Charleston Wedding Guide

wedding decor by Charleston

Charleston Wedding Guide
for an Unforgettable Event

Have you ever wanted to stroll hand-in-hand down a cobblestone road with the love of your life? Would you like to admire street after street of pastel antebellum homes warmly lit by a magenta sunset? Or do you want to lose yourself among the wild, swooping arms of moss-covered angel oaks? Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the most scenic cities in the United States, with an air of romance to match the most intimate of weddings.

If you and your partner are looking for the ultimate wedding location, Charleston has it all. From the vibrant city and the pearlescent beaches to the verdant plantations surrounding Charleston, you have many venue options to select the most beautiful and perfect for you. 

To help make your planning as easy as possible, we’ll go over many details to help you plan your dream wedding.

Planning When to Get Married in Charleston

Picking the right date for your wedding is crucial. The season will determine which venues are available, whether you should host an indoor or outdoor event, what food and refreshments you will want, and more. While spring and fall are the most popular wedding seasons in Charleston, the city and surrounding areas are beautiful year round for a wedding celebration!

Rember: If you’re envisioning a romantic Charleston beach wedding, be sure to check the tide schedules to time your ceremony perfectly with the water and waves.

Spring Weddings in Charleston

Spring is a wonderful time to book your wedding. With generally mild temperatures and lower rainfall, as well as all the magical outdoor venues that can make your wedding unforgettable, spring competes with fall for the best all-around season. 

Average temperatures start at 66°F in March, building to a lovely 79°F in late May. Rainfall is lower in the spring, with March averaging at the highest with 3.6 inches of rain and April at the lowest with 2.6 inches of rain.

Spring is a little more complicated with daylight savings time. In early March, you’ll have to enjoy the daytime between approximately 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Once daylight savings time kicks in, the days will stretch until around 8:20 p.m. by the end of May. 

You can expect the most daylight hours in the summer, with daylight generally falling between a quarter after 6 a.m. and a quarter before 9 p.m.

With Spring easily being one of the most popular times for weddings, you will want to secure a spot at your must-have venue quickly. If your heart is set on a spring wedding, start booking your event as soon as possible, so you have multiple options for your celebration and can secure the venue and vendors of your dreams!

Summer Weddings in Charleston

Summers in Charleston bring the heat, with high temperatures and high humidity to consider. July brings the highest temperatures of the season, averaging at 88°F per day. June and August aren’t very far behind, averaging at 85°F and 87°F, respectively. Thankfully, the nearby beaches breathe fresh, cool ocean air to help you relax. 

The chance of rain is also highest during the summer, with August averaging as much as 6.8 inches of rain. Thunderstorms are known to roll by in the afternoons, so bring an umbrella.

Generally, summer is less crowded than other seasons, largely due to fewer major holidays. There is a notable exception on July 4th, when you are certain to be sharing the streets with visitors.

Despite the warmth of summer, this season offers an excellent variety of venues to select from, including waterfront estates, resorts, yachts, and more.

Fall Weddings in Charleston

Just as with spring, you’ll be quick to discover that fall is a hectic time for weddings, and for a good reason. Fall is slightly warmer than the spring in Charleston, with temperatures averaging at 83°F in September, cooling down to 67°F by November. The changing leaves capture that perfectly nostalgic shade of ochre, and in mid-November, you can be dazzled by the James Island County Park Festival of Lights. 

In fall, daylight hours start to wind down. At the beginning of September, you can expect daylight to last until around 7:40 p.m. By the end of September, you’ll have until about 7 p.m. And by the end of October, you’ll have until about 6:30 p.m. Then, for most of November, you’ll have light until a quarter after 5 p.m.

Winter Weddings in Charleston

Winters in Charleston are hardly frigid, with the lowest average temperature coming in at 57°F in January. Rainfall is slight and infrequent, and snowfall is unlikely. In winter, daylight will last until around 5 p.m. at the beginning of December and until 6:40 p.m. at the end of February. 

Outside of a few major holidays, winter is Charleston’s quietest season. You’re not likely to be dealing with crowds, and hotel rates won’t be nearly as high as they are in the spring.

Charleston Wedding Venue Ideas

The proper wedding venue does more than offer a romantic backdrop. It can set the right tone and mood for your special day. Thankfully, Charleston, SC, has many extraordinary venues to choose from. 

Beach Venues in Charleston

The beach is a classic and beautiful location for any wedding. The refreshing ocean breeze will cool you and your guests, and you’ll be framed by the sparkling waves of the Atlantic. No doubt, you’ll be going home with stunning photography.

