Best of 2012

From: Fall/Winter 2012 edition

When it comes to assembling your wedding team, just as with sports, you want to draft the best players possible to help create a winning combination. Rather than wandering through the Internet abyss, take some coaching advice from Seattle Bride’s readers, editors and vendors themselves; in our annual Best of Bride poll, these premier local vendors were declared true champions for their excellent customer relations, sheer creative ingenuity and, most importantly, for crafting beautiful celebrations worthy of victory laps.

Best of the best
All-Around Best Wedding Vendor
New Wedding Vendor

wedding day team
Best Planner
Best Videographer
Day-of-Wedding Coodinator
Best Officiant
Best Photographer

food & Drink
Caterer
Bar Service
Custom Wedding Cakes
Groom's Cakes
Desserts

decor & Rentals
Florist
Rental
Invitation Designer
Most Creative Favors
Place to Buy Wedding Supplies

Apparel & accessories
Dress Shop
Custom Dress Designer
Flower Girl Dress
Best Mother-of-the-Bride Apparel
Bridal Accessories
Hair
Makeup
Formalwear for Men
Engagement/Wedding Rings
Locally Made Jewelry

Venues
New Reception Site
Quintessential Seattle-area Reception Site
Northwest Destination Wedding Site
Place for a Sunset Wedding
Place for a Waterfront Wedding
Place for an Outdoor Wedding
Place for Large Gala Weddings (200 guests or more)
Place for Intimate Weddings (75 guests or fewer)

Music & Entertainment
Live Band for Reception
Musicians for Ceremony
DJ for Reception
Best Photo Booth

Editor's Picks
Best Pre-Wedding Spa Treatment
Best-Spin on the Photo Booth
Best One-Stop Venue
Best Custom Wedding Artwork
Best New Foodie Favors
Best Wardrobe Wrangler

The Best of before and after the wedding
Wedding Show
Boutique Registry
Quintessential Wedding Registy
Place for Attendant Gifts
Bachelor Party
Bachelorette Party
Spa for Group Manis and Pedis
Transportation/Getaway Car
Rehersal Dinner Restaurant
Valet Service
Hotel for Guests
Place to Spend the Wedding Night

 

Best Wedding Vendor True Colors EventsALL-AROUND BEST WEDDING VENDOR
Winner:
True Colors Events
Claim to fame: Ballard-based True Colors co-owners Travis McBurney and Jesse Brix have gained a sterling reputation for planning chic weddings and luxe events such as the Urban Unveiled show, which they first launched in 2006. With a unique combination of artistic vision and business savvy at their disposal, this duo counts brides and fellow vendors alike among their fans.
Top tip:
“Prioritize. We ask our couples, ‘What are the most important things about your wedding?’ Focus your time and money on those items and you will have the day of your dreams.”
Finalists: Aria Style; Luly Yang Couture

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NEW WEDDING VENDOR
Winner:
Scout Vintage Rentals
Claim to fame: Seattle brides are saying an enthusiastic “I do” to Phinney Ridge–based Bow Tie & Bustle planner Jenn Blake’s latest side venture, Scout. Blake not only rents out hand-picked vintage furniture (think rustic tables and Parisian couches) and goods for weddings, but can curate vignettes to fit any theme or hunt down dream décor pieces.
Favorite color palette:
“I’m very much into bold pops of color against contrasting neutral palettes...for example, contrasting a regal purple, orange and bright yellow against a muted tone like gray.”
Finalists: Heathoriginal; The Sweetside

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WEDDING PLANNER
Winner:
True Colors Events
Claim to fame: A Best of Bride winner in two categories this year, the True Colors team has an innate knowledge of how to translate current trends into your wedding day vision with ease.
Favorite color palette: “Gold is modern again!” says the duo. “We love layering gold linens, chargers, china and vases with other accessories. Don’t be afraid to mix tones and textures.... We think of metallics as neutrals; you can pair any color with gold and make a strong statement.”
Finalists: Weddings with Wendy; Aisle of View

