Maryland Wedding Planning Tips

Maryland’s lush landscape and stunning sea views are perfect for a romantic day. Here are Zola’s favorite tips for planning a Maryland wedding.

By The Zola Team

Maryland Wedding Planning Tips
Photo by Rachel Smith Photography

The First Look ✨

Maryland is a hidden gem of a state. It’s an odd shape, nestled between Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, with the Chesapeake Bay cutting through its heart. Its unique geography means that Maryland boasts the bay and oceanfront land, along with forests and vibrant city life. Maryland is also famous for its numerous Civil War battlefields and museums.

All of these features make Maryland a truly special place to host a wedding. Whether you’re from the state or choosing it as the destination for your ceremony and reception, you’re sure to find somewhere to love.

Wedding planning is stressful, though, so we’ve put together this guide to help you get to know the many options available for the couple seeking an amazing Maryland wedding experience. Some of the key elements you’ll need to know include:

First, let’s introduce you to this gorgeous state.

Maryland—What You Need to Know

For the future newlyweds seeking a state that has plenty of options for their wedding day, Maryland will exceed expectations. You’ll adore the:

  • Diverse terrain
  • Historic sites
  • Varied climate
  • Delectable food
  • Wide price range options to fit every budget

Picture your wedding planning adventure as a candy store where you can pick a little of everything to fill your bag—that’s Maryland.

What’s in Maryland?

Maryland is famous for its proximity to plenty of water. In fact, the ninth smallest state in the country somehow manages to fit in 3,190 miles of shoreline. You can choose from both the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean for a beachside wedding.

However, Maryland also has gorgeous inland areas where you can have a wedding away from the water. Throughout the state you’ll find:

  • Dense forests
  • Historic battlefield sites
  • Stunning state parks
  • Vibrant cities

With such a diverse range of places to choose from, you’re going to need a detailed wedding website to give your guests the information they need about your event. Zola’s free wedding websites are the perfect way to communicate with your friends and families. The easy to use, customizable templates make building your site simple, and your guests will know if they need to pack their bathing suits or hiking boots for your wedding.

Weather and Seasons

Along with a plethora of enticing locations, Maryland also has diverse weather. Depending on the area you choose for your wedding, you could have hot, humid weather or cooler temperatures. For example:

  • Eastern and Southern Maryland – This area typically has muggy, hot summers and short, mild winters.

  • Northern and Western Maryland – Here you’ll experience four full seasons with more extremes in the summer and winter. This area also has more precipitation spread throughout the year.

This means that you’ll need to plan carefully if you want an outdoor wedding in Maryland so that your guests aren’t sweating or freezing throughout the day.

Fine Wedding Fare

When it comes to feeding your wedding guests, you’ll have plenty of delectable options to select from in Maryland. Some of Maryland’s famous foods make excellent additions to your wedding table, including:

  • Crab – Perhaps the most famous of Maryland’s tasty seafood is crab—to be specific, the Maryland blue crab. Whether you prefer crab cakes, a traditional crab feast, or crab meat mixed into your favorite dish, you can’t go wrong with crab on the menu of your Maryland wedding.

  • Seafood – If crabs aren’t your preferred aquatic food item, don’t worry—Maryland has many other options, including oysters, clams, trout, catfish, and more. Your guests will appreciate the freshness of the local seafood when you add it to your menu.

  • Old Bay – The iconic seasoning blend originated in Maryland and is a staple in most homes there. You can use it on seafood and just about anything else, so feel free to think outside the box and sprinkle a little Old Bay on something special from your wedding menu.

  • Smith Island cake – When you’re planning the most important part of the feast—the cake, you might want to give a traditional Smith Island cake a try. This cake is the official state cake and includes between eight and twelve thin layers of yellow cake cushioned between rich chocolate icing.

  • White potato pie – This dessert alternative to cake can be traced back to Maryland’s colonial times. It combines potatoes, sugar, and citrus for a unique sweet treat that you and your guests will love. As an added bonus, pies can be less expensive than a fancy cake.

Maryland is also home to many breweries and wineries, which can serve as sources for your wedding day libations or even double as venues for your reception.

How Much Do Weddings Cost in Maryland?

The good news about getting married in Maryland is that it can be as low cost or expensive as your budget allows. The variety of wedding venues available means that you’ll have plenty of options. If you’re looking to save some money on your Maryland wedding, you can:

  • Shop around for the best-priced venue.
  • Be open to off-season dates between November and March.
  • Use the same venue for both the ceremony and reception.

This isn’t to say that Maryland weddings can’t get quite pricey, because they certainly can. Some of the trendier spots will be in high demand year-round, and you’ll have to pay if you have your heart set on a popular venue.

What Are the Hottest Maryland Wedding Trends?

Some recent trends in Maryland weddings show that couples are choosing ceremonies or wedding packages that are more eco-friendly, which is a common theme across the country. The most popular places couples are choosing to say I do include:

  • Beaches
  • State parks
  • Rural settings
  • Cities

We’ve examined each of these and compiled our top tips and favorite themes for couples who are planning their delightful Maryland nuptials.

