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Dazzling images from our own Merrily Wed® weddings as well as others that capture our heart from Lake Tahoe and beyond. Along with wedding design ideas, fresh trends and helpful wedding planning hints. Get comfy, take a look around and stay awhile!
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Archive for 'Reception'

June 19, 2014

The West Shore and the East Shore of Lake Tahoe each have a special allure that draws visitors to their sunny beaches – some sand and some rock.  They also both have a wealthy history dating back to the 18th century thanks to the aristocratic families that weaved their legacy with Tahoe lore. At Merrily Wed® we have found these shores to be memorable locations to hold your destination Lake Tahoe wedding.

George Whittel built a fabulous summer home that he named Thunderbird Lodge.  It sits in isolation on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe.  This section of the lake is rugged and pristine, in contrast to much of the rest of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.  His failure to allow development on the 27 miles of shoreline that he bought more likely was a result of wanting privacy than being a nature conservationist.  Regardless, it has kept this section of the lake from being developed with hotels, homes and shops.

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Thunderbird Lodge – photo courtesy of Catherine Hall Studios

Visitors to Lake Tahoe often may not be aware of historical attractions such as Thunderbird Lodge and two other mansions on the western shore that tell a tale of how the fabulously wealthy spent their summers at Tahoe back in the first half of the 1900’s.  All three homes are open to tours every summer and two of the three are beautiful venues to host your destination Lake Tahoe wedding.

Landscaping at the Thunderbird Lodge includes waterfalls, pools and streams connected by winding stone pathways and flourishes such as a stone shamrock and other whimsical designs.  One tunnel leads to the infamous Card House where Whittel indulged his passion for late night card games and alcohol.

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Thunderbird Lodge – photo courtesy of Catherine Hall Studios

Your wedding guests may even be able to see the Card House on a tour of the famous Thunderbird property during your wedding.  A tower was added to the original lodge after Whittel’s death by investor Jack Dreyfus Jr, where today the space is now used for weddings and special events.  The Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society manages the proceeds from tours and events to help maintain and restore the property and the 55-ft Thunderbird mahogany yacht.

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Thunderbird Lodge – photo courtesy of Catherine Hall Studios

The Hellman-Ehrman Mansion on the west shore is the largest of these three mansions consisting of 11,703 square feet and three stories.  Hellman and his descendants used Pine Lodge from 1903 until 1965 when Hellman’s granddaughter sold it to the state of California.  It is now part of Sugar Pine State Park and commonly known as the Ehrman Mansion.  Weddings are held on the lawn by the lake and receptions are commonly located on the hilltop closer to the Pine Lodge/Ehrman Mansion.

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Ehrman Mansion – photo courtesy of Brian MacStay Photography

The third historic mansion rich in history and wealth is Vikingsholm just a little farther down the west shore from Hellman-Ehrman Mansion.  This was Lora J Knight’s summer retreat whose estimated wealth at that time was $43 million, built in 1929, and sits at the head of Emerald Bay, arguably Lake Tahoe’s most scenic spot.  She wanted the mansion to look Scandinavian as the bay reminded her of fjords in Norway.

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Vikingsholm – photo courtesy of Vikingsholm.com

She also owned tiny Fannette Island which sits in the middle of Emerald Bay.  A small stone teahouse that she built sits on its crest.  She rarely used it because of the difficulty in accessing it.  For the same reason Vikingsholm, despite its intriguing beauty, is not an ideal wedding location due to the narrow path one must hike to reach it.

Whether selecting the West Shore or the East Shore, incorporating one or more of these locations would be a great idea for visiting guests to see more of Lake Tahoe’s rich history.  And if you are lucky, one historic site may be host to your wedding itself!

Tahoe Signature of Style,

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October 29, 2013

Set your wedding table with your own personalized touch of style from customized hand-written chargers to hand-picked colorful mason jars.  Here at Merrily Wed® we couldn’t resist these 5 options which look like a million bucks but cost almost nothing to make.  Whether choosing three or picking just one idea, they are all an easy way to put your own stylish stamp on your wedding reception!

ruffled blog handwrittenplatesChargers

What a perfect way to share your cherished vows or maybe the words to your favorite wedding song on these sweetly inspired DIY porcelain plates courtesy of Ruffled Blog.  It is a keepsake that will last forever too!

