While a student at the University of Washington, Lisa Lancaster lived in a sorority house just a few doors down from the fraternity house of Jason Ness. However, they didn’t start to get to know each other until several years after graduation. Once they met, it still took time for their eventual love to blossom. “Jason and I were friends for over 10 years before our first date!” exclaims Lisa. During those years, they were never single at the same time, but when they finally got together, the pieces all fell into place. “I subconsciously knew I was going to propose before I even had a real chance to think about it,” admits Jason. When he was ready, he called up his friend, a diamond broker, and started the process of designing an engagement ring for his beloved. 

Lisa works as a photographer, and Jason knew that having photos documenting the proposal would be important to her. While on vacation in Key Largo, Florida, Lisa set her camera to the best setting for the light, and then asked a woman nearby to take their picture. Suddenly, Jason was down on one knee and Lisa was saying yes. “My mother and her husband were traveling with us on that trip, and my mom said she heard my happy scream from her balcony at the hotel 100 yards away!” laughs the bride. 

The couple resides in Seattle but knew they did not want a typical city celebration. Initially, they looked at venues around nearby Lake Chelan, but a friend’s nuptials in Mykonos sparked an epiphany. “I realized that the overall vibe of the wedding weekend was more important than any of the little details,” confides Lisa. A destination would bring the party ambience that the fun-loving pair hoped for, and they soon settled on Santa Barbara, California. After they found an oceanside resort that would allow the reception to go until 2AM, Jason decided to surprise his bride. He called the venue to ask who they thought was the best planner – when they said Alex Alexander of Alex Events, he immediately booked her. 

Lisa knew she wanted the big day to be full of white flowers, but she didn’t have a preference for the specific type of blooms. Alex was able to execute the vision, bringing in trees with snowy blossoms to line the aisle, in addition to an abundance of alabaster florals seen in the ceremony arch and throughout the outdoor space. The nuptials were largely traditional, with the exception being that the couple wrote their own vows. “I think it made the ceremony so much more personal and heartfelt,” the bride smiles. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, “there was time to pause and see Lisa’s face and all of our guests reacting,” Jason reflects. “Everything seemed simply perfect in that moment.”

Due to her passion for photography, Lisa was careful to make sure the lighting was ideal for every aspect of the day. The ceremony was held right before sunset during golden hour, which is known for being the best time for outdoor pictures. Bistro lights lit up the cocktail hour, and the sheer silk drapery of the reception covered cascading string lights to create a warm, even glow in the space filled with dramatic, tall centerpieces.

The new Mr. and Mrs. made quite the entrance to the reception, as confetti cannons went off and fog swirled around the floor as the newlyweds began to dance to “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon while their loved ones surrounded them and sang along. The lively atmosphere continued when the bride partook in the bouquet toss. “It got stuck on one of the chandeliers!” Lisa reveals. “One of the groomsmen quickly threw me one of the bridesmaid bouquets from a nearby table and I tossed that over my shoulder as a do-over.” Thanks to both a live band and a DJ, the evening was filled with dancing. The bride even changed into sneakers, and late-night snacks including sliders and French fries were served to keep guests energized. Lisa affirms, “Our family and friends like to party!”

With the help of their wedding team, the bride and groom were able to celebrate exactly as they wanted. To help future couples planning their nuptials, Jason advises: “Make sure you have a shared vision and communicate in a way with love that ensures your wedding day is a partnership.”