  • Kiawah Island is home to a world-class resort and a delightful shopping village.
  • You’ll find a lovely beachfront option at Folly Beach’s Pelican Watch Pavilion.
  • Sullivan’s Island offers a swath of exciting water sports, including kayaking, sailing, and kiteboarding.
  • The Isle of Palms is alive with music and the beating drum of volleyball.
  • Lastly, Seabrook Island offers a private beachfront community, perfect for unwinding.

Historic Charleston Buildings

Charleston is home to a variety of historic buildings that now serve as iconic wedding venues. Not only can your wedding build upon a historical past, but you can also enjoy styles of architecture you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. From the stunning Governor Thomas Bennett House to the charming brick walls and antique chandeliers in Merchant’s Hall in the City Market, you find your little slice of perfection to host your wedding.

Charleston Plantations and Parks

For a more rustic look, you might want to consider a plantation or park for your Charleston wedding. The Legare Waring House offers views of lagoons, gardens, and mossed-over oaks. The Boone Hall Plantation stands tall among a tidal marsh. Or, you can meander the tucked away paths and bridges of Cypress Gardens for a magical night.

Private Homes in Charleston

If you’re interested in a more intimate setting, or you’d love to have a small wedding while still enjoying a glorious locale, you can book a private home for your wedding. There are many places to choose from, including the Edmonston-Alston House with its private piazza or The Island House overlooking the Stono River.

Charleston Event Spaces

There are upwards of 80 event spaces to choose from in Charleston. These can range from lodges to mansions, with capacities to match. Each event space has its own style and pricing. If you’re considering an event space, you’ll want to decide based on the size of your budget, the length of your guest list, and the style that warms your heart.

Other Unique Venues in Charleston

One of the most popular wedding venues in Charleston includes the South Carolina Aquarium. You will be surrounded by aquamarine life, and you can expect some of the most stunning photography to remember your wedding. Alternatively, you could take your wedding on a cruise, embarking on an ambient and romantic event.

Legal Considerations & Marriage License Info

You’re going to need a marriage license issued by the state of South Carolina. Thankfully, this is very easy, and you can even get it done online. A marriage license will cost $70, and there’s a 24-hour waiting period after applying. Once you’ve secured your marriage license, bring an ordained minister or notary to perform the ceremony and sign your documents. After that, all you need to do is return your documents to the Probate Court.

Depending on the venue you select, there may be a few more legal considerations. If you’re planning on having your wedding at a park or beach, make sure to get any permits required to do so. You won’t need to worry about this if you select a more traditional venue. 

Marriage License COVID-19 Updates

When applying for a marriage license in Charleston, it’s important to keep COVID-19 in mind. Currently, access to the Probate Court is limited.

While the offices are closed to the public, you can still access the Probate Court via phone, email, regular mail, courier, dropbox, and video conferencing. Filings and payments will be accepted by mail, email, or dropbox, between the hours of 8:30 a.m and 5 p.m. Marriage license applications can be submitted online by following this link.

Housing for the Bridal Party

The bridal party is going to need comfortable and relaxing accommodations to get the most of the event. Of course, you could select from one of the many hotels around Charleston, like the Charleston Place Hotel or Hotel Emeline. You can also rent a private residence.

Lodging Suggestions for Guests

There are many places for your guests to stay the night around Charleston, but the best will be in the heart of the city. Not only will your guests be close to the venue you select, but they’ll also have a wide variety of activities available to them before and after your event.

Hotel Recommendations

Charleston is home to a wealth of high-class hotels that provide singularly opulent experiences for their guests. While preparing for your special day, select a hotel in the Charleston area that resonates with you. No matter which you pick, you will have the whole of Charleston to explore and a lavish room to return to at the end of the night.

Activities for Your Guests to Enjoy

Outside of weddings, Charleston is a magnet for tourists. Not just for its singular beauty but its stories as well. In downtown Charleston, your guests can admire the unique architecture and colors on every street.

Throughout the year, guests can buy tickets to walking, bus, or harbor tours with Gray Line that give a detailed history of Charleston and what makes it so special. For guests who want a little more excitement, they can sign up for a haunted carriage ride. There are also plenty of galleries, like the Gibbes Museum of Art or the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. For guests that like a bit more adventure, in the summer, fall, and spring there are plenty of golf courses and outdoor sports to visit. There are also cruise tours, including Spiritline Cruises and Charleston Harbor Tours.

Adding a Little Bit of Charleston to Your Wedding

Charleston is a city with a culture all its own, and you would be remiss not to incorporate a little bit of what it has to offer. Consider giving out party gifts or decorating using South Carolina’s native flower, the Yellow Jessamine or a sweetgrass basket. You could also give out tiny bottles of sweet tea vodka as an homage to the city’s moonshine culture and bootlegger traditions from way back during prohibition.

