A Comprehensive Guide to Planning Your Dream South Carolina Beach Wedding
For many people, it is a dream come true to hold their wedding ceremony on the pristine beaches of South Carolina. With the gentle rolling of the surf, the smooth caress of the ocean breeze and silky sand in between your toes, it is no wonder so many brides and grooms long to have a sweet ceremony with the ocean as a witness. Here are some of the things you need to think of if you want to get married in a South Carolina beach resort.
Getting a South Carolina Marriage License
- The first priority is to get a South Carolina marriage license for both you and your future spouse. In order to obtain one, you must appear together at the office of a South Carolina probate judge. You will have to provide the following requirements to be issued a marriage license:
- A fully completed application for a South Carolina marriage license that contains both your personal details.
- Provide any valid identification card issued by the government like your driver’s license or passport.
- It is time to look for your Social Security card, and if you cannot find it apply for a new social security card, so you can present this with your application.
- Pay the fee, which varies depending on the county you will be holding the wedding in. Note that South Carolina has 46 counties, which is the maximum allowable by state law.
- Fret not because both residents and non-residents are allowed to obtain a South Carolina marriage license. Just be sure to present all the aforementioned requirements, especially your identification and new Social Security card.
It is important to note that you must use your license in the state within six months of the issuance date. On top of that, you must also have a qualified officiant who will preside over your wedding ceremony. Then you must sign the marriage contract and return it to a probate judge within a six-month period. The following people listed hereunder are considered as qualified officiants in the state of South Carolina:
- Jewish rabbi
- Ministers of the Gospel
- The chieftain or spiritual leader of a North American Indian community must be recognized as authentic and legal by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs.
Weather plays a huge role in outdoor weddings, because rain can literally dampen and destroy your best-laid plans. South Carolina is on par with the national trend of having more popular wedding celebrations during the autumn season. Spring weddings come next, trailed by summer, with winter being the least popular. Remember that South Carolina goes through the four seasons in varying degrees.
This state’s climate is categorized as humid subtropical, which means that it has very hot, humid summers and milder winter conditions. South Carolina receives a lot of rainfall each year. The heaviest rains and thunderstorms occur during the spring and summer months. The state receives a few major severe weather disturbances every year, with hurricanes and tornadoes topping the list.
Drier, cooler weather during the fall makes it the most popular season for couples who choose to get married on a South Carolina beach. If you do your ceremony here, you can anticipate having crisp pleasant days, cool evenings and an abundance of spectacular vistas, particularly near the mountainous area with colorful fall foliage.
Events held during the other seasons can be affected by unpredictable weather. Make sure you check the weather forecast and the tides chart so that your beach wedding does not suffer due to unpleasant weather disturbances and unruly waves.
All About Timing It Right
South Carolina can become busy on certain dates, so you may want to avoid those to ensure that your guests are comfy and do not have any problems finding accommodations. Traffic can get pretty heavy and hotel room rates are jacked up in price during national holidays and long weekends. On top of that, there are South Carolina festivals and major events that you have to take into consideration when you are planning your beach wedding. These include:
- Carolina Cup in Camden during late March
- The Great Anderson County Fair in Anderson, which typically occurs in late April-early May
- South Carolina Strawberry Festival in Fort Mill happening early May
- Southern 500 in Darlington in early May
- Bike Week at Myrtle Beach during the middle of May
- South Carolina State Fair in Columbia during mid-October
Getting the Right People
Holding a beach wedding in South Carolina is no easy feat. You will need the help and support of a group of professionals who can turn your wedding dreams into a reality. To save on expenses, it is critical to find local vendors and suppliers to make your life easier. Here is a list of people you may need to plan your dreamy beach South Carolina wedding:
- A reputable local wedding planner
- Your chosen wedding ceremony and reception venue
- Bridal salons
- DJs or a music band
- The caterer if it doesn’t come with the venue
- Jeweler for your wedding bands
The only way you can have a successful wedding is if you plan ahead of time. For a destination wedding, meaning you and your spouse are not residents of the state, then planning may take even longer. It is important to note that popular wedding venues get booked fast. If you have your heart set on a date in a popular beach wedding location, you may need to pencil in your booking at least a year ahead of time.
Permits and Other Requirements for a South Carolina Wedding Venues
There are many popular beach venues in South Carolina, and everything hinges on where you envision yours happening. For outdoor locations like the beach, you will most likely need to secure special permits for your ceremony and reception. If you intend to incorporate special displays like fireworks, then those also need special permits. The key is to work with your wedding planner to ensure that all the vendors are compliant with the municipal and state regulations.
To illustrate, here are two top venues in South Carolina and their corresponding requirements. Take a look at Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County and Folly Beach in Charleston County.
Hilton Head Island
This is a popular golf destination that is family-friendly. They have many well-kept beaches for the wedding of your dreams. Ceremonies are allowed on the beach with the proper permit. It is important to note that this particular permit must be completed 30 days before your big day.
This is popularly known as the “edge of America” and is the perfect venue for a beach wedding. It is a short drive from the downtown area of Charleston, so you and your guests can enjoy both the charm of the island and the peninsula. There’s no charge to get married on Folly Beach, but a permit is necessary for a wedding of more than 25 people. Apply at least two weeks ahead through the city of Folly Beach website.
Folly Beach has many restrictions. You are allowed to have a ceremony there but not a reception. Any decorations, like tents, arches or pulpits that are used must be removed after the ceremony and not later than sundown or when the tide can get to them. The wedding must not interfere with lifeguard duties and must be far from a public access and beach patrol path. Glass containers, tiki torches, fireworks, loud music and thrown birdseed, flower petals and rice are a no-no. Motorized vehicles are also not allowed. The ceremony cannot take place anywhere near the sand dunes.
As you can see, in order to have a successful wedding on any South Carolina beach, you will have to adhere to specific rules and regulations of where the ceremony and reception will take place. Before fully committing to any site, thoroughly check all the restrictions and do your research to ensure that you can have your perfect wedding on the beach in South Carolina.
Myrtle Beach at dusk with skywheel courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach, and Hilton Head at sunset courtesy of Discover South Carolina.