No doubt you've heard about the three most important considerations when you're buying a house: location, location and location. They also serve quite handily as the three most important considerations in planning a wedding, too. Just about everything except your choice of spouse is determined by this most important detail -- the flowers, the colors, the style, the themes.
So to assist in finding your quintessential, one-and-only, I-did-it-my-way sort of setting, we've compiled what you might think of as a real estate listing of area reception sites. The same rules apply: Shop carefully and know what you want, but keep your mind open to new possibilities.
BABE RUTH BIRTHPLACE AND BALTIMORE ORIOLES MUSEUM, 216 Emory St., 727-1539. Reserve one month in advance. Accommodates 125 people. Available evenings only. Cost: $200 for hall rental, plus $2 each person. Decorating is allowed.
Whether it's kismet or just good luck, baseball fans have one more reason to consider the Babe's birthplace as their reception site: It's just two blocks away from the new stadium in Camden Yards. It still features all the near-and-dear memorabilia that draws the sports-minded, including displays on Maryland baseball and Orioles uniforms dating back to 1954.
BALTIMORE GRAND, 401 W. Fayette St., 727-5678. Contact: Maureen Logan. The Loyola Ballroom accommodates 160 seated with dancing, 250 standing. The Chesapeake Ballroom accommodates 400 seated, 530 standing. There are three fully equipped kitchens, one kosher. List of approved caterers available.
Baltimore Grand has turned business into pleasure by renovating two of Baltimore's turn-of-the-century bank buildings -- Western National Bank and the Eutaw Savings Bank -- into ballrooms suitable for receptions. A new, 4,000-square-foot lobby and grand staircase connect the two buildings. The larger of the two, the Chesapeake, boasts 5,861 square feet of space, stained-glass windows, and a 55-foot vaulted ceiling, while the smaller Loyola Ballroom offers a more intimate atmosphere, with crystal chandeliers, sconces and warm tones of champagne and beige. A 500-car parking garage adjacent to the building allows for direct entrance into the lobby.
B&O; RAILROAD MUSEUM, 901 W. Pratt St., 752-2445. Reserve as far in advance as possible. Accommodates 950 seated, 2,400 standing. Available Tuesdays to Sundays after 5 p.m., Mondays any time. List of approved caterers available. Cost for basic rental: $2,100 for the first 200 guests, $6 per person over 200. Basic rental includes security, on-premises staffing and secure parking for 240 cars.
The locomotives are housed in the roundhouse, where receptions take place. The 22-sided building is located on the site of the first railroad station in the United States, and is 123 feet high and 240 feet across, just shy of an acre inside. At the center is a wooden turntable which is used to deposit the train cars in the 22 stalls which form the grand circle of the roundhouse.
BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART, Art Museum Drive, 396-6078Reserve three to six months in advance. Accommodates 300 seated, 800 standing. Available for receptions only Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. List of suggested caterers available, with firm subject to museum's approval. Cost varies from $3,000 to $5,000.
Schaefer Court, which features the Antioch Mosaics, surrounds glass-enclosed atrium, and surrounding the court itself is the world-renowned Cone collection in the Old Masters wing. Large, classical Fox Court features a coffered ceiling with rosettes. On either side of the court is the museum's collection of modern and American art. The collections can be opened for viewing at an additional charge.
BALTIMORE ROWING AND WATER RESOURCE CENTER, 3301 Waterview Ave., 396-3838. Reserve six months in advance. Accommodates 115 seated, 250 standing. Caterers must be licensed and provide their own insurance. Call center for rental cost.
With its location on the Patapsco River and state-of-the-art boathouse decor, the center is an ideal choice for couples who enjoy the water. Winter wedding guests can warm themselves by the fireplace, while spring and summer guests can take advantage of the outside deck, surrounding parkland and view of the Baltimore skyline.
BELVEDERE, 1 E. Chase St., 547-8800. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates up to 500 seated, 600 standing. Available seven days a week. Cost: from $37.
The Belvedere Hotel, built in 1903, offers a variety of rooms from intimate to elegant. Most of the ballrooms have crystal chandeliers and hardwood dance floors, with two boasting 50-foot ceilings. The John Eager Howard Room, decorated in high Empire style, features a fireplace and chandeliers, and the 13th floor, which can also be rented for weddings, offers a wide-ranging view of the city -- uptown and harbor. The Terrace Room and the Executive Room can be used for smaller weddings, and the Parlors -- three rooms side by side -- are also available for smaller weddings.
