Trying to figure out how to elope in South Carolina? Well, you are in the right place!
Elopements are a beautiful way to share your love with your partner in an intimate way. While some couples love the thought of throwing a big wedding with all of their closest friends and families, some people just want something a bit more relaxed.
As a South Carolina wedding photographer, I have captured countless weddings and elopements and while they are both so beautiful, there is something special about saying “I do” with just your partner or a handful of the people closest to you in your life.
If this sounds like something that is more your vibe, let’s dive into how to elope in South Carolina and why you might want to do it in the first place.
How to Elope in South Carolina?
Before we dive into the fun parts of planning an elopement, we do need to talk about the less fun parts…paperwork. While it is definitely not the most exciting part of the marriage process, you want to make sure that you get everything in order before you head out to tie the knot.
In order to get legally married, you will need to get a marriage license. Each county in the state will issue licenses and you don’t have to get married in the same county it was issued in. This means if you do want to head to the other side of the state for your elopement, you are covered!
Now, when it comes to getting one, you will need to submit an application and make sure you do it before your elopement date. There is a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and it can sometimes take a little bit longer than that to actually receive your license so be prepared to check that off your list at least the week before your wedding.
The great thing about South Carolina is that they do not require you to have any witnesses. All you need is an officiant to sign your marriage license, meaning you can keep the ceremony as small as you would like!
Once you have your marriage license and your officiant, all you need is a photographer to capture these amazing moments! (psst…if you are still looking for one, click here to check out my packages!)
When it comes to your officiant, there are a few different ways you can find one. You can have a friend get ordained, find any notary public, or there are small businesses that specialize in just this!
Where to Elope in South Carolina?
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about where to elope in South Carolina. While there are really no limits to where you can go, here are a few of my favorite options.
Bald Rock is a beautiful little spot looking right out over the mountains. It is a bit more secluded and is easily missed if you don’t know where to look so you can get a little privacy there most of the time.
Sunsets here are absolutely magical and if you are planning your elopement in the fall, the area looks out over thousands of trees that have amazing fall colors.
It is important to note that this is a public area so you are most likely going to have other people around during your elopement. This is a great spot to go if you are only eloping with your partner or one or two guests!
Rock Quarry Garden
The Rock Quarry Garden is such a unique and beautiful place to get married. It is right in the middle of the city but makes you feel like you have been transported to an oasis.
The flowers add beautiful colors in the spring and the leaves are stunning in the fall. Plus you get backdrops of small waterfalls and an amazing rock bridge. What more could you ask for?
This area does require a permit to have your elopement there so be sure you take care of that before your elopement so you can have the perfect, stress-free day!
In the Forest
Forest elopements can be so magical and they offer so much flexibility to you and your partner. There are a few ways you can do a forest elopement.
First, you can make it a single-day trip and hike or drive out to a spot to just have your ceremony. This is a great option if you and your partner love to be outdoors and hike and can add a fun element to your wedding day.
You could also do what Brooke and Ellen did and make a whole weekend out of it. They rented out a treehouse in the forest for them and a few friends and headed out there for their wedding.
They were able to have their ceremony and relax without having to worry about hiking in their clothes or running into any other people along the way!
Modal is an adorable hostel and wedding venue right in Greenville. This is an amazing place to host a small intimate wedding that is modern but still cozy. The hostel is also queer owned!
While this is a hostel and has shared rooms, there are also private rooms that you can rent so you can turn your elopement into a whole weekend getaway!
Located right near Bald Rock, you can find Hotel Domestique. This is a beautiful hotel that not only has great views but also has an amazing vibe. The hotel has a European style to it that makes you feel like you booked a destination elopement (for a fraction of the cost).
Since this is also a hotel, you can make your wedding day a whole weekend and start your honeymoon early. You can also sneak away to Bald Rock and get two amazing locations in one for an unforgettable elopement!
Finally, you can rent out Airbnbs or other vacation rentals for your elopement. It is important to note that if you are planning on doing this (and having a few guests who aren’t staying at the property come to your wedding) you need to check with the host before you book the property.
While most hosts will not have an issue with you hosting an elopement at their property, you always want to check beforehand so you can avoid any extra charges or getting kicked out on your wedding day!
The great thing about having your elopement at an Airbnb is that you can have it anywhere you want. Want a downtown elopement? Done. Feeling more of a beachy vibe? No problem! Are mountains more of your thing? You are covered.
How Much Does it Cost to Elope in South Carolina?
Now, when it comes to planning your elopement, you may be thinking this all sounds great, but how much does it actually cost to elope in South Carolina? Well, it can be pretty inexpensive depending on where you do it.
If you opt for something like Bald Rock or the forest (as long as it is not a State or National Park) you can do your entire elopement ceremony for free. That means all you have to pay for is the marriage license, which is usually less than $100, and your outfits.
If you do opt for a weekend stay or a venue like Pretty Place Chapel, you can expect to pay anything from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The great thing about elopements, though, is you can really keep them as budget-friendly as you want!
Why Elope in the First Place?
Less stress when it comes to planning
Planning a wedding is no small feat and there is often a lot of stress that goes along with that. Coordinating vendors, sending out invites, tracking down RSVPs, and so much more can go into planning a wedding.
There are also wedding planners that specialize in creating magical elopements and intimate weddings. One of my top recommendations is Avventura Events! Wedding planners can help take a lot of the stress out of planning and help create a really beautiful and classy elopement for you and your partner!
If that doesn’t really sound like your vibe, eloping is a great way to still celebrate your love with your partner, just without all the extra stuff.
Plus, eloping doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate with your friends or family. You can always have a party after your elopement that is much more low-key than a full-scale wedding reception, but still just as fun!
A more intimate experience
Eloping really offers you the perfect, intimate experience with you and your partner. Especially in South Carolina where you don’t have to have a witness, you really can keep this as small as you would like.
After all, this moment is for you and your partner, not everyone else. You should be able to enjoy it just as you want, whether that is alone, with a few people, or with everyone you know!
Greater flexibility with your venues
Finally, eloping gives you so much flexibility when it comes to where you can actually get married. There are a lot of venues that are smaller and can’t accommodate weddings over 75-100 people that you will be able to book for your elopement.
Plus, you really can go anywhere you want. Since it is just you and your partner, you don’t need a massive space or certain requirements. You can just head out to the water’s edge or the lookout over the mountain or that rooftop patio and have your dream ceremony!
Final Thoughts on Eloping in South Carolina
So, when it comes to the perfect, intimate ceremony, nothing is going to beat an elopement. Hopefully, this gives you some helpful insights into how to elope in South Carolina and you and your partner are able to have the wedding of your dreams.
If you are still searching for that perfect photographer to capture this special moment in you and your partner’s lives, I’d love to chat! Click here to get in touch.