IT'S NOT EXACTLY HEAVEN, BUT FOR people planning a wedding, Maryland must seem pretty close. The state offers a wide variety of wedding and reception sites to suit almost any budget or taste.
Following is a partial list of the locations at your disposal. Surely there are others we haven't uncovered yet. If you find one you'd like to share, let us know.
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.
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 ballpark in Camden Yards. It still contains all the near-and-dear memorabilia that draws the sports-minded, such as displays on Maryland baseball and Orioles uniforms dating to 1954.
B&O; RAILROAD MUSEUM, 901 W. Pratt St., 752-2463. Contact: Stacey Eagan. Reserve as far in advance as possible. Accommodates 950 seated, 2,400 standing. Available Tuesdays to Sundays after 4 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 museum roundhouse, located on the site of the first railroad station in the United States, is a 22-sided building, 123 feet high and 240 feet across; just shy of an acre inside.
BALTIMORE GRAND, 401 W. Fayette St., 727-5678. Contact: Patrice Hooper. 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. The Chesapeake, the larger of the two, boasts 5,861 square feet of space, stained-glass windows and a 55-foot vaulted ceiling. The Loyola Ballroom offers a more intimate atmosphere, with crystal chandeliers, sconces and warm tones of champagne and beige.
BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART, Art Museum Drive, 396-6078. Reserve three to six months in advance. Accommodates 500 seated, 800 standing. Available every evening except Mondays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. List of suggested caterers available, with firm subject to museum's approval. Cost: $3,000 to $5,000.
Two areas are available for receptions. Schaefer Court, with thAntioch Mosaics, surrounds a glass-enclosed atrium. Classical Fox Court is a large space with a rosette-laced coffered ceiling. On either side of the court are the museum's modern and American art collections, which can be opened for receptions at an additional charge.
THE 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. Cost: $600 for eight hours.
With its location on the Patapsco River and its state-of-the-arboathouse 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 stroll the outside deck.
CARROLL COUNTY FARM MUSEUM, 500 S. Center St., Westminster, (301) 848-7775. Contact: Dottie Freeman. Reserve three months in advance. Accommodates 100 under a covered pavilion. Music and caterers subject to museum's approval. Alcohol prohibited. Ceremony must be performed elsewhere. Cost: $25 for pavilion rental and $2 per person for 20 or more. For fewer than 20, $3 per adult, $2 for 6- to 18-year-olds and those over 60. No charge for those under 6.
The Carroll County Farm Museum may be the ideal place for lovers of the outdoors to celebrate their marriage, with its 142 acres and 19th century rose and herbal gardens. Wedding guests are invited to tour the 1852 farmhouse decorated with Victorian furniture.
CHEF'S EXPRESSIONS AT HUNT VALLEY, 909 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, 561-2433. Contact: Rebecca Curtis or Jerry Edwards. Accommodates up to 350 seated, 450 standing. Cost: $600 Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. Call for weeknight rates. Catering by Chef's Expressions only.
This just-built 4,000-square-foot ballroom features 18-foot-higceilings and 10-foot-high arched windows overlooking the rolling hills of Hunt Valley.
CHESLEY PLACE (formerly the Overlea North), 6908 Belair Road, 668-6060. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 150 seated. Cost varies. In-house catering only. This self-contained banquet facility, located one block north of the main building, is decorated in a formal Victorian style with a mauve and gray color scheme.
CLOISTERS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, 10440 Falls Road, 823-2551. Contact: Laura Davis. Reserve at least a year in advance. Accommodates 80 seated, 175 standing. Available 6 p.m. to midnight every day of the week. List of suggested licensed caterers available. Cost: Mondays through Thursdays, $500, Fridays through Sundays, $700, plus a mandatory additional charge for security guards at $85 each. The number of guards is determined by the size of the party.
Though located in Baltimore County, the Cloisters was willed to Baltimore city by its owners, the Parkers, in the late 1970s. The 1930s structure was built to be representative of a European castle.
