Updated: Oct 30, 2018
This post is written by Guest Contributor Abigail Golder
The Pacific Northwest is a magical place, where the ocean meets the mountains and rain showers life into the land. The natural landscapes are diverse, with expansive beaches, teeming rainforests, cultured cities, sleepy small towns, expansive plains and jagged mountains. In the summer, the PNW is exploding with sunshine and adventure, relieved from the rainfall of the winter. This perfect collection of beauties makes the PNW an ideal place to have a summer wedding for any happy couple.
Just like any major event, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. The PNW may be a diverse place for virtually any type of wedding, but it can also be very expensive if you aren’t careful.
Don’t let that scare you, however. Be strategic—make lists to help you decide what you need at your wedding, and what you want at your wedding. This is your time, and money shouldn’t be a stress factor. There are many sites that can help you map out your wedding budget but the best way to ensure you get the wedding of your dreams within your budget is to hire an expert.
Inside or Outside
One of the most common misconceptions about the PNW is how often it rains. Sure, the heaviest rainfall in the country occurs here, but it doesn’t rain every day. In fact, even in the wetter parts of the region, the months of July and August can even be too dry! So, if you want to plan an outdoor wedding, summer in the PNW is a perfect destination.
More than half the weddings held in the PNW are held outside, with a gorgeous backdrop and plenty of golden, natural light. Farmhouse and barn venues are popular as well, and allow for some flexibility if it rains. In fact, most outdoor venues provide a backup option if the weather does turn wet—often in the form of large, open event tents. If you prefer an indoor wedding, there are many options that range from religious establishments, museums, banquet halls, and historical districts.
Once you’ve decided on in indoor or outdoor ceremony, it’s time to choose a venue. If you don’t have anything specific in mind, start a broad search to find the best PNW venues. Many weddings in the PNW have a rustic, romantic feel, and are held at gardens, estates, and farms.
If you want to go outdoors, National Parks may be an option. They do require permits, but are fairly easy to obtain on the National Park website. Olympic National Park, located in Washington State, is actually one of the top National Parks for wedding destinations. There are many beautiful venues that host weddings frequently, and have both indoor and outdoor options.
Photo by GSquared Weddings at Kitsap Memorial State Park
It’ll be easier to decide on a dress code once you’ve chosen a venue because the venue plays a huge part in the ambiance of the big day. It’s generally not too hot in the PNW during the summer (70s most of the time), but in the drier parts of the region it can get pretty toasty (low 90s in August).
If you want your guests to be decked out in their best to suit your location, you also want them to be comfortable—especially if you plan on having a long night. Also, consider the affordability of your dress code and the people you have invited. You want your guests to feel comfortable physically, but also socially; if many of your guests cannot afford white tie, for example, it might be better to go a different route.
On a similar note, consider who will be attending your celebration and what they may be able to afford. If many of your guests are flying in, you may want to select a location that is easily accessible by public transportation.
Weddings in cities like Seattle are extremely accessible by public transit in the PNW. There are buses, rideshares, trains, streetcars, and other methods of commuting that are inexpensive and easy to use. Amtrak also has commuter trains that run up and down the Northwest coast, and may cut down on travel costs for some of your guests. Guests also might appreciate a list of attractions and activities nearby the venue.
One of the things that make the PNW so special is that almost everything you need can be locally sourced during the summer. The Skagit Valley provides fertile grounds for an enormous variety flowers and produce, allowing you to have both a vibrant floral presence and amazing catering options. Be sure to choose a photographer that captures your ideal aesthetic—lighting can change quickly in the PNW, and you’ll want someone who has proven to be proficient at manipulating lighting conditions.
Photo by Stephanie Walls Photography at Woodland Meadow Farms
Planning might be overwhelming on your own, so bring in the professionals! Wedding planners can get the job done without the emotional involvement that you will be experiencing. They will know what other vendors they can rely on, and have developed relationships with respected local businesses.
The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful area for any occasion, but truly makes a perfect location for a special wedding day. From the variety of venue options to the wonderful vendors in the area, there is no doubt your day will go off without a hitch. These are just the basics for planning your big day and there are tons of other details you might consider. To ensure a flawless day that you’ll never forget contact us for any help you might need!