DAR Wedding Cost: How much should I budget? – Updated 2024

How much will your wedding a DAR cost? This is what you want to know, what you need to know, right? I’ve planned many weddings at DAR over the past decade, and I am an expert on the cost of weddings there. So today I’m gonna do a deep dive into the costs associated with a wedding at DAR. I present: a sample DAR wedding budget!

DAR wedding cost - cocktail hour on the Terrace

Kurstin Roe Photography

First, the wedding budget below does not include anything for your attire, accessories or any alterations. There is simply no way for me to predict what you will spend on those items. 

Second, this wedding budget is based on 120 guests. DAR publishes that 140 is their max head count for a seated reception in the O’Byrne Gallery. And that is true. However, I’ve found that most of my clients end up with around 120 guests at their wedding. And I think this is a much more comfortable number for your wedding at DAR. Even with 120 guests, you will likely have to put 13 tables in the O’Byrne Gallery.  That is only 1 table under the max that will fit. Maxing out O’Byrne Gallery is tough if you have less than ideal weather because your guests sitting directly in front of the French doors may become uncomfortable. I would not invite more than 141 people to a DAR wedding unless you were going to also tent the Terrace/ If you want to read more about RSVP response rates, check out my recent post on real wedding statistics. 

With your initial rental of DAR for your wedding, you get the Pennsylvania Foyer, the O’Byrne Gallery, and the Portico. Most of my clients also rent the Library, usually for the cocktail hour, but sometimes for dinner (only if you have 106 guests or less!) The entire venue is fabulous, but your guests will love spending time in the Library.

If you want to have dinner in the Library, your max headcount is around 106. If you need more details on DAR wedding layouts, I’ve got your back.

dar wedding cost - dinner in the library

DAR has a nice list of preferred caterers who will do a great job for you. DAR also allows their wedding clients to bring in their own alcohol via Ace Beverage, and this can be cost savings, but you will have to make sure it is delivered and removed within the time-frame of your rental contract.

Wedding entertainment is a very personal choice, so I’ve noted a few options here. Most importantly, you should plan for your wedding officiant to have a lapel or wireless mic at the ceremony because there is a lot of ambient noise in this corner of the city! (Related: how to write your own wedding ceremony script.)

Wedding stationery is another place where you can decide to splurge or save. 

If you decide not to hire a professional wedding ceremony officiant, the person you ask to perform the ceremony must get one-time permission from the city (and pay a $55 fee), and they must be confirmed before you apply for your license. So be sure to have that on your planning schedule. Or, you can opt to “self-marry” and sign your own DC marriage license! This is a cool new feature to come out of pandemic weddings. 

Colorful Spring DAR wedding - O'Byrne reception - sea glass blue velvet linen

Dessert is a personal choice, but almost everyone has something. Sometimes, you can squeeze this into the catering budget.

There are nice hotels within walking distance of DAR, and buses are pricey: usually $240/hour, with a 4 hour minimum. My clients usually book a bus for 7 hours – that ends up being about $1680 per bus.

There are a lot of excellent wedding planners in DC, at various price points and offering different services. This is a very personal choice. Same with photography and videography, but I gave you a decent starting point here.

Lounge furniture and lighting are optional items but DAR really lends itself to these enhancements. You could trim the lighting budget by not doing any in the O’Byrne Gallery. 

DC Winter Wedding at Daughters of the American Revolution

You can fill out this form and I will send you a sample DC wedding budget custom to your specifications!