DC Weddings: What Does it Cost?
The biggest challenge, I think, in the wedding industry is that the engaged couple is constantly asking “what does it cost?” And they won’t know what anything costs without procuring a proposal from a provider. This can be an inefficient use of everyone’s time. There is a lot of sticker shock with weddings, particularly in more urban areas like DC, usually due to the high cost of labor and overhead.
I like to confront the unknown wedding costs head-on. I often will include a budget in an initial proposal – before I’m hired – in order to “rip the band-aid off” ASAP. Couples reach out to me because they like what they see in my portfolio. I want them to know the range of pricing they can expect if they want their wedding to look like those in my portfolio.
With that in mind, for today’s post, I’ve pulled some of my favorite things from the past decade to share with you the cost (at the time!) in the hopes that this will help educate engaged couples as they begin planning their DC area weddings.
DC Wedding Cost: DIY Welcome Gift
These beautiful welcome boxes cost about $15 each before assembly and delivery. This includes the box, the custom sticker, and the custom welcome note you see here, designed by Fig. 2.
DC Wedding Ceremonies: Decor Costs
This custom piece (above and below) was made a few years ago by Event Revolution for $3400++. Above is what the guests saw when they arrived at DAR for the wedding ceremony. They walked through the Pennsylvania Foyer, through O’Byrne and onto the Portico for the ceremony. During the ceremony, the clear top was swappe from the welcome message to the seating chart, below. The candles cost $725++. The florals cost $1650++. Drinks were additional. Lesson Learned: I wish the text had been a little higher so it wasn’t obstructed by the florals – that was an oversight on my part.
For a completely different welcome display for a DAR wedding, we rented these pieces from White Glove. This vignette was $516++ – florals and drinks are additional. I bought the mirror and it was calligraphed with a welcome message for $200.
This wedding ceremony arch cost $900++ and the two florals in the foreground were $300 each. We repurposed everything you see here for the reception – the florals on the barrels became tall centerpieces and we moved the arch to frame the sweetheart table for the reception.
Everything you see here cost $1950++ (not the chairs) for this beautiful wedding at Dumbarton House. We later repurposed the aisle decor on the dinner tables.
I don’t have an exact figure on this stunning floral arch from 9 years ago, but it is estimated to be $2300++ in today’s dollars. This includes the petals and the flanking ferns.
I don’t have an exact figure on the above ceremony backdrop. I asked a floral designer what she would charge, and she said it would start at $750.
I wrote a whole blog post about the cost of a balloon arch. Cliff’s notes: the cost is $1300, all in.
We took advantage of the amazing ivy arch that exists at Hendry House already and just added one arrangement ($175++) on the right side, plus tucked loose flowers into the arch on the left side. Lesson Learned: I wish we had added a rug here.
This rustic wedding ceremony arch structure is one of two options included at Riverside on the Potomac. The florals installed here cost $500++. Lesson Learned: I wish I had found a way to repurpose this awesome arrangement.
DC Wedding Costs: Cocktail Reception Components
This was an 8×10 freestanding wall that cost $2600++ about 6 years ago. That does not include the flowers ($475++) or seating cards (DIY.) After the guests picked up their cards, we installed shelves on this wall and displayed the party favors (caramel apples) for guests to pick up on their way out of the wedding. Lesson Learned: I did not consider how tall the wall was, and how people might have a hard time grabbing from the top or bottom of the wall. So I ended up staffing this wall for the entirety of cocktail hour to help guests get their cards.
The lounge and bar you see here cost about $2500, all in. Does not include florals or linens/tables.
For the bar and 2 lounges in this wedding reception tent, the cost was about $4300, all in. That does not include the linens/tables, the plants or the florals.
The lounge and bar you see here came to about $1700 all in. That doesn’t include the linens/tables and the florals.
DC Wedding Head Tables: Decor Costs
This floral chandelier is 12 feet long: two six-foot ladders end to end. The table is 20 feet long. The ladders were $850++ total, the garland on the table was $225++ and we placed the bridesmaid bouquets amidst the garland.
The drape you see here is $1400 all in. The rented farm tables were $100++. The 10-foot floral chandelier and the table decor (mostly candles) was $1250++.
At the far end of this photo you can see a custom art piece made from fabric that the bride picked out and designed. Event Revolution installed it for us for $1750++. I do not know the cost of the fabric.
This table was 22 feet long. The decor on the table cost $500++ and the chandelier cost $1000++.
DC Wedding Costs: Fireworks
Fireworks for your wedding are *relatively* inexpensive, once you are in a certain budget zone. It is about $1250 per minute, with a 5-minute minimum. And you don’t really need more than 5 minutes for a wedding fireworks show. Contact Digital Lightning for more info.
I sincerely hope you found this post helpful when thinking about your wedding decor and allocating your wedding funds. Some of these events were 9 or 10 years ago, so the pricing may be a bit outdated.
The “++” mentioned above refers to the addition of taxes and delivery/installation fees. Taxes vary from state to state, and delivery/installation fees can be a flat cost or can be a percentage of your total bill.