By Laura Haefeli

TAHOE (CBS13) — Tahoe is a popular wedding destination but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations have slowed down. Though some couples are still holding onto hope in 2020, they’re skipping the big wedding altogether and eloping instead.

(Credit: Ruthanne Zouboukos)

“You know the most exciting part is saying ‘my husband,’” Kelly Le Mildfelt said.

Le Mildfelt just got married to her husband Adam in Tahoe after months of uncertainty.

“This year has taken a lot of turns. It’s been a year of pivoting,” Le Mildfelt said.

The couple originally planned to have a big destination wedding in Portugal, but that was quickly postponed after concerns over coronavirus made traveling nearly impossible.

“I call it the 2020 meltdown,” Le Mildfelt said.

But the happy couple didn’t let the pandemic stop them. They decided to elope in Tahoe instead.

“They still wanted that glimmer of happiness in their year,” said Meredith Richmond, the minister who married the couple.

Richmond said she officiates nearly 100 ceremonies during the Tahoe wedding season, but this year was different.

“It’s rare that all my weddings would be elopements,” she said. “I feel like everyone was coming to a realization that COVID is not going anywhere.”

(Credit: Ruthanne Zouboukos)

Richmond said the pandemic hit the Tahoe wedding industry hard.

“It was understood there will not be any large events in California,” she said.

Richmond said couples are opting for small and simple ceremonies instead.

“They still didn’t want to give up on being married in 2020 and to me, I feel like it’s maybe because they survived quarantine together,” Richmond said.

The newlyweds do plan on having a big celebration with their friends and family as soon as it is safe.

“All that matters is that we’re together and that we have this moment. It was the best day of our life,” Le Mildfelt said.

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