Charleston, South Carolina, is close to the top of the list when it comes to great places for outdoor weddings, and believe it or not, you can enjoy a Charleston outdoor wedding even in the middle of the winter, thanks to the near-perfect subtropical climate!
Southern hospitality mixed with some serious refinement define the city’s vibe, as such, outdoor venues range from laid-back beach cottage options like the Cottages on Charleston Harbor to serious world-class luxury at Cannon Green.
If you’ve just started planning your event, you might have a few questions, like how much the whole thing is going to cost?! Well, the average couple in the United States spends around $28,000 on their nuptials, but most couples spend about $26,318 to get hitched in Charleston.
Here are our picks for the 11 best outdoor wedding venues in Charleston…
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island
Kiawah Island is a world-class beach and destination wedding venue in Charleston. Couples from around the nation come to get hitched at one of the venue’s many dramatic event sites, including some super special options where you can tie the knot with the Atlantic ocean murmuring in the background.
The resort has tons to offer your guests, including access to activities such as golf and tennis, and it’s only about a 40-minute drive from Charleston, giving your invitees more entertainment and dining options.
Ocean Course Lawn is up there in the international big leagues when it comes to dramatic beachfront wedding sites. On one side, you’ll see the perfectly manicured 18th hole of the golf course where the 2012 PGA championships were played and, on the other, the shifting gray waves of the unending Atlantic ocean.
Mingo Point, on the banks of the Kiawah River, provides a rustic outdoor option for your reception with a bonfire pit and open-sided wooden rain shelter.
The venue also offers a seaside micro-wedding package for parties smaller than 20 people.
Price Range: $2,500 –$12,000.
Capacity: 300 guests.
103 Spring Street
Cannon Green, located in the heart of historic Charleston, is a dedicated, luxurious event space with plenty of outdoor options.
The venue has even made the pages of Brides Magazine thanks to its on-point mix of outstanding event spaces and service — yep, it’s that good!
Best of all, the venue also has indoor-outdoor spaces, so you can have that outdoor event without having to come up with rain plans.
The Cannon Green Courtyard has a gorgeous portico that rises above an enclosed site ideal for receptions — we’re talking pools and palmettos galore. The space is so gorgeous a simple fabric canopy gives it flair, and the living wall overflowing with plants adds a touch of manicured natural elegance to the space.
Access to the courtyard is included if you rent The Trolly Room, an open, airy event space with hardwood floors — the room opens directly onto the Cannon Green Courtyard.
Price Range: Starting at $34,634.
Capacity: 250 guests.
Legare Waring House
1500 Old Towne Road
No list of the best outdoor wedding venues in Charleston would be complete without the Legare Waring House.
This gorgeous Colonial Revival house from the 1840s features an alley of weeping oaks that forms a stunning backdrop for a romantic, outdoor, traditional southern wedding.
While the oaks are the uncontested stars of the show here, the grounds also have hundreds of azaleas, blooming flowers, and even freshwater lagoons for you to get married on the banks of!
Venue rental includes both the house and grounds, so you’re safe in case of inclement weather. And there’s room for all members of the wedding party to change on-site in well-appointed rooms with warm hardwood floors and charming southern decorative touches such as built-in wooden window blinds.
Price Range: $5,000 – $ 8,000.
Capacity: 200 guests.
Lowndes Grove Plantation
266 Saint Margaret Street
Lowndes Grove Plantation provides a setting for a traditional southern wedding that’s right out of a Hollywood movie set.
Located right on the banks of the Ashley River in central Charleston is the perfect choice for a traditional outdoor plantation wedding.
Set on 14 acres, you’ll love the venue’s graceful oak trees and stunning views of the river. The main house was originally built in 1768, and the interior even has Revolutionary Era furnishings.
Getting married under the oaks with the Ashley River in the background is the main attraction of the plantation, and the grove has large gray paving stones that make it possible to erect a tent in case of inclement weather or set up tables for an outdoor reception by the water.
What’s more, the patio, with a view of the mansion, river, and oak groves, has plenty of space for cocktail receptions or more formal dinners.
Price Range: $3,500 – $12,500.
Capacity: 500 guests.
The Cedar Room
701 East Bay Street
The Cedar Room is a dedicated event venue located in an old Charleston cigar factory. Full of ambiance, the building dates from 1881 but has been upgraded, making it the ideal place for a traditional wedding with a touch of updated glamor.
The venue’s courtyard is a popular place for couples to exchange vows. This semi-enclosed space features red bricks and green climbing shrubs that provide a modern fairytale background for your vows or reception.
And just in case it rains, you can always head inside the Cedar Room with its distressed and exposed brick walls highlighted by sleek modern lighting.
Price Range: $3,500 – $7,500.
