Summer may be over but that doesn’t mean the party has to end! In fact, for many, the fall is when the entertaining really ramps up as we head into the holidays. Whether you’re looking to host your next corporate function, Oktoberfest, bar or bat mitzvah, or holiday gala, we’ve got the information you need for choosing the site for your unforgettable celebration!
Depending on the type of event you are hosting, you’ll want to consider the following:
How many guests do you anticipate hosting? This will help to narrow down your venue options based on their maximum (and comfortable) capacity. Keep in mind; the type of event also impacts your spacing needs… For example, a cocktail reception with high-tops spaced out for standing and mingling has greatly different needs than that of a butlered dinner.
What is included in your rental fees? Some venues include tables, chairs, linens, etc. while others require you rent your own. Similarly, some spaces require use of an in-house caterer, whereas others allow you to bring in your caterer of choice. Setting your priorities and determining what your caterers needs are will help you to factor in any additional expenses that may be required.
Where is your venue, and how far are people travelling to get there? Depending on the nature of your event, you may want to consider proximity to airport and/or lodging for your guests. Some hotels may include a shuttle to and from the airport, or within a certain radius, providing added convenience for your guests. Additionally, another factor to consider is accessibility to other dining, nightlife and attractions nearby, particularly if your guests are coming from out of town or are staying for longer than just your event!
Does your event have a particular theme or overall aesthetic you’re looking for? This may help to narrow your search! Envisioning the details of your celebration coming to life will help to quickly prioritize what you’re looking for in a venue.
Some options you may want to factor in as you’re planning include cohesion with style of tables and chairs and tablescapes, to centerpieces and flowers, backdrops, lighting & flexible space (for dance floor, music, other entertainment, games/activities, etc.), and of course capacity and pricing,
While all of this may seem overwhelming at first, it’s important to remember that there is no shortage of event spaces in the D.C. Metro Area! The vast array of sites provides something for everyone, from intimate gatherings, to large conventions, and from rustic barns to historic halls. We’ve included a small round up of some of our favorite local venues to get your search started!
Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn
The Briar Patch offers a variety of spaces based on the size and duration of your event. From small and intimate gatherings, to large weekend-long celebrations, you’ll enjoy this picturesque setting in the heart of horse country. As an inn, this all-inclusive property provides guest access to B&B rooms on site, as well as many of the rentals needed for your event, making this one of our favorite spots for weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs and corporate retreats!
Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters
Photo credit: Scott Braman
DAR Headquarters is conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C. While the O’Byrne Gallery and Portico are notable for their elegance and stunning views of the Washington Monument, respectively, there are a total of nine indoor and outdoor event spaces available for private events! With so many spaces to choose from to fit your taste and budget, you’re sure to be covered for your next stately event, corporate fundraiser or wedding!
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial
While the Grand Masonic Hall is the most popular rental space inside the G.W. Masonic National Memorial due to the regal setting for weddings, corporate functions, and other formal galas, there are a several other rooms, theaters and outdoor spaces available for rent for social events. The variety of space options and the ability to customize to meet your event’s needs, as well as overall elegance and grandeur throughout the building (take one step inside Memorial Hall and you’ll see what we mean!), are just a few of the reasons why we love catering here!
The Hendry House at Fort C.F. Smith Park
Nestled in the woods of Fort C.F. Smith Park, the Hendry House is a small jewel hidden in Arlington. Great for corporate functions, intimate weddings, and holiday or birthday parties, this historic site boasts four rooms for use for smaller events inside the historic house, as well as the ability to expand capacity by adding a tent on the lawn. Surrounded by the beautiful natural background of lush greenery, this venue is sure to impress your guests!
Stone Tower Winery
Set amongst the gorgeous backdrop of Hogback Mountain is one of the areas most popular wineries, Stone Tower Winery. From small get-togethers with friends for wine tasting and a picnic, to weddings, corporate and private events, Stone Tower is the place to be! The Vineyard View Ballroom, so aptly named for it’s sweeping views of the mountain and vines, serves as a beautiful option for large events, while Wild Boar Hall and the Summit Room provide the perfect setting for a more intimate corporate retreat. With several spaces available to rent, this is one of our favorite venues due to the natural beauty and functionality for hosting special events!
Strong Mansion’s setting on Sugarloaf Mountain emanates serenity, sophistication and historical charm. With formal gardens, a spacious ballroom, and a picturesque pond, this venue is a gorgeous option for weddings, but also provides an interesting escape for any social event! Given the capacity of the mansion, as well as the grounds and tented patio, Strong Mansion is an excellent choice for those with a medium-to-large guest list, looking to impress their guests!
Top of the Town
Located in Rosslyn, VA, Top of the Town offers breathtaking panoramic views of the nation’s capital, including the famous Washington, D.C. landmarks and the Potomac River. With its spacious ballroom and outdoor terrace, the striking views provide the perfect ambiance for any event, from elegant holiday parties and corporate retreats, to grand galas, bar and bat mitzvahs, and wedding receptions. Named “the best view in town,” by Washingtonian Magazine, we couldn’t agree more and are confident that you and your guests will too!
Michael Evans is chef-owner of Helga’s Caterers, a family-owned, full-service catering company with over 35 years of experience in providing fine food and excellent service for all of your catering needs throughout the D.C. Metro Area.