Nautical Romance: Stunning Wedding Photography at Annapolis Maritime Museum

At the heart of this maritime city lies the Annapolis Maritime Museum, a venue boasting a rich history and breathtaking bay views. Located in the Eastport neighborhood, the museum sits directly on the water, offering an intimate connection with the Bay that few venues can match. The museum celebrates the area’s maritime heritage and is also a dynamic and flexible location for weddings. Whether you envision your ceremony on the docks with the bay winds gently swaying or a chic reception inside the museum surrounded by exhibits that tell stories of the sea, the Annapolis Maritime Museum provides a unique and memorable setting for your wedding day.

Ideal for couples who cherish the ocean and appreciate history, the museum offers stunning views and elegant spaces and allows guests to immerse themselves in the maritime traditions integral to Annapolis’s identity. From the serene waterfront to the charming museum galleries, the Annapolis Maritime Museum is more than just a venue—an experience you and your guests will cherish forever.

History of the Annapolis Maritime Museum

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is housed in what was once the last oyster-packing plant in the area, the McNasby Oyster Company, a testament to Annapolis’s rich maritime heritage. Established to preserve and commemorate the maritime history of Annapolis and the broader Chesapeake Bay area, the museum has become a focal point for education and cultural enrichment. Over the years, the museum has expanded its mission to include ecological education programs about the Bay and has curated numerous exhibits highlighting the area’s nautical and ecological history.

Community Significance

The museum plays a pivotal role in the Annapolis community by serving as a center for local history, education, and conservation efforts. It provides a window into past and present maritime life, offering programs and tours that educate residents and visitors about the Bay’s importance in regional culture and ecology. Through its community outreach and educational programs, the museum has become an integral part of Annapolis, helping to foster a sense of pride and stewardship in the Chesapeake Bay’s ecological and historical significance.

Transformation into a Wedding Venue

Recognizing the museum’s unique charm and prime location, with its stunning views of the Bay and rich atmosphere, the Annapolis Maritime Museum began offering its space as a venue for weddings and other private events. This transformation has allowed it to generate revenue for its educational and conservation initiatives and share its unique setting and story with a broader audience. The museum’s indoor and outdoor spaces offer versatile options for ceremonies and receptions, making it a sought-after location for couples looking to tie the knot in a place that resonates with history and natural beauty.

With its wooden beams and rustic charm, the museum’s Barge House once used as an oyster shucking facility, now serves as a unique and character-rich setting for receptions. The dock and piers, where watermen once unloaded their daily catch, now provide serene settings for wedding ceremonies, allowing couples and their guests to immerse themselves fully in the nautical spirit of Annapolis.

The Annapolis Maritime Museum has successfully maintained its role as a guardian of the region’s maritime narrative while adapting to the modern needs of the community, making it not just a venue but a living part of Annapolis’s history.

Venue Overview

Stunning Location Overlooking the Chesapeake Bay

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is ideally situated in the charming neighborhood of Eastport, directly on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. This premier location offers expansive views of the Bay’s sparkling waters and a scenic panorama of the Annapolis skyline. The museum’s waterfront setting is perfect for those who dream of a wedding with a sea breeze and the sound of waves. The location also allows for breathtaking sunset views, making it a picturesque setting for ceremonies and photography.

Architectural and Design Highlights

The Annapolis Maritime Museum’s architecture blends historical and maritime themes and is characterized by its rustic charm and nautical details. The main building, formerly the McNasby Oyster Company, features original wooden beams and large open spaces that reflect its industrial past. The use of wood and metal throughout the building, along with historical artifacts and exhibits, enhances its authenticity and creates a unique atmosphere.

Adjacent to the main building, the Barge House, with its exposed wooden beams and large windows, offers a more intimate setting while maintaining the maritime theme. Outdoors, the museum features well-maintained docks and decks that incorporate modern safety features without detracting from the historical and natural beauty of the surroundings. These elements make the museum a venue and a conversation piece, offering guests a tactile connection to Annapolis’s maritime past.

Accessibility and Parking Information for Guests

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is committed to ensuring all guests have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The venue is fully accessible, with wheelchair ramps and accessible restrooms available to accommodate guests with mobility challenges. The museum’s layout is designed to be navigable for everyone, ensuring that all guests can fully participate in the wedding festivities.

The museum provides several parking options. A dedicated parking lot adjacent to the museum can accommodate a substantial number of vehicles. Additional parking can be arranged nearby for larger weddings, and the museum staff can help coordinate shuttle services to and from these auxiliary parking areas to ensure that guests can easily access the venue without any inconvenience.

The combination of its picturesque location, rich architectural character, and thoughtful amenities makes the Annapolis Maritime Museum not just a venue but a destination that offers a memorable and unique experience for any wedding.

Ceremony Options

Beachfront Ceremony

  • Location and Capacity: The beachfront at the Annapolis Maritime Museum offers an idyllic setting right on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, providing a natural, serene backdrop. This area comfortably accommodates 150 guests, perfect for medium to large weddings.
  • Layout: The beachfront is expansive, allowing for various seating configurations, whether you prefer a traditional aisle, a circular arrangement surrounding the couple, or a more informal setup.
  • Decor and Theme Suggestions: Given the shoreline’s natural beauty, a beachfront ceremony benefits from minimalistic decor, such as floral arches, aisle runners made from natural materials, or simple chair decorations. Themes like nautical, tropical, or classic beach elegance complement this setting beautifully.

Dockside Ceremony

  • Location and Capacity: Utilizing the museum docks offers a unique opportunity for couples to exchange vows with the water literally beneath their feet. This area can hold around 100 guests, which is ideal for more intimate gatherings.
  • Layout: The dock is linear, which naturally creates a stunning aisle that leads to a focal point at the edge of the dock, perfect for exchanging vows.
  • Decor and Theme Suggestions: Nautical themes are a natural fit, featuring marine colors like navy and white, rope accents, and anchor motifs. Simple decorations such as lanterns and sea glass can add a touch of elegance without overpowering the waterfront view.

Indoor Gallery Ceremony

  • Location and Capacity: The museum’s main gallery can be transformed into a ceremony space for those who prefer an indoor setting. It can accommodate up to 120 guests and offers a climate-controlled environment adorned with maritime artifacts and exhibits.
  • Layout: The gallery provides a traditional rectangular space with high ceilings and ambient lighting, ideal for formal setups.
  • Decor and Theme Suggestions: The indoor gallery, with its historical and maritime elements, pairs well with sophisticated, classic wedding decor. Consider elegant drapery, strategic lighting highlighting architectural features, and centerpieces incorporating marine elements like compasses or ship wheels.

Decorating Guidelines

  • Preservation and Safety: Due to the venue’s historical nature and location, decorations should respect the preservation of the space and the safety of guests. Avoid anything that could damage the structure, such as nails or staples, and use weights rather than stakes for outdoor setups.
  • Environmental Consideration: Eco-friendly decor choices are encouraged, especially for beachfront and dockside ceremonies, to minimize the impact on the surrounding natural environment.
  • Coordination with Museum Staff: Couples should coordinate closely with museum staff when planning their decor to ensure all elements comply with venue policies and do not interfere with regular museum operations or exhibits.

Each option at the Annapolis Maritime Museum offers its unique charm and potential. It allows couples to tailor their special day to their style and the number of guests while enjoying the breathtaking maritime backdrop.

Reception Options

Indoor Reception at the McNasby Oyster Co. Building

  • Description and Capacity: The main building, once home to the McNasby Oyster Company, now serves as the primary indoor reception area. This space exudes rustic charm with its exposed wooden beams and large, open floor plan. It can accommodate 150 guests for a seated dinner or more in a cocktail-style setup.
  • Configurations: The open space’s flexibility allows for various seating arrangements, from traditional round tables to more modern, communal table setups. It can also be divided into smaller zones for dining, dancing, and lounging.
  • Amenities: The McNasby Building has a built-in bar area and space for a dance floor. Audiovisual systems are available for music and speeches, ensuring a seamless experience from toasts to tunes.

Outdoor Reception on the Museum’s Grounds

  • Description and Capacity: The museum grounds offer a sprawling outdoor area with views of the Chesapeake Bay, ideal for a tented reception. Depending on the tent size and layout, this area can accommodate larger groups, typically up to 200 guests.
  • Configurations: The flexibility of tented receptions allows for customization in layout, including open-air or fully enclosed tents, varied table arrangements, and dedicated areas for dancing, dining, and socializing.
  • Amenities: Outdoor receptions can be equipped with portable dance floors, bar setups, and mobile audio systems. The museum staff can assist in coordinating these installations, ensuring that the outdoor space is as fully featured as the indoor options.

Bay Room

  • Description and Capacity: The Bay Room offers a cozy indoor option with a spectacular water view for smaller, more intimate receptions. This space can host up to 80 guests for a seated reception.
  • Configurations: The room’s layout supports multiple table arrangements and can also be set up for a buffet-style meal or cocktail reception.
  • Amenities: While more compact, the Bay Room still accommodates essential amenities like a dance area, an audio setup for music, and a small bar area for drinks.

Additional Considerations

  • Weather Plan: For outdoor receptions, it’s crucial to have a weather contingency plan. The museum can assist in arranging quick changes to indoor settings if unexpected weather arises.
  • Decorating Policies: As with ceremony setups, all reception decorations must comply with the museum’s guidelines to protect the venue and its artifacts. Restrictions typically include the prohibition of open flames (candles must be enclosed) and anything that could damage the structural or aesthetic integrity of the venue.
  • Vendor Coordination: The museum often works with preferred vendors for tents, catering, and equipment rentals but is typically flexible to accommodate outside vendors per the couple’s choices. It is advisable to discuss vendor arrangements early in the planning process to ensure smooth execution.

The Annapolis Maritime Museum offers diverse reception options that can be tailored to different sizes, styles, and preferences. These options provide memorable views and a unique setting that highlights Annapolis’s natural and historical beauty.

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