Beautiful (and Mostly) Free Outdoor Locations to Say I-Do
June marks the beginning of wedding season; however, COVID-19 has interfered with a lot of people’s summer wedding plans. Couples are having to decide whether to postpone their wedding date or to change their wedding venue. Others are choosing to elope and have a bigger celebration later. If the latter is you and your fiancé, then your are in luck.
Here in South Puget Sound area, there are several hidden gems that make beautiful locations to tie the knot without the hassle of using your mom’s back yard or going to the court house. The following 5 elopement locations are recommended for a small wedding party of less than 10 people.
1. Pioneer Park, Steilacoom, Washington
Pioneer Park in Steilacoom Washington has one of the most beautiful views of McNeil, Fox, and Anderson Islands. It’s located southwest of Tacoma and is open year round. The northern end of the park, there is a bandstand that can be rented for larger weddings from the town of Steilacoom. It’s used during the summer months for music festivals and concerts. During the week, this park is available for use y the public and the bandstand is often open (but not guaranteed) for visitors to use for free. It’s a gorgeous location for an elopement.
2. Yoshiro Japanese Garden, Olympia, WA
Hidden near the Washington State capital, the Yoshiro Japanese Garden would be missed if you weren’t looking for it. It’s a small secluded park that is popular with locals to have lunch and listen to the sounds of the waterfall fountain. The foliage is gorgeous most of the year due to its focus on Japanese garden aesthetics. You will find statues and lanterns placed strategically throughout the park. You can download a brochure to learn more about the park. The park is open year round from dawn to dusk and admission is free.
3. Wright Park, Tacoma, WA
Wright Park in Tacoma, WA is a historic landmark located in near Stadium District and Multicare Hospital. It has several beautiful statues, a conservatory, and a duck pond with an expansive bridge. The bridge is an excellent spot to wed as it overlooks the pond and fountain. There are several different types of trees with many that provide a beautiful foliage display all year round, but of foliage is especially colorful in the fall to accent late season ceremonies. The W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory can be rented, but the rest of the park is free to visit and is available for your intimate elopement ceremony all year.
4. Wapato Park, Tacoma, WA
Wapato Park is located right off I-5 in Tacoma, WA. It’s home to a lake with a walking path, as well as a beautiful Pergola with flowers and a waterfall nearby. It is a popular place for families with children, as there are picnic table and shelters nearby that can be reserved if you are interested in having a small gathering after the ceremony. There is also a pavilion that can accommodate up to 55 people that can be rented. The pergola itself cannot be rented, but it can be used for a small elopement ceremony (10 or less) and is a beautiful location for photos with the bridal party.
5. Point Defiance Park, Five Mile Drive Viewpoints, Tacoma, WA
The Five Mile Drive Viewpoints and trails provide some of the mot stunning views of South Puget Sound that can be found in the Tacoma and surrounding areas. Point Defiance itself offers several different locations that are ideal for a small ceremony. The promenade near the Marina to Owens beach, the Rhododendron Garden, the pond, and the many beautiful view-points overlooking the sound provide a beautiful backdrop for a small wedding ceremony or elopement. The outer loop of Five Mile Drive is closed to vehicles until 10:00 AM on the weekdays and until 1:00 PM on the weekend, so plan accordingly. Point Defiance Park also offers rented facilities such as the aquarium, the rose garden, and the Pagoda to name just a few, but they are difficult to obtain on short notice. Many are reserved months in advance.
All of these five locations are wonderful locations to tie-the-knot, but be aware, unless you rent the space there is no guarantee that they will be available to use on your special day and time. But, if you are willing and able to be flexible, these locations are low-cost and romantic alternatives to a courthouse ceremony.
Schedule an Elopement Consultation
If you’re ready to schedule your elopement or small wedding at one of these beautiful locations in Tacoma, WA and surrounding areas, contact A Small Wedding for you FREE ceremony consultation.
Rev. Lori Erwin-Johnson is a wedding officiant and wellbeing coach looking to help individuals and couples find their Happily Ever After. Visit her website to learn more about her.