Something in the Water

Maryland offers countless waterfront options for those ready to take the plunge.

Ask anyone why couples are drawn to the water for weddings, and you’ll get a million different responses: It’s romantic. It’s soothing on an otherwise stressful day. It’s great for photographs. In Maryland, there’s another excellent reason: There’s water, water, everywhere, which means locals often have a particularly strong connection to it. It’s only natural, then, that folks flock to waterfront venues when it’s time to tie the knot. Whether it’s a pond, river, cove, creek, stream, or our beloved Chesapeake Bay, there are plenty of charming ceremony spots that are eager to oblige. Here’s a list of 20 waterfront venues, and while it’s by no means exhaustive, it offers geographic variety and various types of views. Consider it your jumping-off point.

Anchor Inn
There aren’t many venues that can boast being in a building that literally hovers over the water. Aside from the dock holding up the inn, there’s also a deck and a pier, where couples who own boats can make a dramatic entrance by docking there and walking down the pier toward taking their vows. Celebrations at the Bay, just 10 minutes down the road and owned by the same company, offers similar views of the Chesapeake but with more of a garden feel and can accommodate up to 500 guests. The filet mignon/crab cake combo is a wedding favorite at both properties. 7617 Water Oak Point Road, Pasadena

Pat Furey Photography

Baltimore Museum of Industry
BMI is in a former oyster cannery, where boats would pull right up and dump their haul for it to be shucked and canned, so its five acres offer several waterfront vistas. The Inner Harbor can be enjoyed from spots like the brick terrace, a concrete jetty, an outdoor pavilion, and an indoor event space with a wall of windows. Before or after the ceremony, guests can meander through the exhibits and galleries to learn about Baltimore’s historic waterfront industries. The Downtown Sailing Center, located nearby, ensures a regular parade of picturesque sailboats skimming back and forth to complete the nautical vibe. 1415 Key Hwy., Baltimore

Bohemia Overlook
Two of the three wedding spots on Bohemia Overlook’s 160 acres bring weddinggoers near the banks of the Elk River, a northern tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The Manor sits atop a bluff that affords 180-degree views of where the Elk River meets the Bohemia River. But real water obsessives will want to book The Beach, which features a dock, access to the sandy beach, and the sounds of crashing waves. Both venues include tented receptions for up to 300 and a house for wedding-day preparations. The Cecil County property also features the picturesque Blue Elk Vineyard on 14 acres of rolling hills. 88 Rivers Edge Road, North East

Brittland Estates
Many couples like to start their wedding weekend with a rehearsal dinner at this Kent County property’s River Lodge, partaking in crab feasts, shrimp boils, barbecue, and oysters with views of the Chester River. Or better still, get right on the river by booking a dinner cruise, if the tides work with the timing. When it comes to the big day, there are several ways to drink in water views on Brittland Manor’s expansive grounds that sit on 530 riverside acres, including an elegant pool and a wildlife pond. Gardens, fields surrounded by woods, and a historic mansion complete the scene. 211 Britland Farm Lane, Chestertown

Jessi Vaughn Photography

Caboose Farm
Couples have two options for waterside “I do’s.” The one with perhaps the biggest splash would be the pond, which features a wooden walkway toward the center, where couples can either have their ceremony surrounded by water or take photos. (Photographers love to send up a drone to capture dramatic overhead views of newly wedded couples.) The wraparound deck at Caboose’s event building also overlooks the pond. Additionally, the 200-acre property features a clearing in the woods with a charming rocky stream running through it. This area, called The Glade, allows couples to get hitched in a peaceful woodland setting. 14754 Manahan Road, Sabillasville

Willow Roots Photography

Chesapeake Bay Beach Club
Located within sight of where the Bay Bridge meets the Eastern Shore, this Kent Island spot offers several indoor and outdoor waterfront options: the Beach House Ballroom, with its sunken formal garden; the Sunset Ballroom, a New England-style space, with a bonus view of the marina from the enclosed rooftop deck; and the Tavern Ballroom, featuring a trellised ceremonial lawn and rooftop deck. In addition to bay sunset views, each spot also allows for access to the resort’s private, sandy beach. Menus naturally pull from the bay, with numerous crab dishes, local oysters, rockfish, and traditional Smith Island cakes. 500 Marina Club Road, Stevensville

