Right now, we are having the hardest time deciding on a church and reception venue.  So we decided to use last weekend as a time to go about town and look at a few more places. 

We’ve decided to get married in Charleston.  

We’ve narrowed it down to two churches: 

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is our favorite, but you can get married no later than 2pm there.

1,2 via – 3 via

…or St. Mary the Annunciation, the oldest catholic church in the Carolinas and Georgia.

We don’t love the looks of this church as much, but at St. Mary’s, we can have a late afternoon or evening wedding, which is our preference.


So which one?  The church we think is breathtaking, but will only allow us to get married at 2pm?  Or the church that is full of rich history that will allow us to get married up until 6pm, which is what we would love?  We are willing to sacrifice the better time for the better church, but then again, they are both gorgeous!  What do y’all think?

Okay, now for venues.  These are our two favorites.

Patriot’s Point Pavilion

Of course these are all iPhone pics.  Here is one of the inside of the tent.  Keep it mind that it is obviously not set up for an event!

Here are two professional photos by Juliet Elizabeth of the venue.

But what about the weather??  What if it’s raining cats and dogs?
So we decided to look at an indoor venue, too.

This is the clubhouse at Daniel Island Golf Club.


…again, NOT decorated for any event! 


Below is the foyer/bar area

and now for some professional photos:


This venue has that swanky, southern sophistication.  The other one (Pavilion) has gorgeous views and is a better location in relation to the churches. 

They are both right around the same price.

HELP! I need your opinions!

Thanks ladies…




  1. January 17, 2012 / 11:31 pm

    This is tough! Here's my input: I'm not sure if photography is high on the list of musts but if so, keep that in mind when choosing a venue. You'll have those photos forever, and you'll want everything in the background to reflect the two of you and your special day. As far as the church, I like the openness of the first one and the architecture. However, what it comes down to is how "you" it is. If having an earlier wedding just doesn't feel right, then go with the second option. If the first one has the look you're going for and you're willing to have an earlier ceremony, then I don't see why not!

    For the reception, close proximity was a big thing for me. I didn't want all of our guests to have to travel a long way to get there. We lucked out and had our ceremony and reception at the same place! Personally, I like the feel of the tent in the first venue. I'm assuming if it rains, you'll still be okay in the tent. Again, it's all about what feels right for you and your man! 🙂 I'm excited to see what you choose!

  2. January 17, 2012 / 11:33 pm

    In terms of the church, I would go with the one with the better time. Since they are both stunning, it is worth it to have the time you want. In terms of the venue, I say tent all the way! Even if its raining it will be romantic and those views are just incredible!

  3. January 17, 2012 / 11:48 pm

    I'd go for the Cathedral, if thats the one you really love! We had the same dilemma when we got married (catholic wedding in Charleston). I was worried about the gap between the ceremony and reception but we just started the cocktail hour a little early and it was not a big deal at all. Some guests stopped at a nearby bar for a drink/snack and others just arrived a bit early at the venue and just hung out. Either way, you've got 2 amazing choices! Win-win 🙂

  4. January 17, 2012 / 11:50 pm

    Everything is gorgeous so anything you pick will be awesome. The only problem with having a 6:00 wedding is that by the time it's over, its getting dark outside and you may not have time to take pictures outside. This will be a problem with my church because they ONLY do 6:00 weddings.

  5. January 17, 2012 / 11:53 pm

    Both churches are beautiful! In my opinion you have to decided what is more important to you with the ceremony time. Do you want the whole day to get ready? Do you want the break in between to go around Charleston and take pictures? For the reception I love the first location. There is something about a Southern wedding with a big white tent.

  6. January 17, 2012 / 11:54 pm

    Have you thought about how many guests you'll want? The first church may feel "empty" if your guest list doesn't fill it out. The second appears smaller (at least from the pictures) which might feel more intimate. Both are lovely.

  7. January 18, 2012 / 12:00 am

    Wow. Those are tough! I'm recently engaged too so all of these decisions are currently taking over my life as well 🙂

    I have to go with the first church! I've never seen anything like it, and even though it might have to be a 2pm wedding, it will be the most beautiful 2pm wedding all your guests have been to! Also, when taking pictures, 2:00 will be great for natural lighting! In that church, I can only imagine how great that will look.

