I started talking to Mike about two weeks before their wedding date, when he posted on a local forum looking for a photographer for their small island ceremony. While Mike and Amanda are not local to the islands, they have been here to visit family several times. Mike's Aunt and Uncle found a beautiful Air BNB to rent on the Southwest side of San Juan, with a perfect view of what us locals call "the Orca highway." September is the perfect month out on the San Juans. The summer heat has a cool, ocean breeze to it, and the waves of tourists subside just enough that the locals start to come out from reverse hibernation again. The resident whales are commonly seen, as the schools of Chinook Salmon they mainly sustain on, flood into the Salish Sea on their way to spawning grounds on the rivers.
I popped over for two hours to document Amanda and Mike's afternoon ceremony with their close friends and family. The atmosphere was perfectly relaxed. Everyone was excited, but there was no rush. Amanda and Mike put on their finishing touches before doing a first look out in the front of the house along the cliffs over-looking Eagle's Cove.
Then, of course, the whales started playing out front. Resident J Pod stayed out front, surrounded by local whale watch boats, throughout the rest of their ceremony. Mike and Amanda were all smiles, and felt so incredibly humbled by this truly island experience and blessing of the whales being present. I think the number of whale attendees may have out-numbered the human ones at this particular event!
I highly recommend weddings on San Juan, especially if you can get the whales to pop on over for a visit!