Marlayna Photography

The Delaplaine Arts Center
This flour-mill-turned-art-museum’s location adjacent to downtown Frederick’s Carroll Creek Park offers wedding-goers views of the park’s bridges, fountains, and the urban waterway from the museum’s Gardiner Hall and Event Deck, where wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours take place. Couples are sometimes wed at the nearby amphitheater on the creek before making their way over to the arts center for receptions. Another way couples add water to their special day is to take photos in front of the Galleria Fountain that consists of 70 spouts shooting streams of water over a crescent-shaped pool. 40 S. Carroll St., Frederick

tpoz Photography

Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park
This historic venue’s 200-foot pier sets it apart from the competition, as does its birds-eye view of the iconic Domino Sugar sign and the property’s water taxi stop. Couples can arrive by boat, and frequently have ceremonies right on the pier before heading inside for the reception. Being indoors doesn’t mean a lack of water since the Baltimore Harbor is within eyesight from just about every location, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s also a courtyard, promenade, and balcony, all facing that gorgeous city skyline. While there, take the opportunity to learn about the site’s namesakes and other important Black Americans. 1417 Thames St., Baltimore

Four Seasons hotel Baltimore
It’s almost impossible to think of Baltimore without getting an image of the Inner Harbor, and this swanky hotel delivers those iconic views from its Harbor Terrace on the fifth floor, which overlooks the Patapsco with bonus views of the city skyline and sunsets. A shallow, decorative splash pool brings a touch of shimmery water even closer to the ceremony. The Cobalt Ballroom, also on the fourth floor, features three terraces with water views. Take the water theme up a notch by booking a post-wedding ride on the hotel’s catamaran for a sail around the harbor, available seasonally from June through October. 200 International Dr., Baltimore

Glen Ellen Farm
No need to sacrifice water views when tapping into the trendy modern farm aesthetic. The spring-fed pond at this historic property near Frederick sits on 30 acres of land brimming with a meadow of wildflowers and abundant gardens. The pond, which is just behind the ceremony site, provides an idyllic backdrop for photos and even boasts a small, sandy beach dotted with Adirondack chairs ready for sunset cocktails. Rustic structures like the stone springhouse and the ruins of an old barn near the ceremony site add to the romance, and tented receptions accommodate up to 300 guests. 4940 Mussetter Road, Ijamsville

Kirsten Smith Photography

Heron Room
Views of Jones Falls can be seen from this historic spot’s patio, where smaller ceremonies often take place, as well as from a catwalk that’s popular for cocktails. The stream can also be enjoyed from inside the rustic, industrial-chic building through expansive windows on either side of the Heron Room, which also features exposed original brick and stone, reclaimed wood accents, cast-iron columns, and vaulted ceilings. Located in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, the site’s namesake herons hint at the serene natural beauty that infuses the former mill, and guests have been known to spot the graceful birds on sunny days. Mill No. 1, 3000 Falls Road, Baltimore

Paperbird Photography

Herrington on the Bay
Whether you book the tented ballroom or the yacht club for your special day, you’ll be treated to expansive views of Herring Bay and Chesapeake Bay throughout your wedding. If you spring for a room at the resort, you can also take advantage of the private beach with complimentary kayaks and paddleboards, as well as an Olympic-size pool with cocktail service. In addition, the resort prides itself on its eco-friendly practices throughout, from the marina to the catering to the preserved shorelines that filter water runoff. Chefs prepare everything, from a traditional crab feast to seasonal, local, coursed meals, with Maryland wine pairings. 7151 Lake Shore Dr., North Beach

Historic London Town and Gardens
This once-thriving Colonial port town on the banks of the South River, one of the many tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, now serves as a picturesque backdrop for hundreds of weddings a year. Couples can opt to make a grand entrance—and exit—by boat from the 185-foot pier, a popular spot for photos along with the lush gardens. Water is visible from both outdoor ceremony locations, whether it’s the tree-lined East Lawn or the river deck on the West Lawn. Receptions can also take place outside in a tent or be moved into the indoor pavilion when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater

