Venues That Inspire

Local wedding vendors share their 19 favorite wedding sites—and why.

Our area is home to hundreds of wedding venues to suit every taste and budget, from urban industrial spots to sprawling country manors. But when it comes to knowing which locations have the best setup for brides to get ready or the best angle to capture video of the couple’s first dance, it’s the vendors who work in these places that know them best.

So, when pulling together this year’s venue guide, we went straight to the source. Vendors have gained an intimate knowledge of area venues—their pros and cons—over hundreds of celebrations. 

That’s why we asked some of the region’s best photographers, event designers, and florists to dish about their favorite spots—and they delivered—from the tried-and-true classics to the area’s best-kept secrets. (Well, former best-kept secrets.)

Accelerator Space
From the bold, blue exterior to the string-lit rooftop patio and the open, industrial room, the Accelerator Space is a photographer’s dream. “All of these elements make it a great venue for couples looking to break the mold,” says photographer Joseph Sasu, who goes by J. Sasu. Housed in a 90-year-old auto dealership off York Road in Govans, the venue’s restored wood floor has a wonderful patina from years of life, while exposed beams and industrial fixtures bring character to an open floorplan for couples to infuse with their own style. 417 Benninghaus Road, Govans

Alma Cocina Latina
“Everyone knows I love a restaurant wedding,” says Jessi Rutherford, owner and creative director of Sentimental Fools, an event production company. “You get a holistically designed space and menu—literally a vibe ready to go,” she says. The team’s go-to restaurant space is Alma Cocina Latina, a Venezuelan spot in Station North from husband-and-wife founders Irena Stein and Mark Demshak, with creative dishes by executive chef David Zamudio. Whitewashed walls, large, arched windows, and many large-leaf plants give the venue a tropical feel. “The space is so light, airy, and lush, it is a perfect vibe for a laid-back brunch ceremony,” Rutherford says. Plus, the venue’s location in an arts district offers great photo opportunities with murals like the colorful and geometric Open Walls Baltimore piece by artist Maya Hayuk just across Charles Street. Another bonus to a restaurant venue? “You have an automatic anniversary spot forever,” Rutherford says. 1701 N. Charles Street, Station North

Lynn Dunston

Baltimore Museum of Art
For event designer Elizabeth Gopal of East Made Co., there’s no venue more inspiring than an actual art museum. “We can design something that feels fresh there each time,” says Gopal of the Baltimore Museum of Art, noting that Fox Court’s Ionic columns or the sunlight streaming through the arched floor-to-ceiling windows of Antioch Court create malleable backdrops for any wedding vibe. “We have varied the overall style, color palette, and even floor plan to promote uniqueness and individuality for our couples—from minimal and modern to luxe and elegant.” In addition to the stunning architecture and photo-ops, Gopal loves the space because it never fails to “wow” guests and can accommodate events during every season. Plus, there’s the option to open select gallery areas to guests, transforming a wedding into an “artistically inspiring event.” 10 Art Museum Drive, Charles Village

Bri & Wes Photography

Belmont Manor and Historic Park
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Howard County, the 18th-century Belmont Manor and Historic Park delivers historic charm and pristine gardens in one venue, with multiple outdoor ceremony options alongside an aqua garden or magnolia grove. “Garden-style” floral designer Toni Clements of Bay Blossoms enjoys the property’s grand entrance and Tuscan-inspired landscaping. “Rolling hills, a pond, tall cypress trees, and a tree-lined driveway make the lead up to this historic manor an experience,” she says. For one recent couple, Clements brought the garden feel into the property’s permanent, peaked reception tent—outfitted with 16 chandeliers—with arrangements made of lush greenery. 6555 Belmont Woods Road, Elkridge

Chesapeake Bay Beach Club
Ballroom meets beachfront at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, one of floral designer Clements’ other favorite venues. Clements has designed florals for many weddings held at this “flawlessly run” venue with a coastal vibe located on Kent Island in Queen Anne’s County. While the Beach House Ballroom’s coastal ambiance requires little added décor, she loves it when couples choose to bring greenery into the space by adorning the natural- wood chandeliers with smilax, a popular decorative vine, or anchor a ceremony on the outdoor lawn with a floral arbor. Plus, the adjacent waterfront terrace and deck is a great place for guests to spend time around the outdoor fireplace on chilly, early fall evenings. 500 Marina Club Road, Stevensville

Citizens Ballroom
The brand-new Citizens Ballroom, a refurbished historic bank in downtown Frederick from venue renovator Fêtewell, is a photographer’s dream. “The floor, the walls, and the ceiling are white, creating the perfect bright balance for any skin tone, which is super important to us while shooting,” says Megan Pitts, who co-owns Megapixels Media with her husband, Garrett. “The light placement throughout this venue has been strategically placed to help create some epic photos, without the light fixtures getting in the way of the photo,” she adds, noting that the grand marble space’s second level allows photographers and videographers to look down on the couple on the main floor, making for some standout first-dance shots. 2 E. Patrick Street, Frederick

Madeline Serio
Marlayna Demond

Gatherings by Woodberry Kitchen
James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde pivoted Woodberry Kitchen to focus on farm-to-table, full-service events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, it has impressed vendors, including Carly Thurman of Thurman & Fig floral designers, who points to intimate ceremonies held in the restaurant’s courtyard as some of her recent favorites. Accommodating up to 150 guests, the rustic-industrial space, dubbed Gatherings by Woodberry Kitchen, features high ceilings, classic farmhouse furnishings, and curved brick archways framing French doors leading to the tented patio. Upstairs, a bridal suite connects to the event space with a grand staircase for a dramatic entrance. The many surrounding warehouses make for great portrait backdrops. 2010 Clipper Park Road, Woodberry 

Heron Room at Mill No. 1
Tucked away down a cobblestone alley, the Heron Room at Mill No. 1 is an intimate venue set along the Jones Falls. Across the courtyard from the event space is Cosima, a Sicilian-inspired restaurant with waterfront dining that Emily Scranton, event planner and co-founder of Poppi Company with her sister Rebekah, says adds an “authentic, Italian feel” to a rehearsal dinner or reception. With convenient access to Baltimore and the JFX, the Heron Room feels worlds away with its rustic stone and brick walls, exposed beams, and tall, arched windows and views of the riverside terrain. A patio offers an outdoor ceremony space and a metal bridge over the river provides panoramic views of the natural scenery. “The venue is such a hidden gem,” Scranton adds. “Every detail, from the architecture of the buildings to the beauty of the nature around you, brings a sentimental feel to each moment.” 3000 Falls Road, Hampden

Bekah Kay Creative

Howard County Conservancy
The partially covered deck at the Howard County Conservancy’s Gudelsky Environmental Education Center overlooks native gardens with winding paths and waterfalls, making a beautiful backdrop for a reception after a ceremony at the Montjoy Barn or elsewhere on the 232-acre Mt. Pleasant property. The variety of ceremony and reception locations, plus the sustainable design of the Gudelsky Center, make it one of Green Dragonfly Events owner Fran Aycock’s go-to venues. “As an added bonus, you can add a 45-minute visit from an owl to your day, or, depending on time of year, go to The Snowball Stand down the hill—both make for great photos,” Aycock says. 10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock

Inn at Haven Harbor
At the Inn at Haven Harbor in Rock Hall, couples can enjoy an entire weekend of Chesapeake Bay celebrations with their guests—think a crab feast under a waterfront pavilion for a rehearsal dinner, charming lodging for the wedding party and out-of-towners, and use of the resort’s many amenities. “At the wedding I photographed there, the bride and her bridesmaids rode cute bicycles before getting dressed for the nuptials,” says photographer Jennifer McMenamin. “The stunning property has countless backdrops, from docks and moored sailboats, to a beach, tall grasses, and colorful cottages. Plus, the balcony of the cottage provided a fantastic vantage point for scene-setting photographs of the ceremony.” 20950 Rock Hall Avenue, Rock Hall

Jennifer McMenamin
Urban Row Photography

The Ivy Hotel
When Urban Row Photography’s Naomi Cataldo gets a gig at The Ivy Hotel in Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood, she never passes up taking photos in the conservatory. “It’s full of soft, natural light, greenery, and worldly décor layered among a black-and-white checkered floor,” she says. Each room of the historic hotel has its own unique and thoughtful design, while the hotel’s enclosed courtyard and lush garden landscaping make for a stunning and very private ceremony location just steps from the Washington Monument. “It doesn’t get better than this,” Cataldo says. 205 East Biddle Street, Mt. Vernon

Ladew Topiary Gardens
Is your vibe garden-party chic? Imagine your ceremony and reception nestled among the fanciful, award-winning landscape of Ladew Topiary Gardens in the rolling countryside of Monkton. Katey Clark, co-owner of Lemon & Lime Event Design with Ashley Amtmann, says the 22-acre garden serves as an inspiring canvas for designing a couple’s big day. “It transcends you into a magical world,” Clark says. From the manicured topiaries of the sculpture garden to the wildflower meadow behind the manor house, this property’s beauty changes with each season. 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton

