Friday, May 15, 2009

On Location: Port Annapolis Marina

After the Blue Heron Room, I trekked over to Port Annapolis Marina. I got a little lost, mostly because the Pavilion is hidden by this:
Yeah. It's a boatyard. You drive through the boatyard on a gravel road and you have to be kind of careful to not rear end any yachts or sailboats.
So then you get to the pavilion. It's basically just a really nice picnic pavilion with sides. If you are looking for a casual wedding location, this is a nice one.
I had thought I wanted a fun, casual picnic wedding and it wasn't until I was standing in the picnic pavilion that I was like, "this isn't really what I want." We want our wedding to be fun, but a picnic wedding won't really suit us. Especially not here. However, if you were looking for a nice space to have a pavilion picnic wedding, this is probably as nice as it gets - and since there aren't picnic tables already, you don't have to move them.
There are a couple of issues that I had with the setting - its in the boatyard, and so its loud - I can imagine there being a lot of people taking their boats in and out on the weekend. It is also mostly surrounded by parking lot on three sides. The fourth side is the noisy air conditioner/generator/something. I don't know if that would run on weekends, but it would be something to consider. There also isn't a great ceremony space. This is the gazebo next to the pavilion.
I wasn't sure if the grass was level enough or the space was large enough to fit 130 people next to the gazebo. If possible, it would be nice, but I would prefer for the ceremony space to be a little less close to the pavilion, etc. I feel like if you have the pavilion right there, people are watching the caterers set up instead of watching your ceremony. Some people would do the wedding in the pavilion itself, and that could be very nice although it rushes the caterers during cocktail hour. There also isn't a ton of space to have cocktail hour.
If it rains, there are going to be some problems - for example, the bathroom is pretty close to the pavilion, but you would still have to leave it to go to the bathroom.
Ultimately, the pavilion isn't right for us - but that's not to say that it would be wrong for everyone. You get a lot of freedom with it - can use any caterer you want, with appropriate insurance, can bring in your own alcohol with appropriate insurance. You have to rent your own chairs and tables, which gives a nice amount of freedom. This would be a great place for two people who are really into boats to get married, because you can walk around the boat yard and take awesome boat pictures (or bring your own boat!). It's not really appropriate if you're looking for a fabulous beachfront location - it's a marina - meaning a boat parking lot. You could have some fun nautical touches with the reception, etc.
The handicapped access was also disappointing - the parking lot is not paved, and there is no reserved spaces near the ramp to the pavilion. There is a handicapped bathroom. There are also 3 other co-ed bathrooms. Another issue is that there is no place for anybody to get ready here, and that would be frustrating for us.
So while finding the perfect venue is difficult, it is easy to know when a place isn't right, and this definitely was one of them.


  1. I started writing this in 2010, but in the end put it aside. After finding it today, November 27, 2012, I thought I would share..

    Thank you for your comments and critiques concerning “The Overlook Pavilion” located at Port Annapolis Marina. I did a search on our venue and discovered your blog after a bride commented about your review. Although I have not followed your blog, I wanted to post and thank you.

    The review has helped us perceive what every potential client observes when entering the marina to view the site. We have defined our directions for all potential events, because viewing the site has different directions than a scheduled event.

    A guided site tour addresses, the following valid “issues” you brought up concerning the site.

    1. A little lost. When viewing the site, you would come through the main marina entrance drive, following it down into the marina. For an event, all guests are directed by down the road past our main marina entrance with “pavilion parking” signs to the designated pavilion parking lot, eliminating the “sea of boats” and confusion of site directions.

    2. Boatyard look. By the sound of it, you were in our boatyard area. The first event is when the site opens or as early as mid-April. The marina stores boats on land throughout our 16 acres until the site parking is needed for the first event.

    3. Noise. We are a working marina Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 4:30pm, lots of equipment running and plenty of noise. During the off-season months when the site is closed as well as during the season when there are no scheduled events, there can be more noise during working hours, but all and all scheduled events during the weekend hours have no noise from our equipment.

    4. Picnic tables. Upon an event’s request, mostly for a ceremony and receptions we remove all “picnic” looking furniture, including the lawn furniture in the adjacent gazebo which is usually used for the bar or cake table.

    5. Ceremony space. Ceremony in the yard facing Back Creek (or adjacent gazebo (rarely). Many times more than 150 guests seated in the yard.

    6. Handicap parking. Along the fence in front of the site, a walk-way gradually flows into the venue.

    Planned and finished in September 2010, our new bridal sitting/dressing room on the backside of the four bathrooms was completed. It has plenty of space, with a large sitting/dressing room and a full bath. An awesome addition to the site!

    To Date: With a moderate spring in March 2012, we were able to improve the venue by changing out the pea gravel area where the picnic tables were and replacing them with slate-pavers extending floor space for larger groups. A deck at the ceremony sites hillside edge raised and extended the yard creating a flatter space for the bride/groom and wedding party to stand with a stunning view of Back Creek behind them. Landscaping on the front hill by the flag pole softened the harsh “boat view” looking back toward the parking.

    The bride the Overlook Pavilion venue continues to lure sees it as a “blank canvas” and has “the sky is the limit” vision for designing and creating their dream ceremony/reception.

    Although this venue wasn’t right for you, it continues to be for many.

    Thank you again,

    Linda Budimir
    Facilities Coordinator
    Port Annapolis Marina

  2. Linda, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! Those additions sound fantastic and I would highly recommend that anyone take a guided tour on a weekend so that they can see how the space functions - I think I went in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, so I can see how that shaped my view. The getting ready space also sounds lovely and I know of many people who have had beautiful weddings at the Overlook Pavilion. I do not hesitate to recommend it to people.