25 Tips for the Perfect Rooftop Wedding in Seattle

A rooftop wedding venue adds romantic charm to any wedding celebration, suggesting — quite literally —  that the sky is the limit for your future happiness together. 

Of course, rooftop reception venues also present some unique logistical considerations to keep in mind while planning your wedding. To ensure that you have the Seattle rooftop wedding of your dreams, we’ve compiled these 25 tips.

How to Choose the Right Rooftop Wedding Venue

The sheer number of rooftop wedding reception venues Seattle offers ensures that you’ll find the perfect one for your big day. But that doesn’t mean that you should just choose the one with the prettiest view and move on to the next item on your to-do list.

Before booking a rooftop wedding venue, these five simple steps are a must.

1. Make Sure It’s Accessible

While some rooftop event venues offer elevator access, the most unique event venues often do not (think of historic Seattle buildings). A couple flights of stairs are probably fine, but many flights could be tough for older guests. 

Consider who you’re inviting and whether they might struggle to reach the rooftop. If necessary, have someone ready and waiting to help them up the stairs.

2. Ask About Electricity

Your lighting, speakers, food warmers, and other necessities will require a power source. Most event venues with outdoor space have a way to provide electricity already set up, but be sure to ask ahead of time.

3. Ask About Bathroom Facilities

Ideally, your venue will have bathroom facilities for your guests to use. If not, you’ll need to work with the venue to find an optimal place for port-a-potties and ask about the logistics of getting them to the roof. Rent at least one port-a-potty for every 100 people, and more if your party will last longer than four hours or you plan to serve alcohol. 

4. Consider Bug-Proofing the Rooftop

Is the rooftop event venue you’re considering particularly prone to crawly critters? If so, ask the owner or manager if they will have the area sprayed for pests before your big day.  

5. Consider Street Noise

Depending on how high the rooftop is and how close the building is to busy streets, street noise may be audible during your wedding. This probably won’t be an issue during the reception, when music will likely drown it out, but you want your guests to be able to hear your vows and “I do’s” during the ceremony. 

If necessary, consider setting up microphones and speakers to ensure guests in the back can hear.

Weather-Related Tips for Rooftop Weddings

Seattle summers couldn’t be more beautiful, but Seattle natives know that some days with bad weather are inevitable. To ensure that bad weather doesn’t ruin your rooftop wedding, prepare for the worst.

6. Hope for Sun…

Hopefully, you’ll have blue skies and sunshine for your special day. If that’s the case and your wedding occurs during the hottest part of the day, you may want to have parasols or covered seating available to provide shade for guests. Also keep in mind that fresh flowers can’t be left in harsh sun for too long before the wedding begins.

7. ...But Plan for Rain

On the off chance that it does rain, you’ll want to be ready for it. The covered seating that you arranged for shade can also provide some respite from light or brief rainfall. For heavy rain, though, you’ll need to have a plan for moving the party indoors. 

8. Don’t Forget About Wind

Rain is the obvious concern for rooftop weddings in Seattle, but wind can be an equally destructive adversary. Keep this in mind when decorating the rooftop, ensuring that all of the lighter decor elements can be anchored down quickly. Placing these delicate items out of the gusty areas, such as in hallways off the rooftop, may be smart.

9. Consider the Possibility of Smoke

Seattle has seen smoky skies during the past two summers due to nearby wildfires, and experts report that wildfire risk is on the rise. The only positive is that smoke tends to come on gradually, so you should have some time to prepare. If it’s looking like the smoke will be bad and it’s too late to move the wedding indoors, you may want to provide your guests with masks that protect against poor air quality.

10. Use Weather-Proof Furniture and Decorations

You’ll likely need to rent tables, chairs, tablecloths, and other items for your wedding, and you’ll be responsible for ensuring that you return them in their original condition. We’ve already established that rain is a possibility, so look for weather-proof options to avoid damage-associated fees.

11. Have a Backup Plan

The best solution to the weather-related issues above is to have a backup plan, which is to say an indoor space you can use if worst comes to worst. Venues with both rooftop and indoor spaces, such as First & Bell, are ideal, since you’ll only have to work with one point of contact and won’t have to relocate far if the weather turns.

Setting Up for a Rooftop Wedding

Rooftop event venues provide a unique space that ensures your wedding will be beautiful. However, setting up for rooftop weddings is different than setting up for indoor or first-floor weddings, so you’ll want to keep these tips in mind.

12. Choose the Right Lighting

If you’re having a nighttime ceremony or expect your reception to continue past sunset, adequate lighting will be crucial. Soft lights, such as strings of lights and candles, will enhance the romantic and intimate environment of the rooftop. Be sure to include brighter lights in areas where your guests will need greater visibility, such as near the buffet or any stairs.

