Wedding Aces WeddingWire Blog

In D.C. – Size Matters!

October 13th, 2009 by     

D.C. is an historic, gorgeous, and monumental city that boasts some of the most famous buildings, picturesque cherry blossoms, delicious ethnic food, and highest per capita intelligence level (that’s just a guess by the way). So, what is wrong with D.C. when considering it for your wedding location? Size! And, D.C. is seriously lacking in the dimensions department.


My Fiance and I have known that we wanted to get married in D.C. for a while now. D.C. has been the backdrop of our 3 and 1/2 year relationship and home of all our adventures together. We first met through friends at an Adams Morgan dive bar; our first real date happened at the well-known Adams Morgan eatery, Lauriol Plaza; our second date was a bar crawl though U Street corridor, then a concert at the 9:30 Club. The restaurants and bars in Georgetown, Dupont, and Columbia Heights are where he and I fell in love and thus this city is near and dear to us.

Well, when it came time to begin the process of looking for a venue, I had no idea about D.C.’s capacity situation. A couple short and exciting days after our engagement, I’d Googled my way to a lengthy Excel spreadsheet of venues in the area (I still have this so if anyone is planning a D.C. wedding, let me know). At first glance, I cut down the venue list based on price alone. It is not uncommon to see a $12,000 price tag on a venue JUST for the space for one night! This process basically cut my list in half  immediately.

After my initial venue massacre, I began calling and emailing the remaining venues to ask the next 4 basic questions: What is your capacity, what is your catering policy, what is your alcohol policy and what is your amplified music policy. To my chagrin, the remaining half of the venue Excel sheet was cut in half yet again based on the first question – capacity. While its nice having a large family and lots of friends, this has really run us into some major issues. Almost everywhere in D.C. where we would or could consider getting married for a relatively decent price catered to 150 people OR LESS (unless you consider hotels). Our problem? A guest list of 220+.

They tell you that the #1 way to cut costs at your wedding is to cut guests, but what if that really is impossible to do?

4 Responses to “In D.C. – Size Matters!”

  1. Iris Bud Says:

    I definitely understand what you’re going through. My fiancé’s family is fairly small, but my family is huge. Both of my parents have several siblings; all of them have several kids; by now, a lot of their kids have kids. It’s overwhelming!

    We’re still inviting the whole family. However, we’ve had to really cut down the rest of the guest list. A lot of our “older” friends who we’re not AS close to anymore won’t be invited. As much as I would love to have some of them there, I would MUCH prefer not to go into debt, so I knew we had to make the decision. Plus, my dude will be there, and he’s really the most important person to me!!

    I wish I could give you better advice. But good luck with the planning!!

  2. Gardenia Bud Says:

    Thanks for the advice – its definitely not an easy thing to try narrow down a guest list – but we are doing what we can…hoping to get to around 175 or less! Will let you know how that all goes 😉

  3. Kate Says:

    If you have a large number of attendees, you simply look for ways to cut costs in just about every other department. I, too, am getting married in DC and am having a reception with probably 150-200 guests at a luxury hotel in the city, which is eating most of the wedding budget. That said, I’ve found a florist and cake vendor who are awesome but both work out of their home, which cuts down significantly on overhead costs. My fiance made our save the dates by imitating a simple design from a popular invitation site and then using VistaPrint. I’m planning on printing my programs, menus, etc. myself and purchasing the actual products through a Web site like Gartner Studios.

    There are definitely ways to cut costs and still have an elegant wedding with a fair number of guests — it just requires a bit of legwork. :) Good luck!

  4. Erin S. Says:

    My wedding is next month in Northern Va. We started looking at some of the gorgeous venues throughout the DC area and were SHOCKED at the fees for just renting the venue. We ended up at a local country club that ties everything into one fee (tables, chairs, food, cake, open bar and the catering director serves as my DOG). It was perfect for us. We also ended up cutting some guests – the old “if he isn’t in your cell phone directory, is he really that close?” test. My biggest cost cutter has been DIY flowers. We found a wholesale florist in Silver Spring, Md. and my mom is making our centerpieces. We bought an invite DIY kit from Micahaels (using their weekly coupons). I’ve gotten a LOT of complements on those.

    Good Luck! The DC area is very expensive.