It's one of the most important wedding decisions — where to, you know, have the wedding. Apart from finding a spot that fits your unique tastes and themes, there's the matter of timing. Some wedding consultants suggest booking one year or more in advance. Yeah, these places fill up fast.
And while we can't guarantee you'll get your first choice in time, we do want to help you out. We spoke with Julie Savage Parekh, the creative director of Strawberry Milk Events in Baltimore, and her team, who offered four recommended venues in town to hit your price point. Their suggestions:
Imagine a waterfront brunch reception, with breathtaking views of the Inner Harbor against the backdrop of a cool historical industrial building. The Baltimore Museum of Industry is a unique and affordable waterfront venue. We love this venue for a bride on a tight budget since it doesn't require a ton of decoration. We recommend embracing the whimsical-meets-industrial wedding vibe. It provides tons of charm and local flavor so your guests can get a really good feel of the Baltimore waterfront and history. The open-air pavilion can accommodate 300 seated guests and is only $1,000 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. The museum offers the option of opening galleries for guests to tour privately before, during, or after your event ($300 per gallery) as well as 200 free on-site parking spots. We also think this makes a fun rehearsal dinner location.
For the nature lover, the Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens is a large and affordable venue. The juxtaposition of the beautiful glass building with the lush and colorful flowers makes this venue unique. You don't have to do a lot in the way of flowers and foliage because it's surrounding you. Established in 1888 and newly renovated in 2004, the property has grown to accommodate three greenhouses, two display pavilions and numerous outdoor gardens. The venue houses plants and flowers from all over the world, providing the perfect backdrop for any ceremony, cocktail hour or reception. The whole indoor facility can be rented for eight hours or less for $2,000 (Saturday and Sunday).
Picturing a classic estate wedding? Owned by the Johns Hopkins University (yes, that means discounts for alums) and near Roland Park, this beautiful 19th century Gilded Age estate is a gem of architecture with manicured lawns and Italian gardens. It offers lovely indoor and outdoor spaces — we're particularly fond of the Carriage House, which comes with a pretty tented patio (in warmer months) and paved garden terrace as another reception option. The property's five-acre meadow has a quaint little stream and footbridge which make for stunning bridal portraits. Four-hour venue rentals range from $1,500 to $6,000 and can accommodate up to 500 seated guests, depending on the area chosen.
Often voted one of the prettiest libraries in the world, The George Peabody Library (again, part of the Johns Hopkins University) has a decidedly European feel right in the heart of Baltimore. Gilded gold accents, a bold black-and-white tile floor, 61-foot soaring ceilings and an ornate skylight all come together to create a monumental wedding venue. The Exhibition Gallery, where guests can peruse the collection of rare artifacts, is an excellent option for a cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres. Not only is this place pretty, but you'll feel smarter just for mingling amongst the collection of over 300,000 volumes. The library can host a seated dinner with dancing for 170 guests or a standing cocktail party of 400. Four-hour Saturday rentals start at $6,000, including additional three-hour set-up, 60-minute break-down time, and access to a preparation suite for an hour before the event. Special discounts for JHU students mean it could also work in the $5,000 budget range as well.