Other than, you know, the person standing across from you at the altar, where you’re going to get married is arguably the most important decision you’ll make during the wedding planning process. After all, your choice of location impacts your wedding date, number of guests, vendor options, and the overall aesthetic of your big day. So it’s not a decision to be taken lightly!
Luckily, if you’re planning on getting married in Washington, DC, there’s a wide variety of venue options that speak to styles far beyond the button-down look that the city is perhaps too often stereotyped with.
“We expect weddings in DC to be preppy and politically driven,” says event planner Tiffany Rivera. “While these weddings are beautiful, you also have a melting pot of different people and cultures that come together here. And our couples tend to do a strict nine-to-five situation for work, so for their wedding they want bring that button the collar and have fun.”
Meet the expert
Tiffany Rivera is the founder and lead planner of Washington, DC event planning company, Simply Breathe Events.
Ready to start looking for the place to host your own celebration? You have come to the right place. Read on for an overview of all the essential introductory information on getting married in our nation’s capital, including average costs and the best seasons to get married, plus a list of ten of our favorite wedding venues. in Washington, DC.
Average cost of a wedding in Washington, DC
According to industry resource The Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the Washington, D.C. area in 2020 was $30,200. Pre-pandemic averages were significantly higher, hovering between $36,100 and $36,600 from 2017 to 2019, and may approach those amounts as larger events become the norm again.
However, if your guest count exceeds 125 and you’re looking to recreate the more lavish settings popularized by Instagram and Pinterest, you might consider at least double the amounts.
“$60,000 is probably the minimum you’re looking at to be able to get something higher quality,” Rivera says. “But, if you are flexible, [there are] tons of ways to hit below that number.”
When to Have a Wedding in Washington, DC
With thousands of trees sprouting pretty pink flowers throughout the region, cherry blossom season in early spring is one of the most popular times to visit Washington. That said, planning your wedding during the National Cherry Blossom Festival can be more difficult than it’s worth.
“I love cherry blossoms, but it’s a big headache,” Rivera admits. “You have to fit so much time and stress management into your day for photos.”
If you live in the Washington area, choose to take your engagement photos during cherry blossom season instead. This way, you’ll get the photos you want without having to worry about all the extra hassle of a wedding.
Avoid national political events and holidays, such as Inauguration Day, July 4, and Memorial Day, as the city experiences major road closures and increased hotel bookings which can impact on your guests’ ability to effectively navigate the events of your wedding weekend. (The same can be said for the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which usually takes place in early spring.)
As for the best time to get married in Washington? “It must be October,” Rivera says. “The weather is pleasant and there are the fewest political events.”
Washington, DC Wedding Planning Tips
Washington is one of the few US jurisdictions to legally recognize self-uniting marriages. Meaning: you can declare yourselves married, without the presence of an officiant or even of additional witnesses. So if you’ve always dreamed of getting married, the nation’s capital is a great place to do it.
Hit the monuments
For truly iconic Washington wedding photos, head to the National Monuments. Rivera’s favorites: the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and, for easy access, the Lincoln Memorial. That said, Rivera strongly encourages doing your homework before you leave for filming. “Google the landmarks you’re most interested in to find out peak times, permit requirements and if they’re under construction,” she advises.
Plan for VIPs
If a high-profile political figure is attending your celebration, be aware that you may need to take extra security precautions and possibly even circumvent requests from Secret Service agents.
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As the situation remains fluid, we’ll be sharing tips and stories from industry experts to give you advice of the moment and help you navigate wedding planning today. For the most up-to-date guidelines and the latest travel restrictions and requirements, check the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites.
Now on to the best part: where to tie up! Ahead, 10 of the best Washington, DC area wedding venues to consider.