As a wedding photographer based in the Washington DC/Baltimore area, I’ve shot a lot of weddings in a lot of locales, but I’m always adding to my list of favorites, so this is by no means an exhaustive tally: One of the many great things about my home state is that there are so many great options for wedding venues in Maryland, so for this list I’ve de-emphasized ranking and emphasized the wide diversity of different types of venues, from postmodern to bucolic. To be continued…!
My Top 5 Favorite Wedding Venues in Maryland
Where: Dickerson, Maryland (1 hour drive from both the Washington DC and Baltimore areas)
Vibe: Modern Countryside
Why: Simply put, I can’t think of many other venues that offer this much variety and beauty—both indoors and outdoors—all on one property:
- Sun-shot vistas of Sugarloaf Mountain. (Perfect for glowing sunset photos of the newlyweds!)
- Light-filled, double-deck modern barn big enough for both ceremony and reception.
- Lovingly restored 1920s farmhouse with generous covered porches.
- A stand of evergreens right on the property that will make you feel like you’re standing in a forested cathedral.
- Service is truly top-notch: Lauren Huyser, the owner, is wonderful and goes above and beyond to help make weddings extraordinary!
How to see more: @comusfarm
Hotel Revival Baltimore
Where: Downtown Baltimore City (Mount Vernon neighborhood)
Vibe: Urban Fun
Why: Some of the great pluses:
- Natural light! Topside—the venue’s indoor rooftop space—is among the very few locations in downtown capacious enough to comfortably host a medium-size wedding’s reception. And that natural light—take it from a wedding photographer!—always produces a more flattering photo of you and your guests.
- Mount Vernon Place—a vest-pocket green space with historic charm and Baltimore’s own Washington Monument—is located right across the street. The park is big enough for even large-family group photographs.
- Modern, quirky spaces and amenities give the venue a unique, friendly feel.
How to see more: @revivalbaltimore
Howard County Conservancy—Mt. Pleasant
Where: Woodstock, Maryland (30 min. drive from Baltimore)
Vibe: Organic Garden
Why: Away from it all, but actually not that far away at all
Indoor, outdoor, deck, barn—Howard County Conservancy features an abundance of ceremony spots within its rolling 232 acres of meadows, wildflowers, and unobstructed views of the Patapsco Valley. The Nature Center is generously windowed, and spacious enough for a medium-sized wedding’s reception to become a serious dance party without feeling crowded.
And there’s something about being amid all that enveloping nature that slides the inevitable weight of pre-wedding stress off of people’s shoulders—something this wedding photographer certainly appreciates, since relaxed people tend to be happy people, and that makes for much better photographs!
How to see more: @hcconservancy
Baltimore Museum of Art
Where: Baltimore City (Charles Village neighborhood, right next to Johns Hopkins University)
Vibe: Parallel Universes
Why: So many different feels, all in one location. Take few steps in any direction, and you’ve got a whole different feel:
- Columned neoclassicism
- Concrete-and-glass modernism
- Lush sculpture garden
Plus, it’s Baltimore. Meaning: If you’re based in the Northeast (lookin’ at you, NYC and DC couples) and you’ve got your heart set on a wedding in an art gallery BUT a budget set closer to regular folks, you’re right in the zone: “We’re half the cost of a museum in Washington, and probably a quarter of New York,” notes Alicia Crosby, the BMA’s director of events, who so kindly gave me a tour of spaces available to couples for engagement and wedding photography. Looking forward to shooting an engagement/wedding here soon!
How to see more: @bmaweddingsandevents
The Butterfly Room
Where: Baltimore City (Pigtown neighborhood)
Vibe: Lovingly Postindustrial
Why: Old, new, real, true.
This breathtaking new venue is technically called The Butterfly Room at Sandtown Furniture for reasons that become obvious as soon as you walk into the airy, double-height interior: Just beyond a giant wall of glass is the factory space where, during the workday, natural wood is turned into high-quality tables and other furnishings. The spotlit wedding space itself has a historic yet postmodern feel, with industrial touches lovingly left in place. I had a chance to photograph the recently opened space during a @baltimore_nace event and can’t wait to shoot my first wedding there!
