Wedding Questions


Posted in Seattle, WA, USA
182131 Betsy and Michael Woodinville, WA, USA

Hi there! I'm a Colorado bride planning a NW wedding. Thoughts or previous experiences on the following venues: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Skansonia, Lake Union Crew, Pt. Defiance Rose Garden. up for any other suggestions for a casual, outdoor ceremony and reception, approx. 75pp, summer evening... thanks!

14 Replies

Emptyprofileicon Renee and Rony Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy ~
My husband and I celebrated our wedding last June 2009 at TreeHouse Point (near Issaquah, WA about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle; it's wonderful since you are still close to the city yet you get an ideal lush outdoor experience on 4 acres of land next to the river). Our loved ones had a fantastic time with us. We rented out the TreeHouse Point site overnight so our loved ones could continue the celebration with us. They are still talking about the unique, relaxed, and fun time we shared together. :)

Good luck with your wedding plans and venue selection.



Emptyprofileicon Jillian and Brendan Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy,

Pt Defiance is a ways out of Seattle. I have been to a wedding at the crew house on lk union, the ceremoney was beautiful on the water, but the reception inside was too small. Check out Robinswood House, Clise Mansion, Moon Mansion, or Woodland Park Zoo and check out this wedsite for other ideas.

Get a map so you can see how far some of these cities are from Seattle.

Best of Luck. Check my page for other vendor ideas!


Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy and Mike!

I have lived in Seattle all my life, and I am pretty sure I am old enough to be your mother!

I have been a guest at every venue from Whidbey Island, about 2 hours north of Seattle, to Olympia, south of Tacoma. So you have hit the motherload!

I agree with Jillian, Point Defiance is at least 1 to 1 1/2 hour drive on a busy freeway from Seattle. It is a beautiful place, with water views, etc., but it is very busy, and there are a lot of people around, so it deninitley not an intimate setting. You can reserve several areas after hours, but you would have to check.

I would not use Clise Mansiion as a top choice. It is lacking some charm, and I think you could do better.

The Crew House is also okay, but I still think you could do better. It does have that huge deck on the water, but again, no trees, flowers etc.
Robinswood is just beautiful, but I remember thinking, if it had rained that day, it would have been really crowded inside, and I don't think the wedding was that large. Check it out.

Treehouse Point is really fantastic, and a really unique experience. The owners are lovely, the treehouse suite is beautiful, the food is great, and they are very earth conscious. I went to another event there, and I'm not sure how many people they could accomodate. Also it is woodsy, not a garden feel wedding.

Lakewold Gardens ( an estate garden just north of Tacoma. The mansion is about 100 years old, and the 7 acres of gardens are spectacular! There is a patio COVERED with huge wisteria, English gardens, and every kind of flower you can think of. Behind the gorgeous mansion is a huge lawn with an enormous sprawling oak tree that would be a beautiful setting for an outdoor wedding. They are on a small lake, so there are some water views. It is extremely private, and you feel like you are in your own world. If you go to the website, click on "About us" and then "History" There is a video, but none of the media does the gardens justice, or convey the tranquility.

Another spot for an outdoor wedding I just LOVE, is Kiana Lodge, on Bainbridge Island. It is a gorgeous northwest style log lodge, with a huge stone fireplace.

The grounds are beatiful and the lawn goes down to the water where there is a large dock. People attending often come on their boats. Even sea planes have landed.
The food was fantastic. If you like salmon, it is wonderful.

One of the really fun things about Kiana Lodge is the ferry ride. It leaves from downtown Seattle, and is about a 30 minute crossing. Kiana Lodge is very easy to find, and is only another 10 or 15 minutes, tops.
Even considering having to think about ferry lines, it is one of the fun parts of the trip. As I said, I've lived in Seattle all my life, and I never get tired of a ferry boat ride. It is also a nice thing to offer guests from out of town. When you think about making a commute to Tacoma, down a pretty dreary part of the interstate, it is a lot nicer to spend that time on a beautiful cruise. It really is like a suburb of Seattle, since so many workers walk right up the hill into the city off the boat.

The Skansonia is also great! It is an old ferry boat and very charming.
It is on Lake Union, which is in the middle of the city and is sort of a marine working lake. There is a lot of sailing, but not many parks.
It is not in a garden setting. You drive by boat yards, and marine businesses, etc. But it is still very cool! It is really close to Fremont which is a really hip part of town, and a lot of fun. I love the Skansonia, and on a nice night, perfect. If it is cold, it can be pretty chilly. I would ask about parking. I don't remember if there is a lot next door.

Also, you would want to think about space for the bridal party to get ready. I'm nt sure with any of the venues.

Hope this helped!