Cost of weddings in Charleston

While every wedding in Charleston is unique, it’s important to have a realistic budget for your special day. In 2019, the average wedding cost in the U.S. was $28,000 (not including the engagement ring). As you might imagine, couples in 2020 spent slightly less at $19,000 due to downsized ceremonies during COVID. 

In South Carolina, the cost of weddings averages at $30,600, though the exact cost depends on several factors. To start, your venue is typically the most expensive item (averaging $10,500 nationwide). So, if you select a waterfront or high-demand location, you may spend more. This is especially true during the peak summer wedding season. Finally, the number of guests can impact the cost of your wedding in Charleston, as catering is a big-ticket item. The national average of wedding catering is $70 per guest, depending on your menu and options selected.

Wedding Catering & Drinks

Charleston’s cuisine and drinks are as tantalizing as they are legendary. The best way to capture that elusive Charleston appeal is to present your guests with a custom wedding catering menu that pulls from the flavors of Charleston using locally and regionally sourced ingredients. 

Duvall Catering & Events can help you create a unique menu that will elevate your wedding to a flavorful slice of paradise. With your sales manager and catering chef, you can dive into local cuisine and drinks to experience something you can’t find anywhere else. Here are a few of the iconic flavors you can expect from Charleston.

Wedding Decor

Charleston is known for its coastal beauty, pastel buildings, and old-world charm. All around the city, you will be struck by the vivid but cool colors of blue, turquoise, green, and coral, highlighting the silhouettes of every structure. To make your wedding truly special, we can incorporate the bold themes of Charleston into the decor of your chosen venue.

Bringing the Outside Inside

Charleston is famed for its colorful buildings, capturing the majestic spray of the North Atlantic. Make your wedding a glorious, chromatic affair, dressed in the pastels of Charleston. With some natural touches, greenery, and stunning floral arrangements, your wedding and wedding decor will be unforgettable. 

Natural Beauty

Charleston is home to sprawling angel oaks and the breezy mystique of Spanish moss. Bring your wedding outdoors to some of the most romantic and magical hideaways that only Charleston can provide. 

Wedding Vendors

Now that your heart is set on Charleston for your big day, it’s time to start sketching out your wedding plans. The best place to start is booking local vendors for your wedding needs as fast as possible. To make this easier for you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Charleston’s top local vendors, separated by category. 

