National travel magazines have recently applauded what locals always knew: this city is a true gem. With its mix of picturesque scenery, urban energy, and classic style, Charleston is a fabulous wedding destination with more than just a weekend's worth of things to see and do.
Food culture in Charleston is everywhere, and we are all luckier for it. Nationally regarded chefs are churning out some of the most exciting dishes in the country, yet a focus on local producers and Lowcountry cuisine can still be felt in even the hippest joints. Regional favorites like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup never fail to disappoint.
Charleston has just about every kind of setting you could dream of, so if you’re unsure about your ideal locale, rest assured that this city’s options are plentiful. Antebellum grandeur, gentle beaches, live oaks swathed in dreamy Spanish moss, and the classic architecture of downtown cobblestones combine for picture-perfect viewpoints everywhere you look.
The ceremony is the cornerstone of the entire day, so don’t leave it to chance. Work with Charleston wedding officiants to create a truly bespoke service, and enlist the talent of local ceremony musicians to perform songs that mean something to your love story. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get creative with this most personal and significant moment.
The ceremony is over...let's get down to some serious partying. No matter which local wedding venue you choose as the setting for your day, your guests will be buzzing with anticipation to enter your reception. Wow them with stunning floral decor, impressive sound and lighting design, and incredible catering to take your wedding from memorable to unforgettable.
The city is your oyster when it comes to planning a fabulous rehearsal dinner. Choose from some of the finest restaurants downtown that offer a private space or work with your venue to host a farm-to-table outdoor soirée with your nearest and dearest. The evening will be filled with lots of love, no doubt.
Thank your loved ones for making it to your big day by sending them off after a sweet and intimate post-wedding brunch. Rent out a private room at one of the fabulous restaurants downtown (we love McCrady’s!) or use your caterer’s services once again for a southern brunch with all the fixin’s. And don’t forget the mimosas!
High Cotton is known for Lowcountry cooking and true southern hospitality. Book a private dining room for a brunch of up to 30 people and see what it’s all about! Try the doughnut holes with bacon peach bourbon glaze.www.highcotton.com
Cannon Green is a truly exceptional event space with delicious Mediterranean food. Their sophisticated style and willingness to work with groups of any size make this a great way to wrap up your wedding weekend.www.cannongreencharleston.com
The Mills House Hotel in downtown Charleston offers brunch in the Barbadoes Room. Their food offerings range from standard egg dishes to southern specialties like shrimp and grits.www.millshouse.com
Locally inspired wedding favors are some of our favorite aspects of Charleston weddings because you can get so creative with them. For inspiration, check out some of our favorite ideas. From palmetto roses to sweet treats from local confectioners, your guests will be delighted with their Chucktown favor.
It’s basically a fact that everyone can find something to love in Charleston. Beach lovers will enjoy simply relaxing on one of our many amazing beaches or kicking it up a bit with a surf lesson. City dwellers will enjoy the incredible shopping along King Street while foodies will enjoy tasting the incredible Lowcountry cuisine featured in so many of our restaurants. As for those who love architecture, don’t even get us started, but definitely book an architectural tour. Check out the local Visitors Bureau for even more great ideas.