How to see more: @the_butterfly_room_baltimore
Visualizing Your Venue: 7 Photo-Friendly Factors for Choosing Your Maryland Wedding Location
Years from now, when you’re celebrating your wedding anniversary, you’ll look
back with love, you’ll look back with amazement, and maybe you’ll even look back with some bemusement.
But regardless, you’ll be looking back at your wedding photos.
That’s because wedding photographs last longer than anyone’s memory. And so
of course you’ll want to prioritize selecting a high-quality professional photographer (-ahem-) whose style reflects you and your partner’s vision.
What you may not have considered yet, however, is how your choice of venue will shape how the wedding looks in the photos.
If—like most couples—you plan to select your wedding location before selecting your wedding photographer, you’re going to want to keep in mind all the key variables listed in this quick-reference guide we’ve created for you.
Here are 7 key considerations that will help you select a wedding venue with
visuals firmly in mind:
One of the most critical elements for great wedding photos is natural lighting. Why? Because natural light is the most flattering. When visiting potential venues,
pay attention to the availability and quality of natural light. Consider venues with
large windows, outdoor ceremony options, or spaces that allow light to flood in.
Ample natural light can enhance the overall aesthetics of your photos and reduce
the need for flash-dependent photography.
Maryland boasts a rich diversity of venue sites, from seasides to mountains to lush gardens and historic estates. In fact, many of the most popular venues will include more than one of these elements. When comparing venues, keep in mind
what kind of backdrop best suits your wedding vision, but also how many different types of settings are contained within the venue: That variation— including scenic vistas, charming architectural features, and well-maintained gardens—can add depth and variety to your wedding photos.
Indoor and Outdoor Options:
Maryland weather can be unpredictable, even during prime wedding months. So
make sure your venue has both indoor and outdoor contingency options. That way, even if weather conditions make the outdoor ceremony you planned impossible, there will be an attractive canopy tent or other structure available that
you can seamlessly pivot to. Your photographer will also appreciate the flexibility to work with different environments, ensuring your wedding photos are beautiful, rain or shine.
Every venue has its own set of policies and rules, including restrictions on
photography. Check with the venue—particularly if it has religious affiliations—
about any limitations or requirements related to photography, such as restrictions
on flash use during ceremonies or specific areas where photography is allowed.
This information will help your photographer plan accordingly.
Space and Layout:
Consider the layout of a venue and how it might affect your photography.
Spacious venues with various rooms or areas can provide more opportunities for
capturing different moments simultaneously. Conversely, a narrow space might
not allow your photographer to move around sufficiently during a ceremony to allow for flattering angles without interrupting the flow of the event or the sight-
lines of your guests.
When touring a venue, it’s worthwhile to ask if the proprietor has a preferred-
vendor list they can share with you. This list can be a valuable resource when
Choosing your wedding photographer:
A venue’s owner often selects
photographers for this list based on how well they have photographed past
weddings at the very site you’re considering. And their familiarity with the venue
means they likely already have insights into the best spots at the venue for
pictures and how to overcome any unique challenges of the location.
Finally—and perhaps most importantly—consider the timing of your wedding,
especially if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or reception. Golden Hour, the
period shortly before sunset, is often the preferred time for capturing dreamy,
warm photographs. If you’re planning an afternoon or evening wedding, make
sure that a venue’s setting (and your ceremony’s timing) allow for photographs to
be taken during these flattering lighting conditions. And of course, before you
commit to a venue, make sure to visit it during the same time (and ideally the
same season) as your planned ceremony and reception. That way you’ll get the
best idea of what kind of light and what kind of ambiance you’ll have at that
location during your actual wedding.
Selecting the right wedding venue in Maryland isn’t just about aesthetics and
convenience; it’s also about creating an ideal canvas for your wedding
photographer to work their magic. By taking these visual factors into account, you
can ensure that your wedding day is beautifully documented for generations to
come. Remember that open communication with your photographer and venue
coordinator is key to achieving the best results and capturing the essence of your special day