13. Go Light on Decorations

The rooftop wedding venues Seattle offers provide a unique natural beauty, and your decorations should enhance it rather than distract from it. Go with subtle decor elements, such as fresh flowers around your wedding canopy, or delicate arrangements near the entrance to the roof.

14. Make the Skyline Your Focal Point

One of the biggest perks of getting married on a rooftop is the view, so try to draw as much attention to it as possible. Seat your guests facing the skyline, and place decorations in strategic spots to encourage photos with the best views your venue offers.

15. Give Yourself Extra Time to Set Up

Setting up on a rooftop may be more complicated than setting up in other locations, if only because of the time it will take to get everything to the top of the building. Give yourself, your caterers, and anyone you’re renting items from longer to set up, and verify that any larger items will fit through the stairwells. 

You may even want to choose a venue that has preferred vendors, as they’ll be used to setting up in this space.

Looking Out for Your Guests

One of the most important aspects of planning a wedding is ensuring that your guests will be comfortable and have a good time. For rooftop weddings, a few additional considerations may be necessary.

16. Look into Parking and Alternative Means of Transportation

Many of the rooftop venues Seattle is home to are located downtown, where parking can be more difficult to find. Include information on nearby parking garages in your wedding invitations, and consider providing transportation from the lot to your venue for elderly guests. Provide information on bus routes as well, and ask your venue if they offer client discounts on Uber, like First & Bell does. 

17. Let People Know They’ll Be Outdoors

Let your guests know that your wedding will be outdoors so that they can plan accordingly, with sunscreen, sunglasses, layers for later in the night, and anything else that might be appropriate. A brief note in your wedding invitation is all that’s necessary.

18. Choose Wedding Favors That Fit Your Setting

Many guests prefer practical wedding favors over items they’ll never use, so consider gifting them something that they can use immediately. If it’s going to be sunny, opt for a cute pair of sunglasses, perhaps personalized with your names and the date. Glow-in-the-dark accessories or sparklers are fun for a night wedding.

19. Offer Refreshments Throughout the Day

Will your guests be sitting in the sun while they wait for the ceremony to begin, or while you and the wedding party take photos? Have refreshments available during these times to ensure your guests stay hydrated and comfortable.

20. Have Sunscreen On Hand

You want your guests to be thinking of your wedding for days to come because of the great time they had, not because of the sunburn it gave them. If your entire wedding will be outside, provide sunscreen for anyone who forgot to put it on at home. Opt for towelettes rather than messy sprays or topicals.

Rooftop Wedding Considerations for the Bride

Every bride wants to look and feel her best on her wedding day, no matter the type of venue. For rooftop weddings, these tips will help make that happen.

21. Find Your Bridal Suite

You will need a designated space to get ready in, close enough to the rooftop that you can reach it quickly and conveniently but far away enough that you’re not distracted by the commotion of setup. Work with the venue’s manager to find the perfect place. If you’re lucky, they will already have a space set up for this very purpose.

22. Prepare Your Hair for Wind and Humidity

As perfect as your hair looks in the morning, Seattle humidity and potential wind will take their toll throughout the day. Have hairspray and extra bobby pins (and a bridesmaid to help you) on hand just in case. You may also want to take your wedding photos early in the day, when everything’s still perfectly pinned and curled.

23. Consider a Reception Dress

Every bride deserves to wear the dress of her dreams on her wedding day. Sometimes, though, that dress may not be suited for a long outdoor reception, either because it’s too hot and heavy for dancing in the sun or because it’s too light and chilly once the sun goes down. Sneak away to your bridal suite and don your reception dress whenever you’re no longer comfortable in your ceremony dress.

Photography for Rooftop Weddings

Rooftop weddings make for some of the most breathtaking wedding photos. Our last two tips help ensure that you get photos you’ll cherish forever.

24. Get an Aerial Photographer

Unlike with indoor weddings, rooftop weddings allow you to take photos from any angle or height. Hire an aerial photographer to take photos that would be impossible at other venues. You may even be able to get shots with views that aren’t visible from the rooftop.

25. Plan Your Photo Location

This is an important step for any Seattle event venue rental, but rooftops may present additional considerations for lighting, shade, angles, and height in order to get the perfect view in the background. Visit your rooftop venue in advance, at the time of day when you plan on taking wedding party photos, to scope out the perfect photo spots.

When you’re ready to shop around for the perfect Seattle rooftop venue for your wedding, give First & Bell a call. We’d love to give you a tour of our space, walk you through the above considerations, and answer any questions that you have.

Featured image via Pixabay