CHARLES LEVINE CATERERS AT SCARLETT PLACE, 250 SPresident St., 625-0900. Reserve as early as possible. The Harbor Terrace accommodates up to 400 for a cocktail reception; the ballroom, 500 for cocktail reception, 400 seated with dancing; the Scarlett Room, 250 for cocktail reception, 160 seated with dancing. Off-premises catering and valet parking available. Cost varies.
The ballroom is decorated with a custom floral carpet, gold-leaf ceiling, incandescent lighting and hand-painted columns for a European-style atmosphere. The Scarlett Room, meant for smaller parties, includes patterned carpet, luminescent draperies and custom brass and crystal sconces. The Harbor Terrace joins both rooms and provides an outside area for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres overlooking the harbor skyline.
CLOISTERS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, 10440 Falls Road, 823-2551. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 80 seated, 175 standing. Available 6 p.m. to midnight every day of the week. List of suggested licensed caterers available. Cost: $700 from 6 p.m. to midnight.
The Parkers built the Cloisters, which looks like a European castle, in 1930 as a private home. Objects from their collection furnish the building, whose gables and wrought-iron spiral staircase reflect a blend of Gothic and Tudor styles. The entire first floor is open to guests, including the main gallery (with an area for dancing), and the library, all of which are filled with European and American antiques. Wedding ceremonies may be performed in the Great Hall.
CROSS KEYS INN, 5100 Falls Road, 532-6900. Contact: BarbarSchofield. Reserve at least six months in advance. Accommodates 200 seated with dance floor, up to 300 for cocktail receptions. Available year-round. In-house catering only. Cost: lunches, $10 to $18; dinners, $17 to $30.
The Cross Keys Inn manages two ballrooms for receptions. The Holiday Room is a large, contemporary, glass-enclosed room with peach-colored walls, a wood floor and an outside balcony. The White Oak Ballroom, decorated in tones of taupe and mauve, features a glass-enclosed mezzanine area.
DANIELLE'S BLUECREST, 401 Reisterstown Road, 486-2100. Contact: Danielle Mosse. Accommodates up to 700 seated, up to 1200 standing. Available every day. Kosher menus are available. Shellfish will not be served. Cost: from $35.
The Ballroom features light gray walls, a green-, gray- and peach-colored carpet, crystal chandeliers and several mirrors. The smaller, more intimate Orchid Room is decorated in soft shades of off-white and pink, and features a wooden floor and crystal chandeliers. The Bluecrest also offers valet parking, a coatroom and handicapped bathrooms and ramps.
ENOCH PRATT CENTRAL LIBRARY, 400 Cathedral St.396-5429. Reserve three to six months in advance. Accommodates 400 seated, 600 standing. Available weeknights after 9 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays after 5 p.m., all day Sundays from May to October. Catering by approved firms only. Cost: approximately $2,000.
Lovers of knowledge (and large receptions) will find the Enoch Pratt ideal. Its three-story Central Hall is a flexible open space with a skylighted atrium. Paintings of American and European printers distinguish the interior.
GLASS PAVILION, Johns Hopkins University, Homewood campus, Levering Hall, 3400 N. Charles St., 338-8199. Contact: Melva Cole-Fleet. Contracts may be signed only three months before event. Available June through August. Accommodates 200 seated, 350 standing. Cost: $180 per hour. This modern, glass-enclosed cube located in a wooded area was built in 1974 as an addition to the student union. The pavilion is furnished in royal blue and jade contemporary lounge furniture and features a large space for dancing. An outdoor patio provides a spacious area for cocktails.
GREAT BLACKS IN WAX MUSEUM, 1601 E. North Ave., 563-3404. Contact: Liz Byrd. Reserve two weeks in advance. Accommodates 150 seated with tables, 200 seated with chairs alone; 250 standing. Cost: $250 for four hours, plus $1 per person. Tables and chairs are included in the basic rental fee. Tours may be included in the package, in which case admission prices will be lowered 20 percent. The Alverta Cason room, where receptions take place, is decorated with African carved wooden panels and a gold-painted ceiling trimmed in red. A feature in the tour package is the Maryland room, opened in October 1989, which is filled with statues of famous black Marylanders, including recent additions Benjamin Banneker, Bea Gaddy and Clarence Mitchell Jr.
