If you and your partner want to celebrate your nuptials in a city steeped in history, you’ve come to the right place. Founded in 1670, Charleston’s past is about as storied as they come. From stately mansions and antebellum plantations, to timeless inns and society halls, the Holy City boasts some of the most historic (and beautiful) wedding venues in the world. And what’s more romantic than saying “I do” in a city that’s witnessed centuries of love stories?
Because gorgeous, antiquated buildings are a dime a dozen in this Southern town, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten historic Charleston wedding venues that we think you’ll love just as much as we do. Whether you’re looking to throw a quintessential Southern soirée that Blanche DuBois could only dream of, or are going for something a bit more off-beat, these locations promise stunning views and luxurious affairs.
Magnolia Plantation‘s meandering pathways and massive, moss-draped oaks have served as a backdrop for Charleston weddings for hundreds of years. This scenic plantation was established in 1679 when Thomas Drayton and his wife, Anne, came to the new English colony of Charles Towne from Barbados. During the Colonial era, Magnolia prospered through the cultivation of rice. As the American Revolution progressed, both British and American troops stood on its soil, with the Drayton sons helping to fight British oppression. After the Civil War, the plantation started to falter. Its saving grace? Stunning gardens, which saved Magnolia from ruin when they opened to the public in 1870.
Situated along the Ashley River, Magnolia offers the kind of idyllic scenery generally only seen in movies. As a wedding venue, the plantation boasts four distinctive locations: the Carriage House, the Conservatory, the Veranda, and the Pavilion, each with a distinctive feel. For more details on booking Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, click here.
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If you’ve ever walked down Charleston’s Broad Street (and if you haven’t, you should), you’ve probably taken a moment to gaze upon this Victorian building and wonder what its stately walls might house. As it turns out, the 127-year-old structure is rich in both beauty and history. Built in 1800 by Gilbert Chalmers, the Confederate Home originally belonged to Chalmers’ daughter and her husband, Governor John Geddes. As such, the home saw many political parties attended by prominent citizen such as President James Monroe. After being sold in 1834, it became the Carolina Hotel and, in later years, a meeting place for the Confederate court. In 1867, sisters Mary Amarinthia and Isabell Snowden decided to start a sanctuary for mothers, widows, and daughters of Confederate soldiers. Ultimately becoming known as the Confederate Home, the estate served as place for young women to earn an education for many years.
As a wedding venue, The Confederate Home is a hidden jewel. Its Broad Street location and close proximity to the Battery make it ideal for entertaining guests and snapping stunning wedding photos. For more details about booking the Confederate Home, click here.
For inspo and general warm and fuzzies, click here to see Zola’s Confederate House weddings.
A National Historic Landmark located downtown on the Peninsula, The William Aiken House is one of the city’s most sought-after wedding venues, made all the more covetable after being named the wedding venue in South Carolina by Martha Stewart Weddings. If its circa-1810 interior and grounds look familiar to you, you’ve probably seen them on screen or in print. The William Aiken House has been featured in everything from high-fashion photo shoots for Vogue and Town & Country to the movie The Notebook (cue the squeals of a thousand Ryan Gosling fans). A blend of 18th-century charm and 21st-century sophistication, the estate stands on the corner of King and Ann Streets downtown, with the vibrant Upper King Design District just steps from its private courtyards.
The property’s two separate guest suites are housed in a restored, two-story carriage house complete with beautiful period details such as exposed wood beam ceilings, original brickwork, and cathedral windows. A 200-year-old magnolia tree in the courtyard provides a lovely backdrop for timeless wedding photos and serves as proof of this venue’s deep, Southern roots (no pun intended). For more details on booking the William Aiken House, click here.
With more than 300 years of history behind it, Runnymede Plantation calls to historically-inclined couples. This place is believed to have been named for its enormous English-style oak tree; the property changed hands quite a few times after John Cattell received the original grant for 300 acres of property on the south side of the Ashley River in 1705. This property, of course, would become the site of Runnymede Plantation.
Today Runnymede Plantation—or The Comeback Kid, as we’re calling it—is a serene location in Charleston with ample space for your wedding ceremony and reception. Click here to learn more about weddings at Runnymede Plantation.
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Not to be confused with the Duchess of Cambridge’s family home, Middleton Place‘s main house was built in 1705, though it wasn’t until 1741, when Henry Middleton acquired the property through marriage, that the plantation really started taking shape. For four generations of Middletons, this gorgeous space served as the family seat. Thanks to the important roles the family played in American history throughout the years, (Henry Middleton was president of the First Continental Congress, his son Arthur a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Arthur’s son Henry a Governor of South Carolina, and so on), Middleton Place later became a National Historic Landmark. For more than 300 years, it has remained under the same family stewardship. The stunning gardens, which are a favorite backdrop for Charleston wedding photos, are America’s oldest landscaped gardens. The grounds also include a house museum filled with exquisite family heirlooms and rejuvenated 18th- and 19th-century stable-yards. We don’t blame you if this place makes you feel like royalty.
Naturally, Middleton Place makes for one of the most amazing Charleston wedding venues. The added bonus? Your guests can kick back and relax in the Inn at Middleton Place, where they can make a vacation out of your soirée and enjoy everything from horseback riding to oyster roasts. For details on booking Middleton Place, click here.
For Windsor-worthy real wedding photos at Charleston’s Middleton Place, click here.