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VIDEOGRAPHER
Winner:
Bogle Productions
Claim to fame: The exclamation “wow” comes up frequently when talking to Bogle’s satisfied clients, with one recent bride gushing, “Bogle was able to capture every little detail of our day and turned it into a beautiful love story.” Using a cinematic storytelling style, owner Cory Bogle also gets rave reviews for his unobtrusiveness, slipping in and out for the perfect shot.
Bonus round: Bogle films every wedding in 1,080-pixel high definition for crystal clear quality, but also experiments with a medium that mimics Super 8 film for a retro look.
Finalists: Edit 1 Media, Cabfare Productions

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DAY-OF-WEDDING COORDINATOR
Winner:
The Invisible Hostess
Claim to fame: It’s all in the name: Owner Sheena Kalso, coordinator Afton Vander Pol (left to right below) and their Westlake-based team will keep the big day on schedule and the stress to a minimum, thanks to almost a decade of industry experience and their signature calm and collected attitudes.
Favorite trend: “We cannot get enough of the mobile-food truck trend, especially in the dessert arena,” says Kalso. “They provide a feeling of nostalgia.... Our clients want to keep guests entertained and engaged till the very end. What better way than dessert on wheels?”
Finalists: True Colors Events; Aisle of View; La Belle Soirée

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OFFICIANT/CLERGY
Winner:
Mary Calhoun of Window to the Soul
Claim to fame: The Reverend Mary Calhoun crafts meaningful messages tailored to each specific couple she weds: the nondenominational, North Seattle–based minister performs interfaith ceremonies for all beliefs, inviting duos to her home for pre-wedding dinners.
Top tip:
“Alone time needs to be planned into the itinerary. Creating an oasis of time after the ceremony will bring a resurgence of energy and balance as the couple transitions into greeting their guests at their reception.”
Finalists: A Heavenly Ceremony; Annemarie Juhlian

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PHOTOGRAPHER
Winner:
Azzura Photography
Claim to fame: Bellevue-based husband-and-wife team Ken and Tania Shepard are dynamos behind the lens, snapping romantic one-on-one couple photos and humorous action shots with equal aplomb. Using an illustrative style, Azzura blends candids and photojournalistic behind-the-scenes looks to tell the wedding day tale.
Favorite trend:
“The return to classic glamour,” says Tania. “Although I love vintage and handmade details, the new look blends it with a more refined style. I’m seeing the influences of Mad Men, Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn.”
Finalists: Alante Photography; Barbie Hull Photography

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CATERER
Winner:
Herban Feast
Claim to fame: Finding inspiration in seasonal, local ingredients, Herban Feast owner BJ Duft continues to push culinary boundaries. In addition to Herban Feast’s stunning dessert bars, family-style entrée options and top-tier drinks, those sweet-potato crab cakes and mushroom flatbread bites will keep guests buzzing in between bites.
Favorite Color palette: “Platinum with watermelon and yellow hues, accented with textural elements like lace and mercury glass,” says Duft.  
Finalists: Lisa Dupar Catering; Ravishing Radish

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BEST BAR SERVICE
Winner:
The Invisible Hostess
Claim to fame: In addition to her wedding-planning prowess, Sheena Kalso makes a mean drink. Taking care of the necessary coordination, staffing and bar supplies, The Invisible Hostess creates an effortlessly cool presentation, from great glassware to personalized cocktails.
Top Tip: “Create your budget, then add 20 percent. Try to stick to the original, but reality is you will find something you can’t live without. Instead of losing sleep over going above your allotted amount, give yourself that wiggle room.”
Finalists: Pour Girls and Some Guys; Espresso Elegance

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CUSTOM WEDDING CAKES
Winner:
Tallant House
Claim to fame: To say owner Judy Tallant “makes” cake doesn’t quite cut it: The talented Monroe-based baker creates works of art that act as a centerpiece for your whole fete. Tallant’s treats are handmade with all-natural ingredients and chocolates imported from France or Spain, and are often infused with exotic additions such as kaffir lime filling.
Favorite trend: “Dessert buffets! I do a variety of serving sizes as well as full-sized tarts on pretty cake plates. I love the flexibility and variety these offer—and they are gorgeous when all set up.”
Finalists: Crème de la Crème; The People’s Cake

