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Wedding: 100 guests seated luncheon in DC

I realize that there are many threads already about having a wedding reception in DC, but I wanted to start a new one because I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for just yet.

I'm getting married this October and my fiance and I would like to have 100 guests for a seated luncheon. I've been looking mostly at restaurants because the value seems to be a bit higher given that it isn't necessary to pay a site fee. I'm thinking that we can spend about $7,000 (not including alcohol, but including tax, tip, fees, etc). My fiance is european and about 30 of his friends and family are making the trip, so I want to have an intimate event if possible.

I'd also love something historic since so many guests will be from a foreign country.

Any ideas? I'd be so grateful!


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  1. I have no idea about the cost of these places but the Tabard Inn would be lovely for this type of thing....maybe even using the courtyard if the weather permits.

    Also I know Old Ebbitt Grill does weddings and that's about as historic as it gets in terms of restaurants....one of the oldest restaurants in DC. It's so close to the White House and other well known areas---I think your out of town guests might get a kick from that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elyssa

      I've looked in to Tabbard for ours, but they hold events on the second floor which is beyond inaccessable for older and/or handicapped people.

      While the food is yum yum, that's hard.

    2. Do you have someone in your family who was / is an officer in the military? If so, you can use the Army Navy Club on Farragut Square. Talk about history! I have been a member for years, and always stay and eat there when I am in DC. The only requirement for membership is to be or have been an officer in any of the armed forces (I think they even let Air Force people in).

      8 Replies
      1. re: The_Foodaholic

        Oh wow - not to hijack a thread, but thanks for the tip! We'll have to look in to that for ours.
        Can you bring in your own food service? Or, is the food good (we're Jews, so it can't be standing pork roasts...and will likely have a vegetarian food service if possible).

        ETA: WOW nevermind - membership is $$$$, especially for a young officer. But, cook looking place!

        1. re: Jeserf

          You should look into the various bases around town. Some of them have lovely views and resonable prices.

          1. re: MrsWheatie

            Cool, thanks.
            Would rather avoid military food, but thanks for the tip!

            1. re: Jeserf

              The Army Navy Club is not military.
              It's a lovely private club and has its own restaurants, certainly NOT mess hall food.
              Membership is/was limited to former military officers, just as DACOR is/was limited to former Foreign Service Officers. The Sons of the Cincinnati owns Anderson House, one of the most spectacular places in the city; their membership is the "first son of the first son....of American Revolutionary War soldiers.

              There are many private clubs in Washington that are available for outside functions. Some require sponsorship by members because of tax laws; others are a bit more open. You may know someone who is a member without realizing it.
              It's worth calling because they hold some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the city.
              Examples are City Tavern Club, Georgetown Club, City Club, Washington Club, Sulgrave, Cosmos, Women's National Democratic Club, University Club, Arts Club, National Press Club, etc.
              There are even more in the suburbs...

              1. re: MakingSense

                I didn't say it was mess hall food, did I? I said that it was expensive. Below, for on-base functions, I commented on chow style. I checked it out, and based on our needs, it's not really the type of "club". I thought it was like the officers club on base, but obviously not.

                the Women's Democratic Club is also a place we've considered, but I really want to find a place friendly to outside catering because of our desire for mostly (or all if we can!) vegetarian and a vegan cake.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  My best friend had her wedding at the City Club. It was beautiful and the food was really, really good! I think they just paid an extra fee since they weren't members. But it wasn't so over the top that they couldn't have it there---they were working on a budget.

            2. re: Jeserf

              That is why you need someone who is already a member to sponser your event! They do it all the time there. And yes, they can do Kosher. You probably know a lot of members, just don't know it. If I were living in DC I would sponser your wedding, Mazal Tov!