GREY ROCK MANSION, 8901 Reisterstown Road, 833-9500. Reserve two months to one year in advance. Accommodates 150 for seated dinner, 175 for cocktail reception. Available daily. 1 a.m. curfew. Catering by Valley Caterers of Worthington only. Cost varies. This 18th century English manor house, on the former estate of John Eager Howard, is nestled among 50 acres of land, and features a walnut-paneled library, a terrace room, a dining room with a large bay window, and a grand ballroom. Outside are a flagstone patio, gazebo and fountain, which overlook formal gardens. Ceremonies can be performed in- or outdoors.
HAMMOND-HARWOOD HOUSE, 19 Maryland Ave., 269-1714. Accommodates up to 50 inside, up to 75 inside and out in summer when garden is usable. Available after 4 p.m. from October to April, and after 5 p.m. from April to October. Cost: kitchen and hyphen, a hallway that connects the wing with the main section of the house, $125 for two hours, $30 each additional hour; garden alone, $250 for two hours, $50 for each additional hour; museum kitchen, hyphen and garden together, $300 for two hours, $50 for each additional hour; and the board room, $75 for two hours, $25 for each additional hour. A list of approved caterers and musicians is available. Acoustic music only.
Built in 1774 by William Buckland for Annapolis legislator Matthias Hammond, the house features an 18th century kitchen (the main room for receptions), a brick floor and period furnishings. The garden, originally designed by a man from old Williamsburg, is also suitable to the period.
HAMPTON MANSION TEA ROOM TERRACE, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson, 583-7401. Reserve six to seven months in advance. Accommodates up to 200 seated with tent, 200 standing. Available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed Jan. 15 to the first Tuesday in March. In-house catering only. Cost based on tent rental and catering.
The mansion was the home of former Gov. Charles Ridgely and was built in 1790. It is no longer available for receptions, but the elegant Tea Room Terrace is a popular choice for wedding parties. The surrounding grounds boast fragrant fruit trees and boxwood gardens.
HARBOR COURT HOTEL, 550 Light St., 234-0550. Reserve aearly as possible. Accommodates 160 with a dance floor, 200 with dance floor adjacent. 300 standing. Available seven days a week. In-house catering only. Cost: $45 to $100 per person. Custom-designed English carpets, fine oak woodwork, and 10 crystal chandeliers distinguish the decor of the Harbor Court Hotel. Other features include an oak staircase, an ideal spot for photographs, and a panoramic view of the Inner Harbor from 12-foot-high arched windows.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF CARROLL COUNTY, 210 E. Main St., Westminster, (301) 848-6494. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 110 standing, 65 seated. Music and caterers subject to museum's approval. Cost: $200 plus security deposit. Additional cost for security: $10 an hour.
Receptions take place in the auditorium adjoining the Historical Society's offices, which feature parquet flooring, a piano and a fireplace with an early 19th century mantel.
HISTORIC INNS OF ANNAPOLIS, 58 State Circle, Annapolis, (301) 263-2641. Contact: Marie Baehr. Reserve three to six months in advance. Historic Inns of Annapolis has two inns available for receptions: the Gov. Calvert House and the Maryland Inn. The Gov. Calvert House, at 58 State Circle, accommodates 160 seated, 300 standing. The Maryland Inn, at 16 Church Circle, accommodates 60 seated, 125 standing. Both are available daily. The Gov. Calvert House has an 11 p.m. curfew, the Maryland Inn, 1 a.m. Both have in-house catering only. Custom menus are available and menus can be chosen from the Treaty of Paris Restaurant. Both cost from $39 to $47 per person.
Built in 1720 for Lord Calvert and later converted to an inn, the Gov. Calvert House may be the ideal setting for history buffs to host their celebration. A glassed-in atrium with French doors overlooking a garden distinguishes the three small ballrooms, which convert into one large room. Many guests have found the hypocaust -- the original heating for the house -- fascinating. Discovered before the building was restored, it is covered with a glass floor which all are invited to explore.
