Monday, July 14, 2014

Truest DC Wedding Venues (Part II)

Picking up with Part II of our Truest DC Wedding Venues, here are the next 4 places that we think capture what DC is all about…

4. Newseum

"The Newseum Institute provides a forum for educational programs and thought-leadership initiatives, as well as educational materials addressing the five freedoms of the First Amendment: speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition."

Does it get more DC political than that?!

The Newseum has quite a few spaces for weddings. Our favorites are the Knight Conference Center, 7th Floor and 8th Floor Terraces. The first has floor to ceiling windows with a view of the Capitol and loads of technological elements to showcase everything from a wedding slideshow to high tech lighting. Wolfgang Puck is the exclusive caterer for the Newseum, and 100% lives up to the food hype. The Terraces, where you can have your ceremony and/or cocktails, have a direct view of the Capitol and an incredible overlook of Washington.

HJ's Insider Notes: We love that the shades can be dropped in the conference center while set up is happening and raised up to reveal the room after cocktails. The elevators in the Newseum are some of the most spacious in DC; upon entrance, guests get shuttled up to the 7th and 8th floor in record time.

It's exactly what it's name portrays: a museum for female artists. The original founders felt that women were underrepresented in the arts, and began a collection of artwork solely by women. The property used to be a Masonic Temple, and sits less than a half of a mile from the White House.

The marble, chandeliers, grand staircases and balconies will guarantee that you'll hear quite a few wows from guests. The space lends itself to different set ups, including ceremony and dinner in the Grand Hall, with cocktails on the Mezzanine or in the 3rd Floor Gallery or ceremony and dancing in the Grand Hall, cocktails in the 3rd Floor Gallery, and dinner on the Mezzanine. If you are looking for an enchanting DC venue, look no further.

HJ's Insider Notes: The 3rd Floor Gallery is an option for cocktails, and a great way to move your guests to a space where they won't see the transformation of the Grand Hall from the ceremony set up to the reception. The onsite coordinator at the venue can dim the chandeliers. Keep this in mind to get an even better ambiance for dancing later in the evening. The Kasser Board Room is one of the prettiest suites for freshening up and bridal portraits - and it comes with the rental!

"When Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr., and his wife, Susan, moved to the new federal city in 1816, they purchased land on the northwest corner of the President’s Park (today Lafayette Square) with the prize money Decatur was awarded for his naval conquests in the War of 1812. The Decaturs commissioned Benjamin Henry Latrobe, America’s first professional architect and engineer, to design a home “fit for entertaining." Sadly, just a little over a year after the couple moved into the home, Decatur was mortally wounded in a duel against Commodore James Barron. Decatur House is now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Carriage House and Courtyard are perfect for an outdoor/indoor wedding and reception. The Carriage House was renovated in 2012. The high ceiling and new covered Portico added modern elegance to this historic venue. The White House and Lafayette Square are steps outside the entrance, where the wedding party and family can take beautiful photos.

HJ's Insider Notes: The Entertaining Parlors in the house are a great addition to your event for cocktail hour. If you choose not to use this part of the venue, tours are available to guests early in the evening, and we recommend it! Tenting the Courtyard for dinner or dancing is an alternative to using the Carriage House. This guarantees use of the outside, rain or shine. The Carriage House now has the option of a state of the are AV system - you can play a slideshow on their drop down screens or use an iPod for cocktail hour.

"Refined Doric details articulate the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, first known as the Departmental Auditorium, the most dramatic example of Classical Revival architecture in the Federal Triangle." It was "designed to reflect the 'dignity and power of the Nation."

And it's grand. Grand, large, gorgeous and, yes, screams powerful DC.

Mellon Auditorium is the ideal venue for large weddings and receptions. It can seat up to 696 guests in the Great Hall. If you have a guest count of 250, don't be deterred by the size. A dance floor, bars and other decor can easily be used to fill the space. The stage is great for bands. The third floor has a balcony for cocktails. The netting around the balcony allows guests to venture out for air even if it's drizzling.

HJ's Insider Notes: Since there are few historic spaces in DC that can accommodate the 300-600 guest range, this venue is very popular for larger weddings, so inquire well in advance to secure a date. Send your photographer up to the balcony over the Great Hall for some stellar photos.

We'll round off our list with the remaining 4 DC venues next week!