Charleston Weddings….Make Our Legend Your Own

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What will you choose? Includes $50 per night to spend at participating Upper King Street restaurants, Spa Adagio or the Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar

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Choosing the perfect menu for your wedding reception a simple process with our Wedding Sales Manager and Chefs . Being in the south, we find many weddings choosing our station dinner packages to create a more casual atmosphere. We decided to ask our Chefs to choose their favorite stations:


Packwood Management’s Executive Chef, Simon Andrews is one of the creators of the bridal menus and has overseen many wedding receptions at the hotel during his 18 year career with us. His favorite station is, “shrimp & grits of course!”  Born in Ireland, he has adopted the southern ways and loves to create his specialty of shrimp and girts. Chef Simons uses a secret ingredient (Tasso Ham) leaving your mouth watering! This station is one of our most popular because shrimp and grits are a delicacy of the south!

Shrimp and Grits Cropped Web


Francis Marion Hotel Executive Chef, Phil Gaulin has been with the hotel and a part of Chef Simon’s team for over 2 years. He even was the Executive Chef at our sister property (Middlebury Inn, Vermont) before he moved back south 2 years ago with his family. His favorite station is, “most definitely the banana fosters because it’s a mixture of rum & sweetness!!” Fun fact about Chef Phil, he loves bananas! Our banana foster consists of homemade vanilla ice cream smothered in a rum & brown sugar sauce covered in fresh bananas.



Banquet Chef, Daniel James is the youngest member of Chef Simon’s team and brings lots of popular food trends to the team. His favorite station is, “Our fried chicken and waffles because it’s southern and up and coming.” We infuse our homemade syrup with bacon, jalapenos and a hint of thyme. We also offer the more traditional syrup.

Chicken & Waffles


We hope you’re hungry now!

Cop Cakes

Cop Cakes

We have seen a growing trend in Groomsmen Cake’s at weddings here at the Francis Marion Hotel. The tradition of a Groomsmen’s Cake originated in England, dating back into the late 1800s.  Bakers would create a special cake which would identify to the Grooms personality. The baker would infuse the cake with strong chocolates or alcohol to signify that the male is the “stronger sex”.

Chantilly Cakes

Chantilly Cakes

While we don’t see many alcohol infused cakes, we do see cakes which signify the Grooms personality and likes. Many of the cakes involve their favorite football or basketball team, college logo, favorite type of beverage, or is job related. This cake can be served either as dessert at the rehearsal dinner or on a separate cake table at the wedding.

Ashley Brown Cake Design

Ashley Brown Cake Design

1. Historic Ballroom Charm

Rising high over the Historic District at the corner of King and Calhoun Streets, the Francis Marion Hotel stands as a Landmark in the Charleston Skyline and the city’s rich history. Now restored to its 1920’s elegance this grand old lady of Charleston shines again as a symbol of Hospitality to all who visit. Our historic Colonial and Gold Ballrooms with 24-foot ceilings and antique crystal chandeliers add both elegance and grace to any event. The Carolina Ballroom features a balcony overlooking Marion Square Park.



Carolina Ballroom Rounds Straight on uplighting Hi Res


2. Location, Location, Location!

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown’s Historic District, and on the city’s popular Upper King Street, the Francis Marion provides the perfect location for guests to easily access the city’s best restaurants, shops and attractions by foot! Also, across from Marion Square Park, the hotel is the best venue for many of the city’s most popular festivals throughout the year.

FMH Exterior

3.Fantastic Food!

Our own Swamp Fox Restaurant & Bar offers upscale Southern cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner and lively piano bar entertainment.

Executive Chef Simon Andrews and Chef de Cuisine Phil Gaulin create regional specialties that emphasize beloved flavors reminiscent of the old south.

Shrimp and Grits Cropped Web

4.Everything that’s included!

– Complimentary Ballroom (Based on meeting a food and beverage minimum before tax and gratuity)

– White Full Length Table Linens and White Linen Napkins

– Centerpiece on each Table to Include a Square Mirror, 4 Votive Candles and a Tall Cylinder Glass with a White Candle

– Dance Floor

– Band Staging

– Complimentary Wedding Cake Cutting and Serving

– Francis Marion Suite for Your Wedding Night

– Discounted Room Rates for your Out of Town Guests

– Complimentary Menu Tasting for Up to 4 Guests


5. Personalized Wedding Advice and On-Site Coordination from Our Wedding Specialist

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2015

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2015

At the end of your amazing wedding day, it is popular to do a formal departure, for your guests to “send the married couple off”. Your guests line up on two sides, creating a tunnel for the couple to walk through and with a little creativity, wish the married couple well into the future. Here at the Francis Marion Hotel, our memorable sendoff spills right onto the energetic King Street and Marion Square Park. You can have a limo, horse & carriage, or bike taxi, waiting to whisk the happy couple on a ride through our historic streets of Charleston. From bubbles, rose petals, glow sticks, streamers; we have had some exciting exits at the Francis Marion Hotel.

