Mammoth Lakes Wedding Venue Guide: Convict Lake

May 18, 2020

I’ve shot more weddings at Convict Lake than any other venue so I’ve got a lot to say about this stunning site. 

Convict Lake is surely one of the most idyllic locations in California for a mountain wedding.

Whether at the iconic Shale Beach site or the new cabin-adjacent venue in the aspens, this is classic Eastern Sierra majesty. 

I guarantee your guests are going to be blown away the moment they get their first glimpse of the lake surrounded by the towering multi-colored peaks and bright blue waters. 

The reception venue, a classy tent structure tucked in to an aspen grove, bridges the gap between classy mountain elegance and rustic camp vibes. 


Here are a few of the reasons I think Convict Lake is one of the Mammoth Lakes area’s best wedding locales:

  • Your entire weekend, guests included, can spend the weekend within a long stone’s throw of the wedding reception site.
  • The cabins range from rustic to luxurious and make for a perfect spot for getting ready. We can walk between the girls’ and the guys’ cabins to shoot wedding prep which you can’t do in many other Mammoth venues.
  • The reception structure is called a tent and looks like one from outside, but it doesn’t feel like a tent. It’s the perfect space for a raucous party and the fire pits and lawn games in the patio make for a great cocktail hour/cool down spot. 
  • The “tent” and cabins are situated in a sprawling aspen grove that absolutely lights up in October. Between the herds of deer and changing leaves, that grove is a natural spectacle at the end of the season. 
  • The sunset portrait potential out there is phenomenal. We can do short walks to incredible spots to catch last light—either on the hill overlooking the lake or near Highway 395 where you can catch the sun setting on Mammoth Mountain and surrounding peaks. 
  • It’s literally right across from the airport. Guests can be at the resort within ten minutes of grabbing their bags.
  • The restaurant by itself is one of the best in town and the wedding meals are, hands down, the best of any venue I’ve shot. 
  • The coordination and staff out there is incredible. They make planning super easy on my end and I’ve heard nothing but the same from wedding couples. 

A few tips for your Convict Lake wedding:

  • Afternoons at the lake are windy. If your ceremony is at the lake, be ready for it. Hire local hair and makeup artists because they know what to do with the wind. Also choose your dress and your bridesmaid’s dresses with the wind in mind. Trust me. The site in the aspens isn’t as exposed so it’s much less of a factor there, but we’ll likely end up at the lake for portraits and you’ll be glad you planned for it. 
  • If you have a ceremony at the Shale Beach, it turns out shale is not easy to walk on with heels. Have the ladies in the group plan their footwear strategically so they don’t look like a herd of baby giraffes as they enter the site. Wobbly bridesmaids coming down the aisle make for funny photos but it feels like they’re always on the edge of disaster. Versatile shoes will also help to get to the money sunset portrait spots.
  • Convict Lake is 15 minutes from Mammoth. There’s a small general store there but other than that, you’ll want to stock up on essentials in Mammoth or Bishop at the beginning of your stay. 
  • The area around Convict Lake is home to several bears. Get the food out of your car because they’ll find a way in and your vehicle won’t ever look the same.

The photos tell the story of Convict Lake weddings better than words, so check out this gallery and let me know if you have any questions about this California wedding gem.

Check out Convict Lake Weddings’ website right here.

Check them out on Instagram here.



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