Weddings & Spas

Ask anyone who has chosen Charleston as their wedding destination and you’ll get an array of answers. Plantations. Picturesque gardens, seaside settings. Southern hospitality. Exquisite cuisine. These are but a fraction of the reasons Charleston has become one of the premier wedding destinations in America. But the amenities and ambience served up in this town couldn’t be more distinctive. Charleston’s inimitable culture and beguiling southern landscape offer that intangible wow factor desired by everyone who wants to make their big day an unforgettable one.

Unlike most wedding destinations, Charleston has developed a reputation for having the kind of top-notch professionals who are ready to assist with every last detail of an event. The local wedding-planning community is comprised of a tight-knit group of experts who vary in their style, but are united under a common goal: to make your wedding day sublime.

Margaret Roberts with WED — a Charleston-based event-planning boutique — spent years working in New York City with two of the most renowned names in the fashion industry, Bloomingdales and Ralph Lauren. Upon returning to South Carolina, she decided to expand her skillset by becoming a wedding planner.

Blythe Hill, a Lead Designer with Yoj Events, graduated from the Culinary Institute of Charleston and has a passion for matching couples with the venue that’s perfect for them. Stacey Fraunfelter with Red Letter Events (RLE) says she believes that couples are drawn to Charleston by the location’s characteristic friendliness and culinary excellence.

Regardless of which wedding elements are of most importance to you, there are a wide variety of options for every taste and budget.

Once you’ve hired a wedding planner, the next step in the process is finding your venue. Some couples are drawn to the majesty of the city’s historic churches, which do indeed have a timeless quality about them. It’s important to note, however, that many local houses of worship do not host weddings for non-members, and the ones that do allow use of their facilities only do so for a fee. Make a list of the ones that speak to you and get in touch. If you can’t find a good fit, don’t sweat it. Churches aren’t the only wedding venues in town.

It is becoming more common for brides to find and purchase their dresses in Charleston, as some find that traveling with an heirloom gown can be challenging. That’s why Michelle Miller, Boutique Buyer and Manager of Southern Protocol Bridal has curated an exquisite collection of gowns that appeal to a wide variety of fashion tastes. Miller says brides often do fittings when they’re in town to hone other details of their big day.

There are plenty of majestic plantations in and around Charleston . The 36-acre McLeod Plantation Historic Site on James Island is a tree-lined estate that features a fully-restored antebellum plantation house and a riverside pavillion. Saying your vows under the McLeod Oak, thought to be about 600 years old, is a perfect way to begin a long life together.

Other county parks include the Lake House at Bulow, which is just 15 minutes from downtown Charleston; the 1,200-square-foot, two-story Pelican Watch Pavillion at Folly Beach County Park, the only public beachfront facility in Charleston County; and picturesque Laurel Hill County Park in Mount Pleasant.

In that same part of town is one of the most desirable wedding venues in the country. With its famed ¾ mile avenue of 274-year-old giant live oaks draped with Spanish moss, Boone Hall Plantation feels like a location that’s straight out of a movie…and in many ways, it is. Whether you first saw it in 2004’s The Notebook or gracing the magazines that covered Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ intimate wedding in 2016, Boone Hall captures the imagination.

Regardless of where you choose to host your wedding, when in Charleston delicious cuisine is never far. Executive Chef Graham Dailey of Peninsula Grill on North Market Street has created inspired menus for many a reception and rehearsal dinner. Dailey worked under renowned chef Anthony Bourdain and apprenticed at the Michelin star-rated Hotel Lutetia, one of France’s most prestigious hotels. The Peninsula dining room can seat up to 84 people. Once you’ve put the major pieces of your big day in place, you can round out your full team of wedding vendors. If the venue you select doesn’t have all the amenities you need, countless event companies and private vendors can set you up with everything from string lights and chandeliers that add a touch of glam to your celebration to the latest audio equipment, creative video displays and custom backdrops for visual appeal. Unless you live in the area, the best source for finding reputable, highly skilled professionals is your wedding planner. And having one allows you more free time with your fiancé and your loved ones.

Primped and Pampered

Increasingly, brides — and some grooms, too — have made the preparation process an event unto itself. Whether alone or with a group, heading to a spa to calm the nerves, get dolled up or just kick back is now a big part of the wedding day.

Beginning with the robe, lavender neck wrap and reflexology sandals you are handed, The Woodhouse Day Spa is an oasis of tranquility. Head into the Quiet Room with some loose-leaf tea, wine, Champagne or a cold beer for a little reflection on the big day. Follow that up with rejuvenating services such as the Pure HydraFacial, Himalayan Salt Stone Massage or even tanning and professional make-up applications. The Sanctuary Spa at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a retreat within an idyllic setting. Southern culture and heritage inspire the 12-room spa and inform the menu of signature treatments.

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