Yes, as long as your caterer allows it. However the caterer must serve all alcohol.
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May I purchase my own alcohol?
Is it okay if I have champagne or other alcoholic beverages while I am upstairs dressing?
Yes, if the caterer serves you. The caterer must serve all alcohol consumed on the premises, both prior to and during your reception.
Do I need to get a one-day liquor permit from Baltimore County?
Yes – if you are a non-profit organization that has sold tickets to your event and / or you are having a cash bar. If so, call 410-887-3191 for more information. All others do not need a liquor permit.
When does the bar close?
The bar must close no later than one-half hour before the scheduled end of your reception.
What happens if one of my guests has too much to drink?
The bartender(s) will cut off inebriated guests.
What happens if one of my guests forgets her/his ID?
According to Maryland law, only people who are 21 or older may be served alcohol. If a guest’s age is not clearly older than 21, he or she must provide identification as established by Maryland law. Adults are not allowed to take alcoholic drinks and give them to underage guests.
How many bathrooms are there?
8 – 2 in the basement, 2 on the first floor, 2 on the second floor and 2 on the third floor. One of the bathrooms on the first floor is handicapped accessible. If you indicate on the Detailed Event Sheet that you are expecting a handicapped guest, our staff will make sure this bathroom is available.
Can I take a bath at The Cloisters before I get dressed?
What is the role of my caterer?
In addition to preparing and serving your food and alcohol, your caterer is responsible for the set-up and break-down of all tables and chairs and for cleaning the house before departure. They will also be your go-to for additional rentals such as linens, specialty chairs and lighting (just to name a few). A good caterer will also manage the flow of your event.
Do I have to choose a caterer on your list?
What does The Cloisters’ staff do at my event?
First, they oversee the set-up to make sure you, your caterer and your decorator are abiding by Cloisters’ rules and regulations. Then, they help your guests to park. During the event they will float around, checking into safety issues, making sure the bathrooms are supplied and clean, and directing guests to the bathroom. Near the end of your event, they will make sure the bar closes down one-half hour before the scheduled end of your reception. After your event, they will oversee the caterer putting away the tables and chairs and cleaning up.
May I use rose petals inside for decorations?
Yes—but they must be white, pale pink, pale lavender, or pale yellow. (Dark colors stain the floor when guests step on them.) Let your caterer know you want to use petals, since they will be responsible for cleaning them up.
May I use candles?
Yes— you may use tea lights in votives or candles in hurricane globes. (If you use the latter you must put something under the candle to catch the wax). Candles placed in the fireplaces don’t need to be enclosed in glass, but they do need to have something underneath them to catch dripping wax. All candle flames must be at least an inch below the rim of the glass container.
May I use heaters on the patio?
Yes— you may use heaters in our outdoor areas, however all heaters must be rented through your caterer. This ensures they are inspected and will be safe for use.
May I use a runner?
No—we do not allow runners in the cloistered garden or amphitheater. The aisles are not completely flat surfaces and present a great risk of tripping. The Cloisters must maintain a safe a liability free property.
What can our guests do to wish us well on our way?
We prefer that you use Waste-Free Bird Food because it does not make a mess and does not harm wildlife. Alternatively, you may also use bubbles, rice, and pale-colored rose petals as long as you use them outside and as long as your caterer will sweep them up. Whatever you choose, please do not wrap it in little pieces of tulle – the discarded tulle gets stuck in the plants and is very hard to remove. Silly string and sparklers are not allowed, inside or out.
May I use strings of little white lights to decorate?
Yes, as long as you drape them or tie them up. They may be used outside, too, if they are the kind made for outdoor use. Don’t forget to take them with you at the end of the event.
Nails, tape, staples, glue, etc., may not be used in the hanging or placing of decorations.
See The Cloisters’ Rules and Regulations, attached as part of your contract, for all the regulations regarding decorating. We recommend monofilament fishing line for securely and invisibly tying up decorations.
May I drop some decorations / favors / other items off in advance?
Contact us. Depending on what the items are, we should be able to accommodate you. However, we claim no responsibility for any items left. No area can be locked when the building is open, so we strongly urge you not to leave anything of value.
What equipment do you have?
The following is available at no extra cost:
- 200 white wooden chairs
- four 48” round tables
- five 8’ and six 6’ rectangular tables
- fifteen 60” round tables (seat 8-10)
- four 48” round table
- ten 36” cocktail elbow tables
- 3 coat racks (50 coats each)
Do I have to use your equipment?
No, you don’t. However, you need to let us know what you will be renting, when it will be delivered, and when it will be picked up (unless the caterer is bringing it in and taking it out with them.) Depending on when other events are scheduled and the size of your items, you may not be able to have anything dropped off before your set-up time and it may have to be removed at the conclusion of your reception. (That could mean you have to pay for a Saturday night pickup, or a Sunday delivery, for example.)
When are you in the office?
