Chesapeake Bay Weddings, Social Events

The Complete Wedding Planner & OrganizerIn October 2010, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation began a construction project on the Merrill Center. The project is expected to be completed late Fall of 2011. Due to this project and the impact that it will have on the Merrill Center, we will not be able to host any events or meetings from November 2010—December 2011.

The Merrill Center event space will re-open during the summer of 2012. We will begin taking bookings in the spring of 2011 for summer 2012.

Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your consideration and support of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

SOCIAL EVENTS and WEDDINGS - Features and Services

Features and services available to you at the Philip Merrill Environmental Center include:
  • Maximum capacity: 230, seated (Deck included)
  • 160 seated in dining room
  • Wooded, private waterfront setting on 33 acres
  • Great room with 270 degree views of the Chesapeake Bay
  • Beachside tented deck
  • Private beach
  • Spectacular photo opportunities
  • Dock for arrival or departure by boat
  • Private pre-event dressing/waiting room
  • Knowledgeable onsite event coordinator
  • List of preferred caterers and other service providers
Download the floor plan for the venue and read the answers to our frequently asked questions about the facility.
For additional information or to book your special event, contact Chris Gorri CBF’s Events Coordinator at 443-482-2001 or cgorri@cbf.org


  1. What is provided with the rental fee?
    Everything listed under Venue Information. Additional tables and chairs are available for rental.
  2. How many hours does the rental fee cover for my event?
    The Merrill Center is rented for 8-hour blocks of time.
  3. How many people does your facility hold for an event?The Joseph and Bonnie Kies Canvasback Conference Room holds 130-140 seated; 250 standing. There's an additional 2200 sq. ft. of partially tented deck space and a private beach area, which will allow for additional guests.
  4. Is use of the private beach part of the rental fee?
    The rental fee covers the use of the room, catering kitchen, deck, dock, and beach. Though we do allow our staff to use the far end of the beach, this area is not in front of the center and staff use will not disturb the privacy of your event.
  5. Can we have candles during our event?
    Yes. We allow use of tealight and floating candles, provided they are contained within a glass holder. Tall taper and pillar candles are prohibited.
  6. Can we use the dock during our event?
    Yes. The dock can be used during your event to access the beach, for wedding ceremonies, and other occasions.
  7. Can we use our own caterer and/or rental company?
    No. You must select a caterer and/or rental company from our approved vendor list. All other service providers, such as photographers, DJs, and florists can be chosen at your discretion.
  8. Is there an onsite kitchen?
    Yes. There is a catering kitchen conveniently located off of the Joseph and Bonnie Kies Canvasback Conference Room.
  9. We have heard that your facility is a "green" building. What does that mean?
    The Merrill Center is constructed of the most environmentally responsible building materials available, and consumes significantly less energy, water, and resources than similar commercial buildings. Not only does the building’s design prevent thousands of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from entering the Chesapeake Bay, it is extremely cost-effective, and operates in harmony with the land, natural resources, and the water. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Merrill Center its first ever prestigious LEED Platinum designation, making it the world's greenest building.

Download our Event Packet for additional information.

Credit: Chesapeake Bay Foudation

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