Planning the perfect wedding begins with choosing the right destination. With a huge range of venues and styles, it’s no wonder that countless couples have celebrated the start of their married lives in Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. From weddings in historic Annapolis to countryside receptions in South County or grand ballrooms in the BWI region, there are plenty of places to say ‘I do’. But what about couples who are looking for something a bit more nautical? In addition to Annapolis being the sailing capital of the world, Anne Arundel County’s rivers, streams, and coves form over 533 miles of shoreline. We claim the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, as our very own playground and picture-perfect wedding destination! See more below for all you need to know when planning your magical maritime wedding!
Annapolis Maritime Museum
The Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park gives guests a real “Annapolis” feel. This unique waterfront venue boasts an interactive museum exhibit and much more. Ride the water taxi to and from your event – guests can arrive in style! This venue is perfect for the conscious couple looking to give back, all rental fees support the museum’s mission in serving 10,000 schoolchildren in Anne Arundel County through environmental education programs. Choose from 2 campuses: McNasby Campus – the “museum” with a waterfront tented deck situated right on Back Creek, a beachfront canoe and kayak launch, 3 piers, and 2,500 sq ft of climate-controlled interior reception space, and Ellen O. Moyer Nature Park – 12 wooded acres, 30’ x 30’ tent, indoor restrooms, a dinghy dock, on-site parking lot and waterfront on a secluded cove on Back Creek.
The Schooner Liberté is a 49-passenger sailboat offering private, personalized charters out of Annapolis from late April through June, then September through October. With the largest deck space and most comfortable seating of any vessel of her class on the Bay, the Liberté is the perfect venue for your waterfront wedding. The smooth ride allows you to move about the deck and mingle, truly sharing the adventure. A full beverage bar onboard and wonderful catering menu round out this venue option. Ondeck speakers allow you to enjoy your own music. We are conveniently located alongside the Chart House Restaurant on “Restaurant Row” in the charming neighborhood of Eastport and parking is free. A wedding on the Liberté offers a unique opportunity to see Annapolis from the water, making it a day or night you and your guests will never forget.
Chesapeake Bay Beach Club
Waterfront weddings at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club leave a lasting impression for couples and their guests. The ballrooms and spaces at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club provide the perfect setup for elegant waterfront weddings. The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club offers ceremony and reception venues with extraordinary sunset views overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Couples can access everything they need to get ready for their big day to include guest rooms, intimate venues for the Rehearsal Dinner and post-wedding brunch and a spa specializing in wedding hair and makeup services. The Market offers “Market to the Room” where wedding parties can order food and beverages to their rooms while getting ready for the big day. Guests staying at The Inn can fill any downtime by dining at Knoxie’s Table, shopping in The Market, playing outdoor games and lounging by the pool. The catering team offers menu selections for both seated and buffet-style events, and have the option to handpick their menu selections to make their wedding day truly memorable. The gorgeous waterfront views, The Inn and Spa, dedicated staff, award-winning catering, and guidance for personalizing weddings make the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club a leading waterfront wedding destination.
Other venues include:
Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa
Michael’s on the South River
Rhonda Kaplan is an artist, a true connoisseur of all things floral and bridal. Her expansive design experience combined with a genuine excitement towards every bride and wedding day exemplifies both the creativity and care Rhonda consistently employs in her art and at Rhonda Kaplan Floral Design.
I recently visited Rhonda in her design studio, located on Harness Creek in Annapolis, where she shared with me some of her bridal inspiration and behind-the-scenes details which all operate together to bring floral recipes (in this context, a system for planning, ordering and organizing floral designs) to life. “This is really personal,” Rhonda explained, referring to the working relationship and floral design process associated with each wedding “I don’t do what I want, I do what they [brides] want, in my style.” This is demonstrated in part by the setup of the studio; Walking around, the space offers a comfortable and neatly organized environment with a variety of pictures, vases and accessories on display.
In addition to the enjoyment of working with brides, Rhonda’s focus on learning and creativity provide for ongoing excitement in her work. Having had a background involving a variety of artistic mediums, her love of flowers and industry expertise contribute to her approach towards unique arrangements and challenging projects. Over nearly a decade since the opening of her floral design studio, Rhonda has grown her team with the addition of four design professionals.
She explained to me that their work week typically starts on a Wednesday, when flowers are delivered, and involves a substantial amount of time preparing the flowers with the proper care for arrangement, set up at the event, and clean up thereafter. The flowers are obtained from wholesalers as well as local farms, allowing Rhonda to find the exact variety needed for each wedding being served.
