Dear PoP – Reasonably Priced Wedding Venues in DC?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Laura_Grageda

“Dear PoP,

You posted a reader’s request about inexpensive b-day venue a few months ago, so I thought I might have some luck.

My fiance and I plan to get married in DC sometime in Spring 2011, but are finding that the cost of venues alone are equal or beyond our modest estimated budget! Not to mention catering costs, etc.

We are looking for a venue for both the ceremony/reception for about 100 people. Is finding a such a venue at a reasonable rate and in DC proper/metro accessible a pipe dream in DC?”

Congrats on the upcoming nuptials! Last summer we looked at some possible outdoor wedding venues. Readers have also recommended an officiant. Do you guys know of any reasonably priced potential wedding venues in DC?

53 Comment

  • Is the OP looking for a place that provides catering as well or allows outside caterers?

  • My husband and I just recently had our wedding at the Darlington House in Dupont Circle. They rent out the top floor for a nominal fee ($200) so long as you spend a minimum at the bar. We had our ceremony and reception there with 70 guests, but there’s plenty of standing room for up to 125 people. We did heavy hors dourves through the restaurant and then cupcakes from Hello Cupcake. Good luck!

  • St. Francis Hall in Brookland:

    Gorgeous space and the least expensive one we looked at, but chose it because we loved it. They were wonderful.

  • Well, define reasonable, but Tregaron at the Washington Int’l School in Cleveland Park is a pretty good deal for the level of space you’re getting.

  • After searching for venues closer to home in D.C., we ended up getting married in Baltimore, where most venues are much cheaper than similarly sized venues in DC.

  • Our friends had an outdoor wedding on the Virginia side of Great Falls. They ordered a large bus for their guests and had dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Do the wedding and reception have to be in the same place? This will limit your options a lot. Have your wedding someplace cool, then get a restaurant to do the reception.

    Either way, catering will kill you, though. Food and booze service is just expensive.

  • I second St. Francis Hall in Brookland. Beautiful grounds, super friendly staff, and budget friendly (if they haven’t raised the price too much over the past few years).

  • I’m getting married this fall at Rockwood Manor! The staff is very friendly and helpful, and the site is lovely. Check it out:

    Be sure to look into their other event centers too. Going through a Parks Authority is WAY cheaper than most independent venues. Congrats and good luck!

  • Damn! I wish this was posted 8 months ago. I’m getting married in 2 weeks at the lodge at little seneca creek outside of germantown MD. It’s a mont. co. park facility and is about $2200 for the night. It’s a great place with tons of outdoor space, a nice deck and great indoor spaces. It’s 20 minutes from shady grove. Also, they have tables and chairs – which are very costly to rent.

  • Yeah, inexpensive venues in DC are hard to come by. I agree that St. Francis Hall may be one of the most cost-effective venues in town – especially because they include tables and chairs. Equipment is one of those hidden costs that will drive up your catering bill, so if you can find a venue that includes tables and chairs, staging/flooring, or even food, that will save you a bundle. Decatur House is also worth a look if you have a little wiggle room in your budget but are still looking at something for 50-75% of what similar venues cost.

    I think going to a restaurant is also a great idea, although that may not be feasible with such a large group. That probably works better with a few dozen guests at the most.

    Best of luck!

  • My fiance and I had the same question for our October wedding. Not sure what your budget is, but we chose the Josephine Butler Parks Center near Meridian Hill Park. It’s $4,000 for Saturdays, cheaper other days.

  • Oh, and you may also want to consider putting off the date by a few months – the really popular, good-value venues tend to book up 12-15 months in advance. You won’t have as many choices for a date 6-9 months from now. Also, ask venues if they have an off-season rate – you may save a lot of money by pushing the date either up to January/February or back to July/August 2011.

    Alternately, you may want to consider Fridays or Sundays – most venues will book Saturdays first and have a lot more availability on less popular days.

    Love, an event planner

  • I don’t think the space is quite big enough for this reader’s wedding, but I want to mention it because it might work for other people. We got married at the Tabard Inn ( a few months ago, and I thought it was quite reasonable ($700 to rent both event rooms), and they do the catering, provide the tables, chairs, linens, etc. Highly recommended.

    • I second the Tabard Inn. I almost got married there (ended up at the Hotel Helix), and found them to be great to work with.

    • Third on Tabard Inn – we had our (small) wedding there two years ago and it was absolutely perfect.

  • My wife and I absolutely loved the Carnegie Institution of Science (16th and P), it was pretty inexpensive at $5,000 and you can provide your own vendors/alcohol. That price included the Portico and stairs leading to 16th street.

