Planning an Outdoor Charleston Wedding

An outdoor wedding at a Charleston plantation or the beach can be a magical and romantic night for you and your guests. No matter what type of Charleston, South Carolina venue you have picked out, these are the 7 tips to keep in mind so that your wedding will be truly unforgettable.

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1. Talk with Your Wedding Vendors
Discuss the outdoor setting with each of your wedding vendors. The most experienced wedding professionals in the industry know how to advise you on proper equipment, scheduling out the day-of timeline and may offer insight on coming up with a great backup weather plan as well. 
Especially important, make sure to talk with either the photographer you've booked about what the sun will be like during your ceremony. Facing one direction vs. another may mean having harsh shadows across your face, terrible sun flare, or squinty eyes in a vast majority if not all of your pictures. Taking the time to consult a photographer that knows your venue will drastically improve your photos!
Also, don't forget to consider the time of the day that you plan to start the ceremony. If you're wanting family photos and couple photos after your ceremony, make sure that you're ceremony isn't going to be too late for that time of year. For example, if your wedding is in late October, the sun sets in Charleston, SC at 6:30, having you're 20-minute ceremony at 6pm means you probably won't get any good outdoor shots afterward.

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2. Look for Shade
This is especially important for outdoor weddings during peak summer months. Shaded areas with a decent amount of tree cover will allow your guests to feel comfortable during the ceremony and reception. Plus, the shade will keep harsh sunlight from creating unflattering shadows and squinty eyes in all your photos.

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3. Have a Backup Plan
No matter what time of year you'll be celebrating your wedding, there's always a chance that nature may not cooperate. If you're planning an outdoor wedding, have a rain plan in place. A great secondary choice to stay outside may be a tent or a cover porch.

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4. Dress Accordingly
If you're planning a fall or winter wedding but love tea-length or strapless dresses, you may want to consider other options or provide pashminas or mink shawls. The same is true for summer: avoid long-sleeved dresses and heavy materials. Charleston humidity is no joke. 

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5. Offer Pre-Ceremony Refreshments
An essential for an outdoor wedding is serving plenty of water at drinking stations. Set up a few refreshment tables and make sure these are easily accessible (not directly next to the bar) so guests have a few places they can go to stay hydrated. In addition to water, ice-cold beverages like lemonade or iced tea are perfect summer drinks. If you want to add a twist of fun, serve a signature cocktail. 

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6. Prepare for Glare
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to throw on a hat and sunglasses when the sun gets strong. It will be a long, hot day, so make sure you keep powder on hand for touching up your makeup to prevent extra shine in your photos. Remember, photographs will be taken of you continuously throughout the day, so you want to stay prepared. 

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7. Keep the Bugs Away
If your venue allows, you may consider having a professional company come and spray the area the day beforehand to keep any pests at bay. As another option, keeping individual containers of bug spray on hand at the venue may also be a smart idea. If your ceremony is near the marsh be sure to check the tides, bugs are more prevalent at low tide. 

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