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1840s Plaza: A Photographer's Review of the Historic Baltimore Wedding Venue

Updated: Jun 6, 2023


Young black couple getting married in 1840s plaza ballroom

Are you the kind of girl that loves a vintage aesthetic? Me. Too. I wouldn't go so far as to say I was born in the wrong era - my Black ancestors don't want that for me, ok? But I LOVE historic places and the unique designs from each era. One historic wedding venue that really does it for me is 1840s Plaza in Baltimore, Maryland. This venue is perfect for any couple that wants historic charm, easy city access, and a dramatic winding staircase to swoon on.


Historic Charm Meets City Amenities: All About 1840s Plaza


vintage 50s diner inside 1840s plaza

1840s Plaza is named for its structures that date back to, well, the 1840s. You'll want to drive slowly to the venue because the roads are that classic Baltimore cobblestone that you'll see throughout the city. When you arrive, you'll be greeted by the bold, red facade of the building - it's one of twelve that survived the great Baltimore fire of 1904. As you enter the wrought iron gate, you'll see a beautiful courtyard with matching wrought iron furniture, gorgeous red brick structures, the plaza, and the Carrollton Inn. Your guests will be transported back in time as soon as they arrive at the venue, stunned completely by the beauty that they've managed to preserve.


The Location: Jonestown Neighborhood


cobblestone street in front of 1840s plaza in Baltimore near fells point and inner harbor

If you have guests coming from out of town, they'll be totally enamored with the neighborhood. You're only steps away from iconic Baltimore locations like the Inner Harbor, Little Italy, and Harbor East. Baltimore has a ton of amazing restaurants serving all kinds of cuisine (for those people who for some ungodly reason don't enjoy Old Bay). You'll also be close to entertainment like the Maryland Live Casino, Camden Yards (baseball bores me, but the food is top notch for a sports stadium), and M&T Bank Stadium. All these local attractions definitely take the pressure of to entertain so you can just enjoy your wedding!


Planes, Trains, & Automobile: Getting to 1840s Plaza

Being a major city, Baltimore is easily accessible via a number of routes. Your guests have plenty of options for travel:

  • Highway 95 runs right through Baltimore

  • Trains are an option with the West Baltimore Amtrak station not too far away

  • Airports:

    • BWI is about 30 minutes away without traffic

    • DCA is a solid hour away without traffic

    • Dulles is also a little over an hour away for people who want suffer

Planning Your Wedding at 1840s Plaza: Everything You Need to Know

black bride posing in front of window at 1840s plaza

Alright, here's the juicy info - all the things you need to know to decide if 1840s Plaza is worth considering as your wedding venue. I'll give you standard info such as cost, venue size, and all that, but also what my experience was like as a photographer (aka the one person who can help you relive that beautiful day).


Cost Expectations

1840s Plaza offers several rental options for the venue that can meet your needs. In general, a traditional wedding day at the Plaza can cost anywhere from $4,000 (a weekday in the winter season) to around $16,000. The highest rental prices for renting all three levels of the venue if you want to go all out with your wedding. If you're planning for a small, intimate ceremony, they also offer an elopement package beginning at $1,500.


You can reserve your date with a minimum $3,000 deposit (this gets larger based on the rental package you choose). Cancellations made at least 6 months before your wedding date are eligible for a partial refund of the deposit, but after that point your money is all theirs.


A 10% military discount is available for one level rentals.


Reserving the Space

draping curtains in front of windows with antique finishes in at 1840s plaza

1840s Plaza has three different themed levels and two courtyards that all offer a unique, antique aesthetic to your wedding:

  • The Cabaret level includes the Grand Staircase (it very much lives up to its name) and an old Spanish inspired decor that makes you want to dance. Deep, rich reds adorn the walls while the room is anchored by dark wood furniture and antique gold touches. This level can accommodate 80 seated guests or 230 standing guests.

  • The City Lites level is reminiscent of old New York City and gives you Broadway feels. You still have access to the Grand Staircase, and you get gorgeous high windows that flood the room with natural light and intense window shaped shadows. In the windowed corner of the room, curtains drape down from the ceiling to create a beautiful canopy under which to get married. After your ceremony, you can invite your guests for champagne and cupcakes in the 50s diner themed bar. It's lined with glass coke bottles and vintage signs that make it a super cute backdrop for a vintage wedding. This level can accommodate 150 seated guests or 250 standing guests.

