12 Tips for Fall and Winter Weddings on San Juan Island

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Blog, Events, Explore San Juan Island | 0 comments

So, you want to get married on San Juan Island? Aside from selecting who is meeting you at the altar, choosing San Juan Island as your wedding destination is probably the best decision you could have made for your wedding day. +1 for you! 

Whether you’re hosting a big crowd or keeping it pretty contained, Lakedale offers lots of options for you—however you want your day to play out. 

As any Pacific Northwesterner knows, though, our weather can be somewhat unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean weddings should be kept only to the summer months. There are so many benefits to getting hitched in the fall or winter on San Juan Island. Here are just a few:

  • Better rates from most of your vendors 
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Lower likelihood of guests overheating
  • Fewer other couples fighting for your date
  • Hugs and layers and coziness
  • Roaring fires
  • And so much more

We have a lot of ideas for your *off-season* shindig. We could go on and on, but we’ll keep it contained to twelve for now:

Watercolor wedding invitation of Lakedale on San Juan Island

1. Set the mood with your papery

Get your nearest and dearest in the mood for what they’re going to expect on your big day. You can have a hand-drawn map made of the island, use a watercolor painting as the basis for your invitations, and incorporate the colors of the island during the fall and winter season to fully become one not only with your partner but also with the San Juan Island landscape. Whether it’s a fall or winter wedding, you’re still going to see a lot of blue and green here, so don’t be stingy with those colors if you love them already!

Watercolor invite art

2. Give them options for excursions

Your guests will want to explore. From wildlife tours to biking routes, seaplane flights, and everything in between, we can help you build a list of things for them to do and see. 

Fall palette for tablescape at Lakedale

3. Choose a seasonal color palate

 So, you already know green and blue are everywhere on the island and at Lakedale. If you use those colors as your foundation (or don’t—it’s your day, not ours!), burnt oranges in the fall and deep reds and whites in winter will really bring it all together. We’re limited by our own imaginations here, though. If you have different ideas, we believe in those, too. Remember: there are no rules

Bride and bridesmaids cavorting

Bride with fall bouquet

4. Put together a great welcome bag

Many, if not most, of your guests will be coming to the island for the first time. Give them a little taste of what to expect with a welcome bag full of island treasures. And, don’t forget the kiddos! You can make these as small and intentional as you like or big and bursting. Even a beautiful card and piece of candy dusted with San Juan Island Sea Salt will make your guests’ hearts swell. The same idea applies to guest favors, should you choose to have them: local and thoughtful is always a fun way to go. They’ll treasure them for years to come. 

Kids welcome kit

Lakefront wedding altar at Lakedale on San Juan Island

5. Keep it simple with seasonal touches

Because San Juan Island is so lush, you really don’t need much to make it pop. We have twinkling lights and tents already. Anything you choose to add is icing on an already very delicious cake. Bring in local flora, fauna, and pieces of driftwood. Choose seating options aligned with the season and add a dance floor—that last part is non-negotiable! Make it look and feel like you, and know that all eyes will be on you no matter what kind of table arrangements you land on. 

Autumn-hued seating

Just married couple in rowboat at Lakedale

6. Bring on the boats

Regardless of the season, our three lakes make for an ideal place for a send off by row boat. Our couples love this unique touch to their day (hey, if you’re a SUPer, we can send you off on SUP boards, too—just say the word!) and photographers really love the photos of couples in them. We’ve even had florists drape arrangements in and around the boats. 

More row boats

7. Steal away for scenic photos

Your guests won’t notice you’re gone if you run out for some golden hour portraits around the island. Plus, they can’t blame you if you do. Lime Kiln, Cattle Point, and even Friday and Roche Harbors make for gorgeous backdrops. You’ll have plenty of space and time at Lakedale, too, but don’t hesitate to explore with your photographer and your boo. Special moments with just you two may be few and far between on your wedding day, so take advantage of the time and the extra views. 

Romance by the water’s edge 

8. Embrace the rain

Hey, we live in the Pacific Northwest. We all know how the weather can be. Rain on your wedding day is good luck and embracing the elements is part of the gig in Washington. But, if you don’t want to risk ruining your hair (we totally understand that, too), stay under the outdoor tent or opt for the Lodge, where the weather won’t be any concern at all. 

Large wedding party in the Lodge Great Room Lakedale on San Juan Island

9. Get intimate

Speaking of the Lodge, if your main event is a little more intimate and you have visions of a fire roaring behind you as you say your I Dos, choose the Lodge for your ceremony. The fireplace is a beautiful backdrop and the views beyond it are stunning in their own right. Our packages are fully customizable, so Pin or journal out your vision and we’ll work with you to put it all together. Overwhelmed at the options? We can help with that, too! 

Lodge Deck at Twilight

Table for Two          

10. Serve island fare

Whether you’re serving beer and wine from San Juan Brewing and San Juan Vineyard, bringing in a live shucker from Westcott Bay Shellfish Company, or passing appetizers made with San Juan Island Sea Salt and Girl Meets Dirt, the island is full of natural resources that make your day feel even more localized. Ask us for our list of local caterers.

            S'mores Bar at Glamping wedding at Lakedale on San Juan Island

11. Incorporate Holiday Traditions

Okay, this is where it starts to get really fun. You may already know that we build s’mores kits for our guests, and that we believe in year-round s’mores. Your wedding day could include those and thensome. Think:

  • Apple cider
  • A cocoa bar
  • Pumpkins/gourds to decorate and take home
  • A long table of thanks

We’ll make your traditions our passion!

                            dog in a tux at Lakedale wedding

12. Parade your pups

We love dogs, and we know they’re a part of your family, so bring them along for your big day! Whether they’re the ring bearers, flower girls, or just sitting front row, your canines fit into every season. We do love to see them don sweaters in the cooler temps, though. There’s just something extra sweet about it. 

Local vendors

We have a long (and growing) list of preferred and local vendors. We also offer full wedding coordination, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us to start getting your ideas pulled together! 

Bring us along

We love love, and we also really enjoy a party. Tag us in your photos—we’re @lakedaleresort on Instagram and Facebook, so we can dance the night away right alongside you. Figuratively, of course. And enjoy that fall or winter wedding. We just know it’ll be a day to end all days. 


Call now: 800-617-2267
4313 Roche Harbor Rd,
Friday Harbor, WA