The Victorian ballroom of the Maryland Inn, decorated in shades of burgundy and mauve, features a working fireplace and authentic crystal chandeliers. The Maryland Inn has the distinction of having operated as a hotel on a daily basis for 223 years.
KITTAMAQUNDI ROOM (See the Spear Center.)
LA FONTAINE BLEU OF BALTIMORE, 3120 Erdman Ave.,
675-6090. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 125 to 500. Cost varies. French-style ballroom with crystal chandeliers, beveled mirrors and rich blue and gold decor.
LA FONTAINE BLEU OF BALTIMORE, CRYSTAL ROOM, 3107 Erdman Ave., 675-6090. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 40 to 80. Cost varies. An intimate setting for small weddings, the Crystal Room features a marble dance floor and crystal chandelier.
LA FONTAINE BLEU OF GLEN BURNIE, 7514 S. Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, 760-4115. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 100 to 1,000. Cost varies. Blue and gold interiors, terrazzo tile floors, large chandeliers and elegant blue chairs bordered with gold braiding distinguish the six spacious ballrooms. Bridal parties can unwind between the ceremony and reception in the French Provincial-style bridal suite.
LA FONTAINE ROUGE, 3407 Belair Road, 675-6090. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 90 to 380. Cost varies. The two domed ballrooms feature 12-foot chandeliers, parquet flooring and a rich burgundy and mauve interior with gold accents.
LIRIODENDRON, 502 W. Gordon St., Bel Air, 879-4424. Contact: Dorothy Francis. Reserve as soon as possible. Accommodates 100 seated, 150 standing. Closed January to March. Cost: $650 for a 6 1/2 -hour booking, which is a four-hour reception time.
Liriodendron (the botanical name for the tulip poplar) trees an boxwood gardens grace the grounds of this Harford County mansion, built in 1898. Once a palatial summer home, the structure features Greek columns, French doors, marble walls in the kitchen and bathroom, and 13 fireplaces. Large oval covered porticos on either end of the three large reception rooms welcome guests. Between the two porticos is a terrazzo terrace, with an archway covered with wisteria.
LONDON TOWN PUBLIK HOUSE AND GARDENS, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, (301) 222-1919. Contact: Katie Dentler. Reservations -- up to one year -- are strongly advised. Accommodates 200 standing. Available mid-April to mid-October. Preferred catering list available. No in-house catering. Costs: $500 for four-hour period for 50 guests, $5 for each additional guest. Rental of tent 20 feet by 40 feet: $350.
Eight acres of natural woodland gardens, featuring an azaleglade, rhododendron slope and waterfall, distinguish the lands surrounding the Publik House. This 18th century tavern served as an inn until the 1790s and later became the residence of former Gov. John Hoskins Stone. In 1970 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. Though the tavern cannot be rented as a reception site, garden weddings, receptions and parties can take place on the covered pavilion at the visitor's center, which adjoins the woodland gardens on the banks of the South River. Other sites include the Overlook Terrace at the north end of the Winter Garden, and the recently opened gazebo at the south end of the Winter Garden, nestled in a grove of pine trees. Both are available for smaller weddings.
CHAMPAGNE ROOM, 2701 W. Patapsco Ave., 646-0177. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 75 to 500. Cost varies. This octagonally shaped gold and beige ballroom features a raised stage for seating the head table.
MARTIN'S EASTWIND, 9000 Pulaski Highway, 686-8500. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 50 to 900. Cost varies. The lobby, three ballrooms and two bridal suites are decorated in shades of mauve, beige and gray. There is a large area reserved for formal photographs of the bridal party and their guests.
MARTIN'S EUDOWOOD, 28 Towson Marketplace, 823-0505. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 50 to 500. Cost varies. As with other Martin locations, the ballrooms can be separated or opened to create one large room. The recently renovated lobby features a 12-foot chandelier and circular staircase.
MARTIN'S NORTH POINT, 2317 North Point Blvd., 288-2221. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 50 to 900. Cost varies. Martin's North Point, decorated in shades of mauve, has been recently renovated and enlarged.
