By Diane Reed
From the perfect setting for the ceremony and reception to charming and luxurious accommodations for the wedding party and guests, the Walla Walla Valley has the perfect venue for wedding celebrations — from down home to over-the-top.
Picture a starlit evening on the terrace of a Walla Walla winery with the Blues as a backdrop, a dreamy wedding in a charming garden along a scenic creek, exchanging vows in the glow of one of Walla Walla’s lovely churches, the magical setting of the Victorian bandstand at Pioneer Park, or sharing your special occasion at a down-home country ranch.
These are just a few of the incomparable locations for a Walla Walla Valley wedding. Whether you’re a local or an out-of-towner looking for a destination wedding location, you’ll find the Valley offers a wide variety of options for a memorable celebration.
Walla Walla wine country is a popular option for weddings, and many wineries roll out the red carpet for ceremonies, receptions, rehearsal dinners, wine tastings and related events.
Here are just a few worth considering for your special day:
For dramatic flair, the Power House Theatre offers a unique backdrop for that one-of-a-kind wedding celebration.
Basel Cellars Estate Winery features a stunning stone manor house with panoramic views of their vineyards and the mountains. The winery can host outdoor weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners and other events, and offers eight guest rooms in the manor house and a poolside cabana that sleeps four.
Three Rivers Winery’s outdoor location includes an expansive lawn and a patio with a magnificent view of the mountains and the Walla Walla River. The winery features a catering kitchen — pick from its list of caterers for the occasion.
Waterbrook, with its stunning view of the Blues, provides venues and catering for outdoor weddings of up to 500 guests, or smaller indoor ceremonies for up to 115. The winery also accommodates receptions and wedding events.
Not all wineries host weddings — check with your favorites. But many are happy to provide settings and catering options for rehearsal dinners, wine-tasting parties for guests, and other wedding-related events.
For example, if you’re looking for a trendy downtown setting, Charles Smith’s tasting room, designed by Seattle’s Olson Kundig Architects, offers a hip location for receptions and rehearsal dinners, with two large crank-operated steel swing windows that open onto sidewalk seating.
Consider other elegant settings, which include The Marcus Whitman Hotel, Cameo Heights Mansion in Touchet, and Nine Trees Inn in Milton-Freewater, Ore.
If a garden wedding appeals to you, Creekstone Gardens on Titus Creek and Mill Creek Gardens offer picturesque natural settings.
Other alfresco sites include Wine Valley Golf Club, with its panoramic views, and — if you’re looking for country flair — Running T Ranch in Dayton, the Bar M Ranch in Adams, Ore., or the Winn Homestead in Weston, Ore. (Bar M also offers accommodations, and Running T features RV spaces.)
Working with a shoestring budget? Consider one of our area’s modestly priced and beautiful parks.
From the grace of the Victorian bandstand at Pioneer Park to the rustic Rotary shelter at Fort Walla Walla Park, there are all kinds of possibilities.
History buffs could consider a wedding and reception at Fort Walla Walla Museum’s Pioneer Village or in its grand hall.
The Walla Walla County Fairgrounds also offers a variety of buildings for weddings and receptions.
Ultimate do-it-yourselfers can book a tent at Sun Rentals for an alfresco meadow or backyard wedding and line up upscale restrooms from Regal Mobile Solutions.
Now that you have the location for the wedding picked out, where will everyone stay?
Look for wedding packages, such as the ones offered by The Marcus Whitman Hotel and Cameo Heights Mansion in Touchet, which include lodging and venues for rehearsal dinners and receptions. For a Zen-theme with a quiet, relaxing spa experience, consider the Buddha Guest House, which is presided over by a statue of the Buddha.
Many local motels also offer specials on rooms for wedding parties and guests. Another option to consider is reserving a bed-and-breakfast or vacation home for the wedding party and out-of-town guests.
Bed-and-breakfast choices are varied, with wide-ranging accommodations, and include the Maxwell House, Inn at Blackberry Creek, Green Gables Inn and the Fat Duck Inn (also available for rehearsal dinners).
Go online for more B&Bs and inns, including winery accommodations like the Inn at Abeja and Girasol Vineyard and Inn.
Another option is vacation home rentals. Alexa Palmer’s Walla Walla Vacation Rentals offers everything from two-bedroom units (with elevator) located downtown to charming two-bedroom, two-bath homes — up to a six-bedroom, four-bath home.
Although the homes are not available for weddings or receptions, several lend themselves to smaller wedding events like a ladies’ tea or brunch. Palmer can also provide additional services, including an on-site chef, grocery delivery, and limousine and spa services at the homes.
The location choices for your special day are endless in the Walla Walla Valley. Explore the possibilities, But remember, time is of the essence. Wedding venues and accommodations should be booked well in advance!