UPDATED for 2017!
Before you find your wedding photographer (or plan much of your wedding at all), you should be the lookout for your favorite wedding venue! The venue sets the tone for your whole wedding – will it be rustic, elegant, modern, glamorous? – and may inform many of the decisions you make about attire, decor, and even how many guests you will invite.
So to put it simply, the venue is probably the biggest decision you will make when it comes to wedding planning (after who you’re getting married to, of course. 😉 )
There are so many wonderful venues in upstate South Carolina, so I’ve compiled a quick list of my favorites to help you get started in your search for the perfect backdrop for your “I do”s.
A few caveats before we get started:
1) These are my personal favorite spots to shoot as a photographer; I couldn’t review a venue without having tried it out firsthand! There are a lot of other great venues out there that I hope to try in the future, but for now the list is limited to the places I’ve experienced!
2) The list is a bit biased toward the outdoorsy and rustic… that’s just my personal taste, but I’ve tried to include a few indoors and more elegant options as well.
With that out of the way… here are my seven favorite venues to shoot at in and around Greenville!
Cokesbury College (Greenwood, SC)
I really, really have a soft spot for this venue. It’s so historic and elegant! Cokesbury is a historic women’s college which has been restored and now has a new life as a wedding venue and event site. Even so, it still feels like a relic from the past. Being on the property feels a little bit like being in a fairytale. (And between you and me, the cost for renting the space is a steal!) Note: I have only seen ceremonies done here, but nearby Greenwood offers several excellent options for reception spaces.
Here are a few examples of full weddings we’ve shot at Cokesbury:
Falls Cottage / Mary’s (Greenville, SC)
This is THE intimate wedding venue in Greenville, in my opinion. The view of Falls Park is great, the food is delicious, and the space is cozy without feeling crowded. If you are looking for a small, laid back wedding space that doesn’t need a ton of extra decoration, this might be the place for you. Make sure to check for any events that will be going on in the park… whether to avoid them or plan for them purposefully!
For an example of a wedding at Falls Cottage, take a look at Christina and Jon’s fall wedding.
The Loom (Simpsonville, SC)
Favorite indoor ceremony site, hands down. Why? SO. MANY. WINDOWS. Window light is incredibly flattering and makes my job insanely easy. The Loom is a great spot for those who want a little bit of a rustic feel to their wedding, thanks to the beautiful wood elements in the space, but want to avoid the dangers of outdoor weddings (heat… rain… guests who don’t like the outdoors as much as you do…)
Viewpoint at Buckhorn Creek (Greenville, SC)
Viewpoint at Buckhorn is my absolute favorite rustic wedding venue in the Greenville area. It’s nestled in the woods near Paris Mountain, and is a home-turned-wedding venue with tons of rustic charm. One thing I love about the space is how many separate little areas it contains, allowing you to customize the flow of your day just how you want it.
Here are a few examples of full weddings we’ve shot at Viewpoint at Buckhorn:
The Gassaway Mansion (Greenville, SC)
Okay, we’ve included a lot of rustic and quirky venues on this list, but maybe you want something a little more polished. Look no further than the Gassaway Mansion, a historic home with tons of style. This is perfect for a vintage themed wedding (perhaps ’20s, to match the home’s aesthetic), or more glamorous affairs. But, you can also take it more ethereal and rustic by decorating the tented area outside for an outdoor wedding.
The Westin Poinsett Hotel (Greenville, SC)
Continuing with the theme of elegant historic venues, no Greenville venue list would be complete without mentioning one of the most unique buildings in the upstate – the Westin Poinsett hotel! Built in the 1920s, the Westin has two stunning ballrooms in which to host your ceremony and/or reception. It’s also a great place to stay if you have a lot of guests coming from out of town. Plus, you just might get an opportunity to take some photos on the roof!
Lauren and Cody held their reception at the Westin Poinsett, as well as bridal prep.
Clevedale Inn (Spartanburg, SC)
Rounding out the list is a hidden gem of a venue from my neck of the woods – the Clevedale Inn. We had no idea this venue was only minutes from our house until we shot our first wedding there in April, but we were blown away by the beauty and romance that the inn has to offer! If you are looking for a garden party vibe, this is your place. The Inn has so many different options of ceremony spaces on its beautiful grounds that no two weddings there will look alike – but they will all be beautiful!
See photos from Aarika and Joe’s wedding at Clevedale Inn.
There you have it… my short list for the most photogenic venues in the upstate! Give these venues a look – maybe one is the perfect backdrop for your big day!