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Tying the knot in style

Powerhouse, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, style, gay news, Washington Blade

Give your reception an industrial vibe at Powerhouse. (Photo by Rodney Bailey; courtesy Powerhouse)

One of the toughest parts of planning a wedding is choosing the right venue. Indoor or out, it can be difficult to choose where to celebrate with family and friends. This list of 12 places includes everything from hotels and art galleries to ships and churches that are guaranteed to make your wedding day one to remember.

Powerhouse. If traditional isn’t your style, try an avant-garde reception at Powerhouse. Located in historic Georgetown, the LGBT-owned-and-operated space was once the D.C. Paper Manufacturing Company’s powerhouse. Now its been converted into a fully renovated two-story space with floor-to-ceiling windows, state-of-the-art sound system and a catering prep kitchen. A second floor mezzanine balcony and exposed brick and steel beams give your special day an unconventional touch. 3255 Grace St., N.W.;

Westin Annapolis. Want to celebrate the big day in luxury? The Westin Annapolis, located in downtown Annapolis, offers a sophisticated setting in its 6,500-square foot ballroom with chandeliers and a pre-function space with a view of Park Place from its 16-foot arched windows. The culinary staff is also available to create customized menus for all types of receptions from a brunch to an elaborate cocktail reception. 100 Westgate Circle, Annapolis, Md.;

Black Walnut Point Inn. Want to get away from it all on the big day? Black Walnut Point Inn is the perfect place to celebrate in seclusion. The gay-owned inn is tucked away on Tilghman Island in Talbot County, Maryland. The Great Lawn features unobstructed waterfront views. Their packages includes a whole weekend with a catered rehearsal dinner and reception, two night stay for couple and up to 20 guests, hors d’oeuvres on the Great Lawn at sunset and more. 4417 Black Walnut Point Rd., Tilgman, Md.;

Corcoran Gallery of Art. The Corcoran Gallery of Art provides more than art for the public to enjoy — it also rents parts of the gallery for private events, including weddings. Give a Parisian vibe to your reception in the Salon Doré room. The room seats 50 and includes Corinthian pilasters, trophy panels and mirrors all original and once part of the hôtel de Clermont, a historic private residence in Paris. The Atrium and the Bridge are also available to rent and can seat 100-900 guests. 500 17th St., N.W.; 

Metropolitan Community Churches. For couples that want an old-fashioned church wedding, Metropolitan Community Churches are a good option. Its mission states it is “a place for all people.” Locations are all across the D.C. metro area including Fairfax Va., College Park, Md., and in the District.

The Black-Eyed Susan. For a different wedding experience, try celebrating at sea. The Black-Eyed Susan allows both a ceremony and reception on board. Provide your own clergy or let the captain of the ship perform the ceremony. The reception takes place on the upper deck and a customized wedding cake is included as part of the package that includes a silver-plated cake knife set as the ship’s wedding present to the happy couple. 2775 Lighthouse Point East, Baltimore;

The Loft at 600 F. An intimate-yet-stylish celebration may be the ideal choice for some couples. The Loft at 600 F, located in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter neighborhood of the District, achieves that combination. The venue offers custom sofas that can be moved into various setups, moveable bars, up-light and accent lighting and a microwave and mini fridge. Getting the party started won’t be a problem with its surround sound receiver, HD projector, Apple TV and 55-inch HD television. 600 F St., N.W.;

Old Hickory Golf Club. The clubhouse at Old Hickory Golf Club is a combination of beautiful views with a gorgeous indoor space. The clubhouse includes a ballroom and dining room with a veranda that overlooks the golf course. Your guest list can include up to 250 people to enjoy lunch or dinner buffets with an optional hors d’oeuvre reception and cocktail party. 11921 Chanceford Dr. Woodbridge, Va.;

River Terra Retreat. A small wedding away from it all can be found at River Terra Retreat, tucked away on the edge of the Potomac River. The family owned home offers a cozy aesthetic with a big front porch, river view balcony, formal dining room and eat-in kitchen. Vegetables and fruits can be taken fresh from the garden depending on the season. Meeting rooms are available for an inside celebration or take the party outside for a tented event on the fenced grounds. 37 4th St., Colonial Beach, Va.;

Hotel Lombardy. If you can’t afford to take your wedding overseas, Hotel Lombardy offers an international theme to bring the world to you in downtown D.C. Feel like you’re vacationing in northern Italy with the Venetian-style rooms, imported fabrics and Oriental wool rugs. Get a taste of France with the Café Lombardy, the hotel’s French-inspired continental bistro offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch for your guests. Let go of wedding planning stress by using the hotel’s professional event planning services who can help make your day special from start to finish. 2019 Pennsylvania, Ave., N.W.;

Lazy L at Willow Creek. Couples that want to bring their dogs along for the celebration should consider Lazy L at Will Creek. This quaint bed and breakfast offers dog-friendly services, such as easily accessible pet friendly beaches and restaurants to make your dog as happy as you are on the big day. The innkeeper is an ordained chaplain and can provide officiating services. 16061 Willow Creek, Rd., Del.;

