Welcome to Vendor Dispatch, where we chat with our vendor partners about their approach to working with couples, the ceremony from their point of view, and the magic that happens behind the scenes. Want to be featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Christa Deane
Does: Lake Tahoe officiant, Mountain High Weddings
Based: Homewood, California
Behind the Scenes
What’s your daily routine during the week, when you’re doing all the BTS work that couples don’t see?
My typical day start at 5:30 a.m. and I spend a little time with my sweetie, make his lunch and see him off to work. Between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. I do a little social media, check emails, and get my day started. It’s a little “me time” before my son gets up and I start the day. During the day I try and get some exercise in. Depending on the season, it’s biking and hiking, or skiing downhill or cross-country.
Every day is different as I try and stay flexible so I can be available for the last minute ceremonies. I also try and volunteer in my son’s school; since things are different now, I’m going to help at the post office as they are understaffed and overwhelmed. On days I officiate I write up the license the day-of as I cannot make any changes to it (sometimes locations change or people don’t make it up and we change the date).
What does being an officiant actually entail?
Herding cats. Seriously, being an officiant requires a lot of patience. Being able to adapt to surprises with weather, crowds, and future in-laws. Being able to communicate before the ceremony with couples and listening to their needs. Having a wealth of knowledge on locations as well as restrictions and marriage laws. You must be able to deal with stress and bring a calmness to the ceremony. Being able to speak clearly and know how to use a microphone with wind helps, too.
Why did you decide to become an officiant?
1996 was the year. I became an officiant after working in a flower shop and realized the need. As much as I love working with flowers, it’s a tough job. At the time, there weren’t many officiants who were adventurous. Tahoe was also was not a “wedding destination” so I was active in the early days of the North Lake Tahoe Wedding Association. I was blessed and two officiants took me under their wings and showed me the ropes, and also advised me on becoming a notary so I can issue licenses in Placer County.
Being an officiant is almost addictive. There’s an amazing feeling—I call it a “wedding buzz”—after performing a ceremony. There is something magical about being able to bring two people in love together.
Who or what inspires you?
Nature inspires me, and so does my son. I’m constantly amazed at the beauty of where I live. My son is growing so fast and has been dealt more challenges then he should be dealing with. His resilience and kind nature always makes me proud and I learn so much from him.
In the Field
What kinds of ceremonies do you do (religious, spiritual, civil, symbolic)?
I do all ceremonies. I do my best to reflect the couple’s wishes whether it be short and sweet, religious, or traditional, and incorporate rituals. Handfasting, sand ceremonies, drinking from the same cup, tying the knot, and a tree-planting are a few I have done over the years. I’m always up for researching more.
How would you describe your vibe?
I’m very easy going, and I would say calming as well. I’m blessed with a connection to nature so I think that radiates at times too.
What do you usually wear to officiate?
I coordinate with my couples as best as I can. I usually wear navy or black, and depending on how fancy the ceremony is, I have several casual dresses up to full-on suits. If the couple is beach themed and wearing flip flops, I feel a little over dressed in a suit and pumps. Depending on where the ceremony is, and if there’s hiking, I have Tevas up to full on hiking boots.
Favorite elopement spots and venues in Tahoe:
I try and keep my private spots somewhat private. I did just get my permit for Emerald Bay, where I’ll be doing sunrise ceremonies and mid-week ceremonies—it’s too crowded any other time. Eagle Rock is always a favorite and I found an amazing conservancy meadow and beach area in South Lake that is beautiful, too.
What’s the #1 question you get asked by couples?
“Where can we elope?” My answer: “Which side of the lake are you staying on?”
Get all your ducks in a row. Take care of all your details regarding wedding plans and then discuss with each other the goals. One paragraph? A full page? Don’t try and memorize them. Write them out a few days before the ceremony and revisit them. It should require some effort—not thrown together after the rehearsal dinner. Get them to me the day before the ceremony as I don’t like having to print them up just before I leave for the ceremony!
What you wish couples knew before they booked you (pandemic aside):
Have faith that I know what I’m doing, listen to local advice, and be flexible.
Around how many elopements were on the books for 2020?
I’ve done over 75 ceremonies in 2020, and I have a few on the books for 2021, but with the current COVID-19 restrictions I’m finding more couples are waiting to book (the usual booking time is about two to four weeks out).
What are your guidelines for couples and yourself during the pandemic?
With COVID-19, I’ve been a stickler for outside ceremonies, as well as being touchless. I am not touching the rings, and when I issue the license I’ve been requesting that the couples text me a photo of their license so I don’t have to touch it (it also makes issuing the license super fast, and I sterilize the pens that they sign the license with and they get to keep the pens afterward). With the change of seasons and some ceremonies moving inside, masks will be required for all but the couple, and I stand a little further away. The worst part is I can’t hug my couples!
Favorite elopement trend of the pandemic:
Eloping in general. I have always loved elopements; they are more intimate and I think the couples who go this route are actually relieved. After their cancelled, large weddings, so many couples who decide to elope are so happy afterward. Many couples went big on a wedding week, like upgrading to the hotel suite, renting the convertible, and going sky diving or getting a tattoo. Some have spent their budget on their homes—the backyard small ceremony gave them a reason to put in that deck and buy new patio furniture. One groom even surprised his wife with a bigger wedding band.
I feel this pandemic has brought people closer to their families, and as couples, they get to celebrate their love and make it about them. The stress is less so they can concentrate on what’s important to them and them only. They discover the beauty of celebrating their love with no other cares or concerns.
Biggest piece of advice for couples making the switch from a big wedding to a micro wedding or elopement:
Embrace the chance to celebrate your love together. There are no rules. It is completely your day. There will always be time to have a party. You don’t have to give up your party—you get to have two.
To hire Christa for your elopement, message her via her vendor profile.