Wedding Planners

Alexandra Madison

alexandramadisonweddings@gmail.com | 505.603.5644

Bouquets and Bowties

Chauncey@bouquetsandbowtiescharleston.com | 843.364.6316

Charleston Weddings by Allison

allisoneauer@gmail.com | 843.901.2111

Christy Loftin

christy@christyloftin.com | 843.637.1589

Engaging Events

Cindy@engagingeventscharleston.com | 843.724.9010

Experience Holy City

taylor@experienceholycity.com | 843.270.0359

Invitation Only

info@invitationonlycharleston.com | 843.695.8884

KG Weddings

planning@kgweddingsandevents.com | 843.817.5645

Parte Events + Design

annakate@parteeventsanddesign.com | 803.795.8664

Sara Cavallon Celebrations

sara@saracavalloncelebrations.com | 843.697.7008

Yoj Events

monique@yojevents.com | 843.614.3413

Officiant

A Charleston Event

Holly Simpson | 843.568.5769

Christy Loftin

christy@christyloftin.com | 843.637.1589

Gracefully Wed Charleston

gracefullywedcharleston.com | 843.518.3318

Weddings by Richard Burton

weddingsbyrichardburton.com | 843.810.5986

Photography and Video

Adrienne Cooper Photography

adrienne@adriennecooperphotography.com | 843.754.8644

Complete Wedding Charleston | Video

completeweddingcharleston.com | 843.856.7177

Dana Cubbage Weddings

danacubbageweddings.com | 843.410.3236

Haley Jane Photography

haleyjanephotography.com 

Holy City Photography

holycityweddingphotography.com | 843.588.5799

Hyer images

hyerimages.com | 843.647.9383

Lindsey Shorter

lindseyshorterphotography.com 

Nest Productions | Video

charlestonweddingvideographer.com 

Richard Bell Photography

richbell.com | 843.767.6888

Sara Bee Photography

sarabeephotography.com | 704.996.4869

Tumbleston Photography

tumblestonphotography.com | 843.766.9400

Valerie and Ed Photography

valerieanded.com | 843.882.7009

Whimsey Photography

canadunlap.com | 904.226.0818 

Photo Booth

Lit by Lumos | Search on Facebook

MVP Photo Booth Charleston

mvpphotoboothcharleston.com | 843.817.5857

Ceremony Music

Charleston Virtuosi

charlestonvirtuosi.com | 843.270.7158

Classical Charleston

classicalcharleston.com | 843.693.0004

Ear for Music

earformusic.com | 843.881.0039

Entertainment and AV

Bunn DJ | David Fox

bunndjcompany.com | 843.278.0343

CYMARK Audiovisual | Mark Barber

cymarkav.com | 843.709.5830

The Charleston Wedding Band

TheCharlestonWeddingBand.com | 860.729.3354

Darby Events | DJ

charlestonweddingsdj.com | 843.779.6224

Lowcountry Entertainment | Emerald Empire (Band)

lowcountryentertainmentsc.com | 843.324.1971

OtherBrother Entertainment | The Officials | Heather Rice | DJ Wade

843.225.5621

The Bluestone Ramblers

thebluestoneramblers.com | 843.442.0182

The Royal Suits | Band

eastcoastentertainment.com | 855.323.4386

Hair and Makeup

Classic Beauty | Cheryl Quinn

classicbeautysc.com | 843.872.1612

Colur Studios

colurstudios.com | 843.724.9937

Lashes and Lace

lashesandlacecharleston.com | 843.568.3625

Paper Dolls Wedding Hair & Makeup

mycharlestonweddinghair.com | 843.602.6486

Invitations and Paper Goods

Dodeline Design

dodelinedesign.com | 843.860.8308

Mac & Murphy

macandmurphy.com | 843.576.4394

Studio R

studio-r-design.com | 843.762.5793

The Silver Starfish

thesilverstarfish.com | 843.818.4292

Transportation

Absolutely Charleston

absolutelycharleston.com | 843.747.4448

Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Co.

lowcountryvalet.com | 843.810.0107

Miscellaneous

Atlantic Pest (on site mosquito/bug spraying at local venues)

atlanticpest.com | 843.795.4010

Natures Calling (portable restroom trailers)

naturescallinginc.com | 843.529.1399

Wedding Venues

Alhambra Hall, previously an old ferry terminal, is a large and grassy estate with walking paths that rub up against the nearby marsh. From the spacious second-level porch, you can witness a magnificent view of Charleston Harbor.

Charleston’s art galleries offer an open, modern, and cerebral experience that displays Charleston’s incredible local art. Dozens of art galleries are available to choose from, each offering its own particular charms.

Charleston Library Society is one of the oldest libraries in the United States, filled to the brim with rich collections of books, manuscripts, and archival material. Dance on checkered marble floors, dine in the main reading room and get lost on the old-world charm of the stacks, glass catwalk, and Palladian windows.

Legare Waring House offers a breathtaking outdoor venue tangled with stunning, moss-covered oaks. If you’re looking for a truly magical outdoor wedding, there are few venues in Charleston that can compete.

Memminger Auditorium is one of Charleston’s most significant landmarks, with a history dating back to 1939. Located in downtown Harleston Village, this sprawling industrial-style hall boasts raw American grit with its glass paneling, exposed brick, and modern fixtures.

More Venues

Getting Around Charleston

Charleston is a gorgeous city steeped in romance, making it one of the best cities to explore on foot. You can wander independently or sign up for one of Charleston’s several guided tours. 

However, if you need to get around Charleston a little faster, you have plenty of options. You can rent a vehicle from the Charleston International Airport, hop on a bus or DASH shuttle, or trod along on one of Charleston’s free trolleys. Taxis are always available, especially around the airport, as well as Uber and Lyft on-demand drivers.

  • Arriving by plane: Visitors can fly into the Charleston International Airport conveniently located near downtown Charleston and the surrounding area. 
  • Arriving by train: Visitors have the option of arriving by train at the Amtrak Train Station North Charleston, less than 10 miles from the center of Charleston. 
  • Getting around by trolley: Charleston’s DASH Trolley provides free transport around the city, following three different routes. Route 210 takes you from the College of Charleston to the Aquarium. Route 211 brings you to the waterfront, Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, and the City Market. Finally, Route 213 brings you through Brittlebank Park, Riley Stadium, and the city center.
  • Getting around by car: For those comfortable with driving around a new city, you can rent a car from the Charleston International Airport. Otherwise, you can enjoy the comfort of rideshare programs like Lyft or Uber and get to know our local drivers.

About Duvall Catering & Events

Duvall is one of Charleston’s oldest and most trusted wedding caterers. We make wedding planning easy as a single point of contact for all your catering, floral, decor, and bar needs. Let us help plan an amazing wedding. Contact us online or call us at 843.763.9222.