Gables and a wrought-iron spiral staircase lend an old-world touch to the proceedings, and the fairy-tale atmosphere can be heightened by holding a candlelight ceremony using the nine candelabras available.
COLUMBIA INN, Wincopin Circle, Columbia, 730-3900. Contact: Maria Hernandez or catering department. Accommodates up to 350 seated, 500 standing. Cost: from $35 per person. Available seven days a week.
The Columbia Inn offers three rooms for receptions. The Terrace Room offers a green and beige color scheme, four chandeliers and an outside patio. The Lakeview Ballroom, located one floor above, features a burgundy, mauve and beige color scheme. Both ballrooms overlook Lake Kittamaqundi and accommodate up to 350 seated, 500 standing. For more intimate parties, a room called Peppers, appropriate for receptions of up to 70 people, is available.
CROSS KEYS INN, 5100 Falls Road, 532-6900. Contact: Lu Delrez. Reserve at least six months in advance. Accommodates 200 seated with a dance floor, up to 300 for cocktail receptions. Available year-round. In-house catering only. Cost: lunches, $10 to $18 per person; 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 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 1,200 standing. Available every day. Kosher menus are available. Shellfish is not served. Cost: from $20 per person.
The Ballroom features light gray walls and a green, gray and peach-colored carpet. The smaller, more intimate Orchid Room is decorated in soft shades of off-white and pink.
DAY'S INN, 8801 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson, 882-0900 or (800) 666-0900. Contact: David Shirey. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 150 seated with head table, 200 standing. Cost: $10.95 to $30 per person inclusive. A hotel-room discount rate is available for guests.
The Chandelier Room is decorated in a burgundy and gray color scheme with a mirrored wall.
FORUM CATERERS, 4210 Primrose Ave., 358-1101 or (800) 794-4642. Contact: Marie Robinson. Reserve six months to a year in advance. Accommodates 600 seated, 1,000 standing. Cost: from $21 per person. Catering by Forum Caterers only.
The building houses four halls. The Grand Ballroom, ivory and gold with parquet floors, six drop chandeliers and a master chandelier, is a larger version of the Terrace Room. The Yale Room, carpeted, covered with a cozy earth-tone print, and accented with mirrors and chandeliers, is a larger version of the V.I.P. Room.
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 Johns Hopkins University's Student Union. The pavilion is furnished with royal blue and jade contemporary lounge furniture and features a large space for dancing.
GREAT BLACKS IN WAX MUSEUM, 1601 E. North Ave., 563-6415. 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. 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. A feature in the tour package is the Maryland Room, which is filled with statues of famous black Marylanders.
GREY ROCK MANSION, 8901 Reisterstown Road, 833-9500. Contact: Barbara Flecker. 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, situated on the former estate of John Eager Howard, features a walnut-paneled library, a terrace room, a dining room and a grand ballroom.
HAMMOND-HARWOOD HOUSE, 19 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, (301) 269-1714. Contact: the administrative office. Accommodates up to 50 inside, up to 75 inside and out in summer when the garden is usable. Available after 4 p.m. from October to April, after 5 p.m. from April to October. Cost: $75 to $300 for two hours, depending on rooms selected, with lesser fees for additional hours. List of approved caterers and musicians available. Acoustic music only.
This American Colonial house, a National Historic Landmark built in 1774, was the last work of renowned architect William %J Buckland. It features an 18th century kitchen and period furnishings. The garden outside includes flowering trees and an herb garden.
HAMPTON MANSION TEA ROOM TERRACE, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson, 583-7401. Contact: Yvonne Barber. Reserve six to seven months in advance. Accommodates up to 200 seated. 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, completed in 1790 and restored in 1976, is no longer available for receptions, but the elegant Tea Room Terrace remains a popular choice for wedding parties.
HARBOR COURT HOTEL, 550 Light St., 234-0550. Contact: the catering office. Reserve as early 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 and fine oak woodwork distinguish the decor of the Harbor Court Hotel.
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.
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 there is the option of choosing menus from the Treaty of Paris Restaurant. Both cost from $39 to $47 per person.
