Wedding Planning Resources

The 2023 Ultimate Guide to Planning Weddings in Charleston!

Bride and groom portraits in Charleston SC

There’s no doubt that Charleston is a romantic city. In fact, it’s been named among “America’s Most Romantic Cities” by Travel + Leisure and one of the “World’s Most Romantic Cities” by Food & Wine. Its rich Southern history, a culture of charm and hospitality, and gorgeous architecture and natural beauty all make it an exquisite choice for a romantic wedding that is as breathtaking as it is unforgettable. Considering getting married in Charleston? I’ve put together some important tips and tricks for you about weddings in Charleston that I hope will make your decision a little easier! 

The Ultimate Guide for Planning Your Wedding in Charleston

How Much Do Charleston Weddings Cost?

As with weddings pretty much anywhere else, you can totally customize your wedding to suit the needs of your budget. If you plan something smaller, like an elopement or a micro wedding, it will be much easier to keep your costs down (although if you are planning a lavish and extravagant micro wedding, you do you!). However, if your dream wedding is a more grand affair, the cost will increase. 

Basically, the cost of a Charleston wedding depends on your venue, the number of guests attending, catering, decor, and other personal preferences. Discuss your budget with your partner before diving into your research, lest you fall in love with something way out of your price range and have your heart torn to pieces. It’s absolutely possible to have a wedding with all of the Charleston charm on whatever budget you have in mind!

lowndes grove charleston sc

Charleston Wedding Venues

There are so many venue options for a magnificent Charleston wedding, all of which can accommodate varying guest lists, aesthetic styles, and needs and desires. I’ve compiled a few recommendations to check out and see if they align with your vision!

Middleton Place: Nestled along the Ashley River, Middleton Place boasts beautifully manicured gardens, historic buildings, and scenic vistas. The venue offers various options for ceremonies and receptions, including the iconic Octagonal Garden, the Butterfly Lakes, and the elegant Middleton Place Pavilion.

The William Aiken House: Located in the heart of downtown Charleston, The William Aiken House is a historic mansion that exudes timeless sophistication. Its well-preserved architecture, lush gardens, and spacious courtyard create an elegant setting for a classic Charleston wedding.

Lowndes Grove: Situated on the banks of the Ashley River, Lowndes Grove showcases a stunning waterfront view and expansive grounds. The venue combines Southern charm with modern amenities, offering both indoor and outdoor spaces for ceremonies and receptions.

The Gadsden House: This historic mansion in downtown Charleston features elegant architecture, charming courtyards, and beautiful indoor spaces. With its grand staircase, ornate details, and intimate garden, The Gadsden House provides a luxurious and intimate setting for a memorable wedding celebration.

Gibbes Museum of Art: A wedding at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston perfectly blends art and romance. Amidst the backdrop of exquisite artwork and elegant galleries, couples exchange vows in a sophisticated and culturally rich setting, creating a unique and memorable experience for themselves and their guests.

Obtaining a Charleston Marriage License

Charleston County Probate Court actually makes getting your marriage license pretty straightforward; all you have to do is apply online! You’ll need to upload your required documents (a valid photo ID and an official document containing your social security number) and pay the non-refundable $70 fee. Then two business days after you’ve submitted your application, you’ll get your marriage license emailed right to you! 

Getting Around Charleston

Charleston is a very accessible city, so you and your guests should have a pretty easy time navigating while you’re here! The downtown area of Charleston is very pedestrian-friendly, with plenty of sidewalks and crosswalks. So it’s totally walkable if you choose to get married downtown and recommend your guests stay nearby! It’s also a beautiful city to bike around, and you can rent bicycles from local bike shops to see the city on two wheels. Of course, it’s also very accessible for cars, but be mindful of peak traffic hours – you don’t want to be late for your own wedding (or anyone else’s!)

Accommodations for Guests Attending Your Wedding in Charleston

Charleston’s beauty makes it super popular with tourists, so there are plenty of accommodations of all shapes and sizes to provide your guests from out of town home away from home. I’d recommend choosing your venue first and then suggesting a spot or two that is convenient for your guests to stay, as many of them may not have cars with them.

Plenty of hotels in Charleston cater to different budgets and preferences. The city offers a mix of luxurious hotels with historic charm, cozy bed and breakfasts, and boutique inns. The Historic District, aka Downtown Charleston, is a popular area to stay in due to its proximity to restaurants, great shipping, and other attractions. The Vendue, The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, and The Francis Marion Hotel are all great choices! 

Of course, you can find more affordable options a little further out of downtown, which may be better options for guests on a budget. Regardless of where you choose to have your guests stay, Charleston’s warm hospitality and Southern charm will make your visit comfortable and memorable! 

Things to Do in Charleston

Charleston is a vibrant city that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. There is so much rich history throughout the area, and you can fully immerse yourself in the city’s rich past by exploring the Historic District, where you can take a stroll along the iconic Battery promenade. Additionally, you can visit historic homes like the Aiken-Rhett House or the Nathaniel Russell House or take a leisurely horse-drawn carriage tour. You can also explore picturesque plantations like Boone Hall Plantation or Magnolia Plantation to admire their beautiful gardens and learn about Southern heritage. 

Art enthusiasts will love a trip to the Gibbes Museum of Art, which showcases an expansive collection of American art, and the Charleston City Market is a fantastic spot for shopping for unique crafts, gifts, and souvenirs. 

There are also so many great restaurants that celebrate Lowcountry cuisine with renowned local dishes like shrimp and grits or she-crab soup. Charleston truly offers something for everyone, combining charm, history, culture, and natural beauty!

Hiring a Charleston Wedding Photographer

You can plan the most exquisite weddings in Charleston with every detail meticulously selected and executed. But eventually, the cake plates will be cleared, and your guests will return home. However, you’ll always be able to revisit the magic of your perfect wedding day with elegant photos that preserve every moment of your event. It is an honor and a privilege to help couples create a time capsule of their wedding that will live forever and keep you connected to the most incredible day of your life for as long as you both shall live. 

My style is photojournalistic, with an emphasis on capturing authentic, romantic moments throughout the entirety of your wedding day. If you like what you see, please reach out so we can start a conversation about how we’ll capture the magic of your Charleston wedding! 

Weddings in Charleston

I hope all this information has helped persuade you that Charleston is a fabulous place for an unforgettable wedding. If you have any other questions about weddings in Charleston, please feel free to reach out and let me know! I’m happy to help!

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