Reviews

Can't be beat - best wedding venue in Maryland

Our wedding this past weekend at the Graduate Annapolis was the dream wedding, thanks to Shannon Draley and the hotel staff. Originally scheduled at the US Naval Academy, Shannon saved us the day the Academy closed down and took over our wedding planning for us. She did it all - seating, meals, decor, flowers, and the rest, and got us a great deal on a block of rooms. In the end, we had over a dozen attendees staying at the hotel, almost 70 people in attendance, and everything went off without a hitch, no matter how many changes we made poor Shannon make for us. Always professional, polite, and friendly, she handled it all with aplomb and gave us a weekend that can never be beaten. Travis, Ellen, and Lucy at the front desk were also always friendly, completely responsive, and helped us with any request. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that if you are looking for a wedding venue in Maryland, you MUST select the Graduate Annapolis and ask Shannon to take care of you, and your wedding will be the best!

-Joe

Amazing Venue

Our reception at the Graduate Annapolis was nothing short of amazing. Shannon and the entire hotel staff went out of their way to make sure that our day went smoothly. We had spent months anxious about how our wedding would look due to COVID-19, but Shannon and Mario ensured our wedding was both safe and beautiful. We were unable to have a tasting due to COVID-19, however every food we selected was delicious and plentiful. We are still hearing friends and family rave about the food and venue! Most of our guests stayed at the hotel for the weekend and everyone loved the nautical vibe and cleanliness of the rooms. The room we used as the bridal suite was huge--plenty of room for 11 girls to get ready, spend the day, and take pictures in! The guys were able to have their own room downstairs to hang out in. Shannon was knowledgeable, amazing to work with, calming, and so responsive. The entire hotel staff was kind, welcoming, and did whatever they could to ensure that our guests were taken care of all weekend. Overall we were amazed with our experience with Shannon and the Graduate Annapolis and would choose to have our reception here again in a heartbeat!

-Caileigh Ciepiela

Highly Recommend

We were scheduled to have our reception at the Graduate, and we had to cancel due to Coronavirus. I still wanted to write a review for other couples looking for a venue. The wedding coordinator, Shannon, was a pleasure to work with and very responsive when we had questions. The venue is newly renovated and beautiful. We were able to go to a tasting and find out that the food is wonderful! We were very excited for our guests to enjoy the food. The Graduate is definitely a venue we would recommend!

-Leah Johnson

Great Venue!

The Graduate did a wonderful job with our daughter's wedding! The food was delicious, and Shannon, the catering manager, was a great help with all of the planning and details! Everyone had a wonderful time! I highly recommend them!

-Sarah Crowell

Flawless NYE Wedding

When we first booked this venue it was still the Loews Hotel. A few months later we learned that the hotel was sold to the Graduate corporation and I immediately panicked. This scary scenario turned into the best thing that ever happened to us. We worked with Shannon mostly during the planing processes and she was wonderful to work with. She stayed completely calm during all of my minor bride meltdowns and came up with a plan Bs that always turned out better than the original plan As. We also worked with Eric while we were at the venue. He was also super accommodating. We seriously felt like we were VIP rock stars.

The hotel staff was wonderful and very accommodating. 90% of our wedding guests came from out of town and the majority of them stayed at the hotel. We had zero complaints and everyone complimented how wonderful everyone was.

We were blown away by the food at our tasting and that same quality stayed consistent at the wedding. The catering department also did amazing job when it came to accommodating food allergies.

The hotel completed renovations in November 2019, and they did a wonderful job.

I would highly recommend using the Graduate Annapolis as a ceremony and/or reception venue.

-Sara Williams

Shannon was the absolute best. My wedding day was fantastic.

To start, it is expensive as heck to have a nice wedding in the DC area. Just ridiculous. To that end, my fiance and I spent 2 years trying to find locations that we both liked, that was aesthetically pleasing to both of us, that offered enough space for our guests and that just made sense for us. In the end, Shannon's professionalism, quick responses and great personality were the deciding factor that caused us to choose The Graduate. Though we signed our contract before the transition was made, it was seamless for us and we felt no confusion or discomfort during the renovations.

Our guests and our family enjoyed every part of the wedding. It was a good time, the hotel was lovely and the staff was very helpful. There were some minor challenges: a few of my guests had heat issues in their rooms (and it was super cold on our wedding weekend) but I believe it was handled quickly and my maid of honor and a groomsman were stuck in the elevator for a short time. The staff came to everyone's assistance immediately and no one seemed too bothered by the inconveniences.

The packages that are offered are nice and including open bar with the packages was another strong deciding factor for us. My guests are still talking about their meals; the salmon with the mustard sauce was a huge hit. The tasting that we did months before the wedding was great. Though the hotel was in the midst of renovations, the service was impeccable, Shannon was superbly helpful and the food was presented well. Be hungry when you go though. It's a lot of food.
If you are considering this venue, based on my experience I say go for it. They are a great team, very helpful, very considerate. They worked well with my vendors and with a very nervous, jittery bride. I cannot say enough good things about The Graduate.

