Mary Burkholder and Chris Ryer knew they wanted to be married near the water with all their family and friends present, but they also wanted a setting that would be both intimate and fun. They decided the Baltimore Rowing and Water Resource Center, on Waterview Avenue in the city, would be the perfect solution. "We'd been to parties and events there before and we knew that's where we wanted to have our wedding," says Ms. Burkholder.
But agreeing upon a wedding and reception site turned out to be the easiest part. Finding an available date in the spring proved to be impossible.
Although Ms. Burkholder called the center in February -- hoping for a date in May or June -- all Saturdays had been booked through the end of October.
Since the setting was exactly what they dreamed of, she and her fiance decided to compromise and took the next available opening, a Friday night in August. The whole affair went without a hitch on a warm, moonlit night.
Compromise was a key ingredient to the success of this wedding, as it so often is when couples select a wedding or reception site. Whether it's a matter of picking an alternative wedding date, limiting the number of wedding guests, or accepting an in-house caterer, plans and dreams often have to be adjusted when it comes time to choosing the perfect location.
On the following pages is just a sampling of some of the historic and unusual locations available in the area.
BABE RUTH BIRTHPLACE AND BALTIMORE ORIOLE MUSEUM, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539. Reserve one month in advance. Accommodates 125 people standing. Available evenings only. Cost: $300 for groups of up to 25, $400 for groups numbering over 25. Exclusive caterer: Great Occasions.
Just a hard-ball's throw away from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Babe's birthplace contains near-and-dear memorabilia for the sports-minded.
B&O RAILROAD MUSEUM, 901 W. Pratt St., (410) 752-2463. Contact: Stacey Eagan. Reserve as far in advance as possible. Accommodates up to 950 seated, 2,400 standing. Available daily after 4 p.m. List of approved caterers available. Cost for basic rental: $2,100 for the first 200 guests, $6 per person over 200.
Its 1884 Roundhouse is a 22-sided building, measuring 240 feet across, with a spectacular 123-foot-high ceiling.
BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART, Art Museum Drive, (410) 396-6078. Reserve three to six months in advance. Accommodates 520 seated, 1,000 standing. Available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Sundays 7 p.m. until 1 a.m.; Thursdays 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. Unavailable Mondays. List of suggested caterers available, others subject to museum's approval. Cost: $3,000 to $5,000.
THE BALTIMORE ROWING AND WATER RESOURCE CENTER, 3301 Waterview Ave., (410) 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-art boathouse decor, the center is an ideal choice for couples who enjoy the water.
CARROLL COUNTY FARM MUSEUM, 500 S. Center St., Westminster, (410) 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.
CLOISTERS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, 10440 Falls Road, (410) 823-2551. Contact: Laura Davis. Can be reserved one year in advance or sooner. 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 two security guards at $85 each. In the month of December, $700 for any day of the week.
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.
DANIELLE'S BLUECREST, 401 Reisterstown Road, (410) 486-2100. Contact: Danielle Mosse. Accommodates up to 700 seated, up to 1,200 standing. Available every day. Kosher menus are available. Cost: Lunch ranges from $18 to $25 per person, dinner ranges from $20 to $30 per person.
GEORGE PEABODY LIBRARY, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, (410) 659-8197. Contact: Elizabeth Whitner. Accommodates 200 seated and up to 400 standing. Available Monday through Friday after 3 p.m., Saturdays after noon, and all day Sunday. Closed Saturdays in the summer. Reserve as early as possible. Call for rates. No smoking or amplified music. Approved caterers only.