Meet Our Cover Bride and See Why She Chose to Get Married at Squaw Valley

Bride and groom in front of the gondola

Meet our cover couple, Katie Gaines & Mitch DeAngelis, who said their "I Do's" at our breathtaking High Camp venue on September 15, 2017 in front of 162 guests and the Squaw Valley mountain peaks. The beautiful bride Katie sat down with our Weddings & Banquets Sales Manager, Jenna Western, to talk about her big day and why she chose to get married in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. 

Interview with Our Cover Bride 

Why did you choose to get married at the Village at Squaw Valley?

Mitch and I chose to get married at Squaw Valley because we both love the mountains and wanted to celebrate that love from the top of a favorite one of ours! We knew that Squaw Valley offered a breathtaking backdrop for our ceremony and our expectations were exceeded. There is nothing better than being surrounded by the mountains with a group of your closest friends and family to celebrate. It was an experience none of us will forget.

Bride and groom laughing
What do you remember most about the wedding menu for your big day?

The wedding menu offered us plenty of items to choose from and both my husband and I were very pleased with our selections. Our guests made it a point to let us know that the food was delicious. I had always heard that the bride and groom struggle to eat on their big day, so my husband and I made it a point to enjoy our meals and we are very glad we did!

There are a lot of fun things to do at Village at Squaw Valley. What activities did your guests enjoy while they stayed here for the wedding weekend?

My bridal party and I went on a morning hike up Shirley Canyon and the boys took bikes down the meadow trail the morning of our wedding. The entire wedding party took advantage of the access to the outdoors and breathing the fresh mountain air! The rest of the guests went hiking on their own, enjoyed shopping in The Village and visited the restaurants, and some even went golfing. The rest of the weekend we joined the Strings and Chicken Wings festivities that the resort was hosting. 

Wedding kiss at Squaw Valley High Camp Upper Deck Venue
Our wedding venues are truly unique and legendary, especially High Camp at the top of the mountain. What were the comments from your guests?

Several of my guests used the photos they took of their family attending my wedding as their annual holiday cards, including my husband and I! The backdrop was unbelievable and the photographs came out beautiful, it was a total dream. Many of my guests mentioned to me directly that this was the most beautiful and memorable wedding they have ever attended. My mom continues to tell me to this day that our extended family and friends still date my wedding as the best wedding they have ever been to and I have to agree!

Bride and Groom during wedding ceremony at Squaw Valley High Camp
Our venue planning team on site is so experienced with weddings and they love their job. I’m curious, what is the best advice you received from your dedicated venue planner?

The best advice I got from my wedding planner (Caitlin) was to slow down and enjoy every moment. She was the one that suggested I enjoy my meal with my husband on my wedding day and I found myself mentally stopping throughout my day to remind myself to soak it all in. It was the best advice to take with me throughout the big day!

Wedding Ceremony at Squaw Valley's High Camp Upper Deck
What is your highlight memory or funny story that you love to relive when thinking about your wedding at Squaw Valley?

One funny story is that my father in law almost missed my wedding if it wasn’t for the awesome Operational Team at Squaw Valley. He suffers from vertigo and anxiously waited until the last tram up to get up to our ceremony location at the top of High Camp. He realized that he was not able to take the tram up and he was devastated to let me know that he would have to miss the ceremony of his son’s wedding. The team at Squaw quickly made some calls and as the bridal party loaded the tram, Squaw had a representative picking up my father in law to drive him directly to the ceremony site. My bridal party and I watched from the tram ride up, the trail of dust from the truck driving my father in law to the top of the mountain so he could be a crucial part of our special day. It is such a wonderful memory to look back on because I felt that the team at Squaw just made things happen. Any issue that came up throughout the day was resolved before I ever had the time to worry. It was just awesome!

Bridesmaids and bride in the gondola

My favorite memory of my wedding day was when I was riding the Aerial Tram up with my bridal party to the ceremony location at High Camp. There was a moment where I was standing at the front of the tram and we were approaching the landing dock and as we approached, I saw all of our guests gathering on the deck awaiting to be seated and start the celebrations. As the tram neared, they all came to the railing and started waving and cheering to us. I was surrounded by the people who are closest to me in my life and we all stood there and waved back and hooped and hollered back, it was the most memorable moment ever and I was so excited to get the party started! 

What would you have done differently?

I think I would have had a video made of my special day. The images are absolutely unbelievable and I find that I wish I had more to look back on and relive some of those moments. But, I guess that is part of what makes it so special, you had to be there to know!

And what marriage advice can you offer?

Get outside and have fun TOGETHER. You can start by getting married at Squaw.

If you could do it all over again, would you still choose Squaw Valley?

Over and over again. I think I would stay all week instead of just the weekend.

Bride and Groom dance during wedding reception at Squaw Valley's Olympic Village Lodge
Photos: Megan Robinson