In terms of cost, you could possibly find less expensive options but not with the level of service that this team offers. If I were to do it over, I would choose The Graduate again.

-Nicole McLean

Amazing team of people! Dream Wedding!

We just had our wedding reception at the Graduate Annapolis on Nov. 23 and it was amazing! We had a huge reception with 180 guests and my family and friends haven’t stopped complimenting us.

To start of, Shannon Draley is absolutely a dream to work with! She completely eased my mind of all the stress and saw our vision of how we wanted our reception to flow. She completely nailed it and listened to every one of our suggestions and made her the whole team at the hotel was on the same page. Months leading up to the wedding, she answered all my silly questions right away. She is very organized and detailed oriented, which is exactly what you need when planning a wedding! I can’t thank her enough for all her time and patience with us. My mom was ready to adopt her in our family after working with her so much... LOL

When it came time for the wedding weekend, we had a lot of guests stay right at the hotel which was so convenient. It's walking distance downtown and there is plenty to do in the area. Perfect location! Rita did a wonderful job of organizing our room blocks. We were able to get a great rate for all our guests that weekend. Other hotels with ballrooms in the area were far more expensive for that weekend. It was great because all the guests could just go back to their rooms when the party was over! Our guests continued the party to the new restaurant bar after the reception.

The newly renovated Graduate is beautiful. The rooms have their own unique charm and super comfy beds! My bridal party loved getting ready in the admiral suite. There was lots of room for all my bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done. We also did a private wedding brunch the following day at the hotel and it was absolutely perfect. They had an amazing breakfast spread and even served some of our leftover wedding cake.

Last but definitely not least, the food at our reception was AMAZING! All of the appetizers we had during cocktail hour were so good! We had two huge platters of cheeses, fruits and vegetables in the middle of the atrium area with several tasty passed hors d'oeuvres. For dinner, we had the option of the filet & crabcake or mahogany chicken. Most of our guests ordered the filet and crab cake duet as an entree and it was so so good. We were worried since there were so many people that the food would just be okay, but it was honestly one of the best crab cakes we’ve ever had. And the steak was cooked perfectly! People were raving about the food. The chicken was also very good! We got the Parmesan risotto and green beans as a side and they were perfect sides for the meals.

The staff at the Graduate Hotel made sure our wedding weekend was flawless! They were so accommodating and eased my mind during a stressful time. They made sure that all our guests were completely satisfied. I want to give a shout out to Erick for taking care of us all weekend. He went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable. Also thank you to Blanca for making sure the bride and groom were fed! Her service was amazing! I would definitely recommend the Graduate Hotel to any couple! Thank you for making our dream wedding come true!!!

-Jaynie Jones

Best Night of Our Lives!

We loved our wedding venue, the Hotel Annapolis! They are currently transitioning, but if you hear good things about Lowes, Hotel Annapolis, or Graduate, it's where we had our special day and it was absolutely perfect.

We primarily worked with Shannon Draley in the planning stages. We picked this venue because it was local, parking was plentiful for our guests, and the convenience of having everything right there at the hotel was unbeatable. Our food, drink, accommodations, rehearsal, ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner/dancing reception were all through the Hotel Annapolis.
Food was a top priority for us, and the hotel DELIVERED! Our tasting was easily our favorite part of wedding planning. The appetizers were incredible -- full cheese and fruit/veggie displays, mini quesadillas, shrimp wrapped scallops, beef and pickled onion crostini, bruschetta, and mini crab cakes. We had a bountiful buffet dinner -- caesar and house salad options with toppings to pick and choose from, baked potato soup per our custom order, crab cakes with Old Bay remoulade, mahogany chicken, beef carving station, steamed broccoli and carrots, and parmesan risotto.

The entire service staff tending to us was so responsive, kind, and positive. They checked in on us frequently, assisting with set up to bring our vision to life, hunting down a nice podium for our ceremony readings, refilling our glasses and getting us drinks from the bar during the reception. Truly lovely. We felt so pampered.

The Power House was an excellent spot for us. Perfect size for our guest count. We had the ceremony on the first floor, cocktail hour on the second floor, and dinner/dancing on the third floor. They recently renovated, both in the hotel and in the Power House, to reflect a nautical/Annapolis theme. The brick and big windows of the Power House remain the most beautiful element of the space. Looking forward to getting some great pictures back soon!

We would recommend this venue to others! We were able to have a stress-free wedding because of the wonderful staff. We loved being within walking distance for historic downtown Annapolis, where we've had many a date :). We had plenty of beautiful photo opportunities, especially having our first look at the State House.

TLDR; Shannon and the service team at the Hotel Annapolis were amazing and accommodating. Our wedding day was flawless. This was the perfect event space, food, and geographic location for us as a couple to host our wedding celebration. 10/10, would recommend!

-Carrie

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