It was an honor to be invited to Sarah and Colin's San Juan Islands Wedding last fall. It's no secret that having opportunities to travel to new places is one of my favorite parts of being a destination wedding photographer. I shoot in the Seattle area often. You may remember Crystal & Sarah's Seattle wedding or Alex & Ali's Trinity Tree Farm Wedding! Despite living in the PNW most of my life, I had never visited the San Juan Islands. I even lived in Seattle for a summer as an intern when I was just a baby twenty one year old but never made it up North!
Friday Harbor Wedding Photographer
This trip was so special. Not only did I get to bring my mama with me, but I followed Sarah's fashion blog way back in 2010. Meeting in real life felt like a dream come true after twelve years of knowing one another on the internet. Sarah is pretty much a celebrity to me. In case you don't recognize her, she runs a super successful mid-size fashion Tik Tok account with millions of views. Her Tik Tok account is like free therapy. She empowers women of all body sizes to embrace their bodies the way they are. Sarah preaches that you can dress however you want no matter what your body size is.
I felt so lucky when Sarah texted me one day in 2021 and asked if I was available to shoot her wedding. Sarah and Colin didn't have a date or a venue, but they knew they wanted me there (the HIGHEST compliment!). For a minute, the idea of going to Portugal was thrown in the hat. Then various National Parks. Finally, Sarah texted me a photo of the historic Roche Harbor Resort on Friday Harbor. A San Juan Islands Wedding fit them perfectly as a couple. They wanted a destination wedding with gorgeous scenery and a laid-back approach. Finding Roche Harbor Resort was fate!
Sarah and Colin's Love Story
Like all great love stories, Sarah and Colin's started on Tinder. Sarah has two gorgeous little girls and after ending a marriage, she jumped on Tinder for fun. Their first place took place over ice cream at Salt & Straw in Seattle. Sarah told me that meeting Colin felt like meeting her long lost best friend. After leaving a toxic relationship and religion, Colin was a breath of fresh air. He loved the fact that she was a mother and told me he felt like it was just a bonus that Sarah came with two perfect daughters. Sarah and Colin share a love for laughing (constantly), travel, and all the nerdy things in life. They are truly soulmates and bring out the best in one another. Colin moved in with Sarah and her girls during the pandemic which sealed the deal!
San Juan Islands Wedding Venue
If you have never visited the San Juan Islands in Washington State, first of all, you SHOULD!! From Seattle, it takes about an hour to drive to Anacortes. From Anacortes, you take a ferry ride to Friday Harbor. It takes about an hour and a half to get to Friday Harbor, but honestly, the ferry trip feels like a part of the experience. As my mom and I sat on the top deck of the ferry, we watched Bald Eagles fly overhead. The San Juan Islands are also famous for whale watching and abundant marine life. I fell in love with the islands in no time. The San Juan Islands feel completely remote and otherwordly. On our ferry ride, we careened in-between Evergreen covered small islands with nothing but ocean views for miles. Roche Harbor Resort is a GORGEOUS historic wedding venue located on Friday Harbor Island.
The Wedding Day
Because Friday Harbor is located on the very western point of Washington, the weather is typically rainy and foggy. However, the weekend we arrived for Sarah andColin's wedding, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I woke up on the island in my bed and breakfast to bright blue skies and the freshest ocean breeze. I arrived to Sarah's suite where she was getting ready with the balcony doors open. Views of Roche Harbor greeted me as I walked in the door! Sarah got ready with her sisters, mom, and daughters and niece in her hotel suite. It was the perfect quiet and slow paced morning. Sarah and Colin skipped a first look. Instead of a first look, they saw one another for the first time walking down the aisle!
I typically cry no less than three times during a wedding day and Sarah and Colin's was no exception. Colin cried as Sarah walked down the aisle and everyone cried with him as they smiled at one another. I also cried when Colin included separate vows for Sarah's daughters, vowing to love them forever. They promised to support one another's ambitions in their life and match one another's passions with love and support. Watching this couple vow to commit to a relationship rooted in respect and love for each other forever. They truly embody what it means to have an equal partnership.
Before starting the big party, we escaped on a golf cart for sunset portraits. The San Juan Islands create such an epic backdrop for sunset bridal portraits. My vision for their couple's portraits was to capture timeless editorial moments as well as light and goofy moments too. I think a lot of trends in wedding photography these days show really goofy/silly couples laughing candidly. As much as I love photos with lots of emotion and candid moments, I am also a big fan of the striking editiorial posed moments too. I love to tell couples who inquire with me that I will incorporate a mix of both posed photos AND candids. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
An Intimate Wedding Reception
It felt beyond important to Sarah and Colin that they share their day with only their closest friends and family. They hoped to enjoy their day as much as possible and create a weekend long experience with their closest people. Gathered around a U-shaped table, their wedding guests sat together for an intimate wedding dinner. I love when couples design their day around intention and creating an intimate environment was important for the feel of their day. Sitting down at dinner, everyone was able to see everyone in the room and chat amongst one another. It was perfect.
After dinner, toasts were shared. My favorite thing during intimate wedding receptions that doesn't happen as often during bigger weddings is when unplanned toasts happen. Several of Sarah and Colin's friends and family stood up to give off the cusp toasts. It felt so heartfelt and genuine to hear almost everyone in the room say a few words. I definitely shed a few tears!
The night ended with an amazing choreographed first dance by Sarah and Colin that made everyone laugh. I love nothing more than a reception outfit change and these two delivered. For the rest of the night, they danced with their girls and best friends. It was such a blast and the perfect end to celebrate the weekend!
Wedding Venues in San Juan Islands
- Snug Harbor Tiny Cabins for Intimate Weddings
- Pebble Cove Farm
- Rosario Resort
- Salt Water Farm
- Outlook Inn on Orcas Island
- Cozy Cabin Oceanfront on Lopez Island
- Beachfront home on Friday Harbor
More Intimate Weddings from My Blog You May Love!
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