Salero Ocean Front Venue. Make the ocean the focal point of your wedding day on this ocean front wedding venue. Their wedding packages include an open bar, cake service, complete room setup and a chocolate fountain. Full-course meals can also be provided. Their menus are available to view on their website. 511 N Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach, Del.;

A few more of our favorites

Potomac View Terrace at the American Pharmacists Association

2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Black Walnut Point Inn

4417 Black Walnut Point Road
Tilghman, MD 21671

Glenview Mansion at Rockville Civic Center Park

603 Edmonston Drive
Rockville, MD 20851

The Henley Park Hotel

926 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

National Press Club

529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

Wolf Trap



Md. inn hosts same-sex weddings

gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, Maryland, Clayton Zook, Wayne MacKinzie, Tilghman Island, gay news, Washington Blade

Clayton Zook and Wayne MacKenzie (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

TILGHMAN, Md.—A gay-owned Eastern Shore inn on Tuesday hosted more than half a dozen same-sex weddings on the first day gays and lesbians could legally marry in Maryland.

Tracy Staples, owner of the Black Walnut Point Inn on Tilghman Island in Talbot County who married his partner, Bob Zuber, shortly after the law took effect at midnight, officiated the wedding of Baltimore residents Clayton Zook and Wayne MacKenzie shortly after 12:30 p.m. in a gazebo overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

The couple met more than six years ago while working at a Huntsville, Ala., television station. Zook, 28, joked with reporters after he and MacKenzie, 30, exchanged vows that their decision to get married at the inn was “kind of a last minute decision.”

“We thought it would be great to be a part of the first day that it’s legal in Maryland,” Zook said. “It’s an easy day to remember for an anniversary. As far as all the legal ramifications and everything goes, it’s great for us to say state of Maryland we thank you for giving us these rights for giving us equal rights and we want to show you that we do appreciate that and so getting married on the first day shows the people of Maryland that there are same-sex couples that are interested in matrimony.”

Kevin and Joey Lowery of Glen Burnie also married at the inn—Joey Lowery, who is deaf, spoke his vows to his soon-to-be-spouse after he interpreted them to him.

Michelle Miller and Nora Clouse of Stevensville in Queen Anne’s County have been together for 15 years. The couple had a commitment ceremony 10 years ago, and Miller conceded she thought “that was going to be it.”

“I’m very proud of Maryland, especially since the popular vote and the people had to decide on this issue,” she told the Washington Blade after she and Clouse exchanged vows.

Maryland is among nine states and D.C. that allow same-sex couples to legally marry.

Staples and Zuber are among the more than a dozen gays and lesbians who tied the knot immediately after the Maryland’s same-sex marriage law took effect at midnight—seven couples exchanged vows at Baltimore City Hall earlier today as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, lesbian state Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) and Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans watched.

Ruth Siegel of Silver Spring married her partner of 15 years, Nina Nethery, inside Black Walnut Point Inn just after midnight. The couple, along with Staples and Zuber and Dwayne Beebe and Jonathan Franqui of Pensacola, Fla., who also tied the knot immediately after the same-sex marriage law took effect, shared a champagne toast and a rainbow wedding cake after they exchanged vows.

“I just couldn’t stop crying and everybody else couldn’t stop crying,” Siegel told the Blade after she and her spouse watched Zook and MacKenzie tie the knot. “We had a nice little crowd of people that we didn’t know. And everybody got really close really fast. It was incredible.”

Beebe, who has been in the U.S. Navy for 19 years, proposed to Franqui, 28, in uniform while marching in last July’s annual San Diego Pride parade.

Florida does not recognize same-sex marriages, but Beebe told the Blade during a post-wedding interview at the Tilghman Island Inn that he and Franqui considered exchanging vows while they were taking care of his mother who continues to fight cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C.

“When we decided to make it legal, we were kind of figuring the options of so are we going to go to New York, are we going to go to Iowa or wherever,” Beebe said. “After the election, in Maryland it was going to be legal on [Jan.] 1 so we decided to come here, visit Mom while she’s undergoing treatment for cancer and also get our marriage license and then it sort of just all evolved into let’s do it on New Year’s night.”

Beebe attended the other same-sex weddings that took place later on Tuesday at the Black Walnut Point Inn while wearing his Navy uniform.

“It’s amazing to be able to wear my uniform and be openly gay,” he said. “There’s really not emotions or words to describe to live almost 19 years under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and then to be lifted and then to be actually legally married in the state to somebody that you love and you are in love with and that you want to spend the rest of your life with and that you can’t be fired for it, they can’t do anything to you, you’re just living your life the way you’re supposed to. It’s amazing. And to be able to wear my uniform is that much better.”

marriage equality, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, Maryland, Tilghman Island, Michelle Miller, Nora Clouse,

Michelle Miller and Nora Clouse (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.)