MARTIN'S PRESTON ROOM, 25 W. Preston St., 576-9298. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 75 to 200. Cost varies. An interior balcony wrapping around the entire second story of the ballroom provides an informal setting for the cocktail hour or placement of a string quartet or orchestra. The traditional decor of the first floor is ideal for a formal dinner or buffet.
MARTIN'S WEST, 6817 Dogwood Road, 944-9433. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 75 to 1,800. Cost varies. The five ballrooms may be arranged in any combination, depending on the size of the reception. Each room is decorated in hues of gray, mauve and beige and features a grand crystal chandelier. There are many suitable backgrounds for photographs.
MARTIN'S WESTMINSTER, 140 Village Shopping Center, Westminster, 876-1500. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 25 to 500. Cost varies. This Carroll County location has two elegant ballrooms featuring large chandeliers and a blue and gold color scheme, and two bridal suites. A favorite spot for photographs is the circular staircase next to the 12-foot chandelier.
MARYVALE, 11300 Falls Road, 252-3528. Contact: Sister Mary Accommodates 75 to 100 people. Available weekends only during the school year, daily otherwise. 8 p.m. curfew in spring, summer and fall, 6 p.m. curfew in winter. No smoking in the building. Limited dancing. Caterer must be selected from an approved list. Can be seen by appointment only. Cost varies.
The castle at Maryvale, built in 1917, is modeled after Warwick Castle in England. Guests are free to browse through the library, Great Hall, solarium, terrace and lawn. Other features include antique furnishings, wood-pegged floors, plaster molded ceilings, oak paneled walls and a working wood stove. The wedding chapel accommodates 60 guests. (The Great Hall is available for a larger number of guests). 30-40 people can fit under the large awning of the terrace, which overlooks Green Spring valley.
MOUNT CLARE STABLE, Carroll Park, Washington Boulevard and South Monroe Street, 837-3262. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 100 seated, 200 standing. Available daily. 11 p.m. curfew. Cost: flat rental rate of $500, or negotiated fee, for the whole day, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. This turn-of-the-century stable, maintained by the Colonial Dames of America, features an open court, Italian tile floors, bare brick walls and wooden chandeliers. It is located on the grounds of Carroll Park, near the Mount Clare Mansion Museum.
MUSEUM OF INDUSTRY, 1415 Key Highway, 727-4808. Reserve early as possible. Accommodates 200 seated, 350 standing. Available every day except Wednesday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Caterers subject to approval. Cost: $350 for four hours, plus $2 a person. Originally an oyster cannery, this building (circa 1865) was transformed into a museum that re-creates industrial work settings. It offers a flexible space for receptions in which guests can be entertained by glimpses of life in the broadcasting, printing and garment industries. A glass wall across the back of the museum has a 12-foot deck attached, connecting a picnic area to the museum.
NATIONAL AQUARIUM IN BALTIMORE, Pier 3, Pratt Street. Contact Shirley Polikoff, 576-3834, or Joanne Polin, 576-8740. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 100 seated, 1,000 standing. Available Monday through Thursday, and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Must select from a list of 21 approved caterers. No amplified music. Dance area limited. Cost is $1,800 for the first 100 people, $8 for each additional person. Pier rental available for $1,000 for the first three hours, $200 for each additional hour. Midnight curfew on pier, 11 p.m. curfew inside. Must choose from a list of approved tent renters. The Knott Harbor View Room can be rented throughout the year, any day of the week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is also available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer, and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. Cost: $1,000 for three hours, $200 for each additional hour.
Here, you can celebrate your reception in an aquatic wonderland brimming with the life of the seas: 6,000 specimens of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, to be precise. Stand-up cocktail receptions work best.
OMNI INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, 101 W. Fayette St., 385-6540. Reserve up to one year in advance. Accommodates 20 to 1,000. Cost range: $45 to $75 per person. The recently renovated International Ballroom, said to be the largest ballroom in the state, is decorated in shades of dark green, teal and burgundy, and features crystal chandeliers, a stage and brass accents.
OREGON RIDGE LODGE, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, 887-1818. Contact: Sandy Trimble. Reserve a year in advance. No bookings for July or August. Accommodates 256 seated, 450 standing. Cost: $600 for four hours Fridays to Sundays; $400 Mondays to Thursdays. Must bring in a licensed Baltimore County caterer. With 80 percent of the park's 1,000-plus acres wooded, the lodge is a perfect choice for lovers of the outdoors. Features include a rustic room with large windows, a fireplace, a stage area for a band or disc jockey, and a spacious kitchen.
