Updated August 2018
If you long to be wed in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world but would prefer not to spend the equivalent of a down payment on a home in the process, the following diverse venues are for you. And, there are no generic spaces in the bunch, with each offering its own special mix of je ne sais quoi.
The three floors available in this building provide more time for merriment, as they prevent guests from needing to travel more than a flight of stairs to get from your ceremony to the reception venue. Each level of the Loft offers hardwood floors, exposed-brick walls, high ceilings, and antique Edison bulb floor lamps providing an ideal location for those wanting a modern wedding, with a side of industrial-chic. In addition, the sleek furniture in each space can be repositioned to meet your seating arrangement needs. This venue is also a winner in location as it’s situated in the Chinatown/ Penn Quarter neighborhood of D.C.
Typical Cost: $3,500–$4,800 rental fee
Bonus: Built in 1910, this historic building will bring an old-school D.C. ambiance to your big day.
While hosting a party on a private yacht is pretty much synonymous with luxury, National Elite offers wedding packages that offer a deluxe experience at a reasonable price. The Cocktail Lounge, Main Dining Salon, and Sky Deck all feature panoramic views so you get the most of your cruise experience. There is also a bridal suite to allow you to catch a moment’s rest between all the excitement. The yacht can be chartered either from DC or from National Harbor, Maryland. Couples give great reviews to their attentive staff!
Typical Cost: $2,000 ceremony fee, charter fees from $4,200, dinner from $39 per person
Bonus: The Capital Elite is also available for smaller weddings.
With 100 themed rooms and 70 secret passageways (that you get to search for!), this mansion guarantees a unique and unforgettable wedding. The architecture and design in the house range from Victorian to Art Deco, and includes hand-painted ceilings, Tiffany stained glass, endless chandeliers, and a log cabin! This quirky-yet-classy venue, that makes you feel as though you’ve taken a time machine back to 1892 (the year the mansion was built), is a win for those hoping to host an extravagant and eccentric affair that their guests will never forget.
Typical Cost: $1,000 – $25,000
Bonus: No guest will go hungry, as the in-house five-star chef can accommodate dietary needs from kosher-style to vegan, and the pastry chef is rated as one of the best in the world.
One block from the White House, and situated on Lafayette Street, the Decatur House boasts one of the most prestigious locations in our nation’s capital. Steeped in classic D.C. style, with a carriage house, elegant parlors, vaulted ceilings, and a courtyard surrounded by manicured gardens, this venue is ideal for those hoping for a theme of classic romance. But be forewarned that because this space is so close to the White House, Secret Service has placed restrictions on street parking, making it very limited—a great excuse for guests to stay in one of the nearby hotels!
Typical Cost: $7,750 to $12,000
Bonus: The Historic Entertaining Parlors feature stunning 19th-century chandeliers and painted ceilings.
A haven for hipster-chic couples, this boutique hotel offers a super swanky environment that says, “I’m cool, without even trying to be cool.” Imaginative décor and a menu crafted by Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden, who has a background in Caribbean, Creole, French, and Pan-Asian cuisines, make this hotel a total score for anyone wanting a wedding infused with cutting-edge style. And the dapper guest rooms and suites, which feature marble bathrooms, save you a trip after the last song of the night has been played.
Typical Cost: $1,500(ceremony only)–$20,000
Bonus: Basic cocktails are not allowed – the hotel’s master cocktail craftswoman mixes up one-of-a-kind alcohol-laden potions using fresh ingredients from her garden.
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Bailey Gaddis is the author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, a childbirth preparation educator, birth doula, and hypnotherapist who works with mothers-to-be, new mothers, and their support teams. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. She lives in Ojai, California.