1. Always check the tide for timing of the wedding. We’ve had high tide weddings and no room on the beach for guests... but... that's the time the bride insisted on! Guests were forced on the dunes, which is of course a huge ‘no-no.’
2. Season is big as mentioned before. March, April, May, October are great (and popular so book early) wedding months because the weather is typically wonderful. Not too hot and less chance for hurricanes. (hurricane season is June thru October.... but don't let that deter you from planning!) June, July, August and beginning of September are HOT!!!! and HUMID!!!! The breeze from the shore is not even a relief at times, because the air is so warm.
3. If you do not rent chairs for guests, be sure to have a few chairs for any elderly, not only for possible hot, humid days, but also the unsteadiness of the sand. Even think of having a few umbrellas for elderly to provide shade.
4. You'll have to get a party permit from the City of Folly Beach Public Safety to have an event with 75 or more people anywhere on the beach. It's free, easy and you only need to fill out a one-sided piece of paper. It basically just documents for the Public Safety department, that you are authorized to have an event on the beach, and officers are notified to assure there are not any disturbances for you (not that there are.... but they are at least aware) here is the contact person:
Mary Cunningham, CMC
5. Charleston County Parks and Recreation run both the Folly Fishing Pier and the Folly Beach County Park both mentioned earlier. You can contact them for details and requirements for events:
Beth Kempton (or she can get you to the right person)
Group Sales Coordinator
6. If you plan to marry in front of or in the vicinity of the Holiday Inn Charleston on the Beach hotel, you need to contact their sales department to let them know and be sure they have not already booked weddings for that area of the beach, since their weddings groups get priority of the beach space:
7. Not a lot of options for large group receptions on Folly, unless you book a meeting room at the Holiday Inn Charleston on the Beach hotel, if I remember correctly, they can hold up to 250. Other places to have a reception if small, is the county park under the shelter (Call Beth @ ccprc above for details), Folly River Park (call Mary @ City of Folly above for details) and maybe a few choice restaurants, but options are small and limited. You may need to go off Folly for receptions pending your ideals.
8. Weather of course is always an issue of concern. Be sure to ask any of the above contacts what your options are and what protocol is followed in the case of looming inclement weather.
- best photo ops are at sunrise and sunset, so research the time of year for the best photo times.
- had a bride once who wanted to throw rice, then bird seed... not a great idea unless you want a flock of seagulls picking at you and your guests! We suggest bubbles, bells... anything non-edible and of course bio-degradable
- Morris Island Lighthouse IS a stunning backdrop... however, it is not completely easily accessible when dolled up for a wedding. Cars can go only so far and then you have to walk... maybe 1/2 mile(?... I'm not good with distance, but a good 10 min walk) to get to the lighthouse... either through the brush or along the beach. If it’s high tide you may be climbing rocks to get there. I would never ask guests to make that trip... but for the photos.... totally make your wedding party, if not at least you and your groom make the hike. Again... if it's hot, you most likely will be miserable pending your wedding attire. But it will be worth it!
- and yes... beach weddings will have public viewers... if you do it in high season (when school is out), you'll have a big audience. Since it's a public beach, you cannot prohibit beach-goers from passing by, so you risk them in your pics. FYI... school gets out mid May in Charleston, not June like up north.