Chase Court received the 2018 Wedding Of The Year Award (Budget Less Than $50,000) from the National Association for Catering and Events!
Baltimore, Maryland — August 3, 2019 — Chase Court announced today that it has received the Wedding of the Year award (Budget less than $50,000) from the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE).
Held in conjunction with the 2019 NACE Experience Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in July, the annual NACE One Awards recognize excellence in the planning and execution of events and celebrations, as well as individual chapter programs and accomplishments.
So, how did this all happen?
Meghan, the bride: “I am a massive Potter Head that loves crafting, so the second we started planning, I knew we were having a Harry Potter Hallowedding. We’re both October babies and love everything Halloween. We also know that October 1 is the start of Harry Potter season (which lasts until February), so we knew it had to be a Hallowedding to represent everything we love about October.
Meghan and Travis, her groom, booked Chase Court in downtown Baltimore as their venue in November of 2016, and immediately set the intention of “planning the best HP wedding ever…”
“The way I put it to every vendor I spoke to—we want this to feel less like a wedding with Harry Potter incorporated and more like Harry Potter with a wedding incorporated. (Note: In order to make this a full Potter experience without downplaying the sanctity of marriage, we did have a very small Catholic ceremony a few weeks before). I wanted all of the Potterheads attending the wedding, including myself, to feel like they had stepped into Hogwarts despite being in downtown Baltimore.”
With guidance from David Egan, the proprietor and steward of the castle at Chase Court, the bride solicited interest from a select group of caterers recommended by David from Chase Court’s list of approved caterers. Among her other criteria was determining which one “…loves Potter the most.”
David was deeply involved in the planning, which started in earnest in April of 2017. David and Meghan are both confirmed “Potterheads,” (albeit Meghan being in the superfan category) having read all of the books, seen all of the movies, and simply loving the whole thing. David had also previously done extensive research into how to create a Harry Potter wedding. Excited e-mails were exchanged with ideas, questions, and suggestions.
“David Egan is among the trendsetters and innovators of our community. Being judged by his peers and receiving the NACE One Award is a testament to his skills and ingenuity”—Ed DiAntonio, CPCE, CMP, President of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE).
The ceremony was a full-on Harry Potter experience that took place under the pergola in the tree-shaded Chase Court ceremony garden.
A string quartet, dressed in robes and with the cellist channeling Bellatrix Lestrange, played from inside the building. (The weather was unsuitable for their instruments.)
Professor Dumbledore officiated, surrounded by the prefects (attendants) with wands in hand.
Meghan and Travis exchanged an “unbreakable vow” under Professor Dumbledore’s watchful eye. At the end of the ceremony, all of the prefects held their wands high to hear that one special word: “Always!”.
“Chase Court was the absolute PERFECT venue for our Harry Potter-themed wedding. As soon as we saw its castle-like design, great hall, and beautiful courtyard, we knew that this was the only place we could have our (admittedly unique) wedding. And it was everything that we hoped it would be and more! My wife and I will cherish our special day forever, and we couldn’t have done it without David and Chase Court! I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a venue with something of a magical flair!”—Five-star review of this wedding by the groom, Travis Griffin.
Guests’ experience of this magical wedding started from the moment they stepped through Chase Court’s iron gates. The stunning 100-foot-long entrance garden was filled with themed decor to get guests in the Harry Potter mood! A short stroll down the brick walk brought them under the rose arch, which was hung with dozens of flying keys. Deeper into the garden (above) they came upon headless ghosts (excellently rendered in chickenwire by the bride).
Curious guests that peered below the happy twinkle lights in the apricot tree may have been startled to find a dementor, itching to get into the (magically guarded) building!
Once safely inside, guests found a handy directional sign tree in the upper foyer, pointing to The Great Hall, Clocktower Courtyard, Rooms of Requirement, The Library, and the Three Broomsticks Pub.
After the ceremony and having enjoyed thematic cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the guests made their way into the great hall, where the Sorting Hat was waiting to greet them.
Each guest drew their name from the hat and was assigned a seat at one of the four long tables, with each table representing one of the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor in red, Hufflepuff in yellow, Ravenclaw in purple and Slytherin in green.