Our Favorite Maryland Weddings

Waterfront weddings take the top spot for couples in Maryland. The miles and miles of captivating coastline provide a divine place for wedding ceremonies and stunning photographs. Along with the water, we love the many state forests and enticing cities that couples can choose from, especially if water isn’t your style.

Whimsical Waterfront

A wedding on the water opens your plans to endless variations. You can take a casual or elegant approach. Your guests can enjoy the sand or windswept water views from afar. While Maryland’s beaches aren’t tropical, you can borrow many of the same motifs and design elements as you would use for a more exotic beach wedding.

Locations

The most popular wedding spots for shoreline weddings in Maryland include:

  • Chesapeake Bay – This is perhaps the most sought-after of Maryland’s many waterfront wedding options. Luckily, Chesapeake Bay is quite large and there are numerous event venues that you can choose from that’ll offer you and your guests the full bay experience.

  • Ocean City – While less vast than the bay shoreline, Maryland does have Atlantic Ocean views. If you want endless, sparkling waves in the background of your ceremony, then Ocean City, Maryland might have the oceanside wedding venue you crave.

  • Potomac River – If you’re looking for a different style of waterfront wedding, you should consider a wedding along the scenic Potomac River. There are several venues available that will provide you and your guests with stunning river views.

Interestingly, Maryland has no surviving natural lakes. There appear to have been lakes in Maryland in the past, but these have dried up. The only lakes you’ll find in Maryland are man-made.

Venues

The types of venues you can select from for an enchanting waterfront wedding include:

  • Inn
  • Hotel
  • Resort
  • Outdoor patio
  • Beach

The type you select will depend on the number of guests you’re planning to invite and the season in which you’ll be hosting your wedding.

Super Seasons

The best seasons for outdoor weddings on Maryland’s waterfront are typically late spring and fall. The weather is the best during these times as you’ll avoid the worst of the summer heat and the cool, dampness of winter.

We highly recommend always having an indoor option for an outdoor wedding, as you never know what the weather might do and you want your guests to be comfortable. Even a tent on the sand will provide shelter in case of rain or wind, without killing your wedding’s beach vibes.

Theme and Decor

We believe that the most fun part of any wedding is planning the theme and decor. Many couples choose to coordinate the entire event from start to finish. This starts with your wedding paper. Zola’s customizable wedding paper suite includes save-the-dates, invitations, menus, programs, and more. We have hundreds of customizable designs to pick from with options for every budget.

For waterfront weddings, some design elements we love include:

  • Nautical elements such as anchors, sailboats, and compasses
  • Lighthouses and sandy beach stretches
  • Seashells on your paper suite and as table decor at the reception
  • Flowy, casual, white fabrics with beach hats for your guests
  • Cute and functional umbrellas as sun protection
  • Driftwood and colorful stones for decor

Many waterfront weddings are a little more casual, so these design choices reflect that approach.

Tips for Success

If you’ve decided that a shoreline ceremony is in your future, we suggest keeping a few things in mind to ensure a successful event, including:

  • Plan ahead since many other couples will be competing for the same venues.
  • Have a Plan B in case of inclement weather.
  • Take advantage of the locally available fresh seafood for a special menu.
  • Use the natural elements around you as decor to add to the ambiance.

Waterfront weddings truly shine along Maryland’s many coasts.

Rustic Woodlands

However, scenic bays and rivers aren’t all that Maryland has to offer. Maryland is home to many state parks, Civil War battlefields, and wooded enclaves that make bewitching places to host a wedding.

Locations and Venues

Among the many popular Maryland spots to host a wooded wonderland wedding include:

  • One of the over 50 state parks
  • Barns and farms
  • Estates
  • Country clubs
  • Battlefields

Each of these provides a unique and enchanting atmosphere for your wooded wedding.

Super Seasons

Just as with waterfront weddings, the best seasons for inland weddings held outdoors are fall and spring. Summer may also be comfortable in some locations where there’s more protection from the elements.

If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding in the summer, make sure that your guests have a place to retreat for a reprieve from the heat and the sun.

Theme and Decor

The dappled light through the towering trees, clean country air, and flower-filled meadows immediately call to mind a rustic-themed wedding. We love rustic weddings, their sustainability efforts, and the natural feel of the decor.

If you agree and you think a rustic theme is appropriate for your ceremony and reception, we suggest decor elements that include:

  • Barrels, wood planks, and farm buckets filled with flowers
  • Dried flower bouquets
  • Gauzy fabrics, white lace, and fairy lights
  • Mason jars and tiny candles
  • Ribboned bunches of wildflowers and greenery

Another lesser known piece of Maryland culture is that the state has a rich history of horseback riding sportsmanship. If you or your future spouse love equestrian events or just appreciate a little equine company, there are ample opportunities to incorporate these beautiful animals into your celebration.

Tips for Success

The rustic Maryland wedding is a nice departure from a charming seaside affair. To pull it off successfully, you should:

  • Obtain permits if you’re using any public lands.
  • Follow all rules and guidelines for park usage.
  • Check with the Maryland wedding venue before booking about any special regulations restricting certain foods, drinks, or guests.
  • Instruct your guests to dress for the weather.
  • Provide shelter for outdoor events in case of poor conditions.