Emptyprofileicon Grace and Chris

You've had many great recommendations already. We had a great reception at the Center for Urban Horticulture near UW, University Village & Laurelhurst area. There room can hold 200 but we had 220 some fine folks with tables around the darling courtyard and atrium. The gardens were lovely and Mount Rainer grace the skyline. The young ones played soccer in the grass fields below the Center. We were married at a church but there is a grove where they ceremonies are held. The staff was lovely and we brought in our own catering. Good luck with your planning!


182131 Betsy and Michael Woodinville, WA, USA

Thank you all for these great ideas - i really appreciate all of the responses! I probably should clarify a bit - i'm looking for something on the sound, casual, more natural than urban. Many guests will be flying in from out of town, so logistics is definitely a concern. I'm on a bit of budget and would like to keep my reception budget around $5-$6K (i know, it's a challenge for sure!). Anywhoo - thank you again for your suggestions and I'm sure i'll find my diamond in the rough soon enough! :)


Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy and Mike!

Well, don't give up! I am determined to help you find a solution!

First, can you tell me how many guests you are having? Just how "natural" do you want to go? Would you consider picnic style (catered)? Will people be dressed up?

If you are considering logistics, once people are in a car, it doesn't matter so much about how far you're going, as long as it's worth the drive, and not TOO far. If you find a really terrific place, people won't mind, and will be talking about how cool it was.

Do you have any seniors you need to think about? People with physical disabilities that would make it difficult to transport them depending on how "natural" the site was?

If you haven't set your date, yet, the last weekend in July is statistically the dryest of the year. It's only rained something like 6 times in the last 80 years. Although, then you also have to think of heat. My girlfriend had her wedding outside on that weekend, and she was sweating like a pig!! Not so good for the photos! Or if you don't have cover for the meal, it could be pretty uncomfortable. So, if you don't have your dress, layers are crucial for Seattle since the weather is so fickle.

Will you have people lined up to help you with the details when you get here?

Will you have obligations that will require you to have the wedding really nearby? Like an obligation the day after, or a honeymoon trip? (Ihope!)

What are you going to need to transport? Do you have vehicles (like and SUV?) Do you have your flowers yet?

One thing I have found is party favors are nice, but they can run into a lot of money and time, and people REALLY don't even notice.

My girlfriend and I made 150 bags of garlic and tulip bulbs (she's from a farm and he's Italian) with folded paper and a punch hole with a ribbon. They were very cute, but they took FOREVER, the day before the wedding! (they sounded SO simple!!) and people just didn't care. There were many left behind. We could have really used the time and money elsewhere.

Anyway, just let me know, and I will be looking for some inexpensive ideas!

"Sheila in Seattle" or "Sheila Who Never Sleeps in Seattle"

P.S. Do you feel like you've been arrested and interrogated? I had to do a Powerpoint presentation on my mom's birthday party I planned, and the first question I got asked was, "Are you a control freak?" Pretty Bad!!:)


Emptyprofileicon Grace and Chris

If you'd like to be in Seattle on the Sound then the bathhouse at Golden Gardens is probably the spot for you.
Check out some photos:

I think the rental rates are reasonable since you deal with Seattle Parks.

I also highly recommend
Good luck!


182131 Betsy and Michael Woodinville, WA, USA

Hi Sheila! thank you for your reply. Yes, we are down for casual, picnic style (but yes, still catered). I think there will be minimal elderly people, all are pretty spry and able bodied (no wheelchairs, canes, oxygen, etc). we are early in the planning process and i'd like to find a hotel or venue that would make transportation easy for Guests - not sure who all will rent a car. no flowers yet - hoping to score at the market - also have the idea of rainier cherry boutanierres (sp?) - thanks Martha Stewart. Basically i want something uniquely NW on a 10K budget (we're prepared to spend up to 15K if necessary). My fiance's parents live in Renton and can help along with a few friends in the area - so i have some resources but realize that they all have lives and my wedding is not their top priority. :-) thanks in advance for suggestsion - my itinerary for my site visit is as follws: Lake union crew, ray's boathouse (think they'll be too pricey) Columbia Winery, Point Defiance Rose Garden (reception at either the pagoda or shenanigans), point defiance zoo, and alki bathouse (not sure about privacy). wish me luck!


Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy! You are the best bride! Your in-laws must love you!
When I got married, I just told everybody there was a new sheriff in town, and line up to be deputized!(Just Kidding!)

I see the Alki Bathouse on your schedule. Did you mean Shilshole, or Golden Gardens? There is a Bathouse at Alki. I was just there at a party in June. It is a cute place, but it is in the hub of activity, a landmark fish and chip place directly across the street, and absolutely NO parking whatsoever, unless they use a school that's a couple of blocks away or something. It is a really hectic place in the summer.