Generally, office hours are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00am until 4:00pm; however, office staff is often here at other times. If you would like to stop by to tour the house or drop off paper work outside of those hours, please call ahead to let us know.
When can I visit?
Open houses are the best time to visit, since staff members will be available to give you a tour and answer your questions. You may also visit during the office hours outlined above, but you should call ahead to make sure there are no events scheduled. Visits are never allowed during private events.
What insurance do I need?
A one-day commercial general liability insurance certificate with a $1 million limit, naming The Cloisters, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, and the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore as additional insured. (This is separate from the insurance the caterer must provide.) This is insurance to cover you.
Do I need to send you proof of my insurance?
Yes—have your insurance company mail a copy to us at 10440 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD 21093. (Please note that our zip code has recently changed. This is the correct one.)
How do I get insurance through the City’s Tenant User Policy?
At least one month before your event, send us a check (payable to the Director of Finance) for $60, if you are expecting less than 100 guests, or $100, if you are expecting 100 or more.
Where are you located?
Lutherville in Baltimore County, Maryland.
What is your address?
Our address is The Cloisters, 10440 Falls Road, Lutherville, Maryland 21093.
Where do I get my marriage license?
The Bureau of Licensing is in the Baltimore County Courthouse in Towson. Call 410-887-2607 for more information.
How do I pay you?
- By check made out to The Cloisters. Please make sure to write the date of your event on your check. (Please note that there is a $30 fee on all returned checks)
- By American Express, Discover, Visa or MasterCard.
When is my final payment due?
Six weeks before your event.
What do I do if my payment is late?
First, call and let us know. If it is your final payment, it will have to be made with a certified check, money order, or credit card. We cannot accept cash.
What are your rates?
Since our rates are subject to change and vary depending on the day of the week, month of the year, etcetera, we ask that you call our office for up-to-date pricing and availability.
When can I book my rehearsal?
Rehearsals will be booked 2-3 months before the event. The exact time of the rehearsal will be determined based on your schedule and on our event schedule.
Who does my set-up and what are my options?
The caterer does the set-up, so you will plan the event layout with them. Here are some recommendations on the maximum number of seats / tables for the gallery, living room, and courtyard:
- For a ceremony in the gallery, 75 chairs can be set up in the lower part of the room and 25 chairs can be set-up, at an angle, on the stage.
- For seated dining inside, six or seven tables of ten fit in the lower part of the gallery and three can fit on the stage. Six tables of ten fit in the living room.
- For a ceremony in the courtyard, seating can be arranged for 150.
- For seated dining in the courtyard, twelve tables can be set up.
- For a ceremony in the amphitheater, up to 150 guests can be seated.
- To accommodate more guests at a ceremony in the courtyard or gallery, the seating can be reduced to allow standing room at the back.
What does the ten hours in my contract include?
The ten hours include:
- an hour-long rehearsal;
- three hours for set-up;
- five hours for the ceremony (if any) and reception; and
- one hour for the caterer to clean up and for the renter, caterer, and any other vendors to remove their property, equipment, decorations, etc., and to depart. (Please note that hours may not be taken from set-up and added to the reception or ceremony.)
What do I do if I want my reception to be longer than five hours?
We charge $1000 per hour (or part of an hour) to extend your reception and $300 per hour (or part of an hour) to extend your set-up time. Please let us know at least a month in advance if you would like to extend your event, so that we may adjust our staff’s schedule to accommodate you.
What time does my event have to end?
All events must end by 11:00pm, which means guests must leave then so the caterer and other vendors can clean up and depart by midnight. If you want to extend your event beyond 11:00pm, it costs $1,000 per hour or part of an hour. You must make arrangements with us to do so at least one month in advance.
Do I have to have my event in the evening?
No. Your event may begin as early as 10:00am (set-up would begin at 7:00am).
Do you have any recommendations I should keep in mind when I schedule my event?
? If you are planning an evening event Monday through Friday, don’t forget about rush hour. Consider starting your event either before 4:00 or after 6:30, so guests aren’t delayed in traffic. If you are considering extending your event beyond five hours or beyond 11:00pm, think about how you want your event to end. Particularly if you are having a wedding, most of the older guests will leave before the end, sometimes right after the cake is cut. If you want a large crowd there to wish you well as you depart, it is better to keep the reception shorter and / or end it earlier in the evening. Similarly, if you are having a Sunday through Thursday event, keep in mind that most of your guests probably have work the next day, so you may want to end your reception earlier.
May I just have my ceremony at The Cloisters and my reception at another location?
Ceremony only events can be scheduled Monday through Thursday or within 30 days of the date.
What do I do if it rains?
While many clients plan to hold part of their events outdoors in our beautiful gardens, sometimes bad weather forces them indoors. Luckily, The Cloisters castle is more than big enough to accommodate these last-minute emergencies. For example, you could move your wedding ceremony to the Gallery and then have the guests retire to the Living Room or even to one of the upstairs rooms for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while the caterer sets-up tables in the Gallery.
