I know when I was planning my own wedding, I was looking for a venue that not only was affordable, but one that not all of my friends had also gotten married at. I had a really hard time finding a lot of unique options, so I thought I’d make it easier on all of you, and list what I found to be the top 5 unconventional wedding venues on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware all in one place.
1. Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville, MD
So, I may be a little biased because I chose this awesome place as my own wedding venue, but truthfully, the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center was absolutely wonderful. Nestled on acres upon acres of protected wetlands, woods, and beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, the CBEC offers a large hall with hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a large patio and a well-kept pond.
I adored the fact that the existing decor was so neutral and could easily be transformed into any theme I wanted. My husband and I love the bay and wildlife, so this modern, yet natural venue fit us perfectly. We got married right outside of the main building, had cocktail hour on the patio, and the reception in the hall.
One of the best parts about the venue, is the fact that it’s a hidden gem, and is priced as such. For the rental fee, we were granted access to the main building and surrounding areas (including an awesome aviary) for the entire weekend, which really cut down on stress for us to set up and break down. The coordinator there was also super accommodating and easy to work with.
Photos shown are by Paint the Stars Photography.
2. Lavender Fields in Milton, DE
I had never heard of Lavender Fields until I was asked to film a wedding there. My, oh my, is it a beautiful place! For those looking for a truly DIY wedding venue, this is the perfect backdrop. Lavender Fields is just that- it’s a farm that grows and sells a variety of lavender and lavender-based boutique products.
The wedding I attended was done all on site. The ceremony was set up near an old mill silo and then guests walked over to a big tent the bride and groom rented for dinner and reception. The venue offers a building for the bridal party to get ready or leave their belongings, and the coordinator there was nice enough to keep watch over it for the entirety of the night.
As you can imagine, this venue smelled just as pretty as it looked. So, if you’re looking for a natural, boho-chic wedding, and don’t mind having a completely outdoor event with rentals, this could definitely be the place for you.
Photos shown are by Selena J.
3. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD
For those looking for a truly Maryland-style wedding, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum offers a one-of-a-kind venue to enjoy the natural beauty of the Eastern Shore. The museum is located right on the water in St. Michaels and offers a variety of nautical-inspired photo and video ops.
The museum boasts a few different rental options including a waterfront bandstand, a lighthouse, a boat shed, and even a charter boat. If you’re looking for a nautical, Chesapeake-Bay-themed wedding and you’re willing to spend a little extra for the unique experience of getting married under a lighthouse, this should definitely be on your list of venues to look into.
Photos shown are by Erin Wheeler.
4. Chickberry Farms in Laurel, DE
If you’re looking for a back road, country-chic style wedding, you’ve gotta check out Chickberry Farms. They offer an outdoor stage with seating, indoor barn area for receptions, kitchen, use of fire pit, petting zoo, and rustic decor.
I will say that if you had a ready-made country inspired wedding in mind, this would be the right place. There is a lot of wall decor and mason jar-esque accents throughout the building and outdoor areas. This can be a little bit of a roadblock if you’re looking to make the venue completely your own, but a real lifesaver if you’re not into needing to provide all of the decor yourself.
I mean, how much more country can you get than a venue surrounded by back roads and corn fields?
Photos shown are by James Seip.
5. Wye Island in Queenstown, MD
Another Eastern Shore treasure that is often overlooked is the Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area. This is a state-operated park on the Wye River about fifteen minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
This is another option for the couple that is looking for an outdoor wedding that they can truly make their own. There is a lodge on the 2,500 acre island that is available to rent as well as ample space to set up tents and chairs. You can have your wedding on site under an arbor overlooking the water and move your reception indoors, or rent a large tent with a dance floor to make use of the outdoor space.
For photo and video ops, there is a rustic barn, beach, lots of fields, and trails, and waterfront. I actually shot a lovely engagement video here recently.
Photos shown are by Manda Weaver.
I hope you can find your perfect unconventional venue from this list, and if you do, I’d love to hear from you! To contact me or find out more about my wedding offerings, click here.