10 fab places to marry in Maryland

Hotel Monaco, Baltimore, gay news, Washington Blade

Hotel Monaco in Baltimore (Photo courtesy Hotel Monaco)

Maryland’s gay and lesbian couples began legally marrying on Jan. 1 after the state’s marriage law was upheld in the November election. Couples all across the state are now making plans to tie the knot so we’ve assembled a list of 10 fab places to either get married or to party after the ceremony.

• Four Seasons Baltimore. Looking for an over-the-top, luxurious place to celebrate? The brand-new Four Seasons on the Inner Harbor offers everything from sumptuous rooms to stunning views. 200 International Dr., Baltimore, 410-576-5800,

Antrim 1844. For a quieter and more pastoral setting, Taneytown’s historic Antrim 1844 offers options for all wedding party sizes. Antrim has its own wedding planners on staff who will assist with everything from menus to flowers to stemware. The mansion sits on 25 acres dotted with rose gardens and plenty of romantic spots to say “I do.” 30 Trevanion Rd., Taneytown, 410-756-6812,

Black Walnut Point Inn. This stunning gay-owned inn sits on its own private island. The owners were the second same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in Talbot County and hosted a group of couples for a marriage ceremony on Jan. 1. You can get married on the Great Lawn with endless water views and the inn will connect couples with local caterers and work to accommodate all budgets. The inn sits on a secluded point about 90 minutes from the Bay Bridge on the Eastern Shore. 4417 Black Walnut Point Rd., Tilghman Island, 410-886-2452,

•  Hotel Monaco Baltimore.  The Monaco is part of the LGBT-supportive Kimpton Hotel chain and housed inside the historic former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Headquarters downtown within walking distance of the harbor. The dramatic Beaux Arts style décor includes grand marble staircases, Tiffany stained glass windows and crystal chandeliers. The Monaco offers convenient wedding packages that include cocktail hour, dinner, Champagne toast, dining, dancing and more. 2 N. Charles St., Baltimore, 443-692-6170,

Volt. When considering venues and destinations for your Maryland wedding, don’t overlook beautiful downtown Frederick with its quaint setting, mountain views and historic Market Street area lined with restaurants and shops. Perhaps the best-known restaurant here is Volt, which hosts private events overseen by a dedicated staff coordinator. From elegant to relaxed, Volt makes for a memorable event and offers award-winning farm-to-table cuisine from Chef Bryan Voltaggio, who was a prominent donor to the Maryland marriage equality cause. 228 N. Market St., Frederick, 301-696-VOLT,

American Visionary Art Museum. If quirky is more your style, then a Baltimore wedding may be for you and the American Visionary Art Museum is among the quirkier places to wed. Known as the national repository for works by self-taught artists, AVAM has earned an international reputation for its award-winning exhibits and architecture. AVAM is located in Federal Hill and convenient to downtown and can accommodate intimate dinner parties and large receptions in multiple banquet rooms. The coolest space is probably AVAM’s Sculpture Barn housed in an adjacent building that holds 125 for a seated dinner. A larger third floor banquet room can accommodate 400 guests. 800 Key Highway, Baltimore, 410-244-1900, 

• Strathmore. Located in Bethesda, the Mansion at Strathmore offers on-site chefs, kitchen and staff. The hilltop Mansion holds 150 for a seated dinner and the space is spectacular with Palladian windows, a grand staircase and chandeliers. The grounds are equally stunning with 100-year-old trees and manicured lawns — all within short distance of the Beltway. 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, 301-581-5255,

Metropolitan Community Churches. Marriage isn’t all parties and DJs — some couples, of course, want as traditional as possible a wedding day and that’s where Metropolitan Community Churches comes in. Maryland is lucky to have a handful of MCC locations, including Baltimore, Boyds, College Park and Hagerstown. MCC “proclaims God’s inclusive love for all people,” according to its vision statement. Learn more and find contact information for all the Maryland churches at

Westin Annapolis. Why not tie the knot in the city where lawmakers voted to make it legal? Annapolis is a historic, picturesque waterfront town and although there isn’t a gay scene in the Dupont Circle sense, there are plenty of gay-friendly places to hold a wedding and/or reception. One of them is the Westin Annapolis, which offers world-class amenities, luxury rooms, spa services, indoor pool and more, including spaces for wedding parties large or more intimate. There are banquet and catering menus available for review online. 100 Westgate Circle, Annapolis, 410-972-4300,

Married at sea. Maryland has a long and deep association with the Chesapeake Bay so what better way to honor those seafaring traditions than a ceremony aboard a sailboat? The Selina II is a historic 1926 yacht that provides an unforgettable setting for a wedding. The Selina II departs from quaint St. Michael’s with room for six aboard or many more for a dockside service. Staff will create a “personalized nautical event to treasure” and Captain Iris Clarke happens to be an ordained minister. Visit for more information and costs.