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Green Scenes

Explore 10 beautiful venues that place an emphasis on protecting the environment
By: 
Sara Hubbard

Seattle is known as the Emerald City, so it’s only fitting that it and the surrounding region offer ample options for green venuesAnd because the venue sets the tone for the entire wedding, why not make an eco-friendly statement? From sustainable catering options to reimagined industrial spaces, venues are getting creative with how they can have a positive impact on the environment (going well beyond LED light bulbs!).

The  Hyatt at Olive 8was built from the ground up with the environment in mind. One of the first LEED-certified hotels in Seattle, the building features a green roof, which lowers its carbon footprint, as well as a rooftop garden. The Hyatt at Olive 8 is all about embracing environmentalism without sacrificing luxury. Before or after your big day, indulge in spa treatments at Elaia Spa, where all products used are locally sourced. You can also work with the hotel’s chefs to create a custom farm-to-table menu for your guests to enjoy in the beautiful ballroom. 

The historic Lime Kiln Lighthouse on San Juan Island is operated by the Friends of Lime Kiln Society, which was founded to keep programs at Lime Kiln Point State Park going after budget cuts reduced the number of park staff. Now, the society, in collaboration with the Washington State Parks Foundation, has been able to keep the majestic lighthouse open and operating, and providing a unique setting for saying “I do.” Among the park’s key functions are to promote the protection of Southern Resident killer whales and educate the public about ecosystem science, while providing an unmatched opportunity to get up close and personal with nature and the whales themselves. The storied lighthouse just celebrated its centennial, so you can feel good about choosing it as your venue, knowing that all revenue generated from your wedding will go straight back into preserving the lighthouse.  

IslandWood is a nonprofit environmental education organization committed to paving the way for a greener future. Located on a 250-acre campus on Bainbridge Island, IslandWood provides a stunning Pacific Northwest backdrop for weddings while simultaneously giving couples the opportunity to support environmental justice efforts. For your celebration, choose from forested trails, a pond, meadow, garden, suspension bridge and tree houses; these settings also serve as unforgettable backdrops for photos that will last a lifetime. IslandWood has on-site planners to ensure everything goes smoothly. Among them is chef Jim White, who can create a personalized family-style menu for the big day. 

Pebble Cove Farm is a 4-acre farm on Orcas Island that includes an inn on a private beach. The sustainable farm offers a “Take Over the Farm” package, allowing weddings parties and others attending the celebration to be the only guests on the property for a weekend. The farm is dedicated to sustainability practices. Guests can pick produce from the organic garden and spend time with rescued farm animals in between wedding activities. All supplies on the farm are bought in bulk to reduce waste and are free of pesticides and chemicals. As part of a commitment to nurturing the health of both the environment and visitors, all food served on the farm is vegan (and delicious) 

Initially, a sewage treatment plant may not seem like the most romantic of locales, but Brightwater Treatment Plant will have you reconsidering that notion. The Woodinville venue has reimagined what a waste treatment plant can be by incorporating gardens, hiking trails, an education center and event hall (Brightwater Center), and other amenities into its property. The choice to make the plant a destination was strategic: With recycled wastewater being used more frequently as a sustainable alternative to existing water supplies, there is a need to educate the public on what that means and bring such work into the spotlight. With its indoor and outdoor event spaces as well as a commercial kitchen and top-notch AV equipment, Brightwater eagerly welcomes couples to come and tie the knot.

The site of a former coal gasification plant, Gas Works Park is situated along Lake Union and offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline. Instead of being demolished when it was acquired by the city of Seattle in 1965, the plant was reimagined, with the boiler house being converted into a picnic shelter, and the exhauster-compressor building becoming a spacious barn. Now, instead of being the site of a toxic-waste-generating plant, the park is a model for how to embrace defunct industrial structures rather than destroying them. Chief among the innovations in the park’s design is its use of bioremediation, a technology that activates soil microbes to clean the land itself and prevents contaminated soil from having to be replaced. The structures themselves have been deep-cleaned to make them safe for guests to come into close contact with; they also present striking, rust-colored industrial backgrounds to any celebration.    

Food lovers can rejoice at the Olympic Rooftop Pavilion Stoneburner, where its sustainability efforts are most apparent at the dinner table. Located on the rooftop of Hotel Ballard, the venue provides an elegant atmosphere for couples with epicurean tastes. Beneath vaulted ceilings and a 20-foot-high skylight, guests can enjoy seasonally curated menus that feature local bounties. Chef Jason Stoneburner collects fresh vegetables from the Ballard Farmers Market. Aspiring (or current) oenophiles can also indulge in customized wine dinners with specially selected pairings to enjoy as the city lights sparkle from below.   

The Bell Harbor International Conference Center  has a Green Star certification from the International Association of Conference Centres, which recognizes the strides the venue has taken to protect its surrounding environment. With a 70% recycling ratecompared to the city’s 50%and 90% of the cleaning products used being certified as green, the center is an easy venue choice based on environmental factors alone. Adding to its appeal, it also has a waterfront setting that makes it a no-brainer from an aesthetic standpoint. Panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline provide stunning backdrops to the indoor and outdoor reception and ceremony sites. Adjacent to the conference center is the Edgewater Hotel, where guests can stay before and after the celebration and enjoy the only overwater hotel in Seattle.  

The Seattle Aquarium wants to create a space to start conversations surrounding environmental burdens and benefits, especially as they relate to marine environments. Committed to following in the footsteps of the Coast Salish peoples, who have stewarded the waters for generations, the aquarium has dedicated itself to partnering with Indigenous communities to jointly conserve the ocean and marine life. The aquarium itself serves as a unique backdrop to a wedding, with options to have ceremonies and receptions amongst the sea lifethere’s even a chance to feed the sea ottersor outdoors in the waterside pavilion. And the on-site planners and coordinators are there to ensure that every detail is executed to perfection, from plated or buffet dinners to details like sea glass table décor 

Every day is Earth Day at Crystal Mountain Resort. You can say “I do” at 6,782 feet above sea level and choose from a variety of ceremony and venue spots that all take advantage of the jaw-dropping vistas. The environment means everything to the ski resort, which offers both an inimitable backdrop as well as the foundation for outdoor adventures. The resort has done away with single-use plastics in favor of compostable alternatives, and more than 80% of its waste is recyclable or compostable. Crystal Mountain was also the first ski resort in North America to use diesel and electric snow groomers. Knowing this, as you look out at Mount Rainer while exchanging vows, you can feel confident that your wedding venue is making a serious effort to preserve the beautiful landscape.  


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