Wedding Tips

Venue Spotlight - Fremont Foundry

by Planner/Designer Hannah Schultz

Located in the adorably quirky Fremont neighborhood, the Fremont Foundry is a hidden gem that represents everything we love about Seattle. With its unique vibe, beautiful architecture, and incredible flexibility, it is high on our list of go-to venues for your next special occasion.

Venue Background

The Fremont Foundry (not to be mistaken for The Foundry by Herban Feast) is located in a historic metalworking foundry that has been renovated while still maintaining its industrial roots. This space is unique with multiple spaces to utilize, each with a cohesive yet refreshingly different vibe to keep things interesting for your guests. You also have the freedom to mix and match which spaces you rent, letting you determine a personalized flow for the evening. 

The Atrium

The lower floor of the Fremont Foundry is comprised of the atrium and the studio. The atrium (that can accommodate 400 standing/250 seated) is a true stunner, featuring massive sky-lit cement walls, exposed steel beams, and a gorgeous wooden ceiling highlighted by a larger-than-life crystal and metal orb chandelier. They also have fun yet (somehow) still elegant submarine-style windows on the mezzanine. There is ample natural light and warmth during the day thanks to their skylights. There is also a clear rectangular section of the floor that showcases a collection of plants and greenery below. It's an unexpected and modern way to bring nature into an otherwise industrial atmosphere. The atrium connects to the studio which is a large room that can be separated from the atrium with a built-in sliding wood wall. The studio is less distinctive in design, but extends your dining space for larger groups. It also has a beautiful built-in bar that connects to a full-service catering kitchen.

The Fremont Foundry with its clean slate allows you to easily dress it up or down. You don’t need to spend a fortune on decor here. You book this venue because you love the architecture, unique layers, and overall vibe. There are lots of ways to enhance and highlight what is already spectacular...

Organic & Romantic Style at the Fremont Foundry

If you like an organic and romantic look, you can keep things simple and use the venue's chandelier as your main focal point. The modern yet elegant chandelier serves as an instant “wow” factor when guests enter the space. Next, place rectangular wood farm tables centered underneath. Then add leafy green garlands that run down the center of each table along with varying height candles that will add increased sparkle as the sun goes down. If specialty wood tables are not in your budget, stick with the tables included in your rental with simple white poly linens for guests and then keep the special farm table for your head table. Green garland for each table too expensive? Try moss clusters with varying height candles. Focus the rest of your budget on the special details including escort cards on recycled paper cards with gold lettering, gorgeous charger plates in a dark rattan or gold detail, and menu cards to get your guests excited about your meal.  

Glam Style at the Fremont Foundry

On the other hand, you can also make this space uber glam incorporating lots of furniture rentals, light installations, show-stopping specialty linens – the list goes on and on! Hang additional chandeliers at varying heights in the atrium to compliment the venue chandelier. Use mirrored table tops or sequin linens for extra sparkle on your tables. Cover tables in pillar and floating candles and lush floral arrangements in 2-3 different heights for visual interest. Top off the design with a plush lounge area, so guests have a fun & comfortable spot to chat while still feeling a part of the party.  

The Courtyard

As an added bonus, there is the Courtyard (accommodating 200 standing) located off the first floor. This area can only be described as a dream patio/oasis. It is draped with Edison bulb strung lighting, has just enough tree coverage and greenery, a wooden deck, and boasts ample space to mingle or set the stage for some fun entertainment. This space is also perfect for food trucks to pull up right on property and serve your guests. Or use the Courtyard for cocktail hour, a dessert bar, or even a surprise late night snack.

The Penthouse and Rooftop Terrace

Now, let’s move upstairs. The upper floor of the venue has a more modern, relaxed and loft-like vibe while still speckled with a few of the special elements used downstairs. Accommodating 300 standing and 200 seated, this area is comprised of a glassed in, 2 story room with connecting rooftop terrace. The large, open-air rooftop terrace is a true highlight of this venue and features Edison bulb strung lighting, wood paneled flooring, and breathtaking views of North Seattle. Here you can dine and party the night away under the stars. AND, since bars are their only neighbors, the venue can usually let you party until late. You can also choose to move your guests inside the adjoining penthouse for dancing if Seattle weather isn't cooperating. This particular space is a bit more modern and sleek than the rest of the venue, but still maintains its quirky edge, which we love so much. Even if you plan on having most of your event outside, this is a perfect spot for your cocktail hour while they “flip” the outside space from your ceremony to dinner, and can also be a great location for an intimate lounge area.

Quintessential Seattle Venue Choice

Overall, the Fremont Foundry is the quintessential venue for couples looking for an elegant, but fun and unique, VERY Seattle celebration. It is definitely worth checking out for your next wedding or special event! Contact Holly Hankins at for 2016/2017 rental information and pricing. OR even better, contact VOWS for a complimentary consultation. We'd love to lead your planning efforts and make this venue top of our touring list!

