Charleston, S.C. Ranked #26 as Best Place to Get Married in Latest Study

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WalletHub has released its list of the best cities to get married for 2019. 182 cities were analyzed and Charleston, S.C. came in at number 26.

Below is the full methodology and factors that determined this years list along with the top 50. Find out why Charleston, is among the most popular wedding destinations and who ranked ahead of us.

Methodology

In order to identify the best and worst cities in which to tie the knot, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three key dimensions: 1) Costs, 2) Facilities & Services and 3) Activities & Attractions.

We examined those dimensions using 27 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for weddings. For metrics marked with an asterisk (*), we used the square root of the population to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Costs – Total Points: 40

  • Average Wedding Cost: Triple Weight (~20.00 Points)
  • Price of a Three-Star Hotel Room: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
  • Restaurant-Meal Costs: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Restaurant Meal” refers to a three-course meal for two.
  • Prevalence of Affordable Wedding Logistics: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the prevalence of affordable restaurants and wedding venues with ratings of at least 4.5 stars.

Facilities & Services – Total Points: 30

  • Wedding Chapels & Churches per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Venues & Event Spaces per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Party-Equipment Rentals per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Photo Booth Rentals per Capita*: Half Weight (~0.86 Points)
  • Event Planners per Capita: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Videographers & Photographers per Capita: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Musicians & DJs per Capita: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Makeup Artists & Hair Salons per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Bridal Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Flower & Gift Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Limousine Rentals per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Hotels per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Restaurants & Bars per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Catering Companies per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Bartenders per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Floral Designers per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Cake Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)
  • Wedding/Bridal Fairs*: Full Weight (~1.71 Points)

Activities & Attractions – Total Points: 30

  • Number of Attractions: Double Weight (~10.00 Points)
  • Popularity as a Travel Destination: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
  • Foodie-Friendliness: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Best & Worst Foodie Cities ranking.
  • Weather: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Cities with the Best & Worst Weather ranking.
  • Amusement & Entertainment: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Most Fun Cities in America ranking.

Complete Analysis Results – 182 Cities

Mccrae and Laney: A Charleston Love Story – From Proposal to Marriage for a Charleston Southern Couple

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By Mark A. Leon

On June 16, 2018, in an intimate wedding ceremony in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, Mccrae Paxton Carroll and Alyssa Ray Carroll pledged a lifetime together in front of family, friends and loved ones, but their journey started with a carriage ride, a song and a proposal in White Point Garden in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina.? Most often, it is the quiet stories, without fanfare, without mass media that truly define the Lowcountry spirit.

The story of these two young Charleston Southern lovers is one of those beautiful human interest stories of love and commitment and we were fortunate to play a small role.? One day, a close friend Hannah reached out to us from an article we wrote entitled, 11 Memorable Places to Propose in Charleston, South Carolina, and asked for our help developing an idea for the best proposal.

We provided some ideas, and then Team Mccrae and Laney put together a beautiful proposal idea that consisted of a carriage ride through historic downtown Charleston, a song and a pledge of eternal love.? With Mccrea’s background in music, it was clear that was an important part of their lives together and had to be a part of the proposal.

As true with some many memorable moments we witness, one lose sight of the rest of the story.? We were able to acquire pictures from their wedding last month in Maggie Valley, North Carolina and wanted to share their story from proposal to marriage with our readers

Today, the Carroll’s live in a small apartment in Charleston, while they finish their academic studies at Charleston Southern, his in Psychiatry and her in Nursing.? They are so excited to start their lives together as husband and wife with plans to raise a family here in the Lowcountry.

To Maccrae and Laney, we wish you a life of happiness and wonder.? Thank you for letting us play a small role in your happiness.

11 Memorable Places to Propose in Charleston, South Carolina

By Mark A. Leon

The bond of marriage is a wonderful and cherished part of life.? It is the commitment of two individuals to share in the laughter and tears, hope and fears and enjoy a lifelong journey of discovery that makes this silly little thing called life worth living.

Charleston is one of the most adorned backdrops in the United States for declarations of love.? It is the peacefulness of our cobblestone roads, warmth of our parks, courtesy of our citizens, romanticism of horse drawn carriages and the ambiance of a coastal sunset that set the mood for love and companionship.? We are blessed with a canvas of colors woven into a perfect tapestry.

