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Wedding FAQ

Q: What are your capacities for weddings and wedding receptions?

A: The building best accommodates wedding receptions of 150 guests with a dance floor.  If you choose to tent the grounds, you can accommodate up to 450 guests.

Q: How much does it cost to rent the Historical Society of Washington, DC?

A: Use of the building and the K Street Plaza is $16,000, of which $11,500 is tax deductible.  To use only the grounds, the cost is $10,000 - $12,000.   The building, K Street Plaza and the grounds are $24,000, of which $17,500 is a tax deductible donation.  Double rates apply on major holidays including New Years Eve.   Event hours are 6pm – 11pm.  Your event can be extended to as late as 2:30am.

Q: What is included in the building rental fee and support costs?

A: The fees listed above include use of the building, security guards (required), a building engineer,  cleaning person for the restrooms during your event and on-site staff.

Q: Is any portion of the rental fee tax deductible?

A: Yes, with a basic rental $11,500 is tax deductible as a donation to a 501(c)3.

Q: What is the total cost to have an event, including vendors?

A: There are many ways to plan your reception and costs are impacted by the look you are trying to create, the food and the length of your event. We estimate that receptions range $300 - $500 per person.

Following is a list of potential vendors you will need to hire:
    •    Caterer
    •    Lighting Company
    •    Audio/Visual
    •    Florist
    •    Décor Company
    •    DJ / Band
    •    Valet
    •    Dance Floor Company
    •    Catering Tent

Q: Do you have tables and chairs?

A: We have 120 hotel style ballroom chairs.  We do not have tables, sound systems or decorative lighting.

Q: How long does load-in and load-out take??

A: For many events, load-in takes 5-6 hours. Load-out takes approximately 3 hours. More complex events will take additional time. Be sure to confirm load-in and load-out times with vendors at the time of contract.

Q: How late can my reception go?

A: Your reception can go as late as 2:30am.  Additional fees apply to parties ending after 11pm.

Q: I would like to do my ceremony and reception at the Historical Society. How does that work??

A: You can do both events at the Historical Society.  With a building rental, we allow for up to a 1 hour ceremony on the grounds.  You can also get married in any of the indoor spaces.

Q: I want to serve ethnic cuisine. Do any of your approved caterers provide that service?

A: Many of our approved caterers can provide a variety of cuisines.

Q: Can I have a restaurant to cater my reception? ?

A: Restaurants are not permitted to cater on their own. Some caterers will partner with restaurants to provide food, service and equipment for your event.

Q: Can I use a vendor that is not on your approved list??

A: The Historical Society of Washington DC has exclusive vendors for sound, lighting, staging, décor, valet, video and tenting.  For catering, you must select a caterer from our list.  Under extraordinary circumstances we may approve a vendor that is not on our list.  Please discuss this with the Special Events department.

Q: Do I need to hire a wedding planner??

A: Wedding Planners are not required. However, keep in mind that a good wedding planner can save you money. We do require that you provide an event day contact that is not part of the wedding party or immediate family. It is strongly suggested that you hire an experienced person to handle this aspect of your wedding. They can oversee your vendors, make sure your event stays on schedule and help prevent costly damages to the venue.

Q: Can I have candles?

A: Due to the historic collection housed within the museum, you cannot have candles inside the building.  In addition, we do not permit sparklers inside the building.  You may have both outside.

Q: Can my guests throw rose petals or rice?

A: We do not allow dark flower petals, confetti, glitter or rice.

Q: Can I bring in my own alcohol??

A: We do allow event hosts to provide their own alcohol through an approved supplier. Some caterers do not allow clients to provide their own alcohol, as they carry the license and liability for liquor.

Q: Is smoking permitted in the building??


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The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. • 801 K Street, NW at Mount Vernon Square • Washington, DC 20001 • 202.383.1850 •