Thinking about getting engaged soon? Whether you plan to travel to Charleston or consider yourself to be a Charleston local a.k.a. ‘Charlestonian’, here are some picture perfect ideas that are guaranteed to impress your person saying “yes”!
The fact that Charleston has been named the number one United States city for the seventh year in a row by Travel + Leisure is no accident. The views are heaven on earth, the average snowfall is 0 inches, and the food is beyond comforting. The people here are friendly, the history is rich, oh and did I mention comfort food? What’s not to love, especially when you’re in love?
As one of the engagement photographers in Charleston, I have witnessed my fair share of surprise proposals and have even helped plan a few!
Here are some of the best & most unique Charleston proposal ideas:
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Imagine riding horseback along the shore. You can hear the ocean waves crashing, while the sea breeze tickles your cheeks and the sun kisses your nose. With just the guide and your partner by your side, there’s no better time to ask, ‘Will you marry me?’ Seabrook Island Equestrian Center offers beach rides for all skill levels with no experience required.
Carriage Rides in Charleston
Have you seen the horse drawn carriage rides in Charleston? Sitting next to your favorite person while listening to the steady clip-clop of hooves on pavement and taking in all of Charleston’s charm is such a romantic way to spend any day or evening in Charleston — especially with that gorgeous engagement ring burning a hole in your pocket.
Carriage rides are a great way to enjoy Charleston’s most iconic sights like Rainbow Row, the City Market, White Point Garden, historic mansions, and more. South Carolina has an almost perfect year round climate for carriage rides with an annual average temperature of 65.85 degrees. If this proposal idea speaks to you, I would recommend planning to pop the question sometime between September & May. The heat in June, July, and August can be questionable not only for your personal comfort, but also for the safety of the horses.
Carolina Polo & Carriage Company is the only carriage company owned and operated by native Charlestonians. They offer private vis-à-vis (face-to-face) carriage rides through historic downtown Charleston, ideal for creating that once in a lifetime moment with your soon-to-be southern bride.
Folly Beach Yoga
If you’ve never practiced yoga on the beach, I highly recommend trying this whether you’re planning to propose or not! There’s nothing quite like deep breathing and gently flowing through sun salutations with sand between your toes at the ‘Edge of America’, a.k.a. Folly Beach, South Carolina.
Serenity Tree Yoga offers my absolute favorite yoga classes on Folly Beach. Most of their classes are donation based and open to all ages and all levels of experience. If you’re hoping for a more intimate setting, private yoga classes are available. Beach yoga is typically offered during warmer months, I would say March or April through November. Serenity Tree is really great about getting out in the sand as soon as the temps rise, so join their email newsletter or follow them on Facebook to get beach yoga scheduling notifications.
Charleston Sunset Cruise
Charleston is known for some breathtaking sunsets with impressive colors. Why not witness one from the Charleston Harbor? Proposing while aboard a Charleston sunset cruise is guaranteed to be the perfect end to the perfect day, and the perfect start to the rest of your life.
Charleston Sailing Adventures offers a group sunset sail as well as private sunset sailing options.
If you’re traveling to Charleston for the first time, or if you haven’t been to Charleston in a while, I’m willing to bet that one of the first pictures you take is the classic passenger seat cell phone shot of suspension cables while cruising over the Ravenel Bridge. Am I right, or am I right? If you’re the active lifestyle type, or if you just plain love Charleston, this is a great proposal idea for you. Here’s the plan: walk/run/bike halfway across the bridge to the Charleston Harbor overlook area, stop to tie your shoe, and resurface on one knee with an engagement ring shining in the sunlight. You’re welcome.
Deep Water Vineyard
Deep Water Vineyard in Wadmalaw, SC is the only vineyard and winery in South Carolina because the climate in South Carolina is typically too warm for most grape varieties to flourish. Deep Water Vineyard is able to grow muscadine grapes to offer a truly 100% local wine experience. Bring a picnic basket and blanket, select a bottle of wine and enjoy your time together. Afterwards, you can stroll the vineyard on a self-guided tour where you’ll find the perfect spot for the perfect proposal.
Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve is roughly 45 miles or an hour and 10 minute drive from downtown Charleston. Don’t let the distance deter you though. This is very likely one of the most picturesque and unique landscapes in the Charleston area. Because of the distance from downtown, it’s really a hidden gem and is not usually overrun with tourists. I would describe some of this scenery as looking like you’ve stepped into the pages of a National Geographic Southern Africa Safari. (Pro tip: go easy on the liquids prior to your arrival at the park. There are no bathrooms once you get to the park entrance).
Elliott St, Charleston
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the must-see beauty of Rainbow Row. Sure, Rainbow Row is great. But it takes a local to know where the real downtown magic exists. Elliott Street has to be one of the most storybook looking streets in downtown Charleston, and is guaranteed to impress your sweetheart. How to get there: if you’re traveling northeast on E Bay Street, Rainbow Row will be on your left. Elliott Street is just past Rainbow Row on the left.
Pitt Street Bridge
The Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant is home to a lot of really colorful, breathtaking sunsets. Not to mention the 360 marsh views with Charleston harbor scenery, like the Ravenel Bridge, in the distance. This spot is pet friendly, great for a relaxing evening stroll with the pups. Who is better to witness that ‘yes’ moment than your furry friends who will always be right by your side anyway?
Charleston Farmers Markets
There is no shortage of farmer’s markets in Charleston. This proposal idea is perfect for those who love a natural lifestyle, supporting local Charleston farmers & makers.
Here are some of my favorite local farmer’s markets:
Sunday Brunch Farmers Market– the Sunday Brunch Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on James Island behind The Charleston Pour House
John’s Island Farmers Market– the John’s Island Farmers Market is open every Saturday year-round from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on the campus of Charleston Collegiate School
Charleston Farmers Market– weekly on Saturdays (April – October) from 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Marion Square, downtown Charleston
West Ashley Farmers Market– weekly on Wednesdays (April – October) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ackerman Park
Celadon Flea– held on the last Sunday of every month at the North Charleston Warehouse from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Charleston Water Taxi
The water taxi is probably the easiest and most affordable way to hop on a boat in downtown Charleston. The water taxi loops around Charleston Harbor with stops at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, and downtown Charleston. The taxi can be used as a method of transportation to your proposal destination, or it can also serve as your destination! With dolphin sightings and up close views of the Ravenel Bridge, you really can’t go wrong with this picturesque proposal idea.
While the officialname is Shem Creek Park, this proposal hot spot is actually 2,200 feet of boardwalk with marsh views, views of the Charleston Harbor, and plenty of bars and restaurants to celebrate with your sweetie.
Charleston Tea Plantation
The Charleston Tea Plantation, owned by the Bigelow family, is located on Wadmalaw Island, SC. It is the only tea plantation in North America! There's no admission fee and you are free to roam the grounds, or take a trolley ride through rows upon rows of tea leaves. The trolley makes rounds hourly, and stops at the plantation’s state of the art greenhouse — which may be the perfect opportunity to declare just how much love you have for your tea lover.
Charleston Art Galleries
There is definitely no shortage of art galleries in downtown Charleston. Any art aficionado would be sure to take your hand in marriage when surrounded with masterpieces by Lowcountry artists. One of my favorite downtown Charleston art galleries is located inside The Vendue, an award-winning Charleston art hotel. Take your love for a stroll around Waterfront Park, step into The Vendue to admire the art, and then let your aficionado admire that engagement ring for the first time.
Most Popular Charleston Proposal Ideas:
Of course, if you’re looking for some classic Charleston sights, here are the best Charleston proposal ideas for you:
· The Pineapple Fountain
· Rainbow Row
· Folly Beach Pier
· White Point Garden
· The Battery
· Angel Oak Tree
Now that you’ve got your surprise proposal location planned, you’ll need a Charleston engagement photographer. I’d love to help you create and capture that unforgettable moment.
Click here to send me a note to discuss details and scheduling!
About the author:
LeeAnn Neumann is the owner and photographer behind Chucktown Art, a local Charleston photography and creative services company (and one of the best engagement photographers in Charleston, SC).
"I'm a Charleston, SC photographer + mom of 2 boys living in West Ashley. You can usually find me out juggling leashes with our Dalmatians on my weekday 'breaks'. I specialize in photography sessions of all kinds, eliminating guesswork in finding a different Charleston photographer to fit each aspect of your life. Whether you're looking to capture family moments, lifestyle shots for your blog, or working with clients to sell Charleston real estate quickly on MLS - I'm your girl!