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GROOM'S CAKES
Winner:
Mike’s Amazing Cakes
Claim to fame: “The geek world loves us,” jokes Mike McCarey, referring to the wacky, zany and often gaming-themed groom’s cakes his Redmond company, Mike’s Amazing Cakes, gets countless orders for every year. Incorporating dude-friendly motifs ranging from Dungeon and Dragons to The Sims and Angry Birds themes, these funny creations will steal the show.
Favorite cake flavors:
“We are obsessed with our new almond-poppyseed cake with amaretto mousse; plus, people are still clamoring for salted caramel, too.”
Finalists: The People’s Cake; Tallant House

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DESSERTS
Winner:
Trophy Cupcakes
Claim to fame: Soon after opening her first Trophy Cupcakes bakery in Wallingford in 2007, Jennifer Shea had serious groupies (such as Martha Stewart) devoted to her light, fluffy cupcakes. With a plethora of revolving flavors, including chocolate hazelnut, lemon strawberry and snickerdoodle, her petite, perfectly frosted cakes are a dessert-bar home run, every time.
Favorite color palette: “I am crazy for bold color palettes right now. Pops of bright orange, yellow, pink and green are so beautiful and fun, and can be a part of any style of wedding, from casual to super elegant.”
Finalists: Tallant House; Cake Envy

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RENTALS (CHAIRS, LINENS, ETC.)
Winner:
AA Party Rentals
Claim to fame: With more than 40 years in business as a feather in their cap, Nancy Shaw and the super-helpful staff at AA (with locations in Fife and Mountlake Terrace) are the area’s go-to guides when it comes to making sure you stay dry on the big day. In addition to linens, flatware and other décor necessities, AA has the largest selection of outdoor tents and canopies in the Puget Sound.
Favorite trend:
“We love small bites for food, using unusual ‘vessels’ such as Asian fishtail spoons, tiny plates, mini martini glasses or our stainless tasting wall.”
Finalists: Pedersen’s Rentals; Grand Event Rentals

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INVITATION DESIGNER
Winner:
Kerri Efendi Designs
Claim to fame: A landscape architect turned graphic designer, Bellingham’s Kerri Efendi creates invitations that are visually striking, often setting bold hues against hand-scripted typography on letterpress paper. With an innate ability to go modern cool or traditionally elegant, Efendi works with each couple to create their dream suite.
Favorite color palette: “I am really into bold colors and metallics right now, such as gold, cobalt blue and peacock blue—paired with soft mint, it creates a whimsical and bright palette.”
Finalists: Paper Moxie; Merchant’s Paper & Design

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FLORIST
Winner:
Aria Style
Claim to fame: With more than a decade of experience under his belt, Aria Style owner John Gardner manages a rare feat, continuing to surprise with innovative floral arrangements often inspired by décor trends. Good news for brides: The Georgetown-based team also rents vintage pieces, linens and other décor.
Top tip:
“The key to success is to identify your ‘dream team’ early; once you’ve got the team assembled, give the vendors their input and concept, and then trust them to produce their best work.”
Finalists: Flora Nova; Fleurish

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MOST CREATIVE FAVORS
Winner:
Heathoriginal
Claim to fame: Click on the “favor” link on Heather Driscoll’s website, heathoriginal.blogspot.com, and a bride can get lost for days, awash in Driscoll’s quirky, custom-made ideas. From hand-stamped favor baggies and treat cones to handmade s’more kits and fabric flower brooches, Heathoriginal is a fount of creativity.
Top tip: “Keep an open mind. Starting the planning process with a vision is great, but be prepared to compromise. Some things will ultimately change throughout the process, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is for the worse!”
Finalists: Paper Fling; Seattle Sundries

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PLACE TO BUY WEDDING SUPPLIES
Winner:
PS Stores
Claim to fame: In a year when Seattle lost several local supply stores, the Packaging Specialties store in Georgetown shines brightly as the area’s best resource for all things paper, plus favors, ribbons, boxes and bags. The staff at Cheryl Nishimoto’s shop goes beyond the call of duty to help solve décor conundrums, even teaching DIY classes on essentials like crafting invitations.
Favorite trend:
“We find the mix of rustic and formal very appealing,” says Nishimoto. “The juxtaposition of formal décor and an old building or a barn is warm, comfortable and unique.”
Finalists: Paper Source; Party @ Display & Costume

