Hotel Spaces for Wedding Proposals in DC

The proposal is a story that the bride and groom will tell again and again for the rest of their lives – why not make the venue as memorable as the proposal itself? Washington, DC is a city known for its rich history and plethora of luxury hotels. Utilize the public and (semi public) spaces of these great venues to mark the start of your lives together. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to continue the story by holding your wedding at the hotel as well!

The Jefferson Hotel’s Book Room

This 99-room Relais and Chateaux hotel in the heart of downtown is one of the city’s most romantic properties, full of historic charm and luxe, five-star service. We can easily see popping the question in Plume, the hotel’s fine dining French restaurant (ask for the circular booth in the back), but our go-to location would be the hotel’s intimate library, called the “Book Room”. Just off the main lobby, this intimate room has a large fireplace and several romantic nooks, perfect for a tete-a-tete before popping the question. And of course, the hotel’s staff is totally discreet – they’d make sure you were totally alone during the big moment.

The Smokestack at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

The Smokestack at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

 

The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Smokestack
We can’t help but love this hotel, an 82-room boutique property on Georgetown’s waterfront. Once the Georgetown incinerator, this hotel has a fabulous “fire” theme, including sexy red accents, brick walls, and dark woods throughout the property. Our favorite space is the intimate smokestack, perfect for a romantic dinner a deux. The 130’ high stack is a circular room with a gorgeous skylight that can easily be set up for a special event with candles, rose petals and more. The hotel staff tells us they’ve hosted numerous proposals in this beautiful room – and, since it’s technically on the hotel’s meeting level, you won’t be disturbed by any guests who happen to walk by.

The Top of the Hay, Hay Adams Hotel
What better place to propose than the top of one of DC’s most historic luxury hotels? The ninth floor event space, “Top of the Hay,” is a glassed-in room that offers massive balconies overlooking The White House and St. John’s church. Often used as a wedding venue, we can see staging a quintessentially “Washington” proposal at sunset, sunrise, or anytime. Just one key – you’d have to ask the hotel’s staff for access as the room isn’t typically open to the public.

POV, The W Hotel

Boasting one of DC’s best views of the White House and monuments, the sexy POV rooftop at the W hotel is a place to see and be seen at any time of year. Cozy up in a corner banquette (we like the one overlooking the Washington monument) and drop to one knee in this “room with a view.” Not a fan of public affairs? Ask about the hotel’s “secret space” downstairs. Publicist Barbara Martin tells us that the hotel is always happy to arrange proposals. Candles, rose petals, serenading … they’ve done it all.

Written by McLean Robbins

POV photo via Starwoodhotels.com 

Out of Town Bride- Choosing a Wedding Venue

Unique wedding venue- 1111 lincoln road

This post is by Whitney Press, Safari Stylist of DressSafari.com . Whitney was married in May 2011 at The National Hotel on Miami Beach. Her drop-dead-gorgeous wedding was featured on Southern Wedding’s Magazine’s Blog. Here she shares her tips for planning a wedding  outside of where you live…

Whether you are having a destination wedding or planning a soiree in your childhood hometown, getting married in a city that you don’t call home has a unique set of challenges when it comes to picking a venue. Here is our guide to keeping calm, organized and finding the perfect space!

Cast a wide net (at first). Every city has hidden gems, so don’t forget to look beyond your usual hotels and country clubs. Local museums and galleries, vineyards, public buildings and parks can all make spectacular wedding venues. When I was looking at venues for my wedding in Miami, there was even a parking deck that hosted chic events on the top floor which had a spectacular view! (pictured above!)

Do your research. For each potential venue, do some initial research and find out key factors like the general price range and capacity. A spreadsheet will help you organize your options and keep the address and contact information handy.

Look beyond the venue website and brochure. Some venues have great brochures, but when you visit in person the space falls short of your expectations. On the flip side, a space that wasn’t photographed well may be hiding real potential. A trick I like to use is searching for other weddings that were held at the venue on local photographer’s websites. This way you can see how the space looks when it is all decked out for a wedding. 