Capacity: 550 guests.
The Cottages on Charleston Harbor
16 Patriots Point Road
While the Cottages on Charleston Harbor are across the water in Mount Pleasant, this gorgeous beachfront venue is less than 15 minutes from the heart of the city.
The setting is the main attraction here, as most couples choose to tie the knot oceanside at the resort’s open-air event location overlooking the slate-gray Atlantic Ocean. It’s the perfect venue for a laid-back yet elegant waterfront soiree.
After it’s official, the venue can set up an outdoor wooden dance floor close to the beach and you and your guests can dance the night away under the stars.
The resort also has tons of cottages available if you’re looking for indoor space for a dinner or elegant reception. Events by Good Food, the venue’s preferred caterer, offers yummy catering options such as bespoke tacos and upscale pork chops.
Price Range: $1,500 – $2,500.
Capacity: 125 guests.
William Aiken House
456 King Street
William Aiken House, dating from 1807, is a historic landmark and a popular location for elegant, formal outdoor ceremonies.
Both Brides Magazine and Martha Stewart Weddings have raved about the venue and it’s not difficult to see why!
The gorgeous yellow brick exterior of this urban mansion is set off by bold white windows and doors. The interior of the venue features formal dining rooms and old-fashioned parlors, all highlighted by stunning art and luxurious period furnishings.
The site has acres of manicured outdoor space for ceremonies and other events. Popular spots for an outdoor wedding include under the hundred-year-old magnolia tree in the courtyard and in front of the white pergola.
Bright and open, the courtyards are ideal places for receptions and sit-down dinners as well. Rental includes the use of the venue’s indoor spaces, making this a great option if you’re concerned about showers.
Price Range: $2,500 – 8,000.
Capacity: 500 guests.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
3550 Ashley River Road
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, located on the banks of the Ashley River, has more than 150 acres of beautiful landscape.
The gardens have been around since the 1880s, and the plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Between the beautiful outdoor setting and the grandeur of the plantation house and manicured gardens, it’s a wonderful option for an elegant outdoor wedding.
The venue has several outdoor sites for ceremonies, including the covered Live Oak Pavilion featuring outstanding views of the main house and lawn.
Or choose to get married on the Long White Bridge Lawn and hold your reception on the white veranda overlooking the venue’s gorgeous gardens.
Maybe you’d even like to treat your guests to dinner and dancing on the Tropical Conservatory’s teak outdoor deck!
Price Range: $$3,000 to $6,500.
Capacity: 350 guests.
The Gadsden House
329 East Bay Street
The Gadsden House is a Federal Style mansion dripping with atmosphere, southern style, and plenty of history.
Christopher Gadsden, a Revolutionary War hero, had the home built in 1798. The renovated red brick structure features a dramatic second-floor balcony, and from inside, you have breathtaking views of the palmetto-dotted courtyard.
The home has three interior courtyards where you can exchange vows, surrounded by Crepe Myrtles and Magnolia trees.
If you’d like to have drinks or a reception in one of the courtyards, the venue offers custom tenting to help you jazz up the space and stay dry, just in case there’s rain.
Or you can host an outdoor reception on one of the home’s many covered piazzas with decorative gas lanterns and gorgeous views of the Cooper River.
Price Range: $2,000 – $7,500.
Capacity: 300 guests.
The Historic Rice Mill
17 Lockwood Drive
Set on the banks of the Ashley River, this former rice mill is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a historic site with unparalleled views of nature for a wedding right on the water.
The building was built in the late 19th century after the previous mill burned down. The completely renovated space features tons of architectural delights, such as exposed brick walls and polished hardwood floors.
Choose the outdoor waterfront patio for unmatched views of a natural marsh and the local harbor, or opt for something a bit more traditional and get married under the mill’s old-growth oak trees.
The venue’s interior event space has a room for a sit-down dinner and features a connected bar where your guests can dance the night away in style.
Price Range: $1,500 – $5,500.
Capacity: 300 guests.
Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
20 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant
The Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina is a well-appointed, modern event venue right on the banks of the Cooper River, just across the water from the historic part of Charleston.
The resort offers great views of Fort Sumter, the USS Yorktown, and Charleston Harbor. It’s a fantastic choice for a relaxed modern wedding set amid South Carolina’s low country beauty.
Harborside Beach is a popular spot for outdoor ceremonies and receptions – get married with the sand between your toes, and then treat your guests to a fun reception centered around the resort’s tiki bar.
Lookout Pavilion offers stunning views of downtown Charleston and space for up to 350 seated guests in this gorgeous covered outdoor pavilion perfect for more formal receptions.
Price Range: $1,500 – $7,500
Capacity: up to 1,900 guests.