Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Favs: Inexpensive Wedding Venues in Washington, DC & Questions to Ask Every Venue

Whittemore House Weddings
So here it is- my first post on throwing a Broke and Bougie wedding (see our engagement here). We settled on a date in March 2015 so there is plenty of time to DIY and explore options. The first thing on the list: Washington, DC wedding venues. For broke people paying for their own wedding.

When we chose DC I knew it was going to be expensive, but we WILL find a way to do this on a budget! In my own true fashion I did extensive research, made a spreadsheet, and rapid-fired off e-mails. Sidenote: no one lists prices anywhere, you have to submit RFPs or send emails or whatever. The best resources I found in looking for venues were Weddingwire.com, TheKnot.com (you can search venues by pricing!!),  welovedc's post, and of course word of mouth.

DC has a lot of great outdoor, cheap (slash free) options but we are not willing to risk the weather (and Harrison- the fiance- sweats a LOT so we need AC). Below is my list of the most budget-friendly Washington, DC wedding venues (indoors) that we found with pricing and answers to the must-know questions.

Keep in mind that that pricing varies based on season, this is based on March. We were only considering venues that would be easy for out-of-towners to get to, and easy for drunk people to get home from (i.e. near a metro or easy to cab). There are lots of other awesome venues that are further out and MUCH more affordable. We also only considered indoor locations and venues that can hold 200+ people (I know. I know. Everyone has already told me I'm insane for thinking I can pull off a 200+ person wedding on a tiny budget) and that can host the ceremony and reception (nightmare: instructing 100 out-of-towners how to get from one venue to the next "then take the traffic circle.." "allow 10 hours if taking the red line" OMG I CANNOT). Also keep in mind: a lot of times the prices can be negotiated. Most of the people I spoke with were super accomodating and willing to work with us on matching our budget- this just includes the original pricing.

Click here for my spreadsheet affordable Washington, DC wedding venues. The venues include:
Questions to ask wedding venues:
  • What is the base cost?
  • What is the venue's capacity?
  • Are outside vendors allowed?
  • Is there an added charge for outside vendors?
  • Are in-house vendors available?
  • Are rentals (tables, chairs, etc) included? What is included in the rentals?
  • Are linens included?
  • Are there set-up and break-down fees?
  • Is there a fee for staying late?
  • Are there additional service charges and/or gratuities?
  • What are the taxes?
  • Are kids allowed?
**A great piece of advice from my wedding-planner friend: google image the name of the venue + wedding. For example: "Carlyle Club Wedding" to see what can be done with the space. Also: read the reviews on theknot and weddingwire and yelp so you know what you're getting yourself into!

Am I missing affordable DC-area venues? Let me know what I should consider!

72 comments:

  1. Aww a lot of these venues would be awesome! Can't believe Nats Park has good budget options! Excited to see what you come up with :)

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    1. Haha it's funny what has become "good budget options" since planning a wedding in DC! the problem with Nats Park is that you can't confirm the space until 3 months before the date! YIKES!

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  2. One of the most graceful and simple marriage venues for your big day is a DC wedding venues. This hotel can often provide all the food and beverages for a sensible price and can also serve the before, during, and after service.


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  3. This post was hilarious. You are too funny. I'm looking forward to more DC wedding planning posts!

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    1. Thanks Jackie! More posts are coming soon!

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  4. What is your definition of a "budget" wedding? If you are looking to spend 25k on venue/catering alone, that means at the end of the day your wedding (with dress/makeup/hair/any decor/any extras) will probably run you 30k...which is above the national average. Which is totally fine and still kinda a deal in this area (and I know because I'm planning a wedding here as well :)) but probably not a "budget" wedding. LOL. FYI - I'm sure you know this but Josephine Baker can only hold ~110 comfortably for dinner + dancing. My coworker got married there 2 years ago. It's beautiful, but probably not nearly enough space for you. You might want to also check county parks (i.e. http://www.montgomeryparks.org/event_centers/social.shtm) - lots of those spaces are outside, but often have tented options which may work for y'all. Good luck and happy planning! :)

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    1. Oooh yeah I definitely should have specified that I am going for DC's version of budget friendly haha! Fortunately we have a lot of friends with jobs in the wedding industry that we are tapping into but still, expensive! Also I didn't know that about Josephine Baker- so glad I saw this before we spent time going out there to see the venue! We will definitely check out the parks website too- thanks for all the pointers you're great!!

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  5. Since I am a resident of nyc, I have attended hundreds of parties and ceremonies here. From my observation, I credit Toshis as the best and luxurious event venue.

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  6. When I see what you're calling "budget" I just want to laugh! Budget for the wealthy, maybe...

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    Replies
    1. ugh I KNOW. DC is too expensive. Weddings are too expensive. It's all so much freaking money!

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  7. WHOA!!! Thank you for posting this!!!!

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  8. Whoa, the cost of the venues alone are striking! I am looking for the most convenient places to have a wedding (since my friends and family are split between two places. But on my budget...City Hall is looking pretty good. Saves more money for a honeymoon in Ibiza lol

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  9. The wedding we went to was obviously supremely costly, but whoever paid that got their money's worth in spades. The lighting and decoration was magical.

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  11. This is fantastic! I'm having exactly the same problem as you - same budget, same guest list #, lots of out of towners....ulg! Thanks so much for sharing your research!! I've been looking westward to try to lower the cost and considering adding an airport shuttle service.

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  14. Thanks for providing this great list of locations for a wedding! I've been trying to help my brother and his fiancee find a good place to hold their wedding, but they have had a hard time choosing. There are supposed to be a lot of guests, especially for the reception, so hopefully we can find a big enough space! http://www.manorhouseohio.com/weddingreceptions.htm

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  15. Thank you for this posting this. I am especially appreciative of your budget breakdown!

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