We are in the midst of the “peak” season for weddings. Something about spring — the warmer temperatures, the flowers and plants blooming, the absence of pro and college football games — seems to make it a perfect time for nuptials.
It also seems that there are quite a few engagements this time of year. All those happy couples need some place to get married, so we started to wonder if there were any wedding-worthy locations in Arlington. For the answer, we turned to Arlington-based professional photographer Jan Graves, of Jan Michele Photography.
Location-wise, it’s natural that most couples would immediately think D.C., with the monuments and the history and whatnot. But Graves says there are some worthy wedding venues to consider in Arlington. Here are her top six.
Ft. Myer Old Post Chapel (article)
Pro: “Light, bright and beautiful chapel, seats 200. And you can’t beat a Saber Arch upon leaving the church.”
Con: “Must be military to use. Can’t decorate the chapel.”
Top of the Town (website)
Pro: “Best views of DC you’ll find. Outdoor patio space — if the weather is nice.”
Con: “It’s at the top of a condo building so there are restrictions on music/noise. The ceiling is a bit low and it’s a long elevator ride plus a long hallway to get to the space, so it can feel a bit claustrophobic.”
Clarendon Ballroom (website)
Pro: “In the heart of Arlington, a unique venue with a rooftop patio for the cocktail hour — if the weather is nice.”
Con: “If the weather isn’t nice everything is in one room with curtain dividing the cocktail hour from the reception. It’s a very dark space and a blank space that requires lots of decorating to make it special.”
Crystal Gateway Marriott (website)
Pro: “Nice atrium type area for cocktail hour. Very close to airport.”
Con: “It’s a hotel”
Key Bridge Marriott (website)
Pro: “Amazing views of Georgetown and DC. Recently renovated in 2007. The food is great. Nice space for a hotel.”
Con: “It still has a bit of a hotel feel.”
Hilton Arlington (website)
Pro: “Metro accessible. Modern décor in hotel.”
Con: “As with a hotel, it requires extra decorating to personalize the ballroom.”
Graves says that Arlington is a fine place for a wedding, but it has its shortcomings.
“All of these Arlington locations are close enough to go into D.C. for pictures in between the ceremony and reception,” Graves noted. However, “none of these locations have a historical or personal feel, like the character of an old historic home or building would. None of them have nice places for pictures so traveling to another location for pictures should be built into the timeline.”
Graves says that couples considering a hotel should be prepared for some unique challenges.
“A hotel is convenient for out-of-town guests, particularly if there is lag time between the ceremony and reception,” she said. It “reduces the amount of transportation that needs to be provided for guests.”
On the down side, it “requires decorating to make the space unique.”
“With hotels there tends to be a lot of staff turnover so your contact person may change before the wedding. It’s often assumed that the event manager at the hotel will serve as a wedding coordinator, but they are only responsible for the elements the hotel provides (primarily food) and often will not help with the other details like decorating and coordinating other vendors and the schedule.”
All photos are courtesy Jan Graves / Jan Michele Photography.