By Guest Blogger: Julie Burgmeier

We were considering a destination wedding in Mexico, when an all-local wedding idea popped in our heads.  Get married locally, serve food grown in the Valley, and support our town and local businesses.  Why fly to Mexico when we can keep our money in our community!

When checking out our venue and lodging options, our priority was to have everything in walking distance.  We decided to have the wedding at Pioneer Park as a nod to our love of the great Pacific Northwest outdoors.  Huge evergreens towered above us and the Salish Sea and the Rainbow Bridge was our back drop.

Tip: Reserve Pioneer Park for two days if you plan to stop by the day before for a rehearsal.  Our $100 deposit was kept because we stopped by the day before.

After the ceremony we encouraged everyone to walk with us from Pioneer Park to the La Conner Civic Garden Club.  It was beautiful to walk along the channel, under the Rainbow Bridge and up the hill to the Garden Club!

Tip:  Make sure your photographer is game to walking.  Ari Landworth  (local!) was game, and we love the photos from the walk!

The Garden Club has charm!  Hardwood floors, fireplace, huge windows, vintage lighting and a front porch.  The kitchen was workable for our chef, there are two restrooms, and almost enough tables and chairs for our 70 guests (capacity is 100).  We moved the tables and chairs after dinner for dancing to the amazing singer song-writer Bradford Loomis.

I partnered with Chef Sean Gervais to create a locally grown and sourced menu.  Roasted and grilled organic vegetables from Frog’s Song Farms, Bread Farm bread, Cedar Plank Seafoods caught the wild Alaskan halibut, and we served Hayton Farm’s organic berries over homemade scones made with love by Sean’s mom.  Also made with love, my husband and his father smoked organic chicken and made the barbeque sauce which was bottled as a gift for our guests.

Tip: Rent the Garden Club for the weekend.  It may need a “dust’n” and this gives you plenty of time for set-up and clean-up.  It’s priced reasonably and you will find the weekend rental rate is worth it!

So that nobody had to drive home, we booked Katy’s Inn and Benton Street Retreat for our guests along with several rooms at the Wild Iris and the Channel Lodge.  This made the evening extra special and included a beautiful moonlight walk. 

Tip:  There are so many wonderful lodging options in La Conner but be sure to book early as summer is busy!

For the rehearsal dinner, we picked Anelia’s Kitchen & Stage right down the steps from the “La Conner hill”.  We rented the entire restaurant and bar for the evening and created a special menu.  There were two wonderful musicians playing that night! 

Tip:  There are many choices in La Conner for a catered event or private room.  Check out the options here!

La Conner and the Skagit Valley has much to offer for things to do, it was hard to narrow it down!  However, we wanted our guests from out of the state to experience Deception Pass.  We rented an entire boat for both our families for a one-hour cruise.  Deception Pass Tours does a wonderful job of integrating the history, nature and a fun boat ride!  We also had guests rent kayaks right on the La Conner waterfront.

Tip:  If we had more time for our guests (working around plane schedules), we would have booked Island Adventure Cruises too which departs right from La Conner and includes whale watching tours!

We loved our local wedding destination and so did our guests.  They loved dining, shopping, staying overnight in La Conner and exploring the magic of Skagit Valley!  

My husband and I felt good about keeping our money local and supporting our town, local businesses and farmers and fishermen!