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Hot Stuff & Hidden Locations

(From left) A private garden ceremony; Folly Beach rental house backyard; Cooper River Room lawn. Photographs by Squire Fox Weddings, Karson Photography, Heather Forsythe Photography

November 16, 2010

Hot Stuff & Hidden Locations
Charleston Weddings Spring Bridal Show tickets go on sale, customer appreciation parties, and secret wedding spots

WRITTEN BY Melissa Bigner

Our big Big Day news? We’ve got all sorts of great things planned for the 2011 Charleston Weddings Spring Bridal Show this coming March 26—the Saturday morning of Charleston Fashion Week®—and tickets go on sale this week! Click here for yours, then join us for the complimentary opening hour champagne reception, sweet and savory treats, shopping in the style lounge, and show after runway show of stunning, high-end gowns from local and national designers. (And a little teaser…the knot is one of our new sponsors!)

In the meantime, though, raise a glass and toast yourself at Ooh! Events and Out of Hand’s annual customer appreciation party this Thursday, November 18, 5-8 p.m. Expect sips and dips, a window decorating contest, raffles, and door prizes. We love seeing the weddings that owner-event planner Lisa Thomas shares with us, and style director Ayoka Lucas always pops in the shop to find awesome accessories for our fashion stories. Me? I make a beeline to the stationery section—my craft corner nirvana!

And to tide you over till the events roll around…last week I talked with Channel 2’s Tara Lynn about great off-the-beaten path wedding venues in the Lowcountry. We touched on a few, but here are some of those I mentioned and some more that I was not able to squeeze in. Know of another place we’ve missed? Send me a note!

The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation
I love the waterfront pavilion and dock, plus the gorgeous lawn that joins the two in this new development just north of Mount Pleasant in the Awendaw area.

Runnymede Plantation
I’d say I know Highway 61’s collection of plantations pretty well, but Runnymede was news to me until Tara Guérard of Soirée turned me on to the place a while ago. What caught both of our eyes? It’s a private estate, sans standing house but with ruins (old brick chimney, entry stairs, etc.), stunning live oaks, gorgeous lawns reaching to the Ashley River, and ample room for a dreamy open-air reception. The 180-acre spot is about a mile from Magnolia Plantation but under-the-radar enough that you might have unknowingly passed it for years. If you’re looking for a secluded spot for your wedding, don’t miss checking this one out.

Old Santee Canal Park
We’ve started hearing from more brides who’ve said their “I do’s” at this Moncks Corner gem. Expect an 1800s restored home on a bluff overlooking the Cooper River, a waterfront dock, and a chic interpretive center (ripe for receptions) with a three-story wall of windows that peeks out over a marshy creek and lagoon. The miles of boardwalks and trails could easily double as lovers lanes…

Local Parks
You can’t beat the landscaping and ambiance at downtown parks, like Hampton Park, Washington Square, and White Point Gardens. There are some restrictions—as in you can hold a ceremony but not a reception at some—but given the majestic surroundings, you’d be well served to look into any of them. Check with the City of Charleston Parks and Recreation Department for details.

Beach Weddings
True to its devil-may-care old spirit, Folly Beach has the fewest restrictions on beach weddings. I love the Pelican’s Watch Shelter because it’s on the far south end of the Beach, where dunes and sea oats reign, and has a nice boardwalk to the beach. Plus you can book it for less than $500! Not bad at all. An alternative money-smart option is to rent a beachfront house, where you could stay, have a rehearsal dinner at one of the nearby dining spots, then host the reception, too. Last, but definitely not least, the Tides Folly Beach is great full-service, newly renovated waterfront hotel with a tremendous restaurant—Blu. Surfside ceremony or stately one, they can accommodate either.

Lowcountry Park Venues
This great group runs three locations: The Legare Waring House at Charlestowne Landing; Founders Hall there, too; and the Cooper River Room at the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Now, I’ve long been smitten with the first of their charges, but am newly in love with the other two. Founders Hall is chic, sleek, and includes a grand meeting room, extensive porch area with a massive stone fireplace, neatly trimmed lawn, courtyard patio, and library-lounge. If your mood is mod, it’s perfect for you. And last? The Cooper River Room sits right in the shadow of the Ravenel Bridge, and offers that perfect pairing of covered and open-air areas. Say your vows on the lawn there and you look out across the marsh, up at the bridge “diamonds,” and over the water. Talk about big-impact for a Big Day!

Want to find tons more venues? Check out our vendor directory here.

Tue, 11/16/2010