Yakima Valley Boasts Outdoor Wedding Season

Wedding Vendors See Spike In Warmer Months

By Molly Allen

Every wedding is as individual as the bride and groom that plans it. But when it comes to timing, many couples have the same idea in mind. Although some couples will opt for a more off-season wedding in late fall or winter, the majority of weddings are held during the peak season beginning in late spring through early fall.

“Our first wedding is April 7 this year, but we’re fully booked every weekend June through September at this point,” said Stephanie Gress, who owns Spring Creek Homestead Events with her husband Lewis. “Our really busy time is August and September especially when the weather is great.”

According to a study by Wedding Wire, the most popular day for engagements continues to be Christmas Day, with the average engagement length lasting 14 months. With that timeline, it’s no wonder the majority of wedding dates are set beginning in spring and moving into summer.

And as couples move toward opting for a less traditional wedding approach, the popularity of an outdoor wedding continues to increase. According to a 2017 study from The Knot, ceremonies hosted inside a religious institution dropped from 41 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, outdoor ceremonies increased from 39 percent in 2009 to 52 percent in 2017. As the number of couples opting for the traditional wedding inside a church is dropping, the bride and groom are looking for a location that they can count on good weather.

Outdoor wedding venues in the Yakima Valley are plentiful, as many have decided to capitalize on the ideal weather during peak wedding season. Venues such as Cascade Garden, the Yakima Area Arboretum, Apple Tree Golf Course and Spring Creek Homestead offer a variety of outdoor locations on their large properties to choose the ideal spot. A number of valley wineries including VanArnam Vineyards and Gilbert Cellars also offer picturesque locations.

As those venues boast views of grape vines, lavender fields and golf courses, some are even attracting bookings from brides and grooms looking for destination wedding options.

“We’ve had a few bookings this year from couples who don’t live in the Yakima area,” said Connie Eisenzimmer, owner of The Vine Venue in Union Gap. “They sought us out because they saw our photos, the beautiful setting and wanted to be able to count on the nice weather.”

As venues around the valley are filling up their calendars, wedding planning is in full swing to secure caterers, photographers, bartenders, bakeries and more. To be sure the bride and groom get exactly what they want, calls for bookings should start months before the wedding date, especially if the date is during the peak season.

“Spring is definitely the season when calls start coming in and business starts booming. I get calls a year and a half in advance to the wedding date, but this time of year is the busiest,” said Elizabeth Renner, owner of Seedling Sweets, who already has six wedding cakes booked this season. “Just like securing your dress and your venue, you want to make an appointment to secure your bakery as soon as possible. For all wedding vendors, dates fill up fast June through August. You don’t want to be scrambling once the busy season hits.”

Originally published in Yakima Business Times