FAQs

Information about our approved caterers, rental fees and guidelines, and more.

We hope to answer many of your questions on the following pages. If you cannot find an answer here, please contact the staff at privateevents@sewallbelmont.org.

Click here for more information on Rental Fees & Capacities

Click here for more information on Delivery & Equipment

Click here for more information on Catering, Liquor, & Vendors

Click here for more information on General Rental Guidelines

 

Rental Fees & Capacities

What does the rental fee include?

Depending upon the amount paid, the fee includes the interior terrace, exterior terrace, tent and/or garden areas. Also, up to four hours for your event, plus three hours for set-up and breakdown are included in the fee. (The tent is NOT included in the rental fee during the winter months.) All equipment, decorations, etc… to accommodate your event and guests must be rented through your caterer and/or event planner. Additional event or set-up/clean-up time may be purchased when contracting for $200.00 per hour.

Can I put a date on hold?

Absolutely! A date can be held for one week. It is your responsibility to inform us if you choose to book the date. If we don’t hear from you we will assume that you no longer want the date and the next person interested in the date can book.

How do I secure a date?

A $500.00 security deposit (payable to the National Woman’s Party or NWP) is required to secure your event date.

Can we see a sample contract before deciding to book our event?

Certainly! Please click here to see a sample contract (PDF format).

Does it cost extra to hold an event during the holidays?

Yes. We observe all Federal holidays. There is a $500.00 surcharge for events held on these holidays or the weekend or day preceding the holiday.

When will the security deposit be returned?

Pending any damages, overtime, clean-up, etc… it will be returned the month following your event. For example, refunds for September events are processed in October.

When do you start charging overtime? How much is overtime?

The event time starts when the first guest arrives to when the last guest leaves. Overtime is charged for any portion thereof outside of the contracted event time. If needed, additional hours can be purchased for $200.00 per hour at the time the contract is written.

Overtime will be assessed at $600.00 or the first hour, $500.00 for the second hour and $400.00 for the third hour.

What are event capacities?

The interior terrace can accommodate about 50 guests for a standing reception or 30 guests for a seated dinner. The exterior terrace can accommodate about 100 guests for a standing reception or 60 guests for a seated dinner. The tented area can accommodate about 200 guests for a standing reception or 150 guests for a seated dinner. Keep in mind that one or all of the areas can be combined to suit your event needs.

Delivery & Equipment

Are there any delivery restrictions?

Generally, no. However, a delivery form must be submitted to Sewall-Belmont House and Museum at least one business day before your event. Click here to download the delivery form (PDF format).  Forms should be faxed to (202) 546-3997.

Are there tent sides on the tent?

Tent sides are available, if requested. However, there is an additional fee. Depending upon how many and the type of sides you request, the fee varies. (A rough estimate would be $500.00 to $1000.00) Also, it is important to note that at least three business days is needed to schedule the crew and install the sides. It is highly recommended that you account for any weather concerns sooner rather than later. If you wish to have tent sides, please contact Shari Clark at Select Event Rentals at (301) 604-2334 x4169, sclark@weparty.com.

What if it rains and we decide that we want the sides put on the day of the event?

You are welcome to contact Shari Clark at Select Event Rentals at (301) 604-2334 x4169, sclark@weparty.com; however, there is no guarantee that they’ll be able to fit your event into their schedule. Please note that we do not have any sides on site.

Are fans/heaters/air conditioners available?

For an additional fee, yes. Depending upon the type and number requested, this fee varies. Many caterers/event planners can order these for you. Or, you may contact Shari Clark at Select Event Rentals at (301) 604-2334 x4169,sclark@weparty.com to order this equipment.

What if we need a few extra chairs or an extra banquet table?

All equipment needs should be thoroughly discussed with your caterer/event planner. In the event that you need a few extra items–and that we can accommodate the needed items–we will invoice/deduct from the security deposit the appropriate amount. Any items that are damaged, broken or missing will be invoiced at the replacement value.

Do you have a dance floor? Do we need to rent a dance floor?

We do not have a dance floor, nor do we require that you use one. Having a dance floor installed is dictated by your taste and budget.