Planner to Bride - Top 10 Wedding Tips

by VOWS Planner/Designer Amber Sooter

As a wedding planner in Seattle, I'm used to being behind the scenes. The one in a black dress, directing vendors, setting-up décor and most importantly, ensuring that my bride and groom are happy. But on January 24, 2015 the tables turned. Exactly two months ago, I was the bride and this time my dress was ivory. Following are the Top 10 wedding tips learned on my own big day!

One of my biggest goals and hopes for my wedding, was to be able to turn off my "planner mode" and instead, to relax, let go and truly be in the moment from beginning to end. Something I always remind my brides to do. Getting married gave me a newfound perspective of what it's like to be The Bride. Thankfully, this new wisdom can only make me a better wedding planner for my clients, and I'd like to pass along a few helpful tips.

Call me Type A (and you should), but I'm a big fan of lists: To Do Lists, Grocery Lists, Meal Planning Lists, Recommended Vendor/Venue lists, the list goes on. So, it only feels right to share what I learned on my wedding day, as a Bride:

1. You will not sleep well the night before, that is, if you sleep at all: Sadly the latter is true. With pure excitement running through my veins, I didn't sleep a wink the night before my wedding day. What I learned: False eyelash extensions are a Godsend.

2.  If at all possible, get ready with your bridesmaids and mothers: What girl doesn't like playing dress up with her closest gal pals? That's kind of what it's like, but with gifts and champagne. Nothing helps calm nerves like giggling with your girlfriends; I couldn't imagine the perfect day without them.

3. The most important aspect of the day, is Each Other: We can get lost in the many details and moving parts of a wedding. But (with ample plans in place and a kick butt wedding coordinator to execute them) my #1 thought and priority of the day, was seeing and celebrating with Aaron. I couldn't wait to see him. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Have a First Look: The day for brides and bridesmaids begins early. With hair and make-up appointments, getting into that dress, portraits, etc. I couldn't wait to see Aaron, and once I finally did, any nervous anticipation I was feeling was gone. I was relaxed and able to spend the rest of the day with my husband and our closest friends and family. Which to me, was what my wedding day was all about. Our First Look was a beautifully private moment between the two of us, plus our photographer and a flock of seagulls. Don't worry, they did great. See proof below:

5. Eat. Everyone tells you you'll never eat on your wedding day. Don't listen to them. You should absolutely make food a top priority on your wedding day. Eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat appetizers, eat dinner and of course, eat cake and any other dessert. You may not eat a ton of each, but the day will fly by and the opportunities to eat are few and far between. We both love to eat so luckily, we were able to enjoy all those menu items we planned, except for the doughnuts. D’oh!

6. Take mental images of moments throughout the day: I only hope to remember the special moments and details of our wedding day when we're celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Sure, we'll always have the photographs and video, but I want to forever remember the feelings that a camera cannot capture. Memories like how big my heart felt looking out to all of our closest friends and family during dinner; the love and joy in the room was palpable. Or those final thoughts walking down the Edgewater hallway before entering our bridal suite to get ready, holding my morning coffee, with a smile on my face… "Here we go!"

7. Gracefully embrace the spotlight: Whether you're comfortable with it or not, all eyes and ears will be on you on your wedding day. You'll feel like a celebrity with all of the attention. Enjoy it, but be a gracious host. Try to talk to every guest. Many of them made sacrifices to attend your wedding and some traveled long distances. An important aspect of our wedding was honoring all eight of our grandparents, for whom we are so fortunate could attend our wedding. Grandpa Sam was surely casting that bright sunlight down on us.

8. Less is more. In other words, keep it simple. Aaron and I chose to have our ceremony and reception at the same venue, not only to simplify logistics for our guests and vendors, but also for our own sanity. The less traveling you and guests have to do on your wedding day, the easier and smoother the day will go. The same applies to décor. It’s about creating a cohesive and impactful look, without recreating your entire Pinterest board.

9. Keep it Personal: Incorporating personal touches and unique details into your wedding day and décor makes your wedding stand out and not just any other wedding. I didn't want a cookie cutter wedding that would work for anyone. We made sure to reflect our style and personalities. Getting married at Seattle's iconic waterfront hotel, The Edgewater, truly represented our personal style. It's the perfect combination of elegance and comfort, urban and Northwest outdoorsy. We also chose an "off-peak" month because we wanted a cozy-urban-log cabin-winter-wedding, as well as less competition for our vendors.

10. Finally, in my humble and experienced opinion, it is absolutely imperative that you hire at least a Day-Of Coordinator: You can be the most organized and detailed bride in the universe, but you still cannot afford to devote any time to fielding vendor questions, handling set-up/clean-up, keeping everyone on schedule and managing all of the many tasks and challenges that come with executing a wedding. I would have been a ball of stress the week and day-of my wedding if it wasn't for my incredible Day/Month-Of Coordinator, VOWS colleague and friend, Channy Sea. Channy ensured my day was seamless and exactly what I envisioned. I was completely able to relax, be in the moment, and truly enjoy every second of my big day. Thank you, Channy! You are simply the best!