You mentioned hotel transportation for out-of-town guests. It reminded me of a wedding I attended in the San Juan Islands. There was a beautiful Inn that the wedding took over. The guests stayed there, and the ceremony was there. It was spectacular for guests to stay, for all the wedding activities, and everyone being together, no transportation worries, and was really fun. It was one of the best times I've ever had. Although, The San Juans are quite a time committment. I wouldn't recommend it, they are much more remote.

I don't know if it would work, but it might help decrease the costs.
I strongly encourage you to think about one of the islands. There wouldn't be that much difference in coordination, and it would probably be cheaper than anywhere in Seattle, and you would have the beautiful setting you want. Your in-laws live in Renton, and Tacoma would be best for them as far a proximity, but it is your day, and it is such a short trip for so much more. I have been busy the past week, and just had time to look up one spot on Whidbey. Take a look. It is not a water view, but it looks fantastic, and it was just the first place I looked. I have no idea how much they charge,but there are probably many creative places that could accommodate guests and the wedding. How many guests are you having?

I told my friend (male) about helping with suggestions. He was quite amused and shook his head. He said, "Now you are working on a project with someone you've never met! He asked, "Does poor Betsy know what she's getting in to?!" He was just being funny! He thinks it is an amazing website to bring people together, It has been so much fun giving you ideas. If you need anything while you're in town, just let me know. My e-mail is: [email protected]

If you have time when you are here, you should try to make a trip up to Whidbey. An overnight trip is not required. We always make it a day trip, easily. I'll keep my thinking cap on, and don't compromise, yet!
We may hit that diamond in the rough! I feel it! Regards, Sheila

P.S.I LOVE the idea of the cherry (things) for the guys. Martha is kind of my hero!


Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA
Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy! I just lost this long message I was writing about a GREAT venue that could be PERFECT!! I live in Burien, which is not too far from Renton. Burien has a lot of beautiful coastline, with some fantastic parks ( non appropriate for your wedding), but I suddenly thought of a great community center in the very small city of Normandy Park, just south of Burien. We used to go to dances there when I was a kid. It's called "The Cove", and it could be the place for your wedding.

The inside is very nice and accomodates 250. It has hardwood floors


Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy!

This is the second message I've lost. The first one vanished, and I saved the second one,to check something out,and I think I took too long editing, but it didn't alert me! The website is:

Anyway, this could be IT! Check out the "Photo Gallery" under "Garage Sale" they have some pretty good pictures of the interior. Go to the bottom of the Gallery, and click on:"Stewards of the Cove" and then go to "Replanting the Creek" on the right. It shows the beautiful new creek, and the huge deck.

It says you have to be sponsored and have the member in attendance to "police" the area. I could probably find you a sponsor. I don't think they turn down revenue from a nice reliable group. There is a member who has been president several times, who is Italian, so I should certainly persuade a pizanne to come through!!

I STILL think Whidbey would be fabulous, but I don't know if you would find this kind of setting anywhere else in Seattle, either! I am very curious to see what they charge.

I use a restaurant for my mom's 90th birthday in Burien, and it was fabulous! Frank, the owner's family have been in the restaurant business in Burien for about 40 years. His dad owned "Angelos" and I think family still run it. Frank closes his place on Sundays, but opens for private parties. He was so great to work with. He never mentioned a deposit and had a very professional staff. We had fresh grilled halibut with pesto and balsamic glazed pork loin, among a huge menu that was very reasonable. The name of his place is "909 Coffee and Wine", which is kind of deceptive, because it is a very nice dinner spot. Anyway, I better go!! Keep me posted! I am excited about this one!! Sheila


182131 Betsy and Michael Woodinville, WA, USA

Thank you for your suggestions! I do like the Normandy Park Cove and think it has possibilities, however, i don't know a property owner so it might be tricky to make that one work? We may do a drive by when we have a free moment just to scope it out (not sure if we can do a drive by?) Unfortunately, my fiance and his mother either have food poisoning or a stomach bug and are both laid up at the moment - I hope they feel better as the next 3 days are pretty intense with vendor appointments!


Emptyprofileicon Sheila Gavin Seattle, WA, USA

Hi Betsy!

Well, I hope everyone recovered and you were able to get something accomplished while in Seattle.

I hope my offer of help when I heard about the food poisonings didn't sound weird or "stalkerish". I guess it's just been so pleasant corresponding with you, I feel really excited for you to have a wonderful experience. And I also know what it's like being under a deadline, and starting to panic!

Anyway, I think your wedding, whatever you choose, will be just great. You sound so reasonable and in control, especially for a bride trying to plan her wedding in another state! Keep up the good work!



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