South Carolina-Charleston

River House, Small Venues, and Vendor Recs Needed

Hi ladies,

My hubby and I were married back in May of 2008 and are thinking about doing a vow renewal and reception next fall (October or November) to celebrate our 5th anniversary. We've made it through a couple of tough years and think it's worth celebrating. It's going to be a small affair, no more than 50 people and our budget will be small (we spent $6500 on our original wedding, so we're looking at $3k to $4k this time. I know...yeah right!).

I'm looking for ideas in Charleston. I was almost sold about having in St. Augustine, FL since I have strong family connections there, but then I started thinking about Charleston. I went to college there (Go Cougars!) and my hubby is a big fan of the area after working there for a few months.

Does anyone have any ideas about the River House? I know it's going to be more expensive than some places...but what other costs are associated with the place? I saw the website with the food costs, but couldn't find anymore info on what's included (or what's not).

Also, I've seen several mentions on here about the Conferderate Home. Has anyone had a wedding and a reception there? I really like the outdoors idea for a reception, so I've made my mind up about going to a restaurant or something similar. Does anyone know of a restaurant in downtown that has both indoor and outdoor space?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also any suggestions for a photographer? We would need limited coverage I suspect, so someone with a la carte pricing would be best. We gravitate towards a more modern vintage style. I really love Juliet Elizabeth's style but I have a feeling she's out of our range. I saw Reese Moore show up a lot on The Wedding Row blog and she only charges $950 for two hours. Any experience with her?

Also any hints on wedding coordinators? I planned my original wedding myself and would be very involved this time around, so I'm looking for someone to be on the ground staying behind vendors and such.

Thanks in advance and best of luck to you all with planning!

Re: River House, Small Venues, and Vendor Recs Needed

  • katydid2014katydid2014 member
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited May 2012
    Honestly, you are going to be extremely hard-pressed to plan what you want for 50 people with only 3-4k unless you are extremely creative and flexible and cut out a lot of the wedding "extras".  We had our wedding ceremony at the Confederate Home starting at noon on a Sunday, and we rented it from 9am-1pm I think and it was $625.  We had about 30 people total including us and the bridal party.  You would also really benefit from a coordinator who knows that venue because the little old lady who runs it can be finnicky. 

    I used Yoj Events for a ceremony coordinator (not day-of, that is more expensive) and she only charged me $250.  She set up everything at the ceremony and also put out my centerpieces and a few other items at the reception site, McCrady's restaurant (she also did all my florals which were about $500).  You could def do flowers for much cheaper than I did though to save costs, honestly I wish I hadn't spent that much looking back.

    We paid about $1400 for photography, but that was for about 8 hours and 2 photographers.  We used Amy Prikazsky and she is AWESOME and only getting better (and more expensive).  I also love Richard Bell Photography and they are surprisingly affordable.  Don't be afraid to ask for prices, most will respond to emails pretty quickly.

    We also had an acoustic guitar player at the ceremony which was $200 for an hour, Christopher Teves.  He was great, just can be a little hard to get a hold of.  And the chair rentals (through Yoj Events) were $1.80 each for white wood folding chairs.  I did the reserved seating signs myself and also purchased some mason jars myself that Yoj put flowers in and hung from shephard's hooks for me (hook rental at $3/each).  The garden was very pretty in the spring when we got married.  I'm not sure how it looks in the fall, but the weather should be nice at least. 

    The Confederate Home also has some great indoor rooms if you do have rain, but they charge an extra $250 I think to move inside.  You also may be required to hire a security guard to make sure no randoms walk in to your ceremony.  The property is home to elderly women (we never saw a single one during our ceremony so they must let them know when an event is taking place) and your rental fee goes towards their housing costs so they can live free of charge. 

    Just be warned that there is no actual parking for the C. Home.  There is on-street parallel parking and a few garages walking distance away, but you need to warn your guests if you want to make sure they make it there on time.  I gave ample info about parking options (and our wedding was on Sunday so the meters were free) and we still had one guest out of the 28 who didn't make it on time). 

