I had a dream wedding-- and it was in large part to being married in a dream building. Booking the Carnegie Institution was the FIRST thing I did as a newly engaged bride. The staff, notably, Becky-- helped me set everything up with such ease. I fell in love with the venue and had dreams of walking down the spiral staircase. Becky and the Carnegie Institution made it possible and all of our out of town guests had so much fun and said they had never seen such an amazing/beautiful venue! Thanks, Becky!
We absolutely loved this venue and received countless compliments on our wedding night of how beautiful, unique, and perfect it was!
Becky and Amanda at the Carnegie were so helpful with everything from providing measurements so I could buy decor, providing recommendations, support with meeting vendors at the venue for walk throughs, and assistance with storage the day before the wedding. They are very professional and helpful!
The space itself is simply gorgeous and cannot be beat when it comes to price and beauty in the DC area. Comparable venues that we saw cost nearly double.
We paid extra to use the main doors and purchased an extra hour as the base package of 4 hours was too short since we held our ceremony there as well. If using the Carnegie for your ceremony, definitely have your chairs set up in a circular pattern. It was intimate, beautiful and my guests were raving that it was the best venue they had ever been to. The bride's suite is an upstairs library which is perfect for unique photos and allows you to peek downstairs at everyone coming in!
We booked this venue over a year in advance and had to settle for a Friday date since it books so quickly on Saturdays but it was totally worth it and I would not have changed a thing! Thanks, Carnegie staff for maintaining such a gorgeous piece of DC!
The Carnegie was the perfect venue for our wedding. The staff was excellent to work with and made sure our special day was perfect. The site itself is absolutely beautiful right in downtown DC near DuPont Circle. Our guests were blown away with how nice our venue was.
I would highly recommend the Carnegie Institution to anyone that is looking to married in DC.
Alexis and the Carnegie team were amazing. They have hosted many events so the entire team is extremely knowledgeable about local event policies as well as those for their venue. A big part of why we chose them is that you get the use of the full venue for your day, they only schedule one event per day, and it was and visual that we wanted at the best price point in the city. The marble floors, beautiful skylights and details meant that we didn't have to invest a lot of extra money into heavy decor also! I can't say enough wonderful things about this venue and the events team.
After extensively looking for a non-hotel venue that could hold more than 120 people in DC that I could afford, I finally found Carnegie. From the minute I contacted the venue (even before I was engaged!), Alexis Fleming was extremely responsive and helpful and she continued to be so throughout the entire process. I went to the venue and it was as beautiful as I thought it would be and booked that day for 15 months out. This is truly a hidden gem and it made the wedding. Though there was a pretty steep 15% holiday weekend up-charge, fortunately, there was also a 10% military discount. There are also a few significant costs that you’ll likely want ($800 to open the portico, $300/hour for extra hours for set-up or a longer event), so in the end the price may wind up higher than you planned, but it’s definitely worth it. To have the extra rooms to set up and have a separate bride and groom rooms is awesome (and for Jewish brides, the library works great for the ketubah signing). So much about the venue is amazing – the incredible spiral staircase, getting married in the round so no one is more than 5 rows away from you, the beautiful façade, and the vaulted ceilings. Just gorgeous. Two concerns I had were the acoustics and fitting guests into the ceremony and ballroom. The DJ was able to accommodate the echoing in the rotunda and he had a speaker in the ballroom – I think another speaker would have been helpful and possibly one on the portico as it was hard to get people to dinner as the people there couldn’t hear the DJ. As for the guests, I had 17 tables and 163 people and though it was cozy, it definitely fit comfortably. The ballroom did get hot during dinner and that was with the doors open and having perfect 72-degree weather outside; I’m not sure how to rectify that except maybe to bring in fans for the ballroom. Overall, Carnegie is an amazing venue both because of the fantastic event planners and the venue itself! I highly recommend it!
