Real Weddings

Minimalist Blue Wedding on a Pacific Northwest Island

Getting married on an island seems so lavish, doesn't it? Regardless of whether you traipse over to an island chain in the sunny Maldives or take the cue of Tammy and Porter and get hitched in bucolic Orcas Island, Washington, you're setting yourselves and your guests up for a unique time.

Orcas Island is a fragment of the San Juan Islands located in Washington and it's the archetypal “sleepy little seaside town”. They got engaged on neighboring Blakely Island and they deduced that continuing their attachment to the San Juan Islands was a necessity. It was a locked decision for them to wed at the peaceful Rosario Resort & Spa with 175 of their most beloved ones. (That story we prefaced on our IG is below. Get your tissues handy.)

As seen from Carina Skrobecki's captivating shots, without detracting from the natural allure of the area, Tammy and Porter kept their wedding motifs clean and simple, peppering moody and muted blues all throughout, from goblets that Tammy sourced to their watercolored paper suites by their dear friend. They accommodated their wedding guests with wood farm tables with white floral bud vases and greenery under a white tent. Lovingly, their moms threw in their great effort in their wedding too, with Porter's mom assisting with Jen Leslie with planning and Tammy's mom doing the crocheting for their table numbers. The newlyweds wanted to keep it centric to their love, loved ones, and the surrounding exquisiteness of the islands. We think they succeeded tenfold.

How did you meet?

Our dear friend (and angel) Meg wove us together.  She called me one day and said “I just met your future husband.”  Without hesitation, knowing Meg always knew best, I went to meet Porter at a bar for the Seahawks game.  I pretended to be interested in sports while he pretended he didn't care about the game.  We were–and still are–total opposites- the yin and the yang and from that first meeting I knew we would balance, challenge and carry each other through all the ups and downs of life.

What is your proposal story?

The San Juan Islands are an incredibly special place to both of us. Porter spent his childhood summers on Blakely Island crabbing, racing dirt bikes, and adventuring.  I spent some of my favorite weekends on Orcas Island for a special music festival, Doe Bay. There has always been something extra special about the islands for us.  Our best friend Meg, who introduced us continued her match-making and helped Porter sneakily do some ring shopping, so the proposal was very much a surprise. 

Selfless, spirited Meg managed to hep make this magic happen all while receiving treatment for her aggressive cancer.  After years of chemo, radiation and surgeries we realized Meg's fierce desire to live could not beat the cancer that overtook her body.  After her last round of radiation, we snuck on a plane to the San Juans to all just get away and BE together.  Knowing her time was limited, Meg insisted that Porter propose that weekend. We all knew having her there to share in this life changing moment was a must.  While out in the garden and harvesting veggies for our dinner that night, Porter dropped to his knee as I was aggressively pulling out heads of romaine.  I screamed, blacked out and came back to it with the most beautiful oval diamond, my teary fiance and my best friend Meg beaming her bright beautiful smile, watching by from the upper deck. 

We toasted with our most favorite rosé bubbles (Salmon Cremant) and spent the day floating on the lake, mostly in silence just savoring that vivid, blue skied, perfect day.  One month later Meg passed away, and only later could we appreciate what incredible foresight she had in orchestrating the proposal when she did.  Holding her hand in ours reminded us she will forever be a part of our lives, the foundation of our marriage and the essence of eternal love.

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

Wine, vibes, and music.  I insisted on being outdoors, so we splurged on tables, chairs and a tent.  I (regretfully) asked my friends to help with flowers which was a HUGE undertaking, and something I wish I would have thought more about.  Guests should come to a wedding to celebrate and enjoy, not work.  It all turned out beautifully, but flowers are always more complex than you can appreciate. Our friend is a DJ and having vinyl and fun vibes all night was our top priority.  We also love natty wine, so we insisted on bringing in all of our own wine, and of course Aperol spritz.

What were your favorite parts of the day?

The actual ceremony! We stood on a grassy lawn overlooking the San Juan Island. Behind us was Blakely Island and our officiant, Meg's sister, arguably delivered the most beautiful sermon.  I made sure to look around and take it all in.  Getting ready with our friends and family was ultra special; lots of laughs, tears and dancing.  And cheese plates.  The speeches were unbelievable, and the dancing ended with Porter splitting his tuxedo pants. Signs of a good night, I'd say!

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Relax.  Don't get lost in the details and chaos.  Once you stop having fun, stop planning and figure out what really matters. It's you two being present, together, and surrounded by all of your favorite people.  That will never happen again, so savor it.  And hire a wedding planner. Just no excuses, do it.

Credits

The below wedding pros made this amazing event happen. See more of their work by visiting their website.