We’re getting back into the swing of things with our bride-to-be guest blogger, Rebecca, back today, as we’re still playing catch-up on LIFE after an amazing (albeit exhausting) #daywithoutawoman strike. Everyone go to the Sewell-Paul National Women’s Equality Monument ASAP!!!! You will not be sorry. We’ve also go BIG NEWS over on the #CapRoStore today (and check out the giveaway on Instagram!). Here we are tackling the insane task of finding a wedding venue in DC … it’s certainly one of the biggest challenges about getting married here, so it’s a topic I like to get fresh & new perspectives on. Take it away Rebecca!
Tips & Insight on Finding a Wedding Venue in Washington DC | By: Rebecca Grawl
D.C. is a great city. We have incredible history, diverse culture, delicious food, amazing beer, awesome people, civil disobedience, and a gorgeous display of cherry blossoms every year. It’s basically the perfect city to get married in. The only problem is a LOT of other couples feel that way too. If you are going to get married in D.C., planning ahead is your friend.
Finding a venue is a pivotal aspect of the wedding planning process. Your venue is going to play a role in determining the wedding date, the vibe, the budget, the aesthetic, the location, and possibly your guest list. Finding the right venue isn’t easy – and then you have to find the right venue with your date AND in your budget while dozens of other couples do exactly the same thing? It can be daunting. But worry not – I’ve got you.
My Five Step, Fool-ish Proof Venue Plan:
- Guest List – Venues in D.C. tend to come in two categories – small and quaint (>75 guests) or large and roomy (150 or more!) You will save yourself a lot of trouble by having a good sense of your guest list before visiting venues. Sit down with your beloved, grab a bottle of wine and make a list. Trim the list. Add to the list. Trim again. Have a fairly solid idea of the number of guests that you will have and only visit venues that will accommodate that number. Also, err on the side of caution. If you’ve ever been to a wedding where you are pushing the fire code limit, you know it’s not fun. Save everyone the anxiety. Plan for an extra body or two.
- Budget – A good rule of thumb is to plan for your venue to be 35% of your total budget, whatever that is. If your venue includes tables, chairs, decorations, catering, etc, that percentage could change. Don’t forget to consider taxes, deposits, and insurance, if required. Have an idea of what your number is for a venue (and the amenities it might provide for the price) and only visit venues that fit your budget. That said – don’t be afraid to consider a off-season date, an unusual time of day, weeknight wedding, or whatever strings you can pull to get a discounted rate.
- Get Involved – Go see your venue! The Internet is amazing but real life is needed for this part of wedding planning. Go ask lots of questions and take LOTS of notes. Visiting venues can be overwhelming. Some places will take prospective couples on a guided tour and give you a ton of useful information all at once. Other venues will tour you around one-on-one and send you home with packets of information. If you’ve researched the venue in advance, try to come prepared with one or two questions specific to your event. After each our venue visits, my fiancee and I would grab a coffee and take notes on what we immediately loved or didn’t love about a venue. It was very helpful to be able to look back at those gut instinct reactions.
- Deliberate – We came up with a reasonable number of venues to visit (four in total) and were able to whittle down to two after visits. For those two venues, we drew up mock budgets based on what the venues included, what would be needed to be done to the space, and what the vibe of each space would mean for our wedding. We called in a few trusted advisors and took a couple of weeks to try to imagine our wedding in that space. This is a big decision. It’s okay to take a little time to think about the big picture.
- But Don’t Hesitate – The biggest caveat here is not to wait TOO long. The best venues in town will get booked up. The ones that are awesome AND reasonably priced will get booked up even faster. If you have a specific venue or a specific time of year in mind, the earlier you book, the better.