          2. The Willard Room at the Willard Hotel. The Willard Room just closed recently as the hotel's main restaurant and is now only open for private events. The space is elegant and very historic (a veritable Who's Who of people have dined there).
            1789--historic and in Georgetown

            Mansion on O is a club but has good food and lovely ambience. (www.omansion.com)

            5 Replies
            1. re: Hungry Panda

              The Willard Room is VERY expensive for weddings!!

              1. re: Elyssa

                What about some of the art galleries or museums? I was thinking of my all time fav the Phillips off Dupont Circle, I wonder what they could do. Wouldn't that be a beautiful venue?

                1. re: The Shepherd

                  Art galleries, museums, etc. are wonderful. BUT remember as a general rule of thumb that any place that does not already have some type of permanently set-up dining room is going to be more expensive, usually MUCH more expensive.
                  You'll have to pay for rental of tables, chairs, linens, table settings, etc. Plus flowers, and usually after-hours charges, security guards, site rentals, etc.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    sadly MS is right, museums usu. have high room price and rigid rental (time and limited approved caterers, I had to do that for work a few times) make phone calls - why not. friends a few years back had a great and flexible wedding at the Carnegie Foundation on 16th (16th?). part catered, part self-provided.

                    I have no idea what their budget was, but I imagine the Foundation worked with them.

                    1. re: hill food

                      looking back at this I was was wrong, it was the Carnegie Institute 15 and P


            2. The Iron Gate on N St across from Tabard Inn is a lovey/romantic setting with the patio and dining room. It would probably be cheaper than some of the other places suggested. For your number, you could probably make up a menu with them.

              1. I think that the atrium space at the Bobby Van's on 12th street is the best in the city for a party of that size. I have attended several parties there and have always been impressed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bigcitywine

                  Mount Vernon (mountvernon.org) can host weddings & I think it would be lovely in October. It's about 13 miles outside the city, a nice drive down the GW Pkyway...

                2. Years ago, we had our rehearsal dinner for 40 people at Old Ebbitt Grill. They did a fantastic job, a beautiful room, the food was absolutely perfect. We had the choice of three entrees and got everyone's order in early, and while all the entrees were very good, the fish was outstanding. You can't beat the location for a quintessential Washington experience! Our wedding the next day was good too, (at the Sphinx Club on MacPherson Sq) but honestly, our relatives who went to the rehearsal dinner, just couldn't stop talking about Old Ebbitt. Good luck!

                  1. The Spirit and Odyssey boats should fit into that price range. The food is standard catering fare, but the view is quite special.

                    1. Just bumping this thread to see if anything was booked for your wedding.

                      I'm starting to look around more, and always looking for other people's ideas!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jeserf

                        I was looking at a lot of places for our wedding and rehearsal dinner. The most reasonable places that I found and liked were: The Washington Club, DAR building, 2941, Zola, Tabard Inn and SeaCatch. I don't know if this will help or not, but maybe. I ended up having it at the Greenbrier which was much more reasonable than one would think, but had done a lot of research here first.

                        My ex step-sister got married at the Mansion on O and it had very good food.

                        1. re: ktmoomau

                          was just wondering where the original poster went with.

                          Tabard would be great if it weren't 2nd floor only. When you have a handful of relatives that are over 90 years old, a stair case like that isn't good!

                          Just like to hear where others have gone with for smaller scale events, we aren't planning anything in stone yet, just filing ideas we like.

                          (military life...semper gumby)

                          1. re: Jeserf

                            Will they allow you to use the courtyard at the Tabard Inn? Depending on the time of year that can be lovely.

                            1. re: Elyssa

                              don't know - but we've pretty much nicked that. The date will not be in stone, so we have to think of ideas that are all weather friendly. The Tabard web site indicates that you rent the 2nd floor and they cater (yum...only donuts on the menu!)

                              stupid military! :)

                      2. I just recently got married and we had our rehearsal dinner at Equinox. The food was great and the setting was also nice. They have more info on their website. Not sure if would accomodate 100 people, but it's probably close. They have indoor seating as well as a patio.