33 User photos
Jack · Married on 10/29/2016
Perfect venue for our wedding. The sun was shining and the spaces helped us create a special environment for both our ceremony and reception. Makenzie is a delight to work with also - professional, calm and always friendly and helpful. The Josephine Butler Parks Center is impressive, while not being stuffy and precious like many venues.Sent on 11/02/2016
User5388043 · 2+ years ago
My daughter held her wedding and reception at the Josephine Butler Parks Center. The venue is beautiful. We had use of the first two floors including the terrace overlooking Meridian Hill Park. The architecture is beautiful and needs little added decor. They provided tables and chairs and a day of host. It's a perfect setting.Sent on 08/28/2015
Lauren · Married on 07/11/2015
The Josephine Butler Parks Center is an amazing place to have a wedding. The price is affordable, and the building is absolutely gorgeous. The entryway is a great place for photos, as is the new grassy area they have recently added to the side of the building. The interior is so open and full of natural light. As with any older building not originally intended for this purpose, there were some minor challenges when deciding which rooms to use for which parts of the reception. Totally worth the effort. The people who work in the building were very experienced and were able to advise us on how to use the space effectively. We ended up actually liking how the dance floor was a little bit separated from, while still adjacent to, the dining area. We felt like it encouraged more people to dance since it didn't feel like people seating in the dining area were gawking at them. It also allowed for people who were seated to be able to hold a conversation without having to shout. The balcony was an awesome place to situate a bar so people could enjoy a drink out in the fresh air.Sent on 07/20/2015
The Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park across the way is also a great place for photos, but be sure to get there early if you want photos by the fountains. We got there around 4:30pm and there were already three other brides waiting. We ended up finding other beautiful places in the park to take photos. I'm sure this is less of a problem in off-months.
User2239456 · 2+ years ago
We had a great wedding at the Josephine Butler Center. The staff there was very professional and accomodating. It was so wonderful to know that our money was going to support Washington Parks and People. The space is gorgeous and doesn't need much decorations. Due to rain we had a last minute change to move our ceremony indoors and the staff was incredibly helpful to make this happen. People said it was "one hell-of-a backup plan". We highly highly recommend this venue.Sent on 07/05/2015
Katherine · Married on 06/12/2015
Despite the high sweat investment I made, this venue was an excellent choice for my wedding. Makenzie was a pleasure to work with. Although hard to reach by phone, she was always responsive by email. The beautiful place needs minimal decoration (one source of savings) and has multiple spaces to make it easy to hold different functions in different rooms. We were able to have a very elegant wedding at a huge savings (about $106 per person for rental, food, service, and alcohol whereas the minimum for DC hotels is about $175 when you add up the taxes and mandatory service fees). We did pictures in the beautiful adjacent park. The down side was it was a lot of work to get the liquor license, alcohol, a food caterer, and a rentals/service caterer. (Make sure you have enough lead time or time off to plan! I did it in 6 months working 40-60 hours a week at my business--not recommended. I almost had a nervous breakdown.) My guests commented that it felt like going to someone's home, and we had a unique, memorable wedding, one that many called "the best wedding I ever attended."Sent on 07/01/2015
Norah · Married on 04/18/2015
The Josephine Butler Parks Center was a dream venue, and the staff was easy to work with, responsive, and so helpful the day of the wedding. I keep telling people I don't know why anyone gets married anywhere else in DC! It's a great value for the money -- beautiful setting, tables/chairs/AV equipment included, and friendly staff.Sent on 04/22/2015
They had some turnover over the year that we were engaged, but Makenzie, their current events coordinator, is fantastic.
The bridal suite was wonderful. Very spacious, a full length mirror, a powerful air conditioner (which is definitely helpful when you're getting stuffed into a pouffy dress and it's 80 degrees), and a huge bathroom.
We got so many compliments on the choice of venue. We barely did anything to decorate because it's such a gorgeous building.
The high ceilings mean it's a bit of a climb to the second floor which was tough for a couple of our older guests. However, they are working on installing an elevator, and once that happens, there will be literally nothing wrong with this place.