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DRESS SHOP
Winner:
Luly Yang Couture
Claim to fame:
The iconic blue window displays at Luly Yang’s downtown boutique at Fourth Avenue and University Street beckon clients as they glitter with new eveningwear designs and the latest bridal styles. Inside, the elegant trove is flush with gowns, luxurious jewelry and Yang’s custom-designed shoes.
Top tip:
“Remember what your day is really about: celebrating your love with family and friends,” says Yang. “Even if a few details don’t go perfectly, at the end of the day you will be married to the love of your life.”
Finalists: I Do Bridal; A Princess Bride

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CUSTOM DRESS DESIGNER
Winner:
Luly Yang Couture
Claim to fame: Luly Yang continues to amaze with the soft, fluttery, layered organza gowns, dramatic mermaid-cut silk siren sheaths and sophisticated A-line confections that have drawn brides to her designs for more than a decade now. Plus, her less-expensive, 2-year-old Diamond and Blue collections have opened up her designs to an even larger set of fashionably clad, blushing brides.
Favorite trend:
“For fashion, I love that women are choosing silhouettes that are more fitted and body conscious, with intricate textures and multiple translucent layers.”
Finalists: Kiko House of Couture; Drea K Designs

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FLOWER GIRL DRESSES
Winner:
Moms, Maids & More
Claim to fame: Erin Green’s friendly Bellevue shop serves the other women in the wedding party; the wide selection of footwear, mother-of-the-bride apparel and bridesmaid gowns is topped with truly precious flower girl frocks from designers such as Little Lady and Tip Top.
Favorite trend:
“It’s fun to see wedding parties incorporating the ‘something old’ in creative ways,” says Green. “We had one party take advantage of an abundance of costume jewelry from the bride’s grandmother, each bridesmaid wore a different piece of the collection on the big day.”
Finalists: Nordstrom; Luly Yang Couture

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MOTHER-OF-THE-BRIDE APPAREL
Winner:
Nordstrom
Claim to fame: With hundreds of dresses for sale online and large special-occasion departments at both the downtown and Bellevue stores, Nordstrom makes it easy for moms. In-house stylists are available to scout out a particular dress or pull a selection for her to try on; plus, the locally owned fashion house offers free alterations.
Favorite trend:
“I really love the juxtaposition of outdoor venues that take advantage of Seattle’s greenery offset by formal, dramatic, fashion-forward gowns,” says bridal director Andrea Wasserman.
Finalists: Moms, Maids & More; A Princess Bride

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BRIDAL ACCESSORIES
Winner:
Nordstrom
Claim to fame: In addition to its stellar jewelry and shoe departments, the Nordstrom Wedding Suite at the downtown store offers a hand-selected collection of jewelry (gathered by trend-spotting bridal director Andrea Wasserman), which has pieces ranging from vintage chic to glitzy and glamorous. Sparkling high heels, silky veils and sleek fascinators complete the darling atelier.
Favorite bridal accessory:
“A statement necklace!” exclaims Wasserman. “Unless the bodice of the gown has a lot of detail, in which case I’d go with glamorous hairpins.”
Finalists: Luly Yang Couture; A Princess Bride

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Best Hair Gene JuarezHAIR
Winner:
Gene Juarez
Claim to fame: The hardest decision to make when primping with Gene Juarez? Which of the 10 area salons to visit. The rest of the details can be trusted to the experts at this industry leader, which has been in business for more than 40 years. Each swanky location can accommodate full bridal parties, has specialized updo specialists on staff and offers free style consultations before the big day.
Top tip:
The salon has a dedicated team that cultivates new styles seasonally and trains salon employees, so your stylist will have recommendations at the ready.
Finalists: Salon Maison; Swink Style Bar

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MAKEUP
Winner:
Salon Maison
Claim to fame: The makeup and beauty experts from the mobile Salon Maison primp and prep more than 300 brides a year, creating custom looks for each. After one-on-one consultations prior to the wedding, the team will arrive at the wedding location to perfectly apply your makeup.
Favorite makeup trend: “Neutrals and soft pale pinks are hot for 2012,” says manager Heidi Landers. “Say goodbye to the smoldering, smoky eye! I am excited about the new fresh romantic palettes. For example, I love MAC’s sheer nylon shadow blended with a soft sable brown on the eyelids.”
Finalists: Erin Skipley; Michael Bride