Whip our your fans and find yourselves a fainting couch because this venue will make you swoon. We’d better lead with the fun fact that, like the William Aiken House, Boone Hall Plantation made a cameo in The Notebook. But this place so much more than the setting of a Nicholas Sparks classic. Founded all the way back in 1681 when Major John Boone came to Charleston, Boone Hall began as the Englishman’s home and subsequent plantation on the banks of Wampacheone Creek (say that five times fast). Instrumental in the history of South Carolina, Boone’s family and descendants played a large part in the development of the nation. The McRae family, who purchased the plantation in 1955, proudly carries on their legacy by sharing the storied family’s history on a daily basis.
In addition to the large Colonial Revival Plantation house (the original house was lost), Boone Hall Plantation also includes several original slave cabins dating back to 1790, fragrant flower gardens, the Cotton Gin house, and a smoke house dating back to 1750. Not to mention—be still our beating hearts —the historic Avenue of Oaks, a nearly one-mile stretch of driveway lined in live oaks that were planted in 1743. If you’ve been looking for a lover’s lane, you just found it. Click here to learn more about booking your event at Boone Hall.
Want to drool over more of Zola’s real weddings at Boone Hall Plantation? Knock yourself out.
We’ve seen a lot of gorgeous properties in our day, but the Legare Waring House sticks out as one of the best. Nestled in the heart of Charles Landing, this property is the site of the first European settlement in the Carolinas. Thanks to Ferdinanda Izlar Legare Backer Waring, a lady whose resume is surely as long as her name, what was once raw, uninhibited wilderness is now a lovely suburban garden perfect for your nuptials. But don’t think this venue’s history is, well, history. The large live oaks and historic home are living proof of this property’s past.
The Legare Waring House is a cozy venue where you and your wedding party can get ready in comfort before taking to the wide lawns and patio for your photos, ceremony, or reception. Enjoy vibrant florals twelve months out of the year, sparkling lagoons, and those moss-draped oaks we’ll never get tired of. Ready to book? Click here for details on how to stage your soirée at The Legare Waring House.
And voilà!: more real weddings at The Legare Waring House for your viewing pleasure. Scroll away, my friends.
Tucked a bit off of the beaten path, you can find Old Wide Awake Plantation just outside of Charleston in Hollywood, South Carolina. Can’t argue with a Hollywood wedding in Charleston, can you? A nod to the antebellum days, this picturesque plantation’s landscape includes rolling fields and wide expanses of wildflowers. Once part of a general store for the Stono Ferry at the turn of the century, Old Wide Awake’s main house offers a quiet country haven coupled with modern conveniences.
For over 200 years, the plantation has been hosting and entertaining guests who come to the area for weddings or other social gatherings. And, with packages starting at an affordable rate of $1,750 (for weekday shindigs), it’s no wonder couples choose this elegant venue to exchange their vows. For the 411 on booking your event at Old Wide Awake Plantation, click here.
Hungry for more? Take a gander at Zola’s Old Wide Awake Plantation Weddings.
Along the oak-lined trees of the Ashley River lies Lowndes Grove Plantation, a beautifully restored National Historic Landmark that offers stunning waterfront views (especially at sunset!), historic architecture with exquisite period furnishings, and much more. Sounds like the start of a fairytale, doesn’t it? The history of Lowndes Grove spans all the way back to the Revolutionary War era, played a role in Charleston’s World Fair in 1901, and even warranted a visit from President Theodore Roosevelt. Along with the Main House—whose features include an expansive piazza, grand lawn, and sunlit terraces—the property boasts the River House (a more intimate venue) and a renovated dock that extends 700 feet into the Ashley River.
In the care of Patrick Properties Hospitality Group since 2007, Lowndes Grove Plantation can accommodate up to 600 people, but is equally suitable for intimate gatherings with as few as 10 attendees. For more details on booking your wedding at Lowndes Grove, click here.
Will the real wedding junkies please stand up? We’ve got your fix of Lowndes Grove Plantation weddings.
Considered one of the most beautiful and historic structures in the nation and one of Charleston’s most valuable Adamesque buildings, South Carolina Society Hall was designed by local “gentleman architect” Gabriel Manigault, and built between 1799 and 1804. The Society, however, actually started in the mid-1730s and was born from charity. When French Huguenot Elisha Poinsett’s tavern started to struggle, a group of like-minded friends agreed to help Poinsett an evening or two each week. This inspired them to contribute two bits (or sixteen pence) every week into a fund to help any other members when they might be in need. Accordingly, they became known as the “two-bit” society, and they soon decided to formalize their little organization under the premise that charity would be their primary goal and that education would be their primary charity. In 1751, they were incorporated as the French Society, but soon after changed their name to the South Carolina Society.
Since that time, South Carolina’s Society Hall has served many charitable capacities, including as a school for orphan boys and girls and indigents. Now, the Hall is used for everything from cotillions to weddings to bar and bat mitzvahs. This building is also featured in a handful of films and is ready to serve as the backdrop to your big day. For details on booking the South Carolina Society Hall for your wedding, click here.
As always, there’s much more where that came from. Check out more of Zola’s real weddings at SC Society Hall.
We admit we had a hard time limiting our list to just 10 historic Charleston wedding venues. The Holy City has dozens of incredible wedding venues and we can’t let you go without mentioning a few more. Check out The Governor Thomas Bennett House (c. 1825), Planters Inn (c. 1844), The Palmer Home Bed & Breakfast (c. 1848), and The Wickliffe House (c. 1850) as potential sites of your wedding, which we’re sure will also make history