    Also, I totally know someone who got married at the 2nd reception venue! I didn't attend the wedding but I saw pictures and it looked really pretty. They actually got married on the lawn and then had the reception inside but it looked like a really great venue, and I really enjoyed their pictures. The dock outside is also SUCH a great picture spot! 🙂

    Ps, I don't usually comment but I really love your blog! Taylor Rawls is my roommate and she knew how much I loved blogs so she told me about yours. She says Hi! 🙂

  8. January 18, 2012 / 12:04 am

    Hi Megan!
    Personally, I would go for the church with the better time. Like you said, it's rich in history and you can tell your children and grandchildren and whoever else, that you got married in the oldest Catholic church around. Growing up Catholic myself, I think that's pretty darn cool! I've been to Catholic weddings before where there was this big gap of time between the ceremony and the reception (2pm wedding, 6 or 7pm reception) and honestly, a lot of people didn't go to the reception. They just went on home after the ceremony.

    I agree with the above comment regarding the photos. You will have them forever and will look at them often. I would go with the first reception venue. The backdrop will be gorgeous for your photos, it's closer to the church and the tent is just beautiful. Our reception was under a tent very similar and it was beautiful. There was a great breeze and it was just lovely. Whereas Golf Clubs are so Southern and classy, they can also seem stuffy. But, it all comes down to what y'all want. It's your day, not anyone else's.

    One last piece of advice…Do NOT worry about the weather. You can't change it. It actually rained a little during my reception but it was no big deal. You might want to ask the venue if the tent has sides that can roll down or a Plan B if it does rain. My venue had both and it helped ease my concerns.

    Once you have this nailed down, everything else will be a breeze (with the exception of the guest list!). Take a deep breath and do what your heart says.
    Best of luck! I look forward to seeing what you choose! 🙂
    Sorry for the novel!

  9. January 18, 2012 / 12:08 am

    Def go with the church with the better time. They are both GORGEOUS churches so you can't go wrong and I think evening weddings are the better choice because they tend to be more formal and you have the entire day to get ready, take pictures, and have fun with your girls. I'd also choose the venue with the closer proximity. You don't want to have to worry about your guest driving further to the reception location if they don't have to and you don't want people getting lost or having a hard time finding the location. You can't go wrong with a reception in a big white tent in the south! Try and look at weather forcasts past and choose a day that has the tendency to be sunny! However, no matter what you choose every location was gorgeous and you can't go wrong with any of the four!!

    I love your blog! Happy wedding planning!

  10. January 18, 2012 / 12:42 am

    I'd say that since neither church is your "home" church, go with the time you want. As for the reception, I think Patriots Pt. D.I. is a bit of a hike, without many hotel options (I think just one actually) or bars for the after-partiers. I personally don't like a long drive from ceremony to reception, and I always try to think of my guests when planning a party. Ok, that's my two cents. Happy Planning and congratS!

  11. January 18, 2012 / 12:42 am

    Hi! I can relate as we had a Catholic wedding and could only do it at 2pm. The reception site was about a 30 minute drive from the church, so by the time we had a full mass and ceremony, and the guest got out to the reception site, it was a perfect time for cocktails and appetizers. Then we had dinner and had a band play for the dance part of the evening. It all worked out great! However, if you have your heart set on the later time for the ceremony, then definitely get the church that will let you. It's your day and you should get exactly what you want!!! 🙂 Both reception sites are gorgeous as well, but I'd say the tent is beautiful and would be such a great atmosphere! Love all of your choices! So excited for you.

  12. January 18, 2012 / 1:16 am

    I'm voting the Cathedral–I remember going there as a kid for various Catholic masses and concerts for school (goooo Bishop England!), and I have always been in awe of how gorgeous the Cathedral is. Plus, other posters are right–the photographs in the Cathedral will be gorgeous. (I had a friend get married in St. Mary's and, while it was pretty in person, the pictures just made everything look sort of tight and smushed together. But if you're going for a more intimate look, that might be a plus!)

    Good luck with everything. I did all the wedding planning just about 18 months ago and it was CRAZY! Can't wait to read about your planning and choices!

  13. January 18, 2012 / 1:16 am

    In my personal opinion I would pick the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It is absolutely to die for and you seem to love it despite the timing issues. I also think the Daniel Island Golf Club venue is the best. I love the look and you're right, you have to think about weather!

    Good luck! Love your blog!

  14. January 18, 2012 / 1:33 am

    I like the first church better. Also like the tent venue a lot more than the other one! 🙂 Just my 2 cents lol

  15. January 18, 2012 / 2:33 am

    I love the first church but your right the timing seems strange so obviously I'd say the second one .. and the first venue is my pick! something about the wide opening and being out under the stars is magical 🙂

  16. January 18, 2012 / 2:37 am

    i like the first church better but I would not get married at two nor do most guests want to go to a wedding at 2 o clock. It makes for a better night out for your guests if its in the evening, so I would for go it and just get married at the other church which is still nice.I personally would for sure pick the tent over a country club!

