Lodged In: Rustic Washington Wedding Venues
Winter weddings bring to mind crackling fires, hot toddies and the warm glow of candlelight. But there’s no need to scale the mountaintops to plan a wedding in a rustic lodge—three classic Pacific Northwestern–style venues await you—all within a two-hour drive of Seattle.
Just over Snoqualmie Pass in Cle Elum is Suncadia Resort, a snow lover’s paradise in the winter, a cyclist’s dream in the summer and a romantic wedding venue all year around. The family-friendly resort offers more than 6,000 acres of recreational areas, forests and waterways. The property includes a 254-room lodge, an intimate 18-room inn, 2 public golf courses, swimming pools (with indoor slides), an ice rink and snow tubing in winter, vacation condos, private homes, bike trails, a lake for boating, plus, a historic dairy farm reimagined into a reception area. “From the breathtaking panoramic views of fall foliage, the snow-topped ponderosa pines, the Cascade mountains and the Cle Elum River, there’s always a photo opportunity for the bride and groom,” enthuses catering sales and service manager Jesi Siemons.
With so many scenic and romantic spots on the property, the only real question at Suncadia is which one to choose: The lodge was inspired by the iconic National Park lodges of the Northwest. Its great room features a rough-hewn stone fireplace, an impressive wrought iron chandelier and a majestic 180-degree view of the Cascades, and the property has many rooms and outdoor spaces of various sizes to accommodate weddings of as many as 450 people. The much smaller inn, which is adjacent to the Prospector golf course, evokes an English country manor house, ideal for smaller, more intimate events of 150 people or fewer.
Suncadia details: Given the range of options at Suncadia, an average 200-person wedding in the fall or winter starts at $20,000 for room rental, food and beverages. Catering is in-house only, with menu prices starting at $70 per person (credited toward meeting food and beverage minimum). Enhancements such as late-night snacks and a farewell brunch the next morning are also available. On-site wedding planners can also organize welcome bags, bike rentals, s’mores by one of the fire pits, tee times, spa packages and other guest activities.
The towering Alderbrook Resort & Spa lobby || photography by: Ryan Flynn
In the Hood
Getting away from it all is as easy as heading to the gorgeous Alderbrook Resort & Spa on the Hood Canal. A family vacation destination since 1913, the resort was completely renovated in 2004 and sits on 88 pristine acres, which include an 18-hole PGA-class golf course. Generations of visitors have enjoyed the rustic charm of this canal-side retreat, with its 77 well-appointed guest rooms and 16 cozy cottages. The huge lobby, complete with a central fireplace and comfy seats for taking in the view, sets the scene for visitors who are often welcomed by the resort’s resident cats, Alder and Brook, snoozing away in the sun. A sweeping lawn leads down to the beach, where oysters are harvested in the cold months and swimmers frolic in the warm ones, and a glass-enclosed saltwater pool is open for year-round fun. A 1,500-foot-long deck leads to the resort’s crown jewel, the Lady Alderbrook, a 55-foot boat that tours the canal with as many as 80 people on board, which is ideal for pre-event mixers or small cocktail receptions ($500 an hour/minimum two hours).
Most fall/winter weddings take place in one of the resort’s four indoor spaces, but there is also the waterfront checkerboard, a permanent, 900-square-foot, soft-sided tent, which is an ideal spot for an outdoor wedding of as many as 100 people when the weather is a challenge. Of the indoor spaces, The Olympic Ballroom can accommodate the most guests, as many as 260 standing and 200 seated. The smaller rooms—The Twanoh, The Wine Room and the Mt. Washington Conference Center—can accommodate from 15 to 160.
Alderbrook details: Event space rentals are up to $5,000 with food and beverage minimums varying from $85 to $95 per person. Room rentals range from $119 to $599. All catering is on-site and averages around $55 per guest with a 20-guest minimum. Wedding cakes are available from the resort’s restaurant and start at $6 per guest. Other amenities include table linens (from $5 per person) and live entertainment (prices vary).
Rich wood accents and relaxation abound at Cedarbrook Lodge || photography by: Jeff Caven
Truly one of the Puget Sound region’s hidden gems, Cedarbrook Lodge is a luxury hotel in a unlikely location: in the shadow of SeaTac Airport. Situated on 18 acres of protected wetlands, this former Washington Mutual conference center has been tricked out with 169 plush guest rooms—63 of which were opened in 2014 as part of a multimillion-dollar expansion that included a brand-new luxury spa. Copperleaf, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, is a foodie fantasy. Centered in the hotel’s soaring great room, complete with a huge stone fireplace, Copperleaf is reason alone to visit, thanks to expertly crafted and innovative Northwest cuisine by chef Mark Bodinet. Fall and winter offerings include Dungeness crab salad with compressed cucumber and Espelette chile glaze; Neah Bay sablefish with roasted cauliflower, spiced cashews, pickled grapes and verjus beurre blanc; and herbed semolina gnocchi with Big Boy blue cheese mousseline, Yakima asparagus and honey-walnut pesto.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in many of the guest rooms and public spaces bring the lush wooded surroundings into the hotel, which is tastefully decorated in natural tones. Impeccable soundproofing means airplane traffic all but disappears. Weddings at Cedarbrook are held in four of the hotel’s 14 meeting spaces, the largest of which, Tamarack Hall, adjacent to Copperleaf, holds as many as 300 guests; and the smallest, Brightwood Board Room, seats 32. During the warmer months, the Evergreen Lawn and Copperleaf patio are available for outdoor ceremonies, and also accommodate as many as 200 people. On-site wedding specialist Terra Johnson is available to plan and coordinate events, right down to coordinating conveniently located rooms for guests coming from the airport.
Cedarbrook details: All weddings at Cedarbrook include changing rooms for the bridal party with light snacks, complimentary overnight guest rooms for the couple and a complimentary Champagne toast and cake cutting. Room rentals and ceremony fees range from $1,500 to $2,100, depending on the room, the day of the week and the season; all catering is in-house, and food and beverage minimums start at $80 per person (no less than $7,000 in the off-season and $12,000 in peak season for Tamarack Hall) and are inclusive of everything except state sales tax.