Sunday, May 3, 2009

On Location: Martin's West

Any doubts I had about not wanting to have a wedding at a hotel or a big catering ballroom megaplex are now completely assuaged.
We went to Martin's West for a fundraiser brunch for my old office this morning. For a brunch, Martin's was a lovely facility, and the brunch food was excellent. The room was large enough, they set up a stage and podium for us, and everything went very smoothly. I had two complaints - the lighting was terrible (I was the photographer) and the bathrooms were really far away. The bathrooms were past the other...five...ballrooms.
In the ballroom right next to ours - and I mean right next to - I was confused as to which door was which - there was a wedding happening. The wedding wasn't starting until noon, and we started at 11, so mostly the only wedding people that were there were the wedding party who were getting ready there. When we let out, around 1pm, they were done with the ceremony and were taking pictures in the lobby. Every attendee from the brunch was staring. It was a lovely wedding party, and they had some neat details like the bridesmaids all carried pomander balls instead of bouquets. However, I think, on our wedding day, I do not want a bunch of strangers staring at me. I don't want my guests to get confused and go to the wrong event or the wrong wedding. I don't want there to be a conference or an exhibition going on at the same time. I think it would just be weird. I also don't want to feel like we are getting married at a wedding factory where they turn out identical events. I know this is unlikely, but it is not out of the question - often places that are run by catering companies that specialize in events like this will have a standard centerpiece option and standard linen choices and all of the ballrooms have the same mirrored sides and curtains and crystal chandeliers.
That being said - if you are not as picky, or if you have champagne tastes on a beer budget, a place like this might just be perfect. The food was delicious (I have heard bad things about their dinner food though), and each event had their own event person to help make sure things went smoothly. The staff was fantastic and very responsive. They have all of the equipment that you could need there already, and I'm sure that it was reasonably priced. If you are having a ceremony someplace else, like a church, and all you really need is a ballroom venue, it would probably be lovely. Or for any type of corporate event, or a high school prom, or anything like that, it would be very nice. I'm not really sure why I felt so strongly about not wanting anyplace like this, but its going on the top of "things I don't want in a wedding" - venues which make you feel like your event is one of many going on, and that your needs are not necessarily higher priority than anybody elses who is there.
Anyway, if you are looking for a unique and different place to have a wedding, I don't recommend it; but if you are looking for a place to have a glam or upscale-feeling wedding, or a wedding where everything can be taken care of in one place, especially on a budget, I think it would be very nice. It is also extremely handicapped accessible - I saw at least two people attending the wedding in wheelchairs. It is also a convenient location (although not an attractive one...) near 95 and 695 and probably only 20-ish minutes from BWI.

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