A couple stands by the door of a log cabin with the interior set for a wedding in golden light.

Park weddings: plan your dream day

Did you or your love pop the question recently? Congratulations! Let the planning fun begin.

We say “fun” because it can be – especially if you spend your big day in a Washington state park.

We can't guarantee that your family will behave, or that you won't turn into a ‘zilla for a minute or two (we understand, and we're here for you), but we guarantee you can host your big day in a unique venue that fits your group size, budget and personal style.

Outdoor wedding at Fort Worden State Park in front of a madrona tree and castle.
Fort Worden State Park gives you lots of venue choices and includes catering, decorating and other services. Photo: Jen Lee Light Photography.

Easy and elegant

Are you hoping to find it all in one place – just like you found with your sweetie? (Awwww.)

Would you rather book a venue, choose a menu, pick a color scheme and let the pros get to work? If this sounds like you, Fort Worden Historical State Park, through Fort Worden Hospitality, offers that service. (Our advice: book early!) Between the beachside lighthouse, crashing waves, high bluffs and sprawling lawns, this dreamy fort park (and location for the 1980s love story Officer and a Gentleman) is romance epitomized!

But for those of you in the DIY/BYO crowd (including those who hire a wedding planner), we also have lots of options! So, picture your perfect wedding. Then make your vision come true.

a brick building stands on a lawn with open arch windows.
The historic torpedo house at Manchester State Park, located on Rich Passage, makes a picturesque wedding site. ​​​​​​

A wedding that makes you em-ocean-al

Is your heart set on saying “I do” with a beach in the background? Make it happen with us!

Several westside state parks offer indoor and outdoor settings with Puget Sound views and budget-friendly autonomy.

  • Kitsap Memorial State Park on the western Kitsap Peninsula boasts late afternoon golden light and colorful sunsets over the Sound. The park rents a rustic-elegant log hall and outdoor shelter.
  • Scenic Beach sits on a small point above Seabeck Bay and the Olympic mountain views cannot be beat! The park rents the historic 1911 Emel House and gazebo looking out on Hood Canal.
  • Manchester is surrounded by islands and inlets on three sides, and it offers an open, arched brick building that once housed torpedoes.
  • Fort Townsend, a pre-Civil War-era fort with bay views, parade lawn and torpedo tower, rents out their Friends Barn six miles south of hip, artsy Port Townsend.

And wait, there's more! See our full list of classic wedding sites here!

A newlywed couple poses in a field with their wedding party in blue and green in the background.
Newlyweds Alicia and Jesi threw a big wedding with family, friends and fun activities at the Millersylvania State Park Retreat Center. Photo courtesy of Alicia Feist.

Go big and go boisterous!

You've got tons of friends, huge families and such soft hearts you just have to invite everyone. Plus, you've always wanted a big wedding bash. Our retreat centers may be for you!

Most Washington State Parks retreat centers come with common spaces, lodge-like feels, big fireplaces, commercial kitchens, tables, chairs, outdoor amphitheaters and cabins for guests. Many occupy separate space in the parks and offer a feeling of privacy.

Treat your group to volleyball, horseshoes, campfires and games. And while you're decorating or taking photos:

  • Suggest they tour the Olympic Peninsula beaches, mountains and rainforests from the lodge at Ramblewood (Sequim Bay).
  • Map out the Ice Age Floods from charming Camp Delany (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls) and send them to gape at the lake-dotted scablands of central Washington.
  • Point them to drives through the folding Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington from Puffer Butte Lodge (Fields Spring).
  • Make sure they check out the Columbia River Gorge and Goldendale Observatory from Brooks Memorial's retreat center.
  • And give them time to explore the fabled San Juan Islands from the retreat center at Moran.

For you, a perfect wedding. For your crowd, a perfect vacation.

Check out retreat centers, rates and booking instructions here!

A historic home sits in sun and shade.
The Scarborough House at Fort Columbia State Park sleeps 12 and has a large living room, kitchen and dining room.

Keep it cozy

Big parties are grand, but they're not for everyone. If you'd rather share your moment with close friends and family, a historic State Parks vacation home may be your spot!

Set amidst old-growth forests, lakes, beaches and rivers, our lodges, lightkeepers' residences and cottages are well-appointed, with kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and prep space.

The best part? They have limited capacity, sleeping four to 24 people. You'll just have to keep the guest list small. We'll vouch for you with that aunt who didn't make the cut. Check our vacation homes here!

A couple stands on a cliff in front of a bridge with water below.
Alicia and Beau had the cliffs at Deception Pass to themselves for their elopement. Photo: Ariel Jordan Photography

Run (hike, bike, paddle) away with me!

Are you and your honey adventure buds? Grab your gear and your group and do your day your way.

Elopement is big right now. If you want to declare your eternal love clipped into an anchor on a rock face or on a 200-mile bikepack, you don't owe anyone an explanation.

Hike to Mount Pilchuck, with its stunning North Cascades views. (Hello, Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan!) Climb the sandstone Peshastin Pinnacles overlooking Wenatchee River orchards. Pick a peak in Mount Spokane, surrounded by endless hills, wildflowers into August and berries into September. You won't have these places to yourself, but you'll be in your bliss bubble anyway.

Bike or ride horses on the Palouse to Cascades Trail. Start in the shimmering fields of eastern Washington and ride west to the Cascades – or go the opposite way. Not into bikepacking? Choose your favorite section. Our staff recommends the historic South Cle Elum Depot as a gathering spot.

Kayak or SUP onto any state park lake. Pick a warm one like Millersylvania's Deep Lake or a summer day at Curlew Lake or Steamboat Rock – and take a literal plunge after making your leap into marriage!

Marry on a mountain without getting sweaty. Drive or ride motorcyles through the multi-colored Palouse Hills to Steptoe Butte. You're bound to have great views and vibes up there; the butte's quartzite is some of the oldest rock in the Northwest.

Originally published March 15, 2023

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