maryland home wedding ceremony flowers cost

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

Virginia estate wedding by wedding planner Bellwether Events 47
Lisa Boggs Photography

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

DAR wedding by top DC wedding planner Bellwether Events 11
Kurstin Roe Photography

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.

DAR wedding by top DC wedding planner Bellwether Events 20
Kurstin Roe Photography
Kurstin Roe Photography

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.

Eli Turner Studios

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.

Dumbarton House wedding ceremony
Liz Fogarty Photography

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.

Virginia home wedding by top DC wedding planner Bellwether Events 18
Katie Stoops Photography

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.

Bokeh Lane Photography

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.

glen echo park ceremony wedding
Deb Lindsey Photography

I wrote a whole blog post about the cost of a balloon arch. Cliff’s notes: the cost is $1300, all in.

Stephanie Dee Photography

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.

Riverside on the Potomac wedding- Bellwether Events - ceremony arch
Kurstin Roe Photography

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

Newseum wedding by top DC wedding planner Bellwether Events 07
Michelle Lindsay Photography

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.

Meridian House DC wedding cocktail reception
Procopio Photography

The lounge and bar you see here cost about $2500, all in. Does not include florals or linens/tables.

Torpedo Factory Wedding - Bellwether Events - Virginia event planner 21 ccoktail tent
Procopio Photography

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.

Carnegie Institution for Science Wedding - Bellwether Events - Washington DC event planner 18 cocktail lounge
Carnegie Institution for Science

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

Lisa Boggs Photography

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.

riverside on the potomac wedding barn large venue
Kurstin Roe Photography

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++.

DC wedding planner Bellwether Events Janice Carnevale - showroom wedding reception
Vicki Grafton Photography

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.

AVAM wedding reception head table by top DC wedding planner Bellwether Events
Kurstin Roe Photography

This table was 22 feet long. The decor on the table cost $500++ and the chandelier cost $1000++.

DC Wedding Costs: Fireworks

fireworks above the sperry tent
Katie Stoops Photography

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.