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On the Waterfront: Get Your 'Something Blue' At These Spots With Aquatic Views

Allyson Reedy

It’s no wonder so many couples want to wed on the water, dreaming of sunlight twinkling on the surface of a lake, or the drama of a storm rolling in off Puget Sound. In any season of the year, an aquatic backdrop contributes an air of excitement and inspires a sense of wonder, in addition to soothing pre-ceremony nerves. Luckily, the Seattle area has a wealth of stunning waterfront venues for couples who crave an aquatic view. Here are six of our favorites.

Alderbrook Resort & Spa (above)
10 E Alderbrook Drive, Union
Sure, Alderbrook has fantastic outdoor ceremony and reception options with killer water views, but it also allows couples to wed right on the water, via its private yacht, the Lady Alderbrook. The Lady can take as many as 80 guests for a spin around the glacier-carved Hood Canal, where you might even have a few uninvited onlookers—harbor seals live and play in the waters.

Larger weddings can take place alfresco on the Waterfront Lawn or inside in the Olympic Ballroom (which has outdoor access). Both can accommodate 200. Other open-air options include the Cottage Lawn, with room for 300 guests, and the Gathering Grove, an intimate venue for 30 tucked back within old-growth nature trails.

Alderbrook has an on-site pastry chef and dedicated in-house culinary team specializing in “shore to table” sourcing. Translation? Fresh-from-the-water steelhead trout beignets and crab cakes with Sriracha aioli.

Courtesy of The Landing at Shilshole Bay

The Landing at Shilshole Bay
6135 Seaview Ave., Seattle
It may not be 360, but the 270-degree view of Puget Sound and the Olympics from The Landing at Shilshole Bay is pretty darn scenic. In addition to that picture-perfect setting, it also has its own private beach and stunning indoor and outdoor event spaces.

“This all would be great on its own, but we also have 150 free parking spots for guests, which is unheard of in the Ballard area,” says Crystal Rumsey, general manager for The Landing Event Services.

You might need all those spaces if you plan to fill The Landing to capacity. The entire space can fit 700–750 of your nearest and dearest for a cocktail-style reception. The upstairs Black Star Room holds 120 seated, and the new Agate Room (with accompanying Moonstone Terrace) accommodates 350 seated. Bonus: While the locally and seasonally focused in-house catering is great, they’re flexible with couples bringing in outside options.

Wallflower Photography

Chambers Bay
6320 Grandview Drive, University Place
Whether you’re a golf aficionado or just an aficionado of good views, weddings at Chambers Bay check all the boxes. With panoramic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, offshore islands and that world-class golf course, guests won’t know where to look first. (And your wedding pics won’t be too shabby, either.)

The Event Pavilion and adjoining patio accommodate as many as 200 from April through October. In winter months, the celebration moves to an indoor facility at Chambers Creek Regional Park with seating for as many as 160. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to throw a great party, including a culinary and service team known for excellence.

“We find every way to say ‘yes’ to our couples in granting any wish possible,” says Anthony Shipman, director of sales for Chambers Bay.

Hyatt Regency Lake Washington
1053 Lake Washington Blvd., Renton
Located at Southport on Lake Washington, the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington offers loads of ceremony and reception options, in addition to an enviable setting overlooking the lake. Larger ceremonies take place on the Olympic Terrace (as many as 500 guests) or the Mercer Terrace (as many as 300), both of which count Lake Washington as their no-decorations-necessary backdrop. The East and West terraces, both of which also look out over the lake, are great for more intimate vow swaps (they hold as many as 50 guests).

A trio of indoor venues are perfect for dinner and dancing. There’s room for everyone—seriously, everyone; it holds 1,000 people—in the first-floor Grand Ballroom, or head up to the third floor to the Lake Washington Ballroom and its floor-to-ceiling windows (this one holds 300). Smaller parties don’t have to sacrifice the views in the Bellevue Room, which fits 100 and has that same great waterfront spot.

Woodmark Hotel
1200 Carillon Point, Kirkland
Right after saying “I do” at the Woodmark Hotel, the only boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Washington, couples are greeted with Champagne and whisked away on the 28-foot Woodmark II for a private cruise around the lake. Of course, after basking in your brand-new married status, you’ll want to join your friends and family for the party of your lives, and the Woodmark offers great spaces for groups of as many as 250.

The Olympic Terrace Tent is the hotel’s most popular space and is available April through December. It holds 200 as is and as many as 250 with a tent-extension option. Transparent wall panels let the outside in with beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains and lake, while lawn games and a fire pit for DIY s’mores keep everyone entertained. The Woodmark also has a variety of indoor rooms available for ceremonies and receptions, including the Lake Washington Ballroom, where 150 people can dance the night away.

Courtesy of MV Skansonia

The MV Skansonia
205 NE Northlake Way, Seattle
“There is nothing more Seattle than a ferry,” says Finnavair McWilliam, event specialist for the MV Skansonia. “It’s the quintessential Seattle location.” She’s talking about the 100-year-old ferryboat permanently docked in north Lake Union, which, besides its charming vintage nautical decor, also offers some of the best views around of the Seattle skyline.

The boat accommodates 200 for a seated reception or 250 for a mix-and-mingle type of event. Along with the expansive wooden deck, couples can use the private bridal suite, two sitting rooms and the covered promenade on the boat’s upper deck.

“When our clients come to tour the boat, they absolutely fall in love, but couples tend to choose our venue because it offers a complete package from start to finish,” McWilliam says. It offers fully customizable catering, bakery, florals, linens and pretty much everything else you need for your amazing ferryboat wedding. j

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