Here at Charm City Wed, we know choosing your wedding venue is usually one of the first (if not the first) choice to make when planning your wedding. While there are many iconic Baltimore area venues, there are many area venues that you may not know about. They may be off the beaten path, a brand new venue, or a closely guarded secret. Our mission with this post series is to profile these venues and let you know all about these hidden gems.
The first venue we are pleased to highlight is the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, MD. Growing in popularity as a wedding venue, we wanted to visit and see what the buzz was all about! We met with Beth Gill, the Director of Marketing, Communications, & Rentals at Irvine Nature Center and took a tour of the venue on a sunny afternoon. We were privileged to see, firsthand, why so many couples have chosen this venue for their wedding.
We began our tour inside, viewing the many flora and fauna exhibits (including several adorable turtles!). We were shown some of the rooms available, including a large room with a projector perfect for a cocktail hour with slideshow of the happy couple, along with a vibrant wildlife-theme painted room that’s frequently used by the bride to get ready for the day.
We proceeded outside to the deck, which is frequently used as an open space for cocktail hour.
Behind the main building is the outdoor amphitheater, which is a popular choice for wedding ceremonies. It can accommodate a variety of chair and altar configurations. Also located near the amphitheater (available for every wedding regardless of ceremony location) is a fire pit for guests to roast s’mores! Just a few steps away from the deck is their permanent outdoor all-weather tent, available April 1st to October 31st. This tent can be used for the reception – or as a ceremony site, in the case of inclement weather. Unfortunately, we do not have photographs to show of these locations, as there was a conference going on at the time of our visit.
After viewing the various locations around the main building, Beth led us past the building – down a long path in the woods. We were able to get a glimpse of their owl/hawk sanctuary (amazing!) and eventually made it to their open gazebo. This gazebo can be used for small standing-crowd ceremonies and overlooks a beautiful field.
Pointing far into the distance, Beth pointed out where Irvine’s property ended. Our jaws dropped! Irvine’s campus spans 116 acres, and is used for many other programs including their own preschool, girl and boy scout troop camping and enrichment, and other educational programs.
Beth also spoke about the history of the Irvine Nature Center. Founded in 1975 by Olivia Irvine Dodge, it was created out of her passion to teach children and future generations to love and care for the environment. Originating in a barn at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, MD, it moved to its new campus in Owings Mills in 2008. Irvine is truly a great place for learning and a perfect location for the eco-minded couple. It is also privately owned and all funds from weddings and memberships go directly to the upkeep up the Nature Center.
To close our tour, we asked Beth the one question we will be asking every venue for this post series: If you had to sell a bride/groom/client in 100 words or less on why Irvine Nature Center is a great place to have a wedding, what would you say?
“Irvine is a very special place. It’s incredibly memorable. It speaks to a couple that really cares about the environment, their impact, and the future of their children. Every dollar is put towards teaching children and guests why the environment is worth saving.”
All photographs by Chad + Serena of Love By Serena.