One perfect day

Top of the Town 

Top of the Town in Arlington boasts one of the most breathtaking, gorgeous views of the D.C. skyline. With the Washington Monument beckoning in the distance, nighttime weddings can have that extra sparkle.

Top of the Town was a restaurant for 30 years, from its opening in the 1960s to the early ’90s. It was redesigned in 1999 to include the 10-foot-wide windows and 3,000-square-foot event space that has a reception room and outdoor terrace. The space holds seating for up to 180 people and multiple room configurations, so both Uncle Bernie and Grandma Anne can see you get married without any squabbles.

If you wed in the warmer months, Top of the Town has the option of an outdoor terrace. Out-of-town relatives will have no trouble finding their way from the nearby Rosslyn Metro. Or they can stay in one of the many area hotels.

Also, if you want to keep things simple and make your wedding planning a one-stop shop, you can choose a Top of the Town package that includes a caterer, musicians, DJ, photographer, florist, hotels and other details you don’t want to forget.

The Four Seasons 

Director of Catering at the Four Seasons Joseph Richter advised couples to make sure they know their budget for their wedding.

“I recently wrote an article in Engaged magazine advising couples to make sure they remember things like tax, tip, the band, invitations and more,” Richter said.

The Four Seasons offers two wedding venues, a ballroom with 5,000 square feet that seats 320 with a band and a smaller venue with room for 130.

Richter recommends those planning larger weddings should begin making plans with The Four Seasons approximately 18 months in advance. 

“Sometimes, though, with smaller weddings, only 60 days in advance is fine,” Richter said. “All we really need is 24 hours.”

A unique aspect to The Four Seasons as a wedding venue is its ethnic component. Richter said the kitchen has people specializing in many different cuisines, including Thai, Iranian, Persian and Jewish foods.

“Many of the cooks are just simply cooking what they grew up with,” Richter said. 

The most popular month for weddings at The Four Seasons is October.

Running Hare Vineyard

You’ve always wanted to have your wedding in Napa or Tuscany, but the problem was always, “How are we going to fly everyone for a destination wedding?”

Your answer lies just over an hour outside of the D.C. area, at Running Hare Vineyard in Prince Frederick, Md.

Barbara Scarborough, who along with her husband owns the vineyard, just opened the event space last April.

With nearly all weddings booked for 2011, 50 in 2012 and already three in 2013, Scarborough knew the demand was high. “I was already getting bookings before we started construction,” she said. “Many have said it’s a beautiful and peaceful place for a wedding.”

Scarborough mentioned Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who recently spoke at an event at Running Hare.

“He said, ‘I know most places in Calvert County, but where did this come from?’ ” she said. “I’m really hoping to break into the D.C. market to let people in the city know we’re here.”

Inn at Perry Cabin & Keswick Hall

The quaint town of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland holds a luxurious manor house resort, the Inn at Perry Cabin, an ideal location for the most lavish of weddings.

“The wedding ceremony is held on our Chesapeake waterfront. You have the picturesque view with just the water itself and a lot of times you have the sailboats and yachts that have moored into the harbor,” said Lisa Frock, the sales administrative assistant.

The Inn at Perry Cabin has no minimum but can cater up to 250 people. Couples can enjoy hors d’oeuvres and champagne served on a romantic sunset cruise or take time for a Lovers Spa Treatment.

A sister property is Keswick Hall in Virginia. Also owned by Orient-Express, Keswick is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounded by 600 acres of extensive property and an exquisite golf course.

“The service is five-star, as it is with the Inn at Perry Cabin. We have multiple venues and that allows the bride to select different venues for different events. So the rehearsal event can be completely different and unique from the actual wedding itself, the ceremonies and the receptions. Just capturing what the bride’s vision is and bringing that to life is what Keswick does so well and is very unique about the property,” said Lynda Downey, the director of marketing and PR.

The Keswick Hall experience is enhanced by the staff-minimum ratio of one staff member to every 10 guests. The wonderful Executive Chef Dean Maupin is prepared to tailor to the needs of any couple, whether it’s Asian cuisine or a bluegrass-type event.

Wedding packages are designed to put the couple at ease during this exciting time. While some conditions apply, booking your wedding celebration before May 31 this year will save you 50 percent on your return visit for your first-anniversary celebration.