decatur house wedding dc

Decatur House Wedding Cost: How Much Should I Budget?

I got a request to write a budget post for this DC wedding venue, which was a huge honor! Incidentally, when I was last at the Decatur House, setting up for my clients’ wedding this past October, there was another couple there on a tour. They chatted with me for a minute and at top of their mind was clearly what the overall budget would look like at Decatur House. So here we go, with a Decatur House wedding cost analysis for this DC wedding venue.

As usual, this Decatur House wedding budget is based on a particular head count, with the ceremony on site, and a lot of assumptions about what you prioritize for your wedding. Yes, this is a six-figure budget. If you had 130 guests or fewer, you can easily cut that by over 10%.

Decatur House Wedding DC tented ceremony wedding
Connor Studios

The rental fee for Decatur House is really reasonable, considering its location and how large it is. But you also have to consider the tent costs. If you have 130 guests or less, you can get away without a tent. How? If the weather was poor, you could marry in the Carriage House, have your cocktail reception in the Historic House, and the Carriage House could be flipped for your dinner/dance reception.

The tent fee I show here has a lot of bells and whistles. A clear top tent is more expensive than a white top tent. The starry night lighting installation is more expensive than other lighting options. This assumes you need a couple of heaters for the early spring or late fall, and a few other items that make the tent and the Carriage House look a little nicer.

Catering is certainly a variable cost, but at Decatur House, the kitchen is in the basement, and load-in can take a while because a lot of things are carried in in small batches, so you cannot skimp on staffing. You get away with one set of chairs for the ceremony and reception, so that is a plus. It is also really nice that you can bring your own alcohol to this venue.

You can spend $3000 – $15,000 on your photographer, so I split the baby here. I did not include a line item for videography – you can assume a minimum spend of $4000.

Stationery is another wild card (have I said that before?) You could go with Minted, which could cost hundreds, or you could go with custom, six-color letterpress on triple-thick paper. The choice is all yours!

Flowers are another area where it’s hard for me to guess what you could spend, so I assume $1000 for personals, $1500 for your ceremony, $700 for “other” and then 16 centerpieces at $200 each, plus labor and delivery.

For your entertainment, I included a string quartet for your ceremony and cocktail hour, and a nice band for your dinner. A DJ could run $1500-4000, and bands range from $4000 – $18,000.

DC is the easiest place in the area to have a friend or family member marry you – and now they offer the option for you to sign your own marriage license – so easy! Check out my post on how to write your own wedding ceremony if you plan to go this route. The rental furniture and uplights are “nice to haves” but not “must haves.”

decatur house wedding cost analysis
Connor Studios
Decatur House DC wedding reception - Courtyard clear top tent - pale blue

Have any questions? Please reach out! And don’t miss my wedding cost posts about DAR, Meridian House and Woodend Sanctuary. I tried to keep the line items the same from post to post, as much as I could! You can also fill out this form and I will send you a rough budget custom to your specifications!

Decatur House Wedding: Sample Floor Plan

decatur house wedding floor plan sample washington dc