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FORMALWEAR FOR MEN
Winner:
Nordstrom
Claim to fame: With designer suits from the likes of John Varvatos and Hugo Boss, and an array of colorways (taupe! chocolate brown! gray suede!) available in their arsenal, Nordstrom’s specially trained fit associates help grooms invest in an outfit they can use beyond the big day.
Top tip:
“Be sensitive to their wishes, but remember that your loved ones want you to be happy,” says bridal director Andrea Wasserman. “Listen to the recommendations they offer—and then make your own decision and don’t look back!”
Finalists: Wall Street Custom Clothiers; Mario’s; Trillium Custom Tailoring

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ENGAGEMENT/WEDDING RINGS
Winner:
E.E. Robbins
Claim to fame: This family-owned shop specializes exclusively in rings, now also carrying its own custom designs. As part of the design process, both the Belltown and Bellevue stores employ an in-house sketch artist to help transform your ring fantasies into reality. Plus, the ever helpful staff is a breath of fresh air, with owner E.E. Robbins often spotted behind the counter helping grooms.
Top tip:
“Make it fun,” says Robbins. “Give yourself some time to plan, take a deep breath and don’t let anyone pressure you—it’s your day!”
Finalists: Ben Bridge; Green Lake Jewelry Works

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LOCALLY MADE JEWELRY
Winner:
Green Lake Jewelry Works
Claim to fame: Green Lake Jewelry Works’ personal approach to creating jewelry is apparent the moment you step into the Northgate shop and see the line of jewelry makers, ready to assist. Using talents in metalworks and working with each customer’s wish list, the staff crafts one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as reworks vintage heirlooms to give them new life.
Top tip:
“Hire a day-of coordinator,” says marketing coordinator and designer Emily Johnston. “Take the day (or two) before the wedding off and schedule a massage or pedicure to relax!”
Finalists: Michelle Lenae; T. Anthony Jewelers

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NEW RECEPTION SITE
Winner:
WithinSodo
Claim to fame: Located in a former import furniture warehouse, this airy SoDo venue offers stunning downtown views from its rooftop deck. Owner Ben Abrams opened the space last July after installing the deck lounge (which has a fireplace and cozy seating); two adjoining downstairs rooms are accented with hanging cardboard lanterns.
Bonus round:
The 330-person-capacity space is available to rent on a per-room basis, so you can mix spaces to suit.
Finalists: Melrose Market Studios; The Oasis at SoDo Park

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QUINTESSENTIAL SEATTLE-AREA RECEPTION SITE
Winner:
Herban Feast at SoDo Park
Claim to fame: The converted SoDo warehouse exudes a quintessential Seattle cool, with soaring ceilings, topnotch catering and now, party overflow space courtesy of neighboring venue The Oasis.
Bonus round:
“Through our Herban Design Studio, brides come for styling help to do part of their wedding themselves, whether it be favors, paper products or event centerpieces,” says owner BJ Duft.
Finalists: Four Seasons; The Edgewater; Space Needle

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NORTHWEST DESTINATION WEDDING SITE (OUTSIDE THE SEATTLE AREA)
Winner:
Roche Harbor Resort
Claim to fame: Stroll the dock and dance under a starry sky: These dreamy visuals come to life at Roche Harbor Resort on San Juan Island. The peaceful retreat suits a variety of interests with waterfront dining options and a darling shopping district.
Top tip: “Your job is to create an immersive experience for your loved ones to come together,” says lodging director Sam Jacobsen. “The best celebrations last several days.”  
Finalists: Alderbrook Resort & Spa; Semiahmoo Resort

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PLACE FOR A SUNSET WEDDING
Winner:
Golf Club at Newcastle
Claim to fame: Stand on the expansive patio outside of the English manor-style clubhouse and drink it in: the panoramic views of the club’s 350-acre hilltop estate, a distant glimpse of downtown Bellevue on the horizon, and a primo front-row seat to the ever brilliant pink-and-purple sunsets that have made Newcastle a repeat winner in this category.
Bonus round:
The ultramanly Wooly Toad bar, brimming with oversized leather sofas, pool and poker tables, and a balcony with views of the green, is the perfect spot for the dudes to relax before the ceremony.
Finalists: Golden Gardens; The Edgewater

