When thinking about planning a wedding, most engaged couples envision mainly the fun parts. However planning your own wedding is a once in a lifetime experience and there is more to it than just choosing a romantic venue, the colors of your wedding flowers and what songs make the DJ list.

Most people have never planned a big event in their lives before and there’s a reason why wedding planners have become more and more popular over the years. Making all the choice and thinking about the smallest details can quickly become overwhelming and make wedding planning stressful and unenjoyable.

And what’s worse than not enjoying the whole process? After working in the wedding industry for a while now, we came up with 9 easy steps to ensure wedding planning will be a breeze.  

10 tips to plan Your Charleston Wedding

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Planning your own wedding isn't always fun and relaxing! Here are our tips to help you out.

In general, you can celebrate a dream wedding year round in Charleston. However, you might want to consider what time of the year works best for you and your wedding guests. There is a reason why the most popular wedding seasons are in spring and fall.



Tip 1: Get Wedding Insurance.

Yes, I get it. It’s probably the least exciting advice I give and you might not even have considered getting wedding insurance, yet it is worth considering. 2020 has shown us that unpredictable events can always occur and it’s nice to be covered.  



1. If you plan an outside wedding, you might want to avoid June or July unless you have an air-conditioned option as a backup for your guests. The humidity (especially in Charleston) can be bru-tal not only to your hair and makeup but also to your elderly guests.

2. June to November is hurricane season with quite regular occurrences of hurricanes in September and October the last years (including mandated evacuation orders). They are unpredictable and might upset your wedding plans.

3. Short but heavy rainfalls in summer are common. They usually disappear quickly and an indoor back-up plan might calm your nerves.

4. Keep an eye on the sunset time. I am a natural light photographer and love to shoot the main details when the sun is still up (details, decor and all the portraits). That’s why I recommend a walk-thru of your venue a year prior to your wedding to see the light throughout the day. This will help you select the perfect times and locations for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. It will al-so avoid planning in summer for a sunset ceremony only to find out that your winter wedding will be in pitch dark at the same time.

5. Wedding venues, especially those close to water or swamps attract mosquitos in the summer and close to sunset - usually right when your cocktail hour starts. Some venues spray their areas, how-ever make sure to provide enough bug spray for your guests just in case.

6. Remember — ANYTHING can happen!

Keep the seasons in mind

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Tip: Put up a pretty sign at the entrance of your ceremony location, letting people know you prefer a cell-phone free wedding. Also let your officiant announce before the processional to put away their cameras and devices during your ceremony.

I am pretty sure you’ve seen it before. The most gorgeous and romantic photograph of the bride and groom’s first kiss. But there is something really distracting on the right-hand side corner, immediately grabbing your eyes attention.

Uncle Bob perfectly documenting this important milestone moment from the second row with his new I-Pad covering part of the bride’s beautiful dress, blocking the faces and emotions of your guests. Not only is this frustrating for your photographer, trying to shoot around the obstacle but I am sure you much rather prefer high quality wedding photographs form a professional over crooked cell phone images from your relatives (no offense!).
A cell phone-free ceremony not only guarantees your family and friends will enjoy your moments without any distractions but will also avoid accidental calls or text messages interrupting your I do’s.

Consider a cell phone-free ceremony

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Most of my couples have family, friends and their bridal party coming from out of town to celebrate their wedding. The typical questions that pop up: What hotel should I book for them? How many rooms to we need to block?

Well, have you ever thought about renting an entire house instead? It feels much more personal and it’s a nice way to have everyone stay together. It also makes booking much easier and in some cases even cheaper. Find out more about Charleston’s most unique places for 2 up to 52 people.  

Surprise your family with a unique Accommodation

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I have to admit, when Martin and I got married in 2015 I had never heard of a first look. However, after shooting multiple weddings in the US, I am definitely a big fan. The first look between the bride and groom is now one of my favorite parts of a wedding day. Almost 90% of my couples chose to do a first look. Here’s why:


 • It’s the only alone time between bride and groom
 • It will calm your nerves
 • You will receive up to 40% more portraits of the two of you
 • The bulk of your portraits are done prior to your ceremony
       You get to enjoy more time with the people you love after the ceremony
 • Your bridal party will LOVE the first look timeline, I promise!


On the day of your wedding I will find a private and secluded location for you to enjoy this alone time together. Still not convinced? I am here to answer your questions!

Consider a first look

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Tip 1: There is nothing better than fresh flowers in your detail photographs. Ask your florist to provide loose ‘clippings’ of your wedding bouquet. It ties together your photographs through texture and col-or and will make your wedding story perfectly cohesive and powerful.  

Tip 2: About your wedding decor into your detail photographs — If you are using linen for your reception table consider adding an additional, smaller one to your rental order. They will make a beautiful backdrop for your invitations and details.

When I arrive at your bridal suite in the morning, I’ll start photographing your beautiful bridal details. Have all your details gathered in a box and ready to go before I arrive so I can start getting creative right away. 

Don’t forget about your bridal details

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You might think the preparation location is not a big deal. However, here’s where you’ll spend most of your morning there and take your first wedding photos. Think of it as the backdrop for your images, whether it’s your beautiful wedding details, the final touches of hair and makeup or the intimate photographs of your mom or your bridesmaids helping you into your dress.

I highly recommend choosing a spacious environment with lots of natural light and a similar vibe to your wedding so the images feel consistent.


Rent a beautiful location to get ready

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An engagement session is one of my favorite parts of the entire wedding experience. It’s the time where we have actually the chance to get to know each other better. You’ll experience how I shoot and pose you and get comfortable in front of the camera. Most of my couples haven’t been photographed together before.

In my experience, doing this time before the wedding makes a huge difference on how your wedding day flows and how comfortable you feel during shooting. Furthermore, engagement sessions are so much fun and a wonderful way to create stunning images as a newly engaged couple.


Take advantage of your engagement session

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Tip 2: To assure your family and bridal party is together for portrait photographs, tell them to be there 15 minutes before your portrait session is supposed to start.

Tip 1: Consider a Hair and Makeup trial run before your wedding. You can even combine this with a bridal portrait session.

Yes, please! A thoughtfully designed wedding timeline is another key factor for a relaxed wedding day and ensures sufficient time for portrait photographs. In the early stages of your wedding planning I work with you and your wedding planner to create a custom timeline including buffers around the important events.

Things like delayed hair and makeup or a groom desperately searching for a ‘how to tie a bowtie tuto-rial’ on Google can affect the timeline drastically. Want to start planning your wedding day and have no idea where to start? 

Commit to a realistic wedding day timeline

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For sure, the second most important question, after the actual “Will you marry me” is — Where should we get married? Maybe you already have your dream location in mind – maybe you’re still searching for that special spot. Nevertheless, my biggest advice, if Charleston is the location of your dreams — Do your research and book early.

In my experience, popular Charleston wedding venues are often booked as early as two years in advance, especially during spring and fall.
Also make sure to do you homework about the venues’ guidelines and what’s included in your pack-age to avoid unpleasant surprises. For example, some Charleston wedding venues include the rent-als or require you to book their in-house catering services while other venues just provide the actual site.



Go for the venue you’ve always dreamed of

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Hiring a wedding planner is my number one tip for a stress-free wedding experience. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime event and a talented planner can take your vision, enhance it and make it reality. I work closely with your wedding planner, from the booking through the entire wedding day.

While the wedding planner manages the day’s details, I “focus” on creating stunning wedding photographs. I work with Charleston’s best, including experienced, talented, creative wedding planner friends.

Hire a skilled and experienced wedding planner

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