According to residents of South Carolina, they’ve got all the best beaches right at their doorstep. From Myrtle Beach in the north, historic Charleston in the center, and the resort islands in the Lowcountry, you’re sure to find a beach for your wedding here.
South Carolina’s coast (all 187 miles of it) is mostly flat and made up of islands, bays, inlets and marshes. Not to mention the miles of white sandy beaches that offer breathtaking views and a serene experience. The marshes and streams attract numerous birds and the trees are covered in Spanish Moss. By night this romantic setting takes on a new appeal with the moonlight adding some sparkle and mystery to it all.
Yet even in this setting, you’re never too far from world-class facilities to help you create a polished and elegant wedding experience.
The barrier islands that form a chain along the US East Coast continue here, most of which have been developed as resort islands with award-winning facilities. You can choose from those with a sense of private appeal right through to Hilton Head Island, which has its own airport.
Or if history is your thing, you could combine a wedding at Folly Beach with a reception at one of Charleston’s historic locales, or try the historic town of Beaufort instead.
Most Popular Beaches
Beaufort - Facing the Beaufort Inlet and protected from the sea by the arms of the Southern Outer Banks is the historic port town of Beaufort. Retaining the charm of its early days with 18th century homes still standing, gleaming white, on the waterfront.
Edisto Beach State Park - Quiet and relaxed, Edisto Beach State Park is for those who want to connect with nature – the excellent beaches, the views, the salt marsh, the oaks and palmetto trees, the all-round beautiful scenery.
Folly Beach - Calm and relaxed, Folly Beach is arguably the best beach in South Carolina. Known as “the edge of America” Folly Beach is a seven-mile long barrier reef located just eight miles south of Charleston — the closest beach to the city and an option for a reception venue. There’s also a lighthouse and fishing pier for photo opportunities!
Fripp Island - Fripp Island, the most seaward of the barrier islands, is just 18 miles east of Beaufort and one hour from Savanna/Hilton Head International Airport. Thismajestic 3000-acre island was once a popular oasis for world explorers and a quiet retreat for pirates. With fewer tourists than most places, you’ll be able to exchange your vows in private, though at the same time the island also offers excellent resorts and facilities.
Hilton Head Island - For a wedding with a romantic getaway feel, try one the beautiful beaches on Hilton Head Island – with 12 miles of beachfront, there’s plenty to choose from. Hilton Head Island offers a perfect romantic setting for a memorable wedding ceremony, and the island has great facilities for all your wedding needs. To make things easier, it also has its own airport.
Hunting Island State Park - The four-mile long island reserve is a popular state park with more than one million visitors each year. Located near historic Beaufort, Hunting Island State Park is a natural paradise where you can enjoy the serenity of nature. The Hunting Island Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in the state open to the public.
Isle of Palms - An exquisite barrier island near Charlestown, it is quite urbanized but no less breathtaking. A fantastic pier (great for photos) expands into the Atlantic, waves crashing below. There are miles of oceanfront, and the Wild Dunes Resort with excellent facilities right near the water.
Kiawah Island - With ten miles of undisturbed Atlantic beachfront and five golf courses, Kiawah Island is a popular tourist spot. Only 21 miles from historic Charleston, much of Kiawah Island is privately owned, but Beachwalker Park is open to the public.
Myrtle Beach State Park - A wide sandy beach, a fishing pier perfect for wedding photos in the sunset, and one of the last stands of oceanfront maritime forests. All right in the heart of Grand Strand, one of America’s most popular vacation destinations.
Seabrook Island - Only 23 miles from historic Charleston Seabrook Island offers a serene setting combined with the island's natural wildlife. Seabrook offers 2,200 acres of lush forest, beautiful salt marshes, pristine sand dunes and remote beaches. The best beaches for a wedding are Pelican Beach, at the south and adjacent to Seabrook Island’s beach club facilities, or North Beach, one of the widest beaches in South Carolina that captures the privacy you want for your wedding day.
Travel & Transportation (airports, ferries, etc). How to get there. - You have a few options for flying to the South Carolina coast. In the north is Myrtle Beach International Airport, in the central area is Charleston International Airport, and if you want to access the south of the coast, where most of the islands are, you can fly to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which lies on the Georgia border.
Entry Requirements; passports, visa, etc. - If you are from Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand you do not require a visa to enter the US. You only need a valid passport and proof of ongoing or return travel as long as your stay does not exceed 90 days. Citizens of other countries will require a visa. Note that the US government administers a strict entry regime. If in doubt, you should contact your nearest US embassy or consulate about your specific circumstances.
Languages Spoken / official language - The official language is English.
Currency - The official currency is the US dollar.
Tipping - In the US, most waiters and bartenders are paid below minimum wage, as they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. So if you’re in the US, you really should tip. A good rule of thumb is to tip 15 percent of the food bill to the waiter, and if the alcohol consumption has been substantial, split that part of the tip between the waiter and the bartender (if there is one). Always remember to pay the tip in cash directly to the person who has provided you with the service. Of course, if you think the service was terrible then you shouldn’t tip. For large groups, check your bill first as sometimes the tip is added automatically.
