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Thunderbird Lodge wedding for Nerissa and Reed

by Scott


The Thunderbird Lodge, really a giant stone mansion on the east shore of Lake Tahoe, is one of the most amazing of all the lake venues to get married in. It had been a couple of years since I shot there and I was so grateful that Nerissa and Reed picked me to shoot their wedding there in mid September. This couple was great! They are local business owners of Lake Monster Tattoo in South Lake Tahoe, needless to say covered in ink, and absolutely the most wonderful people you could ever meet. They also had a very defined sense of style about them, keeping the look and feel of their wedding along the lines of the 1930’s without being too rigorous about the details. We had talked about doing their album that way too. 1930’s era photography and cinematography is obviously black and white, and usually characterized by very directional lighting. I tried to keep an eye to that style while I was shooting without being too rigorous about it either. If something called for color, I kept it in color. If something was simply a good photo that didn’t fit the vintage theme, I shot it anyhow. Most of this blog post is black and white because of classic look they were going for, but some of my favorite shots are actually in color. Enjoy!

hands with tattoo

Reed getting ready

brides hair detail photograph

Nerissa went very elegant with her styling

bride getting ready

bridal portrait at the thunderbird lodge

The beautiful window light at the Thunderbird Lodge and a slight desaturation of colors went perfect with Nerissa’s 30’s era style.

bridal portrait at thunderbird lodge

We found lots of unique shooting areas. This window-lit stone hallway is actually the hallway to the bathrooms.

bride dress

Nerissa wore a beautiful silk dress that fit her perfectly.

groom in forest

groom waiting by the lake

As the wedding time approached the sky got dark and it actually rained pretty hard for a short while, but not enough to force us indoors with this hardy crowd.

groom in thunderbird lodge card room

The groom in the card room, where such greats as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. used to come to play poker after their shows.

wedding portraits in the trees at the Thunderbird Lodge

There were loads of cool stone paths and big trees to make pictures nearly everywhere on the property.

I loved this stone bridge.

Some of the light fixtures on the property date back to the 1920’s and reminded me of Robert Doisneau’s street photography from Paris during the 1930’s and 40’s.

We made lots of shots outdoors, but I wanted to do some photography in the non-traditional areas of the Thunderbird, like this shot in the underground opium den.

And this photo in the tunnel leading to the boat dock.

sunset wedding picture at thunderbird lodge on Lake Tahoe

This is probably one of my favorite images. When we got out of the tunnels, the sun was setting so I had the bride and groom in the gazebo with a remote flash while I ran across the boat dock for this picture.

wedding place settings

Despite the early rain, the group still dined lakeside out on the lawn.

champagne drink with hibiscus flower

The champagne was flavored with a hibiscus flower floating in it.

For the first dance, I lit the room so I could get good light from anywhere on the floor.

wedding cake and sunset

The reception dancing area had amazing views as the sun went down.

The thunderbird lodge on Lake Tahoe at sunset

Sunset over the Thunderbird Lodge finished the day.






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