To be on the safe side, please speak to your caterer and The Cloisters’ staff in advance to draw up the contingency plan that works best for you. Also, bear in mind that while your rental fee includes exclusive use of all three floors of the castle, there is an additional fee if you choose to serve food on either of the upper floors.
What do I do if it is snowy or icy?
If the weather is going to be snowy or icy, contact us so we can discuss your options. If you choose to, you may reschedule to the first available date that works with your schedule. However, we do have an excellent snow-removal contractor, and, if you can get to The Cloisters, we will have the driveway, parking lots and front walkway cleared. And if the weather turns bad during your event, we will have the contractor clear the driveway before your guests leave.
If the state and county roads are not passable, you will need to postpone your event.
Do you have heat?
Yes—we have several large furnaces that will keep you warm!
Can I have a fire?
Yes, you can have a fire in any of the four fireplaces on the first floor as long as the temperature outside is below 40 degrees. (In warmer weather, the chimneys won’t draw the smoke out of the building properly.) Only Cloisters’ staff can build and tend the fires.
What’s it like in the summer?
We do not have air conditioning. However, the hill-top location, countless shady trees, and thick stone walls work to keep The Cloisters remarkably cool in hot weather. In addition, we have several large, industrial strength fans to keep you and your guests comfortable.
May I bring air conditioning for my event?
In the past we have not found the portable a/c units to be very effective, for a variety of reasons. If you want to try, feel free; some of the rental companies have them. If you want to do something more extensive than a couple small, portable units, you must have the a/c vendor meet with The Cloisters’ caretaker. An additional fee may be imposed as well as the possible need for a generator if extra power is required. For additional details, please check with The Cloisters’ staff to discuss this option further.
Is smoking allowed?
The Cloisters is a historic site owned by Baltimore City. As a result, we abide by the same laws that govern other city-owned properties. Therefore, there is absolutely no smoking inside the building. Outdoors, smoking is allowed under the portico to the east of the main entrance. We ask that you properly dispose of cigarette butts and cigar stubs in the receptacles provided. Smoking is prohibited elsewhere on the grounds.
If I am getting married in the courtyard, where should I make my entrance?
There are three options:
- the French doors leading from the Gallery to the garden;
- the door from the circular stairway to the bottom of the garden; and
- the kitchen door. If you choose to use the kitchen door, you would walk across the “terrace,” down the stairway on the outside of the building, and up through the garden. Please note that the “terrace” is actually the roof of the garage and it is covered with tarpaper. You may want your decorator or caterer to put down runners to protect your dress and shoes. Also, if you choose the latter option, make sure the caterer knows that you will be going through the kitchen.
Do we need to amplify our voices during the ceremony?
This is a decision for you, your officiant and your readers. If after consulting with them, you decide that you want amplification, talk to your band or disc jockey.
Is music allowed?
Amplified music is allowed outside, only during the ceremony. Music and dancing are only allowed inside.
Is it okay to have children at our event?
Certainly. If the children are young, consider setting up a babysitting room where they can play and rest. We have a television with a VCR (not a DVD player) the kids can use to watch videos that you or their parents provide. You are also welcome to bring toys, books, etc., to entertain the little ones. The children must be supervised by an adult or responsible teenager at all times.
Is there a full-length mirror?
Yes, there is one on the second floor in the room on your left when you walk up the stairs.
When do you need the details of our event?
This sheet allows us to double check your information; it also provides the staff with information that will help them to do their jobs on the night of your event. (For example, if you have a bus or a shuttle coming, they will park your guests differently.) Please mail or fax it to us at least two weeks before your wedding. We don’t need the precise number of guests you expect—just a rough estimate.
Do I need valet parking?
We have parking for 65 vehicles. If you expect more than 65 cars, please discuss options for shuttle service and / or valet parking with our general manager. You must contract with one of our parking vendors for valet or shuttle services. Your family and friends may not park your guests. To estimate how many parking spaces your event will require, keep in mind that family-oriented events (like weddings and bar mitzvahs) generally require less parking because 2 or 3 family members might ride together. On the other hand, business events generally require more parking because guests tend to drive alone. As a result, a wedding with 150 guests probably will not need special parking arrangements, while a business meeting with the same number of guests will.
Can I or one of my guests leave a car overnight?
If necessary, a car can be left overnight, but it must be picked up before the start of the next event. The Cloisters’ staff can tell you when that is. Bear in mind, that the gates are locked on weekends and evenings when we do not have an event scheduled. Should this unfortunately coincide with your event, we will happily schedule a two hour time block for pickup. The rate for this service is $100 and will need to be scheduled and paid for in advance.
How do I reach you?
10440 Falls Road
Lutherville, Maryland 21093
Toll Free: 1-888-330-9571
Contact: Annie Applegarth