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Are you looking to incorporate Washington’s beautiful scenery into your wedding? Look no further! I’ve compiled a list of the best outdoor wedding venues in Washington state, along with a ton of other helpful information!
Hey there! My name’s Emett, and I’m a wedding photographer born and raised in the capital of Washington state – Olympia! Living just outside of Seattle for my entire life, it’s only natural that I fell in love with showing off our wonderful state’s scenery. I’m not here to talk about me though, so let’s dive in!
The best month for an outdoor wedding in Washington state really depends on what you’re looking for! We live in a state that experiences all 4 seasons, so the “best” may vary and be subjective.
Fall is a phenomenal time of year in Washington. Mid September to late October can have warm days and cool nights, along with leaves turning colors. While the rest of our trees are evergreen, the contrasting colors are gorgeous. Check out my tips and tricks for rainy weddings below, otherwise – embrace the fall look and cozy vibes!
Winter weddings in Washington state are gorgeous! Couples that are looking for cozy vibes will want to get married from November through March. These months carry the most precipitation, with rain/snow alternating depending on elevation and temperature. Washington typically gets 2 or 3 large, statewide snowfalls spread throughout these months. The mountainous, higher elevation areas such as Leavenworth or Mount Rainier can get snow as early as October, and as late as April!
If you’re considering having a winter or fall wedding, it’s worth considering having clear umbrellas and blankets on standby. Clear umbrellas are typically affordable to buy in packs, and are cute in photos. Neutral colored blankets aren’t hard to find, and are also quite photogenic.
If you’re really worried about sitting on wet seats, you can wait until just before the ceremony to set out chairs. Then, provide guests with towels just large enough to dry them off. As guests sit down, they can dry off the seat and place the towel at their feet, or elsewhere. The seats will be dry, and nobody will know the difference in photos!
In the event that these steps are needed, your guests will be much more comfortable in the weather, and will thank you!
From a photography perspective, winter and fall weddings and elopements are great! = Clouds can provide either very dynamic lighting, or very balanced lighting (both are fun). Rain and snow can provide new texture to play with in familiar landscapes, and give everything a different look! I’m a huge sucker for fall colors, too.
Spring in Washington state varies from week to week! It can be rainy and cold, or sunny and warm, or somewhere in between. Typically, you can expect temperatures to rise around late March or early April, and you’ll see rain fall lower as well. At lower elevation locations, flowers start to bloom and the greenery becomes very lush. A typical spring day can be crisp and sunny in the morning with some rolling clouds, warm by the afternoon – and cooling off again at night with potential for some rain. By May or June, it’s typically in the 60s and 70s most of the time! Late Spring is one of my personal favorites for weddings.
Summer is the most popular time of year to get married in Washington state. July and August carry the least amount of precipitation, with June and September both coming close behind. Couples can reasonably expect it to be sunny and at least in the upper 70s. Sometimes a cold day or two will come through, but those are more rare during the summer. Days are long, with sunset typically around 8 or 9 PM in July and August. At this point, the mountains have completely opened up for hiking and other summer activities. Tourism is at it’s peak for the year, and there are all sorts of activities available. Kayaking, camping, hiking, concerts, food festivals, you name it – we got it! Summer in the northwest can’t be beat.
According to The Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in Washington state in 2022 was $34,100.Washington wedding venues typically range from about $5,000 to $15,000. The determining factors typically include location, size, and other value that’s provided such as chairs, tables or catering for example.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider one of Washington’s many state parks such as Deception Pass! If you’re okay with having a smaller guest count, such as around 20 or less, you could abssolutely consider using a State or National Park. Permits for weddings in the local state park or in one of Washington’s national parks is typically $200 or less.
Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier, the North Cascades, and Deception Pass State Park are all phenomenal options for small (20 guests or less), outdoor weddings!
If you’re looking at an outdoor wedding venue, chances are you have a lot of options, you know they all look pretty, but you may not be sure about how to narrow down the list. If sticking to a certain budget is a priority of yours, I recommend by starting there. Other important factors to consider are getting ready spaces (if they have them), lighting (specifically how dark it gets at night), how many guests can be accommodated, and how catering and rentals will work. Some venues don’t have getting ready spaces, so it isn’t a bad idea to check out the nearby lodging as well!
If you’re considering having an outdoor wedding, check out a venue’s ability to host people indoors in case of rain, or if they have recommendations for a large tent. Some venues will have a tent ready, while others may have a rental company they recommend.
Overall, make note of your top priorities, eliminate the ones that obviously won’t work – and take your time picking through what’s left!
Sodo Park is located in the Sodo (South District) area of Seattle. It stunts romantic ambience, custom bar and food service, and looks phenomenal for both ceremony and reception!
Olympic Rooftop Pavilion is located just north of downtown Seattle, has panoramic views of Seattle and the Puget Sound, and fantastic food/beverage options. They can host up to 150 for cocktail style events, and up to 130 for seated, family style dinner.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is a visually exciting combination of modern art, and natural beauty.
The Seattle Aquarium is in downtown Seattle, next to Pike’s Place Market and built into the docks! It offers an immaculate view of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. The reception area is gorgeous, and is able to accommodate a decent sized crowd! The food is also fantastic.
