WARNING: Pic heavy. I am Miss Camera, right?
As soon as we got engaged, I knew I wanted to get married in Charleston, South Carolina. I’d only been there once, for Valentine’s Day two years ago. Cam took me on a surprise trip. (Which I thought would involve a ring. Why else would you go on a surprise trip? Not even a little bit close. I still had to wait almost two years.) The minute I got out of the car, I fell in love.
If you’ve been to Charleston, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a magical mix of old and new, historical and modern, slow and fast at the same time.
The Battery / Image via TripAdvisor / Photo by Charleston Visitor’s Bureau
How can you not think that’s gorgeous?
Naturally, I decided on the spot that’s where we were going to get married. If we ever got engaged.
After two years of waiting (with many, MANY close calls…including another secret trip to Hilton Head), he finally popped the question. After the excitement and weird feeling of having a ring on my left hand wore off, I set about planning the perfect Charleston wedding.
Except there was a hold up. A big hitch in my giddy-up. A HUGE black cloud.
Charleston is expensive, y’all!
And here’s a fun fact—it’s now taken over as the number-one destination wedding location in the US, even ahead of Vegas. And their prices reflect that.
We visited some amazing venues with gorgeous, unbelievable views—plantations, beaches, mansions, golf courses. But none of them had the right feel and they definitely didn’t have the right price for our budget.
Here were my criteria for my perfect wedding:
Here were our top three choices:
1. The Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina
The Lookout Pavilion
The beach at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina / Personal photo
The tiki bar on the beach at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina / Personal photo
Tiki bar?? I’m sold. But you have to rent out the entire beach, and let me tell you—it was more than our budget. The Lookout Pavilion is great, but it’s a little far back from the water for my taste, it’s not a tent, and they are building a seafood restaurant directly in the view of the harbor.
2. The Pavilion at Patriot’s Point Links
The Pavilion at Patriot’s Point Links / Personal photo / Side note: Cam’s working hard.
The Pavilion at Patriot’s Point Links / Personal photo
This was my dream location before we visited. It was everything I wanted—near the water (which you can’t really see from these photos, but it’s just behind the tent in the second photo), set up with a huge billowy tent, and surrounded by palm trees. Unfortunately, it’s located directly on the 18th hole of the golf course, so we’d have a few unwelcome guests finishing their rounds. It also ended up being slightly out of our price range. Oh well.
3. The Island House
The Island House / Image via Islandhouseevents.com
The Island House Tent / Personal photo
The Island House / Personal photo
The Island House is an awesome venue just outside of Charleston on John’s Island. It has a permanent tent (score for not having to rent one!), it’s right next to the water, which in this case is the Stono River, and it has amazing sunset views.
While we drove home, we discussed the pros and cons of each venue. Some (that are not pictured here) were easy to knock of the list for one reason or another, but these three held our attention a little longer. After looking at the numbers and what we wanted out of a place, the answer seemed to be so clear—The Island House!
Now for your viewing pleasure, here are a few more fun photos we took of the inside of the house. Keep in mind it was built in the ’70s, and it definitely has its original vibe. Luckily, only immediate family and the bridal party will be inside. From the photos I’ve seen, these make amazing photos!
Yes. The walls are red. And unless you have a 3D computer screen, you can’t tell, but they are VELVET. I told you it was built in the ’70s. / Personal photo
Cam in part of the “man cave.” Have you ever seen playing-card wallpaper? I haven’t. / Personal photo
THE MAN CAVE. Cam is very excited about this. There’s a bar, and mounted deer heads and swordfish. I’m a little jealous. / Personal photo
The bridal suite. No deer heads here, but huge windows overlooking the backyard where I can keep an eye on everything. So type-A. / Personal photo
Sometimes I look at the other venues and wonder what could have been, but this place is so amazingly perfect for us, I just can’t seem to picture my wedding anywhere else. Did anyone else have a hard time narrowing down their venues? How did you ultimately choose? Was budget or your checklist more important?