Taxes - In the US, sales tax is applied to retail goods at the point of sale. There are also airport taxes, however generally these are paid along with the purchase of your airline ticket.
Electricity - The electrical systems in most residential and commercial sites in the US use 120V and 60Hz. The electrical plug in use is known as the Type A electrical plug, which has two flat parallel prongs.
Immunizations or Health Concerns - All travellers going overseas should be up-to-date with their routine vaccinations, which are usually given to babies and children, with some boosters given in adult life. Adults should have had a Tetanus booster in the last 10 years and consider having an Influenza vaccination if they have not had one in the past year.
Marriage Requirements, Licenses & Wedding Information
As state and county marriage license requirements often change, it’s important that you verify all information with a local marriage license office or County Clerk before confirming your wedding or travel plans.
Currently the Following Applies:
- You do not have to be a resident of South Carolina to get married there.
- You need to apply for a marriage license from a County Clerk.
- You will need to show your drivers license, voter registration card, birth certificate or passport and social security card (US citizens).
- The license fee varies between counties. Cash is required in most counties.
- There is a 24-hour waiting period.
- Once a marriage license is issued, there is no expiry date.
- Proof of divorce is not needed.
- If you are under 18, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate and a notarized statement of parental consent. The parent or legal guardian has to appear at the same time as the minor to show their identification and to sign the parental consent form.
- Same-sex marriage is not permitted.
- Marriage ceremonies can be performed by and licensed or ordained Clergy and Justices of the Peace.
Requirements for a Beach Wedding:
- You might need a special permit to hold your wedding on a beach or other public space if it is part of a State Park. For information visit http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/
Tourism Office Information
SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Other South Carolina Related Websites
Climate Information & the Best Time to Travel
South Carolina’s climate is subtropical, with hot and humid summers and generally mild winters. Average daily temperatures at the coast are around 80°F in summer and 50°F in winter (temperatures along the coast typically increase as you get further south). And importantly the South Carolina coast is particularly susceptible to hurricanes (think Hurricane Katrina in 2009) – the hurricane season runs from June through November. So a spring wedding is best for the South Carolina coast, or a mild winter’s day could also be lovely.
High & Low Season for Travel - In order to avoid storms and hurricanes, it’s best to plan your travel for December through May. Also keep in mind that December (Christmas time) and Spring Break are peak seasons for travel. You could also consider weekdays (Monday through Thursday), when you’ll find cheaper airfares and accommodation rates.
Map of South Carolina
Local Attractions & Must Do’s
A mix of history and natural beauty, the South Carolina coast and islands offer world-class golf courses, horse riding, fishing, boating – and Folly Beach, one of the best surfing destinations on the East Coast.
If you’re after nature, you can’t go past Bull Island and Seabrook Island. Part of the 62,000-acre Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Bull Island offers an exciting day trip for nature lovers, while Seabrook Islandhas 2,200 acres of lush forest, beautiful salt marshes and a pristine beach.
You’ll find places associated with the Civil War at many spots along the coast, in particular Beaufort, Bull Island, Folly Beach and Hunting Island. The Hunting Island Lighthouse (rebuilt in 1875 after being destroyed during the Civil War) is the only lighthouse in the state open to the public.
And of course everyone should visit the romantic city of Charleston with its beautiful architecture, rich history and Old South charm. From the engaging historic downtown district to a wide variety of beaches on the beautiful South Carolina islands, Charleston invites you to relax and enjoy.
Top 5 Most Popular Hotels
Luxury resorts abound on the South Carolina islands, most of which offer wedding packages. Here are some of our favorites. For more visit http://www.resortsandlodges.com/lodging/usa/south-carolina/index.html
Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort, Fripp Island - One of the most scenic places in South Carolina, the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort possesses all the amenities of a private club with world-class accommodations, including two golf courses.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Located on a beautiful barrier island just a few miles from historic Charleston lies Kiawah Island Golf Resort with its our award-winning oceanfront Sanctuary Hotel.
Litchfield Plantation, Pawleys Island - Bordering the water on Pawleys Island and 25 miles from Myrtle Beach, this historic inn is situated on a former Lowcountry plantation, with rice fields, marshes, ponds, and majestic oaks. It has been meticulously transformed into an exceptional inn and offers wedding packages.
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff Resort - Situated in the picturesque Lowcountry along the beautiful May River, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff Resort is the embodiment of all that is graceful, comforting and romantic about South Carolina. This peaceful retreat pampers with luxurious resort lodging accommodations, distinctive cuisine and stimulating adventure. Wedding packages are available.
Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms - In Charleston County, the Wild Dunes resort offers spectacular facilities set in even better scenery, right on the beach in the Isle of Palms. From elegant dinners to casual beach parties – and accommodation for you and all your guests – Wild Dunes is definitely worth a look.