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Mar 10, 2010 04:38 PM

Wedding at DC Hotel for foodies - St. Regis, Hay Adams, The Williard or The Madison?

We are planning a DC wedding for October, but neither of us live in DC (I just moved to LA from DC after 15 years) - and we cannot get there in time for taste testings. We are deciding between four hotels that are pretty comparable on most levels (would love any insight), but are unclear about the quality of the food. We really need some help on this. It is a hundred person wedding and we would really love top-notch food.


St. Regis, Hay Adams, The Williard or The Madison?



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  1. Adour at the St. Regis is very good. I'd also recommend looking into The W for J&G Steakhouse.

    12 Replies
    1. re: reiflame

      I went to a wedding at the Hay Adams and wasn't that impressed with the food. Is the reason you want a hotel is you want one stop shopping?

      1. re: beauxgoris

        that is great information. We are concerned about the Hotel food...

        We have gone through most of the venues - and the time of year, availability and all the moving parts make the hotels more attractive. We are still consdering the Decatur House and the Women in the Arts Museum, but leaning toward the hotels. It is also far less costly in the end. while the venues charge for the space (about $12,000) the hotel deals we are working on do not.

          1. re: naomibs

            I seriously doubt if there is a single person on this board that has ever heard of the Decatur House or the Women in the Arts Museum for a wedding dinner. I'm just curious: why are they among the venues you're considering for this?

            If I am wrong will someone please correct me?

            1. re: Joe H

              Consider yourself corrected. I've attended two receptions (not weddings) and one wedding at Women in the Arts Museum (WAM). I suspect the OP is considering WAM since the physical space is absolutely gorgeous; the combination of the Great Hall and the mezzanine creates one of the best places imaginable to hold any type of reception. The problem with WAM based on my person experience was the food. At the time I attended events there, WAM used to have a small cafe and, I believe, that all catering was done through the in-house caterers. This resulted in truly indifferent cuisine. The current language on the web site suggests that clients can hire outside caterers.

              Incidentally, there tends to be all sorts of restrictions on menus when events are held in museums (e.g. red wine either cannot be served at all or can only be served in designated areas well away from the art)

              I haven't attended an event at Decatur House, but again, it is well known among folks who plan events in the DC area. It is a historic property that is unique since its couryard and the carriage house, a modern addition, features large spaces that can accommodate many attendees. Most historic properties only offer lots of small rooms with the result that large groups get divided among many discrete rooms -- a far from ideal situation. In fact, Decatur House is just like that in the historic building per se; however, the carriage house was built to address this problem with the result that Decatur House is the go-to choice for hosts who want a historic property but also have a large guest list.

              1. re: Joe H

                Excuse me - I have been to weddings at both locations. Both weddings were beautifully executed. Susan Gage did the catering for the Museum for Women in the Arts and the food was perfect.

                1. re: beanodc

                  Oh man, Susan Gage! I used to work for a company that had all its many events done by SG and it was all sooooo good. Mmm, delicious flashbacks...

                2. re: Joe H

                  I've actually heard wonderful things about the Women in the Arts Museum for a wedding. I don't know how the food is but a number of people I know rave about it as a wedding venue.

                  1. re: Joe H

                    Went to a wedding at Women in the Arts Museum last year. Just beautiful! I think it would be especially great for a group your size. Was the food knock your socks of amazing? Of course not - but the caterer did a great job IMO and it was all quite good. I have been to a ton of hotel weddings where the food was not nearly as good, and be realistic, you are looking at a set number of entrees that will have to be acceptable to a wide variety of tastes. Things I loved: Cocktail reception amongst the museum galleries (with great mojitos), atmosphere, GORGEOUS space, and there was a delciious 'chocolate bar' at the wedding I attended. I don't know if they work with a specific caterer, but I really thought this was a fabulous wedding. Maybe one of the most lovely and well done I had ever attended!

              2. re: reiflame

                The catering/banquet side of hotels is usually separate from the restaurants, so don't expect to find the same food.

                1. re: reiflame

                  The catering for the weddings might not come from the kitchen of Adour or J & G Steakhouse....actually it's probably a little unlikely, so you should double check.

                2. I had to plan a formal work event at the St. Regis -- granted, about 4 or 5 years ago -- but the food was divine. Baby lamb chops, mmmm. And as I recall, the event pricing was pretty reasonable.

                  1. Does each hotel offer a tasting dinner? Whether it is part of the basic price or simply available for a fee, I'd be inclined to rule out any hotel that does not allow you to have a tasting dinner.

                    For years and years, I was part of a group that held a dinner dance at Tivoli in Roslyn. This is a middle of the road restaurant not especially renowned for its food. However, our meals were always quite delicious because of our due diligence holding a tasting dinner. At these dinners, we made our menu choices and we tweaked any dishes that weren't 100% to our liking. In fact, folks who attended both our event and other functions at Tivoli always commented on the difference in the quality of our food.

                    Incidentally, unless you have explicit information that a hotel's resident restaurant is providing the cooking for your function, I wouldn't assume that the restaurant's reputation is any indicator of the quality of catered food. Usually catered meals are handled by an entirely different kitchen than the restaurant kitchen.

                    1. I went to a wedding at the Willard 2 years ago that was probably one of the best weddings I've ever been to....and part of that was because of the excellent food. For hors d'oeuvers they had a magnificent raw bar and dumpling bar. For the main course there was a very good crab cake (maybe served with a filet...I can't remember the 2nd part).

                      It's a beautiful place for a dream wedding....I highly recommend it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Elyssa

                        I've never been to a wedding at the Willard, but I went to a very formal Christmas party there and the food was divine. (After the party, we went down the street to see Les Miz at the National Theater, and we got cast albums as a party favor. Ahhh, lobbyists! Did I mention this was for a major American auto manufacturer on the day they announced massive layoffs?)

                        And the venue is beyond gorgeous, and soooo DC.

                      2. Adore The Willard and the food has always been top notch!