Do you have a coat rack that our guests can use?

The self-service coat rack we have can accommodate about 100 coats. If an additional coat room is required, or if you prefer a coat check, please ask your caterer/event planner about renting racks and/or hangers. Please keep in mind that we are not responsible for any items lost, left or stolen from the coat rack.

Can we have a band? Can we have a DJ?

Absolutely! However, music and bar service must be shut-off 15 minutes prior to the end of your contracted time.

Do you have a sound system/microphone we can use for our speaking program?

We do have a basic sound system with a microphone and speakers that is available for a fee of $150.00. We do not have a wireless microphone.

Can your sound system be used for our wedding ceremony and/or reception?

Unfortunately, no. Please speak to your DJ/Band to accommodate your music/speaking requirements.

Catering & Liquour

Do you have a preferred catering list? Can we use a caterer that isn’t on your list?

The House has a list of caterers familiar with the site. Provided specific liability insurance requirements are met you may use any of these caterers or one of your choosing. A $200.00 service fee will be accessed if you choose a caterer that isn’t on the list.

How much does it cost to have a seated dinner/buffet/standing reception?

This depends upon what you serve, to how many people, etc… Please contact your caterer and/or event planner to discuss pricing and menu options.

Can you help us decide on what to serve and how to serve it?

While we can help answer site related questions, your caterer/event planner is the best resource for these questions.

Do you have any food/liquor restrictions?

We don’t restrict any food that can be accommodated within our catering guidelines. Nor do we restrict beverages. In other words, you are welcome to have red wine, cranberry juice, tomato sauces, etc… Please keep in mind, though, that at no time are food or beverages welcome in the historic section of the House.

Is a liquor license required?

Yes. Some caterers have a traveling license while others can do the legwork for you. Other than providing the necessary documentation required to grant the license, we will not facilitate the license. Nor are we responsible for any fees associated with getting or failing to get a license. Please clickhere to download a PDF with information regarding the ABC licensing application.

House Access & Decorating

At what time can we access the House?

This depends upon other events we may have around the time of your event. You should assume that you will only have access two hours before the event and one hour following your event. If you require more time, you may purchase additional hours, if available, when contracting for $200.00 per hour.

Will you close the House to public tours during our event?

This will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Are decorations allowed inside the House?

This depends upon the type of decoration. At no time will furniture, artifacts, signage, etc… be removed from the Museum. Candles (enclosed in votive holders) are allowed under the tents/outside. Flowers are allowed under the tents/outside and in the Interior Terrace. However, at no time are flowers and candles allowed in the historic section of the house.

Will you be here to set-up the equipment and to help decorate?

These types of activities need to be coordinated through your caterer and/or event planner. Sewall-Belmont House and Museum staff will not facilitate decorating, equipment set-up, check in, etc…

Are candles allowed in the terraces/tented area?

Candles are allowed in the tented areas and outside. All candles must be in votive holders.

What types of decorations are allowed outside?

This is only limited by your vision and budget. While no items may be permanently affixed to the tent, House or garden, you can hang lanterns, string lights, pictures, etc… Please keep in mind, though, that what goes up must come down. All decorations must be removed at the conclusion of your event.

Is there lighting in the exterior terrace and tent?

Yes. The tent and exterior terrace have basic, dimmable can/spotlights. While these supply plenty of light for your event, you may wish to embellish the area with colored lights, lanterns or spotlights. Many caterers/event planners can suggest lighting companies, if needed.

We’d like to have our ceremony in the garden. How many people can that area accommodate?

Generally, about 130 people. This will depend upon how wide an aisle you’d like and how much space you’d like for the wedding party to stand during the reception. A narrow aisle and less wedding party space will allow for more chairs. A large aisle and wedding party space will allow for fewer chairs.

We noticed a door and set of stairs that leads from the House into the garden. Can the wedding party walk out of those doors for the processional?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the collection contained within that room, these doors must remain closed at all times.

How many restrooms do you have?

The House has three restrooms. One ADA restroom on the main level and two restrooms on the second floor.

Photography

We’d like to have photos taken inside the House. Is this possible?

