Venue Recap: Dumbarton House

After years of photographing some of the most amazing weddings in the DMV, our team has decided to look back at some of our favorite images from our favorite venues. Next up in this series is one of Washington, DC’s historic homes: Dumbarton House.

Built in c.1800, Dumbarton House is a Federal-style home located in the Georgetown neighborhood of DC. Now the headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America since 1931, Dumbarton House operates as a historic museum house, restored to the time when Joseph Nourse, the first Register of the US Treasury, and his wife Martha, lived in the home between 1804-1813.

This historic home sits on just over an acre of grounds and gardens featuring courtyards and terraces and has a grand front entrance, with elegant curved bays in the rear of the house. The rich red brick exterior, creating simple but dramatic lines, is a wonderful architectural backdrop for photos. It's a very versatile space, both inside and out, and the museum portion of the home is usually open when guests arrive, so as an added bonus to your event, they can tour the period rooms before spending the night out on the dancefloor.

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Rental Events Coordinator, Hillary Hughes had this to say about the versatility of Dumbarton House: "When it comes to photography at Dumbarton I would say one of the perks we have is all the different settings we have! We have stunning, simple, dramatic brick walls, sweet, traditional plaster niches and elegant gardens. Our venue also offers lots of natural light, especially in the lower passage. Our venue is the perfect place to get photos that will make everyone happy. We have very traditional backdrops like stairs, or really funky modern backdrops like our dramatic, geometric wall paper. At Dumbarton House you can take the photos for your grandma to hang on her wall next to her wedding photos as well as modern, fun photos perfect for your Facebook cover photo." We couldn't agree with Hillary more- continue reading for a recap of all the fabulous spaces Dumbarton has to offer!

The North Garden 

The perfect spot to have an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour. This outdoor space is about a quarter of an acre with lush trees and plantings that are reflective of Federal-period gardening. A brick-accented wall runs the length of the garden with a central niche that makes a focal point for a wedding ceremony.

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Upper Terrace and East Garden 

This space serves as an additional cocktail hour location and features grand staircases that lead to the lower courtyard. The Upper Terrace offers a great view of the East Garden which is a beautiful spot for bridal portraits amongst the magnolia and dogwood trees.

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Belle Vue Room and Lower Terrace

An elegant banquet space, the Belle Vue Room is the main reception space at Dumbarton House. The white coffered ceilings are not only architecturally pleasing, but will also aide your photographer when they are lighting the space and using flash to capture guests on the dancefloor. This room also has expansive windows and sets of french doors that open onto a slate courtyard, which can be tented to provide additional seating. And take our word for it, the tent has been proven rain-proof!

Dumbarton House Belle Vue wedding reception
Dumbarton House Belle Vue wedding reception
Dumbarton House wedding reception
Dumbarton House wedding reception
Dumbarton House wedding reception
Dumbarton House wedding reception
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Dumbarton House wedding
Dumbarton House wedding