Formerly for celebrities and those with big budgets, Destination Weddings have become more accessible and more popular for engaged couples looking to add a unique twist to their wedding plans.  With its fantastic views of the Seattle skyline, the Olympic Mountains and numerous waterfront parks steps away from Lake Washington, Kirkland is quickly growing in popularity as the perfect Washington Destination Wedding location.

For those who have grown up in Washington State or attended one of its many colleges including the nearby University of Washington, Kirkland’s own Northwest University, or Lake Washington Technical College, Kirkland has been a place where memories are made.  For those who have worked either in Kirkland, Seattle or around the Eastside, Kirkland has been the perfect location for a business meeting, day in the sun or an evening of good food and entertainment.  Because of this, it is not surprising that many of these same people choose Kirkland for their wedding celebration with family and friends.

With its convenient location, only ten miles east of Seattle, twenty-two miles north of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and less than ten miles from Woodinville’s wine country, Kirkland is convenient and accessible for both in state and out of town guests.  Combined with the waterfront city’s outstanding accommodations, venues, wedding planners, caterers, florists, photographers and more, it has everything a bride and groom could need to turn their special event into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for themselves and family and friends.

When it comes to accommodations for the wedding couple, their family, friends and guests, Kirkland offers many choices.  For those wanting to experience two of the top destination hotels, The Heathman Hotel in downtown Kirkland is centrally located to all that the city has to offer including waterfront parks and an eclectic selection of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.  The Woodmark Hotel and Yacht Club is located directly on Lake Washington at Carillon Point.  Much like a small resort, the property features outstanding accommodations, dining, a spa, several boutique-style shops and amazing view of Seattle from across the lake.  For those looking for a hotel brand that is well respected across the world, the Marriott offers their Courtyard location at Totem Lake, and for those interested in good accommodations at reasonable prices, the Baymont Inn, Carlton Inn, Comfort Inn and La Quinta Inn and Suites are all excellent choices.  There is also a Motel 6 and a few bed and breakfasts.  Information on all can be found on

For the day before or after the ceremony, activities and itineraries for the couple and their guests abound both on the water and on land.   For those who want to explore the beauty of Lake Washington, East Puget Sound, Seattle and the Olympic Mountains, tours on the Argosy Cruise Ships or Waterways yachts are a definite must.  For others who would enjoy the lake in a more private or personalized manner, boats and kayaks are available for rent by the hour, the day or even the entire weekend.  Parasailing in the warmer months is also a popular and exciting way to take in the sights of the lake, the city and beyond.

For those couples or guests who enjoy an “active” itinerary, the city offers many opportunities for walking, hiking, cycling, bird watching, playing golf, tennis or beach volleyball and more.  Wine lovers can tour nearby Woodinville’s wineries, local tasting rooms like Northwest Cellars or Kirkland’s own wine specialty stores, like The Grape Choice at Kirkland Marina Park.  Martini lovers can wander a few doors down to VoVina for a variety of libations with unique flavors and names.  But for those who would rather just enjoy the slow pace of a gentle stroll around the quaint city with its unique shops and art galleries, or a picnic and sunbathing at one of its many waterfront parks, Kirkland is a city that believes in taking life at your own pace.

When it comes to the rehearsal dinner, or the post-wedding brunch, the venues range from elegant sophistication, like that found at the Trellis Restaurant at The Heathman Hotel with unique plates created by Executive Chef Brian Scheehser, to family friendly, like the Crab Cracker, to casual fun like an old-fashioned crab boil by Lake Street Catering at the Marina Park Pavilion.  If seafood and a view is your desire, the incredibly popular Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant and bin on the lake are both guaranteed to please.  And if you are looking for a little entertainment during, or after, dinner or brunch, the Kirkland Performance Center and Laughs Comedy Club are two of several great choices for a venue that can be fun, a little bit different and flexible to your entertainment and catering needs.

For the big day of your wedding ceremony and reception, again the options are numerous.  The Woodmark Hotel, located directly on Lake Washington, is one of Kirkland’s most popular choices for the all-inclusive wedding day.  With panoramic views of the lake, Seattle and the Olympic Mountains, the waterside resort affords couples the opportunity to say “I do” any day of the week, either on the lawn under a tent or inside from one of The Woodmark Hotel’s rooms looking out on Lake Washington. It also offers them one of the most beautiful backgrounds for their wedding and day of photos.

Kirkland is also the home of a variety of churches, historic buildings, landmarks and outdoor parks and venues that are available for any type of wedding from elegant to casual, big to small.  If you can dream it, Kirkland has the perfect location for your perfect wedding day.

Perhaps what truly makes Kirkland desired for Destination Weddings, besides the awe-inspiring scenery and the convenient location with easy access to Seattle, wine country, the San Juan Islands and more, is that Kirkland is the home of some of the most in-demand wedding planners, photographers, florists, caterers, bridal and tuxedo shops, officiants and more tapped into for weddings across the state.  Why?  Because like those couples who choose Kirkland for their Destination Wedding, Kirkland’s wedding professionals know firsthand the beauty of living and working in this unique waterfront city.  And because of Kirkland’s Destination Wedding resources, engaging the city’s professionals is more affordable and cost effective than choosing to plan a wedding further away. Many of the city’s local wedding resources can be found on or also holds an annual event on February 14th called “Tie the Knot.”  Now in its fifth year, the event gives twenty-four couples in twenty-four hours the opportunity to experience a “no fuss” easy-to-plan wedding for the special low price of $350.  The special Valentine’s promotion includes a ceremony, with thirty of your closest friends, at Kirkland’s historic Heritage Hall, preset floral arrangements, decorations, recorded “wedding” music, and a retired District Judge as officiant.  Also included are the services of a professional photographer, with one 5×7 print and a keepsake bouquet and boutonniere.  On site a professional wedding coordinator is on hand to ensure that your experience is a memorable one.  It is Kirkland’s version of the Quickie Wedding commonly found in Nevada, but with a beautiful lake as the backdrop versus a strip of traffic-congested concrete and the noisy casinos found in Las Vegas.

So, whether you are eloping, planning a small destination wedding or producing a lavish, but affordable, mini vacation/wedding for your family, friends and guests, Kirkland, has everything you need to make those special moments of celebrating one of the most important events of your life truly unforgettable.   Visit to learn more about the City of Kirkland, WA.

Susan Burnash is the President of Purple Duck Marketing which provides marketing, public relations,video production and marketing coaching for businesses and nonprofits. Susan is a consultant for the City of Kirkland’s Tourism Program.

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