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Travel, Uncategorized, Weddings

Roche Harbor Resort | San Juan Islands Wedding Photographer

Roche Harbor Resort San Juan IslandI feel like it almost goes without saying that as a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer, I’m always picturing how I would photograph a bride and groom in every gorgeous scene I encounter. Whether or not I’m actually at a wedding—I could be just walking down the street, on a family trip, or taking a ferry across the Puget Sound—it’s almost instinctual at this point!

A few weeks ago my hubby had a few days off and we took a little family trip up to the San Juan Islands. I’m sure I’m not alone in that the San Juans are one of my favorite places in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! The small-town feel of the little communities, the beautiful northwest landscape dotted with farms and homesteads, not to mention beautiful rocky beaches and breathtaking water views everywhere you look!

One of my favorite stops on our trip was Roche Harbor Resort on the northern tip of San Juan Island. Roche Harbor features a historic collection of buildings including a hotel, a decommissioned limestone quarry, marina, general store, restaurant, and a chapel, in addition to numerous options for accommodation in addition to the hotel.

The light at Roche Harbor Resort is especially beautiful. On this particular day, the skies were partly cloudy with moments of sun peeking through and lighting up the grounds with cheerful color. I love overcast days because the light is so flattering to people and makes for soft, stunning portraits, while preserving the colors in the landscape around you.

The well-kept gardens at Roche Harbor boast an abundance of colorful annuals and perennials, and would be an incomparable location for gorgeous romantic portraits of a bride and groom. As luck would have it, on the day of our visit the resort staff were setting up for a wedding that was to occur later in the afternoon, and I was able to take a few photographs of the ceremony set-up before the guests arrived! When your wedding ceremony is going to take place in such a beautiful garden, no decor beyond chic, matching chairs is necessary—although I could certainly envision a graceful arbor or ceremony backdrop set up at the front of the aisle.

Gardens are one of my most favorite things in the world—anytime we travel, I’m always hoping to find a local garden to visit. Plants, flowers, and the gorgeous foliage of the Pacific Northwest are integral to my style of wedding photography. While I’m sure I would fall in love with the natural landscape of another region, I’m particularly lucky to be a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer because our region is so lush and green!

If there’s something I love almost as much as gardens and wild natural places, it’s historic architecture! Roche Harbor Resort is a collection of historic buildings that offers a myriad of backdrops for fun and quirky portraits highlighting the vintage detail, typography, and rich history of the location. The site of the resort was a former limestone quarry, and limestone plays a major part in the industrial history of the islands. The Hotel De Haro, whose monicker stands out boldly above the resort, features charming architecture from 1886, with three stories of colonnaded balconies overlooking the breathtaking gardens. The resort resembles a small village with it’s collection of cottages, town homes, and boutiques nestled into the forested harbor. Set a few yards away from the main cluster of buildings is a quaint little white chapel, which overlooks the marina and features prominently in the view as you approach Roche Harbor from the water.

Roche Harbor would be perfect for any Northwest Bride who loves the water… but also wants to be surrounded by towering Douglas fir trees… in a beautiful garden… with historic architecture…on an island… and still have plenty of amenities and accommodations for guests close by! It’s not too remote, but still has the feeling of a destination get-away. And it goes without saying that the opportunities for stunning portraits are almost endless. If the architecture, gardens, and beautiful marina aren’t enough, the rest of San Juan Island offers innumerable possibilities for gorgeous wedding photos, or even a relaxed day-after portrait session.

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