Sorry this post is coming to you so late (technical problems) but on the bright side...
It’s wedding season! And you know what that means: flowers, dresses, venues, invitations, and all things “wedding” are in full swing!
Personally, I love weddings. So much happiness and love… so much to celebrate!
But as you may know, the pre-marriage season of life can be stressful! There is a wedding to plan, families to appease, and (oh yeah) a lifelong MARRIAGE to prepare for!
Sometimes, you just need a little help with all of that wedding, marriage, and relationship “stuff” on your plate. I know. I remember when I was in the thick of it it felt a little like this...
But I can’t complain, because that lost puppy feeling is what inspired me to start this blog! And it’s also what motivates me to help YOU navigate this big life transition and set your marriage up for success.
In my last wedding related post, I thought I’d help cut down on the pre-wedding stress by making myself the bridesmaid proposal box guinea-pig instead of you.
Here’s a peek at how they turned out.
Today, I’m talking about my next big wedding adventure… The Snohomish Wedding Tour!
I will cover the venues I visited, the vendors that caught my eye, and general tips for whenever you participate in a wedding tour or expo in your area!
This one goes out to my fellow Pacific Northwest brides, but rest assured, there's still plenty of information in here for you even if you're not from the great PNW.
About The Snohomish Wedding Tour:
Living in Washington State there are about a million genuinely gorgeous places to get married, and Snohomish is most definitely near the top of that list. It is seriously dreamy.
The Snohomish Wedding tour is an annual event to showcase local wedding venues and vendors in and around the city of Snohomish.
It's a self-guided tour where you can go at your own pace, and drive from venue to venue. At each stop there are a number of wedding vendors. Each one is local, and usually brings examples of their work to share, and information about their services.
Full disclosure: This was my first time attending this event (and I think I made some mistakes) but regardless, I loved it!
Part of the reason I loved this event so much was because I really enjoy supporting local businesses and admiring local artistry and craftsmanship (of which this tour was jam-packed!) and, well.... WEDDINGS. So what's not to love?
Even if you're not from the Pacific Northwest, I highly recommend finding whatever local wedding events you have happening near you, and check out some of my tips below. These events are a great way to get a feel for the area, engage with the community, and learn about your wedding planning options. It really is very informational!
In fact, I learned one thing very quickly while attending this tour…
This is the single best way to go venue and vendor shopping.
In fact, why have we been doing it the hard way for so long?!
You will probably LOVE attending a wedding tour/expo if...
You are still searching for the right venue, caterer, invitations, decor, photographer, etc.
You hate having to spend hours on google and Pinterest tracking down information
You don't like how you have to call and set up an appointment to get basic information, price quotes, sample their food, etc.
Cold-calling businesses makes you nervous
You like weddings, but you don't like wasting your time
You need a little wedding inspiration
Also, these events have a TON of perks!
You get to SEE THE VENUES IN-PERSON (with no appointment necessary)
You get to see examples of vendors’ work, rentals, etc. in-person and meet them!
You can visualize how the venues could be decorated, or arranged and see examples
You can view other items that are offered as part of the wedding package. Tents, tables, chairs, candles, etc.
PRIZES! So many vendors had raffles, or prizes that you could enter to win. Some of them were HUGE like $1,000 off your photography package, or a week long tropical honeymoon!
Discounts. Even if you don’t win a prize, plenty of places have special discounts available to those who attended the event.
CATERING SAMPLES! Seriously. So delicious and so convenient. Snacking on gourmet food is already a win in my book - but it also functions as an informal taste test so you can easily decide on a caterer (again, no appointment or phone call necessary!)
No hours upon hours of googling companies, and no annoying or awkward phone calls. You can just wander toward the things that capture your attention, and immediately get your questions answered.
You get all kinds of information that you can keep and reference as you continue planning your wedding. (Much of this information is not available online so a google search won’t cut it.)
So. Many. Pretty. Things. Endless ideas and sources of wedding inspiration.
This particular event was such a wealth of information (and beauty) that I couldn’t even get through half of the venues! So it's safe to say that I learned some things along the way...
Tip #1: Bring someone with you
I was lucky enough to bring a good friend along with me on this tour, and having another set of eyes (and hands!) helped out immensely. It’s great to have a wing-woman go with you on this fun event for moral support, a second opinion, or even to help you hold all of the folders, brochures and pamphlets. (Sorry about that, Shelby!)
Tip #2: Start early, and have a plan.
We could have gotten much farther in the wedding tour if we had begun promptly at the start time, and been more conscious of the time we spent at each location. There were just so many things to look at and enjoy!
So without further ado, here are the venues we went to, the vendors that took our breath away, and the things we learned along the way.
Oh, and plenty of pictures!
Stop #1: Swan Trail Farms
Price Estimate: $4,000 March-May ; $5,300 (Sat.) $4,500 (Fri./Sun.) June - September
What I Liked about this Venue:
Swan Trail Farms has that “wide open spaces” feel that you want in a beautiful farm venue, and was incredibly elegant and romantic. I suppose I would describe the farm as having more of a vineyard aesthetic than a country cowboy look (no tractors, boots, etc.) Classic, elegant, and versatile, Swan Trail Farms would be breathtaking for any wedding.
