After narrowing down the date for our wedding, Fedward and I began the long process of finding the perfect location. Alas, not enough of you voted for us to win a wedding, so our dream venue of the National Building Museum was quickly out of the running. What could be more DC than one of the locations of the Inaugural Balls?
There are a ton of resources for finding a venue in DC. Our best resource? Friends. DC is filled with event venues. Ask around. Many businesses rent their spaces for private events. We joined forces with another recently engaged couple and shared Google docs with places we’d scouted.
Determining the style of wedding is the first step. In our case, that was decided within 90 seconds of Fedward popping the question: a short, non-religious ceremony with a really great party. Our thought was a cocktail reception instead of a sit down dinner. (you know we like cocktails, right?) The open style of our reception opened up a wealth of possibilities, and had the added bonus of not requiring a seating chart.
Since we love DC, we quickly narrowed down possible venues to places in the city limits. Metro access was key, which ruled out a few otherwise lovely locations. Other criteria quickly came into play, including liquor selection and overall price. Some venues had low fees, but required renting tables and chairs. That can turn a low cost rental into one out of the budget ballpark.
Think outside the box. What do you like to do together? For us, that led to looking at theaters and, of course, our favorite bar. Do you have a favorite restaurant or art gallery? Does your apartment building have a roof or party space available? Who do you know that is a member of a private club? Almost any space can be transformed into your perfect wedding location with the right decorations.
Where did we look? Everywhere. In addition to the ones linked above, here are a few other venues that caught our eye:
- F. Scott’s
- Old Ebbitt (did you know you can rent the roof?)
- Josephine Butler Center
- Union Station Columbus Club
- Eastern Market North Hall
- Lincoln’s Cottage
- Dumbarton House
- Woodrow Wilson House
So where have we decided to celebrate the big day? We had almost given up hope on finding a space that spoke to us. On a whim, I looked at the Historic Hotels of America to see if there was any space we had overlooked. There was one hotel I didn’t recognize, despite living in DC for well over a decade: The Phoenix Park Hotel (who knew there was a hotel attached to the Dubliner?).
Neither of us had wanted a hotel wedding, so we were wary on that first visit. Two steps into the hotel, we both fell in love. A spiral staircase leads to a beautiful wooden bar. Built in 1922, it seemed a natural fit for our cocktail inspired event. We went back with Darling Wedding Planner (who is now Darling Bridesmaid) a few days later just to be sure, and she also loved it. So that was that.
If you are looking for a wedding venue, don’t give up hope. DC is filled with spaces that can match any style, from historical to modern. Keep an open mind, and never be afraid to ask about an unconventional space.