How does a wedding planner say “I do?” Just ask Danielle Tolleson of Elise Events. For her wedding to Blake Williams, she went to her fiance’s favorite place, hired her favorite vendors to work with, and said "yes" to a stunning lace jumpsuit. Of course, she collaborated with her own team to ultimately host a guest-focused celebration at Martis Camp in Truckee, California, She and Blake invited 65 of their closest friends and family for the day, which included three wedding cakes, a band, and a DJ, and a giant welcome basket filled with their favorite treats. It all took place near Lake Tahoe, a special place for Blake, who grew up going to the lake most weekends from his hometown in Reno, Nevada.
“When searching for a venue, we wanted to make sure we had the elegant vibe of Tahoe while still incorporating relaxed and organic components for us and our guests,” Blake says. “Having dinner and dancing surrounded by beautifully lighted trees was more than spectacular.”
One of the many special touches is that the couple’s vendors were all wedding industry professionals who loved working with Danielle on past events. “It was more like having additional friends at our wedding than hired professionals, “ the groom adds. “Watching it all come to fruition and seeing Danielle’s design come to life was incredible.”
Danielle says that she really enjoyed working with The Idea Emporium to create custom paper goods, including the invitations, and event branding. “Carey helped us set the first tone of our wedding to really nod to Tahoe and us,” she says of the company’s Carey Lowe. The invitation suite featured a five-layer, topographical map of Lake Tahoe with hand-dyed and laser-cut pieces.
Upon arrival, guests received a ceramic box filled with the couple’s go-to snacks like Mast chocolate bars, RX bars, Boxed Water, and Dardiman’s dry fruits.
Each guest also received a personalized note and a small bag of flower petals to toss at the ceremony.
Danielle got ready with her mother and sister-in-law. She describes the wedding party as “small but mighty” since it featured only three people: her brother, sister-in-law, and Blake’s cousin.
Danielle opted for a classic and timeless wedding gown from designer Tara LaTour, which she wore with a pair of Oscar de la Renta pearl hairpins, her grandmother’s diamond ring, and a romantic bouquet of garden roses, smoke bush, and miniature plums.
Danielle included her favorite flowers, hellebores, along with foraged foliage in the boutonnieres.
Blake opened a groom’s gift—a vintage typewriter—before the ceremony. “Blake has a strong love for all things antique and he loves metal material,” Danielle says of the inspiration behind the present. “My hope was that we would have an item to journal our adventures and milestones for years to come.”
Blake wore a textured green wool jacket and brown pants as his wedding suit, a custom creation he designed with Tailors' Keep in San Francisco. He added a brown Ermenegildo Zegna tie and his father’s gold Gucci watch for the complete look.
Guests were greeted with refreshments before the ceremony, which took place on the lawn overlooking the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Danielle and Blake count autumn as their favorite season, so they wanted rich fall colors incorporated into a light and romantic vibe for the June event. The chuppah was covered in a dreamy, dark smoke bush that was offset by the evergreen tones of the landscape in the backdrop, and guests sat at dusty rose-hued modern chairs.
On each seat was a small bag of flower petals to toss during the recessional.
Danielle wanted to include nods to family during the ceremony, and one way was to use her grandfather’s tallit on the chuppah. They also both entered alongside their parents.
We wanted the day to feel intimate, surrounded by our family and dearest friends.
“From the moment we started the planning process, Blake and I both knew what we wanted our day to look and feel like,” Danielle says. “We wanted the day to feel intimate, surrounded by our family and dearest friends.”
Danielle’s uncle served as the officiant for the ceremony filled with Jewish traditions, and the couple’s three wedding party members looked on from beside the chuppah.
Adding specific anecdotes let our family and guests into our lives just a little bit more. Being able to make Danielle laugh and cry was such a beautiful memory that I will cherish forever.
One of the couple’s best memories of the day was reciting their own personal vows. “Adding specific anecdotes let our family and guests into our lives just a little bit more,” Blake says of the vows. “Being able to make Danielle laugh and cry was such a beautiful memory that I will cherish forever.”
“Blake absolutely blew me away with his vows,” Danielle adds. “They were romantic, funny, beautiful and silly all wrapped into one.”
“After the breaking of the glass and kiss, guests tossed florals at us as we came back down the aisle as husband and wife,” Danielle says of walking up the aisle amid a shower of blooms.
I gained a whole new level of respect and love for her throughout the planning process.
“I gained a whole new level of respect and love for her throughout the planning process,” Blake says of seeing his new wife’s professional skills up close while organizing the wedding.
Various lounge areas were set up around the camp for guests during cocktail hour.
The signature drinks included custom ice cubes that featured the couple’s wedding logo as well as linen napkins embroidered with the logo.
The escort cards were attached to lavender-scented votive candles and displayed alongside custom matchbooks with lyrics from the first dance song. “Candles are a favorite in our household, and we couldn’t think of anything more fitting than to send our favorite people home with one,” Danielle says.
To echo autumn in the reception décor, Danielle used rich colors like mauve, dusty rose, and rust on the wood tabletops alongside earth-toned flowers and textured taper candles.
To lighten up the look, guests sat in white wishbone chairs and white porcelain ceramics dotted the tablescape.
Since the “littlest guests were just as important,” Danielle and Carey Lowe of The Idea Emporium came up with a handmade wooden matching game to include with the children’s place settings. They featured engraved drawings of Lake Tahoe-inspired elements and the couple’s wedding logo.
The dinner menu was especially meaningful to Danielle and Blake. They worked closely with the Martis Camp culinary team to design dishes that represented their relationship, including recreating their favorite arugula and fennel citrus salad.
“Don’t lose sight of the most important thing: each other,” Danielle says. “Enjoy every minute.”
After dinner, Danielle changed into a second look, a lace-and-silk jumpsuit by Rime Arodaky. “I have followed Rime for a while and love how modern and edgy her pieces are,” Danielle says. “It was fun, playful, and sexy—the perfect thing to wear to the party portion of the day.”
Blake, admittedly, has a sweet tooth, so desserts were a big deal. Instead of one wedding cake, the couple had three.
There were cookies and French macarons, too, all displayed on modern glass shelves next to the dance floor.
Danielle’s favorite DJ from Truckee kept guests on the dance floor, including for the hora. After the wedding, the couple set off on a honeymoon to London to explore a place neither of them had ever been. “We fell in love with the British lifestyle—the palaces, the Tube, the theater—and cherished every day,” Danielle says.
Venue Martis Camp
Planner Elise Events
Reception Dress Rime Arodaky
Hair & Makeup Seven 31
Bridesmaids' Dresses IRO
Mother of the Bride's Dress St. John
Groomsmen's Attire Tailor’s Keep
Children Attendants' Attire Go Gently Nation
Floral Design Natasha Kolenko Design
Stationery The Idea Emporium
Music Brian Hess Music
Catering Martis Camp
Favors The Idea Emporium
Videography Johnny B Films
Photography Joel Serrato