Technically, you aren't allowed to load anything into the venue until your reserved time, but our day of coordinator asked anyway, and we were able to bring things in the day before and store it in the basement. This was a huge help. It might not always be possible because they regularly have other events scheduled, but it's worth an ask.
Overall, I don't think we could have dreamed of a better place to get married.
Nandini · Married on 08/02/2014
We had a wonderful time working with the Josephine Butler Parks Center over the last several months in preparation for our wedding reception this past weekend. Not only was the space absolutely gorgeous, but they were very flexible with decor and how we used the space. We were a large group so we used the whole place- including the upstairs bridal suite as a babysitting room, and the conference room as a play room for kids. We loved that there was outdoor space- a large balcony and some seating at the front- for people to enjoy the lovely weather. Mai, the even coordinator, was great throughout the process- responsive to our questions and had great suggestions from past events about layouts and set up. She was also friendly and responsive to our caterers and other vendors, which helped coordination a lot. On the day of, Mai was flexible on when we could get into the venue to set up. The site coordinators- the people who were at the event, in charge and helping out through the evening-were wonderful as well, helpful, warm, and there when we needed them, without being ovewhelming.Sent on 08/05/2014
The only concern we had before the event was that there weren't very many bathrooms for our large party (165 guests). But, actually, we had no problems with lines at all. I guess the placement of the bathrooms (two downstairs, one on the busy upstairs level, and one in the third floor bridal suite) manages the flow of traffic well.
We both work for non-profits, and it was an important feature for us that the parks center was a community-focused non-profit that supported other non-profits, but you would never know it from the space itself, which is regal yet warm, and very, very well maintained (including newly installed air conditioning!).
Our guests couldn't say enough about how lovely the space was and we're so happy with the overall experience. Thanks once again to Mai and everyone who helped us!
User3336135 · 2+ years ago
The Parks Center provided just the right ambiance for our wedding. The price is really good for the area, especially since chairs and tables are included.Sent on 05/23/2014
Abby, the events manager, was very pleasant to work with. She also was really flexible when we asked for a couple of exceptions to minor rules about using the center.
Abby wasn't as responsive as some of our other vendors (it would take a few days to hear back on an email), but it wasn't a big deal. I think the growth of the Parks Center's popularity has exceeded the staff there. I think I heard that they just added another person to the events staff.
Everyone raved about the venue, which is kind of how I felt about it, too. The natural light is so beautiful, and it's great that people can spread out over the two levels and the outdoor space.
The terrace was extremely popular -- we left it open except for a couple of high-top tables, and guests were out there all night chatting and enjoying the weather. A few tables and chairs were left in the circular driveway, and a lot of people enjoyed sitting out there during cocktail hour. The only slight downside is that there are only two bathrooms, which can make for a few lines.
All in all, we had a great time there, and I definitely recommend it.
Brian · Married on 10/04/2008
This ended up being the perfect place for our wedding, and we couldn't have been happier with it. The value is truly amazing, given other spots in DC that aren't nearly as nice charge significantly more. All in all, the JBPC was a huge part of what made our wedding day so special and fun.Sent on 12/08/2016
Amanda · Married on 11/03/2018
Beautiful Venue in the Heart of DC
My husband (!!!) and I absolutely loved having our wedding at JBPC! It's a gorgeous, flexible space with so much charm, warmth, and natural beauty. The staff at the Parks Center is wonderful to work with, and it's a great deal compared to other venue in the city proper! The only thing I would note - they list their seated capacity at 150, but we had around 120 and I truly can't see much more than that fitting comfortably.Sent on 11/06/2018
Josephine Butler Parks Center's reply:Hi Amanda,
Brigette · Married on 10/27/2018
Our Dream Venue
We held our wedding last weekend at the JBPC and it was the perfect night. This venue is a great location and a great deal in DC. The included equipment, multiple options for space, and proximity to Meridian Hill park make it a great place to be.Sent on 10/30/2018
A couple of things to be aware of: once the piano is in location it cannot be moved during the night, you can no longer keep items overnight in the venue and cannot get in until your rental time begins, so make sure you have friends and family + a great wedding planner to help you move things in and out and set up quick. They do a ton of events here and sometimes it can take a few days to get a response, but the event coordinator is always kind and helpful.
