Sewall-Belmont House & Museum
This place is not worth the trouble.
Let me preface by saying that they actual day of the wedding was perfect. However, leading up to the event dealing with the staff at SB was not a pleasant experience. David the event planner took weeks to return my original phone call. He was unable to answer any questions about how to use the space. He only seemed interested in telling me about the Alice Awards and ‘does not know much about rental events’. I would send emails asking simple questions like ‘how many chairs can fit in the garden’ and would get nasty emails (often in all CAPS) saying that the do not keep that information on file as it is only for ‘rental events’.
I had the over all feeling that they have no desire to host weddings and only do so begrudgingly. Other vendors who came with me to see the space got this impression as well.
Here is an actual email thread:
Kelley - David
For the garden ceremony, can you tell me how many chairs you usually have on either side of the center aisle?
I got this back:
Did you decide to have a floor in the Garden? I must reiterate that this is required.
Perhaps David has worked an event where there are chairs in the garden. I am not sure how many will fit on the floor. What size floor did you get and how big are the chairs?
So I said:
I was told there was no choice but to have a floor.
There have been many events, including weddings in the garden. I would hope there would be some memory or pictures that could give us an idea. The standard floor provided by the tent company that you use is 32' x 36'. And the chairs are standard chairs that the caterers usually use for such things.
I get this back:
When I said "decide", I meant to use the garden with chairs on it. You may have decided not to use chairs in the garden area. Regardless, we do not have photos of past events, since we have no need to keep documentation of rental events. The only documentation we have of using the garden space is for our Alice Award, and the configuration is quite different. Again, David may know. He has been cc'd on both emails.
Every question I ask is like that. We don't know. Can't help you. And that guy David, he never responds.
Our relationship with the Sewall Belmont was 100% stress-free. Everything was on time, as expected, etc.
The two museum docents the day of our event were extremely helpful and courteous while being completely unobtrusive.
The Sewall-Belmont House was the perfect venue for our wedding reception. We had a wonderful experience working with the staff, and the site itself is beautiful. We appreciated the central location, and found the site to be affordable especially given the "permanent" tent that is up during the summer season. The docents on the night of our wedding were knowledgeable and friendly. Becky Gilmore was always responsive to my phone calls and emails.
We had both our ceremony and our reception at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum. It is a lovely space, but it does have its limits, namely your festivities will be under a tent and the site does not provide anything. Our wedding was in December. Although it was a particularly warm Saturday and we had more than adequate heat, I would hesitate to recommend using the facilities in colder weather because there is a real possibility that you'll be cold. Also, you have to bring in your own caterer and you have to provide all of your equipment. Becky, the contact at SBHM, is very nice and helpful, but she won't be there on the day of your event and she does not work directly with your vendors. Thus, if you're going to use the SBHM, I recommend hiring a day of coordinator.
That all said, Becky is very responsive to emails and questions, and she is flexible about some of the terms of the contract. However, the space is historical, so you do have to abide by the general rules concerning no food and no drink . . .
Moreover, the space is truly beautiful, and the sparseness of the tents allows you to decorate however you wish.
This venue proves to be a beautiful facility. Not only do you have the history but you have a beautiful garden and a historic building to have your event in. The tent is the perfect size for a buffet or plated meal and cocktails can be held on the brick patio. The historic location is also in close proximity to the Capitol building and Union Station. Perfect for showing out of town guests your love for the district.
With a National Historic Landmark designation and the only historic home and garden for rent on Capitol Hill, the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum offers a unique and appealing setting for your next event, particularly for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and private gatherings!