With two indoor spaces, and one large outdoor space (with multiple ceremony areas) this venue has you covered - literally! Which means you don’t have to worry about the rain. Living in the Pacific Northwest, this is a huge relief.
It’s also a plus that these indoor spaces are Pinterest-worthy with almost no effort at all.
All areas of the outdoor space are well manicured and maintained.
(Did I mention there’s a pond?!)
Another bonus was all of the SUPER cute signs hanging around the venue.
(All this cute stuff means less work for you!)
Flower Farmer Girls
At this venue I couldn’t stop admiring the flowers, and I definitely took waaaay too many pictures of them! All the arrangements at this venue were done by Flower Farmer Girls, a local business in Snohomish. As someone who has a small obsession with flowers, I can tell you the arrangements were everything you would hope for on your wedding day.
Suite J Catering and Events
I was also intrigued by the caterer we saw there. Suite J Catering and Events had a great appetizer idea: “mashedtinis” (mashed potatoes in a martini glass). Topped with all the fixings, and SO easy to carry around, this invention is sure to make for a happy and not hungry cocktail hour! (This would also be an easy and delicious DIY!)
Tip #3: Be on the lookout for DIY ideas
Even if you’re a total DIY bride (Iike I was!) a wedding tour or expo is NOT a waste of time! It was a great way to see what things could be accomplished on your own with a little ingenuity, and some tweaking. For instance, the "mashedtinis", or the cute signs from Swan Trail Farms.
Stop #2: The Lookout Lodge
Price Estimate: Up to 100 people = $3,400 (Saturday) ; 100-200 people = $4,100 (Saturday)
What I liked about this venue:
This venue has a beautiful mountain view, and is tucked high up in the hills of Snohoish with plenty of outdoor space. I also love the unique seating at the ceremony area. Instead of boring white chairs, beautiful log seating. They also had lawn games galore! Lawn jenga, lawn scrabble, even connect four. This truly seems like a fun place to celebrate!
The only drawback that I could see is that there seemed to be no indoor or covered space. There was, however, a nice patio which was a great location for putting up tents.
This was the first booth that I went to upon arriving at the lodge. I was just drawn to it! Chalk.ink.style does beautiful hand lettering for invitations, chalkboard signs, you name it! Absolutely everything they had on display was stunning, and I loved briefly chatting with Ginger about her work. She even did the menu lettering for the caterer - The Cabbage Patch. (Her work is seriously impressive!
I LOVE the the floral theme and the wax seal in this set.
(P.S. this is kinda silly... but Ginger had the prettiest pamphlets and pens! This woman's attention to detail and eye for design make my inner bride so happy.)
(P.P.S. I think I'm learning that I might have a tiny obsession with beautiful calligraphy/lettering. Part of me REALLY wants to learn how to do this myself!)
Cabbage Patch Catering
Ok maybe it’s just because I love food, but this spread blew me away... so much that I forgot to take a picture of it! (Sorry… I think I was just too excited to sample it all!) Cabbage Patch catering is a full service caterer, meaning they will handle set up, tear down, and everything in-between. They will even help you clean up after your event if that’s something you’d like to arrange! I tried a few things from their menu, and I’ve gotta say, the salmon cakes were a knock-out. They will even take a family recipe and re-create it for all of your guests! What a special way to make your wedding unique!
Tip #3: You can personalize your wedding… with food!
One way that I personalized my wedding was with the food we ate, and I highly recommend it! One great way to do this is to have your caterer (or yourself, if you’re not catering) serve a dish or dessert that has some sentimental value to you and your husband. (A family recipe, perhaps?) This could also be a thoughtful way to honor someone who is no longer with you. Serving mini portions of your grandmother’s angel food cake is a sweet way to give significance to your wedding, and honor to her memory.
This awesome little company specializes in vintage rentals and event styling, and knows how to make a statement. Beyond chargers, vases, and chairs, Something Blue knows how to set just the right atmosphere for an event. This wedding rental company has it all - from quirky unique pieces, to glamorous vintage decor.
Something blue has a little bit of everything!
Stop #3: Green Gates at Flowing Lake
Price Estimate: $5,000 (Fri.) ; $6,250 (Sat.) ; $4,000 (Sun.)
What I liked about this venue:
Tucked away and quiet, Green Gates at Flowing Lake combines the charm of a lakeside chateau with a rustic wooded atmosphere. The venue is very well situated with ample space for the bridal party to get ready as well as a separate groomsmen cabin. In addition to the ceremony space overlooking the lake, there is a reception barn, a bar, and a rose garden. The entire place was very picturesque, and I had a great time getting the tour from one of the owners. One of the best qualities of these folks (and their venue) is their generosity! They have a few decor pieces left behind from previous weddings that are free for brides to use on their big day. They also let you leave behind decor for other brides to use in the future - sort of a “pay it forward” gesture. Love that!
