After Jamie and I settled on our wedding concept, we set out for a location that would achieve the feeling we wanted to capture without breaking the bank.
During our search, I learned that state parks are the hidden gem of wedding planning – many parks are in a beautiful location and have reception spaces from the average to the extraordinary. Best of all, because Washington State Parks and Recreation doesn’t spend gobs of money advertising like traditional wedding venues, many of these beautiful spaces are inexpensive and unknown to the masses. Many locations let you use the caterer of your choice, and provide your own alcohol, which can mean thousands of dollars in savings. Info on all Washington State Parks wedding and event spaces is here: http://www.parks.wa.gov/dayuseplaces/
Two state parks I've visited and would recommend are Kitsap Memorial State Park near Poulsbo and Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. Rachel and I drove out to Kitsap Memorial on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year and we were seriously impressed. The websites for both these venues don’t do them justice – in person, the Kitsap Memorial Log House is a rustic but beautiful reception hall set among towering pine trees, perched on a bluff overlooking Hood Canal. Boring online, but stunning in real life. Likewise for Fort Worden in Port Townsend.
These gorgeous pictures from One Love Photo truly show off the Kitsap Memorial Log House’s full potential -
We also spent some time researching what’s in our own backyard in Seattle. Seattle Parks and Recreation Department rents the Alki Bathhouse and the Golden Gardens Bathhouse (below pictures courtesy of Laurel McConnell) for weddings and events, and both of these buildings are charming venues with tons of options for ceremonies and receptions.
We stumbled on (and eventually chose) the Oddfellows Hall on Orcas Island while searching for a state park in the San Juans with an event venue. Oddfellows isn’t a state park property, but it has the same benefits – set in a beautiful location, affordable, and no strings attached in approved vendor lists.
Weather permitting, our ceremony will take place on the patio overlooking Eastsound.
And our reception will be inside the 100-year-old historic dance hall just upstairs.
What are some creative and affordable places you've found, off the beaten path or just around the block?