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Feb 18, 2013 04:36 PM

Wedding reception restaurant venue ideas in Seattle

Hello All!

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for wedding reception restaurant venue sites in Seattle (preferably downtown, Capitol Hill, or Lake Union/Ballard areas). Guest # will be no more than 130 (was hoping to keep below 100 but that seems to be wishful thinking). I was hoping to rent out an entire restaurant for the evening (smaller sized) but am not sure thats possible.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as we are planning this from Calgary.


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  1. Lauren,

    YOu might give more info on budget, do you want a view, do you want a sit-down meal or is a buffet possible for you; funky - modern - traditional... what kind of thing suits you? I would say with that size, there might be 50+ possible locations - depending on your flexibility on day/time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gingershelley

      Thanks for the response!

      Our budget will likely be between 15 - 20,000 for the entire wedding.

      We want to do sit down, plated meals for dinner and also want the ability to have a big, loud dance party after....with lots of drinking.

      We are not traditional, but don't really have a preference on vibe - just not to "stuffy". Some character would be nice, but is not a deal breaker.

      We will also be having a civil ceremony before the reception, so we are hoping to find a place that can accommodate both.

      We are hoping to have the wedding on a Saturday (we don't care which one) in June or September of 2014.

    2. the beach pavillion at golden gardens park might work (low rent, funky atmosphere, lots of parking if not entirely private) BUT your budget of $150/guest will grow mighty thin if stretched to a plated sit-down dinner on rented equipment along with open bar (that's $30 right there). maybe hire a couple of food trucks (paper service), rent a few tables/chairs/trash cans, give your guests wristbands to discourage crashers, serve only craft beers and/or jug wines. civil ceremony no problem.

      8 Replies
      1. re: howard 1st

        Howard, my impression was the OP didn't want to spend more than $15-20K for the entire wedding. If that includes wedding gown, tux, flowers, photog, minister's fee, venue rental, etc., there is far less than $150/guest available for food and bev. Approximately 30% also has to be factored in for the +/+. Short of bargain basement, I don't think it can be done. Greatly reducing the number of guests would help immensely..

        1. re: firecracker

          Sorry all, this is so s.o. and I didn't really have any idea what things would end up costing (quite shocking, really). Our max budget now will be 30 - 35K, excluding dress and tux. Hoping to lower the guest list as much as possible - but at the end of the day we'll pay more if we need to to make sure we have the people there that mean the most to us. :)

          Thanks to everyone for posting so far.

          I found Ray's Boathouse and possibly the Georgetown Ballroom (although no one has emailed me back so I don't know what the cost is there). Anyone have any opinions on those?

          1. re: campbe11

            Hi Campbe ~ Yes wedding planning is pricey and overwhelming - no doubt about it.

            One of the best wedding checklists I have found over the years can be found here:


            Venue wise consider a rooftop wedding at Bell Harbor Conference and World Trade Center, moving inside for the reception. Views from the rooftop and many of the rooms inside are just stunning.

            Also consider Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo. Rustic and fun, but they are very professional. IIRC, they also waive Washington State tax which at close to 10% adds up fast.

            For cost containment limit alcoholic choices to beer and wine (okay, one champagne toast to the happy couple). An alternative to an expensive sitdown plated dinner or an even more expensive buffet, might be passed heavy hors d'ouevres. Studies have shown folks don't "pork out" with passed items as they do with chafing dishes on a buffet table.

            Okay, I'm climbing off my soapbox. Can you tell I'm an event/wedding planner by trade?

            1. re: firecracker

              Good ideas, Firecracker - but Bell Harbor is VERY pricey.

              Kiana is fabulous, but again, not for the faint of wallet...

              Good call on limiting to wine/beer. Booze can quickly bust a wedding budget:)

            2. re: campbe11

              Tulio Restaurante has a wonderful private event area upstairs, but I'm not sure it can accommodate 130/ppl as well as a double set for the ceremony and then the reception. Tuilio's food is very, very good, but it may also be pricey since I'm sure you will not only pay for food, but booze as well. I don't see them letting you bring in beer/wine without a healthy mark up. Still ....