  • I know someone who got married & had a reception on the roof at Perry’s & they did it at brunch time on a Saturday. I’m not sure what they paid, but I’m guessing it wasn’t much & there is a great view to enjoy while sipping mimosas.

  • Wife and i got married in Beltsville. The caterer owns the venue and there is both a ballroom side, and a tent side. We got married in the tent – it was awesome. Having a one stop shop for everything made life much, much easier. All we needed to do was florist, DJ, photographer. There is also a Marriot that shares the same parking lot. We reserved the conference room for an afterparty.

    Beltsville obviously isn’t DC, but it’s a very convenient location to drive to, and BWI. We did rehersal dinner in Bethesda and it was only a $20 cab ride back to the hotel. Hotel was like $85 a night. Wedding was $135 a person with open bar included.

    If we had it to do again, we would seriously consider the Josephine Butler Park – pictures would have been so much better.

  • We got married at the Josephine Butler Park Center on 15th overlooking Meridian Hill Park.

    Everybody loved it. We got married two years ago and my girlfriends STILL talk about the place. It’s an inexpensive venue that is very classy and the photos were gorgeous. If we were doing it today, we’d still choose the same site.

    • +1

    • I’m getting married there in February, and am so excited!

      • Sammy, you won’t be disappointed. Our florist came in and put all the flowers around. Completely transformed the place at a v. reasonable price. Our caterer was faaaabulous and the DJ was really good and played what we wanted; not what he wanted. We were both really happy with the whole thing. Just talking about it makes me want to marry him there again! Good luck with your wedding!

    • hey. you must be my step mom!

    • Yikes, I went there to look at the place in May. It’s dirty and poorly maintained. The kitchen is the most dingy thing ever. Peeling paint, seriously cracked concrete in the entryway, dirt on the floor, and worst of all, the smell. This placer really needs to be freshened up.

  • Most theaters rent out their space for receptions. Prices are often hourly ($100-$250hr). Some have stipulations on using certain caterers and having staff work the event, but nonetheless, it might be worth looking into.

  • Try the Arts Club of Washington near GW. Its a federal era mansion converted to an art gallerty. They have on-site catering, both outdoor and indoor options, and the rental fee is $1500, which is a deal for the area.

  • After considering all of the costs of a wedding, my husband and I just decided to run off to Jamaica for a Sandals wedding just the two of us. It was completely amazing, memorable, and low cost–and of course honeymoon is included!

    For most people, I realize this may not be your style. I highly recommend that those planning a smaller wedding check out the Intown Uptown Inn:

    Sandy, the proprietor, is completely fabulous and does beautiful weddings!

  • We got married at the Arts Club of Washington – I believe a $2500 space rental + full dinner & open bar for $95/person, which for the DC area is quite reasonable. It wouldn’t be an inexpensive wedding, but you could definitely manage a very nice wedding for a lot less than the DC average. We picked the locale on the recommendation of friends – 2 other couples we’re friends with got married there. It’s in a historic house used as an art gallery & has a beautiful courtyard, so there’s an option for having your ceremony and/or dinner outside if the weather cooperates (for us, it didn’t). The capacity is about 120 if everything is indoors or a bit more if you can utilize the outdoor space.

    What was really nice about it is that they handle everything – no need to rent tables or linens or even to decide on a menu if you go with their proposed options (we did and loved the food – and I have very high standards!). You can customize it or not to your liking. Since the space is a historic house/art gallery you don’t really have to decorate either – we just added flowers. We had the ceremony and the reception there, which also helped keep costs down. The wedding was beautiful and I’d highly recommend The Arts Club!

    PS. Our best wedding hotel was the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park – it’s so huge they have tons of room and can offer really great rates for your guests (we got $129/night). All the rooms are newly renovated and everyone seemed super happy with it.

  • The Miss Ann! My girlfriend got married there for a site fee below $1000! Wonderful evening indeed, in the blizzard. Would make for awesome rehearsal dinner space too.

    The owners ask way way too much, ignore their silly $6,000 pricetag and offer way less!

  • glen echo park- not exactly DC but close enough. $3000 for the bumper car pavilion, but i think they have raised the rates since october.

  • Check out Hollin Hall at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria.

  • Long View Gallery is an amazing venue for a wedding, wedding receptiuon, rehearsal dinner, whatever. They also have a new outdoor sculpture garden out back.

  • Try renting out the North Hall at Eastern Market. Great location, close to Metro, very DC.