Narrow it down. Is there a certain neighborhood that appeals to you? Do you want a space that can host the ceremony as well? Select 8-10 venues with potential and call to check availability and schedule a visit for the next time you will be in town.

Squeeze it in. Although it is exhausting, try to schedule all of your initial visits during one trip. Even though this may seem like a lot, it is better to have too many options than not enough after your site visits. Plus, this way you will have the fresh impressions of each in your mind and be able to make better comparisons.

Decision time. When it comes down to it, the venue dictates the style of your entire wedding. Go with your gut – if you aren’t confident about any of your options keep looking and don’t get discouraged. Don’t underestimate the importance of a great venue contact that is responsive and has experience working with out of town brides!

A parking deck makes an unexpected wedding venue
1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach Florida
Photograph via NYTimes.com 

 

DC Rehearsal Dinner Safari

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Locations in DC

Lately rehearsal dinners have turned into mini-wedding receptions… and often times they are not so “mini”. The Washington, DC area (as well as other major metropolitan cities) is filled with small spaces, in-demand restaurants and high-end social clubs that make it difficult to find an appropriately sized and/or reasonably priced rehearsal dinner option.

My absolute favorite (sort of secret, now not a secret at all) resource is OpenTable.com.

The site offers a list of DC area restaurants and their private space availability. You can filter the options by capacity, price category, area of town and type of cuisine. Within each restaurants profile it contains capacity information with a little standing (cocktail style capacity) and a sitting man (banquet seating) and also notes if its completely private or semi-private. Many of the restaurants have contact forms that allow you to request availability and pricing on the spot.  It’s brilliantly helpful!

The photo included with this post is of Sequoia Restaurant, a popular rehearsal dinner location in DC located on the Georgetown waterfront.

Photograph by Studio Juno

 

 

Ceremony Seating and Reception Table Sizes

Every wedding event space is unique and many times you will need to (or want to!) customize your ceremony set up to your location, bridal party, guest size, etc. Get creative. Keep it intimate, beautiful and fun. Make sure guests can see, hear, and feel comfortable (provide lemonade and hand fans in the heat, umbrellas in the sun, pashminas and heaters in the cold.) If you think guests might be uncomfortable…head indoors. It will still be an incredible, memorable ceremony. Ask your site’s event manager what works best in the space, they likely have a few recommendations as well. Consider where you (the bride?) will enter from– make it grand! and walk the space…will you walk a straight line to the altar or will you turn somewhere along the way? Below are a few common ceremony set up styles for you to consider.

Ceremony Set-up Options:

Theater:

This is the most common way seating is arranged for a wedding ceremony.

Chevron:

(think of the cute, trendy chevron pattern): It is theater style on an angle.


Circular

The circular style of ceremony seating has become popular in the last few years. It gives an intimate feel for the guests and allows some guests to see the bride and grooms faces during the ceremony instead of their backs. Place your bridal party in the aisles of the set up in a line so they do not block your guests view of the ceremony.

And everything in between…maybe we can call this one a “swirl ceremony setup”? 🙂

Table Sizes and Capacities

Do you need to know how many people you can fit at your tables?

48′ Round Table: 6-8 guests

60′ Round Table: 8-10 guests

72′ Round Table: 10-12 guests

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Splendid (VF Contemporary)

This also depends on what type of chairs you are using– you can fit more guests at each table with narrow chairs such as Chivari chairs. Hotel or restaurant chairs are usually wider.

BBJ Linens has a great “Virtual Design Center” that allows you to design your table using their catalog of linens. They also have more information about different table sizes and seating capacity.

Ceremony photo by Freed Photo, Chevron chart via Georgia Southern Event Services and Circular Ceremony Photograph via ManoloBrides.com, “Swirl” Ceremony photo via WeddingWire.com