Happy Real Weddings Wednesdays, everyone! Today, we’re celebrating Shena + Jeff and their scenic, mountainside wedding at Bear Valley Resort. This picturesque wedding is one you won’t want to miss, so be sure to keep scrolling for more photos from Danielle Alysse Photography, along with some insights from the couple themselves. Happy Wednesday and happy reading!

Wedding venue at Bear Valley Resort.

Tell us a little about you and your beloved.

Jeff and I originally met on Match.com almost 11 years ago. We had decided our first date would be in San Francisco. We met at Pier 23 for an icebreaker cocktail, walked up to City Lights Bookstore where Jeff bought me Jack Karouac’s On the Road, stopped at Vesuvio for another drink, and finished the evening at Comstock Saloon for dinner. It was such a fantastic first date that we decided to recreate it for our engagement photos! Danielle did an epic job on those as well! Fast forward eight years when we go to Lake Tahoe for what I think is my 40th birthday getaway, when Jeff proposed on a trip with our nearest and dearest friend around us! The planning of the wedding was assisted in the use of Theknot.com. It helped keep my timeline in check and reminded me of details that I may not be aware of, or had forgotten. We both had a destination wedding in mind, and originally it was going to be Cancun, but unfortunately, COVID, travel restrictions, vaccination requirements, and quarantines were a thing, so we changed our plans to be a more local spot, but still an experience. We also knew we did not want to sort out vendors, so we were looking for a venue that had many available options.

Groom watching his bride walk down the aisle.

Bride and groom getting married at Bear Valley Lodge mountainside.

Bride and groom celebrating as they walk down the aisle.

What was the best part of your wedding day?

Aside from the breakfast burrito that the Best Man brought me in the Bridal Suite that morning while sipping on mimosas and having hair and makeup done? My husband would say seeing me trembling like a leaf. I’m the strong one, he doesn’t see me so vulnerable and it struck a chord with him. I feel like it was when we were at dinner, and we were seated at the head table. I could look up and over our closest friends and family from all across the country, from all periods of our lives enjoying each other’s company and having a grand time.

Bride and groom posing for wedding photos with their bridal party.

Bride and her bridesmaids posing for wedding photos.

Groom and his groomsmen posing for wedding photos.

What else would you like to share about your big day?

It goes by so fast. Having the entire venue with everyone invited staying there with us over a long weekend was the best. It wasn’t a four-hour window of time that flashed by in an instant causing the memory to be a blur. It gave us time with everyone. Every single guest spoke at one point, everyone had an encounter, a moment. They legitimately got to know one another in a way that just is not possible in a traditional wedding format.

Bride posing in the mountains at Bear Valley lodge.

Groom posing on the mountainside of Bear Valley Resort.

Bride and groom kissing on the mountainside of Bear Valley Resort.

Groom holding up his bride in the mountains.

Bride and groom in the forest of Bear Valley Resort.

What advice would you give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now?

Ask for help. You’ll need it. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Remember the “one thing” rule. Apparently, one thing will go wrong at every wedding. Ours were the table assignments. I had incorrectly written down how many people fit at each table, so we just had to tell our close family to go to tables first and then have the DJ announce it was time for everyone else to sit down for dinner. It all worked out and was not worth the anxiety, or time away from other details to attempt to fix.

Wedding reception venue at Bear Valley Lodge.

Wedding venue at Bear Valley Lodge.

Anything you would have done differently?

Our Best Man and Matron of Honor both gave wonderful heartfelt speeches. I wish I had formulated something to give appreciation to them, my family, and my friends. My husband came up with something on the fly, but then he forgot to include thanking his mother. He is disappointed he wasn’t more prepared, and I am terrible at speaking on the spot.

Bride and groom having their first dance.

Photos courtesy of and copyright Danielle Alysse Photography used with permission.

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