decatur house wedding dc

Decatur House Wedding Cost: How Much Should I Budget? – Updated 2024

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, a Decatur House wedding cost analysis for this DC wedding venue.

This Decatur House wedding budget is based on a head count of 160, and assumes that the ceremony is on site. You can invite 200 guests and plan for 160 to attend. If you want to read more about RSVP response rates, check out my recent post on real wedding statistics. 

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. 

Decatur House DC wedding cost a sample wedding budget

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 120 guests or less and a DJ, you can skip the 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 its best.

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 $5000 – $15,000 on your photographer, so I split the baby here.

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 $1750 for personals, $1500 for your ceremony, $1000 for “other” and then 16 centerpieces at $250 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 $2000-5000, and bands range from $8000 – $15,000.

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 DC wedding ceremony tented
decatur house wedding cost analysis
Connor Studios

Have any questions? Please reach out! And don’t miss my wedding cost posts about DAR, Meridian House and Woodend Sanctuary. I also wrote a post about how much different wedding decor pieces cost.

You can also fill out this form and I will send you a rough budget custom to your specifications!

A Mini Ultimate Guide to Decatur House Weddings

chic black and white Decatur House DC Spring Wedding tented checkerboard floor

The Decatur House has a few flow options for your wedding day. The ceremony is usually in the Courtyard, under a tent. If you did not rent a tent, your ceremony could be held in the Carriage House. I have tried to set up a ceremony under the Courtyard overhang, but it is very limited in size. If you have 120 guests or fewer, you can have your cocktail reception in the Historic House. If you have 121 guests or more, your cocktail reception will be in the Carriage House. The Courtyard is almost always flipped for dinner. Typically, you dance inside the Carriage House, which is air-conditioned.

Decatur House Wedding: Sample Floor Plans

decatur house wedding floor plan sample washington dc
Decatur House DC wedding reception - Courtyard clear top tent - pale blue

Decatur House wedding for 170 guests with an off-site ceremony. Guests entered through the Historic House, had cocktails in the Carriage House, ate in the Courtyard, and danced in the Carriage House. It was a very typical Decatur House wedding flow!

Decatur House DC sample floor plan
Spring Decatur House wedding Washington DC

Decatur House wedding with 140 guests and an off-site ceremony. Guests entered through the Historic House, had cocktails in the Carriage House, ate in the Courtyard, and danced in the Carriage House.