Selecting a Wedding Venue in the DC Area

by Melissa on November 8, 2010

So here are some DC-area wedding venues we are (or were) considering for a ceremony and reception:

A few places have really surprised me with how expensive they are.  I always thought that by going “outside the city,” that things would be cheaper.  What has shocked me the most is how expensive wineries are!  I thought that since most of them are 1+ hour from DC, that they’d be reasonable.  Nope, many charge an average of $5000 just for the venue alone!  One, Breaux Vineyards, actually requires you to hire a coordinator on your own!  Now, I’m planning on getting a “month of” coordinator no matter what venue I pick.  But seriously, if you’re going to charge $5600 for me to use your venue, provide your own onsite coordinator.  What a racket!  So what exactly am I looking for in a venue?

  • Outdoor/Indoor options (Things like picnic pavilions with roll-down siding in case it’s cold or raining), or places that have an indoor reception but that expand onto an outdoor patio that’s covered.
  • Unique (but not stuffy).  I was originally very intrigued by the idea of various historical mansion properties in the area.  In addition to their expense, the more I looked at them, the more I realized that they’re just not really my style.  Regal staircases and formal parlors are just not the vibe I want to give off for my wedding.  Beautiful to visit, I’m sure, but just not for my wedding.
  • Must have nice floors.  I know this sounds very picky and specific, but seriously, how UGLY is hotel carpeting?  Hardwood floors or nice simple tile will do it for me, thank you very much.  No nasty-ass carpeting.
  • Although I like the idea of an outside option, I don’t like anything too rustic
  • Either A) has inexpensive in-house catering options, or B) allows for outside caterers.

I have looked extensively into local parks, like Virginia State Parks and Maryland State Parks and Fairfax County, etc. for various picnic pavilions.  They all seem to have them, but not with the covered sides.  I want an October or November wedding, and I just don’t want to take the risk of having cold guests.  Most parks also don’t allow fires, so there goes my s’mores idea.  I realize there are plenty of other unique venues in the DC area, and I’m pretty sure I’ve contacted most of them (if one more person tells me The Torpedo Factory, I’ll scream), but most of them are more than what we’re willing to spend.  But if you have any thoughts, please let me know!

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