  • The Ballroom level offers an elegant, refined backdrop for your wedding ceremony. The room is filled with light from rows of crystal chandeliers. Dark wooden columns frame the room while murals of beautiful coastlines give the space character and context. Natural light floods the space from antique arched windows while the room is anchored by a vintage bar with stained glass and complex engraving. This level can accommodate 230 seated guests or 350 standing guests.

  • The Courtyards bring you outside and immerse you the historic beginnings of Baltimore. Red brick lines the courtyard grounds while wrought iron furniture gives the space industrial cottage charms. The red brick row houses with their colonial touches provide a quaint backdrop to your wedding photos. The gardens can accommodate 160-230 seated guests or 230 standing guests.

A Note for Your Wedding Timeline

Every wedding vendor will tell you that reserving as early as you can is best. I will tell you that as well - don't wait sis. Try to lock in your dates at least 6 months out - that's still a pretty tight timeline, but hey, life happens sometimes. 1840s Plaza does offer a last minute booking discount for weddings planned less than 3 months out, but it does have a few stipulations.


Elopement rentals can be booked no more than 2 months out from your desired date.


What Your Rental Includes

If you're booking 1840s Plaza's smallest package for elopements, you'll have an hour for your ceremony on any one of the levels, an officiant, and seating for up to 30 guests. You can customize this package by adding more guests or adding time for champagne and cake (but no more!)


Larger rental packages include accommodations such as:

  • Rooms for guests at the Inn and gourmet breakfast

  • Round tables and chairs (for indoor use only, outdoor chairs must be brought in by another vendor)

  • 1840s Plaza event specialist that directs guests and ensures proper vendor compliance

  • Valet parking on the weekends

  • Security guards

  • Courtyard use

  • Personalized wedding brick

A rehearsal can be scheduled for an additional fee.


Vendors

1840s Plaza welcomes you to bring in your own wedding vendors so long as they have the proper licensing and insurance to operate. You can check out their list of recommended vendors here.


Tips from a Photographer to Fully Enjoy 1840s Plaza

black couple walking down a vintage staircase inside of 1840s plaza

I have a few tips to get the most out of your wedding day at 1840s Plaza from a photography perspective:

  • Book a photographer that is experienced with flash photography. Even with the beautiful natural light that pours into the venue, your photography still needs to use flash to accommodate for the darker areas. What you see and what the camera sees are entirely different and a photographer that only knows how to use natural light won't be able to capture your moments with art and finesse.

  • Bring the existing decor into your wedding plan! 1840s plaza has beautiful antique pieces and vintage motifs throughout, so make sure your wedding decor actually blends with that and even highlights it. One of my favorite areas is the White Tower on the City Lites floor. This space gives all the 50s diner vibes (minus the whites only counter) and is perfect for a retro moment. The venue's aesthetic is very distinct, so make sure it really aligns with your vision before booking.

  • Use those stairs! Sooo much beautiful light pours into them and makes for super romantic, ethereal, Beauty and the Beast moments that you should absolutely make sure your photographer gets. Posed photos are kind of cumbersome during your big day, but the staircase shots are absolutely worth it.

  • The windows provide intense sunlight during the day, so be mindful if you get sweaty easily. Powder up real good, ok? And consider talking to your photographer before hand to make sure they're comfortable with the lighting because it is definitely a situation that requires some finesse.

Photos of 1840s Plaza



From Charming to Spicy: Book a Bridal Boudoir Session with Bovia & Co.

black woman posing with hand on neck while wearing white lingerie and white fluffy robe for bridal boudoir photoshoot

Wedding planning can be stressful, but there's one thing that's always fun - your bridal boudoir session. You know why? It's all about YOU. No grouchy fiancé that doesn't want to pose, no guests to keep entertained, no vendors, timelines, and invoices to wrangle. It's just you, a camera, and whatever makes you feel unstoppable. A bridal boudoir session with Bovia & Co. is about relaxation and intimacy. Of course you'll make something sexy, but we don't make it about your future spouse, we make it about your current confidence. Out of all the things on your to do list, this is the one that will actually relieve some stress. Check out our pampered session amenities and book your session here.




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Hi there, I'm Chloe

Black woman photographer, mom to an applesauce-obsessed toddler, and cheerleader for every woman who's decided to love herself unconditionally.

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