OVERHILL'S MANSION, 916 S. Rolling Road, Catonsville, 744-0040. Contact: Nancy White. Accommodates 200 seated. Available every day. Cost for hall Fridays and Sundays $600, Saturdays $700, with catering extra. Catering by White House caterers only. No smoking allowed. This Victorian mansion, nestled on 30 acres of land dotted with maples, oaks, dogwoods, and a Japanese maple in front, was built in 1897 and renovated in 1989. The main ballroom offers hardwood floors, fireplaces (non-working), cream-colored walls, chandeliers and brass accents. A covered porch and veranda complete the scene.
OVERLEA, 6809 Belair Road, 668-6060. Reserve as early as possible. The Crystal Room accommodates 300 seated, the Coach Room, 200 seated. In-house catering only. Package plans or custom menus available. Cost varies. The Crystal Room features contemporary decor with modern lighting, mirrored walls and a tile dance floor. Couples planning a small wedding might opt for the more intimate Coach Room, which features a mirrored ceiling and wooden floor. Both rooms are decorated in tones of burgundy and antique rose. Chesley Place, formerly the Overlea North and located at 6908 Belair Road, is an option for those looking for an even smaller, more intimate atmosphere, with seated accommodations stopping at 160. It is decorated in a formal, Victorian style, in shades of mauve and gray. Other features include a tile dance floor and private parking.
PEABODY COURT, 612 Cathedral St., 727-7101. Contact: Janet Brewer, catering sales coordinator. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 150 seated, 250 standing. Available daily. In-house catering only. Cost: $25 to $100 per person. This hotel boasts nine banquet rooms, which may be joined or separated as necessary. Highlights include period furniture, antiques, marble floors, hand-loomed carpets and original art, as well as a Steinway piano, moire curtains and European damask linens. The Conservatory, a restaurant on the roof of the hotel, and Peabody's bistro on the first floor, are also available for receptions.
PENNSYLVANIA STATION, 1501 N. Charles St., (202) 906-2157. Contact: JoAnne Oakes. Reserve as far in advance as possible. Accommodates 200 seated, 400 standing. Available Saturdays only from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cost from $1,500, with an increase planned shortly in the future at press time. Rental requires a $2 million liability insurance policy, which may be attached as a rider to an existing policy. The train station, opened in 1911 and renovated in 1983, was designed in the beaux-arts classical style. Three leaded, stained-glass domes distinguish the main hall, and Doric fluted columns and solid oak benches adorn the room.
RADISSON PLAZA LORD BALTIMORE, 20 W. Baltimore St., 539-8400. Reserve nine months to a year in advance. The Calvert Ballroom accommodates 450 seated, and 1,200 standing; the Versailles Ballroom holds 150, with dancing, 110. In-house catering only. No charge for room rentals with catering. The palatial Versailles Room features gilted carved borders, a 23-foot ceiling, Lalique and Waterford chandeliers, beveled mirrors and arched windows. Occupying the second floor is the renovated and restored Calvert Ballroom. The balconies on three sides of the room are ideal for bouquet-throwing or for a string quartet to entertain guests. The Calvert Ballroom features murals of Baltimore from the 1850s, a balcony, 24-foot ceilings and arched windows.
THE RECTORY, 24. W. Saratoga St., 685-2886. Contact: Whitney Forsyth. Reserve up to a year in advance. Accommodates 55 seated, up to 100 buffet. With courtyard in nice weather, or with a tent, accommodates 80 for a seated affair, 150 for a buffet reception. Cost: Monday through Thursday, for seven hours, $500; Friday, Saturday and Sunday $700 for seven hours. Security deposit of $100. Available seven days a week.
The Rectory is a restored late Federal brick house with authentic 1820s interior. The first floor's library, central hall, dining room and parlor are available for receptions, with a bride's room on the second floor. A large maple tree graces the brick courtyard outside.
THE RICHLIN BALLROOM, 1700 Van Vibber Road, Edgewood(301) 679-1000. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates up to 420 seated, 750 standing. Available daily. Catering by Richlin Food Corp. only. Cost: from $25.50 per person.