Downtown and overlooking Charleston Harbor you’ll find the South Carolina Aquarium. Discover native South Carolina marine life, from sharks to turtles and, of course, alligators, and enjoy the daily shows and interactive exhibits. Perfect for people of all ages.www.scaquarium.org
The Angel Oak is a majestic live oak estimated to be 1,500 years old. The tree is 65 feet tall, offers 17,000 square feet of shade for you to revel in, and is one of the main icons of Charleston. Plus, there’s no admission fee!www.angeloaktree.org
Better known as Battery Park, White Park Garden is a must-see in downtown Charleston. Offering incredible views of Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter, and of course the stunning southern-style mansions, the cannon-laden park is yet another Charleston icon.www.charlestonparksconservancy.org
Experience where English settlers established the first Carolina colony. They have a replica 17th-century ship, working cannons, and a museum — and that's only a few of their treasures! There is so much to see and do at Charles Towne Landing.www.southcarolinaparks.com
Open every Saturday from April to December in Marion Square, the Charleston Farmers Market is one of the very best in the country and a must do on Saturday mornings.www.charlestonfarmersmarket.com
You haven’t visited Charleston if you haven’t been to one of the beaches! Sullivan’s Island is the closest beach to Charleston and is also regarded as the most natural. It's a great spot for those who want to avoid crowds.www.sullivansisland-sc.com
In the heart of downtown Charleston, the restored King Street offers dozens of fashionable boutiques and designer stores to take in during your stay in the Holy City. It’s actually been named one of the top 10 shopping districts in the U.S. by Forbes! Once your shopping spree is complete, relax at one of the many hotels, restaurants, and salons.www.charlestonsfinest.com
You can’t come to Charleston and not eat! From frogmore stew and shrimp and grits to delectable oysters, Lowcountry cuisine is something everyone must experience. Some of our favorite restaurants — Husk, Fig, Hominy Grill, High Cotton, we could go on and on — are just waiting to delight your palate. Find out what Southern Living says are the best restaurants in Charleston.
Don’t forget to give your guests suggestions for some great places to lie their heads after celebrating the night’s festivities. If you’re saying “I do” downtown, consider some of our favorite wedding accommodations like Zero George or the Belmond Charleston Place. For weddings on Folly Beach, tell guests about the homes available for rent with Avocet Properties. And like any good southern town, we’ve got plenty of adorable bed & breakfasts to check out.
The Battery, the beaches, historic homes and plantations… There are so many locations for gorgeous engagement photos in Charleston. We checked in with a few of our favorite local wedding photographers to find out their favorite engagement photo locations in Charleston. Make sure you give it a read before your own session arrives.
Where would we be without the immensely talented pool of Charleston wedding vendors? Their passion for planning, commitment to their couples, and incredible ingenuity is what makes the local wedding scene as remarkable as it is, and it's the unique team behind every wedding working together that makes each event an affair to remember. Their combined experience and expertise is second to none, and we want you to benefit from it while assembling your dream team of vendors. Check out our Spotlight Series for in-depth Q&As with the best of the best in the industry, and make sure to read the articles they've contributed to Borrowed & Blue for the most reliable wedding tips & tricks, straight from the source.
When selecting your wedding date, it’s super important to think of what events might be going on in Charleston during that time. Choosing a busy weekend can impact the total cost of your wedding, the availability of certain vendors and definitely guest accommodations, and can generally make planning lot more stressful than it needs to be. In the Holy City, consider the graduation dates at the College of Charleston & popular festivals that bring tourists to town, like the Wine+Food festival, Lowcountry Oyster Festival, and Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.
The world’s largest oyster festival, this event brings nearly 20,000 attendees to Chucktown.www.charlestonrestaurantassociation.com
Each winter, close to 40,000 visitors attend the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, which consists of outdoor demonstrations, cooking shows, and dog competitions.www.sewe.com
This four-day festival — filled with celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, and lots of samples — reaches over 22,000 in attendance.www.charlestonwineandfood.com
Over 7,500 fashion lovers travel to Charleston each March to see the latest designs walk the runway.www.charlestonfashionweek.com
One of the largest road races in the country, this 6.2-mile jaunt over the Cooper River bridge consistently caps at nearly 39,000 participants.www.bridgerun.com
Friends & family members of College of Charleston graduates travel to the city each May to attend the school’s annual commencement exercises.www.cofc.edu
More than 7,000 foodies travel to Boone Hall for three tasty days.www.southernliving.com
This ten-day Caribbean and African American art festival draws 52,000 attendees.www.mojafestival.com
When planning something as complex and significant as your wedding day, sometimes you just want friendly experts to step in and share some pearls of wisdom. Lucky for you, we know people (we’re sitting right here — wink wink). And we’ve got your back: insider tips, exhaustive research, and inspiring takes on all aspects of the planning process, compiled here specifically with your wedding location in mind. You’re just a few clicks away from wedding planning peace of mind...you’re welcome! (No thank-you note required.)
Check out some other useful local online resources to get you acquainted with all-things Charleston, from travel guides to the local restaurant scene to great local wedding blogs run by our friends in the industry: