This Convict Lake wedding was one of our favorite springtime elopements from this year! For those of you that don’t know, Convict Lake is in the Eastern Sierra Mountains in California. Everything about this wedding had our jaws on the floor: from their first look atop Mammoth Mountain, to their intimate Convict Lake wedding Ceremony, to the incredible sunset we experienced, it was all so unreal! Enjoy reading through this and saving some ideas for your own Convict Lake Wedding!
Gondola Ride for a First Look on top of Mammoth Mountain
Nicole & Zach started their day getting ready at a super cute boutique hotel in Bishop, CA. It’s about a 40-minute drive from Convict Lake, but it has much more affordable places to stay than Mammoth does. They decided they would get ready together but Nicole waited to put on her wedding dress so it was still a surprise!
When we suggested they take the scenic gondola up to have their first look on top of Mammoth Mountain they were stoked! The scenic gondola runs year round and is a great way to explore at 11,000 feet if you aren’t up for that kind of hike We rode the gondola up and were greeted with the most beautiful views, the kind that looks fake because they’re so good! Neither of them had been out west before their wedding day, so it was fun to see their faces as they took in the mountains for the first time!
A Private Convict Lake Wedding Ceremony
After their first look, we drove from Mammoth Mountain to Convict Lake, about a 20-minute drive. We arrived at Convict Lake and showed Nicole & Zach a couple of options we thought would be nice for their wedding ceremony. We always feel that it’s important to let the couple decide which spot feels right for them! After all, it is their wedding day!
They decided on a quiet little beach area with stunning views of the mountains all around them. Nicole & Zach decided to write their own vows in beautiful vow books and read them aloud to each other as storm clouds started to gather above us. Becky officiated the ceremony and made things official just as it started to rain! We jumped in the cars and drove to the other side of the lake where the rain hadn’t reached yet.
One of the things to know about the weather in the Eastern Sierras and Convict Lake is that it is always changing. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable which can be really scary if you’re not prepared! But if you plan ahead, it can create an incredible atmosphere as it did for Nicole & Zach’s wedding day.
Including Family From Afar
Nicole & Zach decided not to invite any guests to their Convict Lake wedding. They wanted it to just be the two of them so they could really focus on each other during their day. They did however find special ways to include family even though they weren’t there.
Nicole’s mom passed away when she was a little girl so Nicole knew she wanted to wear her mom’s wedding veil for her special day. She also wore her mom’s wedding ring. When her mom passed, her aunt stepped up into the “mom” role and so Nicole wore her Aunt’s turquoise bracelet as a way of having her there by her side in a way.
Nicole’s father also gifted them with a beautiful wine bottle holder which they brought with them and drank out of at Convict Lake. It was a really sweet way to involve their family.
A Moody Sunset Over the Eastern Sierra Mountains
We’ve seen a lot of sunsets in the Eastern Sierra Mountains but this one was unlike anything we had seen before! We left Convict Lake after the wedding ceremony, as the rain started to fall and we drove to a secret spot that has great views of Mammoth Mountain. One of the best things about hiring a photographer who knows the area is that they have their own special locations that they’ve found over the years that are off the beaten path!
The sunset was almost finished as we headed off down the road. The lighting was soooooo good that we pulled over the cars and jumped out for more photos! We put some country music on and Nicole & Zach danced around in the middle of the street, laughing and spinning around. It was a beautiful day through and through.
Best Time to Visit Convict Lake and Where to Stay
Convict Lake is open year-round but our favorite times to visit are the spring and fall. Summer is beautiful as well, but is often crowded, and hot, and can be smoky if there are wildfires nearby. And winter is super fun but be ready for chilly temps and lots of snow!
The closest places to stay are in Mammoth Lakes or in Bishop. Since Mammoth is a ski town, it can be more expensive to stay there. Bishop is a bit further of a drive but you’ll find more affordable options for places to stay!
Some of our favorite spots to stay in Mammoth are The Mammoth Creek Inn, The Village Lodge, and Empeiria High Sierra Hotel. Our top 2 favorites in Bishop are Creekside Inn and Eastside Guesthouse and Bivy, where Nicole and Zach stayed for their Convict Lake Wedding.
Convict Lake Wedding Photographer
Photographing this Convict Lake wedding was so much fun. It was incredible to be able to share this beautiful area with our couple and to see the awe and excitement on their faces was something we’ll never forget! If you’re dreaming of a Convict Lake wedding or are interested in getting married somewhere else in the Eastern Sierras, we would be honored to document your day!
As Convict Lake wedding photographers, we’ve explored the area for over 15 years now and have tons of great hidden locations up our sleeves. We will work together to find the best spot for your ceremony and then help you create a timeline for your day that includes all of your favorite things.
You can find out more about us and how we do things by tapping here and if you already know that you want us to be your Convict Lake wedding photographers, click here to fill out our contact form today so we can start chatting! We’re so excited to get to know you two and to curate the most perfect elopement day ever!
If you want to read more about this Convict Lake Wedding, it was posted over on Wandering Weddings and you can check it out here!