Historically known as the divorce capitol of the world, Reno continues to pay tribute to it's quirky past. Reno has also embraced the flip side of the proverbial coin with a handful of wedding chapels, hotels for lovers and romantic vistas. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to say, “I do,” then consider this as the starting point for cherished memories with your sweetheart that will surely last a lifetime.
Wedding bells are ringing
First thing on the itinerary is the ceremony. There are several options offering custom, expedited experiences ranging from simple to extravagant. The Arch of Reno Wedding Chapel specializes in traditional nuptials. From simple vows to elegant events, this full-service wedding boutique is located right on the Truckee River and offers everything from tux and gown rentals to garters at affordable prices.
Celebrating more than a half-century of service, Chapel of the Bells was around back when newly divorced folks were tossing their wedding rings from the famed Virginia Street Bridge. Welcoming all types of wedding ceremonies, this is a great option for those on a budget (leaving extra funds for a romantic hotel or excursion — more on this below). Check their website for a basic civil ceremony coupon for $75.
If you’re looking for something lakeside, try Four Seasons in South Lake Tahoe. Their wedding specialists are experts in planning the perfect wedding amidst the breath-taking scenery of Tahoe without paying the hefty price tag usually associated with Tahoe weddings.
Were you in such a hurry to get married you forgot to pack the dress and tux? Try Junkee Clothing Exchange for truly original and last-minute styling.
Now that the official business has been officiated, next comes the perfect dwelling to carry the bride over the threshold. According to howstuffsworks.com this tradition has interesting roots:
“As it turns out, weddings in the days of yore sometimes followed kidnappings. This explains not only the role of the best man but also why the bride and groom customarily leave the wedding celebration before everyone else. It's symbolic of the groom stealing away with his bride, whisking her from her family and into a new life with him. The kidnapping theme also explains why grooms carry their brides over the threshold in some cultures. In Medieval Europe, carrying a bride into her new home prevented her from seeming too enthusiastic about losing her virginity. By picking her up and taking her into their home, the groom provided an alibi for his wife's chastity [source: Nickerson].
Interestingly, this isn't the only origin and rationale for a groom carrying his bride across the threshold after their wedding. It appears this custom also developed in other cultures for different reasons. Chief among these reasons was to thwart bad luck and evil spirits.”
So, if you’re looking to ward off those menacing goblins from the netherworld or snag some good juju, there are a few places worth mentioning. The Peppermill Reno not only houses a charming wedding chapel and several picture-perfect outdoor ceremony spots, it offers couples a romantic getaway package complete with room, spa treatments and great restaurants onsite. You and your honey can even test that new luck in the casino.
For the more outdoorsy couples, head to David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort in Genoa, Nevada. Based at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this spa condominium resort features five hot spring pools, full-service spa, fine dining at 1862 Restaurant & Saloon and special event services.
The Landing Resort & Spa in South Lake Tahoe offers an incredible stay option on the shores of what many tout as the most beautiful body of water in the world. This boutique hotel offers thoughtful amenities, lively personality, restorative spa packages and contemporary European design. The rooms are equipped with stone fireplaces and distinctive views.
Complete the matrimonial escape with a non-traditional reception. Here are a few ideas for the happy couple and any witnesses honored to be there for the big day.
How about a nice dinner and stroll along the river? Reno’s Riverwalk District plays host to many delicious eateries and local businesses along the paths by the famed waterway. Visit Campo for a seat on the patio and be sure to order the caramel budino for dessert. Wild River Grill also has outdoor seating and often features live music.
If you’d prefer to keep with the nature-loving, adventure theme, head to Chickadee Ridge on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Also known as Jessie’s Peak, this hiking area rises above Tahoe Meadows and has beautiful views of the lake. You’ll know you’ve reached the turnaround point when you meet other hikers feeding birdseed to the trail's namesake — the chickadee. This is also a great option for a wintertime snowshoe excursion. And, bring a picnic with your favorite treats to enjoy on the way.
If you’re staying at the lake or want a unique experience, board the M.S. Dixie at Zephyr Cove in South Lake. The 500-passenger paddle wheeler offers a scenic ride on the lake to Emerald Bay and back. With daytime, dinner and themed cruises this will make for the perfect celebration.
If you do make it to Reno or Lake Tahoe to walk down the aisle, may the magic of the area be all you need on your way to marital bliss.