For those that don’t know, Dukes is a fantastic seafood restaurant in the pacific northwest. They have 7 locations throughout the greater Seattle Tacoma area. They also have a wedding venue in Seattle, that has views of South Lake Union.
Fox Hollow Farm is just outside of Seattle in Issaquah, Washington. Their listed aminities include 10 hours of event access, ceremony and reception chairs, a tented reception area, banquet tables, outdoor lounge sets – and more! The property looks phenomenal too.
Twin Willow Gardens in Snohomish features a lush forest and garden, along with ample room and scenery for guests to meander or play yard games.
JM Cellars is a “small, family-owned winery with a tasting room located in a wooded countryside setting.” Located in Woodinville, it’s close enough to Seattle for guests to explore the area while they’re here!
Chateau Lill, also located in the greater Woodinville area, is a venue and winery. Classy and beautiful styled architecture along with gorgeous natural scenery make for a fantastic choice.
The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge has panoramic mountain views of the central cascades, is conveniently located, and has a large reception space. There’s lots of good locations for photos on the property, and in the surrounding area!
Leavenworth is an old Bavarian town nestled in the central Cascades, it’s known for it’s old European architecture, amazing food, and holiday festivities. In the summer, there’s TONS of hiking and outdoor activities in the area.
Brown Family Homestead is just outside of Leavenworth. The homstead itself is fairly large, and is just across the road from Lake Wenatchee!
Mountain Springs Lodge is “centerpiece to pristine natural beauty and is steeped in the rich tradition ofa family heritage dating back to the 1800’s.” They have several different ceremony sites to choose from, providing lots of beautiful options!
Swiftwater Cellars is a winery located in a town called Cle Elum, in central Washington. Their website boasts breathtaking views, outdoor and indoor ceremony venues for 250+, tables, chairs, staff, and more!
Crystal Mountain Resort is just outside of Mount Rainier National Park, and features a stunning view of the mountain! It’s perfectly located for adventurous couples that want to showcase the mountains of the pacific northwest.
Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum features luxurious experiences, and forest covered mountains. The venue also has multiple ceremony and reception spaces to choose from!
Wellspring Spa in Ashford, is literally across the street from the Mount Rainier National Park border! It would make for a very convenient location for friends and family to explore the area. You could also include a portrait session at the mountain. The venue itself is beautifully nestled into the woods, and has lots of lodging options.
Elk Ridge Campground in Naches is also just outside of Mount Rainier National Park! It has a combination of the mountains and the woods. The cabins are cozy, and the proximity to the lodging nearby really gives it a nostalgic, family vibe. The owners were quite friendly when I was there, and the convience store had everything you could think of!
Rock Creek Gardens in Puyallup has a gorgeous, garden-forest setting with lots of parking, a large tent, a FANTASTIC staff and beautiful spaces to get ready in! All things considered, this is one of the best wedding venues in Washington state. I’d photograph a wedding here any day of the week!
Treehouse Point in Issaquah is near the central cascades, Snoqualmie Falls, and is known for their namesake – treehouses! You can stay in the treehouses and host a wedding/reception there. They have a beautiful outdoor ceremony area, and lots of gorgeous spots for guests and the reception. They also have backup plans for rain, and so many cool spots for photos!
Kiana Lodge is one of the absolute best venues in Washington state! Their indoor and outdoor options are both large and gorgeous, they can host lots of people, and catering/rentals have always looked great! Check out Melissa & James’ wedding here.
Hunters Gate Farm in Port Angeles is just outside of Olympic National Park, and has a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean! I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph a summer wedding on a cool day, and it was beautiful.
Roche Harbor Resort is located in Friday harbor, in the San Juan Islands. It’s almost in Canada, and it also has a beautiful view of the pacific ocean.
Guemes Island Resort is also in the San Juan islands, has great views of the ocean and the surrounding islands, and some of the North Cascades!
Cascade Garden in Yakima was voted Yakima’s Best Wedding Venue 5 years in a row, has a beautiful property and also has florals, and rentals/furniture.
Lavender Manor in Spokane has a large property, wide views and of course – Lavender fields!
Lake Chelan is popular for it’s namesake, warm & dry summers, and wineries! There’s quite a few out there, along with quite a few other activities in the area. The best wedding venues in Lake Chelan, have quite the luxuruios feel.
Harmony Meadows has stunning architecture, giving it a very classy, traditional look. Along with beautiful views of the surrounding cascade mountains, it’s one of the best wedding venues in Lake Chelan!
Larc Hill Vineyard Ranch has an incredible view of the mountains, along with a lot of indoor and outdoor space!
Most of the venues listed would still make for great small wedding venues, too.
Some of the best small wedding venues in Washington state, are actually state parks and national parks. If you’re having less than 30 guests, opting for something in the park could save money and utilize Washington’s natural scenery. The best parks to choose from in Washington state are Deception Pass, North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. Each of them have breathtaking views and have the ability to accommodate a small, laid back wedding.
Honestly, above all else – what really matters is your experience! Even if you pick a wedding venue that somebody else may find quirky, what matters is that you like it and you can make it work for your vision. This list of wedding venues is evolving, and I’m always open to feedback. If there’s a venue you’d like to see on this list, just let me know and I’ll be happy to chat about it!