Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum Wedding Venue

One of my FAVORITE parts of being a Baltimore wedding photographer is the fact that there are countless incredible venues right in my backyard! I’ve written blog posts in the past on some of my favorite Baltimore wedding venues and Baltimore/MD area engagement session locations, but honestly?! There is SO much good to share about so many of these amazing venues that I figured… why not start a series where you can deep dive into some of the reasons I LOVE these venues so much… starting with one of my favorites!

I love working weddings at the Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum and can’t wait to share a little more about what makes this venue so unique! (Plus some of my favorite photos from my time there too!) This is going to be a big blog post, so lets dive right in to the good stuff!

Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum wedding day

Guest Capacity of the Different Spaces at this Venue:

One of the things that I love most about The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum is their ability to host a huge range of guest counts. Their indoor capacity offers up to 250 guests while they can accommodate up to 900 guests outside! I love that their spaces can accommodate weddings of nearly every size!

toasts to bride and groom at wedding reception

Style and Amenities of this Historic Wedding Venue:

The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum offers a unique blend of historical significance and waterfront charm. As one of the oldest buildings on the Baltimore Harbor, it has a rich history, beautiful panoramic scenes, and modern amenities to keep everyone comfortable! I’m not sure there is another spot on the harbor that offers a better waterfront view! The museum is part of the Living Classrooms Foundation and commemorates African American maritime heritage. This spot is way more than just a wedding venue! It offers a rich history and modern education opportunities too while honoring the history and serving the current population of Baltimore City!

The venue offers both indoor and outdoor areas for ceremonies, cocktail hours, and receptions, including the Founder’s Room, the Shipyard Gallery and Museum, and Bearman Gallery indoors, and Cardin Pier and the promenade and courtyard outdoors!

When it comes to catering, the venue partners with preferred caterers does require that couples select an option from their partner list. This list can be found on their event homepage for couples that are curious in exploring available options.

Some more fine print details: 50% of your rental fee will be due at signing with the remaining 50% being due 14 days prior to your event date. You’ll receive 4 hours for setup and 2 hours for breakdown. Rentals (like chairs, linens, and tables) are not provided by the venue and must be rented by a licensed provider. They have a list of recommended providers, though you are able to select whichever vendor you would like! The two ships that you see featured throughout this blog post live on Cardin Pier. That said, there is no guarantee that they will be docked for the day of your event as they don’t have control on their parking. Events must conclude no later than 11:00PM (This means music off!).

The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum is located in the heart of Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland, close to several hotels, restaurants, and attractions. I’ll include a few of my favorite hotel options below! It’s a short drive from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, making things super easy for your out of town guests. For weddings in warmer months, the Baltimore Water Taxi has a stop right near the venue, making transportation a breeze between Canton, Locust Point, and Federal Hill. (You could also opt to include a private ride on the Water Taxi for your guests or wedding party as a rehearsal or wedding day activity!) Uber/Lyft and other ride shares are plentiful in this area of town, and there is also ample parking nearby (Tap for my recommended lot on Thames Street), ensuring guests and vendors will be able to easily arrive at your wedding! Just a heads up: parking is not provided by the venue and must be covered by vendors and guests.

The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum also allows pups, which if you ask me, is a MUST for any wedding venue!

Hotels Local to The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum

When it comes to selecting a hotel, this will totally depend on your desired proximity to your wedding venue, budget, and expected budget for your guests! That said, these are a few hotels within a 5-10 minute drive to help get your search started:

Canopy by Hilton Baltimore Harbor Point

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront

Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor

Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

Homewood Suites by Hilton Baltimore

Hilton Garden Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor

Pier 5 Hotel

The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum Wedding Day General Price Range & Venues

While I would love to give you exact numbers here, it’s pretty much impossible to do so! With wedding venues, a lot of prices vary based on event date, guest count, day of the week, spaces used… etc. What I CAN tell you is that the average for an event here typically begins around $6k though this is subject to change. Again, the rental fee will vary based on the day of the week, seasonality, and specific spaces used.

I would definitely recommend reaching out to tour and receive a personalized quote for your wedding date. Often, couples opt to have their ceremony outdoors on the pier with the waterfront as their backdrop, but there are a few other options, including an indoor rain/cold weather backup. The Founder’s Room is the indoor ballroom that many couples opt to use for their reception and features high ceilings and exposed bricks. Bearman Gallery and the Shipyard Gallery and Museum are both indoor option and offer floor to ceiling windows with plenty of natural light and harbor views.

Seasons and Ceremony Timing at The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum

One of the BEST parts of The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum is that it is on the water which means that, though seasons do have an impact, there really isn’t a time that the foliage or blooms are in peak… meaning this location is gorgeous all year round! It doesn’t hurt to chat with your planner, venue coordinator, and photographer (Hi! Just a quick plug for this Baltimore wedding photographer that would love to work with you!) to plan a ceremony start time that will allow you to create a timeline that allows you to relax, unwind, and enjoy your day while accounting for all of the things that you want to occur. That said, these are a few timeframes to factor in based on Baltimore’s seasons:

Summer offers warm weather and later sunsets, allowing for a lot more time outdoors. I recommend a late afternoon or early evening ceremony time to take advantage of the beautiful golden hour light! The particular wedding featured throughout this post was a beautiful summer wedding with a ceremony starting at 5PM. If you are sharing a first look, you could definitely push a little later than that too!

Y’all already know that the fall weather is beautiful in Charm City! At The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum, you can expect lower humidity and cooler temps for the most part throughout the fall season. Though trees and foliage aren’t a huge staple of this venue’s design, there are definitely trees throughout Fells Point that could offer pretty colors from mid-October to early November! If you are hoping for an outdoor ceremony, you would want to consider an early to mid-afternoon start time to ensure that you have enough gorgeous golden hour light available. Keep in mind, in the earlier days of fall, you will have a later sunset. As time moves on towards the end of fall, sunset will be earlier.

While winter may offer chilly temps, the harbor views would still be gorgeous for a first look and portraits! The indoor spaces offer a cozy and warm atmosphere, ensuring that guests will be able to stay warm throughout your event! I would definitely recommend an indoor ceremony option for any winter ceremony, giving you a little more flexibility in timing! If you were hoping to share a first look, you could push a little closer to mid to late afternoon golden hour, ensuring that you have plenty of time to snag some sunset photos before you lose the gorgeous light over the harbor! If you are hoping to share your first look at the aisle, I would recommend an earlier ceremony in the afternoon to ensure that you have plenty of time to take photos outdoors after saying I Do.

Spring in Baltimore can be beautiful but tricky, offering a lot of differences in average temperature and precipitation chance from weekend to weekend! For the most part, you can expect mild temps that should allow you to enjoy plenty of time outside! That said, keep in mind that earlier spring can come with chillier temperatures. It’s worth it to love both an indoor and outdoor ceremony option during any season, but especially during the spring! As for outdoor ceremony timing, you can usually swing a mid to late afternoon ceremony, especially as spring moves closer to summer! You’ll have an earlier sunset at the start of spring and a later sunset towards the end, so keep that in mind with your planning.

Favorite Photography Spots near The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum

I’m excited to chat about one final topic before I send you on you on to enjoy the rest of your wedding planning— my favorite spots for portraits near The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum! One of my favorite parts of this venue is that it offers so much versatility. Between the harbor, the interior and exterior of the building, and the charming neighborhoods, there are so many spots within walking distance to create beautiful portraits!

Starting with the most obvious: you really can’t beat the waterfront views! There are plenty of piers in close proximity offering stunning city and water views. (I’m partial to: Broadway Pier, Cardin Pier, and pretty much the entire waterfront along Thames Street!) If you love the water, this for sure is a great venue for you and your partner! Additionally, the building itself is stunning. With historical architecture inside and out, there are so many places to sneak away to take cozy portraits indoors! This is especially helpful on rainy, chilly or windy days!

If you are hoping to venture a little further, you may enjoy visiting The Harbor East Marina, Pier 5, or the streets of Fells Point! If you are REALLY hoping to max out your water views, you could also book a private charter Water Taxi tour!

The long story short of it, The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum is one of Baltimore’s best wedding venues!

As a Baltimore wedding photographer, this is one of my favorite venues as it offers so much space, so many stunning views, and so much history and versatility! If you are looking into this venue, I highly recommend reaching out to The Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum venue staff for a tour and personalized quote… and then drop me a quick email so I can double check that I have your date available! Congratulations on your engagement and entering into the wild wedding planning world, friend! I so hope you are enjoying the ride thus far!

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