Middleton Place in Charleston is more than a National Historic Landmark; it’s a piece of American heritage. Known for its award-winning gardens, incredible views of the Ashley River, ancient oak trees, and curated terraces, it is a one-of-a-kind venue for couples looking for a breathtaking garden venue. A Middleton Place wedding is one of grandeur, history, and sweeping romance. If an epic estate garden wedding is your vibe, you need to check it out!
Middleton Place has an extraordinary history dating back to the mid-1700s when Henry Middleton married his wife, Mary, whose dowry included the Middleton Place property. The Middletons were prominent patriots in South Carolina. In fact, Henry’s son, Arthur, was one of six South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776!
The estate grew as more buildings went up, and Henry’s grand gardens became a place of serenity and beauty. The Middleton gardens were so renowned that a famous French botanist brought Arthur the first Camellia Japonica to plant in America. While four were originally planted, one in each corner of the Parterre, one of the plants is still alive nearly 250 years later!
Over the centuries, Middleton Place has seen its fair share of history. In 1865, some of the estate was caught up and damaged in Confederate war sieges. Several years later, in 1885, the entire main house was destroyed by Charleston’s great earthquake. In 1916, a direct descendant of Henry Middleton, who worked with his wife to restore the gardens to their former glory, inherited Middleton Place. In 1941, they received the highest honor by the Garden Club of America.
Furthermore, in 1970, the focus of Middleton Place began shifting to become a place of education and appreciation. The Stableyards opened as a living outdoor museum of African American history and culture, a commitment to telling untold stories that prevail to this day. In 1972, Middleton Place received designation as a National Historic Landmark. In 1974, the South Flanker opened as a house museum. Nearly a decade later, The Inn at Middleton Place came to fruition. Soon after that, it received the highest award from the American Institute of Architects.
Today, Middleton Place hosts spectacular events and shares the history of the estate with guests but also tells the stories of all of the lives that contributed to the estate, including formerly enslaved people. This recognition and acknowledgment is a beautiful step forward in a history that hasn’t always been pretty and for which Middleton Place is consistently appreciated.
With its spectacular, award-winning grounds and historic buildings, Middleton Place offers an array of spaces for dynamic weddings.
Moreover, a few favorite ceremony sites include the Parterre and Butterfly Lakes, a lush garden setting with a paved terrace that overlooks two small bodies of water that resemble butterfly wings. This stunning outdoor space can accommodate over 400 guests, so you’ll hardly need to cut down your guest list! The Secret Gardens are two separate garden spaces, one lined with landscaped hedges and the other featuring four marble statues. This space is a rich, green area with room for up to 200 guests.
Middleton Oak is a majestic oak tree believed to be over 900 years old, nestled on the banks of the Ashley River. Your guests (up to 175) can take in views of the river and the adjacent Rose Garden for romantic vows. The Octagonal Garden features a flooded rice field as a backdrop. It comes to life with pansies and camellias in the winter and gorgeous azaleas in the spring and summer. This is another great site for larger weddings, with a capacity for up to 400 guests. These are only a portion of their available ceremony sites. Be sure to schedule a tour of the property to discuss all of the options!
Photo from Middleton Place
For your reception, you can celebrate in the gorgeous Pavilion, a modern space with room for up to 200 guests (though more if you add tents.) This indoor space is warm and neutral, with contemporary light fixtures and broad windows overlooking the gardens. Or, the Lake House at the Inn at Middleton Place offers space for up to 250, with a more fine dining aesthetic overlooking woodlands and a pond. Additionally, smaller weddings of up to 32 guests will love the Cypress Room and Courtyard, an intimate space for unique weddings that feel more like a chic dinner party. The adjoining courtyard is perfect for a beautiful cocktail hour, too.
The photo opportunities at Middleton Place are truly endless. The spectacular grounds offer so many unique backdrops for incredible photos it’s hard to narrow down spots to fit within your wedding day time frame! From the breathtaking gardens to the beautiful waterfront views, your wedding photos will look timeless and effortlessly beautiful. We’ll also take photos beneath ancient trees with boughs wrapped in Spanish moss. Fountains, sundials, and other beautiful features are lovely touches in portraits. At Golden Hour, everything on the property comes to life with a romantic glow. We’ll definitely use this to our advantage.
Big, elegant weddings are Middleton Place’s specialty, and they have everything you could need for an extraordinary wedding day. Be sure to reach out to their events team for all of the juicy details about what would come in your wedding package!
Another great option for couples who fall in love with Middleton Place is the idea of a full wedding weekend. Take advantage of everything the property has to offer by inviting your guests to stay in one of the 54 guest rooms in the adjacent Inn at Middleton Place. Everyone can enjoy activities like kayaking on the Ashley River, romantic picnic lunches, and any additional events you’d like to host. It’s a great way to use your wedding as an excuse for a true destination getaway!!
A Middleton Place wedding is a truly magical event. Surrounded by history, award-winning gardens, and the beautiful Ashley River, your wedding day will be unforgettable.
If you’re looking for the right photographer to help you take advantage of every photo op this venue offers, I would love to help! As an experienced South Carolina wedding photographer, I’ll help bring your wedding day to life through photos you’ll be able to treasure forever. Reach out to me about your wedding here!