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PLACE FOR A WATERFRONT WEDDING
Winner:
The Woodmark Hotel
Claim to fame: Nestled on picturesque Carillon Point, the Woodmark’s signature Olympic Terrace occupies prime Lake Washington real estate; say “I do” along its shores, then dance the night away in the heated tent before making an incredible exit via the water on the hotel’s 28-foot Woodmark II boat.
Favorite trend: “Making something nontraditional into a new tradition,” says director of events Whitney Byxbee. “For example, if we know a bride and groom were engaged over margaritas in Mexico, we’ll do a mini margarita for their toast instead of champagne.”
Finalists: The Edgewater; Roche Harbor Resort

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PLACE FOR AN OUTDOOR WEDDING
Winner:
Roche Harbor Resort
Claim to fame: The soothing, stress-free Roche Harbor experience begins with the beautiful ferry ride from Anacortes to San Juan Island, continues with beach strolls and evenings spent in front of a massive 8-foot outdoor fireplace, and culminates the moment you say “I do” under a blossom-filled arbor.
Favorite color palette:
“Chocolate brown and Tiffany blue,” says lodging director Sam Jacobsen. “It’s classic, fresh and goes well with natural, woody décor; add in yellow or orange floral to really pop on that backdrop.”  
Finalists: The Woodmark; Willows Lodge

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PLACE FOR LARGE GALA WEDDINGS (200 GUESTS OR MORE)
Winner:
Four Seasons
Claim to fame: Spacious ballrooms, Elliott Bay views and five-star amenities abound at the Four Seasons. With your choice of 10 different spaces to celebrate within its modern interior, the glittering beacon near Pike Place Market exudes luxury, with top-tier catering and an incomparable cosmopolitan elegance.
Favorite ceremony spot: “Our ballroom and foyer; the floor-to-ceiling windows have the most wonderful views of the ferries crossing,” says site coordinator Gerald Lim. “Also, sunset at our infinity pool deck always makes for the most stunning photos.”
Finalists: Fairmont Olympic; Arctic Club Hotel

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PLACE FOR INTIMATE WEDDINGS (75 GUESTS OR FEWER)
Winner:
Sorrento
Claim to fame: Perched atop First Hill, Seattle’s longest-operating boutique hotel first opened in 1909, and thus oozes historic charm, courtesy of ornate fireplaces, cozy furnishings and warm hospitality. Say “I do” in the intimate, Top of the Town ballroom, where the cathedral-style ceiling is rivaled only by the views of the downtown skyline.
Bonus round:
With easy access to ultrahot Capitol Hill restaurants and a free car service to downtown, your guests will be well entertained during their urban adventure.
Finalists: Russell’s; DeLille Cellars; Urban Light Studios

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LIVE BAND FOR RECEPTION
Winner:
The Michael Benson Band
Claim to fame: From Sinatra-era standards to band leader Michael Benson’s all-time favorite wedding song, “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, whatever the mood of your reception, the five-man band has the perfect song ready in its back pocket; these nine-time Best of Bride winners will bring the house down.
Top tip: “Gather everyone into one venue for both ceremony and reception and then be sure the bar is in the same room as the music and dancing,” says Lynnwood-based band leader Benson. “This helps the crowd stay unified and will guarantee your celebration will be talked about for a long time to come.”
Finalists: Your Song DJ/Chris Graves; Jelly Rollers

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MUSICIANS FOR CEREMONY
Winner:
Windsong
Claim to fame: Founded in 1980, the Des Moines–based Windsong Classical Trio is celebrating its seventh consecutive win in this category. It’s no wonder: Blending the melodic tones of the flute, violin and cello, owner Megan Imrie (center, above) and her ensembles are engaged, professional and always give a flawless performance.
Bonus round:
Love Coldplay? In addition to classics like Bach’s “Ave Maria”, Windsong can kick up your ceremony or reception by mixing in contemporary favorites.
Finalists: Harpist Alishia Joubert; Seattle String Quartet

