The Right Venue
As mobile wedding DJs, we’ve been to a lot of venues. From the coasts of North Carolina to the midlands of South Carolina, we’ve made the rounds. And after hosting 300+ weddings last year, we’ve learned a few things about what makes a successful wedding.
That’s not to say there’s only one factor. The best weddings combine many fantastic elements. Things like vendor cohesion, good food, and nice weather definitely impact the result. But there’s one other factor that can make or break a great wedding almost single-handedly (and no, this time it’s not about the DJ). We’re talking about the venue itself.
Imagine you spent months (and in some cases, years) getting everything right. Sampling dozens of caterers, interviewing DJ after DJ, and following countless photographers online. But then on the big day, the venue is just too small. Half the guests are left to wander around outside and miss the first dance. People leave disappointed they weren’t able to celebrate with you.
Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. In our travels throughout SC, we’ve seen many venues. So we thought we could help out the searching couple and compile a little list. Before we get started, we wanted to say that this list is in no way all-encompassing. These aren’t the only great venues near Columbia. But they are some that we’ve really enjoyed visiting.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, our favorite wedding venues near Columbia, South Carolina:
1. Stone River
West Columbia is definitely a very cool area. We’ve been to a lot of venues near West Columbia, but Stone River was one that stuck out to us immediately. Apparently it once housed a New Orleans themed restaurant, but has since been converted into one of the nicest venues in the area. You can definitely see the remnants of that NOLa architecture though.
Situated on the Congaree River, Stone River boasts some of the best riverfront views in Columbia. And with good reason. Standing on the river-walk and looking out at downtown is definitely a feel that can’t be imitated.
And as DJs, we have to say: this venue is great for parties. From wedding receptions to rehearsal dinners, this is without a doubt a great spot. One thing that separates the good venues from the great venues is versatility. Being able to have a more serious ceremony and then a rager for a reception. Or to be able to have an intimate affair for all parts of the day. Being able to accommodate a variety of vibes is a quality all the best venues share. And it’s also something that isn’t lacking at Stone River.
2. 701 Whaley
Talk about a venue with style. 701 Whaley is definitely one of Columbia’s most popular venues for good reason (and apparently even Southern Living agrees). One of the first things you notice is the venue is absolutely full of art. From a full-fledged gallery to art hanging in all the halls, there’s absolutely an air sophistication to the whole space.
Also of note is the transformative nature of the venue. The decor transitions from indoor to outdoor, from hardwood to polished stone, and from quaint to expansive. And having all of those qualities while keeping the encompassing style consistent is very impressive.
In terms of reception spaces, this is one of the coolest and most unique we’ve seen. And you can trust us on that; we’ve seen a lot of venues. Any reception space can hold guests attention for a couple of hours. But we’ve seen guests enthralled by all of the sights at 701 Whaley for hours and hours. And that’s not something every venue can claim.
All-in-all, there’s definitely a reason 701 Whaley is one of Columbia’s most popular venues.
3. The River Road and Jasmine Houses and Gardens
Situated on the shores of Lake Murray, The River Road and Jasmine Houses and Gardens is another great Columbia wedding venue. Made up of two separate buildings, there’s a lot to write home about with this one.
The restored turn-of-the-century décor definitely creates that air of elegance many other venues strive for. They expertly balance the historical architecture with a more modern aesthetic. And those two factors combine to create a truly unique venue combining southern charm and contemporary style.
We would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the gardens. The palms and ivy and all the other foliage all create a color palette we haven’t seen since.
The truly unique venues are the ones that can seamlessly combine styles and aesthetics. Ones that can mix the old and the new and create something memorable. And that is absolutely the case here. We’re already looking forward to our next Columbia trip so we can pop by!
4. The Millstone at Adams Pond
Every so often, we encounter venues that are perfect fits for their locations. With the Spanish moss, brickwork, and venue décor, the Millstone at Adams Pond is a uniquely South Carolina venue.
A refurbished estate dating back to the 1700s, the Millstone at Adams Pond is definitely a venue with some history. It’s also rooted in its geography. It’s not just a venue situated inside some woods. Its a venue that utilizes its geography, weaving the woods and natural setting into the ambiance of the venue as a whole. And you can trust us when we say: that’s not a quality shared by every venue.
Right near the house, through all the Spanish moss, one can also find a pecan orchard. This area, combined with the moss and the pond itself, makes for some of the best wedding photos we’ve seen.
The Millstone at Adams Pond is one of those unforgettable venues. Where everything completely works together; the geography, the staff, the décor, the food… it all combines to make a truly unforgettable venue.
5. The Lace House
There are a lot of historic venues in Columbia. It’s a city with a lot of history, after all. But one historic venue we couldn’t get out of our heads was the Lace House at Arsenal Hill. It has all of the gardens and nature you’d expect to find in a country-side venue. Yet it’s comfortably situated in downtown Columbia.
The antebellum home was originally part of the governor’s mansion complex, and eventually came to house the governor’s overnight guests. But this beautiful space couldn’t stay hidden for long. Eventually it was opened up to the general public for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and many other functions. The gardens themselves also underwent a renovation to “enhance their natural beauty.”
So if you’re looking for a venue that has that rustic, country feel, but is also where the people are, it may be worth looking into The Lace House. It’s definitely a venue we won’t forget, and the next time we make our rounds to Columbia, we’ll be dropping by ourselves!