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Top 10 States That Are Interested In A Wedding In Charleston

27 May 2024

Aside from being a wedding DJ business owner who is absolutely passionate about the music, I'm probably one of the most analytical people you'll ever meet. Most savvy business owners constantly are analyzing all types of data to see where their future clients could be originating from. Years ago, I set out to build my online brand in a way that was sure to attract modern brides and grooms who are interested in hiring a top wedding DJ who gives them the best chance of curating the perfect mix of music for their most special day. Putting hours and hours into creating the content you are reading right now is only a fraction of the work to be put in for the development of my business. I find myself constantly analyzing website data to determine which modern brides and grooms are interested in hiring me, and even more importantly, "where" they are coming from.

It's been my goal since Day 1 to try to get my name and brand in front of as many modern brides and grooms as possible. At the onset of my online presence, I would attend client meetings and nearly every bride would have in her possession a copy of the Charleston Weddings Magazine. Then, one time after one of those client meetings, I went to go and purchase a copy of this truly beautiful and elegant magazine and flipped through the pages. I could totally see why so many brides became engrossed in this magazine. For those of you who think "print" advertising is dead, think again or should I say you need to get in the mind of a newly engaged bride. Shortly after saying "yes", most brides are subscribing to as many websites and purchasing as many magazines with the prettiest pictures possible. Within a few days of the proposal, she can be found lying on her bed flipping through the pages of these wedding magazines, which end up igniting her dreams of being a part of the most spectacular wedding day with the man of her dreams. There's something so beautiful, as a newly engaged brides flips through the pages of a wedding magazine. To this day, the Charleston Weddings Magazine is still a world class publication that features weddings put together by some of the most experienced wedding vendors. And like I mentioned, the glossy color images of each wedding allow any bride to get lost in daydreams as she thinks about her upcoming wedding day. One of the proudest moments I've had in the history of my wedding DJ business was being a part of a bridal show in the grounds of the William Aiken House during Charleston Fashion Week in 2016. <---Click HERE to get a recap of this event.

In addition to successful advertising campiagns in Charleston Weddings Magazine, I've also been a paying advertiser in the Charleston Wedding Guide. The Charleston Wedding Guide is designed and administered by the Charleston Visitor's Bureau and is currently one of the most extensive online resources for the modern bride and groom looking for inspiration when planning their wedding in Charleston. This all-inclusive website and paper guide also feature actual weddings, venues, and a collection of experienced wedding vendors that allow any modern bride and groom to have everything they need at their fingertips to plan the wedding of their dreams. No one knows about Charleston more than the Visitor's Bureau. After all, they are the folks behind the scenes analyzing all of the data as it pertains to the Holy City, and could easily give us all of the statistics on what the most ideal weekend would be to get married in Charleston during the year.  One of the fringe benefits of being an advertiser in the Charleston Wedding Guide is receiving actual lists of prospective brides and grooms who are interested in getting married in Charleston.  Need more reasons to explore about getting married in Charleston? <---Click HERE for an archive article on more reasons to get married in the Holy City.

For those who have been in the wedding industry for more than a few years, you know that even though there will always be weddings, the frequency of them can be cyclical. We saw this coming out of the Great Recession in 2009 during the great Charleston wedding boom that spanned from 2010/2011 into 2017/2018. Then the wedding industry was rocked with the COVID-19 pandemic and a bit of a boom happened as people just wanted to have the time of their lives at a wedding after being on lock down. Now, as I put this post together, we're all navigating a bit of a normal where a market correction is underway and may just be with us for a few more years. This "navigation of a new normal / market correction" is not something I've managed to make out all by myself. I mean I had been speculating for many months that something was changing about the wedding industry.  It's something I knew was happening, but received more clarity on the subject in recent weeks by listening to podcasts of industry-leading wedding industry consultants.

"New Normal" Combined With Inflation

For close to 2 years, we've been battling with inflation and as a savvy business owner, I would be naive to think that "inflation" and personal finances are not affecting a couple's desire to get married in Charleston. Having spent the bulk of the past 13 years in Charleston as a wedding business owner, I come to the table with credible evidence and experience to state these facts and opinions.  Charleston, SC has exploded with population growth and tourism pretty much over the entire time I've been in business.  The wedding boom after the Great Recession hit Charleston like a ton of bricks, which also caused tourism to take off.  Unfortunately, every aspect of our lives has increased in price since the Great Recession. Don't believe me? Let's just take a walk around your favorite grocery store, or try to rent an apartment or buy a house in Charleston. I'm not here to point any fingers or create any controversy, but it is significantly more expensive today to get married in Charleston than it was 13 years ago.

