Charming Charleston is a Top Pick for Destination Weddings
Bridal Venues Marry New Beginnings with Destination’s Historic Landmarks
Rich in history and known for its charming inns and seaside beauty by leisure travelers, Charleston, S.C., is quickly becoming a popular wedding destination for the betrothed. Couples note the destination’s historic and oceanfront venues, Southern traditions, gracious hospitality and rich Lowcountry cuisine among the top reasons why the Charleston area is an ideal location to say “I do.”
With dozens of wedding venues ranging from sprawling plantations to seaside settings to opulent gardens, the Charleston area enables couples to choose a bridal location that reflects their personal style and the destination’s rich history. The storied Legare Waring House unites both a flare for the dramatic and classic Southern style with its grand entryway flanked by moss-draped oak trees and lavish furnishings. The William Aiken House, a National Historic Landmark featuring original 1810 design, is an ideal choice for traditionally-minded couples, complete with classically furnished interiors, as well as a 200-year-old magnolia tree and picturesque reflecting pond. One of Charleston’s famed plantations, Drayton Hall, is another popular wedding venue featuring stunning outdoor vistas including a Victorian reflecting pond surrounded by 630 acres, while the Charleston Tea Plantation is favored for its rows of picturesque tea bushes bordered by live oaks.
The destination’s array of bridal purveyors help couples incorporate Southern traditions and individualize each reception. Charleston area event professionals go above and beyond, finding seasonal apparel for a bride or groom, customized wedding accoutrements and creatively incorporating local elements like magnolia leaves or palmetto fronds. For a traditional Charleston wedding gift, local institution Croghan’s Jewel Box provides a diverse collection of fine antique jewelry and silver rice spoons — a vestige of the plantation age — for weddings guests to peruse.
When it comes to destination weddings, couples like to select menus that are reflective of the local fare. The Lowcountry is brimming with authentic dining experiences, from shrimp and grits to she crab soup, as well as modern derivatives of time-honored recipes. In line with current wedding trends – with many couples opting for more casual passed hors d’oeurves over a formal sit-down dinner – the Charleston area rises to the occasion. Recent trends include gourmet Southern-style comfort foods, such as barbecue and collard green-wrapped bacon scallops for hors d’oeurves.
Recently wed couples have even been known to add playful “Make Your Own Grits” parfait stations, where wedding guests can add zing to their grits with delicious cheese, fried onions, bacon crumbles, scallions and more. Local beverages are also a hit, including Charleston’s own Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, which can be served over ice in mason jars with a sprig of mint. To appease those with a sweet tooth, another Lowcountry classic is the benne wafer – a thin, crispy, buttery cookie made with toasted sesame seeds. The recipe dates back to plantation days, and the seeds are reputed to bring good luck.
As with all destination weddings, couples want to be sure their guests have plenty to do and see while in town. The Charleston area boasts scores of historic sights, special events and miles of beaches. Best of all, it is easy to navigate by foot. The destination is also conveniently located no more than a five-hour drive from most metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions and is serviced by non-stop flights from 10 U.S. cities. Beginning in March 2011, Southwest Airlines will offer low-fare direct service between Charleston International Airport and Houston, Nashville, Chicago and Baltimore. A complete listing of Charleston area wedding purveyors, venues and more can be found on our website.
The mission of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is to unify and lead the local travel industry in marketing the Charleston area as an individual, meeting, incentive and group destination to both the domestic and international markets. For more information, please visit explorecharleston.com.