At First Site: Hottest New Reception Sites
From an English-inspired garden to a post-industrial foundry, these new venues offer four distinctly unique options for Northwest couples
Perched on the Puget Sound and bookended by mountain passes, Seattle offers couples a selection of wedding venues not many metropolises can replicate, with sites that run from cosmopolitan chic to rural rustic, all within a 20-mile radius. And, no matter if it’s town or country that beckons, the newest area venues embrace our truly local sensibilities—with farm-fresh food straight from the source, mossy, wooded environs bursting with Northwest flora and fauna, and innovative renovations that speak to history.
A short ferry ride away on bucolic Vashon Island, Froggsong Gardens (photo above) boasts 16 enchanting acres of lush, English estate–style gardens, expansive territorial views and a recirculating stream rolling through the property. Operated by all-star caterer BJ Duft and the team at Herban Feast since last August, the private estate is owned by island residents Steve and Cindy Stockett, who have spent years building up this beautiful landscape and now host a small number of events en plein air between June and September. Photo options are nearly limitless here, with several rolling lawns, an upper garden brimming with perennials and even a hedge maze worthy of a Jane Austen novel. The meticulously maintained gardens are punctuated by architectural elements such as floral-adorned pergolas and an outdoor fireplace.
After a ceremony on the lawn or under the charming covered pavilion, should it rain, guests can mingle on a sprawling patio elegantly appointed with outdoor furniture and old-fashioned Edison lights overhead. Naturally, with Herban Feast at the helm, farm-fresh fare abounds—imagine fresh figs wrapped in bacon and topped with orange marmalade or brandied cherry and lamb roulades—with full-service event planning also available. Rates start at $5,000; capacity for as many as 250.
Photo courtesy of Farestart
Located on the edge of Beacon Hill, Pacific Tower has housed pioneers and trailblazers ever since it was built in 1932. The towering Art Deco building, originally a hospital for veterans, merchant seamen, the U.S. Coast Guard and others, has had other famous tenants—most notably, Amazon—and now, FareStart. The culinary-focused nonprofit expanded into the landmark building last June, becoming the exclusive caterer for a previously private eighth-floor event space. Boasting sweeping, 180-degree views that span from the stadiums and the downtown skyline to the Sound, with glimpses of both the Olympics and Cascades, the airy, 2,000-square-foot space balances a clean aesthetic—floor-to-ceiling windows and towering concrete pillars—with the period architectural details of the historic brick building.
The open flex space can accommodate events for as many as 250, so guests can mingle while taking in the sights and nibbling on FareStart classics, such as blackened salmon skewers, lemongrass chicken meatballs and wild mushroom bruschetta. All revenue generated from the space goes to support FareStart’s food service training program for the disadvantaged. “While building a lifetime of memories,” says FareStart board member Connie Clark-Redmond, “couples will also be helping someone in need build a new life.” Rates range from $850 to $2,000 for a four-hour event; capacity is 120 seated, 250 standing.
Photo: Raeleen Shepard, Fancy Fin Photography
Fremont Foundry, an 17,000-square-foot former industrial building (11,000 of which is event space) with exposed concrete, 20-foot skylights and natural wood beams, was indeed once a metalworks foundry, having forged the statue of Jimi Hendrix on Capitol Hill and reassembled the Russian-forged Vladimir Lenin statue, also located in Fremont. Owned and operated by Foundry Events, a sibling of wine accessory company True Fabrications, the former artists’ hub underwent an extensive remodel prior to its May 2014 opening, receiving seven distinct event spaces, while retaining historical artifacts, including the still-working gantry crane, which now hoists a huge chandelier instead of industrial equipment. Couples can rent any combination of the seven rooms, mixing and matching to their needs. The oversize atrium, with a 20-foot-high oak ceiling, can accommodate as many as 400 guests, who are welcome in the furnished lounge and long studio space; for smaller events, the two-story gallery is bathed in natural light, courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling windows.
During sunnier months, the Fremont Foundry offers a secluded courtyard with canopy lights and funky forging equipment, or, the rooftop deck with sweeping views of North Seattle. Floating steel stairs separate the two-story patio space, the upper section devoted to the stunning glass-encased penthouse, which houses a loft space and a funky wood-carved ceiling totem. Couples have access to the bridal suite and groom-friendly green room, kitted out with Mad Men–style decor, a 50-inch TV and leather furniture; the two spaces share an adjoining balcony for a sweet pre-ceremony reveal. Rates start at $1,600 depending on day, space and season, and the capacity is up to 750.
Photo: Andrew Vanasse
For a true locavore retreat, both intimate and charming, look to Bainbridge Island’s Heyday Farm, a sustainable farm of more than 25 acres that produces vegetables, fruits and artisanal provisions year-round. Available for small events (as many as 100 guests) since late 2013, Heyday boasts a flower-filled cutting garden, micro-creamery, rustic barn and a painstakingly remodeled turn-of-the-century farmhouse with four suites for the bridal party.
Say your “I dos” on the lawn flanked by a vibrant herb garden and raised vegetable beds before retreating to the house for a candlelit meal featuring ingredients sourced from just feet away—crisp summer produce, grass-fed beef and silky farmstead eggs. “Heyday offers guests a unique opportunity to connect with farm life,” says co-owner and manager Alice Skipton. “That old-fashioned simplicity is incredibly romantic.” Venue fee starts at $1,000; capacity ranges from 50 to 100.