February 11, 2019
So you’re engaged! It’s a pretty incredible feeling, but once the initial wave of excitement fades and you start to get into the actual planning… well, that’s when overwhelm can kick in! For most people, looking for a venue is one of the first, and often the most challenging, things to get done. Seattle, and the surrounding areas, has a plethora of incredible venues catering for every style, guest count and season. The hard part? Finding them all, and knowing what’s right for you. So with engagement season upon us, here are our tips for making the right decision, as well as a few of our favorite venues.
Know your budget. Every time we go on vacation and are looking for hotels this is what happens, Jonathan (my husband) bombards me with pics of incredible luxury resorts. I have come to realize that these pics are usually going to be wildly out of our budget, and are also going to make anything that is in our budget, seem disappointing! So I just stop looking now. I tell him I’m only prepared to look at places we’re actually going to go! Going out and looking at venues you can’t really afford is always going to be depressing, so before you start, think sensibly about what you want to spend. This is actually harder than you might think! There is no real standard way of charging. Some venues will have a venue rental fee, others might have nothing, but charge you minimums for food and drink. Some will insist you use their preferred caterers and purchase alcohol through them, so although the venue fee might seem affordable, you need to be aware of what else you’re signing up for. Make sure you know the total price you will be charged including service, tax, rentals and labor which are often left off of the per person price that is quoted.
If you have a wedding planner (shameless plug!) we will help you figure all this out and make sure you’re asking the right questions and allocating the right proportion of your overall budget. If not, make sure you use online sites like The Knot to help you work out what’s realistic for you.
Make your guest list. A big determining factor when deciding on a venue is how many people you want to invite. Be it small and intimate or a 200+ extravaganza, knowing who’s coming and where they’re coming from is going to be a big help in choosing your location. There is no right or wrong here, but there is often some pressure from different directions, my only advice is to try and stay true to what is important to the two of you, and remember that budget you agreed on!
Your perfect wedding day. Everybody’s is different. Whether it’s a Coachella vibe with food trucks and flower crowns, a snowy winter wonderland with a hot chocolate bar or an elegant city centre venue with a traditional three course meal, the vibe you want will determine the venues you should be looking at. One of the most fun parts of planning is brainstorming with your partner. Try not to think about what a wedding SHOULD be and instead think about what your perfect day as a couple is. This is your time to dream big! Our favorite weddings are always the unique ones, the ones that tell your love story, and make guests feel a part of it. This exercise will probably help determine, not only the type of venue you should be looking at, but also the season, which will further help you narrow it down.
Once you know how much you want to spend, how many guests you need to accommodate, and the vibe you’re going for, it’s time to start visiting some venues. While the options feel pretty limitless we’ve made things a little easier by providing some of our favorite places below!
Tucked away in Georgetown, this historic building with beautiful gardens feels like you’ve stepped out of Seattle and straight into Sicily! The surroundings are so stunning that you won’t need to spend a fortune on decor, and with the restaurant being the heart of their business you are guaranteed an unforgettable meal. The inside space is small but they can accommodate larger parties on the covered patio. Best for intimate weddings for up to 50 people during the summer months.
Smack bang in the middle of Capitol Hill, this small and intimate venue is perfect for weddings up to 70, and for those who want to sample Seattle’s nightlife after the wedding ends. Inside it has a vintage industrial feel but is also blank enough that you can create any vibe you want. Catering is handled by their sister restaurant next door. Chairs and tables are provided and included in the (pretty low) venue fee.
This relatively new venue can accommodate up to 750 people but don’t let that you put off! Split onto 2 levels you can rent just part of the space depending on your guest count. This venue definitely has a modern industrial vibe but with it’s large windows and white walls you can really decorate it to fit any wedding style. It also boasts a gorgeous courtyard area complete with an iconic Seattle graffiti wall that your guests are sure to love. Also, it might seem weird to get excited about restrooms, but we REALLY dig the restrooms in this place! You will need to bring in outside catering but they do have a preferred list.
Perfect for the whiskey lovers! As part of the venue rental you commit to whiskey tastings for guests, a surefire way to make your cocktail hour memorable! The venue space, lined with whiskey barrels, is quirky and intimate feeling, even with a larger guest count. Perfect for weddings up to the 120 mark.
This venue has so many different spaces to choose from and each one has a totally different vibe, the rooftop terrace provides gorgeous views over Seattle and the mirrored room has an eclectic and mid century feel. Like Block 41 it you can rent the areas separately, so you could accommodate up to 300 guests or you can keep things cosy with a more intimate group. We also love that you can bring in your own and food and drink.
This industrial space in Fremont is beautiful and unique, and like a number of the other venues offers you tons of flexibility, with the option to rent out the different spaces individually. You will need to use one of the venue’s preferred caterers and buy alcohol through them unless you’re prepared to pay the hefty 30% buyout fee. However, their preferred caterers are some of the best Seattle has to offer, so whichever one you choose you’re guaranteed a delicious meal.
If getting out of the city is more your style, Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah is nestled between Tiger and Squak Mountains and has a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier. You can choose between two separate venues on the 40 acre property, the Barn & the Lodge. Both beautiful and able to accommodate up to 150 guests. You will need to use their preferred caterers for the main meal but they will allow you to bring in food trucks for cocktail hour or late night snacks.
This barn venue in Snohomish is just on the right side of rustic. It’s white walls make it the perfect backdrop for a variety of wedding styles. One of our favorite things about this venue is that it comes with the ever popular wooden farm tables instead of the usual venue banquet tables, meaning that you save money on rentals and linens. You can supply your own food and drink and the venue leads itself really well towards food trucks if that’s the vibe you’re looking for. The bridal suite is also to die for! The venue can accommodate up to 250 but will also work well for smaller parties.
This is definitely one where the website doesn’t do it justice! Set on the Hood Canal with views of the Olympics this venue give guests an incredible Pacific Northwest experience. Approximately 2 hours from Seattle there is ample accommodation for guests to stay on site, as well as some Airbnb’s located close by. You can get married by the water and their undercover heated patio means that’s an option all year round. They also have a bar that’s open until 1pm for guests who don’t want to retire once the party ends.
This venue is one for all the seasons! In winter it’s a snowy wonderland with snowmobile tours and sleigh rides and an indoor event space with high ceilings and a huge roaring fire. In the summer it’s gorgeous outdoor ceremony & reception spaces make it perfect for a boho and outdoorsy wedding. You will need to use their in house catering & alcohol but this venue is perfect for large & small groups.
If being by the coast is more your thing, this beautiful mid century style venue on the WA/OR border provides close proximity to the beach as well as some serious style! Beautifully refurbished with wood panelling and stain glassed windows, this venue has loads of incredible details and their furniture looks like it came straight out of West Elm, setting it apart from most venues out there. The guest rooms are all different with their own little quirks and beautifully decorated. You rent the whole property for 24 hours meaning you and your guests will have exclusive access to the venue and it’s grounds. Perfect for weddings up to 100 people.
If you have any questions about any of these venues or need some help in finding your dream location, get in touch!