Guide to Wedding Receptions at Canlis Restaurant in Seattle, WA

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bride and groom toasting drinks
canlis seattle wedding reception

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Ready to fall in love with the most upscale, elegance-filled wedding reception venues in Seattle? This blog post will be featuring the stunning Canlis Restaurant and bringing you in on all the inside scoop you need to know about hosting your reception at this exclusive, private dining venue.

canlis restaurant sign seattle

If you’ve taken a peek at my blog at any point in recent months, you know that I’ve given you pretty much everything you need to know about getting married in Seattle. Including a full list of the Top 10 Downtown Seattle Wedding Venues for Intimate Weddings!

But the one element of a wedding day that deserves more attention than I’ve given it? Your Seattle wedding reception. 

That’s right: today I’m bringing you allll the details of one of Seattle’s top upscale restaurants + private reception venues, Canlis Restaurant.

Featuring everything you’d ever need for a dreamy, high-end wedding reception, from award-winning wines to phenomenal views to attentive staff & service, Canlis is an absolute banger of a venue.

canlis restaurant penthouse

Oh, and did I mention the Penthouse space looking over Lake Union, or the Executive Room where you can relax by the fireplace and shift your eyes up to the 10’ high windows & see the Cascade Mountains?

I know, I know you’ve got to be thinking, “Say no more, Chelsea – we’re in love!”

Keep on reading, my darlings, and you’ll fall so in love with this magnificent Seattle reception venue that I know you’ll be ready to say “I do” to this venue stat.

penthouse suite

About Canlis

This is still a first date with this venue, so let’s start slow & introduce you to Canlis before we rush into anything else – no one-night-stands here!

Get to know the venue

Canlis has been serving exclusive private dining experiences to the population of Seattle for more than seventy years now, calling itself the “most trusted private dining experience in the country.” And for damn good reason, at that!

Keep in mind that this is not a wedding-specific venue – you are able to rent Canlis out for any type of special event in your life, including (but by no means limited to) board meetings, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, or even personal parties with your BFF’s once a year. The opportunities to be a part of Canlis’ private dining experience are endless, and the staff is so ready to serve you no matter what you’re celebrating.

I adore Canlis because you get those urban, city vibes mixed with the elegance of an elevated restaurant experience, without the stress of hiring separate caterers, venues, servers, etc. Upscale fine-dining without the logistics of upscale fine-dining? Yes please!

guests sitting at wedding reception

P.S. You CAN have your wedding ceremony at Canlis, too! Erin + Ryan (see photos below!) celebrated with an intimate ceremony in the Canlis Penthouse this past March, and got ready at a hotel nearby. It was so lovely being able to start the evening celebration right away without having to drive to a separate venue!

Or, you can hold your ceremony somewhere separate, and come to Canlis later in the day for your reception. This is what Mark + Romalyn did – they tied the knot officially at the Seattle courthouse, and brought all their guests to Canlis in the evening!

An incredible staff & level of service

Because of how many events Canlis has hosted, the staff is impeccable at being careful and intentional with their service, but not intruding on your private event. Canlis describes it as “attentive yet invisible service” which I am absolutely in love with – they know when to serve you and when to get the hell out & let you do your thing!

Fun fact about Canlis: it’s owned by a pair of siblings, so you can trust that this family-owned business has your best experience in mind from the moment they begin serving you to the moment you say goodbye. 

They’re damn good at what they do, and they know it too – with one of the very first sentences on their website being, “Our favorite thing in the world is taking care of others, and few places can do it quite like we can.” 

bride and groom eating appetizers

Where it is

Located near the waterfront just north of the East Queen Anne area, Canlis overlooks dazzling views of the city lights, and offers views of Lake Union & the Cascade Mountains. It’s a location that’s hard to beat, especially when the venue features a Penthouse space available to rent, with massive floor to ceiling windows to show off the fabulous views. 

Scenic views of the water and mountains + the famous Seattle cityscape – what more could you ask for from a reception venue?

downtown seattle

Why Have Your Reception at Canlis in Seattle?

I know you’re likely already in love with Canlis + ready to reach out to book it for your reception. But if you’re not quite there yet, let me give you a few more reasons why Canlis may be the Goldilocks of reception locations for your celebration!

1. Exclusive private dining experience

First, Canlis offers a private dining experience truly like no other restaurant in Seattle. With their talented, attentive staff ready to serve you an above and beyond experience, elegant + welcoming suites to celebrate in, and lengthy rental waitlist, you’re sure to have a one-of-a-kind reception at Canlis. And when I say exclusive, I mean exclusive – reservations for Canlis open up 6 months in advance, and there’s even a special list you can get on for early access through their newsletter. Talk about high demand!

wedding reception

2. Dazzling views of Lake Union

What else do I need to say about this one? Views of Lake Union are highly sought-after in the Seattle area, and make for a magnificent backdrop to any upscale celebration – especially when the Cascade Mountains are visible as well! In addition to wide views of the water through the building’s 10’ high floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll get to witness the glittering lights of the city at night while you sip on fancy wine & dine on upscale dishes. A dream come true. 

views of lake union from canlis restaurant

3. Award-winning cuisine & custom menus

I could go on forever about Canlis’ menu, but I’ll do my best to keep it short. Canlis offers award-winning wine and cuisine for all of their private events, and even curates custom menus  to fit the style of dining you’re looking for. Whether your favorite part of the meal are the hors d’oeuvres such as chilled oysters, foie gras, or miso arancini, or you’re most looking forward to the entrées of scallops pierre or beet wellington with a side of forest mushrooms, every bite of your meal will be absolutely *chef’s kiss*. (See what I did there?)

fine dining food on plates

4. On-site event planner

That’s right – when you host an event at Canlis, they’ll provide you with their full-time on-site event planner to help you bring everything together as smoothly & efficiently as possible. I always recommend couples hire a planner or book a venue that comes with an on-site coordinator! Having someone to take that stress of hosting off your shoulders is an immense advantage when it comes to your wedding or reception! You’ll be left with plenty more time to actually enjoy it all and be present with your loved ones. No need to worry about to communicating with all of your vendors to make sure everything goes according to plan.

wedding food menus

5. Two stunning spaces for your celebration

Canlis has two, equally stunning suites to offer to private diners: the Penthouse & the Executive Suite. The 1500-square-foot Penthouse (the larger of the two suites) can fit 25-80 people seated, and 25-110 cocktail-style (standing). It sits above the dining room and features stunning views through the massive windows, a beautiful dining area, and a full-service bar. A fun little piece of history of this Penthouse – it was originally built as the Canlis brothers’ grandfathers’ residence!

The 400-square-foot Executive Room is located on the main level of the building, and can fit 6-24 people seated, or 12-30 people cocktail-style. This space features a lovely fireplace to crackle in the background of your intimate dinner, large windows, and north & east views of Lake Union as well as the Cascade Mountains. It’s an absolutely fabulous option for you & a small group of your loved ones to celebrate! Especially if you don’t need quite as large of a space as the Penthouse provides.

wedding guests eating

6. Valet parking

Need I say more? Valet parking is a blessing from the heavens!

If you’d rather not pay for valet parking, it’s super easy to get an Uber/rideshare or rent some sort of party bus/limo to carpool to the venue, too, since Canlis is right in the city.

bride and groom taking selfie

7. Trusted list of vendor recommendations

We love hiring vendors we trust, so it’s always wonderful to see venues who have a full list of trusted recommendations to give to couples! As your photographer, I have plenty of incredible Seattle vendors I can send your way. But Canlis also provides you with a great list of skilled vendors that they trust to capture your event at their venue.

wedding cake

8. Room to customize your intimate wedding reception

One of the reasons I love Canlis is the unlimited opportunities to customize your intimate wedding reception. Whether you’re dreaming of toasting glasses with 75 of your favorite people or you’d like to keep it intimate & eat at a dinner table with a few loved ones, Canlis is a top-notch option. You’re able to customize your menu depending on your dietary needs and the type of dining experience you’d like! You can even take home a bottle of one of Canlis’ best wines🙌🏼 However you choose to celebrate, you can relax knowing that Canlis will take care of you & provide you with a private, fine-dining experience like no other!

fine dining wedding reception table

9. Close proximity to upscale Seattle hotels

Finally, it’s located in the East Queen Anne neighborhood. Which means there are plenty of stunning hotels in close proximity that you can easily drive to after your Canlis Restaurant reception!