We absolutely loved Carnegie for our wedding ceremony and reception venue. My husband is from New Zealand and I am from DC, so we wanted to make sure we had a really "DC" venue for all our overseas guests. Carnegie ticked all the boxes and our guests loved it. We love how well maintained the space is and the different rooms that can be used for the ceremony, cocktail hour and the reception. We held our ceremony in the Rotunda and I was able to come down the spiral staircase which made a beautiful entrance. We paid for use of the Portico and it was great to have the big doors open for cocktail hour so guests could mingle out on the steps and enjoy the nice spring weather. The ballroom was a great size for our group (100 guests at 13 tables), although you could definitely put more in there. Dancing in the Rotunda was a lot of fun and made for some very cool pictures!
The Carnegie staff was very easy to work with and responsive to emails. My main point of contact was Becky and she always answered by questions quickly. They were also very accommodating in terms of viewing the space more than once and scheduling rehearsal time. I liked that they were able to store our additional alcohol over the weekend so that we didn't have to pay an expensive weekend pick-up fee from the alcohol supplier. It was also great that they do not stipulate which vendors may work in the space so we did not feel restricted in our choices. The only slight issue was that vendors can only start loading into the space 2.5 hours before the event begins. Several of my vendors commented that this was a bit tight and therefore they needed to bring a few extra staff. Thankfully most my vendors had worked at Carnegie before, though, so they knew the layout and this was not a big problem.
Overall Carnegie is a gorgeous DC venue and a great price for the area!
Carnegie is an architecturally beautiful site, well maintained and reasonably priced, but access was a problem. My planner had difficulty getting into the venue early on the day of the wedding to set up so it was a scramble to complete the set-up.
My husband and I really wanted to have our wedding someplace unique and beautiful, and we absolutely fell in love with the Carnegie once we saw what an amazing space it is. We had about 145 guests, and everyone fit comfortably in the ballroom for dinner. The rotunda is an amazing dance floor, and the lighting through the grand front doors during our first dance was fantastic. Becky and Alexis were incredibly responsive and helped us make sure that everything ran smoothly.
Let me start off by saying that having my wedding at the Carnegie was one of the best decisions I made regarding my wedding. The Carnegie played an integral part in my vision of an elegant wedding. If you've ever been inside, you know how gorgeous and absolutely breathtaking the space is. All of my guests were raving all night long about the building and its beauty. And the building is surprisingly versatile too! We had our ceremony in the Rotunda like most others, but we actually had our chuppah in the middle, with guests sitting all around us. It made for an incredibly unique and personal ceremony. It was also great to have three separate "rooms" (the Rotunda, Boardroom, and Ballroom) that were equally stunning and full of character for the different events of the night, as opposed to the standard hotel ballroom (one looks like the next, doesn't it?) that has to be dressed up with so much artificial decor (like neon lighting) to make it look nice.
Additionally, from day one it was very obvious that the staff the Carnegie hires is extremely professional and they will not disappoint. I had a great time working with Alexis and Becky in the weeks leading up to my wedding. They were so responsive and on top of everything. During the walkthrough, Becky made helpful suggestions about lighting and took notes on some of my quirky preferences for the reception layout. Michelle Fischer, the person on site during the actual wedding, was fabulous as well. She worked behind the scenes to make sure everything I requested was carried out seamlessly.
Finally, like most others, it's important to note how flexible the Carnegie is. You can bring your own alcohol, there is no restriction on red wines, they allow you to use their tables and chairs free of charge, and you can choose your own caterer, which is a huge plus. I highly, highly recommend holding your wedding at the Carnegie!
Carnegie was a stunning venue for my wedding ceremony and reception. Becky and Alexis were wonderfully helpful as we navigated planning the wedding. The only negative I have is that the venue reports the capacity to be 150-170 (depending on where you look), and with 125 guests, the size was perfect; I would not recommend this venue for events larger than that. Other than that, though, it was an amazing venue with gorgeous architecture and great staff. It's a great "uniquely DC" sort of venue that's a little off the beaten path, while still being downtown. My out-of-town guests loved the location and the venue itself!
We held our wedding reception at the Carnegie Institution for Science on December 1, 2012, and had an absolute blast. The venue is GORGEOUS and our guests raved and raved about the rotunda, board room, and ballroom space. Several of our guests went upstairs to take pictures of the dancing in the rotunda below. Plus, our wedding party had a great time taking pictures in the library and relaxing. Alexis is amazing to work with...extremely responsive and helpful. The venue is pricey, but extremely reasonable in D.C. and you can't beat the location or the classic D.C. building. I would highly recommend the Carnegie to any future brides!
