An enduring love: Your 2020 state parks wedding planner

Kitsap Memorial wedding Tom Owen, 02

Simply beautiful! The hall at Kitsap Memorial State Park needs little adornment to fit the bill for a green and gorgeous wedding!

Jan. 29, 2020

Lasting love and a lasting world.

Sustainability is 2020’s hottest wedding trend. From up-cycled invitations to repurposed rings, looking at the long haul for the planet — as well as the couple — is big this year.

Seeking the perfect setting for that green wedding? Look no further! Washington state parks are the perfect venue if you want to keep your carbon footprint small on the big day.

Stewardship and sustainability are an integral part of the Washington State Parks mission. We are dedicated to caring for the diverse natural and cultural heritage of some of our state’s most precious places to preserve and improve them for generations to come. Bonus: They are absolutely gorgeous spots to get hitched and some are even equipped with eco-friendly amenities that make planning a wedding that much easier.

FYI: You can get married in ANY Washington state park, provided you follow the necessary steps to make sure your day goes off with you getting hitched, not running into a hitch. But some parks are more wedding-ready than others. Let’s explore a few options to inspire your greenest wedding dreams.

Sequim Bay State Park

covered bridge

Cross that bridge together! The rustic covered bridge at Sequim Bay State Park packs a lot of wedding photo wow power!

Wide open views of the bay waters, views of distant mountains on clear days, eagles soaring in the air — Sequim Bay State Park’s natural beauty is nothing short of inspirational. Located near the northeastern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, the park falls within the Olympic Rain Shadow. That means it sees far more dry, sunny days than Seattle and other nearby locales.

Imagine a ceremony under soaring evergreens in the park’s amphitheater. If you are worried about rain, reserve Ramblewood Retreat Center, just a quarter mile from the park as a back-up plan. Get some pictures at the docks and park, then have a rustic wedding under the trees or inside the camp lodge. Looking for sustainable florals? Check out the lavender farms prevalent on the peninsula!

Why not make it a camping wedding! The retreat’s lodge has a sleeping loft, and, just outside, are several cabins and Adirondack shelters. Ramblewood’s lodge also has a kitchen where caterers or family can prepare that locally sourced feast. After the ceremony, toast the long life ahead of you around the campfire!  

Peace Arch Historical State Park

Peace Arch - 16

Just add people! Peace Arch Historical State Park’s natural beauty is all you need for the perfect sustainable wedding!

Using the existing attributes of your venue as the main, or only, décor is a major sub-trend in sustainable weddings. The stunning gardens and oak groves at Peace Arch Historical State Park near the Canadian border are the perfect way to blend this movement into your special day. In spring and summer, the well-tended grounds are reminiscent of a Victorian garden. Plus, the photo-op spots are practically endless, including the lovely gazebo and stunning views of the San Juan Islands, Point Roberts, Semiahmoo Bay and, of course, the magnificent Peace Arch.

Have your wedding outdoors, then head over to the ADA-accessible American Kitchen, which features a dining area, fireplace, tables, an outdoor picnic area with 30 picnic tables and an oversized charcoal grill. Indoor tables and chairs are available for rent on site, which saves on resources bringing them to the park.

Kitsap Memorial State Park

Kitsap Memorial wedding Ian Tara CC FKR (Limited Permission) 2

Take a walk in the woods on your way to be wed! Kitsap Memorial State Park offers a beautiful big-day setting inside or out! Photo courtesy of Ian and Tara.

Cozy, rustic, beautiful and well-outfitted for a wedding — it’s little wonder Kitsap Memorial is a perennial favorite wedding destination. Rent and reuse the park’s on-site collection of wedding equipment including tables, chairs, canopies and more! Then, set everything up in the cozy-but-roomy log lodge for a ceremony and reception so pretty who needs much more? Dance away the night under the twinkling lights on the soaring ceiling.

Before the event, hire caterers to set up in the ample lodge kitchen, and head over to the Hospitality House, which serves as the perfect place to get ready for the day, and, later, spend the night! FYI: This park is an EXTREMELY popular wedding destination. 

Scenic Beach State Park

Scenic Beach wedding ceremony, 01

With water views, a lovely, verdant forest, a historic home and beautiful gardens, Scenic Beach State Park is the epitome of romance!

The ultimate in repurposing, this turn-of-the-century homestead turned state park is widely-considered a romantic hotspot. Located on the Hood Canal shore, Scenic Beach enjoys gentle breezes and sweeping views of Mount Olympus and the Olympic Mountain Range. A gazebo, fern-draped forests and foot bridges are perfect backgrounds for the wedding photo shoot.

Surrounded by rhododendron gardens and the soaring, feathery canopies of cedars, historic Emel House is another stunning and wedding-ready rentable. Do you and your beloved like to kayak? Why not glide into your ceremony from the Seabeck Boat Launch located about half a mile north of the park. It’s a wonderful way to showcase your love of the water and each other!

Learn More

Wedding planning tips

Sequim Bay State Park  Dock CCFKR Ke7dbx

Hold your wedding and take some spectacular photos at Sequim Bay State Park. Photo by Mike Gauer.

The great outdoors is a wonderful setting for saying I do. However, nature is unpredictable — holding an outdoor wedding takes planning, patience and flexibility. When planning for a wedding in a state park, we recommend the following tips:

 Get that permit. The first call you should make (after your BFF) is to a park’s staff. Special activities permits are often necessary when having a wedding at a state park. Plus, the more heads up park staff have about your special day, the better.

 Have a rainy day plan. Holding hands in the rain is romantic. Getting married in it, not so much.

 Size matters. And so does accessibility. Your dream location can become a nightmare if it is not the right fit for your guest list or their abilities.

 Location, locationtransportation. Remember, you and your guests need a Discover Pass if you park at a state park. Also, your wedding party will be sharing the parking lot with lots of other people, especially in the summer. Consider enlisting a shuttle service for getting guests to the park on time — and happy.

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