Over the past few months, I've had the pleasure of working three weddings at Thornewood Castle and it has definitely become a favorite venue of mine in the Seattle area. In addition to being a venue, it's also an inn. As soon as you arrive on the property, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a fairytale or movie set. Every corner is beautiful and has unlimited opportunities for photos. I love to admire the paintings in the castle and the garden is certainly a highlight. The venue has spaces for both indoor and outdoor ceremony/reception options and a bridal and groom's suite for getting ready.
Their loggia has a bar and is perfect for cocktail hour or the dinner buffet.
The venue is located in a private and gated neighborhood, so you may need to call the venue through the intercom upon arrival. The parking area is to the right in front of the castle.
The getting ready rooms are on the second floor and the bride's suite has a restroom connected to it.
The second floor is blocked off to guest but there are three restrooms for guest downstairs. Like many old homes, the doors to the restrooms are paneled to blend into the walls, and I've heard many people comment that finding them feels like stumbling onto a secret room. The easiest one to immediately locate is at the bottom of the staircase.
The castle does not have A/C but the individual rooms have portable A/C units and the windows open.
The ballroom is the usual indoor reception space, and even if you are having an outdoor reception, the tables in the ballroom stay set up.
The hall is the indoor ceremony space and can take place in front of the fireplace. Couches are also kept in the hall as a lounge area but can be moved out to provide a larger dance floor.
The piano in the ballroom is in use and it'd be quite lovely to have a pianist play during your first dance.
If you exit through the back door in the hall, you'll find yourself on the lawn with a view of American Lake. The sun sets over the lake and in the direction of the back of the castle. The lawn is large and is a common area for the reception. The ceremony could take place with this view as well. Depending upon the season and timeframe, one thing to be aware of is how the light can be quite harsh on a sunny day, notably during the summer when the sun doesn't set until late.
The castle does not have elevators.
The groom's quarters are to the left at the top of the staircase. This colorful book case is located in the groom's getting ready suite and makes a great backdrop. This room is a little tight as it's on the narrow side, but doable depending the number of your groomsmen (comfortably five groomsmen plus groom).
The Chester Suite doubles as the bridal suite and is straight ahead at the top of the stairs. It's actually in very close proximity to the groom's library so be carful when entering/exiting the room so he doesn't see your dress. The bridal room is on the tight side as well since it has a bed in the middle of the room, and the light in the room isn't the best, so I recommend putting the finishing touches on upstairs (third floor). It's a well-lit space from two skylights and there's a gorgeous hall of mirrors. You're sure to get stunning getting ready photos in this spot!
The walled garden has all the secret garden vibes. In full bloom, the garden is abundant with colorful, lush hydrangeas and a variety of roses. It's utterly breathtaking. I thought the gardens seemed to be at their peak in late July-mid August (photographed below). Such a perfect setting for the first look, ceremony, and portraits.
Below are photos of the garden in mid- April. Still lovely but the flowers were not in bloom yet.