Certainly! However, please keep in mind that no museum artifacts or signage will be moved to accommodate photography. Also, please make sure your photographer knows that flash photography (which is generally not allowed) should be kept to the bare minimum.

Are photos allowed outside?

Absolutely! However, please keep in mind that no museum artifacts or signage will be moved to accommodate photography.

We’d like to have a photo taken on the main staircase. Can you remove the “Sewall-Belmont” banner?

We do not remove any signage, artifacts, etc… for any events. Your photographer must work with or around these items.

Miscellaneous

We have guests that have a hard time walking up stairs/are in a wheelchair. Are you accessible?

While we are diligently working on becoming ADA compliant, stairs must be used to enter the House and event area. Please make sure that your guests know that stairs must be used to enter the site.

What are the closest Metro stations?

Union Station (Red line) is four blocks away. Capitol South (Orange/Blue lines) is six blocks away.

Where can our guests park?

Generally, weekend parking is available in the Senate lot at 2 nd and C St. NE. Please keep in mind, though, that we cannot guarantee that this lot will be available. Union Station and 101 Constitution have pay garages.

Do you offer valet service?

You are welcome to use valet service. However, you will need to make all arrangements. Because the permitting process can be quite lengthy, we highly recommend that you start investigating this as soon as you decide to offer this to your guests.

Is it easy to get a cab to/from the House?

Generally, it is. However, this depends when you are trying to get a cab. Most often, you can catch a cab on Constitution Avenue (by the Senate buildings). Or, you can walk to Union Station and go to the taxi stand.

Can you recommend places to stay?

There is a wide variety of hotels and B&Bs in and near the hill. Using one of the more popular travel websites will give you some options. You can also visit www.capitolhill.org for information.

Is there a bridal room?

Unfortunately, no. There is, however, a room adjacent to one of the restrooms in which the bride and wedding party can freshen up. Please keep in mind that this is not a securable room and that you are responsible for any left items.

Will Sewall-Belmont House and Museum staff be on site during our event?

Generally, up to two docents are included in the rental fee. They are stewards of the House and will answer guest questions about Alice Paul, the National Woman’s Party or the House itself. At no time will the docents help with decorating, vendor check-in, etc…

Can we stop by to see the site? Do we need an appointment?

You are more than welcome to stop by for a quick visit! No appointment is necessary Wednesday-Sunday between 12PM and 3PM. Site visits only take a few minutes and are self-guided. When you arrive let the docent know that you are interested in seeing the site. Once you’ve seen the space, or if you have any additional questions please e-mail our Private Events department.

We noticed some construction by the Supreme Court. When will that be over?

The construction has been going on for quite some time. Unfortunately, we don’t know the end date.

What if there are protests/construction/street closings on our event day?

If we hear of anything specific, we will do our best to make sure that you are informed. Due to the nature of the area, and the security protocols, we cannot guarantee that we will have advance notice. Most vendors that regularly deliver to the Hill know that they need to accommodate for any last minute street closings.

What type of flowers are in the garden? If we request, will you plant specific items for our event?

We keep the garden and plantings very basic. Generally, the flowers around the larger garden are peonies or impatiens. We will not plant specific flowers to accommodate an event. You are welcome to bring in potted flowers/greenery to enhance the garden or tent. However, these must be removed at the conclusion of your event.

Can we scatter rose petals, flowers, etc… in the garden? Or, can we throw rice, birdseed, etc… when leaving?

Unfortunately, no. Many times we have events back to back and we try to keep the House and grounds in the best possible condition for all clients. While you may want rose petals in the garden, the next client may not. Failure to follow this guideline will result in your forfeiture of the security deposit.

Can we use sparklers on the grounds?

No! While these are generally considered safe at no time will any sparklers or any items that have an open spark/flame be allowed in the House, tent and/or garden areas. This includes the sidewalks adjacent the House.

We have some younger guests. Are there any restrictions?

Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times and are not permitted to enter the historic section of the House without adult supervision.

Some of our guests smoke. Can they smoke in the tent?

Smoking is prohibited in the House or under the tented area. All guests that smoke must smoke in the garden areas.