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DJ FOR RECEPTION
Winner:
Seattle Parties
Claim to fame: Delightfully fun and energetic, Seattle Parties owner Leslie Wheatley and her staff spin tables with the best of them, but have also expanded to become a one-stop entertainment shop: Seattle Parties also books live entertainment, helps with mood lighting for the dance floor and rents audio/visual equipment for your photo slideshow.
Favorite color palette:
“Clueless on color? My old standby: classic vintage elegance....I like platinum and cream linens, white flowers and candles,” says Wheatley. “It’s a sophisticated no-fuss mix. To make it more dramatic, just match the platinum linens with black. Suddenly, it’s a black-tie affair!”
Finalists: Austin Beaver; Bamboo Beats; Wave Link

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BEST PHOTO BOOTHS
Winner:
321 Foto
Claim to fame: Why does everyone love 321 Foto? Let us count the ways: Owner Marilee Kimball (plus faithful staffers Shauna Tinsley and Perrin Randalette) bring infectious joy to each event; rental of the roomy, retro-style booth comes with unlimited photos and duplicate strips, one for guests and another to use in the guestbook or for future blackmail; and, of course, ironic “incognito” photo props such as a Zorro mask, unibrow stick-ons and top hats.
Favorite local trend:
“I am a huge fan of the speakeasy theme,” says Kimball. “Letterpress invitations, finger wave curls for the ladies and the mustaches for the men. A secret knock and a photo booth are musts for these receptions!”
Finalists: Fun Frames Photo Booth; 1000 Words Events

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EDITOR'S PICKS

BEST PRE-WEDDING SPA TREATMENT
Chinese Body Scrub at Yuan Spa
Revitalize skin right before the wedding with a journey to the Far East via the Eastside: After dunking into the new Bellevue spa’s relaxing hydrotherapy pools (which include both hot and saltwater soaks), refresh with the signature Chinese Body Scrub Ritual, a cleansing body scrub in which pumice-stone-like mitts are used to slough off dry skin. Topped off with a warm-water rinse, a deeply moisturizing lotion application and soothing scalp massage, the end result is a healthy glow.

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BEST SPIN ON THE PHOTO BOOTH
Flipped Out Productions
Josh Hershfield’s Flipped Out Productions is guaranteed to produce laugh riots, giggle fits and spontaneous guffaws, thanks to its insanely fun flipbooks, made on site minutes after guests have yucked it up in front of a 10-by-10-foot green screen. Pop on the sparkling pink cowboy hat, giant sunglasses or feather-boa prop, dance around and mug for the video camera for seven seconds and presto, a minute later, a custom machine prints a pocket-size, 60-page flipbook memento that brings the riotous scene back to life.

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BEST ONE-STOP VENUE
Herban Feast
The “there’s an app for that” Apple mantra could be applied to powerhouse vendor Herban Feast and its myriad services: Need a macaron dessert bar for your SoDo Park reception? There’s the catering team for that. Looking for a workshop on DIY favors? There’s the Herban Design Studio to help with that. Need a florist? In-house artistic director (and Bella Signature owner) Daniela Ferdico Faget is at your service. Looking for an after-party spot? Check out the new neighboring venue The Oasis at SoDo Park.

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BEST CUSTOM WEDDING ARTWORK
Gaelan Kelly Wedding Illustrations
Local illustrator, painter and web designer Gaelan Kelly has knocked the classic initials monogram to the curb with his delightfully modern wedding illustrations. Working off a photo, Kelly hand-paints a cartoon version of the lucky couple, incorporates wedding-day themes or personal details (one recent aviation-loving couple incorporated a plane propeller in their design) and then transforms it into a custom family crest, which can be put to good use on save-the-date reminders, invitations and big-day signage.

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BEST NEW FOODIE FAVORS
Seattle Sweets & Co.
Owner and candy wizard Marisa Lown puts her past experience with The Radical Cupcake to sweet use for her imaginative, gluten-free caramel flavors, which include combos such as spicy grapefruit and black pepper and citrus-bursting lemongrass and lime. Lown uses locally sourced ingredients to craft the seasonally influenced caramels (we love the Stumptown espresso flavor for winter weddings), which are charmingly wrapped in brown wax paper, then placed in a little box and tied up with craft string.