  • If you are willing to go outside DC and make a weekend out of it, there are lots of nice places in the Kent Island/Easton/Oxford/St. Michael’s area of Maryland, historic estates and water views.

  • The courthouse. We brought our entire wedding in for about $65. The reception–cocktails with our two witnesses who, it turns out, are unnecessary under the law–cost another $40, especially since we did it during happy hour.

    Every time my wife and I go to somebody else’s wedding, we remember how glad we are that we just runnoft and got hitched.

  • I don’t know how much they cost, but I heard that GW’s facilities were cheaper than lots of other venues.
    only seats 66 but only $900 for a whole day.

  • Don’t laugh, but me and my girlfiend are using the Capitol Hill Club (aka the national republican club). Everything is free if you ring up a 10,000 tab for food and drink. It includes the space, tables, linens, staff, setup and breakdown, etc. Really pretty building, and they promised to take down all the fire pelosi signs for us.

  • Josephine Butler is awesome but I don’t think it’s wheelchair friendly. We’re getting married next spring at Hollin Hall/Mount Vernon Unitarian Church – it’s quite pretty, lots of outdoor spaces & is reasonably priced. Good luck!

  • We did ours here

    Wedding and reception for 55 people and it didnt break the bank.

  • There are lots of historic properties owned by Prince George’s and Fairfax counties that are beautiful and affordable. They have lots of Saturday 10-5 openings, less availability on Saturday nights (they get reserved quickly), but you should check it out. I would have loved to have used it!

  • We had our wedding at the Key Bridge Marriott. The place is beautiful and is cheaper than the majority of hotels in DC proper. Plus, you get to pay only VA taxes.

  • I can’t speak highly enough of Glen Echo Park, which is where we got married this July (their July and August dates are slightly discounted, just FYI). There are two venues that you can rent for weddings, the Spanish Ballroom (slightly more expensive, but can accomodate up to about 500) and the Bumper Car Pavilion, which fits about 200-250 and is where we held our event.

    The park is a former amusement part on McArthur Boulevard that is now an artists community run by the National Park Service. It has a restored carousel, and several of the original buildings from the amusement park are still in place. Many people choose to get married under the red awning of the Cuddle Up pavilion, which is where the Tilt-a-whirl ride used to be.

    Good weather is key since it’s an outdoor venue – and we lucked out – but our guests loved the venue and we incorporated the amusement park into our wedding them. Emily, the events manager, is great to work with, and the rental fee (about $2000) goes toward the park’s projects, so you’re doing a good deed in the process.

  • We used the Ballroom at McLean Gardens for our reception exactly one year ago. I think the space could work for a wedding and reception. 3Citron Caterers manages the venue and they were really great to work with. We were so pleased with the space and found it after much searching for something that was reasonably priced, attractive, and in DC.

  • I’ve seen two people reccomend the Butler House – and i must say, for $4,000 it’s not that nice. My husband and I got married at The Washington Club, which was also $4,000 and it was much much nicer than the Butler House. Just wanted to put that out there.

  • My fiance and I are having our reception at Elizabeth on L’s, which is in downtown DC (on L between 13th and 14th). I know this is a post asking about a venue that can hold around 100 people and do double duty, but honestly, we’ve been so thrilled with them that I couldn’t not post this. The venue doesn’t cost a cent because it’s the location of the Catering Company of Washington DC. You just have to pay for the food, drinks and linens. It’s not super cheap (because not much in this town is), but the quality of the food is incredibly high and they’re willing to craft a menu to fit your tastes 🙂

    • Elizabeth’s catered our reception at the Josephine Butler House. I concurr with your assessment of the food. It is great.

  • We had our reception a month ago at the WVSA Arts Connection’s Articulate Gallery — It cost $800 for the gallery; we had a standing/cocktail reception for 125 guests. Great location, great venue.

  • FYI – if you are a gay or lesbian couple (or a super down ally) the St. Francis Hall is not for you. From their very polite events coordinator:

    Unfortunately, the Monastery has a strict policy that all events must adhere to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The exact language is:

    1.Use consistent with teachings of roman catholic church. client shall not use or permit the use of the facility or any parking area for any use or purpose inconsistent with the principals and teachings of the roman catholic church. Any such inconsistent use or uses shall constitute a material default which renders this event agreement immediately null and void. In such event, any reservation deposit or security deposit or License Fee received by Owner shall be retained by owner as liquidated damages or such default and client shall immediately quit and vacate the facilty.

    So at this time we are not able to allow same-sex celebrations.

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