    Our reception was walking distance from the C. Home at McCrady's Restaurant.  We did a sit-down lunch and fed our photogs and videographers, so for 34 people it was about $1200 for the lunch and two apps.  I did not do a dessert with them, instead gave two salad options, and had a cake and cupcakes by d'lish desserts.  The cake was about $280 and McCrady's charged a cake plating fee total of $72.  Here, you could just choose a dessert from McCrady's to save $. 

    We spent about $500 for open bar with just beer and wine selections, bartender fee was $75, DJ was $395 (used Jay Maxwell's DJ Rhett and he was so great!), and don't forget taxes/service charges which ran about $500.  So it adds up very quick!  I also tipped the standard vendors, such as DJ, photogs, coordinator, hair/makeup (which is also pricey around here). 

    Those were the major expenses for us though, and that was only 30 people at a lunch reception on a Sunday.  If you pick any day other than Saturday then a lot of the prices go down, and of course lunch is cheaper than dinner.  We had the whole restaurant to ourselves (since McCrady's doesn't serve lunch to the public) and we LOVED the Gallery Room that we used.  They also have a second larger room that is beautiful as well (and George Washington dined in that very room in 1790-something when he was running for presidential re-election!).  The service at McCrady's was impeccable and I had many guests tell me it was the best meal they had ever had at a wedding. 

    I hope this helps and good luck!
  • The confederate house would be a great alternative if you are worried about weather that time of the year.  I know there's an additional charge to have your party moved inside.  Parking was an issue for the wedding I attended there.  I guess that's an issue with most venues downtown.

    I used Yoj events for day of coverage and was pleased at how things went.  So, I would definitely recommend them. 

    You might not be looking for a DJ, but I used Jay Maxwell and overall things went well.

    For our photographer I look initially at Amy Prikazsky, but out of my range.  We went with Chi Photography of Charleston due to her a la carte options.  Was more than pleased at how my pictures turned out. 

    I agree with the last post about picking any day , but Saturday as that's probably the most expensive day.  Good luck and look forward my 5 yr anniversary!!!

    Good Luck!!

  • My husband and I got married at the Confederate Home last September.  We LOVED the location.  Yes, parking can be a pain, but no one seemed to mind.  I liked that they have an indoor option in case of rain, too.  You will definitely save money on flowers/decoraions there, since not much is really needed for this outdoor space.  We had two pillars with arrangements up front under the big tree.  We also placed some small flower pomander balls on the aisle chairs.  I agree with previous comments that the lady who runs the place can be the only negative about picking this location.  She is very difficult to get ahold of.  She also 'requires' you to hire security....this was never mentioned in our signed contract, so I refused.  She then tried to make me pay an exra $250 for waiting in one of the upstairs rooms while guests were arriving.  I fought this one too and did not end up paying as long as I promised it would just be me up there.  If you pick this location, my only advice is to double and triple check everything with her.  She once told us a story that she accidentally booked two events on the same day...

    For reception ideas, McCrady's has some good spaces upstairs.  Also, I'm not sure how formal you are looking to be at the reception, but Sticky Fingers has some great upstairs rooms, too. I don't think you can have music or a DJ up there, though.  The Planters Inn has indoor and outdoor space for an event of up to 60 people.  Although the space is gorgeous (especially the courtyard), it was a little more expensive than what we wanted.  I think the Mills House also had an upstaris outdoor patio area and some adjacent rooms that could easily work for a reception.    

    Let me know if you'd like any pics of the Confederate Home or Sticky Fingers.

    Good luck.

  • We are also using Candice at Yoj Events for our wedding coordinator and she is great!

  • When you say the River House, are you referring to the Island House on John's Island? (this site: - My husband is a photographer and did a wedding out there, and the photos were AMAZING. Some of the girls stood in and out of the corn and the pictures turned out really neat. I was amazed.

    For exposed beams, one of the sites at Boone Hall has that too, it's one with a dock... can't remember the name of it, but I'm sure they could tell you if you called. Another beautiful site.

    I'm not sure that you'll find much near Summerville, but areas in the islands are full of these kind of venues. If you find yourself a good wedding photographer, he/she will be able to point you to some of the perfect places because a photographer is giong to be the perfect person to notice things like exposed beams in a venue, whereas other vendors might not, because the photographer is trained to notice things like that!
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