Highly recommend this spot to anyone looking to get married in DC!
Josephine Butler Parks Center's reply:Hi Brigette,
Nikki · Married on 09/22/2018
Great for Brunch Weddings!
The Parks Center was such a phenomenal choice for our brunch wedding this past September! The venue was a perfect fit for the approximate 110 people who attended and the building and surroundings are quite beautiful. We were relieved the outdoor space was able to accommodate the ceremony and the main ballroom’s windows provided such great natural light during our daytime reception. However, I think we and our guests took more pictures on the balcony than any other location onsite (haha)! We loved the fact that we could bring in outside vendors and were able to build a unique celebration. Malina and the Parks Center staff were very responsive, professional, and accommodating throughout the entire process and we are grateful we chose this venue for our wedding.Sent on 11/12/2018
Josephine Butler Parks Center's reply:Hello Nikki,
Amanda · Married on 12/05/2015
JBPC is extremely well priced and flexible, while still offering a glamorous DC setting. Working with JBPC was easy because of the staff and flexible policies. Makenzie was prompt and professional every step of the way, even giving us some excellent vendor recommendations. Being able to bring in our own alcohol and having most of the rentals we needed already at the venue made it easy to save money. It was an amazing place to have a memorable and comfortable wedding.Sent on 07/24/2016
User5167541 · 2+ years ago
We were very pleased with the Josephine Butler Parks Center. The staff is really wonderful and were amazingly responsive to our many questions - Makenzie is a very comforting presence! It is also a special, historic, and community-oriented place. In addition, the park across 15th Street (Malcolm X park aka Meridien Hill Park) provides a good location for additional photos. There are a variety of options for where in the building (including the garden) to have a ceremony. We had both our ceremony and the reception at the Parks Center and the "flipping" was seamless. They let us visit the venue several times before the wedding. They worked very smoothly with our vendors - we picked a caterer from their preferred list. I might suggest paying for an extra hour, as the time went very, very quickly.Sent on 01/02/2016
Finally, they have tables and chair there, giving couples one less thing to arrange and pay for!
User3956614 · 2+ years ago
A terrific wedding reception venue! Excellent location, very easy to work with, elegant, beautiful former Embassy that has a relaxed and comfortable feel. With larger weddings, making use of downstairs and outside for cocktail hour, desert, etc. was helpful. Also, for larger weddings holding the ceremony nearby and then using the venue for the reception only is a good way to go. Staff was extremely helpful on the day - helping guests to get cabs as they were leaving and helping to get a slide show running. They have fireplaces that they let you use so it would be a great fall or winter wedding spot too. Lots of perks, like they provide their own sound system w/ mike if you need it, they have a piano, they let you use the whole house and have reasonable hours, etc. All for a very reasonable price for the city and to an organization that supports the community.Sent on 10/05/2014
Scott · Married on 10/26/2013
My wife and I were married at the Josephine Butler Parks Center on October 26, 2013. We love Meridian Hill Park and frequently visited it while dating, so the JBPC's location was very meaningful to us.Sent on 11/03/2013
When you rent the JBPC, you can get use of the whole house (though we kept the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and reception all on the second floor). The space is so beautiful and well maintained that we didn't have to do much in the way of decorating. The second floor has a terrace overlooking the park that is perfect on a warm evening. Large windows let the sunset be the backdrop to our ceremony in the ballroom. The bridal suite has been recently renovated.
Our hosts for the evening were incredibly helpful and easy to work with. They were especially helpful when we were decorating the space and as vendors were arriving, and during cleanup. The coordinators we worked with were professional, answered all of our questions, and were accommodating to timeline changes. They even let us store some decorations in the bridal suite to make the set-up easier. The reason for taking a star off on responsiveness is because we wished they had responded to emails more quickly. This is only a minor quibble, though, since everything ran so smoothly on the day of.