Through the years, we have been the home for thousands of acts of courage as two smiles agreed to share a life together as one.

As an Ode to the magical spell Charleston puts on us, we wanted to share some of the great spots to offer your hand in marriage in this Southern jewel of a city.

11 Memorable Places to Propose Marriage in Charleston, South Carolina

  1. ?Schooner Pride – Sailing on the Charleston Harbor during a cool evening sunset on a traditional clipper ship; that this paints a picture of a romantic movie I would like to see.? The rainbow of colors in the sky blended with the point where the sun meets the water offers a perfect opportunity to pop the big question.
  2. Top of the Arther Ravenel Jr. Bridge – At the peak of that 2 1/2 mile suspension bridge which has become an iconic symbol of Charleston offers one of the most magnificent views of the harbor and the city.? What better time than during a walk or job with a stunning background to offer up the question they have been waiting to hear…and get exercise.
  3. The Vendue Rooftop – This rooftop bar has the most stunning view of the St. Philips Church Steeple.? If you catch that moment when the sun falls from the sky just behind the church steeple, it is one of the most remarkable sites you will see in Charleston.? Believe me, you ask that special someone at that moment, there is no way you will ever get a no.? A few drinks may not hurt either.
  4. Brittlebank Park – Located on Lockwood Boulevard overlooking the Charleston Marina, this spot is one of serenity and truly defines the life of a coastal resident.? With the calm waters, hovering sailboats and a pier used for fishing and lovers, you won’t find a more serene spot to ask that special question.? If you have the privacy, at the end of the pier under the gazebo is perfect.
  5. Private Carriage Tour – There is no better way to see the city of Charleston than being pulled by a majestic horse, taking in the sites slowly and enjoying a memorable history lesson.? Now remove all the cameras, chatter and lack of elbow room and make it an intimate ride for two.? Give that secret wink to your carriage operator and then off to the side of the road surrounded by historic plantation homes, define the moment that will change you both forever.
  6. White Point Garden – Gazebo – What can be more iconic than asking for a hand in marriage at the exact point where the first shots of the United States Civil War were fired.? If you two are history buffs, you won’t ever forget this moment.? In the center of this beautiful park on The Battery and surrounded by haunting layers of trees is a gorgeous gazebo that has been the setting of many weddings, wedding pictures and proposals.? We will treat yours as if it were the first.
  7. Morris Island Lighthouse Beach – Folly Beach – There are many beautiful beach spots where you can solidify that lifetime commitment.? Not many as secluded as the two I am about to discuss.? This spot requires you to park your car on a residential street, walk just over half a mile and then up a mound of beach sand.? Once you arrive, your breath will be taken from you.? In the distance, the mesmerizing Morris Island Lighthouse, to the right, a long pier of rocks smooth from millions of wave crashes, to the left, trees coming out from the sand and incredible privacy.? Lay a blanket or hook a hammock, share a glass of champagne and set the stage for a proposal you will share with your children for the rest of your life.
  8. Fort Moultrie Beach – Sunset – If you have ever visited Charleston, you most likely have spent time inside Fort Moultrie.? Here is a little secret, us locals know.? Just past the fort is a small dirt road that leads to an isolated beach.? This is a beach where you will commonly see dolphins frolic, a view of the Arther Ravenel Jr. Bridge in the distance and a sunset that puts all others to shame.? Whether you are on the beach or on the hill at the coastal base of the fort, this spot showers romance.
  9. Pitt Street Bridge – We cannot leave out our friends in Mount Pleasant.? This long peaceful walkway with marsh and a twisty kayak path on one side and the Charleston Harbor on the other is a haven for fisherman, couples and families alike.? It is a wonderful place to catch shrimp and watch the fireworks, but this long grassy path presents a nice setting for a picnic, evening nap together or a proposal of eternal love.
  10. Cannon Park – Many of your know the white pillars in the park between Rutledge Avenue and Ashley Avenue.? What remains of an old turn of the century building is a stairwell leading to a platform with red bricks remaining and a beautiful set of Greek style pillars.? This spot with clear blue skies, green grass and trees could not be a better stage for a marriage proposal.? It even makes for a great pop up wedding spot.
  11. Angel Oak – With angel in the name, you cannot go wrong.? Angel Oak is a legacy with its age, stature and reminder that things strengthen with age and that beauty is timeless.? Those are nice reminders when you think about sharing a lifetime together.