The Richlin ballroom is decorated in shades of burgundy and beige, with terrazzo floors, oak trim and four large chandeliers. Other features include a bridal suite and large parking lot.
ROLAND PARK COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL, 5204 Roland Ave., 323-5500. Reserve two to three months in advance. Accommodates 150. Contact: Libby Murphy. Available Saturdays and after 1 p.m. Sundays. Cost: $500 to $1,000, depending on areas used.
Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon's nephew, bought this land in 1869 and enlarged the stone Ward House to its present size. The entrance hall and center stairway are fashioned with chestnut wood, with a tile floor perfect for dancing. During the summer months, guests can stroll the porch and enjoy the landscaped grounds.
SHERATON INNER HARBOR HOTEL, 300 S. Charles St.962-8300. Contact: Ann Cohen. Accommodates 425 seated with dance floor; up to 600 for standing reception. Kosher kitchen; kosher catering is available. Cost: $55 and up.
The Chesapeake and Harbor ballrooms both feature crystal chandeliers and a mauve and black color scheme. The Chesapeake, the larger of the two, is a three-sectioned ballroom that opens into one. It offers a gallery for pre-reception cocktails and a terrace with a city view.
ST. TIMOTHY'S SCHOOL, 8400 Greenspring Ave., 486-7400Contact: Bill Sheldon. Reserve six to nine months in advance. Accommodates 125 seated or standing. Not available September through mid-June, when school is in session. Day weddings preferred. Cost: $1,000 plus $500 security deposit.
The entranceway to the Carter House, a 30-room stone mansion built on the grounds of St. Timothy's in the 1930s, features wrought-iron and glass doors and a spiral staircase perfect for photographs. Receptions are confined to the first floor but bride and groom have access to two rooms on the second floor. A spacious, furnished patio can double as a dance floor. Eighty acres of landscaped gardens complete the setting.
SHIRLEY-MADISON INN, 205 W. Madison St., 728-6550. Reservearly as possible. Accommodates up to 45 seated, up to 80 standing. Cost varies.
Marble pillars, Gothic stone carvings, original ashwood staircase, year-old elevator and original gas lamps (converted to electric) give this 111-year-old historic inn an intimate, old-world charm.
THE SPEAR CENTER, Rouse Co. Building, 10275 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, 992-6555. Contact: Tina Cole. Reserve at least a year in advance. Accommodates 400 seated, 600 standing. Available weeknights after 6 p.m., and all day Saturday and Sunday. Cost: $550 to $2,000.
The Spear Center, formerly the Kittamaqundi Room, was renamed in memory of Michael Spear, the late president of the Rouse Co. The room features a spacious hardwood dance floor, chandeliers, an understated red and white interior and a wraparound outdoor balcony overlooking Lake Kittamaqundi.
STOUFFER HARBORPLACE HOTEL, 202 E. Pratt St., 547-1200Contact: Walter Riemann, director of catering. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 20 to 900 with dancing, 20 to 1,000 without dancing. Package plans start at $66, but custom arrangements are also available. In-house catering only, unless kosher.
Gentle tones of rose, mauve, gray and beige highlight the mahogany woodwork in the elegant, contemporary-style ballrooms of the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel. During cocktails, guests can schmooze in the foyer, which overlooks the four-story atrium of the Gallery.
TURF VALLEY HOTEL AND COUNTRY CLUB, 2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, 465-1500. Accommodates up to 750 seated with a dance floor, up to 1,000 standing. Open seven days a week. In-house catering only. Ceremonies can be performed on premises. Cost varies. Special hotel rates for guests, and a complimentary overnight room for bride and groom, are available with bridal packages.
The country club, located on 800 acres of rolling green hills with pond, fountain and two 18-hole golf courses, offers four rooms for receptions. The Ellicott Room features wallpaper dotted with peach and blue flowers, coach lights and blue curtains; the just remodeled Wedgwood Room is decorated in shades of blue with printed wallpaper, garden chandeliers and a dance floor, and the Cameo Room, for larger weddings, offers a peach and teal color scheme with tapestry wall hangings, parquet floor and three chandeliers. The Grand Ballroom, which offers a similar decor, can be broken down into three separate rooms -- the Tiffany, the Regency and the Crystal.
