10 Important Things to Consider When Hosting a Downtown Wedding

Factor in these few things and your city wedding is sure to be a success.

Sponsored by The Rainier Club

Art. Culture. Energy. Dazzling lights. Centrality. Star-reaching skyscrapers. The list of reasons why you should have your wedding downtown goes on and on. But, before you put down that deposit, here are 10 things to consider:

1. Photo Backdrops: Photos are one of the biggest details of any wedding. After all, they’ll help you remember your day for decades to come. If you get married downtown you’ll have plenty of backdrop options within walking distance. Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square. The courthouse. The waterfront. Historic mansions. Not to mention plenty of funky brick buildings that will complement your dress and tux perfectly.

2. Guest Accommodations: With a downtown wedding, there are plenty of hotel options to ensure all of your out-of-town guests have a place to stay. If you get too far out of city limits there may be only one overnight option, and if it fills up, they’ll be out of luck. Be sure to do your research on downtown hotels. Many can be pretty pricey. Your best bet is to secure a group rate.

photography by Azzura Photography

3. Transportation: Thankfully there are a lot of ways to get into, and around, downtown. If you have people flying in from out of town, they can take the Light Rail and skip renting a car. Plus, if your guests have a little more fun then they planned on, taxis, and of course, Uber, are plentiful and readily available.

4. Parking: In rural areas parking is almost always free, but in the urban core it can cost a pretty penny and potentially cause an unexpected dip in your wedding budget. Make sure you think about where your guests will park, and find out if parking is included, or at least available, at the venue. If your venue does not offer parking, many offsite parking facilities provide reasonable parking rates on the weekends. Venues with valet capacities take the worry of parking off your hands and your guests will appreciate the elevated curb-side service.

photography by Brandon Patoc Photography

5. Time of Year: It’s no secret that in Seattle there are seasons that you just don’t want to be outside. If any part of your dream wedding involves a terrace, a rooftop deck, or dancing under the stars, be sure to pick a time of year where it’s less likely to rain. Also consider the extra energy that comes with all the tourists during the summer. If you thrive off the crowded buzz, go for it. If you’d rather avoid crowds, skip holiday weekends and peak tourist season.

6. Ceremony and Reception Locations: Will you be driving from one venue to another? How long will it take to get there? Make sure to allow your bridal party and your guests enough time to get from point A to point B. This is especially important as downtown traffic can be hard to predict.

photography by Ryan Flynn Photography

7. Accessibility for Vendors: Most vendors are used to working in downtown areas, so they likely won’t get lost when delivering critical goods — no one can get married without flowers! But also think about how easy it will be for a van or large truck to unload equipment. If there’s no designated loading area and easy vendor access, you might want to rethink the venue.

8. Nearby Businesses: Planning to stop by your favorite weekday coffee shop before you get your hair done on your big day? Many businesses in the downtown core are closed during the weekends – especially in the Midtown/Central Business District. Make sure you know what’s going to be open and closed so you aren’t surprised by a locked door when you desperately need that triple-shot.

photography by Ryan Flynn Photography

9. Day of the Week: Most weddings take place on the weekend, so your guests will avoid rush hour. But double check to make sure there are no other big events at the same time on the same day. If the Seahawks are playing or Macklemore has a concert at the Key, traffic will be insane.

10.  After-Party Options: What if, after the reception winds down, you and your bridesmaids and groomsmen are still full of energy? Are the best nightclubs and bars easy to get to? If you’re downtown they will be, and you won’t be stuck at a half-empty dive bar. Consider doing your own research so you get a flavor of the local crowd.

photography by La Vie Photography

We don’t have to tell you there is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. You already know that. But when you’re selecting your venue, we hope these 10 considerations help you narrow down your search.

The Rainier Club, located in the heart of downtown Seattle, has been hosting brides, grooms and their loved ones for more than 100 years. Take a virtual tour of the historic brick mansion, or visit our Facebook page.