Alicia Wiley Photography

Inn at Perry Cabin
Part of this nautically themed resort’s claim to fame is that a scene from Wedding Crashers was filmed on a portion of the lush lawn dubbed The Pointe that overlooks the Miles River. The luxurious inn owns its own 55-foot Hinckley yacht called The Five Star, which couples can rent to ferry guests across the bay toward their wedding weekend, to take photos with the wedding party, to charter for getting married on the water, or even a post-ceremony mini-moon from April to mid-October. But couples typically tie the knot—sometimes literally—at The Pointe, with its scenic view of the river and a quaint smattering of boats. 308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels

La Banque at the Seaplane Base
There’s no other spot in Maryland where brides can fly in a seaplane and then walk up a dock toward their wedding. This venue hosts outdoor weddings from May through October, with views of both the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. Since it faces east, gorgeous sunsets are lit from behind, with none of the glare of a west-facing view. Owner Kim Barth says the quaint town’s proximity to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and D.C., along with the “Hallmark movie” vibe, make it a popular choice for weddings. “Nobody’s a stranger,” she says. 21 St. John St., Havre de Grace

The Oaks Waterfront Inn
Taking advantage of its location on Oak Creek, a cove directly off Miles River, this Eastern Shore inn prides itself on being conveniently close for most Maryland couples, while feeling like a resort vacation spot. Many weddings kick off with cocktails on the covered dock, illuminated with lanterns and strings of lights. Ceremonies also take place there during inclement weather, and receptions for up to 230 guests are held in the Grand Ballroom, which benefits from tall windows with water views. Couples and guests can enjoy a private retreat from the evening before the wedding through the morning after, taking advantage of the grounds and canoe rides. 5876 Royal Oak Road, Easton

Philip Merrill Environmental Center
It should come as no surprise that this Chesapeake Bay Foundation venue would feature water views—in this case, where the bay meets Blackwalnut Creek. Indeed, the bay is visible from just about every part of the site, from the wedding suite to the tented deck to the dining room. There’s also a private beach for ceremonies, and a feel-good element to getting hitched here. “While enjoying the beautiful waterfront views, couples can also know that the money paid in renting the venue is also supporting the fight for clean water,” says Emily Blackman, a weddings and events coordinator for the nonprofit. 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis

Victoria Selman Photography
Luke and Ashley Photography

Rosewood Farms
Known simply as The Pond, the spring-fed (yet man-made) body of water serves as a focal point at this chic Cecil County farm. It’s the ideal backdrop for the ceremony and the reception, and looks great after sunset when the fountain is lit. Other amenities include two event barns, indoor and outdoor reception sites, a capacity of up to 275, and pet-friendly grounds. Folks getting married might also be treated to sightings of ducks and a blue heron that lives on the venue’s 44 acres. 1316 Singerly Road, Elkton

Silver Swan Bayside
Located on the western side of Kent Island, where the Chesapeake Bay meets Price Creek, this venue run by the Queen Anne Marina offers up plenty of those famous bay sunsets visible both from the lawn, where ceremonies are held, and the tented pavilion. The private beach allows revelers to get even closer to the water, but there’s also a boardwalk perfect for taking photos or enjoying the water without getting sand in your shoes. Local seafood, like oyster raw bars, is a favorite with couples, and a fireplace offers a place to warm up when those bay breezes turn chilly. 412 Congressional Dr., Stevensville

The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
Waterfowl are kind of a big deal in this neck of the woods, so it’s only fitting that visitors catch glimpses of ducks on the 35-acre Schumaker Pond, visible from the Legacy Center’s floor-to-ceiling wall of windows. You might also spy a great blue heron in the grass or Canada geese flying above. Wedding guests can drink in the natural beauty surrounding the museum from the observation deck and sculpture garden, and from the Atrium Lobby, which is also used for ceremonies and rehearsal dinners. The museum, a certified Maryland Green Center, uses renewable energy, incorporates native plants, and contributes to habitat restoration. 909 S. Schumaker Dr., Salisbury     

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