The beautiful San Juan Islands! PNW at its finest! From the ferry ride, to driving on the islands, there's nothing but AWWWEEEE to be had. So you've decided to get married on one of the incredible islands, what happens next?
From your makeup and hair vendor's point of view, I'll share with you some things I've learned venturing to these magnificent islands to accommodate dozens of stunning brides! Joining in on the discussion is a wonderful and talented photographer I recently had the pleasure of doing a wedding with on Orcas Island, Jacquelyn K. Portolese
Why on location styling is the best option for your San Juan Island wedding. The Islands have many many options for a lot of things: floral arrangements, wedding planners, venues, but what the
San Juan's don't have are styling options--especially on location styling. With ferry traffic, ISLAND DRIVERS!!!, one main road, traveling on your big day to your styling provider might not come without stress. Why not have your stylist come to you and your party? You can be relaxing sipping mimosas (whiskey) , listening to Bruno Mars (90s hip hop) , in the convenience of your own hotel suite, AirBNB, or venue, On location stylist (such as myself) come fully prepared for everything. We carry our own lights, chairs, and have all of the makeup and hair goodies to make sure you and your bridal party look fresh and beautiful all day!
How to find a beauty vendor that travels to the San Juan Islands?
There are a few ways you can search out a beauty vendor; google or instagram (#sanjuanislandmakeupartist). You can also reach out to your wedding planner or venue for referrals. Referrals generally are the best because you know the vendor has worked with them in the past.
Is it important to book vendors that work on the island frequently?
ABSOFREAKINLUTELY!!! Traveling to the island isn't always easy. The ferries aren't every 30 minutes like Bainbridge or Whidbey, which can make getting to you tricky. Ferries to the San Juan's sail hours apart, and not at convenient times for artists to meet start times for your party. Ferries also break down, are delayed, hit sail boats (true story), there is also a reservation required to board your ferry that also has a very difficult schedule to follow. Weddings start with beauty, your entire day can be thrown off by a late stylist. So hiring an experienced stylist who knows how to navigate the islands is crucial to starting off your day without a hitch!
Pacific Brides specializes in on location weddings, meaning, we fly, drive, boat, ferry, hike, kayak anywhere, LEGIT, we understand the importance of arriving on time and know how to navigate the ferry reservation system, and are familiar with the layout and locations of almost everything on the island.
So you've found your dream venue. You're ready to find a stylist. Be prepared for sticker shock, hiring a stylist for your San Juan wedding may come with a price tag and here is why--
As a professional stylist who travels on location, there are a few things I've learned over the years. One very important lesson is... Traveling takes a lot out of us. With multiple weddings a weekend, hundreds of miles spent on the road, sometimes in a single day, it can burn an artist out, cause them to become tired which then makes driving unsafe. Like any other job, we need to take precautions, not just for us, but for you. BUT taking precautions not only makes us more reliable, it also ensures prompt and on time arrival bright and squirrely for your big day!
All San Juan Island require an overnight stay, WHAT WHAT WHAT??? before you toss your computer, let me give you a few reasons why I require accommodations the night before the wedding.
below is the ferry schedule for the San Juan Islands and below that is a VERY long example of how a day would go if I did the travel in one day!
Say we have to start your beauty session at 8 am on Orcas Island, the earliest ferry available to arrive on Orcas is the 5:30 am sailing that arrives at 6:20 am
So let's back up and take a look at what my morning is going to look like
I'll be on the road at 3:30 am, arrive at the ferry 5 am to catch the 5:30 am ferry. (you MUST arrive 30 minutes prior to your reservation) Then after I arrive I'll be sitting in my car until 8. That's 4.5 hours of travel before your day even starts.
Now services are 8 to, let's say, 2pm.
Touch ups, packing up will get me on the road at, say, 2:30 to head back to the ferry. Most venues are 30-45 min drive to the ferry. The next ferry leaves at 5:15, which will get me back to the mainland around 6:05 pm. Another 1.5 hours of driving. I will get home around 8pm. With travel and waiting, that's a 16+ hour day. Assuming there's no delays in the ferry, it's not a Sunday or holiday, and it's not like the summer of 2018 where they were on a two boat rotation (as opposed to four boat) due to two boats breaking down. A summer full of days like this can cause fatigue, which can lead to accidents. WHICH in turn will upset a lot of future brides that are booked with me.
In order for me to accommodate all of my brides to the best of my ability, I have to start with taking care of myself
HOLY SHIT the ferry hit a sailboat!
The first year I implemented staying overnight, the morning I WOULD have been arriving, on the ferry I WOULD have been on, it hit a sailboat! YUP, dude was taking a nap in the path of a ferry, and bam, hit! Delayed. WHICH would have meant I would have been delayed! BUT luckily I was already on the island, with a great night sleep, and arriving to set up on time, on schedule and no one was stressed!
I can school you at ping pong the night before the wedding!
Bonding with your artist can make your day of even more fun... ok ok ok, this doesn't really help booking on the island, but it's fun as hell hanging out at Island Hoppin Brewing (I seriously book the best brides EVER)
How much more for travel are we talking about?
We offer a Flat rate travel to the island, including ferry cost, wait time, mileage, accommodations is $300 per artist
Since we come up the night before, we have to close our books to other potential clients, catch our reserved ferry and head over at a decent hour so we can still eat dinner and get a good night sleep. Yes vendors require all the same things as regular humans lol
Peace of mind--is it worth it?
In my opinion, you've spent thousands of dollars on photos, dress, venue. Your photos are what you have to hold onto for a lifetime. Is beauty important? YES!!! Is reliable, on time, well rested beauty important? ABSOLUTELY!!! Is choosing an artist with the cheapest travel cost, crossing your fingers hoping your artist to arrive on time, ready to roll, praying to little baby jesus they get on the island the morning of your wedding worth the stress? NO,
I recently did a wedding with an amazing photographer on. Our bride and bridal party were a riot. I had Jacquelyn answer a few questions for me to add to my blog
What should you look for when booking a photographer for your San Juan Island wedding?
It's no surprise the San Juan Islands offers some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Washington wedding venues. Booking a photographer who can not only capture a wedding, but the environment your special day takes place in is the ultimate way to get the best bang for your buck in this beautiful place! I would definitely keep an eye out for photographers who put a lot of emphasis on the landscape within their portraiture.
What are a few things to take into consideration when booking a photographer for your San Juan Island wedding?
On weekends, the last ferries typically leave around 11PM. If you are not paying for overnight accommodations for your photographer, I would recommend your photographer is scheduled to wrap up shooting 1 hour and 45 minutes prior to the ferries departure so that they may pack up and get in line on time. San Juan ferries require reservations, and your photographer will absolutely need to know this well in advanced. Although it's our responsibility to arrange our own accommodations, definitely run this by all vendors, as not everyone is familiar with these particular ferries.
Why do some vendors require overnight accommodations when booked on the San Juan Islands? As stated above, the last ferry departing is first come first serve (at least on Orcas). If you plan to have certain vendors present until tear down that evening, they will definitely need overnight accommodations.
What is your favorite part about shooting weddings on the San Juan Islands?
The absolutely stunning, incredible scenery. The San Juan Islands are so beautiful they require very little fancy design and decor and are therefore the perfect locations for smaller, more intimate and simple weddings.