We hope this help provide some great ideas if you are thinking about asking that burning question.? Share love and it will share right back.

Charleston Nightlife Story: Being the Only Male at a Bachelorette Party – Lessons Learned

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

One of the top trending items on Twitter at this moment is #thingsthatdontmakesense, and in many circles of social party arrangements, this one does not either. I was the solo male at a downtown Saturday night bachelorette party of thirteen. Did the intent of my night start out that way? Absolutely not. I lived downtown and the organizer who resided in North Charleston has no idea about the ins and outs of downtown Charleston.? I stepped in to get things off the ground and then graciously bow out.

My few minutes early in the evening to ensure they all arrived in one piece turned into an all-night affair.

First, I can handle a joke and believe in the authenticity of the event so I wore the penis name tag and pink hair thingy for a while. I would tell you what specifically it was, but “I just don’t know”. This comment may come out a few more times before this story ends. The server was not particularly amazing on this evening, but on a Saturday night with thirteen people and some arriving late, I think he did rather well. Yet in the eyes of thirteen very anxious women on the verge of a drunken night of mayhem, he was the worst server ever to step foot on this earth.

After a mediocre meal, a few complaints to management and shots for the ladies, we moved on. The next bar was on my way home so, why not. So was the third. After that, trouble began to brew. The groups began to form unions and separation would ensue. In any major city, different people with have their own favorite places so naturally, that was a challenge. Without a limo, wandering feet will cause some potential issues. Thirteen people and four different venues later smart phones became everyone’s friend.

Now I had an obligation to stay. I was sober, I lived downtown and I may be one of the only chances to get everyone home safe. Between shots and texts, the next few hours were very convoluted. One girl got left behind alone. Another had items stolen from her wallet by another girl. Of course there were a few confessions and a few sick victims from the night.

During the course of those eight hours, I observed some very eye-opening events/behaviors:

  1. If you ever have doubts about getting married, bachelorette parties could very well convince you against going through with that life time commitment. Three of four women at the table had some seriously negative things to say about their significant other and one even pondered an affair that night. In the street, I saw five bachelorettes all dressed up and not one smile among them. There could be other factors for those frowns, but I wasn’t ready to get in their path and ask.
  2. Even in a group of girls, they still go to the restroom in pairs or groups. Whether they were talking about others in their party or just needed the company, I will never know. Yes, I did ask and no they wouldn’t tell me.
  3. Women in groups do not like competition. If there are more attractive girls in the group, they will do everything they can to minimize their visibility.
  4. Bachelorette parties mean “tramp it out”. Wear your most obnoxious high heels, find that evening dress or short skirt you haven’t worn in years and shout “This is my night”. It turns out the party is not just for the bride-to-be, but for all the girls single or married. For the married ones, it is an excuse to go out and find your sense of value and attractiveness again from strange men and for the single girls, the belief that “now it is my turn to score a man”. For even a few in the group, it is a chance at a one-night stand. Even girls want a little meaningless intimacy from a hot stranger.
  5. A strip club is not always a requirement, but sex toys and props are. That is an official rule. There must be many and very over the top. I cannot be certain, but the penis straw is quite a popular one.
  6. I cannot say this for certain but in the male code of “what happens here, stays here” doesn’t seem the case with woman. I got the feeling that night and even a few days later that stories were shared and shared often.
  7. Screaming is an absolute requirement. It must be done every time a person passes, at every bar entrance, when any shot is done, when someone falls, pukes, hiccups or in a nutshell…All Night Long.
  8. Group safety is not a big concern by the end of the night. Though we started with a large group, only a few remained intact and the feeling from those remaining was “oh well”. There was a general feeling that since they went their own way, they can find their own way home. Not what I would have expected.

By the end of the evening, I felt that I played a critical role in ensuring the safety of the core group, including the bride-to-be. One of the surprising elements was that I did not become a punching bag or pun of jokes during the night. I was a welcome addition. There were a few thoughts that I may have been gay because I was there, but I feel that if a guy wants to jump in and help celebrate the release of another single girl, most girls would be open to that.

This was an experience I was for the most part glad to be a part of. If asked whether I would participate again, my answer would be simple…No.

There are some very distinct reasons why men and women are different and when those differences grow in numbers, it is best to distance yourself from the opposite gender.