IDLEWYLDE HALL, 6301 Sherwood Road, 426-8220. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 200 seated, 300 standing. In-house catering only. Cost for hall rental: $475 Saturdays, $400 Fridays, weekdays negotiable.
This well-lit hall features a light-blue color scheme, parquet floor and changing rooms for the bride and groom.
LA FONTAINE BLEU LOCATIONS: The La Fontaine sites offer rich, French-style accouterments -- crystal chandeliers, beveled mirrors and the like. Call individual locations for specific details on cost, decor and booking time.
LA FONTAINE BLEU OF BALTIMORE, 3120 Erdman Ave.,
LA FONTAINE BLEU OF BALTIMORE, CRYSTAL ROOM, 3107 Erdman Ave., 675-6090. Accommodates 40 to 80.
LA FONTAINE BLEU OF GLEN BURNIE, 7514 S. Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, 760-4115. Accommodates 100 to 1,000.
LA FONTAINE ROUGE, 3407 Belair Road, 675-6090. Accommodates 90 to 380.
LIRIODENDRON, 502 W. Gordon St., Bel Air, 879-4424. Contact: Dorothy Francis. Reserve as soon as possible. Accommodates 100 seated, 200 standing. Cost: $650 for a 6 1/2 -hour booking, which is a four-hour reception time.
Liriodendron (tulip poplar) trees and boxwood gardens grace thgrounds of this 1898 Harford County mansion. The structure features Greek columns, French doors, marble walls in the kitchen and bathroom, and 13 fireplaces.
LONDON TOWN PUBLIK HOUSE AND GARDENS, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, (301) 222-1919. Contact: Katie Dentler. Reservations -- up to one year in advance -- are strongly advised. Accommodates 200 standing. Available mid-April to mid-October. Preferred catering list available. No in-house catering. Cost varies. Tent available.
Eight acres of natural woodland gardens, featuring an azaleglade, rhododendron slope and waterfall, distinguish the lands surrounding the Publik House tavern. Though the tavern cannot be rented as a reception site, garden weddings, receptions and parties may take place on the covered pavilion at the visitor's center. 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.
MARTIN'S LOCATIONS: Many of the Martin's sites have been recently renovated and newly decorated. Call individual locations for specific details on cost, booking and decor.
CHAMPAGNE ROOM, 2701 W. Patapsco Ave., 646-0177. Accommodates 75 to 500.
MARTIN'S EASTWIND, 9000 Pulaski Highway, 686-8500. Accommodates 75 to 900.
MARTIN'S EUDOWOOD, 28 Towson Marketplace, 823-0505. Accommodates 75 to 500.
MARTIN'S NORTH POINT, 2317 North Point Blvd., 288-2221. Accommodates 75 to 900.
MARTIN'S PRESTON ROOM, 25 W. Preston St., 576-9298. Accommodates 75 to 200.
MARTIN'S WEST, 6817 Dogwood Road, 944-9433. Accommodates 75 to 1,800.
MARTIN'S WESTMINSTER, 140 Village Shopping Center, Westminster, 876-1500. Accommodates 25 to 500.
MARYVALE, 11300 Falls Road, 252-3528. Contact: Sister Mary. Accommodates 75 to 100 people. Available weekends only during the school year, all week during the summer. 8 p.m. curfew in spring, summer and fall, 6 p.m. curfew in winter. Alcohol permitted. 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. Features include antique furnishings and oak-paneled walls. With the use of the terrace awning in spring, summer or fall, up to 100 people can be accommodated for a reception.
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, originally built in 1764 and maintained by the Colonial Dames of America, is part of Baltimore city's oldest residence. It features an open court, Italian tile floors, bare brick walls and wooden chandeliers.
MUSEUM OF INDUSTRY, 1415 Key Highway, 727-4808. Reserve early as possible. Accommodates 200 seated, 350 standing. Available every day except Wednesdays 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 was transformed into a museum that re-creates industrial work settings. A 12-foot deck attaches the museum to a picnic area, which offers a view of Fells Point and the shipyard.