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metallictablenumber ruffled blogTable Numbers

Natural rustic meets the oh-so trendy metallic chalkboard to greet your guests at their tables.  Either adorn a simple weathered wood box or hang from an object of your desire… Also courtesy of Ruffled Blog.

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oncewed rustic cake standWedding Cake Stand/Dessert Buffet Pedestals

A perfect pairing for a Tahoe treat (or two)!  We just loved this woodsy accent to any decadent dessert display.  Once Wed gives the simple step by step instructions on the how-tos!

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100layercake colored mason jarFestive Mason Jars

Put a little pizazz in your wedding decor and elevate the mason jar from cute to irresistible with just a spray of paint by 100LayerCake.  These beauties can be used everywhere!

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Style Me Pretty Ice Cream in a JarJackie Wonders PhotographerIce Cream Favors

To temper the summer heat, show your gratitude for your sweet guests with some ice cream in a jar.  Check out this recipe of thanks from City Cradle Design that had our mouths watering.  With a simple modification you can serve S’Mores in a Jar instead which is always a hit!

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Tahoe Signature of Style,

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July 2, 2013

With the long hot dog days of summer here, we couldn’t resist these refreshing and mouthwatering cocktails hand-picked by Catering Magazine to ensure to wet your whistle as well as “raise the bar” at your next summer BBQ, party or even your wedding.

From a lip smacking Kumquat Mojito to a Ben & Jack’s Swimming Pool to a Mango Spice and Ice, you will find something here to quench your thirst and tempt your guests’ taste buds with the exotic.

What is your favorite??

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Tahoe Signature of Style,

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August 27, 2012

Holly Foxen Wells here from GlamourMash, a blog focused on fashion, food and design. I am beyond thrilled to be guest posting on Merrily Wed’s beautiful wedding blog today!

I’d like to give you my “two cents” on a small, but important detail of your wedding. The wedding favors!

Wedding favors are a fairly new tradition in the wedding world and I think it is often overlooked.  Wedding favors are a special way to say thank you to your guests for their love and support!  The key to a great wedding favor is to make it personal and thoughtful.  Here is my list of the Top Five sweetest wedding favors for your guests.

1. Something Green: Succulent Plant

Succulents are a great gift to send home with your wedding guests.  They are small and easily transportable and double as a great way to decorate dinner tables or the cake table.

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2. Something Sweet: Candies

This is a very cost effective take-away that almost everyone will be a fan of.  Who doesn’t swoon for a little something sweet?

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3. Something Lasting: Seed Pouchling

A small package of seeds labeled with your name and wedding date seems to be a big trend right now and you can easily see why!  It’s such a simple idea but is so meaningful.  Knowing that all of your friends and family will have a flower or plant growing in their garden symbolizing you and your mate’s love for each other is a wonderful gift for both you and them.

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4. Something Warming: Hot Cocoa To-Go

A glass jar filled with the makings for hot cocoa is the perfect gift for a winter wedding.  These takeaways are easy to make and have such an impact.  Add a small note or your wedding date tied on the bottle with twine and you’ve mastered the DIY wedding favor!

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5. Something Homemade: Strawberry jam

This is one of my favorite wedding favor ideas.  Do you or your husband-to-be have a special recipe or talented thing to make?  Maybe it’s jam or a spice rub you use for meat.  Whatever it is, bottle it and share it with your guests.

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‘Til next time,

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May 23, 2012

Several posts ago I introduced you to Michelle Van Otten, a respected San Francisco Bay Area author, international public speaker and consultant with expertise in personal peak performance, business image, first impressions and body language. Here is our second in a series of guest posts in which she will give you valuable hints, tips and clues – helping you to become the most magnetic, radiant, confident version of you possible.

This time around it is all about how to speak confidently and deliver a wedding toast others won’t tune out after the first sentence.  Whether you are a maid of honor, best man, mother or father of the bride or groom, or just speaking at a non-wedding event, remember these six tips (or pass them on to someone who needs them)!

