The Top Five Best Wedding Venues near Frederick Maryland and Leesburg Virginia
October 9, 2018
Welcome brides and congratulations on your engagement! You’re likely here because you have begun the search for the “perfect” wedding venue which can be a daunting task to say the least. There’s so much to consider when looking for a wedding venue and after traveling and visiting one after another they can start to run into each other a little bit. I’ve had the privilege of getting to photograph in most of the wedding venues around Frederick, Maryland and there are so many wonderful choices! In an attempt to help out searching brides, I’ve narrowed them down to what I personally feel are the top five best wedding venues near Frederick, Maryland and Northern Virginia. I chose these venues because I love photographing weddings with gorgeous light, beautiful outdoor ceremony locations, a variety of photographic opportunities, and white reception halls with plenty of natural light. So in no particular order, here are what I consider to be the five best wedding venues within 45 minutes of Frederick, Maryland.
Antrim 1844 – Taneytown, MD wedding venue
Nestled at the foot of the Catoctin Mountains, just across the border from Frederick County, is the beautiful 24-acre estate known as Antrim 1844. Antrim goes above and beyond to make your wedding day as smooth as possible. They have two outdoor ceremony locations as well as a beautiful indoor option perfect for a wintry or rainy wedding. They provide you with a wedding planner and I have worked extensively with Abby and she is fantastic! There are a number of gorgeous rooms or suites on site that you and your guests can stay in and their chef is known for his beautifully presented, delicious gourmet meals.
As a wedding photographer, I feel Antrim 1844 is one of the best wedding venues first and foremost for their Secret Garden. This beautiful spot can be used as a ceremony location, but I personally prefer it as a perfect, private spot for a first look and bride and groom portraits. I mean, this location is about as romantic as it gets! Getting married in the summer and worried about the heat? Not to worry! Antrim’s pool area is adorable and a fun and unique spot for bridal party and bride and groom portraits. Sara and Corey got married July 4th weekend and they were loving the opportunity to dip their toes in for a few minutes!
While I love the Secret Garden for it’s intimacy, the Formal Gardens are straight out of a European landscape. Between the picturesque fountains, blooming roses, and beautifully landscaped lawn, Antrim 1844’s ceremony location is spectacular.
My final reason for choosing Antrim 1844 is the wealth of indoor photo ops it affords. Between their stunning Wine Cellar and mansion, you never need to worry about having places to photograph during a rainy or wintry wedding.
Stone Tower Winery – Leesburg, VA Wedding Venue
My next wedding venue pick is Stone Tower Winery. While this venue technically isn’t even in Maryland, it is only a 40 minute drive from Frederick. Their grounds are truly stunning and the vineyards and rolling hills make for gorgeous backdrops. I particularly love that the rows of vines are well maintained so it’s easy to get pictures among them without having to worry about hurting your wedding dress.
I love that Stone Tower Winery planted knock-out roses in front of each of their rows of vines just to dress it up a little.
When I photograph weddings at Stone Tower Winery, I can’t decide which area I love more; the vineyards or the pond. The sweeping views that lead out to the pond are beautiful as it is, but if you want to really do something spectacular for your Stone Tower Winery wedding pictures, I can’t recommend enough looking into renting a cute canoe for bridal or couple portraits!
I mean, how gorgeous are these canoe bridal pictures?? If you’re interested in renting a canoe for your wedding or engagement shoot pictures, let me know!
Across the pond there are also two large, elegant wooden doors that serve as a great backdrop for pictures.
While the pond and vineyards are stunning, what places Stone Tower Winery on my Top Five list is the ceremony location. It just doesn’t get a whole lot better than that view, and the nice thing is you can easily adjust the angle of the chairs and archway to allow for the best ceremony lighting.
The ceremony is just steps away from the vines which makes it very easy to move from ceremony, to family portraits, to romantic bride and groom portraits.
If you want a little bit of that “country” look then just across the vines is a beautiful area of tall grass that makes for another perfect portrait backdrop.
If time doesn’t allow for you to take a golf cart all the way down to the pond, you can still get stunning images of it in the background of your Stone Tower Winery wedding pictures.
And if bright and airy wedding pictures with white backdrops is what makes your heart sing, well we can capture that there too.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the Wine Cellar and Barrel Room. I can’t decide what I love more about it, the opportunity for incredible portraits or the amazing smell!
Springfield Manor Winery Distillery & Brewery – Frederick, MD Wedding Venue
Springfield Manor Winery Distillery & Brewery was recently voted Frederick’s best event venue, and when it comes to weddings it’s easy to see why. Their outdoor ceremony location is beautiful any time of the year, and their ballroom is a great second choice should it be cold or rainy on your wedding day. (True story: I once photographed a wedding there where everyone but the bride and bridesmaids had walked down the aisle, when out of nowhere it started thundering and lightning! In less than 20 minutes, the incredible staff had transformed the ballroom into a beautiful ceremony spot!)
This may sound strange, but as a photographer my absolute favorite thing about Springfield Manor is the light! The way the mountains diffuse the sun results in beautiful, glowy light in the late afternoon. That, coupled with the rolling hills, lavender fields, and fountain make for a myriad of stunning wedding portrait locations.
The grounds at Springfield Manor are beautiful, but so is the Manor house itself. The bridal suite and ballroom is bright and airy with tons of windows and the most unique chandeliers I’ve ever seen!
The final reason I love Springfield Manor is for the sunsets and opportunity for night shots. Springfield Manor allows sparkler exits, their front porch is a great spot for romantic night portraits, and their sunsets are really beautiful.
Strong Mansion – Frederick, MD Wedding Venue
Strong Mansion is another Frederick, MD wedding venue that feels more like a European estate. Open for weddings April – November, Strong Mansion is spectacular in every way. The getting ready rooms feature floor to ceiling windows as does the ballroom which is a gorgeous spot for an indoor ceremony or as a location to hold hors d’oeuvres, dessert bars, etc.
The unique grounds are what truly set this venue apart. The pond, formal gardens and ceremony location framed by the mansion are all spectacular.
I just cannot get over how gorgeous Strong Mansion’s formal gardens are!
Reception tents can be tricky. I’ve seen beautiful tents and downright awful tents. Thankfully, Strong Mansion’s reception tent falls in the first category. I love the chandeliers, wrap around lights, and the slate floor really dresses it up and makes the whole area extremely elegant.
Glen Ellen Farm – Frederick, MD Wedding Venue
Last, but certainly not least on my list of the top five wedding venues near Frederick, MD is Glen Ellen Farm. The historic manor with it’s beautiful double front porch and elegant rooms make for a perfect spot for getting ready portraits as well as a lovely location for bridal party or bride and groom portraits.
The Manor house is beautiful, but it’s the ceremony location and the surrounding grounds that put Glen Ellen Farm in my top 5 of best Frederick MD wedding venues. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!
Yes, you can literally frolic through fields of wildflowers at Glen Ellen Farm!
Again, as a photographer, light means everything to me, and the sunsets and golden hour at Glen Ellen Farm rarely disappoint.
Glen Ellen Farm’s reception tent is also very classy with gorgeous chandeliers and hanging lights. Many of my couples choose to decorate the tent with uplights and I say go for it! Wow Event Lighting always does a beautiful job.
Finally, when evaluating Maryland wedding venues I’m always looking for aspects that make it truly unique. Glen Ellen Farm’s barn ruins definitely fit that bill. Typically, my brides use this area for the cocktail hour and it serves as a perfect, unique spot. In the evening, I love taking couples there for romantic night portraits and couples even have the opportunity to hold a campfire complete with s’more fixings in front of the ruins!
So there you have it! When considering wedding venues near Frederick, Maryland you can’t go wrong with any of these options. If you’re more interested in a country club wedding venue then I’d highly recommend checking out Holly Hills Country Club or Musket Ridge Golf Club. If you would like to see more images from these venues, please check out my full wedding blogs from each location.
Glen Ellen Farm – Taylar & Johnny
Planning your dream Maryland, DC, or Virginia wedding?
Finally, if you’re still looking for a wedding photographer and you’re loving these venues as much as I do, then I think we’re probably a great fit! To learn more about the Mary Sarah Wedding Experience, please head here. Or, feel free to contact me right away by filling out my contact form below. I can’t wait to get to know your love story!