To the Bride-to-be, Cheers and good luck. To the bachelorette’s personal assistant, thank you for the invite into my own Cosmo article.

Treat Every Day of Your Marriage As If You Were Single – Charleston Relationship Advice

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Think back to the week before a first date.

You meet this woman and she seems incredible.? Beautiful blue eyes, sparkling smile, soft inviting voice and totally out of your league, but she said yes.? She wants to have dinner with you and you know it has to be perfect.? Now you start the preparation for this big first date.

What do you wear?

Where should you take her?

How many more workouts do I need so I look good?

Should I get a haircut?

I hope I have a good razor blade because I have to look sharp or maybe I should go a little rugged.

What should we talk about?? I want to keep her engaged, but don’t want to ask all the generic questions.

It is now the night of the fated first date.? You put on a great outfit and then change three more times.? You look in the mirror about ten times before you walk out the door.? You apply the cologne while you get dressed and then once more before you walk out the door.? Brush your teeth very thoroughly.? You pop about five breath mints because clearly one isn’t enough for tonight even though you just brushed your teeth.? You look around to make sure the car is clean and take out the crazy hardcore CD you had in the player and put on some smooth sounds.? Everything is ready.? Wait, you need to check your face one more time to make sure you didn’t miss any spots shaving.? Now all is perfect.? You drive up to her place, get out of the car, tuck in your shirt again, suck in the gut, take a deep breath and begin…

That is an exhilarating moment, isn’t it?

When we think about how much time and energy we put into our hygiene and appearance for a date, it is almost shocking, but still refreshing.

Yet, for many in the “comfort” of marriage, the idea of fitness, nutrition, wellness and excitement takes a back seat to routine, laziness and lack of “caring” about one self.

Why does that happen?

Let us look at a few possibilities:

  • Security – You are keenly aware that you will have that person to come home to every day for the rest of your life.? There is no cat and mouse chase so you can put the racing shoes away knowing you will catch her every night.
  • Many marriages fall into a pattern of routine.? You come home from work the same time, watch the same weekly shows, order in the same food and even have the same intimacy patterns.
  • Marriage becomes more of a partnership with responsibility taking over the power of adventure.? Budgets are more important, planning families and maintaining a higher sense of responsibility are the key prerogatives.
  • “It is supposed to be this way” – As you get older, a majority have a perception that we should be married, living in the suburbs, two children, two dogs, a white picket fence, dual income and dinner on the table at six every night.
  • It is easy.? Having a set pattern of living is easy and comforting.? Life is hard enough, so why not create certain elements that are constant that will always be there for you.
  • It is no longer about you.? We believe and I do not disagree, that marriage is a partnership of shared interests and responsibilities.? That makes us busier, maybe even too busy to go to the gym, cook a little healthier or run instead of watching television.? Think about it.? When you first met your husband or wife, you wanted to look good for them.? The same principle still applies.
  • You stop pursuing your dreams.? This one is critical.? Life becomes more focused on survival than ambition.? Many dreams take risk and marriage has a way of minimizing risk.? The paycheck will always win out over the dream adventure.

This is a wake-up call to all the couples stuck in a rut.? We are all getting older one day at a time.? As a curious youth, our energy level and ambition was infinite.? The world was anything we wanted it to be.? As we bloomed into sexual aware and passionate teenagers and adults, that curiosity took on new meaning as we dove into the forest in the pursuit of the almighty attraction.? Most importantly, we never settled.

Somewhere along the line, we all became aging turtles that no longer looked back and remembered that time long ago.

It is time to change and find the long lost roots of ambition and excitement.

Look in the mirror.? Are you happy where you are?? Do you want to change?? Do you want to dream?? Do you want to be physically and mentally fit, challenging and pushing yourself to be a better you?? I have to believe more of us feel that way and are just afraid of the effort and the risk.

Life is a gift.

It is filled with uncertainty and even a great deal of pain and suffering.? Yet, it is also filled with magic and reward.

Remember these few things:

  • Remember why you fell in love
  • Remember what it was about him/her that made you have butterflies inside
  • Remember how much effort you put in to impress this person
  • Remember how much you wanted to be the best person in the world for them
  • Remember the ache you had when they weren’t around
  • Remember the exhilaration you felt with each kiss and touch of their skin
  • Remember that desire to be romantic and spontaneous

Find that again.? Find that and you will find a new love each and every day of your marriage.