Heavenly Mountain Weddings, a View from 9123 ft.
Almost 3000 ft. above Lake Tahoe, the Heavenly Blue Sky Terrace gives you a commanding view of the lake for your wedding festivities. Guests take the Heavenly Gondola, a series of small cable cars that starts near Lake Tahoe and carries people up the mountain. It is a 15 minute ride with spectacular views of the deep blue lake and the mountains surrounding it. Lake Tahoe resides in a volcanic crater. You can really see that the huge lake inhabits a crater from this altitude. The resort constructed a special purpose wedding terrace that is not open to the general public. It is a short walk from the observation deck where the general public exits the gondola. For small weddings, you may simply choose to use the publically accessible observation deck. You just buy tickets (approximately $40 per person) for each person in the wedding party. To book the Blue Sky Terrace on a weekend, you should book several months in advance. On weekends, the observation deck can be fairly crowded, so if you have any desire for privacy, I suggest booking the terrace. Mid-week, there generally aren't too many people wandering around the terrace, so the observation deck is likely to be reasonably private.
After your lake view wedding ceremony, you may choose to have a cocktail hour on the terrace. Then everybody can climb aboard the Heavenly Gondola and finish the last leg of the journey to the ski lift area where a chair lift can carry those daring souls with feet dangling in open air to 9725 ft. From here, you will be able to see over the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe. Heavenly is the highest peak in the Lake Tahoe area, Those souls who truly want to see the view from on top of the world, can climb higher to near the top of the mountain at 10,067 ft.
Currently, the Blue Sky Terrace is only open in the summers from mid June through September. Most couples choose to have a wedding followed by a cocktail hour on the terrace. Heavenly does have the Tamarack Lodge, a 15,000 square ft restaurant/bar that may accommodate receptions of up to 400 people in the ski lift area. The gondola carries you down to 8500 ft on the other side of the mountain from the lake to reach the ski lift area which provides access to the highest peak. From Tamarack Lodge, Lake Tahoe is completely hidden from view by scenic mountainsides. Tamarack Lodge has a full menu with numerous options including both vegetarian and gluten free entrees, but because of the absence of a lake view most couples that want both a wedding and a reception arrange their wedding at Hevenly's Lakeview Lodge instead.
The Lakeview Lodge provides facilities for both from a vantage point where you can see the entire extent of Lake Tahoe. To get there, you take a five minute ride on Heavenly's Aerial Tramway cable car which originates at the parking lot for Heavenly's largest lodge, the California Lodge at 3860 Saddle Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, on the corner of Saddle & Wildwood Roads. The Lakeview Lodge is only about 1000 ft above Lake Tahoe, but being closer to the lake makes the lake look significantly larger, and the mountains around it are more imposing as they tower above you. The wedding and reception are both held on a flat clearing above a cliff that gives you a truly unimpeded view of the lake. In case of inclement weather, the Lakeview Lodge has a couple of dining rooms and can accommodate a maximum of 250 people. The menu options are just as diverse as what is available at the Tamarack Lodge including both vegetarian and gluten free fare. The Lakeview Lodge is only open by special arrangement for weddings from May through October, and the ski lifts that could take you higher up the mountain are not operating during this time of year.