November 14, 2019
So, you’re ready to start planning your wedding in the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina. You’ve got great taste. The sweeping moss draped over branches of oak trees, cobblestone roads and stunning architecture make Downtown Charleston a destination worthy of such an occasion.
As a wedding photographer in Charleston, I have picked up a thing or two about navigating potential challenges that can come up.
Your wedding is going to be one of the biggest events of your life, and I want your big day to go as smoothly as possible.
1. Accommodations: Where to stay?
Staying in one of the beautiful hotels in Downtown Charleston may be a great option if it’s within your budget. Proximity to your venue does have its perks.
However, keep in mind that just because you’re having a Downtown Charleston wedding, you don’t have to stay there. There are plenty of places to stay in the surrounding areas. For instance, I have seen clients rent a large beach house- or two, on the Isle of Palms or Folly Beach so that family and the bridal party could stay together.
2. Venue: One or two?
Choosing your venue is usually at the top of the To-Do list when it comes to planning your Downtown Charleston wedding. And Charleston really does have it all, so it’s a tough choice to make!
Often, couples have their ceremony in one location and their reception at another. Many times it is because a single location can’t accommodate both. For example, most historic churches will only allow ceremonies.
How about a ceremony at St. Luke’s Chapel and a reception in an old cigar factory along the marsh? Or maybe a ceremony at White Point Gardens and make waves with a reception at the Charleston Aquarium? Charleston doesn’t lack options, that’s for sure.
No matter where you choose to hold your wedding, here are a few things to consider:
Are you responsible for the rental of tables and chairs, or do they come with the package at your location? If they are included, will you have to move tables and chairs from the ceremony area to the reception area? (Hint: appoint a crew to help you with this in advance if that’s the case!)
Having a ceremony and reception in different locations is a great way to allow your guests to experience more of Charleston. Usually, the drive time Downtown between most venues is 15 minutes or less. Bus rentals or party van rentals can make things run like clockwork.
Take into account guest parking when choosing your venue. For instance, Charleston does have plenty of parking garages, but very little on-street parking.
Find out from potential ceremony venues if the location offers a bridal suite and how large it is. Many churches and halls have small rooms that a bridal party can use. If you are having an outdoor ceremony at a park, you’ll want to consider arriving ceremony-ready.
3. Photos: Scenic Downtown
Downtown Charleston is just plain gorgeous, so you may want to get photos with your bridal party to showcase your surroundings.
Truthfully, the best way to pull this off is to rent a party bus, van or get a readily available SUV Uber.
Imagine the fiasco of getting fifteen people to drive themselves from point A to point B. Then, finding parking on a bustling Saturday evening in Downtown Charleston. No bueno.
On the other hand, you may not need to travel at all to get amazing shots. Many reception venues are beautiful indoors and may feature exclusive outdoor views of the harbor.
4. Noise Ordinance
Charleston has a noise ordinance that says wedding events must end by 11:00 pm.
(I know, party poopers.) If you want your wedding celebration to continue past 11:00 pm, look into hiring Earl Newell. He is a talented wedding DJ who owns QuietKingz DJ. Keeping things quiet and within good standing of the ordinance is his specialty.
I hope this post gets you excited to plan a Downtown Charleston wedding, and that it was a helpful resource to you! Please reach out if you have any questions about anything I’ve covered here.