Below are a few of my favorite, gorgeous hotels in Seattle perfect for your wedding night + for your loved ones to stay at:

bride and groom toasting with guests

Canlis Restaurant Wedding Reception Packages

Canlis doesn’t list any specific wedding reception packages in their current event brochure at the moment. Below is a list of the fees that I gathered from the brochure that you can take a look at to get an idea of what it might cost you to host your reception here!

bride and guest toasting

The Penthouse:

  • Room fee: $400
  • Dinner starting at: $120
  • Reception starting at: $75
  • Food & beverage minimums:
    • January-November:
      • Tuesday-Thursday: $3500
      • Friday-Saturday: $4000
    • December:
      • Sunday-Thursday: $4500
      • Friday-Saturday: $6000

The Executive Room:

  • Room fee: $300
  • Dinner starting at: $120
  • Reception starting at: $75
  • Food & beverage minimums:
    • January-November:
      • Tuesday-Thursday: $1500
      • Friday-Saturday: $2000
    • December:
      • Sunday-Thursday: $2000
      • Friday-Saturday: $2500

Meals:

  • Seated dinner: $120 per guest
  • Standing cocktail reception: $75 per guest
  • Additions (such as extra sides, small plates, salad station, ice sculpture, etc.): range from $10-105 per guest

Beverages:

  • Options range from $8-$22 per drink

Additional Fees:

  • Valet parking: $7 per car
  • Canlis pianist: $200 for the forest hour, $175 for each additional hour, $550 for the evening (max of 4 hours)
  • Audio/visual equipment: $35-$300
bride and groom dancing

FAQ’s About Canlis Restaurant

What is the dress code for Canlis?

Canlis is a self-described “very dressy restaurant,” according to their current website. They ask that you come dressed in your finest attire, such as a suit or sport coat for men, and that you leave short sleeves, shorts, hats, and any other casual attire. You won’t have to be nervous about being overdressed at this reception venue!

Does Canlis restaurant have vegan options?

They absolutely do! Canlis has set menus available for people with dietary restrictions or lifestyles such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free. One of the best parts about working with Canlis is their custom menus, where they can accommodate your specific needs as they are able to!

Who is the chef at Canlis?

Canlis boasts an incredibly talented executive chef named Aisha Ibrahim. She explores the Seattle area’s Indigenous ingredients + the city’s historic role as a gateway to Asia in her dishes – a dream. You can learn more about her and her top-notch fine-dining skills in this fascinating New York Times article!

bride and groom signing marriage license

Canlis Seattle Wedding Photographer

Now that you know all about why I absolutely adore Canlis as a Seattle wedding reception venue, you should also know that it would be the biggest privilege for me to photograph your own Canlis wedding reception! 😉

Learn more about me here if we haven’t connected quite yet, check out my Seattle wedding photography pricing here, and say hi to me here when you’re ready to make this sh*t happen. Let’s bring all of your upscale, city wedding reception dreams to life!

wedding reception food

More Seattle Wedding & Reception Venues

Haven’t quite nailed down the vibe you’re going for yet? Or aren’t familiar with all of the stunning venues Seattle has to offer? I’ve got you covered – take a look at three of my recent popular blog posts below to continue your Seattle wedding venue search!

Top 10 Downtown Seattle Wedding Venues for Intimate Weddings

Ultimate Guide to Having a Wedding at the Foundry Seattle

My Favorite Industrial Wedding Venue: Block 41 | Seattle Event Space

bride and groom first dance

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