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Reception Style: In Good Spirits

Seattle event stylists serve up three distinct celebrations in Woodinville Whiskey Co’s inviting Barrel Loft venue

Photographs by Dennis Wise

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1. Antique Romance

“Given the more masculine setting at the Barrel Loft, we wanted to create the perfect juxtaposition of femininity with the décor,” says Vows Wedding & Event Planning owner Katy Roberts, who worked with designers Channy Sea and Amber Sooter on this dreamy celebration. To start, the team honed in on a passionate palette of pink tones, ivory, deep plum, and gold. A classic, wallpaperesque floral pattern frames the table numbers and menu cards, reflected in the hand-painted metallic cake by NancyKay’s Confections and the wistful, romantic centerpieces from Flora Nova Design.

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Adding to the throwback vintage vibe, they selected antique wooden folding chairs, matte gold flatware, and a bar cart à la Mad Men intended to make the rounds with a selection of whiskeys and signature cocktails. Outside the black-tie affair, Roberts envisions a fire pit and chandelier-lit tent where partygoers can retreat for cigars and a late-night toast to the happy couple. “It’s always fun and unexpected to throw glamorous elements into more rustic venues like this,” she says.

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The Buzz
For favors, the Vows team picked up bottles of Woodinville Whiskey Co’s barrel-aged wildflower honey—sourced locally and aged in the distillery’s bourbon and rye whiskey barrels, infusing notes of vanilla, caramel, and wood spice. La Happy’s Sally Waldburger Balt designed the hand-lettered thank-you tags, attached to the personal-size carafes with color-coordinated ribbon. Wherever your venue, consider guest gifts reflective of the setting: half-bottles of wine from your vineyard nuptials, seasonally flavored French macarons from your caterer, even a bag of coffee beans from a favorite local roaster.

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Plate This
The Hollywood Tavern
provides exclusive catering for the Barrel Loft. Don’t miss their “Deadliest Crab Cakes” and famous whiskey milkshakes.

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RESOURCES
Event design Vows Wedding & Event Planning
Printed matter La Happy
Table linens Creative Coverings
Flatware AA Party Rentals
Flowers, vases, glass chargers Flora Nova Design
Bar accessories, chairs Vintage Ambiance
Bar cart, glassware, plates West Elm Gift Registry
Cake NancyKay’s Confections
Favors Woodinville Whiskey Co
Table Seattle Farm Tables , featured throughout


 

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2. Breezy Elegance

Playing off the cool steel shades of the whiskey stills and the venue’s abundance of natural light, Aleah and Nick Valley of Valley & Co set out to design a timeless, charming soirée layered with whimsical touches and airy textures. “We wanted to surround the fun-loving couple in a room filled with lively conversation, laughter, great music, and dancing with old friends,” says Nick.

The Valleys framed the fête with an overhead installation of organic branches and fragrant white lilacs. On the table, they rolled out three separate linens—one sleek and to the floor, one delicately draped, and one powder-blue topper puddled down the center. The hemstitch napkins are cinched with a satin ribbon, and seats are marked with oyster-shell name placards. “The soft textures are some of my favorites, as they serve as a beautiful anchor for the table but allow other decorative elements—the flowers, the place settings, and the food itself—to shine,” says Aleah. Transparent ghost chairs and simple, clean-lined glassware and candlesticks heighten the scene’s natural glow, while the polished flatware and vases reflect the table itself and the café lights overhead.

When we dream up designs, we always aim to create balanced and breathtaking spaces through color, flowers, seating, and ambience.” —Aleah and Nick Valley

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Portion Perfect
Rather than passed appetizers or a buffet line, Lisa Dupar of Lisa Dupar Catering plated individual small bites of sweet pea crostini with grapefruit and prosciutto, tomato shortcake, and smoked salmon with crème fraiche for each guest to enjoy. Judy Tallant of Tallant House approached dessert in a similar manner, with personal-size crème brûlée, blueberry cheesecake cups, and chocolate mousse.

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Better Than One
Hosting a full house? Multiple cakes and a separate dessert table allows for sweet options in everyone’s taste.

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RESOURCES
Event design, flowers, flatware, serving pieces, dessert dishes Valley & Co
Printed matter and calligraphy Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Table linens, napkins Choice Linens
Dishes, glassware Crate & Barrel
Catering Lisa Dupar Catering
Desserts Tallant House
Chairs ABC Special Event Rentals by Cort


 

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3. Atomic Love

Open the Barrel Loft’s garage-style doors to reveal a welcoming alfresco space worthy of a summertime fiesta. The loft accommodates 75 guests indoors, but the capacity is doubled when you add in the stone-lined path and fireside sitting areas just outside. It’s there that Katie Aweida, owner of Wonderstruck Event Design, staged a playfully bold reception inspired by mod 1960s shapes and colors.

“Weddings are happy occasions, and for me, color is a great way to communicate a mood of celebration,” says the designer. Starting with the ivory tablecloth as a neutral base, Aweida used warm corals, fuchsias, and blush tones to convey a bright, cheerful mood. Wooden features nod to the Pacific Northwest, while gold accents add sophistication and style. The centerpieces, created by Samantha Crowley of Fleurt, feature bright and textural peonies, tulips, garden roses, and gerbera daisies, plus funky poppy pods—all fresh-cut and locally sourced. “If the flowers could speak,” says Aweida, “I think they would say, ‘Hey you! It’s a party! Enjoy yourself.’”

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Shape Shifter
In the same way you’d fashion a wedding around a color palette or a stylistic theme, why not use a shape as your unifying element? Aweida carried the hexagon through nearly every aspect of the celebration, from the wooden ceremony backdrop she hand-built with her husband, to the letter-pressed menu cards, plates, cake stand (also built by the designer), and the cake itself. The organic forms and textured florals counter the hard lines to a balanced result that feels cohesive and not overtly thematic.

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Summer Spread
Festive hues come through not only in the tablescape, but in the menu selection as well. City Catering plated a vibrant salad of Point Reyes blue cheese, petit greens, vivid baby beets, sunflower seeds, and pink peppercorn vinaigrette. Two signature cocktails (see recipes below) further mimic the sunset shades, while the hand-painted cake from Lake Union Café Custom Bakery rounds out the feast.

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SIP ON IT

House of Bourbon
Woodinville Whiskey Co Mashbill no. 9 Bourbon
Dubonnet
Grand Marnier
Peychaud bitters

Served over an ice sphere with a twist

Salt & Pepper
Gin
Lemon
Grapefruit
Angostura bitters
Simple syrup

Served over ice with a salt rim

RESOURCES
Event design, printed matter, plates, glassware, table numbers, cake pedestal,
backdrop, chairs
Wonderstruck Event Design
Flatware, napkins ABC Special Event Rentals by Cort
Linens BBJ Linen
Catering
City Catering
Cake Lake Union Café Custom Bakery
Flowers Fleurt