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Downtown DC Wedding Reception

My fiance and I are planning a wedding for next June. We want a venue downtown, but I'm having trouble coming up with good venues. The wedding will be small, probably 40-45 people, so we're more interested in private dining accomodations than wedding banquet halls. We're keeping the guest list small and want to really make it a special occasion.

So far, I'm looking into Nora, Vidalia, Citronelle, the Tabard Inn. I also think that the Morrison-Clark Hotel would be gorgeous. Are there other places that I'm just not thinking of? Any recommendations of other venues in the downtown/Georgetown/Capitol area?

Thanks very much!

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  1. I know that Old Ebbitt does wedding receptions...a friend of mine actually originally looked there but then her guest list bloomed.

    A friend of mine is having her reception at the City Club downtown. The wedding hasn't occured yet so I don't have any comments on my experience but I've heard great things. They have lots of different rooms so they might be able to accomidate a small wedding like yours.

    I think a reception at Tabard Inn would be very nice. Especially if you can take over the whole outdoor courtyard area.

    And while it's not Downtown DC, how about 1789 for a wonderful, classic DC/Georgetown reception?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      my sister actually just had her reception at the old ebbitt 2 months ago. she had 160 people there, but maybe they have smaller banquet rooms?

      i really like your restaurant ideas though.

      i would also check out the "ask tom" archives in the post. i feel like this is a question that gets asked fairly frequently.


      1. re: kennedy1025

        I used to work at the Ebbitt and did dozens of weddings there. The do a really good job for big weddings. But I think they're are best suited for large weddings.

        I'll definitely check the ask tom archive. I did do a serch of the area boards, but most discussions are about places out in VA/MD.

      2. re: Elyssa

        I thought of one more. You might be able to rent out the upstairs area of Bistro D'Oc. Perfect for a small get together of 40 or so people. It's cute up there (even though I feel the downstairs has a little more charm). The food is wonderful, especially if you are a fan of classic french bistro cuisine. You should give them a call or go try out their food one night to see if you enjoy it (I especially recommend the duck confit or the roasted chicken. SO delicious!)

        1. re: Elyssa

          1789 is a great suggestion! Talk about classic DC atmosphere...esp for the out of towners...and great food & service. Just remember though that all men are required to wear jackets which i would expect anyway at a wedding reception...

          1. re: Elyssa

            For the record, my friend had her wedding at the City Club---the space was beautiful and the food (I believe it's an in house caterer but don't quote me on that) was very good (for wedding food or otherwise). Plus there was a chocolate fountain--can't go wrong with that :)

          2. I did an event at Zola's/The Spy Museum. Technically, you're in the Spy Museum space, but the food all comes from Zola's, so you get good private space AND good food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: winger1930

              If you're considering a wedding at Zola's, be sure you ask about tablecloths. The standard tablecloth is black. When I was trying to arrange a function at Zola for a group, I think any alternative to black involved extra expense.

            2. My wedding reception was at the Hotel Washington's rooftop terrace. Fun, but be sure to reserve end with view of Mall (southern direction). Food was good . Got my cake from Heidelberg in Arlington. Almond vanilla, with marzipan. SOOOO delicious.

              4 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                My I ask how much the rental fee was for the terrace (we are looking into HW as a possible wedding location). Thank you!!

                1. re: dudelino

                  Just an FYI they are closing for renovation I believe Jan 1, of this year for renovation. I have heard it may be turning into a W hotel, but that isn't confirmed by the website. So unless you are doing it soon, that might not be available. Which is a shame that rooftop terrace is my Dad's favorite place when he comes to Washington, he would have been so happy if we could have had our engagement party or something there :( I am sure whatever it turns into when it reopens wouldn't waste that rooftop, but that may be a while out renovating hotels is not a short process.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    Just heard this on the news this morning, closing at the end of the year and that it won't reopen until 2009 and, yes, as a W hotel.

                  2. re: dudelino

                    d -- just back to chow after florida trip..... can't recall prices, many moons ago....

                2. We seriously considered Elizabeth's on L, the config didn't work for us. We ended up at Hotel Palomar. Kimpton group is great to work with!

                  1. My ex-step sister had her wedding reception at the Mansion on O st. It is a private club, but the cost of joining and room rental was very good compared to having it at other places according to her. And the food was absolutely excellent. And they do have some neat rooms upstairs to stay in, as well.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      I live about 1/2 a block away from the Mansion on O and still have yet to go. They have this kind of secret happy hour once a month that my friends go to (probably shouldn't have posted about it here since it's no longer a secret lol)

                      My friends always comment on how good the food is, even for a happy hour. And I hear the inside is beautiful. I've only peaked in from the outside. Seems like it would be a fun, elegant place to host a wedding. Would certainly have a more homey feel then a big restaurant.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        Yeah, you couldn't do a huge wedding there, but for a small wedding it was really very nice. I was shocked at how good the food was, since until then I had never even heard of the place. The rooms to stay in are kind of amazing and a little out there, but they are upstairs and you have to really wander for that.

                    2. Friends of ours are getting married in May at the new Newseum on Pennsylvania Ave. It's not open yet, but they've been impressed with the staff and service, and apparently the views of the Mall and Capitol are quite good.

                      1. This isn't in the location that you specified but just something to look into- I think 2941 in Falls Church is a breath-taking space. I have yet to go since a new chef took over but the food is still getting rave reviews and this is our go-to special occasion restaurant. (we are doing my boyfriend's grandmother's 80th there next weekend so I will post and let you know my opinion on the food).

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JAC13

                          I'm one of those who wrote a positive review of Scott Bryan's cuisine, but he won't be in the kitchen by the time the OP's wedding takes place. He's only staying at the restaurant through the New Year. (Word is he'll be returning to NYC to open his own restaurant in the Spring.) However, I think your recommendation of this restaurant for a wedding is a fabulous one. Gorgeous space. Polished service. We've got to assume that the restaurant owner will want to keep the string of top chefs going, and that the chef will be outstanding.

                          Here's a link to the URL about Bryan's tenure at 2941:

                          Here's a link to Open Table's list of restaurants with private and semi-private seating for groups:

                          1. re: Indy 67

                            I had my wedding there three years ago and people still talk about it. Plus there are some really nice spots on the grounds for photos. And there's a nice Marriott half a mile away in the same business park. A good set up all around for a wedding.

                            1. re: shellymck

                              shellymck - reading your post. Recently ate at 2941 for dinner and fell in love with waterfall, how many guests did you have for your wedding and reception. I'm planning to have my reception there this fall. 75 guests. Thanks

                              1. re: hintofjasmine

                                Hey there...after reading this thread, just wondered if you decided to hold your reception at 2941? If so, how was your experience? How much did you spend...if you don't mind me asking. My fiance and I are trying to plan a wedding in the DC Metro area (our hometown) while residing in Florida.

                        2. The rooftop deck at the Hay-Adams is terrific. City Club is wonderful. I would call the Mandarin Oriental Hotel as well - awesome food. I should know; I am a wedding planner!

                          Nora, Vidalia and Citronelle are all great to eat at. Morrison-Clark you won't like. I promise. It really needs a facelift and new management.

                          The Car Barn in Georgetown is awesome. Check them out!