Seattle, WA · Prices from $6000 - $18000

What we loved about this venue:

Located in downtown Seattle, FareStart is a restaurant–or at least, that’s what it looks like from the outside. As quoted from their website, FareStart is a “culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. ” The restaurant (and the catering programs) go towards funding this job training and providing meals to people in need.

So, not only is your money going towards a pretty awesome cause–FareStart also knows how to throw a WONDERFUL reception. The restaurant is two stories, with high ceilings and a pretty open floor plan. We personally didn’t feel like we needed many decorations, since the place is very nice-looking on its own, but they encourage decorating if you want. We had them put in a dance floor for our reception, and were able to bring in a DJ booth. The food and service were both AMAZING. They even boxed up the leftovers for my parents after the night was done (who does that??). At the end of the day, we felt really great about having thrown a fantastic celebration and putting our money towards a great cause.

Tips for working successfully with this site:

We booked our venue about 7 months in advance, and it didn’t seem to be a problem. We didn’t have a set date in mind, though–if you have a “must have” date, it’s probably better to contact them sooner.

Since FareStart is a functioning restaurant, there are certain times when you aren’t going to be able to go in there to check out the space. The restaurant’s hours also limited when we could come in and set up, but we found that it didn’t end up being too much of a problem.

Pricing was fairly customizable/flexible–we were able to cut costs a bit by providing our own beer and not doing appetizers.

Good to note: there are some extra fees (which they were upfront about), including corkage fees (if you bring your own wine and/or beer), a cake-cutting fee, and dance floor set-up.

The drawbacks of this venue were:

They really aren’t able to accommodate ceremonies–we asked at one point.

FareStart is NOT able to do food tastings. They encourage you to come into the restaurant for lunch and try out some of the dishes, but clearly this isn’t going to work for everyone.

We had 150 guests at our reception, and while there was MORE than enough room for everyone, around 60 of our guests had to sit in the back, upstairs room–which is kind of tucked away, and doesn’t have a view of all the main festivities. I would think 100 guests or less would have been the really perfect number for the space.

FareStart only allows beer and wine to be served (wasn’t a problem for us, but could be for some people).

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  • amysee

    My husband and I got married here in May 2012 and FareStart accommodated the ceremony as well as the reception with no problem. So, unless something has changed since then, this is no longer a drawback of the venue. They have an upstairs conference room-type space that the wedding party used prior to the ceremony.

    Another pro of FareStart is that they allowed us to use all of their vases for our flower arrangements, and they automatically set the tables with votive candles. There was no extra fee for linens, they provided cocktail napkins for our cocktail hour, etc.

    I found them to be very up front with everything. For example, FareStart was the only venue/catering operation we considered that actually published the prices of its food online. And the food selection is very good- vegan, gluten-free, porky, Asian, Mediterranean, Pacific Northwest… it’s all available and all well-done. They don’t have a pastry program, however.

    Our iPad was our DJ, and they were able to accommodate this pretty easily.

    Finally, they do cater as well, so that is something to consider if you don’t want to use their venue but do want some of your wedding spending to support a good cause (beyond the good cause of your marriage, of course! :) ).

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