There’s great allure to hosting your wedding at an art museum; with striking architecture and spectacular interiors bedecked with classic paintings and breathtaking sculptures, design-loving couples are basically guaranteed a wedding-day backdrop that’s nothing but beautiful. While hosting a wedding in a museum may not sound romantic to everyone, couples who enjoy marveling at carefully preserved one-of-a-kind art and artifacts are in for a surprisingly memorable evening. So, consider kicking tradition to the curb by celebrating your nuptials at one of the Pacific Northwest’s exquisite art-filled cultural hubs, which can play host to everything from intimate gatherings to more opulent affairs. With newly completed and upcoming additions in both Tacoma and Seattle, these three particular fine art museums are primed for the spotlight now and in the years to come.
TACOMA ART MUSEUM (above)
What could be cooler than saying “I do” surrounded by an art collection curated over the course of one local couple’s lifetimes? Originally founded in 1935, the Tacoma Art Museum has been given fresh legs with the recently completed 6,860-square-foot gallery wing gifted to the museum by local luminary Rebecca Benaroya on her 93rd birthday. Designed by award-winning architect Tom Kundig of Seattle-based Olson Kundig, the new wing features 225 works collected through Rebecca’s 70 years of marriage to her late husband, Jack. If breathtaking backdrops are more your style, the Leslie P. Sussman Atrium offers sweeping views that stretch from downtown Tacoma and Puget Sound to Mount Rainer and can accommodate as many as 110 guests. For larger nuptial ceremonies, book the sleekly outfitted Marie A. Helmer Lobby, which can accommodate as many as 250 guests and features light-flooded floor-to-ceiling windows, smooth gray concrete floors, deep bronze walls and high maple wood ceilings. The Murray Family Event Space allows creative-minded couples to take advantage of the blank canvas, with gray and white walls that are just begging for a brightly colored bash. The icing on the cake at this venue is easily the open terrace, located on the third floor, which is the perfect size for photo ops throughout your big day.
The details: Rental fees range from $1,350 to $8,000. All rentals include 200 black chairs or 120 gray chairs; round, rectangular, café and bistro tables; coat room with hangers; high and short wooden stools; podium; couches with side table; bar front; check-in station; and Wi-Fi access. In-house catering is available, or couples may bring in their own caterer.
Design by Mithun; Image by MIR; Courtesy of the Nordic Museum; A rendering of Fjord Hall at the new Nordic Museum in Ballard
Voted one of the 15 most noteworthy museums to open in the world in 2018 by Architectural Digest, the brand-new 57,000-square-foot Nordic Museum, designed by Mithun architectural firm and located in the heart of Ballard, provides a stunning backdrop for a modern-style wedding. Showcasing art and artifacts from the five Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland—the majorly overhauled facility also boasts three large event spaces to choose from. The magnificent, 4,000-square-foot Osberg Great Hall, designed with gorgeous hemlock wood walls, fir floors, vintage Edison pendant lights and flex-use sliding glass walls, can seat as many as 300 for dinner. The light and airy Sun Terrace, an outdoor space located along the southern elevation of the building, provides an elegant setting for summer parties and events, and can accommodate a 30-by-70-foot tent, while the cocktail-ready Fjord Hall is better suited for more intimate affairs. Private rooms easily convert to wedding-day suites for getting ready, while a VIP lounge with a deck makes for the perfect place to take a breather in between the ceremony and reception. The venue also offers a beautiful back lawn outdoors and a welcoming fireplace indoors, where guests can mingle and enjoy wall installations that evoke glacial fjords. Another perk to having your wedding here: Newlyweds can even snap pictures with the museum’s Norwegian wedding crown, which was handmade in Norway using traditional filigree techniques.
The details: Rental fees range from $3,500 to $20,000. The venue is not available the first Thursday of every month. Tables, chairs and on-site parking are included in the rental fee. A wedding professional such as a planner or day-of-coordinator is required for your event; catering exclusively by City Catering Company.
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum; Enjoy world-class art and an airy setting at Seattle Art Museum downtown
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
Couples who choose to celebrate at the iconic Seattle Art Museum, located just blocks from iconic Pike Place Market, enjoy both lofty, light-filled spaces and world-class visual art. The walls of this museum’s gallery hold one of the largest collections of revolving exhibits from around the world as well as modern and contemporary art, while windows yield glances of breathtaking skyline and water views.The popular Grand Staircase is a favorite for ceremonies, with the bride ascending the wide stone steps. A sculpture at each landing makes for both a stunning entrance and art-filled aisle. Guests will enjoy fresh, local cuisine served with an artistic twist by SAM’s exclusive caterer, Taste Events. The lobby-level Brotman Forum, which usually acts as a welcoming entryway for guests visiting the museum, converts into a dramatic reception space. Couples who hold their ceremony or reception here enjoy impressively high ceilings, hanging art, and plenty of space for celebratory drinks and a big dance party. SAM’s offerings extend to two other venues as well. A stone’s throw away sits the plein air Olympic Sculpture Park, where skyline and water views await; or, if you’ve got flexibility on your wedding date, stay tuned for the completion of the much anticipated Asian Art Museum renovation. Located on Capitol Hill, the museum is set to gain a light-filled, all-glass lobby that will boast gorgeous views of Volunteer Park. Currently closed until 2019, the museum expects to be able to host events in early 2020.
The details: Rental fees for SAM range from $2,800 to $9,000 (excludes catering fees). For an extra fee of $500–$700, couples receive up to eight hours of technician time, use of a flat-screen monitor for slideshow or video during reception and a handheld microphone for toasts. No outdoor options are available at this location. Catering is handled exclusively by Taste Events.