Following these tips will ensure that your woodsy wedding is a smash hit.

Swanky Cities

Not everyone wants to deal with the stress of an outdoor wedding. Even when you make accommodations for the weather, a freak storm can ruin your ideal day. Others prefer the metropolitan glamor of a city wedding. While Maryland doesn’t have many extraordinarily large cities, there are some mid-sized urban places with many spectacular wedding venues to choose from.

Locations

The three most popular cities in Maryland to get married include:

  • Baltimore – The largest city in the state, Baltimore is located in the northern part of the state. It borders the Patapsco River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Frederick – Also in the northern area of Maryland is Frederick. Unlike Baltimore, Frederick doesn’t have any shoreline. However, it offers spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains and plenty of trendy wedding spots.

  • Annapolis – The capital of Maryland is located in the central area of Maryland, south of Baltimore. It rests on the Chesapeake Bay and has many exciting venues for hosting elegant weddings.

You can’t go wrong with any of these cities in Maryland. All three of them offer delightful and attractive places to host the wedding of your dreams.

Venues and Vendors

Another benefit of getting married in a city is that you’ll likely have more venue and vendor choices that are appropriate for any budget. Zola’s prescreened wedding vendor and venue finder makes it easier to find the right ones for your needs and budget. We’ve already done the hardest task of finding and screening vendors in Maryland. Now, you just have to sort and search to find the best:

You can sort all of our vendors and venues by location, price, and more to filter out what you don’t need and help you focus on what you do.

In Maryland, some of our favorite city venues for gorgeous, romantic weddings include:

  • Inn
  • Hotel
  • Museum
  • Library
  • Mansion and manor home
  • Brewery and winery
  • Rooftop and restaurant

The best venue for your needs depends on your targeted guest list size and budget.

Super Seasons

If your plan is to host an indoor city wedding, any time of year is appropriate. The biggest factor you need to consider is price. Travel, vendor, and venue costs are typically higher in the summer and fall months. A date between November and March will likely save you money since these are slower months for the wedding industry.

Theme and Decor

There’s nothing that shouts glamor like a stunning, elegant wedding. Some of our absolute favorite ways to accent your majestic ceremony and wedding reception include:

  • Timeless and classic black-tie and white dress wedding
  • Crisp, clean white linens with black and gold accents
  • Red roses to complement the white and black elsewhere
  • Bold, bright jewel tones everywhere for a modern take on elegance
  • Pretty and delicate flowers and pale pink highlights for a romantic look

For a fully connected look, you can coordinate every part of your decor from the invites to the thank you notes with elements that you use in your ceremony and reception decor.

Tips for Success

The fancy city wedding can take many different shapes. Whichever you prefer, you can ensure that your special day goes smoothly by:

  • Make reservations far in advance to ensure accommodations for all.
  • Check the city’s schedule so that you don’t conflict with large conventions, sporting events, or festivals.
  • Shop around if you’re budget-conscious, as cities have many options.
  • Incorporate local food and beverages into your day for a true Maryland experience.

Following these tips will help make your swanky city affair one to remember.

Post-Wedding Adventures

Your Maryland wedding experience doesn’t have to end after the vows have been said and you’ve danced the last steps. If you’re traveling to Maryland for your wedding, or simply want to take advantage of more of what the state has to offer, stick around for a few days. There are countless must-see and do attractions throughout Maryland that are perfect for post-wedding fun.

Some of our favorite things for newlyweds to do in Maryland include:

  • Have a history lesson – The many battlefields and museums throughout Maryland offer ample opportunities to learn about the history of the state, country, or a specific piece of culture. You can begin your married life learning something new together.

  • Sail the bay – For an adventurous couple, there are several places along the Chesapeake Bay that offer sailing lessons for all levels, from beginner to experienced sailor. For a more relaxing experience, you can hop aboard a sightseeing boat and let someone else do the steering while you admire the views.

  • Saddle up for a ride – Maryland is home to plenty of horse stables where you can take a riding lesson and get some time on the trails with your new spouse. You can also take in a horse race or two while relaxing in the sun.

  • Get in touch with nature – There are over 50 state parks in Maryland with miles and miles of trails. Even if you’re not an experienced hiker or you’re feeling a little tired from the festivities, you can take a peaceful walk on one of the paved rail trails.

  • Catch a game – Maryland has several professional, semi-pro, and collegiate sports teams throughout the state. You can watch football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and more.

If you have an extra day or two to spend in Maryland after your wedding, you won’t regret it. There’s plenty to do, see, and learn as you set off on your life together as newlyweds.

Achieve Maryland Wedding Success at Zola

Maryland is a lovely place to get married. With varied terrain, climate, and venues to fit every budget, most couples will find something to suit their needs in this enchanting state. You’ll love the charm of the shorelines and the glamor of the city nights. Now that we’ve given you plenty of inspiration, you’re ready to start putting your plans in ink.

And, we’re still here to help. When you register at Zola, you’ll have access to all of our wedding planning tools and advice. We strive to make your wedding preparations go as smoothly as possible, so that you can relax and enjoy your day.

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