  17. January 18, 2012 / 2:59 am

    I would choose the second church so you can still have a later reception. For instance, say you chose the first church and still wanted to have an evening reception. Then you would have to make your guests wait around for the reception, spend more money for their entertainment and risk people leaving because the day has just been too long. Plus I am a sucker for old historic catholic churches. :o)

    I also love the first venue with the ten. I mean who doesn't love water views?!

    Good luck! I'm sure whatever y'all choose will turn out wonderful!

  18. January 18, 2012 / 3:02 am

    As a bride who just was married in the catholic church – I would have it in the 2nd church which is just as beautiful in my opinion, I had to marry in a church that wasn't my first preference because of timing but it turned out so beautifully and the ceremony itself stands out in my memory much much more than little details of the church I wasn't crazy about. I had people tell me how much they loved the ceremony just for the priest we chose and readings. The time will alsol flow nicely right into the reception which I loved about mine. I've attended a wedding where we waited hours until the reception and a lot of people left before the cake was even cut because it felt like a 12 hour event waiting around and what not. Both reception venues are gorgeous, personally I like the first one with the tent more because it is more original than the typical ballroom you see very often. Just my opinions 🙂

  19. January 18, 2012 / 3:12 am

    I would go with the 2nd church at night. I was just married in a catholic church that was not my first or even 2nd choice but chose it due to timing and location to my reception venue. It turned out absolutely beautiful and I had many people tell me what a beautiful ceremony it was due to the Priest we chose and our readings and music. Those are the things you'll remember not little details you may not be crazy about, promise 🙂 also, I would go for the tent veue because It is more unique and has more to offer visually rather than the other venue. You will not care about weather, or minor details of the church I swear! But you will care about the flow of your wedding and having people there! I attended a wedding at 2 pm and by the time the reception came around people were leaving right after the cake was cut because it felt like a 12 hour event waiting around for the reception. But trust me I know it can be easy to get caught up in things u can't change (weather, minor details, etc) but try to focus more on the music, readings, getting to know your priest, making your reception personal, those are all the things that made my wedding very very memorable and special! Good luck xoxo

  20. January 18, 2012 / 3:58 am

    Have yall set a time of year for the wedding? We got married in the fall at 5 and by the time we started pictures, it was getting too dark. I love the first church, and I think a High Noon wedding would be lovely. I also like the idea of being able to take pictures around Charleston afterwards and having your reception at the Daniel Island club. MOST people would not mind a day in Charleston even if traveling a bit for a reception. Plus, an earlier wedding gives you and your guests a longer time to enjoy the day without rushing!!

  21. January 18, 2012 / 4:32 am

    the first church is absolutely breathtaking, but if you've always envisioned having an evening wedding I would definitely not settle. I especially like the tented venue. If you decide to have an evening wedding I think the tent would make for a magical and romantic night that I think everyone wants for their wedding! Whatever you decide I think you're heading in the right direction because all of the locations are beautiful!

  22. January 18, 2012 / 10:18 am

    I think the second church looks really pretty. I can see that the first is more impressive but I think both would make beautiful weddings.

  23. January 18, 2012 / 1:39 pm

    I'm getting married at First (Scots) on Meeting St in just 2 months! Planning a Charleston wedding is so fun!

    The Cathedral always has a beautiful wedding. I understand your concern with an evening wedding, so do what feels right not what looks right…as the ceremony is the most important.

    As for the reception venue, take the travel plans of your guests into account. I know it's a day all about you, but consider the convenience of those celebrating with you. I would say Daniel Island Club is gorgeous but a bit far from town. Patriots Point is an amazing location with a great view especially for the out of towners who want to see Charleston. You can have them stay in Mt P and town, so they are close to both. If you choose the Cathedral, I'd stick to the venue with a nice view since it will be light outside and more to see.

    Best wishes!

  24. January 18, 2012 / 1:45 pm

    We're getting married earlier in the afternoon than I originally wanted (4:30) because I wanted to get married at the church I grew up in and have the reception at the venue I always wanted. I'm so glad we made that decision because I'll love looking at those ceremony pictures forever! I'd say get married in the church you like best and to consider the style of the deeming they'll allow. Are their any restrictions? How do those align with your faith and the tone you want for your ceremony?

    Both churches are beautiful. I think guests can find something fun to do in Charleston for a few hours before the reception – there are so many fun things to do. However, having a wedding so early in the day means you have to get ready and be "on" all day – but you also won't be rushed during pictures. Regardless, at the end of the day you'll be married in a gorgeous church no matter what you pick.