St-Lukes-Chapel-Wedding-039-Sides-77-78-1920x1312Credit: Richard Bell Photography

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2015

Credit: Dana Cubbage Photography

In a 2014 study, over 50% of weddings used hashtags.

Wedding hashtags have become a fantastic way to share pictures from your engagement to your wedding day and beyond. Couples are encouraging their wedding guests to post pictures from their special day online to reminisce later!

Helpful ideas to create your wedding hashtag:

-Wedding Date

-Nicknames or Initials

-Cute phrase that friends call you as a couple

There are hashtag generators online if you need help!




Alcohol at a wedding can be just as important as food at a wedding to some clients.  With that being said, alcohol can cost just as much as the food in some cases! It is important to know that you have choices on alcoholic packages:

1. Unlimited Bar – you pay a flat price per person per hour for unlimited drinks at the bar. I usually recommend this option if your guests are heavy drinkers

2. Consumption Bar – you pay per drink consumed at the bar. This package is challenging because you can estimate the number of drinks ahead of time, however you will not know until the wedding is over, if you exceeded that estimated number or not. If the guests drink more than we estimated ahead of time, you are left with an outstanding bill. I usually recommend this package for light drinkers.

3. Corkage or Guest Provides Bar – You purchase the alcohol outside of the hotel and bring in for our staff to serve. This package is nice if you desire alcohol selections that we do not offer. This package is also ideal for light drinkers.  Lastly, an additional perk to this package is that if you do not consume all of the alcohol, many providers will let you return any un-opened bottles.

A wedding is a celebration, and with that, guests usually drink more than normal. Make sure you choose the best bar package for your guests and your budget!


When choosing the layout for your reception venue, one decision is where the bride and groom will sit.  They are usually set apart from the remaining tables, whether at a sweetheart table with just the two of them; or at a head table, including the entire bridal party.

In my experience, most couples choose to have a sweetheart table, due to the dates of their bridal party. Usually they do not want to separate the dates for the evening, or they do not have enough space to include them on the head table, so the sweetheart table seems perfect.  Choosing a sweetheart table will also give you a few moments to yourselves and soak in the day.  I also feel that it is more inviting for your guests to greet you, because they do not have to talk over a head table, or slide behind the head table.

Here are some examples of sweetheart tables and head tables at the Francis Marion Hotel:






It is common to offer wedding favors to your guests as a token of appreciation for their attendance at your wedding celebration.

Wedding favors originated from Europe centuries ago, and were named Bonbonnieres.  These were sugared candies in trinket boxes to show prosperity and royalty.  As time went on, sugar coated almonds, otherwise named Jordan Almonds, were given out as favors to represent health, prosperity, fertility, joy and longevity. The guests would receive 5 almonds each to share in the couple’s luck on their special day. Today, some couples share the traditional favor, while other’s give out personalized favors to represent their life together.

Some examples of wedding favors we have seen at the Francis Marion Hotel:

Cake Pop


Sweet Grass Rose (historical to Charleston, SC)

Sweetgrass Rose

Bottle Opener

Bottle Opener

Boxed Candy & Local Beer

Boxed Candy_Beer

Customized Wine Glass

Wine Glass

Wedding cakes symbolize more than just a delicious dessert served at your wedding. Wedding cakes are known to symbolize good luck, happiness and love. Throughout the years we have watched the typical wedding cake evolve! What better way to show off your new monogram then on the center of your cake.

We have also witnessed the trend of cake toppers- from the typical husband & wife statue to a cute phrase. We always are intrigued to see what our couples will chose for their cake topper and flavors!

Charleston is filled with charming, tasty bakeries. No matter what flavor, style, color, cupcake, or cake trend you decide- make sure you do not forget to pass around the champagne and enjoy a piece yourself!

Cakes by KasardaCakes by Kasarda

Ashley BakeryAshley Bakery


The Cake StandThe Cake Stand

This past winter, the Francis Marion Hotel underwent a refurbishment that we are very excited to share!

Not only did our guest rooms receive brand new carpeting, wall paint, draping, and bedding – but we also modernized our Carolina Ballroom located on the Mezzanine Level!

Our Carolina Ballroom was added to our historic property in 2004. This ballroom is by far our largest space measuring over 4,500 square feet and accommodating up to 400 guests for a reception, or 250 guests for a plated dinner. It was transformed from green and red color tones, to invigorating ivories, navy and light blues. With whimsical wallpaper and bold blue accents, it is the freshest, coolest location for your upcoming event!

The cocktail hour space boasts a standing balcony overlooking King Street and Marion Square Park. A great spot for your guests to breath in some fresh air and a fantastic view!

The simplicity of the ballroom offers wedding receptions a great opportunity to customize the set up to your preferences – from adding up-lighting, a monogram on the wall or dancefloor, to draping and lighting from the ceiling.

Below are a few pictures of recent weddings in our Carolina Ballroom this year!

IMG_2084 (2)