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BEST WARDROBE WRANGLER
Nordstrom Wedding Suite In-house Stylists
Between your respective attendants, the groom, and, of course, the all-important dress, coordinating wedding party wardrobes can be tricky. Never fear, Nordstrom wedding stylists are here! Launched last spring and coordinated through the Wedding Suite, the service offers you a personal stylist who can pull everything from cufflinks to veils to create a cohesive style, as well as schedule tailors and gown fittings to keep you on track.

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THE BEST OF BEFORE & AFTER THE WEDDING

WEDDING SHOW
Winner:
The Seattle Wedding Show
Claim to fame: Run by the Berger family for 23 years (owners Don and Barb are now assisted by the second generation), this annual two-day extravaganza offers the state’s largest gathering of vendors under one roof with more than 400 wedding specialists.
Finalists: Urban Unveiled; Weddings in Woodinville

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BOUTIQUE REGISTRY
Winner:
Sur La Table
Claim to fame: Professional-grade cooking equipment and an incomparable selection of serving platters, trays and dishware await at these locally created cook shops.
Finalist: Table Top and Home

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QUINTESSENTIAL WEDDING REGISTRY
Winner:
Macy’s
Claim to fame: With more than 800 stores nationwide, Macy’s makes it easy for any guest to grab a gift, and now the registry is even easier to update, thanks to its mobile registry app.
Finalists: Crate & Barrel; Williams-Sonoma

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PLACE FOR ATTENDANT GIFTS
Winner:
Nordstrom
Claim to fame: The wide selection of ready-made gifts—ranging from cufflinks to coats—are always served with a side of that famously helpful customer service.
Finalists: Local artisans on Etsy; REI

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BACHELOR PARTY
Winner:
The Hotel 1000 Golf Club
Claim to fame: Tee up and choose to play one of the world’s 50 most exclusive courses at this virtual golf suite, located atop the modern downtown hotel.
Finalists: Garage; Redhook Brewery

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BACHELORETTE PARTY
Winner:
Butler Transportation Wine Tours
Claim to fame: Take a refined romp through an array of award-winning wineries with Butler owner and local “Wine Stuart” Stuart Butler at the helm.
Finalists: Can Can; Cowgirls

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SPA FOR GROUP MANIS AND PEDIS
Winner:
Julep Nail Parlors
Claim to fame: Colorful, toxin-free polishes and an easygoing ambience reign at all four of Julep’s luxe, group-friendly salons located around the Sound.
Finalists: Gene Juarez Salons; Frenchy’s Day Spa

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TRANSPORTATION/GETAWAY CAR
Winner:
British Motor Coach
Claim to fame: The rare vintage motorcar collection, which includes a midnight black 1957 Rolls-Royce, is the hallmark for this professional and well-respected South Lake Union company, led by Roy Dubrow.
Finalists: Butler; Rare Form Limousine; Barbie Dream Hearse

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REHEARSAL DINNER RESTAURANT
Winner:
Canlis
Claim to fame: One of the most urbane dining rooms in the city, Canlis has been wowing guests with refined cuisine and pristine Lake Union views since 1950.
Finalists: Ray’s Boathouse; Palisade

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VALET SERVICE
Winner:
Butler Valet Services
Claim to fame: Owned and operated by the Butler family since 1994, the efficient and energetic valet staff is widely regarded as the friendliest in the biz.
Finalist: Red Carpet Valet

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HOTEL FOR GUESTS
Winner:
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Claim to fame: The classic Italian Renaissance–style architecture of this downtown landmark is outshone only by the impeccable customer service (well, and the warm cookies at checkout).
Finalists: Hotel 1000; Four Seasons

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PLACE TO SPEND THE WEDDING NIGHT
Winner:
Hotel 1000  
Claim to fame: The modern, 2,000-square-foot Grand Suite is a perfect place to recuperate and celebrate, with its a double-sided fireplace, intimate shower for two and panoramic views of downtown.
Finalists: Four Seasons; Alexis Hotel

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