As far as size: the floor plans that the JBPC provided showed dining space for 150 in the ballroom. We had a little less than 90 guests, and we felt like the space was perfectly sized. You could definitely fit more there, but we had a hard time seeing how 150 guests would be comfortable. We also had 8 hours for set-up, ceremony, reception, dancing, and clean-up, which we were worried was a little cramped. It ended up not being the case, but if you want 4 hours for dancing, you may want to pay more for additional hours.
Matthew · Married on 10/13/2013
We were thrilled that we were able to book the Josephine Butler Parks Center for our wedding in October 2013! Besides being a beautiful space and having stunning views overlooking Meridian Hill Park, the best qualities were the value and flexibility. We booked almost a year in advance; for $2500 we were given the entire building for up to ten hours - and on the day before Columbus Day! From my understanding the rates have gone up since and the number of hours has gone down slightly, but still, it's hard to find a better value in DC. We also appreciated the flexibility since we had a very DIY wedding and wanted free range with our choice and type of vendors. The quality of service and professionalism were excellent as well. Responsiveness was very good by the Event Coordinator, Abby Snyder, who filled in the position about six months before our wedding once the previous coordinator, Alison Grace, left the staff. This is the only category where I rated less than five stars since while Abby was away for a few weeks the Executive Director, Steve Coleman, filled in and he was sometimes slow to respond or gave contradictory answers; however these were usually just about minor issues. I highly recommend this venue overall!Sent on 07/06/2014
User3202758 · 2+ years ago
I would highly recommend the Josephine Butler for any event. It is beautiful and spacious. It can seat 120 people if you need something large and has plenty of rooms for food. It is affordable and tax deductible, since the money goes to the upkeep of this building.Sent on 10/09/2013
They have a bridal suite that is wonderful and a back staircase so you can surprise your guests when you enter. (no front door entry needed). Also there are 2 kitchens, one on the first floor and one on the second if you need it.
Beautiful layout to make your event go smoothly.
Josephine Butler Parks Center's reply:Thanks so much for this review! Just to clarify, the wedding fee is not tax deductible as goods + services are exchanged. All revenue from events does go directly to the work of Washington Parks & People. All who host with an event with us as of mid 2015 must be members of WPP, and that membership fee is tax deductible!
Lauren · Married on 06/09/2013
I loved this venue and it was one of the most affordable we found in Washington DC. Only downside was that it was a bit hot (they have air conditioning, but window units.) We knew this going in though and we still decided on June. And we loved the terrace. Try to pick a month that isn't usually so hot! The staff was amazing and the wedding was the best night ever... The natural beauty of the place is all you need!Sent on 06/16/2013
Josephine Butler Parks Center's reply:Thanks so much for this review, Lauren! Since your big day we have gotten large chillers across the second floor that make summer weddings much more comfortable for events of all sizes. We agree that the terrace is the perfect place to enjoy the views of Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X, even if you need to bring a fan!
Gabriel · Married on 03/23/2013
We had our wedding reception at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, as it was conveniently only about a mile north of our wedding ceremony site. JBPC is a large mansion, formerly an embassy, with a ballroom on the second floor, and access to the first and third floors.Sent on 02/26/2014
JBPC's big selling point is probably price - it's a public venue, and it is significantly less expensive than other locations in the area. Some of their advertising literature suggests the ballroom can hold up to 200 people, but we had about 150 at a seated dinner, and it was tight, so I would not recommend more than that amount. Even with 150, we had to clear away several tables after dinner to make room for dancing. Our catering staff was able to handle that gracefully.
Parking can be a bit tight - if people are strategic, the lot in the back and around the sides can probably accommodate 25 or 30 cars, though you need to leave room for your vendors. You can also get reserved parking signs from the city to post on the meters across the street, and there is usually some available street parking on the surrounding streets (15th St NW, just across from Meridian Hill park).
The building itself is charming, and large enough so that some of your guests can slip away from the main event if they want to talk or have some privacy. We had a buffet style service set up in the room across from the ballroom, drinks served on the second floor landing just before the entrance to the ballroom, hors d'oeuvres and a cocktail hour served downstairs while guests were arriving, and a small dressing/prep room upstairs for us and the bridal party (which we could access from a rear staircase to avoid walking in the front and ruining the surprise!).