UNION MILLS HOMESTEAD, Route 97, Union Mills, (301) 848-2288. Reserve three months in advance. Accommodates an unlimited number on the grounds outside. Available May to October. Cost: $150 donation.
Flower gardens, weeping willows and a stream grace the grounds of the homestead, a 23-room structure built in 1797 on the site of the former Shriver family estate.
UNIVERSITY CLUB AT TOWSON, 7500 Osler Drive, 321-7600Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 100 seated, 200 standing. Available daily. In-house catering only. Limited dancing, small bands only. Cost: from $25 per person, plus a nominal fee to become a University Club member.
Built in 1789 by former Gov. Charles Ridgely, this mansion lends an 18th century feel to the proceedings with its fireplaces, marble mantelpieces, crystal chandeliers, pier mirrors, period furnishings, carved plaster moldings and rathskeller. Reconstructed after a fire nearly leveled the building, it is made up of five small rooms that may be rented entirely or partially, depending on the size of the reception. A large covered patio can accommodate up to 200 guests, while the grounds can accommodate up to 500 more.
WAVERLY, 2335 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville, 313-5400. Reserve six months to a year in advance. Accommodates 150 inside for a buffet-style reception, an unlimited number outside with a tent. Available year-round. Cost for rental of house and grounds: $650 for seven hours, with a $200 security deposit. List of approved caterers available.
This 18th century house, newly renovated, was the home of former Gov. George Eager Howard. Exquisitely furnished with period antiques, it is owned by the Howard County government and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Public areas include a large drawing room, a museum kitchen furnished with country pieces, a bride's changing room and a groom's room, and a large formal dining room. The grounds, beautifully landscaped in a style suitable to the period, feature big shade trees and beds of rhododendrons and azaleas.
WESTMINSTER HALL, Fayette and Greene streets, 328-8000, Ext. 7228. Contact: Mary Jo Rodney. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 250 seated or standing. Available year-round. Catering by approved firms only. Closed Christmas and New Year's Day. Cost: $750 and up.
This historic church building, dating back to 1852, served its congregation until 1977. It retains its early Gothic Revival exterior and bell tower. In 1983 a project was completed to preserve the site's historic features while adapting it for contemporary use. The result is a blend of the old and the new: track lighting and stained-glass windows, tiered balconies and lounge furniture.
WESTMINSTER INN, 5 S. Center St., Westminster, 876-2893. Contact: David Horner. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates up to 150 seated, 250 for hors d'oeuvres. Available day or night seven days week, though on Saturdays receptions must be over by 5 p.m. In-house catering only. Cost: no cost for rental of inn, catering prices range from $20 to $40 per person.
Built in 1899, the Westminster Inn was originally built as a high school until it was converted to an inn in the fall of 1988. Each room is decorated in a color scheme of gray, green and maroon, with 19th century period furniture and chandeliers. A glass-enclosed botany room overlooks a garden and courtyard, where ceremonies or receptions can take place.
WILLIAM PACA HOUSE, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis, (301263-5553. Call for appointment. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 150 seated, 200 standing. Available after 5 p.m. daily May 1 to Sept. 30. Champagne, wine and beer only. Limit on amplification of music. Cost: $800 for space rental plus cost of tent.
Former Gov. William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, built this 37-room mansion for his bride, Molly Chew. He and his bride purchased these two acres four days after they were married. Receptions take place on tented terraces overlooking the grounds. The wooden bridge and formal English gardens are ideal for photographs.
WORLD TRADE CENTER, 401 E. Pratt St., 333-4540. Contact: Agnes Coleman. Reserve up to two years in advance. Accommodates 200 seated, 250 standing. Available daily, weekends and on holidays. Catering by approved firms only. Cost: Mondays to Thursdays, $800 day, $900 evening. Fridays to Sundays, $900 day, $1,000 evening.
The Constellation Room, featuring a marble dance floor and decorated in shades of smoky charcoal, is located on the 21st floor. It offers a spectacular view of the harbor out of
ceiling-to-floor windows. The brand new Maryland Room, also on the 21st floor, accommodates 100 seated and up to 125 standing. The cost is $60 an hour, $200 for three hours and $400 for five hours. It features a green carpet with matching wall coverings.