I have been planning (and attending) events for a while here in the District and without a doubt have a few favorite venues. As I mentioned, there are several defining criteria for a venue. With regards to size, here are two of my absolute favorite DC venues for very, very large events (more than 500):
This hidden gem is located off of Constitution Avenue features romantic, classical architecture complete with marble and columns. The auditorium is colossal and the building can seem intimidating from the outside, but the detailed structure and open floor plan provide a beautiful blank canvas. The building was constructed in 1934, so there are some issues that are familiar to older venues (most events will require additional power voltage, all A/V will have to be outsourced; the third floor balcony seating is not usable and in pretty shabby condition) but despite all of that the venue is a perfect choice for a large-scale event, social event.
This is my absolute favorite large-scale venue in DC. Just walking into the building takes your breath away! This is another traditional event space – after all, this is DC – featuring marble and columns. The architectural designs make the space feel less expansive than the Mellon Auditorium, but it still is an extremely large space. The neutral but warm color palate is favorable for all color schemes and the location is great for Metro-ers and city dwellers. There are a few smaller scale event spaces within the venue, but the Great Hall is by far the most impressive selection. To do it right at this venue, you will need more lighting and decorations than some other venues, but if you have the budget for a large event and venue – don’t miss seeing this option!