Charleston wedding prices rise as inflation increases
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The beautiful scenery of Charleston makes for a popular wedding destination. However, with inflation rising, the overall cost is not so romantic.
Fifty vendors were at the Charleston Bridal Show selling their products and services to engaged couples and families on Sunday.
Kathy Baxley-Stewart, the owner and producer of the show, says it has been very hard for the hospitality industry to keep up with staffing to produce these events and actual weddings. She says it is hard getting anyone to work right now.
“As far as inflation is concerned, everything basically has gone up a little bit,” Baxley-Stewart said. “The cost of even renting the auditorium here has gone up. We have not, basically. We are trying to help everybody stay in business and, you know, it’s tough. We are kind of facing some hard times right now.”
Elizabeth Tramphagen, catering sales manager at Embassy Suites Charleston Harbor, says the average Charleston wedding venue used to cost on average $13,000-$14,000. Now, the average cost is $15,000-$20,000. She says this all depends on what the couple is looking for.
“They kind of look at then what the options are and like what they’re kind of doing,” Tramphagen said. “They’ll kind of have a smaller reception at that point. They’ll look for smaller venues to kind of shrink in the cost. We don’t see these 300-person weddings anymore. We see smaller, like 150, which is you’re like, ‘Woah, that’s still a lot of people,’ but before it was still like 300 people weddings. You don’t see that in Charleston as many.”
Elizabeth Grace Smith, owner and founder of Capturing Your Happily Ever After photography, says she not only works with the photos and video for a wedding but also helps coordinate decorations. She says the rise of inflation has forced her prices to go up.
“Not only the gas prices, which I’m sure most people are discussing right now,” Smith said. “You know when it comes to helping set up, the rehearsal going back and forth, photography. If somebody is wanting like a canvas photo as well, I mean, prices have gone up within the photo industry.”
Future brides are saying that Charleston is not out of the picture for a location, even though it is costly. Brenna Robinson, one bride-to-be, says with flight prices increasing, she and her fiancé are having to decide who they really want to be at their wedding and who will actually show up.
“My family and his family is from Charleston, and I also have family all over the rest of the U.S.,” Robinson said. “It’s kind of making us decide who’s going to be at the ceremony and who’s also going to be at the engagement party. That way people aren’t stressed about picking feeding their kids or having dinner and planning to travel.”
The business owners say they expect their prices to continue to rise over the next year. They also say some of the brides that attended the show are already planning for 2024, just in case that happens.
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