While Washington state was once part of the wild, wild west, today it is known for it's technology output and coffee shops with trendy art and music. Washington's natural elements cannot be tamed, however, as the state is home to multiple active volcanoes, grand mountains, and is set beside the powerful Pacific Ocean. Wedding venues range from hip indoor hot spots to the outdoor enthusiasts' paradise, including romantic gardens and castles, trendy restaurants and artsy museums.
Seattle is a down to earth, yet sophisticated town. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the country, meaning that a wedding in the Emerald City can cost as much as it's namesake gem, though less expensive options are available for those savvy with their planning. The artsy couple may find their perfect wedding location in one of the city's museums or theaters, while wine aficionados may enjoy saying their vows in one of several wineries. This rainy city's reputation may drive couples to hold their nuptials indoors, but if an outdoor wedding is your dream, the summer months have dry days perfect for beach side or yacht deck weddings. ,
Though it's only 28 miles north of Seattle, the town of Everett boasts a whole different feel, with outdoor adventures being more popular pastimes. Everett is an export town on the coast of the Puget Sound. Ships head off to deliver to foreign lands and others come home with weary fishermen, creating excitement in the salty air. Lovers can say their vows in a ballroom, castle, brewery or event center.
Tacoma is just south of Seattle, and is known as the “City of Destiny,” as it was the final Pacific coast railroad destination. The city's nickname is rather fitting for a couple destined to be together! Tacoma is artsy like Seattle, but offers many more outdoor venues. No matter where you wed in Tacoma, you'll always have a view of Mt. Rainier, making for great photo ops. Wedding venues are less expensive here than in Seattle, making this smaller city an intriguing option for couples looking for a similar vibe.
Yakima is the heart of the state of Washington. The county seat is an All-America City Award winner, and the agricultural and native communities bring people together and give this relatively large city a down home feel. Known for it's production of succulent apples, prime wines and most of the hops grown in the country, Yakima offers the betrothed wedding venues in orchards, vineyards, wineries and farms.
Bellingham is a coastal town, known for it's organic food, devotion to sustainability, and its historic neighbor, Fairhaven Village. Summer whale watching and winter powder give this college town options for year round fun. If you're looking for a venue for the spiritually open minded, something modern and artsy, or something simple with incredible ocean views, you'll find your perfect spot in Bellingham. It's also one of the least expensive places to wed in Washington.
Wedding Venue Prices in Washington
Venue prices range from $40 to $200 per person for 100 guests. Washington sales tax is 6.5%, though some municipalities charge more, bringing sales tax in Seattle and Tacoma to 9.6%, Everett to 9.5%, Yakima to 8.2%, and Bellingham to 8.7%. Be sure to ask the venue of your choice about their service charge, as it may add around 18% to 25% to your bill. Since Washington state employers do not get a tip credit, and must pay servers the full minimum wage, you may be able to negotiate the standard 15% to 20% gratuity that some venues automatically charge.
Information and Resources for Weddings in Washington
To obtain a Washington marriage license both parties will need to present a valid photo ID.
Fees differ by county. King county, Pierce county and Snohomish county all charge $66, while Yakima county charges $64 and Whatcom county charges $59. All counties in Washington state require a three day waiting period between the date the marriage license is obtained and the wedding date, so plan ahead! Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days.