Rudney Novaes

The Loom
Housed in a former London Fog raincoat factory under the Jones Falls Expressway in Meadow Mill, The Loom offers a rustic, industrial venue for intimate weddings of fewer than 150 guests. “We love that smaller weddings are here to stay,” says Anna Singer, co-owner of The Otherside Creatives. “The mix of warm wood, industrial fixtures, and eye-catching-yet-streamlined design details creates a space that is softer, yet still edgy.” From the folks behind The Winslow and the Mt. Washington Mill Dye House, the Loom’s Woodberry location is near some of Singer’s favorite uptown, first-look locations: the Rawlings Conservatory and Hooper Mill. 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Woodberry

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court
With reception space overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court can accommodate large celebrations without sacrificing style. “Its grand staircase allows for stunning portraits,” says photographer Terri Baskin, who often works with couples hosting events at ballroom-style venues. Large, domed windows in the ballrooms and suites provide critical natural light if weather prevents couples from taking photos outside. When weather cooperates, a hidden garden plaza on the third floor provides a secluded spot for a ceremony or cocktail hour with views of the downtown skyline and is home to an urban apiary. 550 Light Street, Inner Harbor

Terri Baskins

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
From the intricate moldings and historic architectural character of the Sagamore Ballroom to the industrial, semi-enclosed courtyard and minimalist pool deck with views of the Inner Harbor, the Sagamore Pendry accommodates luxe couples of every taste. “We’ve designed several different aesthetics at the Pendry,” says Lemon & Lime’s Clark. That means clear acrylic chairs, wildflowers, and velvet couches for one couple and mirrored tables, chairs, and all-white florals for another. No matter a couple’s taste, photos on the dramatic, red-carpeted staircase are a must. 1715 Thames Street, Fells Point

Sandtown Furniture Co.
Hidden behind a modest brick exterior in Pigtown, the Butterfly Room at Sandtown Furniture Co. is one of the region’s newest industrial event spaces. Housed in a warehouse building dating back to the late 1800s—today home to the Sandtown Furniture shop and showroom—the space retains its original industrial character, paired with sleek, modern fixtures. “Their furniture showroom is a blank slate, with tons of natural light pouring through arched brick openings and textured brick walls that will allow any color palette and vibe to shine,” says Urban Row Photography’s Cataldo. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall separating the showroom from the workshop, and the crisp, matte-black entry wall—created using Shou Sugi Ban, a Japanese technique for weatherproofing wood by charring—are Cataldo’s favorite spots for couple portraits. 1226 Wicomico Street, Pigtown

Tenth Ward Distilling Company
Impress guests during cocktail hour at Tenth Ward Distilling Company, a woman-owned distillery in downtown Frederick, with an extensive list of traditional cocktails, reimagined with local ingredients. “It’s a natural icebreaker for guests who are attending solo, and creates an interactive atmosphere for cocktail aficionados and novices alike,” says The Otherside Creatives’ Singer. Nestled among the charming shops of East Patrick Street, the upstairs event space, Whiskey Hall, turns magical just before sunset, thanks to large windows and exposed brick walls. “There is an unobstructed view allowing the sun to break through, giving a golden-hour glow to the full space,” Singer says. 55 East Patrick Street, Frederick

For those who dream of tying the knot in a “pine cathedral,” ThorpeWood, a Catoctin Mountain lodge surrounded by century-old oak, hickory, and poplar trees, delivers. “Couples can exchange vows amidst towering trees on a bed of pine needles,” says photographer McMenamin. “It’s really lovely, especially in the fall when the leaves burst with yellows, reds, and oranges.” ThorpeWood’s 155 acres include an arboretum, flower gardens, willow pond, and stone bridge. Inside the lodge, rough-hewn wood beams and a towering stone fireplace framed by large windows bring the rustic surroundings indoors. 12805-A Mink Farm Road, Thurmont

Marlayna Demond

The Winslow
Is a portrait in front of M&T Bank Stadium on your wedding-day bucket list? It’s possible at The Winslow, an industrial venue in the former Parker Metal Building, just steps away from the home of the Baltimore Ravens. Photographer Baskin recommends The Winslow for couples looking for a rustic vibe in the center of the city. Multiple spaces make for a natural wedding-day flow, from the light-drenched ceremony in the Train Shed to the reclaimed bar in the cocktail area and the soaring iron beams in the Winslow Room. A wraparound mezzanine “is perfect for creating amazing images during the couple’s first dance,” Baskin adds. 333 West Ostend Street, Federal Hill

You May Also Like

My Favorites