Tahoe wedding planner a master of her craft
Special to the Sun
INCLINE VILLAGE — It’s that moment right before the bride is about to walk down the aisle that Shannon Morse favors most.
“It’s my last chance to tell her to ‘cherish this moment and be present’ and I get to tell her how beautiful she looks just before she takes that first step towards the rest of her life,” Morse says in her characteristically soothing voice.
With nearly two decades of wedding and event planning experience, it’s no wonder many brides turn to Morse to help iron out the kinks of tying the knot in Tahoe.
“In stressful moments, I slow down and go into take-control-mode where I’m very methodical and detail-oriented,” Morse said. “I’m the eyes of the client and I want to oversee all the details in the same way I would if it were my special day.”
Married to the plan
A number of visions may come to mind when discussing the business of weddings, from the big white dress to the small family feud, and Morse’s plan is to make sure that all goes smoothly at the event.
“If I show stress on my face, the clients and the vendors will become stressed, and it all trickles out from there,” Morse said. “I always say you’re either a Chief or an Indian and I go into the Chief mentality.”
According to Morse, the wedding industry of Lake Tahoe brings in approximately $3 billion in revenue every year, making it the third most popular wedding destination in the world, which keeps her planning calendar busy year-round.
“Tahoe is a true destination that attracts couples who love the serene mountains, the peacefulness that Lake Tahoe brings, plus the plethora of recreational activities that their guests can enjoy,” Morse said. “There’s a spiritual component of getting married here as well, and I think that’s what makes all of my clients so special to me — they’re laid-back, down-to-Earth, and it’s easy to provide them with all the things they’re looking to get out of Tahoe, because there’s so much already here for them.”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty for Morse to plan before the big day.
From vendors to venues to verifying that the FOB isn’t MIA — wedding planner talk meaning the father of the bride isn’t missing in action — there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes details to focus on.
“I love the design aspect, and that’s really what I specialize in — bringing it all together and seeing the conversations come to life,” Morse said. “It really is like turning dreams into a reality, and that is what I find most rewarding.”
Details and decision-making aside, the allure of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada sweeps couples off their feet almost as much as the breathtaking summertime backdrop of Lake Tahoe.
“If you’re a skier or you got engaged on a ski hill, you’re going to want your wedding to reflect that in some way, so while most weddings do happen in the summer, I work with a substantial amount of winter-wedding clients too,” Morse said.
Some things just can’t be planned
No stranger to the great outdoors, Morse has spent a good deal of time traveling the world from the Himalayas to the Swiss Alps — experiences she credits to teaching her patience, time-management and, most importantly, gratitude.
“Seeing child beggars in India broke my heart, and it made me realize how fortunate I am to have what I have,” Morse said. “You think you’re down in the dumps, but then you look back and remember moments like that and you’re able to put things back into perspective.”
Her light-hearted, enthusiastic nature subsides as her mind wanders back to that time in northern India.
“It’s amazing what other people endure, and not only that, but that they are able to walk away still smiling afterward,” Morse added.
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.