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At the Francis Marion Hotel, you receive a complimentary menu tasting as part of our wedding package.

When choosing the hors d’oeuvres from our list of options, most couples ask what is the most popular. There are definitely four very tasty, southern favorites I see at most events:

Fried Green Tomato Moons with Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Jelly

Mini Tomato Pie

Mini Pulled Pork BBQ Biscuit

Mini Crab Cake with a Cajun Remoulade Sauce


1 Holding a place in Charleston’s history for the past 92 years

2 A strong, durable brick building to withstand the southern weather elements

3 Having a staff that has been here many years, considering each other family

4 Thus, providing the best customer service to ensure southern hospitality

5 A prime location across from Marion Square Park, and walking distance to everything

6 Guest Rooms with great views of the Charleston skyline.

7 We include all of the chairs, tables, linen, dance floor and staging complimentary

8 Food & Beverage minimum requirements, no room rentals

9 We have tasty, award winning food and chefs

10 Our team is very flexible and customizable, warranting your individual, distinct event


We have the ability to host both your wedding ceremony in the same ballroom as the wedding dinner, for a small room rental charge.

We hold the ceremony in half of the ballroom, while a draping wall covers up the other half of the ballroom. On the hidden half, we stage your dinner tables. After the ceremony, your guests step outside of the ballroom to the cocktail hour space, while my staff transforms the ballroom to the dinner and dancing set up. After cocktail hour, your guests step into a completely different looking ballroom.

There are many benefits to doing this:

  1. You and your guests do not need to drive and park at two different venues.
  2. You can reuse the same décor, flowers and chairs for both events.
  3. Everyone and everything stays at one place in one room.

Here are examples of how we set up our three ballrooms for ceremony:


Gold Ballroom


Colonial Ballroom



Carolina Ballroom



We all know Charleston summertime heat can be draining at times. There is several fun and creative ways that I have seen past weddings incorporate cool, sweet treats!

  1. Ice Cream – We have had several weddings open an ice cream station towards the end of the evening as a late night hors d’oeuvre to cool off the dancing crowd.

Ice Cream

  1. Specialty Cocktails – It is always nice to have a custom beverage available at your bar for your friends and family to sip on throughout the night.  This sets your wedding apart by serving the couple’s favorite, memorable beverage.Drink
  1. Cool, damp wash clothes – We had one wedding offer their guests cool, damp wash clothes during prime dance time, as a nice refreshing way to keep their dancing shoes on!


  2. Popsicles – King of Pops is a local, tasty popsicle purveyor who can bring their fun, eclectic, freezer cart to your wedding reception, and help chill the guests out!


  1. Ice Sculpture Display – what a dramatic effect to have either your hors d’oeuvres displayed on an ice sculpture or have a custom ice sculpture available to view by your guests.

Ice Scuplture


In each of our three ballrooms, we have two areas where the dance floor and entertainment can be placed. There are positives to both locations.

The most popular location is in the center of the ballroom. I typically see this when the entertainment is a DJ, and when the dinner is plated. Placing the dance floor in the center makes this the focal point of the ballroom, and everyone is equal distance away from big events. When you are performing your first dance, cutting the cake, and giving toasts- everyone can see the happy couple in the middle.

dance central

Ballroom 11.22

The other dance floor location is at one end of the ballroom. I typically see this set up when the entertainment is a band, and when the dinner is station style. When you have a band, they usually require a large stage, and you do not want the stage to cut the ballroom in half, if you put them in the middle. The dinner is usually station style because it promotes the guests to move around, and there is a designated dancing area and dinner area. This is also a popular location if you feel not every guest will partake in dancing. They can sit farther away from the dance floor, and hold a conversation.

dance end


Trending since 2013- we are seeing more and more of the naked wedding cake.

Still offering multiple cake layer flavors, instead of the icing being on the exterior of the cake it’s between the layers. This type of wedding cake gives a vintage, rustic, and antique look to your wedding décor. It is also one the healthier side because you are using less icing. Plus, we have found that instead of decorating your cake with sugary, fondant flowers – brides are instead decorating their naked cake with natural elements such as flowers and fruit – giving your cake a fresh and delicious look! Although this new cake trend may not appeal to everyone because of its “unfinished” look, you still satisfy having your classic wedding cake with a modern look.

ABCD Naked Cake

Cake Picture Credit: Ashley Brown Cake Design

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