Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium Weddings

Available for exclusive rental 365 days a year, the Mellon Auditorium is Washington DC’s premiere event venue for seated dinners, conferences, receptions, product launches, branding events and weddings. The following rates apply to corporate, non-profit and social events. US Federal Agencies, please contact the Mellon Auditorium for government rates and inclusions.
We recommend all couples interested in hosting their wedding at the Mellon Auditorium read Weddings: Frequently Asked Questions.
For pricing specific to your event, please contact the AWMA management office.
Mellon Auditorium Standard Rental Fees

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Wedding FAQ

Q: What are your capacities for weddings and wedding receptions?

A: The building best accommodates events with 200-500 guests. If you are doing ceremony and reception, 200-400 is the best range. If you are holding only a reception, 200-600 guests are fine.

Q: How much does it cost to rent the Mellon Auditorium?
A: Many events at the Mellon cost approximately $18,750 for the building rental and building support costs. This is based on 14 hours of access time, including your load-in and load-out access hours, which must fall between 8 a.m. and and 2 a.m. to avoid incurring surcharge fees. Most weddings use 12-noon to 2 a.m. with their reception ending at 11 p.m. Please refer to our price listing for exact prices.

Q: What is included in the building rental fee and support costs?
A: The fees listed above include rental of the building, security guards (required), a building engineer, on-site staff for the entire event from load-in through load-out, and a cleaning person for the restrooms during your event.

Q: Do I need a catering tent, and what is that cost or additional fee?
A: You are required by the Health Department to have a catering tent if your caterer (kitchen) will be set up outside. The Mellon Auditorium has a $600.00 security fee for usage of this exterior door in addition to the rental cost of the tent.

Q: Is any portion of the rental fee tax deductible?
A: No. The rental of the building is not considered a donation.

Q: What is the total cost to have an event, including vendors?
A: There are many ways to plan your reception and costs are impacted by the look you create, the food choices, and the length of your event. We estimate that receptions with 200-300 guests will range in total a total cost of $300 – $500 per person. For events over 300 guests, the range is $250 and up.
Following is a list of potential vendors you will need to hire:
  • Caterer
  • Lighting Company
  • Audio/Visual
  • Florist
  • Décor Company
  • DJ / Band
  • Valet
  • Dance Floor Company
  • Catering Tent

Q: Do you have tables and chairs?
A: No, the building does not have any equipment, sound systems or decorative lighting.

Q: How long does load-in and load-out take?
A: For many events, load-in takes 5-6 hours. Load-out takes approximately 3 hours, but usually no less. More complex events will take additional time. We require a minimum of 3 hours for load out. If your load out takes less time we will refund the time. Be sure to confirm load-in and load-out times with vendors at the time of contract.

Q: Can my reception go until 1:00am?
A: Yes, alcohol service must end by 1:00am. Guests must depart the building by 2:00am. There will be additional fees for events with load-outs past 2am. If load-out extends past 5am, a $6,000 load-out fee is incurred.

Q: I would like to do my ceremony and reception at the Mellon. How does that work?
A: You can do both events within the auditorium. Your caterer will need to turn over the ballroom after the ceremony while your guests are having cocktails. Depending on your guest count and the caterer you hire, your cocktail reception will need to be at minimum 1 hour and often longer to change over the set-up of the room. This turn over works best if tables are preset behind the columns. They can be masked with foliage or draping.

Q: How can I get an approved vendor list?
A: Please email [email protected] with this request.

Q: I want to serve ethnic cuisine. Do any of your approved caterers provide that service?
A: Many of our approved caterers can provide a variety of cuisines.

Q: Can I have a restaurant to cater my reception?
A: Restaurants are not permitted to cater on their own. Some caterers will partner with restaurants to provide food, service and equipment for your event.

Q: Can I use a vendor that is not on your approved list?
A: If the vendor meets the building requirements, they can provide service at your event. General vendors need to have $1 million in liability insurance and need to have worked at 10 historic or museum spaces in the past year. Caterers need to have $3 million dollars in liability insurance, including liquor liability and need to have worked at 10 historic or museum spaces in the past year.

Q: Can I have my wedding and reception in the Green Rooms?
A: The green rooms are included in the entire building rental. You can utilize them as event space. However, Green Room only rentals (without the auditorium) are permitted 45 days or less prior to the event. Therefore, they are only practical for last minute weddings. If you are having a last minute wedding, we do not recommend more than 100 guests for wedding receptions in the Green Rooms.

Q: What is a catering tent?
A: Most often, caterers utilize the Green Rooms as their kitchen. If you choose to use the Green Rooms for event space, you will need to rent a tent for the caterers. Catering tents range in price from $2000 to $5000, depending on the size of your event and time of year.

Q: Do I need to hire a wedding planner?
A: Wedding Planners are not required. However, keep in mind that a good wedding planner can save you money. We do require that you provide an event day contact that is not part of the wedding party or immediate family. It is strongly suggested that you hire an experienced person to handle this aspect of your wedding. They can oversee your vendors, make sure your event stays on schedule and help prevent costly damages to the venue.

Q: Can I have candles?
A: We only allow votive candles in votive holders sitting on tables. We do not allow candles to be incorporated into floral arrangements. No pillar candles, votive candles in votive candelabras, or floating candles are permissible. No exceptions. LED candles can be used in each of these scenarios.

Q: Can my guests throw rose petals or rice?
A: We allow only white rose petals to be thrown in the building. The caterer must take responsibility for cleaning them up. We do not allow dark flower petals, confetti, glitter or rice.

Q: Can I bring in my own alcohol?
A: We do allow event hosts to provide their own alcohol through an approved supplier. Some caterers do not allow clients to provide their own alcohol, as they carry the license and liability for liquor.
Q: Is smoking permitted in the building?

All Faxes can be sent to: 202-786-0022 or emailed to [email protected]

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