The Geography Of Destination Brides And Grooms

Having spared no expense over the past 8 years for my website / brand, I've strived to put my business in the best position to be visible by modern brides and grooms looking to get married in Charleston, SC. I've received hundreds of inquiries over the years and have been exposed to hundreds more inquiries from the Charleston Wedding Guide. While Charleston, SC has put itself on the map as a top wedding destination in the past 13 years, brides and grooms are coming from different areas of the country to have their nuptials in the Holy City. If I had written this post back in the 2014 or 2015 time frame, the information that I would be sharing much different information. I'll provide some commentary after the big reveal in regards to some of my theories on why we've seen a shift in the popular locations people travel from to have their wedding in Charleston.

Crunching The Numbers

By day, I'm a professional analyst who spends 8 hours per day analyzing all sorts of data. It was only natural for me to take all of the inquiries received from the fine folks at the Visitor's Bureau and plug them into an Excel spreadsheet.  At the time of publication of this post, I have about 1,000 leads in my spreadsheet amassed over the past year. 1,000 weddings is certainly a large enough sample to be able to draw conclusions about the geographical shift I've witnessed over the past several years. After organizing all of the inquiries into a format that allowed the ease of filtering, I began to instantly see the shift of where brides and grooms were coming from. Drum roll please! I am proud and honored to give you the Top 10 States Where Brides And Grooms Come From To Have Their Wedding In Charleston.




When I performed my analysis on all of these leads, I looked at the overall picture from a variety of viewpoints. First and foremost, when you look at the Top 5 states, all of them are in the South. Since the Top 5 are in the South, you could make the case that Charleston may have morphed into a "regional" wedding destination rather than a "national" wedding destination.  It's been my experience that when you get a bride and groom and their family coming down from New York and Pennsylvania, one can expect a raging party to ensue where no one can be seen sitting down and all bodies are on the dance floor.  People pick on Ohio all the time, but to be honest, I can go down to the peninsula of Charleston at any time of the year and see tons of Ohio license plates. The people of Ohio support tourism in Charleston, so it's no surprise that brides and grooms from Ohio would want to get married in the Holy City.

Notable States Missing From The Top 10

Actually if you include the District of Columbia, I will comment on "three" notable misses from the list of Top 10 States Who Are Interested In Having Their Wedding In Charleston. During the wedding boom after the Great Recession, I could not stop getting inquiries from the Garden State of New Jersey.  Also, I've had the pleasure of working with so many couples from Virginia; specifically northern Virginia, which includes the DC area. As their license plates have stated for years, I hope Virginia is still for lovers. :)  I miss my people from New Jersey! They love to party and have help curate some of the most epic wedding playlists. They left such an impact on me that I specifically put together this blog post about Popular Musicians & Bands From New Jersey For Wedding Playlists <----CLICK HERE


What you see in terms of the Top 10 states with brides and grooms interested in having a destination wedding in Charleston is right in line with the leads and inquiries and actual weddings for me over the past few years.  I've seen a lot of couples coming Columbia, SC, Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, NC. Those cities tend to be short drives, and if the couple's family is also from those areas, the need for plane tickets is not as great, thus making for a lower cost in travel.  In performing an analysis on all of the inquiries, I determined that over 1/3 of all inquiries came from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia combined, while less than 10% came from the middle Atlantic and Neww England states. And thus far in 2024, only 2% of inquiries have come from New Jersey. Since the pandemic I've noticed a lot of brides and grooms scale back their weddings and begin to focus on what really matters to them. Perhaps it's a smaller guest count? Less travel? I can only assume the decrease in interest from the northeastern states has more to do with the economy and a desire to cut travel costs. As I mentioned up above, the brides and grooms from New Jersey and Pennsylvania were flocking to Charleston in droves after the Great Recession, but everything in Charleston was cheaper back then.  Over the course of the next year, I will continue to monitor these inquiries and see if there is a shift in interest back to the Northeast states.  Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this blog post as I attempt to share the results of my analysis. Have you got your sights on Charleston and are looking to hire a non-traditional wedding DJ for your big day? Please fill out a contact form on my homepage and we'll set up a time to speak. Thank you so much for visiting my website and blog.