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Charleston Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning makes perfect.

By: Charleston Convention & Visitor's Bureau Wedding Guide

Our love list for Charleston goes on for miles and miles. From iconic portrait spots and unique venues to artful confections and endless activities – the Holy City is the ideal destination wedding getaway. Known as the South’s Best City 2018 by Southern Living and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best 2017 Top City in the US and Canada, your guests will swoon when they receive your save the date. Selecting the Charleston area for your wedding locale is like asking your best friends to join you on the vacation of a lifetime.

Whether you’re planning an intimate fete or lavish soiree, the Lowcountry has it all. A centuries-old church sanctuary, an avenue of ancient oak trees, a storied ballroom, historic mansion “I do’s,” or waterside nuptials at sunset… where do you want your special day to take place? In Charleston, the options are both enchanting and endless.

We’ve designed a seamless twelve-month itinerary to inspire and jump-start your planning, staying on schedule is a breeze with our destination to-do checklist. From intimate mid-week elopements to full-scale weekend celebrations, it’s always the perfect time to say “I do” in Charleston, South Carolina.

10-12 Months

Whether you’re crafting your vows from scratch or staying true to the order of your faith, your ceremony should express the love you have for each one another and the values you hold most dear. From moss draped oaks and sunlit sand dunes, to historic spiral staircases and piazzas overlooking the harbor, this is the beginning of your love story. Once you’ve settled on a date, it’s time to reserve the setting that launches your lifetime. Compile your guest list, choose your ceremony officiant, and start planning the wedding of your dreams! Need a little help? Hire a professional Charleston planner; they’ll handle everything from the smallest details to day-of coordination, flawlessly.

  • Set a wedding date
  • Set budget
  • Hire wedding coordinator, if desired
  • Reserve ceremony and reception sites
  • Research photographers, bands, caterers, florists, rentals, officiants, etc.
  • Book your officiant
  • Compile guest list, and organize addresses
  • Choose a color scheme

6-8 Months

Few moments have the power to stun on sight; your way down the aisle will be one of them. From classic silhouettes reimagined with peekaboo panels to timeless tea-length hems, find your runway worthy design in Charleston. Indulge in the collective gasp when you appear in your dream gown accompanied by strolling violinists and a bridal party clad in fashion forward floral with bouquets to match; every moment captured by your personal paparazzi. Accommodations for your out of town guests are only a click away, giving you more time to envision your epic celebration from passed hors d’oeuvres and craft cocktails to the classical piece used to introduce your first dance.

  • Choose your bridal party and attire
  • Shop for a dress, shoes and accessories
  • Book hotel rooms or reserve a block of rooms for out of town guests
  • Reserve music for ceremony and reception
  • Select your photographer and videographer
  • Book a florist
  • Envision reception food
  • Order wedding cake
  • Register for gifts
  • Contact rental companies for chairs, tables, tent, etc.
  • Send save the date cards, if using

4-6 Months

Calligraphy to letterpress, understated to embellished, deliver your guests an unforgettable first impression with a stationary suite inspired by your wedding day aesthetic. Add Lowcountry touches to your reception with locally crafted favors, Southern sourced sercys, and curated in room welcome baskets. A horse-drawn carriage, a sleek Rolls Royce, a party bus, or a bicycle built for two? Whether you want a unique getaway, or a fun way to give your wedding party a lift, there are plenty of options for transportation in Charleston. Boho beach waves, a side swept bun, classic red lips, smoky slate shadow, and dewy fresh foundation with a floral crown, bridal portrait and day-of look trials are a part of the fun. Relax, sip on some champagne, and behold your wedding day reflection come to life.

  • Order your wedding stationary
  • Secure your transportation
  • Book a hotel room for day of prep and wedding night
  • Reserve any rentals needed for ceremony and reception
  • Book the rehearsal dinner venue
  • Book your honeymoon
  • Hire a hair stylist and makeup artist and reserve trials
  • Order bridesmaids dresses

2-4 Months

  • Have bridal portraits taken
  • Discuss details of menu with hotel or caterer
  • Select and prepare your ceremony service with officiant
  • Schedule the rehearsal time
  • Mail our your invitations
  • Shop for wedding rings
  • Rent the men’s formalwear
  • Purchase gifts for parents, attendants and each other

1-2 Months

  • Buy a guest book
  • Obtain your marriage license
  • Dress fitting with veil, shoes and accessories
  • Confirm final guest count with vendors
  • Prepare a seating plan
  • Prepare toasts for rehearsal dinner and wedding reception
  • Make last minute adjustments with vendors
  • Create a wedding program to hand out to guests
  • Order and plan in room welcome baskets for out of town guests
  • Pre plan for attendants to take bride’s gown for cleaning and return groom’s rental tux

1-2 Weeks

  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response
  • Prepare tip and payment envelopes for officiant and vendors
  • Deliver welcome baskets to hotel concierge

Almost everything on your checklist can be done through Wild Dunes, Charleston’s Island Resort. Choose from an array of charming and picturesque ceremony and reception venues, including those with views of the pristine Isle of Palms shores. With expert help from our Events and Catering team, who work with top-notch Charleston area wedding vendors, you can enjoy a stress free event knowing that everything will be flawless. 


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