The program was a custom-made fold-out Marauder’s Map. It included the event schedule, acknowledgements and the participants in the wedding ceremony, and of course, a Harry Potter-style map of Chase Court.
House banners were hung on each end of the guest tables, and a Hogwarts banner hung over the fireplace. The tables were adorned with Manzanita tree centerpieces, cauldrons filled with floating candles and lighted from within in house colors.
“…on Oct. 27, it was all Harry Potter: another ceremony and party at Chase Court in Baltimore, a gothic-style venue with arched windows and original iron chandeliers. It was a perfect dark backdrop to the wizard-themed celebration.”—The Washington Post (Full story with pics and video.)
Personalized LED wands were provided for each guest to practice their charms and accio parts of the Great Feast their way.
A major piece of event magic was the Floo Network entrance by the Prefects (attendants) and the bride and groom.
“The Floo Network is made up of various wizarding fireplaces all over Britain. When Floo Powder is thrown into a fireplace that is connected to the network, the fire will burn a brilliant green and assume a state that allows a witch or wizard to enter the fire without being burned, at which point he or she will state the name of another Network location and then be connected to that location in a spinning rush of emerald green flames.”—The Harry Potter Lexicon
David, by now having been dubbed “Professor Egan, Headmaster of Chase Court” by the bride, and the DJ worked together in the weeks prior to the event to create a special effect that would dramatically bring the Floo Network to life at Chase Court. The DJ procured a fog machine, theatrical spotlights, and green gels, and Chase Court provided LED flood lights and stands. Some hours spent testing and arranging equipment around and in front of the great hall fireplace proved fruitful, with an effect that wowed the guests on wedding day when the Prefects made their entrance — wands ready — into the great hall, followed by the bride and groom.
It worked so well that the video of the entrance experience made it into The Washington Post’s article about the wedding!
“Chase Court (is) the closest thing the DMV (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) area has to Hogwarts—owned by fellow Potterhead, David Egan. He was incredibly helpful in coming up with awesome ideas to up the Potterness.”—The bride, writing in Baltimore Weddings.
The reception, which ended at 9 ¾ o’clock, concluded with a grand wand-arch exit through the entrance garden (sneaking past the ever-vigilant dementor!).
“Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (Platform 9¾) is a platform at King’s Cross Station in London. Magically concealed behind the barrier between Muggle Platforms Nine and Ten, this Platform is where Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students board the Hogwarts Express on 1 September, in order to attend school.—Harry Potter Wiki
It was a truly magical occasion!
Chase Court is an architecturally-stunning 1879 gothic former Episcopal parish house (meeting space), now in private hands. The property includes a spectacular 100-foot entrance garden and a clearing-in-the-forest ceremony garden with a pond, mature trees, and a pergola, all in the middle of the elegant Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.
With its high gray ceiling, eight tall arched leaded-glass windows, original iron hanging chandeliers, and gothic details, the Great Hall at Chase Court pays more than a passing resemblance to the Great Hall at Hogwarts!
The architecture at Chase Court is traditional, but the attitude is anything but. We’ve hosted almost 70 same-sex weddings, and have hosted (and encouraged!) alternative themes and cosplay, including Goth, Renaissance, Steampunk, Gatsby, Anime, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter!
Chase Court comfortably and realistically accommodates a maximum of 125 guests seated for dinner or 150 guests served cocktail-style.
Couples come to Chase looking for something different, whether it’s unique architecture or a different feel, authenticity, or a sense of realness.
Venue: Chase Court
Caterer: Rouge Fine Catering
Officiant: Scott Paul
Ceremony Music: Two Rivers Chamber Music
DJ: Ridiculous Entertainment
Photography: Dennis Drenner Photographs (Images above by Chase Court, except as noted.)
Farm Tables: Barnes Farm Tables
Cake: SugarBakers Cakes
“ I don’t think I’ve ever photographed a wedding where more attention has been paid to all the little details. (And after 20 years, that’s really saying something!)”—Dennis Drenner, Photographer
About National Association for Catering and Events
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