Rhonda’s passion for floral creativity and focus on every bride that walks through her doors is evident and consistent in the way she expresses herself through her website, social media, and in person; “I absolutely love what I do,” she told me. From the initial interview meeting, to the reviewing of a bride’s wish list, to the wedding day itself, Rhonda guides brides through each step in efforts of articulating and achieving their vision for the special day. It comes as no surprise that such commitment combined with her sincere and positive disposition often nurtures a relationship that lasts well beyond the wedding.
If you’re looking for a floral designer, I highly encourage you to reach out and connect with Rhonda – You’ll be in a for a special experience.
Images courtesy of Melissa Khuta and Rhonda Kaplan Floral Design
Congratulations on your recent engagement! And, “great choice” selecting Annapolis and Anne Arundel County as your wedding destination.
We love our little city, and we know you will too. The diversity of Anne Arundel County offers a plethora of options and styles surrounding Maryland’s State Capital, Annapolis. From waterfront to countryside, and modern appeal to traditional elegance, Annapolis & Anne Arundel County has everything you need to make your special day truly memorable.
To help your planning process, we put together a short wedding manual for the Annapolis area. It will help answer many of the questions brides have with planning their wedding day:
THE LEGAL SIDE OF THINGS:
Marriage License for Anne Arundel County
Marriage licenses are available during the week at the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.
8 Church Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
One applicant must apply in person to give the information for both parties. The application process takes approximately 15 minutes, and there is a 48-hour waiting period before the license is valid. The fee for the license is $55.00. The marriage license is valid for six months from the date of issuance and is only valid in Anne Arundel County. If you live out of state, you can fill out this form. For more information, visit the website: https://www.clerkannearundel.net/license-marriage
Civil Marriage Ceremony
Civil Ceremonies are performed on a walk-in basis during the week at the Circuit Court Chapel. The hours for civil ceremonies are 9:00 AM. – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. The fee for a civil marriage ceremony is $25.00 (checks are not accepted as payment). Friends and family may attend to witness the ceremony.
Permits/Legal Requirements on Venues
If you are looking at getting married on a picturesque beach, a national park, or a historic building, you may need to get a permit to do so. In most cases, you will discuss the requirements for the venue with the administration team once you book your appointment. Please keep in mind the majority of venues are fully booked months in advance.
PICKING YOUR DATE:
Dates to Consider
When picking your wedding date, make sure you check our major event calendar for anything that might impact hotel room rate and availability. Here are a few event dates you should try to avoid or book far in advance:
- USNA Commissioning Week (always Memorial Day Weekend)
- Fall Boat Show (First two weekends in October)
- USNA Navy Football Home Games in the Fall (Navy class reunions are always held on game days)
Anne Arundel County boasts warm summers and mild winters, and the weather during spring and autumn is generally pleasant. There are no pronounced wet and dry seasons, and breezes from the Chesapeake Bay and nearby creeks moderate the county’s temperature.
FOR YOUR GUESTS:
There is plenty of things to do around Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. From the Arundel Mills Entertainment District to City Dock in Downtown Annapolis, there’s no shortage of fun to be had! There’s something for everyone and of all ages, whether it’s sailing on the Chesapeake, seeing a live show at one of our many music venues, or simply doing some retail therapy at our malls and quaint shops. A list of events around the area can be found here.
Anne Arundel County is conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., just off the east coast’s major north-south highway, I-95. Annapolis is just 26 miles from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and 32 miles from Washington, D.C. There are several ways to reach us:
- Airlines including Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, United, and WOW Air more fly into Anne Arundel County’s BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport regularly
- AMTRAK has a stop at the BWI station with multiple trains running daily
- MegaBus has daily routes from NYC to Annapolis
- SafeRide is an alternative ride-scheduling service for those who want peace of mind from their drivers. SafeRide will deliver your guests to your wedding safely and on time!
- The county also offers Uber & Lyft
With more than a dozen major hotel chains located within a short drive to the bustling streets of downtown Annapolis, our accommodations combine the familiarity and comfort you’ve come to expect from bigger hotels with the proximity to all the things to do in downtown. Our region also reaches all the way up to the Baltimore Washington International Airport. There are so many great hotels in that area.
Looking for group room nights, contact our Group Sales Coordinator, Karla Armstrong.