A Sophisticated Wedding Weekend on San Juan Island Ended With a Silent Disco

Touches of citrus set a vibrant scene for the tented reception.

Bride in an off-the-shoulder gown with bouquet and veil and groom in navy suit on a dock in the San Juan Islands

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Elizabeth Ayer and Brad Nordman were a “match” made in heaven when they connected via the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel in July 2014. “Our first date was chatting over drinks, and then an impromptu outdoor movie,” Elizabeth remembers. Almost exactly four years later, they took the next big step when Brad got down on one knee in Santorini, Greece

The duo got right to wedding planning.We chose our venue and most vendors in 2018, and it was smooth sailing—until we called it off in April 2020,” Elizabeth remembers. “The hardest part of the planning process was postponing our wedding and trusting that things would come together the following year. It turned out to be such a blessing in disguise and I’m grateful we had the extra time to make our wedding weekend outstanding. In the end, we were engaged for 1,117 days—which became a bit of a joke among our friends and family, but it worked for us! When you’re vowing to be together forever, what’s another year or three?”

Timing aside, it was the vision that mattered, and it came together flawlessly. For Elizabeth and Brad, the wedding was more than one day. It actually turned into a whole weekend affair. “I think I decided I’d get married at Roche Harbor when I was about 13,” the bride laughs. "So, I was quite relieved when Brad enthusiastically agreed. San Juan Island is one of my favorite places on earth, and Roche Harbor Resort in particular holds special significance for my family.” Her family has been visiting there since the 1960s. Now, there was a chance to show off this sliver of the Pacific Northwest to all of their family and friends joining from out of state. 

We wanted the weekend to feel like an all-inclusive, elevated summer camp experience,” Elizabeth says. “Many of our guests arrived by seaplane, which set the tone for a unique adventure. We created a calendar of events and wanted each night to feel distinct and slightly more formal than the previous, and provide ample quality time to mix our friend groups.” Festivities began on Thursday, when the bridal party kicked off the weekend with a luau dinner at Westcott Bay Shellfish Co., complete with lawn games and root beer floats. There was a whale-watching excursion for guests arriving Friday, a welcome dinner, and a send-off brunch on Sunday. 

Of course, there was also the main event. “Our Saturday wedding day was a marathon,” Elizabeth adds. Read on to see all the incredible details, planned by Kaleb Norman James and photographed by Janine Licare Photography.

Blue invitation suite with custom monogram, watercolor painting, and handwritten script

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Blonde bride gets her hair styled in an updo by a masked hairstylist

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

“We began our wedding day with a 7 a.m. ‘polar plunge’ into the 55-degree water of Puget Sound,” Elizabeth recounts. “It was such a fun and memorable way to kick off the big day. My mom brought everyone doughnuts, and then my bridesmaids and I dashed back to our room for hair and makeup.” Her beauty vision was natural and understated, with eyelash extensions for a little extra oomph. “My updo matched the simplicity of my dress; it felt very bridal."

Bride's mother helps her into an off-the-shoulder wedding gown by Carolina Herrera

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Bride in an off-the-shoulder wedding gown by Carolina Herrera, with hair in updo and carrying a lush bouquet

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Wedding dress shopping was a family affair. She found her off-the-shoulder Carolina Herrera gown at the since-shuttered Nordstrom Wedding Suite in Seattle. “My mom and I found not only my dress, but also hers and a new suit for my dad!” Elizabeth says. “I knew this dress was the one as soon as I put it on: It was an elegant yet simple design that let me shine through.” 

She went all in on the something old, new, borrowed, and blue tradition, with her most meaningful accessory being a veil. “My mom handmade it from the lace and layers of her own wedding dress, which she cut up to create my veil,” Elizabeth says. “It was gorgeous and such a meaningful addition to my look.”

Groom gets into blue wedding suit with windowpane pattern and brown shoes

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Groom in blue suit with light blue tie and white pocket square

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Brad wore a blue suit with a subtle windowpane pattern,” Elizabeth describes. “He stood out from the groomsmen who wore navy, but they all had matching ties, white shirts, and chestnut-brown shoes.”

Blonde bride with updo approaches groom for their first look

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Blonde bride with a bridal updo and diamond earrings laughs with her groom during first look

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Bride and groom carrying bouquet walk along the wharf on San Juan Island, Washington

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

The couple was playful with their first look—Elizabeth tried tricking Brad by tapping the wrong shoulder, but he couldn’t be fooled. They share, “As we finished our photos, we looked up and realized my dad was standing on the balcony above us, so he was able to witness the moment as well!”

Bridesmaids in mismatched patterned floor-length dresses with a green and blue palette holding bouquets

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

“My bridesmaids represented women from different stages in my life. It was so inspiring to see new friendships blossoming between girls I’d known separately for a long time, but had yet to meet each other.” She gave the girls autonomy in selecting their dress, as long as it was full-length in a blue-green color palette. 

