Planning a wedding and reception is a daunting task that requires time, research, budgeting, and decisions large and small. More and more, today’s couples are looking for a city and venue that will attract out-of-town guests with amenities and fun things to do. For many, the clear choice is a historic wedding venue in Charleston, South Carolina.
Why Choose Charleston?
Quite simply, accolades abound for this charming southern city. It has been named the “Number One City in the U.S.” (by Travel & Leisure, 2019), to the “South’s Best Food City” (by Southern Living Magazine), to the future home of the 2021 PGA Tournament. Despite these praises, Charleston is still an amazing undiscovered gem to many people. The city is known for its rich history, stellar hospitality, and an abundance of historic inns and excellent restaurants.
Wedding guests who consider themselves foodies will think they’ve died and gone to heaven while exploring Charleston’s many excellent restaurants. With names ranging from Chubby Fish, Bourbon & Bubbles, and Jackrabbit Filly to Slaughterhouse BBQ & Brew, the “CODfather,” Food Fight, and Little Miss Ha, everyone is bound to find something they love. The seafood is amazing, the Asian cuisine inspired, and of course their barbeque — a southern staple — will melt in your mouth.
Wedding Guests Will Never Be Bored
Looking for ideas to add to a curated list of fun things for wedding guests to do in Charleston? If guests are arriving from out of town and making it a destination event, there is no end to other activities to enjoy beyond the nuptials. Visitors in Charleston can walk through its cobblestone streets (some of which were built from the ballast taken from ships arriving at its port) or take a horse drawn carriage as they appreciate the colonial classic buildings and plethora of historic churches.
Depending on the time of year, there are many choices for every age group and interest. Obviously, one of the most popular tours is exploring a historic plantation and learning about its history. There are also many garden tours that highlight the beautiful natural flora of the south. Charleston also boasts art and wine walks with live painting and music.
For adventurous guests, boat and train tours offer a unique perspective on this amazing city. Charleston harbor tours allow them to see the city at night with lights all aglow.
One of the most popular tours, Morris Island Lighthouse Eco-Cruises, takes guests through Lowcountry tidal creeks and marshes on the way to uninhabited Morris Island. Boats launch daily from Bowens Island for the scenic cruise through an estuary rich in biodiversity before landing on Morris Island. They can then spend time taking photos of the historic Morris Island Lighthouse, combing for seashells, and looking for sea turtles, birds and dolphins.
Sunset on the Water
Romance abounds on the Charleston Schooner Sunset Sail. Guests watch the sunset from the water on a two-hour evening cruise aboard the eighty-four-foot classic tall ship. As the crew hoists the sails of the schooner, they’ll glide through Charleston Harbor to enjoy the glow of twilight over one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the U.S.
BBQ & Blues
Guests can view Charleston’s city lights from the harbor during a dinner cruise that includes live southern blues-style entertainment and a mouth-watering barbecue buffet.
This Charleston ghost cruise brings tourists to the city’s spooky sites that can’t be reached on land. They’ll board a forty-five-foot catamaran and set sail on Charleston Harbor, passing by the sites of naval battles and pirate attacks. As they sail, the guide will tell haunting stories of Charleston’s past.
Especially for Landlubbers
For those guests wishing to discover Charleston’s spookiest secrets on an evening cemetery tour, there’s no need to board a boat. Guests may walk through the city while a local guide delights them with tales of the scary stories, dark actions and supernatural wonders that make Charleston one of the most eerie cities to visit.
Other Tours with a Twist
Unique “tours with a twist” in Charleston include African American-themed tours, military tours, culinary tours, religious heritage, eco-tours, and more. The Firefly Distillery is just one of many establishments that cater to those wishing to take in some of the local flavor.
Historic Fort Sumter
Visitors may also enjoy a visit to historic Fort Sumter in Charleston, the site of the battle which signified the beginning of the Civil War. They’ll enjoy a scenic 30-minute ferry ride each way along Charleston Harbor from two convenient departure locations, Liberty Square and Patriots Point. On the way, they’ll see sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery. National Park Rangers will relay stories of America’s deadliest war before a self-guided tour of Fort Sumter National Monument.
Charleston Antiques Show
For antique lovers, the Charleston Antiques Show will delight with its incredible collection of classic period décor, furniture, and more. The antiques show is a display of seventeenth to twentieth century English, European, and American period furnishings, architectural elements, and vintage jewelry.
Just a short drive from Charleston, Cypress Gardens offers many picturesque walking trails, swamp boat adventures, a butterfly house, and gallery. Children of all ages will enjoy the “Swampariam,” an aquarium/reptile center, containing large tanks and terrariums that feature fish, amphibians, and reptiles (including venomous snakes) native to swamps and nearby waterways. In addition, animals from swamps all over the world are exhibited, including huge African crocodiles and South American anacondas.
Ideal Mansion Wedding Venues in Charleston
Many historical inns in Charleston boast both authentic historical touches and modern conveniences. The best choices are within walking distance of the best of the city’s attractions. What could be more glorious than getting married in a beautiful historic mansion? The couple’s wedding portraits will undoubtedly become treasured family heirlooms with the gorgeous backdrop of historic antiques and décor, highlighted by grand curved staircases. And with so much to do and see (and eat!), their wedding guests will never forget their experience in Charleston.