Dear Amber #2 - All Your Wedding Questions Answered

DEAR AMBER: I’m getting married in May and recently sent out my Save the Dates. Since my fiancé and I are paying for the majority of the wedding, we had to limit our guest count to family and only our very closest friends. I have some holiday parties coming up where friends that we weren’t able to invite will be in attendance. I’m worried that the topic of the wedding will come up and make for an awkward situation with those not invited. What’s the best way to handle this potentially uncomfortable situation?


DEAR JESSICA: I can completely relate to your situation. The important thing to keep in mind is that no bride & groom can invite everyone they know. If they’re acquaintances of yours, they’ll understand. It sounds like your guest count might be on the smaller side. If the topic of your wedding comes up with anyone not invited, and it most likely will, politely answer their question and mention that the wedding will be a small, intimate affair. As we caution all of our brides here at VOWS, scaling back your guest count is the number one way to save money on your wedding, so stick to your guns. Don’t sweat it and Happy Holidays!


Would you like a question answered on our bi-monthly series "Dear Amber"?  Please email me your name, role in the wedding (bride, groom, bridal party, parent, friend, even vendors!) and your question to:

Dear Amber (Debut) - All Your Wedding Questions Answered

DEAR AMBER:My best friend is getting married, and has asked me to be her Maid of Honor. I’m excited to be given such a big role. However, as the big day approaches, the bride is not letting me help with anything. Every time I ask what she needs help with, she tells me she has it handled. But when we meet in social gatherings, all she can do is complain about how much work she has to do and no one is helping her. How can I help her if she’s not letting me?


DEAR MOLLY: Insightful question. Some brides have a difficult time admitting that they need help and try to take on every aspect of wedding planning. A friendly, but firm and actionable approach is best in this situation. Invite the bride-to-be to coffee and help her prioritize the most pressing tasks. Make it clear that you want to help her and commit to the tasks you will handle. Lastly, similar to what we do here at VOWS, set bi-weekly or monthly goals together, so neither of you feels overwhelmed. Good luck & happy planning!

Would you like a question answered on our bi-monthly series "Dear Amber"?  Please email me your name, role in the wedding (bride, groom, bridal party, parent, friend, even vendors!) and your question to:

Wedding Traditions Becoming Nontraditional

By Amber Blondin, VOWS Planner/Designer

If you’ve been a guest at a wedding recently, chances are you've noticed the absence of a few long-time traditions. Here are some old—and new—traditions we’ve seen evolve over the years here at VOWS:

Blusher Veil:  Dating back to Greek and Roman times, a blusher veil was believed to shield the bride from evil spirits. It was later embraced by cultures with arranged marriages to prevent the groom from changing his mind upon seeing his bride. While some brides prefer to still honor this tradition, it’s easy to see why this tradition has become obsolete.

First Look
First Look

First Look:  Similar to the blusher veil, the tradition of waiting to see each other until the ceremony has become less common over time. More often than not, couples are choosing to see each other before the ceremony at a special location, to ensure sufficient time for photographs and more time together on their special day.

Wedding Cake:  In place of the traditional multi-tiered wedding cake, many couples are instead treating guests to a variety of their favorite desserts, and include a smaller ceremonial cake for that cake cutting tradition that is still alive and well.


Personalization:  From monogrammed everything, to signature cocktails, and custom cake toppers resembling the bride & groom (and sometimes their pets!), couples are getting a lot more creative these days. We have Pinterest to thank (and sometimes blame!) for the endless wedding inspiration from across the globe.

engagement ring
engagement ring

Rings:  Though the wedding band symbolizes a present commitment of marriage and the engagement ring represents a future commitment to wed, these days, many brides are rocking just one blinged-out, engagement ring in lieu of both traditionally worn rings.

bouquet toss
bouquet toss

Bouquet & Garter Toss:  Originating in the 14th century, the bouquet toss allowed the bride to share her good luck and fortune with others. However, in the 21st century, many consider this tradition a little awkward by calling out the (sometimes, very few) single ladies. Even more awkward – the garter toss. How many of us have cringed watching a groom remove the garter with his teeth?

Anniversary Dance: This modern alternative to the bouquet and garter toss is quickly becoming a new wedding tradition. The emcee invites all married couples to the dance floor and couples are eliminated based on the number of years they’ve been married. By the end of the song, the winning duo is the longest married couple. The bouquet is then gifted to the wife.

We’d love to hear from you! In the comment field, tell us about the wedding traditions you’re either happy or sad to see go. Any new traditions you’re hoping to see more of?