Definitely consider JBPC as a potential venue if you are looking in that area.
Ashleah · Married on 10/08/2010
This was a gorgeous and perfect space for our wedding. We had 90 guests and at first I was nervous it would be too cramped, but it wasn't at all - even though they specified it could fit up to 150, I clearly wasn't well-versed in space relations. It gave such an intimate feel to our wedding. We chose to have the ceremony and the reception there. We married on the terrace and then had cocktail hour on the first floor, then had everyone in the grand ballroom for formal reception. The terrace was great so people weren't stuck to only their tables or the dancefloor, so it gave guests an option to mingle and enjoy the fall weather. Roza was so accommodating to our requests for any furniture or decor we needed moved to accommodate our setup and with so much free parking in the back (it can fit 40+ cars in the back parking lot), you can't beat it for value! It's perfect for people who aren't used to the city or parking in it, so we didn't even have to order valet. Just a beautiful site and we couldn't have asked for anything better.Sent on 10/18/2010
Melissa · Married on 08/05/2017
After looking at a few venues - we chose the Josephine Butler Parks Center for our August wedding. It is a beautiful space that we loved and our guests did too. There was a change over in staff while we were planning our wedding but that didn't affect us at all. It's really nice that they provide tables and chairs as well as other items you'd have to rent.Sent on 08/25/2017
Josephine Butler Parks Center's reply:Hi Melissa,
User6700380 · 2+ years ago
I had my wedding here on December 17th, and it was absolutely beautiful! Overall I am very pleased with everything! The Pros: Makenzie Delmotte was THEE BEST! She was always very responsive throughout the entire process, helpful, accommodating, and has the greatest personality! She offered suggestions and opinions when I struggled to find a caterer, I could go on and on, she was just the best! The venue itself is gorgeous and worked well for our 130 guests. We had the ceremony on the second level in the main ballroom, moved down to the foyer and the two rooms on the first level for cocktail hour and back up to the ballroom for the ceremony. We used the other room on the second level for a bar during the reception and for the cake and desserts displays. There was still space for a plated dinner with wait staff serving each of my guests individually. Everything worked out great!Sent on 12/23/2016
If I HAD to complain, I would say that i did pay an additional fee for an extra hour on the front end just to have my reception end early on the back end. It didnt end absurdly early like an hour early, but it definitely ended prior to 10:00PM and my guests were still having a good time. Also, the venue does allow you to to bring your stuff during the week prior to your event and store it in the basement (which is a good thing), but be sure to properly label your stuff and place it in a separate corner of the basement from other people's property who may have arrived before you. This isnt necessarily a poor reflection on the venue, but I did have a bad experience with this. My stuff got mixed up with a bride's who was getting married the next day and all of her items for a photobooth and guest book were placed out at my wedding, which did not go with my decor or theme. And because of that, my $375 guestbook idea did not get utilized. So overall I give this venue and Makenzie two thumbs up! But just be sure to arrange those final details properly.
User3921726 · 2+ years ago
We experienced a few staff turnover but once the new staff were onboard, it was smooth sailing and the responsiveness drastically improved.Sent on 02/22/2015
Danielle · Married on 10/19/2013
In DC you can't get a better deal for a venue with class than this location! We were so extremely happy with our choice to have our wedding here.Sent on 03/27/2014
There was some changeover in staffing during our planning, so there was a little delay in responsiveness and carryover of details from person to person, but otherwise they were an amazing venue to work with! They were accommodating, they allowed outside vendors, outside alcohol, provide sooo many free items/equipment, allowed us to use almost the whole building... hands down great choice. Other neat items are that all the French windows open and fireplaces can be used, so the historical feel just comes out even more.
Only tip: there are no elevators here... so you'll have to pay for extra time for setup/breakdown for your other vendors if you're having both the ceremony and reception here (price is for 8 hours)... but additional fee was extremely reasonable!
Overall -- I'd pick them again hands down!