Weddings, Lowcountry Style

By Carla Foxworth

Charleston, a city known for its elegance, architecture and Southern hospitality, has become a top wedding destination for brides around the world.

It’s nicknamed the Holy City because of its early history of religious tolerance, as well as the prevalence of churches – although inside a church is definitely not the only place to have a wedding ceremony in Charleston.

Photo of bride and groom

WILD DUNES RESORT   Richard Bell Photography

From historic plantations to majestic bridges, glorious gardens to resort luxury, sandy beaches to oak alleys, nearly every corner of the Charleston Lowcountry makes a spectacular wedding backdrop!

Expect perfect memories and the wedding of your dreams. And while you are here, expect one more thing … to fall in love with Charleston.


Established in 1681 by Major John Boone, Boone Hall Plantation is a magnificent property and America’s oldest working plantation.

The famous Avenue of Oaks is a grand and welcoming corridor of centuries-old, giant live oak trees. A moss-draped entrance, beckoning guests into a long-ago era of beauty and grace that creates an unforgettable wedding location.

The grounds of Boone Hall Plantation offer a range of spectacular settings at which to exchange vows and celebrate nuptials: the majestic front lawn of the mansion; the marsh and river view on the back lawn; and the loggia.

There is, however, no question that the most popular venue on the estate is the historic Cotton Dock, situated on the water. If walls could talk, this legendary structure would speak proudly of a guest list that has included presidents, prominent politicians and celebrities.


Blending Southern charm with breathtaking waterfront views, Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina represents everything that is exceptional in a wedding venue. It boasts spectacular views of the Charleston skyline over the harbor, the USS Yorktown and the dramatic Ravenel Bridge.

The resort offers 10 inspired locations for gatherings, intimate to grand. It features a private Wedding Pier and a Harborside Beach for ceremonies that capture the essence of the Lowcountry. Distinctive reception venues such as the Yacht Club, Lookout Pavilion, Poolside Lawn and Sunrise Terrace offer the perfect settings for friends and family to celebrate.

Every element needed to create an effortless wedding is right here. The Charleston Harbor Fish House restaurant (on-site) is the perfect option for dinners, luncheons and brunches, and other amenities include a full-service marina, the Estuary Spa, a fitness center and outdoor pools.


The 1670 birthplace of Charleston’s earliest colonial history is a South Carolina state park by day and a starlit wedding locale after dusk.

On the grounds is the historic Legare Waring House, a perfect place for the wedding party and wedding day preparations. This antebellum home features bridal suites and groom quarters and turns the clock back to a time when gentility and graciousness were the standard.

An elegant wrought iron fountain graces the backyard, which also offers gardens, lagoons and a captivating avenue of oaks. For three centuries, this stand of moss-draped live oak trees has served as nature’s grand sanctuary.

Receptions follow in style, whether it is an intimate garden soiree or a grand affair. For larger weddings, the grounds of the venue may be used, as tents are raised for celebrating, dancing and the raising of glasses.


Widely known as one of America’s most beautiful gardens, Magnolia Plantation is a gracious, historic site for a truly memorable wedding. Founded in 1676 as a rice plantation along the Ashley River, the estate has survived the centuries to become a testament to fortitude and beauty.

As one of Charleston’s premier wedding venues, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens offers four ceremony and reception sites situated among moss-draped live oaks and sweeping lawns, with marsh, lake and river views and, of course, the renowned botanical gardens.

The romantic riverside Carriage House; the intimate Conservatory with its famous red bridge; the elegant Plantation House Veranda with views of Magnolia’s signature white bridge and expansive lawn; and the outdoor Pavilion are all wrapped in the storied and breathtaking beauty of one of the South’s most beautiful plantations.


Middleton Place is a carefully preserved 18th-century plantation and America’s oldest formal landscaped gardens. Live oaks draped in swags of Spanish moss, a house built in 1755 and a beautiful landscape with sculpted terraces and blooming color all provide a setting of unmatched elegance and charm.

The stunning outdoor venues overlooking the Ashley River and rice fields provide ideal ceremony locations, whether for an intimate gathering or a grand affair

Chef Brandon Buck and the staff at Middleton Place Restaurant take pride in creating delicious menus that utilize the freshest local ingredients, while staying true to the Southern roots of Charleston.

Whether you are planning a rehearsal dinner oyster roast in the plantation Stableyards, a dinner in the Cypress Room or an elegant reception in the Pavilion, Middleton Place will provide a memorable experience.