              1. re: campbe11

                You might look into

                Herban Feast's place in Sodo. Very good for double set of wedding+reception, and the food is very good.

                The Canal - a bit off your downtown location wish, but a VERY Seattle spot in Ballard by the 'locks' (look that up):). Nice space, good event planners, can do both wedding and reception and food is good.

                Another idea is to get a local event planner to help - hard to do all this from a distance (Firecracker, send her your email!), then you could consider a park wedding or such, then moving to another site for the reception. A planner pays for itself in saved headaches and good advice!

                Speaking as a former caterer, wedding planner, past bride (who even having been in the business for 15 years, learned a thing or two planning my own wedding!), and current private chef - distance makes this tough.

                Hope you two are planning at least in your budget a visit to town to get the lay of the land, meet prospective vendors and tour spaces, etc. Sooner rather than later!

                1. re: gingershelley

                  Thanks gingershelley! Herban Feast's SODO location looks beautiful. Will look into feasibility of having reception + wedding there (space-wise).

                  Trying to get in touch with The Canal people for a tour - looks great there!

                  We have budgeted for a couple trips back and forth :) Will look into getting an event planner. Its hard for me to fathom letting "control" go to someone else...but maybe it would be a good idea in this situation. Was planning on getting someone to coordinate day-of things anyways.

                  Thanks all! If anyone has any more venue ideas - keep them coming :)

                  1. re: campbe11

                    Glad to hear it campbe 11; a planner is really there for things like advice to keep things smooth, give suggestions you wouldn't have thought of, and yes - for helping the day of (or more like the weekend of the event). You can get one by the hour or a package of certain # of hours plus a commitment for the actual event time.

          2. Latebreaking local news brings us this new entry into the Lake Union food landscape;


            This is a popular local chef, and this space may be open to a reasonable priced event since they probably don't have their whole 'waterfront location and catering' situation figured out yet. This would have a stunning view of DT SEA, and the food would be awesome. No idea what the rooms will look like, but might be worth finding someone to talk to in this organization about this new resto/event location.

            Best part - it certainly won't be all booked up yet!

            2 Replies
            1. re: gingershelley

              Perfect if you like American cheese at your wedding! I don't know, does Skillet do anything besides lowbrow Americana? (I've given them a few tries and am not a fan.)

              I went to an open house at Herban Feast and though the space has potential and the roof deck is nice, I found the food disappointing and the decor too eclectic. A lot of interesting pieces - aquarium, wrought iron, pop art - but nothing really seemed to go together.

              Went to a benefit event at 1927 Events recently, no roof deck, but classier & more cohesive decor, and way better food.

              1. re: babette feasts


                If you look at the example menu, there will be no American cheese in sight at this place.

                The chef they hired is Zoi Antonitsas, most recently of Madison Park Conservatory and according to Eater Seattle 'will be weaving her Greek roots through the progressive seafood menu".

                Josh Henderson does american diner food at Skillet since that is it's concept. Doesn't mean he can't come up with another concept and direction.

                And of course, Herban isn't for everyone, just offering up suggestions that cover a range of styles for the bride to be who is from out of town. How would I know what clicks for her?

                Good suggestion on 1927 Events. Have heard good things so far.

            2. I'd considered a restaurant reception for my wedding, too (before settling on the Shafer Bailie B&B) and here are a few places I looked at. They can all hold the civil ceremony as well as the reception:

              Bastille in Ballard. The back bar holds up to 100. Three course menus start at $55 per person.

              Canlis. The full penthouse holds up to 100. The private dining menus start at $85 per person, so depending on what the rest of your wedding is costing you, that might be out of your range. The room fee is $350, grand piano on site. However, not the place for a crazy and loud reception.

              One of my very favorite venues was Farestart Cafe. You rent out the entire restaurant for your event, the pricing is reasonable and it's a good cause. I also liked that the second story is balcony style.

              Palisade also has rooms for weddings, but it's not a place I've personally checked out, so not sure about cost: