Why Couples Love It For waterfront nuptials with a yacht-club panorama and classic lawn-party ambience — think Wedding Crashers before Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson wreaked havoc (the 2005 movie was filmed here) — it’s hard to top this nine-county swath of salt-sprayed villages on the Chesapeake Bay.
Historic, picturesque towns such as St. Michael's and Easton woo wedding couples with a mix of breezy outdoor venues (including beaches in Ocean City and on Assateague Island), charming inns, and more ways to savor fresh blue crab than you ever imagined. Say “I do” from May to October on an estate lawn as the sun dips into the bay, or any time of year in a centuries-old inn visited by our nation’s founding fathers. The past is exuberantly evident here, just enhanced by 21st-century amenities.
Why Guests Love It Wedged between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, this region has a reverence for anything water-related. A sunset sail on the Chesapeake Bay is a natural here, or better yet offer sailing lessons to your group. Landlubbers can explore the bicycle-friendly back roads or more adventurous rail-to-trail paths, spot migratory shore birds and regal eagles in nearby sanctuaries (such as the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge), photograph the famous wild horses of Assateague, or browse eclectic boutiques and vibrant art galleries in Chestertown and Salisbury. Plus, Washington, DC, is just a 90-minute drive away. Food-wise, the region is a smorgasbord of all things sea worthy, with restaurants that range from bibs-and-mallets crab shacks to haute dining rooms.
Make Maryland’s main ingredient the star of your reception with crab legs, crab cakes, crab quiche, and crabmeat cocktail, paired with local rockfish, oysters and beef or chicken as sidekicks.
In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, serve state’s unofficial dessert, an eight-layer layer cake from Smith Island Baking Company. The sweet takeaway: a crab- or lighthouse-shaped chocolate memento from Chesapeake Chocolates.
For photo ops, head to the lighthouse at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum or get playful on the Ferris wheel and carousel at the Jolly Roger in Ocean City.