The Bridal Suite
The barn is outfitted with BEAUTIFUL chandeliers, and feels light and airy.
Definitely my favorite barn ceiling of all the venues I saw!
(Weird compliment, I know...)
This historic cabin is used as the grooms's space
Any place with a rose garden is worth getting married at (in my humble opinion!). This one has a great view!
Forever Events Wedding & Event Coordination and Sweet Buffet Lady Rentals
The decor and place settings are what really took my breath away at this venue. All of these were put together by Stefanie Wright from Forever Events Wedding & Event Coordination with rentals provided by Sweet Buffet Lady Rentals. Although I only included pictures of the tables here, there were plenty of other cool decorative pieces from SBL Rentals. With Stefanie's personal touch (she hand-made the moss table runner, people!) these pieces came to life.
I loved how the names were written on wood rounds and leaves, and the woodland theme fit in perfectly with the rustic and elegant qualities of this venue.
I LOVE these little wood rounds with the names burned into them. Simple and elegant.
The level of detail that went into this tablescape could have had me looking at it for hours! The lush, earthy decor was made complete with moss, candles, wood rounds, and even tiny flowers!
Tip #4: Unify your Venue & Theme
When searching for a venue, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the aesthetic that you’d like your wedding to have. Although each venue is somewhat of a blank canvas, they all have a unique style. As a rule of thumb, you want to work with your venue style, not fight against it. Using your venue as wedding style inspiration, and gathering ideas from the setting, colors, and textures all around will help unify the look and feel of your wedding.
Stop #4: Snohomish Red Barn Events (Stocker Farms)
Price Estimate: $3,600 (Sat.) $3,400 (Fri./Sun.)
What I liked about this venue:
A quintessential country farm, this red barn venue has it all! Indoor barn space for dancing, a large grassy lawn, beauty as far as the eye can see, and a huge jumping pillow! (Bet you didn’t know you needed one of those, huh?!) Personally, I love venues where the sunset sky can become the backdrop of your wedding, and this venue delivers in that area.
Unfortunately, when we arrived the wedding tour was winding down and it was starting to rain, so we didn’t have the opportunity to stay as long or take as many photos of this location. Good thing there’s always next year!
The red barn, jumping pillow and country feel of this venue make it the perfect place to kick up your heels and celebrate! (See the jumping pillow?!)
According to our tour guide, it’s most typical for brides to have an outdoor ceremony, dinner under white tents adjacent to the barn, and drinks and dancing inside under the twinkling lights.
A view of the dance floor/reception space from above!
The bridal suite and groom's "closet" were the only areas that fell flat in my opinion, but if you're not taking "getting ready" photos, then it really doesn't matter. Although not glamorous, this bridal suite has plenty of room for you and your girls.
Tip #5 When looking for a venue, consider what pictures you want
As I said earlier, I’m a sucker for wedding photos with lots of sky and wide open spaces as the backdrop. This should be a consideration as you look for your wedding venue. What kind of backdrop do you want in your photos? And what kind of photos do you want? Do you want glamorous “getting ready” photos? Look closely at the bridal accommodations at the venue. Do you want to have plenty of fun, candid photos? Certain venues might have more opportunities for this (can you say jumping pillow?!). Whatever you choose, it’s wise to consider how your venue will work as the backdrop to your most memorable photos, and important moments.
Although there were plenty of vendors in the barn to admire, the catering from Collector’s Choice stood out. I had steak, Alaska salmon with dill and hollandaise, asparagus, Caesar salad, buttered red potatoes, ahi tuna poke with wasabi drizzle, and I think there’s still more I’m forgetting. It was delicious. Collector’s Choice is a Snohomish tradition, and has been in business as a restaurant and catering company since 1983. They are a mobile, full-service caterer with a HUGE selection of menu items to choose from. Although I’ve never been to the restaurant, I think now I’ll have to go!
Tip #6 Ask “where’s the bathroom?”
I was so pleased to see that all the venues we visited had nice bathrooms for the bridal party and guests! This is not the case at all venues. Although porta-potties are a good solution when nothing else is available, they are a wedding dress’s worst nightmare. (And can smell!) Be sure to check out the bathroom situation at the venues you visit.
Tip #7 Take notes.
Even though you feel like you're keeping up well with the information being relayed to you, you won't remember it all. As much as you don't think you do, you NEED to take notes. Especially about who you talked to, questions you asked, or thoughts you have about their venue/services. I learned this one the hard way! (This blog post would've written itself much faster if I'd taken notes...)
Phew! That’s the best I can sum up my time at the Snohomish Wedding Tour! I was SO SAD I didn't get to see everything this year, but I'm hoping to go back next year and take a look at the places we missed. Hopefully this inspires you to get out there and check out what’s local, and what kind of wedding events are happening near you!
So get out there, and enjoy wedding season, everyone! And happy venue & vendor shopping!