Charleston is a city steeped in history, romance, and Southern charm. It’s no wonder so many people choose to host their weddings in this beautiful place, whether local or simply visiting! There are some pretty incredible venues to choose from when throwing a Charleston wedding. If you’re looking for a space with beautiful history, contemporary elegance, and plenty of aesthetic flexibility, then a Merchants Hall wedding venue could be the perfect choice.
Like much of Charleston, Merchants Hall has a long, storied history. Two German immigrant brothers purchased the property back in 1856 and built what is still the current building. They used this space and several others around the city to open a series of bakeries and sidewalk markets. This particular location was once a steam bakery, which used steam ovens to create delicious bread with a thick, crispy crust.
Over the years, the neighborhood vibes shifted, and many of the nearby buildings – and this particular building itself – became night clubs. After sitting empty for quite some time, its current owners discovered the beautiful space and saw its true potential. After two years of careful and loving restoration and renovation, Merchants Hall opened in April 2018. Since then, it has hosted some of Charleston’s most beautiful weddings. Southern Living has even recognized it as one of the Best Wedding Venues in Charleston.
Merchants Hall has mastered the art of balancing new and old, rustic and contemporary. Whatever your signature wedding aesthetic, it will look perfect in this beautiful venue.
First things first: Merchants Hall is one large primary space where you can host up to 150 guests for a seated dinner. It can be a little challenging to host both a ceremony and a reception in the same space. It’s never impossible, however! They invite your wedding planner to help brainstorm ways to reinterpret the space to accommodate both a ceremony and a reception.
Typically, if a couple uses the space for both, they choose one of three options. They can set up their reception and have guests seated at their tables during the ceremony or hire a drapery company to divide the space into two with dramatic draped fabric. An events team can also always flip the space while you and your guests enjoy happy hour at a nearby bar or restaurant. It’s not that it can’t be done – it just takes a little extra imagination to figure out what works best for your dream wedding.
If flipping the space or using one room for both your ceremony and reception is not your ideal, no worries. Plenty of beautiful churches and other spaces can host a gorgeous ceremony, followed by a beautiful reception at Merchants Hall (or the other way around, too!)
Upon arriving at Merchants Hall, your guests will enter through a downstairs foyer with stairs and an elevator. The foyer is a lovely first taste of the venue’s ambiance and beauty. You can decorate with your personal signage, photos, table numbers, and more. Whatever you want your guests’ first impression of your wedding, it begins in the foyer.
After ascending to the second floor, your guests will enter the main gathering room. This room is absolutely gorgeous, with walls of exposed weathered brick original to the building. Big windows line the walls, letting in natural light framed by intricate arched brickwork. If the light gets too bright, use the Roman shades on the windows to create a more moody ambiance. One of the space’s best features is its signature crystal chandeliers that transform the room into a more formal and elegant event space.
With its beautiful brick walls and crystal chandeliers, Merchants Hall can be transformed into whatever you envisioned for your dream wedding. Wrap the room’s columns in refreshing greenery for a more lively look, or bring stylish lounge furniture for a luxurious yet casual feel. Whether you imagine bright pops of bold color or a neutral color palette, it will all look gorgeous at Merchants Hall.
Also, a bonus! Merchants Hall is home to a bridal/host’s suite at your disposal throughout the night. Whether you use it for last-minute touch-ups or just to take a break throughout your event, it is there for you to use. It’s not the largest, so I wouldn’t plan to use it as your sole getting-ready space if you have a larger wedding party, but it comes in handy when you need to rest your dancing feet or touch up your lipstick.
When it comes to photography, Merchants Hall’s event space provides opportunities for some lovely, bright portraits – especially before your guests arrive. I love taking photos in your decorated space pre-wedding because it allows us to take advantage of the unique wedding decor you have spent so long bringing together.
However, if you’re dreaming of outdoor photos, there really isn’t any space in the direct vicinity of Merchants Hall that is ideal for pictures. However, we’re in downtown Charleston, and beautiful historic buildings, lush parks, and even waterfront views are all within a few blocks. The Chalmers Street/Church Street area isn’t far at all and can be perfect for beautiful Charleston-esque photos.
Merchant’s Hall makes it easy to host a beautiful wedding with everything you need to satisfy your guests’ needs – and your own!
They’ll provide you with gold Chiavari chairs, round tables, and buffet tables as needed. Your guests will be served beverages from two custom-built bar carts that can move around the space to accommodate your floor plan. Should you decide to use it, you can take advantage of their stage and AV equipment, perfect for toasts and sentimental slideshows.
Something to note is that to host your wedding at Merchants Hall, you’ll need to use a professional event planner or day-of coordinator. If you’ve been on the fence about hiring one, I promise you this is a blessing in disguise!! You’ll be so grateful to have someone else looking out for all the details and communication on your wedding day so you can enjoy each present moment as it comes.
Photo from Merchants Hall
A Merchants Hall wedding is a beautiful event with inherent historical Charleston flair and beauty. It would be my pleasure to photograph your wedding day, and I promise you that we’ll find plenty of ways to fill a wedding album with stunning portraits that you’ll treasure for the rest of your lives.
As an experienced Charleston wedding photographer, I know how to capture the best of every wedding. Reach out so we can see if your wedding date is available!