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 Mondays to Thursdays, and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Must select from a list of 20 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.
You can celebrate your reception in an aquatic wonderland: 6,000 specimens of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, to be precise. Puffin feedings and coral reef dives can be arranged.
OMNI INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, 101 W. Fayette St., 385-6540. Contact the catering office. Reserve up to one year in advance. Accommodates 20 to 1,000. Cost range: $45 to $75 per person.
The recently renovated International Ballroom is said to be the largest ballroom in the state.
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.
Lodge 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: $600 Fridays and Sundays, $700 Saturdays, with catering extra. Catering by White House Caterers only. No smoking allowed.
This Victorian mansion, nestled in 30 acres of land covered with maples, oaks and dogwoods, was built in 1897 and renovated in 1989.
THE OVERLEA, 6809 Belair Road, 668-6060. Contact: Kimberly Thamert or Kathy Insley. Reserve as early as possible. The Crystal Room accommodates 300 seated, the Coach Room, 200 seated. Cost varies. In-house catering only. Package plans or custom menus available.
The Crystal Room features burgundy and rose 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.
PEABODY COURT HOTEL, 612 Cathedral St., 727-7101. Contact: Gene Michael Addis. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 150 seated, 250 standing. Available daily. In-house catering only. Cost: $25 to $100 per person.
Highlights include period furniture, marble floors and original art, as well as a Steinway piano and European damask linens. The Conservatory, a restaurant on the roof of the hotel, is 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. Flat rental fee of $1,000. Rental requires a $2 million liability insurance policy, which may be attached as a rider to an existing policy.
The train station was built in 1910 in the beaux-arts classical style and restored in 1983. Many of its original features remain, including a granite and terra cotta facade, Doric columns and a two-story atrium topped with stained-glass domes.
RADISSON PLAZA LORD BALTIMORE, 20 W. Baltimore St., 539-8400. Contact: Pam Filling or Deborah Ricci. 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. Cost: from $33 to $48 per person.
The palatial Versailles Room features gilded 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 Room.
THE RECTORY, 24. W. Saratoga St., 685-2886. Contact: Whitney Forsyth. Reserve up to a year in advance. Accommodates 55 seated, up to 100 for buffet. Using the courtyard in nice weather, or with a tent, accommodates 100 for a seated affair, 175 for a buffet reception. Cost for seven hours: $500 Mondays to Thursdays, $700 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A returnable security deposit of $100, as well as half the rental fee, is required.
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. A bride's room is on the second floor.
THE RICHLIN BALLROOM, 1700 Van Vibber Road, Edgewood, (301) 679-1000. Contact: Steven Vitale. 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.
A burgundy and beige color scheme, terrazzo floors and four large chandeliers distinguish the interior of the Richlin Ballroom.
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. The tile floor is perfect for dancing.
ST. TIMOTHY'S SCHOOL, 8400 Greenspring Ave., 486-7400. Contact: Bill Sheldon. Reserve six to nine months in advance. Accommodates 125 seated or standing. Not available September through mid-June. 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. A spacious, furnished patio can double as a dance floor.
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 available, with off-premises catering allowed. Cost: $55 and up per person.
The Chesapeake and Harbor ballrooms both feature crystal chandeliers and a mauve and black color scheme. The recently redecorated Chesapeake offers a gallery for pre-reception cocktails and a terrace with a city view.
SHIRLEY-MADISON INN, 205 W. Madison St., 728-6550. Contact: Irene Borowicz. Reserve at least 60 days in advance. Accommodates up to 45 seated, up to 80 standing. Cost: generally $100 an hour, or $150 a room. Outside catering is allowed.
This 112-year-old Victorian building features marble pillars and Gothic stone carvings.
STOUFFER HARBORPLACE HOTEL, 202 E. Pratt St., 547-1200. Contact: Walter Riemann. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 20 to 900 with dancing, 20 to 1,000 without dancing. Package plans start at $69 per person, but custom arrangements are also available. In-house catering only, unless kosher.