Ceremony setting in a garden with floral arch and foldable wooden white chairs

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Custom floral arch with blush and peach-hued roses for a garden wedding ceremony

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Sun parasols in a wicker basket at the end of a wedding aisle lined with lush florals

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

A custom ceremony arch featured florals that played up their vibrant citrus palette, and 160 white chairs amped up the garden vibe.

Bride in Carolina Herrera gown walks down the aisle for a Jewish wedding alongside both her mom and dad

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Bride and groom exchange personal vows at wedding altar in front of a custom floral arch

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Bride and groom kiss in the aisle as they recess out of garden ceremony

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Elizabeth walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun” alongside both of her parents. A friend officiated the ceremony, and the couple exchanged personalized vows. “As the world’s biggest Michigan football fan, Brad was impressed that I ended my vows with a quote from Coach Bo Schembechler. His were very sweet as well,” Elizabeth says. Readings at the ceremony excerpted from James Kavanaugh, Bell Hooks, and Jeanette Winterson.

Bride and groom lead a second line parade from cocktail hour to reception

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Custom white escort board with floral box filled with blush and peach roses and greenery

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

escort cards pinned to escort board with watercolor paintings of citrus fruit, blue florals, and whales

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

After cocktail hour, the newlyweds led guests in a second-line parade to the reception space, one of Elizabeth’s favorite moments of the day. Once they arrived, everyone found their seats with illustrated cards on a floral-filled escort card wall.

Sailcloth reception tent below tall evergreen trees on San Juan Island, Washington

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Lounge vignette with sofa and chairs beneath crystal light fixtures at tented reception

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Blue, orange, and peach floral centerpieces with blue plates and embroidered monogramed linens

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Lush floral centerpieces were set between rattan hurricanes and wooden bowls of citrus fruit beneath the sailcloth tent. “Tables were set with powder-blue linens, which accented the Italian ceramic place settings and matching blue dinner plates,” Elizabeth says. Custom embroidered napkins and runners featured the couple’s monogram, which they also had emblazoned on corn hole boards on the lawn, and slippers for guests.

Custom white bar topped with florals in vases inside a sailcloth reception tent

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

His and hers signature cocktail menu with Aperol Spritz and spicy margaritas

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

From behind a custom bar, servers slung signature his-and-hers cocktails: spicy margaritas and Aperol spritzes.

Bride and groom share their first dance while live band plays at a tented reception

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Their first dance song selection was an easy choice. “We danced to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ by Frankie Valli,” Elizabeth says. “It’s been our song since our second date, when we sang it together at a karaoke bar!”

Bride and groom listen to speeches seated in lounge vignette at tented reception

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Bride and groom cut a five-tier wedding cake decorated with clematis vine and lemons

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Their wedding cake—uniquely flavored with pink Champagne and banana bread—was decorated to mimic the bride’s bouquet, with trailing clematis vines and organic florals. Lemons were also added to tie in the tablescapes. 

Groom lifted up by wedding guests on the dance floor during reception

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

Bride dances with guests wearing headphones for a silent disco

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

We were all scream-singing to Backstreet Boys while wearing silent disco headphones!

bride and groom on the dance floor with their guests at wedding reception

Photo by Janine Licare Photography

The live band played until the area’s 10 p.m. noise curfew—but that didn’t stop the party. “We ended the night with a silent disco,” the bride says. The next day, an onlooker from the yacht dock nearby told the couple, “‘I was loving the free concert, but was confused when the music suddenly stopped and the singing continued. What happened?’ Well, we were all scream-singing to Backstreet Boys while wearing silent disco headphones!” Guests could set their headphones to a pop channel curated by the bride or a classic rock channel created by the groom. Late-night pizza arrived and guests posted up at the outdoor bar for cigars and a nightcap to end the incredible evening.

Wedding Team

Venue and Catering Roche Harbor 

Wedding Planner and Floral Designer Kaleb Norman James

Bridal Designer Carolina Herrera

Bride’s Earrings David Yurman

Bride’s Shoes Harriet Wilde; Repetto

Bride’s Hair and Makeup Erin Skipley

Bridesmaids’ dresses Jenny Yoo

Bridesmaids’ Getting Ready Attire Bed Head PJs

Groom’s Attire Suitsupply

Rings Gordon James Fine Diamonds

Invitations Li Ward Design 

Music Side One; Silent Events

Cake The Sweet Side 

Rentals Arte Italica; Cort Party Rental; Great Jones

Cornhole Boards Colorado Joe’s

Linens BBJ La Tavola  

Favors San Juan Island Sea Salt; San Juan Seltzer

Excursions San Juan Safaris

Transportation Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley; Kenmore Air 

Covid Testing GoLab

Videographer Elysium Productions

Photographer Janine Licare Photography

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