    I love both reception venues. I'm always nervous when it comes to weather. It doesn't rain much in the summer in the south but it was 102 degrees on the day of our engagement party last year. That has made us nervous about doing anything wedding related outside aside from our cocktail hour – I don't want to be sweating iin any of my photos. I've seen so many lovely weddings outside so I'd say it depends on what time of year you're planning to get married – and be sure to have a rain plan! Does the tent have sides that can be pulled down? Will it be a humid mess if you need to use them or will they run AC for you? Love the background of the tented venue and it would make for some beautiful photos – but so would the club. It's a safer choice with regards to weather. In the end it's your day – I'd try to relax for a minute and think of what you dreamed your weddig would be like when you were younger. It's YOUR wedding and it should be exacty what you want- there's always a way to work out the little details.

  25. January 18, 2012 / 1:57 pm

    Megan, this is like deja vu for me! 🙂 I wanted SO badly to get married at the Cathedral (I was actually a tour guide there!), but I also wanted an evening wedding. We ended up getting married at First Baptist on Church Street (South of Broad) for a few reasons, but one of which was that we wanted a 6 p.m. wedding. If I had know that St. Mary's allowed evening weddings, we would have chosen that church, most likely! But here's the bottom line: you are marrying the man you love, and I promise that whatever choice you make, you will not regret, because the end result will be the same. Good luck! I'm thinking about you!

  26. January 18, 2012 / 1:58 pm

    Can you get married at a Baptist church and still have a Catholic ceremony? I'm Catholic and think no, but am not sure. Do you know? (I'm curious) If you truly want to receive the sacrament of marriage in the same manner that your parents/grandparents/etc did, then I think it's a no brainer – Catholic church. If you care more about what will look pretty in pictures, than definitely go with the Baptist church. I'll be looking forward to what you choose!! It'll be beautiful regardless 🙂

  27. January 18, 2012 / 2:36 pm

    The first church is definitely the best! But evening weddings are so much more romantic. And I love the first venue, but I would be too afraid of what the weather might do! You don't need any more stress!

  28. January 18, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    I agree with everyone else…don't settle for an afternoon wedding I you've always wanted an evening wedding-the photos will look breathtaking no matter what!

  29. January 18, 2012 / 3:53 pm

    Go with the church you love, does the time really matter that much? The most important thing about a wedding is the MARRAIGE, not the show! I love the second venue, indoors is the way to go incase of bad weather. Plus you can always go outdoors for pictures.

  30. January 18, 2012 / 3:58 pm

    Hi Megan,
    I got married in Charleston in Oct 2010 and actually had to make these same two decisions! I chose the Cathedral because the timing of the ceremony was better. I will say that for either church be sure to review the guidelines, particularly for photography, so you don't have any hiccups on the day. The pictures of the ceremony are gorgeous and it was fun getting married in the oldest Catholic church in Charleston. For the reception, we went with Daniel Island Club and absolutely loved it! The staff there was great and the food was amazing. The event coordinator, Erin, took great care of us and the picture spots were fantastic! I'm actually the bride in the last picture on your blog posting 🙂 Either way you go though, you really can't go wrong! Just remember to enjoy the day, it goes by so quickly 🙂

    Good luck with your planning!

  31. January 18, 2012 / 4:03 pm

    Hi Megan,
    I got married in Charleston in Oct 2010 and actually had to make these same two decisions! We went with the Cathedral because of the ceremony time. I will say be sure to review the guidelines for either of the churches, especially for photography, so you don't run in to any hiccups on the day. That being said, it was fun getting married in the oldest Catholic church in Charleston. For the reception, we went with Daniel Island Club and absolutely loved it! The staff there is great and the food was amazing! The event coordinator, Erin, took great care of us and the pictures spots were fantastic! I'm actually the bride in the last picture of your blog post 🙂 Either way you go though, you can't go wrong! Just remember to enjoy the day, it goes by so quickly!

    Good luck with planning!

  32. January 18, 2012 / 4:09 pm

    I would choose the second church. It is SO beautiful at night…and walking down the very quiet street that St. Mary's is on will be romantic and harken back to old Charleston. Also I love the venue at Patriots Point. When I got married it wasn't available yet, but we had our after party on the beach and all the guest had more fun than the reception (I think!) We stayed at the Harbor Resort, took the water taxi to the aquarium where our wedding was and the water taxi made a special run to pick us up and bring us back. Then we had a huge bon fire, played games and it was a blast. They were great to work with- and the venue should be ok if it rains. Good luck.
    PS. If you have always envisioned yourself getting married at night- you won't be happy with a 2PM wedding. No matter how you try to work it out in your mind. As a catholic bride, I can tell you that from my experience.