With one of the most incredible views in the Lowcountry, the Cooper River Room is ideally located overlooking the Cooper River, the impressive span of the Ravenel Bridge and the bustling Waterfront Park and Pier.

Ceremonies are most often performed on the lawn under blue and starlit skies. Receptions move to the Cooper River Room with a 7-foot fireplace and outdoor patio.

Of course, guests may also enjoy the Waterfront Park itself, especially the 1,250-foot pier that stretches out into Charleston Harbor. What a wonderful place to spend the happiest day of your life.


Whether you hear the call of the sea, the moon or amore, weddings at the South Carolina Aquarium are truly one-of-a-kind affairs of the heart.

As the sun sets and moon rises over Charleston, the view from the Harbor Overlook deck is magical, and it is sure to provide an aura of enchantment as vows are spoken.

Indoor events unfold inside in the Aquarium Galleries: two levels of space showcasing the wonders of the deep. Following the ceremony, guests can marvel at the ocean’s splendors as they stroll, dine and dance among the stars, lights and luminous displays.

The centerpiece of the galleries is the Great Ocean Tank, where rays of light shimmer down two stories of liquid turquoise – home to a giant reef and thousands of sea creatures, including sea turtles, sharks and fish.


Weddings at Wild Dunes Resort blend a beautiful island paradise with relaxing resort amenities and the charm and grace of historic Charleston.

With lush green landscape, serene salt marshes, tidal creeks, sea birds, wide beaches and the awe-inspiring Atlantic Ocean, you couldn’t ask for much more. But cloistered among this natural setting are an abundance of amenities including golf, tennis, pools, water sports, spa facilities and bike trails that provide a year-round menu of outings for the entire wedding entourage.

The variety of beautiful wedding locales at Wild Dunes includes palm and palmetto lined lawns; the beach; elegant ballrooms; and the stunning ocean-view Grand Pavilion.

For those that delight in starlit nights, the pull of the tides and the romance of the sea, the allure of this island paradise beckons.


The Dream? An escape to a remote barrier island for an intimate beachfront exchange of vows.

The Guests? Your loved ones, bottle-nose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles and fiddler crabs.

Barrier Island Eco Tours can transport up to 150 people out to Capers or Goat island for an ocean-inspired ceremony where guests can collect shells for the ceremony and create “nature’s venue” themselves, or put it in the professional hands of Goat Island Gatherings. Catering is your choice: do-it-yourself, a Lowcountry boil on the beach or a “Party-On-Goat” celebration with a stage, catering and moonlit dancing.

Nature Adventures Outfitters provides kayaks, the great outdoors and even a licensed officiator to perform the ceremony for a perfect, back-to-nature wedding. With or without a guide, the wedding party can paddle out to a simple beach ceremony on Crab Bank Island Bird Sanctuary, Capers Island or Sullivan’s Island. Enjoy your day with low-key, ocean-style bedazzlement and feasting!

Aboard its tour boat Caretta, Coastal Expeditions will take the wedding party to a barrier island for a ceremony, followed by a seaside cookout to celebrate. The captain will be a skilled naturalist dedicated to marine ecology – who is happy to serve as your usher! Shells pave the aisle and the breaking waves provide the music. Love and happiness? You bring that.

With Sandlapper Water Tours, couples and their loved ones can cruise Charleston Harbor while sipping champagne and enjoying views of the Ravenel Bridge and antebellum mansions. Have a ceremony either on the sea or on the beach of Morris Island, followed by a true Southern Lowcountry boil. At the end of the day, your ship will carry you home with memories to last a lifetime.


Most of the Country Clubs in the Charleston area are built on what was once a Lowcountry plantation, with romantic scenery that is ideal for a picture-perfect ceremony.

Set on the property of the former Lexington Plantation, Dunes West Golf and River Club provides the backdrop for an elegant Lowcountry wedding, replete with picturesque views of the water and marsh, 300-year-old oak trees draped with Spanish moss and an oak alley that leads to an antebellum-style clubhouse. It boasts a staff of culinary artists, and the setting won Best in Wedding three years in a row by

Say your vows in front of family, friends, miles of water views and spectacular Lowcountry scenery at RiverTowne Country Club. The plantation-style clubhouse has an elevated ballroom that features large windows and panoramic views of the marsh. The rental fee includes a planner, chef, delectable food by Relish Distinctive Catering and everything else you need to create the wedding of your dreams.