not a bit dangerous for those hopped up on New Belgium’s Fat Tire brew.

Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations that Evoke the Community and Local Flavor:

Mike and Steph’s Save the Dates and invites were all time.

The were designed to look like a Mammoth Mountain lift ticket (before they became RFID cards), and came decked out with authentic ties to attach to ski pants, a replica of the sign on top of Mammoth with pertinent details about the wedding, and a UPC barcode that linked up to their wedding website. These guys were incredible with the invitations!

Dogs, Especially if They Look Like this One:

This is really just an excuse to post a picture of this dog from Kiel and Aimee’s Convict Lake wedding a few years back. I’m not sure where it came from, or if it even belonged to any of the guests, but if you don’t think this animal is one of the most adorable and intriguing looking animals you’ve ever seen, then there’s something wrong with you.

On that note, mountain couples are dog people and often include their canines into the festivities. We think that’s great if they are well-behaved, but that was really just an attempt to make this ridiculous dog a relevant part of this blog post.

That’s all for today, I hope you all get some value out of some of these ideas.

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