Gentle tones of rose, mauve, gray and beige highlight the mahogany woodwork.
TURF VALLEY HOTEL AND COUNTRY CLUB, 2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, 465-1500. Contact: Linda Wolf. 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: from $37 per person. Special hotel rates for guests, and a complimentary overnight room for bride and groom, are available with bridal packages.
The country club offers four rooms for receptions: the Ellicott Room, the Wedgwood Room, the Cameo Room and the Grand Ballroom.
UNION MILLS HOMESTEAD, Route 97, Union Mills, (301) 848-2288. Contact: Esther Shriver. Reserve three months in advance. Accommodates an unlimited number on the grounds outside. Available May to October. Cost: $150 donation.
Weeping willows, flower gardens, a large wooden water wheel and a footbridge ideal for photographs are found on the land of the homestead, a 23-room structure built in 1797.
UNIVERSITY CLUB AT TOWSON, 7500 Osler Drive, 321-7600. Contact: Susan Bryant. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates up to 175 seated, 250 standing. A large patio can accommodate up to 200 guests, and the grounds can accommodate as many as 500 or more. Available daily. In-house catering only. Limited dancing, small bands only. Cost: from $18 per person, plus a nominal fee to become a University Club member.
Built in 1789 by former Gov. Charles Ridgely, the mansion lends an 18th century feel to the proceedings with its marble mantelpieces, crystal chandeliers, pier mirrors and period furnishings.
VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB, 1512 Jeffers Road, Towson, 825-7110. Contact: Dorothy Donovan or Pat Chester. Accommodates 200 seated, 350 standing. Cost varies. Available seven days a week.
This Colonial mansion, situated on green and spacious grounds, features a 3,000-square-foot ballroom, Oriental rugs, hardwood floors, parlors and bridal suites. The big mahogany staircase is a popular site for photographs.
WAVERLY, 2335 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville, 313-5400. Contact: Virginia Leache. 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.
Exquisitely furnished with period antiques, this 18th century house is owned by the Howard County government and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
WESTMINSTER HALL, Fayette and Greene streets, 328-7228. Contact: Mary Jo Rodney. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 250. Available year-round. Catering by approved firms only. Cost: $750 and up.
You can celebrate your pledge to love "ever more" at this former church, on whose grounds the bones of Edgar Allan Poe rest ever-so-lightly. Now in the care of Westminster Preservation Trust, a private, non-profit organization, the hall retains its early Gothic Revival exterior and bell tower, but its interior 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 seven days week, with a 5 p.m. curfew on Saturdays. In-house catering only. Cost: no charge for rental of inn; catering prices range from $20 to $40 per person. Special bed-and-breakfast rates for the bride, groom and guests.
Built in 1899, the Westminster Inn was originally a high school. It was converted to an inn in 1988.
WILLIAM PACA HOUSE, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis, (301) 263-5553. Contact: Holly Perdue. Call for appointment. Reserve as early as possible. Accommodates 180 seated, 500 standing. Available after 5 p.m. daily May 1 to Oct. 31. Champagne, wine and beer only. Limit on amplification of music. Cost: $1,300 to $1,800, including cost of tents.
Former Gov. William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, built this 37-room mansion for his bride, Molly Chew. They purchased these two acres four days after they were married. Receptions take place on tented terraces overlooking the grounds.
WORLD TRADE CENTER, 401 E. Pratt St., 333-4540. Contact: Agnes Coleman. Reserve up to two years in advance. Seen by appointment Mondays to Fridays, though weekend viewings can arranged. Accommodates 225 seated, 275 standing. Available daily, weekends and holidays. Catering by approved firms only. Cost: $900 Mondays to Thursdays, day or evening; $1,000 Fridays to Sundays, day, $1,200 evening.
The Constellation Room, featuring a marble dance floor and shades of smoky charcoal, is located on the 21st floor. It offers a spectacular view of the harbor through 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 $400 for a maximum of five hours.