6 Powerful Tips for Speaking with Magnetic Confidence and Delivering an Unforgettable Speech or Toast

Jerry Seinfeld said it best…”People at a funeral would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy!” Public speaking may be top on the list of all human fears, but what I am about to share with you will help you eliminate any fear and step into your innate ability to deliver a powerful, unforgettable speech. You can do this and with a little practice you can become a master. Here’s what you need to know…

1. Let’s begin with the basic fact that 93% of our communication with others is non-verbal. That’s right! Only 7% of communication is what you actually say. Non-verbal communication is the single most potent form of communication there is and it’s the very first thing you need to know about how you show up to others. Your 93% comes through your mood, emotions, body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and appearance before a single word is spoken. Knowing that you are already going to be filled with positive emotions and looking and feeling your best, you can relax about the what to say part because you know that the majority of what you are conveying is already being said.
2. The most important thing you must remember about speaking with a group is that connection matters more than anything! When you grab the mic, take a deep breath as you make eye contact with each and every person you can. Taking them in and connecting with them through your eyes first. Let them feel your heart and your emotions and you will move them to tears.
3. Convey confidence and presence with your posture and body language. Stand tall and ground yourself through your feet first. Then lift up through your collar bone as if there were strings attached to your collarbone and those strings were lifting you straight up to the sky. Not only will you appear elongated and graceful, you’ll look elegant and self-assured.

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4. Remember to breathe! Pausing to breath helps your oxygenate your brain and body and also serves you in being more powerful with your delivery.
5. Use cue cards and make bullet points rather than painstakingly writing out a long speech you have to read. Remember that as long as what you say comes from your heart and is a true reflection of your authenticity and uniqueness, people will always be moved and inspired by you. You can’t get that wrong!
6. Relax and know that the difference between being a mediocre speaker and a great speaker is simply knowing that it’s all about the energy you give and the experience you create for others rather than focusing on getting the words right or saying it perfectly. Just be your glorious, beautiful self and speak from your heart. You’ll receive a standing ovation every time.

Follow these steps and Michelle Van Otten will help you give the most magnetic, radiant, confident speech possible!  Success in any endeavor is always an inside job first and an outside job second.  You’ve got to have the inner game in order to reflect a stellar outer game.  She is the master at showing you how easy it is to achieve your ultimate self!

 

 

Tahoe Signature of Style,

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February 29, 2012

With so much wedding inspiration on the world wide web these days, it is very easy for a bride to become overwhelmed with all the design choices and styles.  And I am just talking about the dining tables!  Having a beautifully set table at your wedding can be something to look forward to or a daunting task.  The great joy of designing a stylish table-scape is to have fun with it.  Start small in your own home with your own dining table and engage in a little table-‘E’scape.

A few simple tips can make your own cupboards a bin of inspiration.  An organized pantry will allow you to access items easily and you will be more likely to remember these settings and use them.  Stack collections of similar colors on open shelves.  Baskets can store table linens, napkins, napkin rings and candles.

 

 

First rule is there are no rules but just a few simple guidelines to observe…

  1. Begin with stocking your pantry with basic white dishes.  More the better with oversize bowls and platters…  Food pops off white plates but don’t be afraid to accessorize with colorful accents.
  2. Silverware can vary from your grandmother’s antiques to flea market finds.  Mix and match is a ‘do’ as well if you don’t have complete sets.
  3. Collect place mats and napkins in different colors to compliment your china.  Napkins can match or contrast.  They can be folded a million ways, be placed on top, next to or under the plate.  Napkin rings are further embellishment and come in a variety of styles and materials.
  4. Runners are great on a bare wooden table top or placed on a linen tablecloth.  A tablecloth creates a sense of formality and helps define the mood.
  5. Candles.  Lots and lots of candles – votives and pillars – create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
  6. Use color as your organizing principle.  A single color can have a terrific impact too.

 

 

Add your own personal style to your table by looking around your home for inspiration.  After a few nights of reenacting Top Chef with your favorite friends and breaking in different place settings, your own dining table will be a breeding ground of ideas.  Start to play with china shapes, complimentary color families, different textures – the sky is your limit!

Now it is time to tackle the table-scape for your wedding reception!

