Wedding Planning

Guide to Planning the Perfect Charleston Wedding

September 15, 2022

Are you envisioning a rehearsal dinner at an iconic plantation, an intimate ceremony on the beach, or a grand reception downtown? Charleston is the ideal destination to make your wedding dreams come true. As the No. 1 U.S. City and No. 10 City in the World in the Travel + Leisure 2018 World’s Best Awards, Charleston boasts a wealth of stunning venues and expert wedding vendors, not to mention culinary adventures and activities galore that will make your big day truly unforgettable.

Whether you’re planning a small intimate affair or a large-scale event, Charleston is one of the best destination wedding locations to get married. With its charming historic backdrop, variety of nearby beaches, and endless Southern hospitality, Charleston is sure to make your wedding day an event to remember.

As an experienced team offering Charleston, SC wedding hair and makeup, we know all about weddings in the area. We have created a guide to help you plan the perfect Charleston wedding your dreams.

Best time of year to get married in Charleston

While relatively warm year-round, the best months to get married in Charleston are the spring months of April to June and the fall months of September and October. Both March and November are pretty mild, as they are transition months between the extreme summer heat and dreary winter days. So they can be popular wedding dates too.

July and August are by far the hottest months, with the potential of hitting triple digits on the thermometer. It is also an extremely humid time of year. If your wedding day vision includes the outdoors, we suggest avoiding these months. If you do venture to have an outdoor wedding during these months, be sure you rent fans, shade tents, and keep the cold drinks flowing.

Choosing a spot to get married in the Lowcountry

When it comes to choosing a venue, Charleston has no shortage of options. There's something for every taste and budget, from grand historic plantations to charming inns and sprawling gardens. The popular spots tend to stay booked up well into the future. So, looking for a venue before setting a date helps you land that perfect popular spot.

There are many great locations to have a wedding in Charleston. If you have a small wedding, consider renting an entire inn like the eight-room 86 Cannon Historic Inn. Or get hitched at a brewery with a view, like the Freehouse Brewery. If you are looking for a beach wedding, consider renting an ocean-front house from Island Reality on IOP or Vacasa on Folly. The Charleston Country Parks Systems has some fantastic locations available as well.

One of the benefits of having a destination wedding is that you can often secure discounts on room rates for your guests, so be sure to ask about group rates when you’re contacting potential venues.

Worried about rain on your wedding day? Bury the Bourbon

Burying the Bourbon - A Southern Wedding Tradition
Burying the Bourbon - A Southern Wedding Tradition

The weather forecast can change a lot near the coast, so it's best to avoid checking NOAA until about three days before your wedding. If the forecast says there's a 30-40% chance of rain, it probably means that there's a 5-minute shower expected. Be prepared for anything by having a backup plan. Many rental companies will allow tents to be put on rain reserves. Another tip is to have plenty of beach towels in the trunk of your car in case a quick downpour drenches the ceremony chairs.

Many Southern brides bury a bottle of bourbon because they believe it will keep the bad weather away on their big day. If you're superstitious and worried about rain, then learning about burying the bourbon might be the thing for you!

Start planning and booking your vendors early

Finding a venue that meets all of your needs can be one of the most challenging things. If you want to get married on a Saturday night in a prime month, expect to book 12 to 18 months in advance. If you prefer a quieter season or would take a Friday or Sunday, plan to reserve eight to 12 months ahead. If your venue doesn't offer on-site catering, then prioritize your food service vendor at the same time since the catering options can influence everything from your place setting rentals and floral design to your cake size and future spending. If you want to book premium hair and makeup services, it is wise to get them to book at this time rather than later since they book up quickly.

Start your destination wedding at the Charleston Visitors Bureau 

Explore all that Charleston offers by requesting a complimentary copy of the Charleston Wedding Guide. The 180-page wedding guide published by the Charleston Visitors Bureau includes full-color photography and highlights of the Charleston area’s top wedding vendors and venues. They also offer free wedding planning resources with a  12-month itinerary and a downloadable destination wedding to-do checklist! They will even send a copy of their Explore Charleston guide to your out-of-town guests to help them plan their stay. Including this with your save-the-dates would be so cute!

You can plan the Charleston SC wedding of your dreams

Planning a wedding can be a lot of work, but it's definitely worth it in the end. When it comes to finding the perfect place to get married in Charleston, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can find an inn, brewery, beach house or park that suits your needs and budget. If you're worried about rain on your wedding day, have a backup plan ready and possibly bury a bottle of bourbon. Start planning and booking your vendors early so you don't miss out on your preferred date or service.

Cheers to you and your upcoming nuptials!