The Carnegie is a GORGEOUS venue and value, especially considering the high prices of wedding venues in DC. They are booked pretty far in advance, so you may have to be flexible with your wedding date (we reserved our 11/10/12 wedding in September of 2011), but it is so worth it!
The building itself is nothing short of stunning, and every one of our 120 guests has mentioned how gorgeous it was. We did a vintage travel-themed wedding, so I wanted a location that kept with the monumental look of DC (my husband and I met in DC), and also had a historic feel about it. I could not have found a more perfect location that melded these two elements. We didn't have much to spend on decorations or flowers, which was not a problem with the beautiful architecture and decór that is already present in the space. We kept the decorations to a minimum and had a small collection of vintage suitcases and travel items, and it worked perfectly. Also, the Board Room, where the bar is typically placed, also worked great to hold our photo booth. The acoustics in the rotunda aren't the best for a DJ, but it was great for the accordionist that we hired to play French and jazz tunes during the cocktail hour. Also, the space looks amazing when photographed!
If you have room in your budget, rent the main entrance (bronze double doors and front steps facing 16th St. NW)! It gives a feeling of grandeur, and guests will appreciate the feeling of entering a concert hall or other elegant venue.
The staff was very friendly and professional, and gave us a fantastic list of suggested vendors to work with, all of whom have years of experience working with the Carnegie. Also, unlike other establishments, the list is truly a "suggestion", and you can work with other vendors if you prefer, and won't find yourself trapped into working with a small, limited list of vendors.
An amazing value overall!!!
We got married at the Carnegie in October 2012, and we couldn't have been happier with our choice for venue - the place is quite spectacular! Everything about the experience was great - from the initial consult with Alexis up through the final second of our event. We made use of almost every room in the place for the entire wedding (moving people to each room for different parts of the ceremony facilitated setting up each successive space/event), and it worked out quite nicely. And if you're wondering if Gangnam Style can be done on the marble floors - the answer is "yes."
I think it goes without saying that the space is quite beautiful; if you're reading this review, you've probably already seen pictures of weddings there and are just making sure everything went well. As you will gather from some of the other reviews and after your consult with the staff, the space / capacity is limited, so unfortunately if you're having over ~150 people attend your wedding, you're going to have to miss out on using this amazing venue (so ask yourself - is it really worth it to have more people and do your wedding somewhere else when you can have a great wedding in an intimate and beautiful setting with a smaller group of people?). One of the things we really liked and appreciated about the Carnegie was the menu of options for rooms at the Carnegie you can rent (you can get different rooms for different prices). Another great point was that you get to choose whichever vendors you want to come in and do your wedding (this was something other venues we researched were inflexible on). The staff is well trained and very courteous and will talk you through logistical concerns and issues you should consider when hiring vendors and coordinating with them. Highly recommended!
The venue is gorgeous and we were lucky to get it. Our guests loved it and it made for wonderful pictures.
My only problem is this - we had a wedding that was largely self-directed, and our contact was pretty much unavailable to assist with setup or anything else the day of the wedding. My friends who were helping set things up while we got our pictures said that they tried to find her and couldn't. Apparently she was cold to them when they finally found her.
In short, venue was great, contact before was great, but the day of service was not up to their usual professionalism. Lesson learned: you should negotiate that beforehand!
The staff at the Carnegie was wonderful. We were able to schedule times to meet our vendors there to design and plan the wedding. The space is so beautiful, clean and very well taken care of. The perfect venue!
Best venue and best deal in DC, hands down. Great location, great space, a real hidden gem (but not for long, I imagine). The staff was responsive and very relaxed. They have very few limits on what you can do there, within reason. I loved that I could bring in my own alcohol, my own caterer, my own EVERYTHING. You can add hours and the ability to open the portico up to four weeks in advance. The weather was perfect on my wedding day and the space was perfect for the use of the portico -- it allowed lots of space for everyone to move around and truly mingle. The dance floor was the perfect size, and the space has so many beautiful spots to take photos. It's just...perfect. I would recommend it to anyone.