Say “I Do” Like a Local

Say “I Do” Like a Local | Insider tips for the ultimate Charleston insider wedding
When you’re an eighth generation Charlestonian, you know your way around town and you know how to play host to anyone from “Off.” So when Lizzy Simmons married Washington state native Cort Bush last June, she lined up an enviable insider’s itinerary that all couples saying “I do” in the Holy City can emulate.
The Big Day started out at the Dock Street Theatre, where Lizzy and her bridal party readied in the backstage dressing room while Cort and his groomsmen toasted the vows-to-come in the venue’s wood-paneled bar. “Some of my fondest childhood memories are of attending performances with friends at the grand Dock Street Theatre,” Lizzy says. “Even back then I would imagine being enveloped in tulle and lace, poised in one of the box seats with my groom sitting right next to me.”
After their first look (and after capturing that long-dreamed of portrait—see it online), the couple wandered the French Quarter posing for shots on Philadelphia Alley and elsewhere before joining their guests for the ceremony at the French Huguenot Church.
Next? Boarding trollies on iconic Church Street while surrounded by church spires and palmettos, then heading across the Ashley River for a reception at the private Country Club of Charleston, where Lizzy has belonged since childhood. Ready to replicate their tour of town? We’ve listed all the open-to-the-public options below.
Make Your Own History
Dock Street Theatre
With roots to 1809 (and thought to have been built on the site of the oldest theater in America), the Dock Street Theatre (135 Church St., 843/ 720-3968; is for rent for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and special events. Images featuring Lizzy and Cort were displayed as playbills outside the entrance; Loluma filled the bar with spirits, crystal tumblers for the gents, plus photos from the bachelor party.
The French Huguenot Church
Open to non-members for a $2,500 donation fee, this 1844 pink stucco church (136 Church Street; 843/722-4385; welcomes up to 200 guests. Book as far in advance as possible. It’s a rare gem that’s open to all.
Loluma hired a police officer to ensure the safety of guests parading from the theater to the church. Though a short distance, being cautious and mindful of traffic is advised for safety (and neighborliness).
For the most idyllic Charleston portraits on cobblestones, head to Philadelphia Alley and Chalmers Street. Washington Park at the foot of Chalmers and Meeting offers a great garden backdrop.
Vintage and custom trollies and buses not only transport wedding guests, but can give short scenic tours en route to your reception. While there are parking garages throughout downtown (and in the French Quarter on Cumberland Street), taking an Uber, Lyft, or taxi alleviates hassles.
Venues: Dock Street Theatre (prep),; French Huguenot Church (ceremony),; Country Club of Charleston (reception),
Photographs: Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay,
Planning, design, florals, specialty décor: Loluma,
Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal,
Rentals: Snyder Events,
Catering: Country Club of Charleston,
Embroidered napkins: O’Connor Embroidery of Charleston, (designed by the bride)
Papergoods: Marguerite Peele Fine Stationery,
Map for story: Studio R Design,
Bridal Attire: Vera Wang (gown),; Saint Laurent (shoes),; Sohn & McClure Jewelers (earrings),
After-party attire: Zuhair Murad (dress),; Jimmy Choo (shoes),
Bridesmaids’ attire: Monique Lhuillier through Bella Bridesmaids,
Beauty: Lashes and Lace,
Groom’s attire: Brooks Brothers (tux),; Tom Ford (bowtie),; Hugo Boss (shoes),
Groomsmen’s attire: The Black Tux,