Ah, the nation’s capital! We all love it, but will it be the spot of your wedding? If you want to get married in DC or are just thinking about it, there are a few insider things that you need to know. Lesley, owner of the new must-read wedding venue blog, Venue Safari, has the goods for you! (And, really, if you haven’t been there yet, be sure to check out Venue Safari because today’s post is only a small taste of the venue goodness on this blog!) Lesley gives those would-be marriers in DC a few things to think about before booking their venue and setting a wedding day timeline. Take it away, Lesley…
1. Monumental photographs?
Have your heart set on wedding day photographs in front of the monuments on or near the Mall? Then choose a venue for your wedding in a DC neighborhood near the monuments, preferably in Foggy Bottom, downtown or Capitol Hill. If you are not getting married nearby to the monuments, those photographs may not work with your wedding day schedule. You will need to plan at least double the amount of time you might expect for travel as traffic can be unpredictable. The last thing you want is the extra stress of possibly being late to your ceremony or reception. To avoid the hassle, I would suggest doing your engagement photos or scheduling a “day after shoot” if your wedding location is not conveniently located to these spots. If you do decide to do photographs on the National Mall don’t forget to request a permit through the National Park Police.
2. Consider the neighborhood
Because weddings in the DC area often include a big percentage of out of town guests, choose a location that is near the metro and includes lots to see and do during their free time – what we like to call “Guest Safaris”! A happening area such as Chinatown or Penn Quarter can include your ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner all within
walking distance of multiple hotel options for guests. Include a metro map and a list of suggested restaurants, museums and other nearby places in your gift bags. For a nice little touch, add a prepaid metro card for each guest.
3. Speaking of hotel options for guests…
As soon as you book your wedding venue, secure room blocks at a few hotels at different price points. Don’t procrastinate, because a big conference, rally, or other major DC event could drive up hotel room prices and make options scarce. Most hotels will allow you to hold 10-15 rooms per night without requiring a guarantee, your host hotel will likely allow you to hold more. Be sure to read your hotel contract carefully, otherwise you might be stuck with the bill for unbooked rooms.
4. Pay attention to decor
If you are going for a modern wedding, a ballroom filled with presidential seals in the carpet, and navy and gold decor might not be the right fit. Work with the existing decor in your wedding venue, not against it. While touring potential venues take notes of some of the site’s included decor items that you like such as chairs, linens, and chargers. If you will not need to rent these items it could save you a chunk of change in the end. Include these items that you don’t need to rend into your “apples-to-apples: budget comparisons of your venues to get an idea of the total cost.
5. Sky’s the limit
Whatever type of location you envision for your day, you can likely find it right here in the DC area. Don’t be discouraged if the places friends suggest or your first few searches don’t yield the venues you are dreaming of. A local wedding planner is an excellent resource in this department (and many others)! They often know of locations that you may not find on your own and many times know of special deals at hotels that you might not have otherwise thought you could afford. Keep digging! From waterfront venues in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to vineyards in Loudoun County to gala-worthy ballrooms in the District…this area truly has it all.
The sky truly is the limit in the DC area when it comes to your wedding venue search! Thank you so much, Lesley! For more help with your venue search, be sure to check out Venue Safari!
* Venue Safari is one of the fabulous sponsors who make this blog possible, but didn’t pay for this post. We feature local talent because we love ’em! For more on our editorial policies, you can read up here.