  33. January 18, 2012 / 4:29 pm

    They both are so stunning for sure! But I think I would pick the first one even with an earlier wedding time- its so classic and beautiful!

  34. January 18, 2012 / 4:39 pm

    I would go with a church that fits the time you want. You don't want to have an awkward few hours between the ceremony and reception — lots of cocktails would be consumed haha. You can do so much with decor these days, that you can make the second church more of your aesthetic. As for venue, I just love tents. The draping of them is so romantic!

  35. January 18, 2012 / 6:08 pm

    Oh man!!! This is hard! 2pm is early for a wedding, but that church is SO STUNNING!!! You could just make sure to do your wedding photos after the ceremony, so you don't need to get up at 3am to get everything ready. haha! As for the reception sites, they're completely different! I LOVE the first one!!!!! And you could set up lawn games or something for the guests to do in between the ceremony and reception (if you're into that sort of thing). The second reception site is also really pretty, but the tent is my favorite. 🙂

  36. January 18, 2012 / 7:56 pm

    i love the second church. it looks more intimate like everyone will be focusing on you two as a couple. and the later the wedding the more it can accommodate your plans to get married at the time that you want. and it can go straight into the evening reception which would be fabulous for the second venue. it will be warmer and you can decorate it according to your taste. but i am sure whatever you decide it will be beautiful! congratulations. xxx

  37. January 19, 2012 / 2:45 am

    I have to say, my friend Alexandra is Catholic and her wedding was at 2:00 PM at a beautiful church (on the outside and inside!) I thought it was crazy having the wedding so early but it was perfect. It allowed for an appropriate mass, then we had a nice, long cocktail at hotel/reception venue, had a sit down dinner, then enjoyed the music until midnight!

  38. January 19, 2012 / 4:16 am

    My parents used to live on the Daniel Island golf course, I LOVED it and I love the clubhouse there! I always pictured myself having a reception there!

  39. January 19, 2012 / 2:56 pm

    Finding a venue is the hardest part!
    So glad to have found your blog via Breakfast at Toast. I'm now following 🙂

  40. January 19, 2012 / 4:29 pm

    So tough! I love the second church and the evening wedding…and the pavilion would be a gorgeous evening reception venue, too! Tough choices, but it seems like you can't go wrong! 🙂

  41. January 20, 2012 / 6:45 pm

    The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is to die for! I also prefer the first reception venue — those views! If you had the earlier wedding, the water would make a stunning backdrop day or night, but I don't think you'd get to appreciate it as much if you did the later wedding. Also, have you chosen a date yet? Keep the amount of sunlight at that time of year in mind as well! If you did your reception at the first location, the pictures in afternoon sun would be glorious!

  42. January 20, 2012 / 7:53 pm

    I say evening wedding. I know the Church is very important but the Reception is triple the length of the ceremony and night weddings are so much more fun!!!!!!!! I LOVED wedding planning. It makes me sound so old that I planned mine without facebook or Pinterest!

  43. January 24, 2012 / 12:17 am

    I got married at Patriots Point in 2007! It was fantastic! We did our ceremony there as well. The weather was perfect (October), food was great, and it was just such a great environment. I'm not a fan of ballroom receptions, so it was really just perfect. It was a destination wedding for us, and we didn't have any trouble with places for people to stay. There are the cottages right there at Patriots Point, hotels close by, but what most people did was rent beach houses out on IOP. We had a huge bus that transported people if they needed it. Let me know if you want info, pics, or anything else!

  44. January 24, 2012 / 12:21 am

    I got married at Patriots Point in October of 2007. It was fantastic! We did our ceremony there as well. We had perfect weather, awesome food, and just a great overall feeling. We even did a S'mores table over by the firepit! I'm not a fan of the ballroom receptions, so it was really ideal. It was a destination wedding for us, but we did not have any problems with places for people to stay. Some people stayed at the cottages at Patriots Point, hotels in Mt. Pleasant, or we rented a house over in IOP. We did have a big party bus to transport people to and from their hotels if they needed it. Let me know if you have questions, want pics or anything else.

  45. January 25, 2012 / 7:48 pm

    The first church is gorgeous and huge! how many ppl are you having? You don't want to be in a church too big and the amount of ppl are scattered. The tent is gorg so storybook like. I love weddings! Keep us posted!

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