The annual Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Squaw Valley, California was well under way when Catherine Hall noticed a particularly attractive man, Erik Shepner, dancing behind her and her friends at a music event. “My sister saw other girls checking him out and urged me to go dance with him before someone else swooped him up,” Catherine recalls. “We stayed up until 3AM and have been together ever since. Erik says he knew I was the one after our first kiss that night – it was love at first sight.” Not quite a year later, Erik popped the question in the same secluded spot in which they’d both realized how deeply they were falling for one another. “I was so shocked that I didn’t even answer ‘yes’ for a long time,” she says. “He had to ask me twice!”

As residents of the Bay Area, Tahoe held a special place in the hearts of the newly engaged pair – it was an easy choice for the location of their nuptials. “I grew up on Squaw Valley ski team and Tahoe has always felt like home. I was never one to dream of my wedding day but I always knew that I would get married in Tahoe,” explains the bride. “It just so happened that I met Erik in Tahoe and it’s also very important to him.” Being a photographer herself, Catherine was fortunate enough to have many friends and connections in the wedding industry, and spent just six months designing their dream day. Though the process was “much more time consuming than I could have ever imagined!” she shares.

On a sunny autumn day, the bride and her bridesmaids readied themselves inside a family friend’s picturesque Tahoe cabin, which she had graciously provided to the couple for their wedding day. Catherine donned an ethereal mermaid-style gown and a chapel-length veil – purchased at Dimitra’s Bridal Couture – while her closest ladies wore flowing light blue dresses with differing necklines. As the processional began, Catherine glided down the lakefront aisle toward her beloved sporting a smart blue suit with purple accents, for their vows. After they said their “I dos,” the wedding party took professional pictures underneath the chic, rustic wooden ceremony arch displaying countless green vines with cascading verdure. 

To continue the festivities, guests were then escorted to another alfresco location closer to the private estate. The reception area boasted a gorgeous mix of geometric and rustic design elements that perfectly highlighted the beauty of the setting. “The environment of Tahoe and the lake is so beautiful that we wanted the design to complement, not compete,” the bride muses. “My dream was to incorporate a modern, yet whimsical, aesthetic that also exuded romance. [Our floral designer] utilized natural wood textures, amethyst, pinecones, antlers, and vintage book pages.” Each table featured a derivation of the couple’s key elements, keeping with the neutral color scheme of dusty rose tones and muted lavenders in varying botanicals and herbs, as well as their chosen florals: white roses paired with natural greenery, tiny glass vessels filled with wildflowers, tables adorned with pinecones, and wood accents. Friends and family marveled at the intelligent décor while sipping on signature cocktails, which the groom humorously named “The Bridezilla” and “The Yes Man.”

When it was time for cake, the newlyweds cut into a two-tiered confection featuring rustic, woodland appliqués that was displayed on a small tree stump. Throughout the rest of the evening, revelers enjoyed lively dancing and fun with the new Mr. and Mrs. “The overall design and the energy of the night with flowing delicious cocktails and vibrant band,” smiles Catherine, reflected both of the couple's personalities. As for advice, the bride stresses the importance of wedding professionals: “Hire the best vendors you can – particularly a planner, communicate your vision, and let them do their thing. This was one of the best decisions we made.”