Tahoe Signature of Style,

 

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August 31, 2011

Yummm – everyone loves a warm, just-off-the-fire s’more!  And the nostalgic, comfort feeling they instill…  Nothing goes hand-in-hand better than Lake Tahoe, the mountains and s’mores but sometimes incorporating these into your wedding might be difficult with open fire rules, the thought of dripping marshmallow on fine silk or maybe it just doesn’t go with your wedding style/look for the big day.  The rehearsal dinner can be a good option OR how about a s’mores cake!?!

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From the glorious kitchen of Canadian baker and blogger Sweetapolita, this sinful 6-layer rich chocolate malted and toasted marshmallow cake will be a crowd-pleaser and have your guests coming back for more.  The marshmallow filling is full of marshmallows actually toasted in the oven – these little details are what really makes (and takes!) the cake.

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6 layers of dark, moist chocolate cake sandwiching alternating rich and fluffy frosting: satiny Belgian chocolate malted frosting and creamy toasted-marshmallow vanilla frosting with bits of actual crispy marshmallow in every bite.  Strangely, the finished cake is not really super sweet–it’s more rich, light, and creamy sweet…

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Okay, mouth-watering yet?  No more teasing, here is the recipe for an 8″ round 6-layer cake courtesy of Sweetapolita:

Rich Chocolate Cake

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This is for three 8″ pans, but the layers will be a bit more shallow if you use the recipe as it is written. If you double the recipe, you will be able to fill the pans 2/3 full, resulting in thicker layers. You will have some remaining batter, with which you can make cupcakes, etc. You can also increase by 50%.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespooon pure vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 3 x 8″ cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaning ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy.

Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 35 minutes. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

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Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting

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Ingredients:

1 lb butter (4 sticks or 2 cups) at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Ovaltine Classic (brown in colour)
8 oz Pure Bittersweet chocolate, premium brand – chopped and melted
1/2 cup whipping (35% fat) cream

Method:

In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and malt powder, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute. Best used right away.

*Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Frosting recipe

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Toasted-Marshmallow Frosting

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Ingredients:
16 large white marshmallows
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks, or 1 cup) at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream (or Marshmallow Fluff)

Method:

Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them–they burn very, very quickly. Combine butter and icing sugar in electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low until blended (about 1 minute). Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

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This is a fresh, stylish way to introduce s’mores into your wedding reception with possibly a groom’s cake or cupcakes or even the showcase wedding cake!

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June 23, 2011

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Mention Father of the Bride and images of Steve Martin come to mind, but not everyone can deal with stress and pressure by making us laugh… 

The Father of the Bride is a role that can be left out during the wedding planning process (except to keep up with all the payments).  He is expected to be experienced enough to cope with his nerves and expected to be strong enough to cope with his emotions.  Giving your daughter away can be a very difficult and bittersweet moment.  We thought we would help.

Take a moment and if you know someone in this role, pass on our advice!

1. Getting Over The Nerves
Nerves about the ceremony, speeches and toasts can be overwhelming.  Don’t worry all of these nervous can be settled with a little preparation.  Make sure and make it to the rehearsal that way the only thing to worry about during the ceremony is giving away “Daddy’s little girl”.  Also make sure to write and practice your speech well before your daughter’s big day.  A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to easing nerves.

2. Prepare for Your Speeches
Preparing your speeches in full before hand is the best thing you can do to ease your nerves, don’t wing it!  For more tips on how to write a great speech take a look at MW’s “Cheers Worthy Toast” post.  The Father of the Bride sets the tempo, welcomes his guests, new members of the family and speaks about his daughter while trying to not embarrass her!  Remember…Practice makes perfect!

3. Plan Your Advice
One of the most important tasks of the Father of the Bride is to pass on advice to the couple.  This advice can be in a toast, in passing, or in a letter.  Make sure to prepare what advice you would like to give the couple, many couples will remember what advice you gave them for years to come.  Remember what you’ve learned throughout your years and share it with them!

4. Be Ready for the Emotions
Men sometimes try and hide their emotions from the rest of the world.  Make sure and take some time with your daughter before the wedding to talk about what she means to you.  Many Father of the Brides believe that they will come up with the perfect thing to say when the time comes but never do.  By doing this you can remorse for never getting the chance to tell your daughter how you feel or be overwhelmed by emotions during the ceremony.

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