Rainbow Lodge // Styled Shoot, Donner Pass, CA
The Rainbow Lodge was built in 1869 from local granite and hand-hewn logs used to build the Trans Sierra Railroad. This special spot in Soda Springs has so much history. It used to be a stagecoach stop for those traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on a horse and covered wagon. Every corner of this lodge has character and vintage accessories that embody what could be the perfect Tahoe wedding. You can feel it’s authentic rustic vibes with scattered vintage ski photos across the lodge with boar and elk heads decorating the living spaces. It sits on 114 acres along the South Yuba River with aspens and pine groves accented the High Sierra mountains.
I was asked to put together a stylized wedding shoot for The Rainbow Lodge to showcase its reopening. They used to host weddings, but put that part of their business on hold and now Tahoe is lucky enough to have it open again for bookings. It can sleep 88 people! It's the perfect place to hold a party where your guests do not have to drive home. We did this shoot in the fall and it was insanely beautiful with all of the granite and fall colors.
I had so much fun piecing together all of the details for this shoot. Makeup was crafted by Kiss and Makeup, the dress was a Rue De Sein that we fit to my model-bride and best friend, Aubrey McCready at the dress shop, Swoon, in Reno. Zoe Jane Hair from Truckee beautifully sculpted Aubrey’s hair and I asked Love and Lupines to design fall florals and it couldn’t have turned out more perfect as a setting amidst the yellows and oranges that were in the mountains that week.
I got to bring together some of the best vendors in the business to style a shoot exactly how we envisioned it. There’s also something refreshing about having time to capture a moment without time constraints that might be present on a real wedding day. There was time to explore and play and that’s actually a reason why I encourage all of my brides to schedule a time for photos outside of the wedding day; it’s less pressure. For example, I shot Aubrey’s wedding when she and Aaron got married in 2017 and the next day, we went out on the lake and shot wake surfing photos of them together in their wedding outfits. It’s an opportunity to incorporate the things a couple loves to do together like biking or skiing and in Aubrey and Aaron’s case, time spent on Lake Tahoe.
Aubrey and I have been friends since we were 15 both growing up in Michigan dreaming of bigger mountains. Living in Tahoe together now, it’s a bit surreal to look back on the dreams we had together as kids and watch them come to life. Aubrey is a talented wedding photographer as well and we often work as a team to combine ideas and bounce concepts off of each other.
I shot Aubrey’s wedding so it was like round two doing a stylized shoot with them together again. Aubrey and I feel comfortable around each other which made this shoot so smooth because we’re already so used to working and being with each other. We’ve seen each other in many phases of life and truly grown together so there’s an unspoken understanding on both sides of the camera.
We both walked away from this shoot feeling like it was one of those “best days of our lives” kind of days. I know for Aubrey too, being a bride again was extra special.
It’s really amazing working with venues to showcase their beauty and especially the opportunity to do it in Tahoe as a local who lives only 10 minutes from this spot. Keep an eye out for this venue, they already have bookings lined up! I have some insight too and hear they’re putting in a 40 person hot tub, like come ON.
Venue: The Rainbow Lodge
Florals: Love and Lupines Floral Design
Wedding Dress: Rue De Sein
Models: Aubrey and Aaron McCready
Hair: Zoe Jane Hair
Makeup: Kiss and Makeup