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Destination I Do

Myrtle Beach: The Hidden Gem

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Courtney Cox

Being the proud owner of a golf-obsessed boyfriend, I assumed Myrtle Beach was merely a golf destination. However, after a recent visit, I found that not only does this portion of South Carolina’s “Grand Strand” offer amazing links, it’s ideal for destination weddings. Myrtle Beach offers similar Southern charm as its Charleston competitor, but with gorgeous beaches and significantly better prices.

If you’re looking to host your event at a resort, the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes can handle anything and everything thanks to its extensive event and conference experience. With beach views and large spaces, it’s ideal for larger weddings, but be aware – you can’t have your ceremony on the beach here due to city ordinances.

A fun alternative to hosting your guests in a hotel is to rent a large beachfront home in Garden City Beach. These homes can accommodate as many as 26 people, but range in both price and size. Over all, they’re surprisingly affordable and offer comfortable furnishings, large kitchens and spacious, friendly back porches. Best of all, the beach in Garden City does allow ceremonies and receptions on the sand. To look into renting one of these amazing home-away-from-homes, contact Dunes Realty.

If you have a golf lover in your life, which most likely you do, treat yourself and them to a ceremony and/or reception at one of these gorgeous, world-class country clubs. The Grande Dunes Members Club has a high-end, Mediterranean-style feel and offers weddings on the beach since they’re just outside the Myrtle Beach city limits. Pine Lakes Country Club is an oldie, but a goodie and is considered the “granddaddy” of country clubs since it was the first golf course established in Myrtle Beach back in 1927. The dramatic club house makes a stunning backdrop for your ceremony and the historic interiors are a charming reception location. The Dunes Club is perfect for the modern couple wanting a location with gorgeous views and chic, neutral interiors. Their spacious, oceanfront lawn is a great alternative to a traditional beach ceremony.

If you’re not looking for a country club or beachfront wedding, Brookgreen Gardens is a stunning alternative. This expansive and sophisticated public garden is on 9,000 acres and includes immaculately groomed spaces and quintessentially Southern backdrops. My favorite ceremony spots included Live Oak Allee and The Gates Garden. For an intimate and picturesque reception, the Holliday Cottage will charm the socks off of you and your guests.

After a busy day touring the biggest and best wedding venues in Myrtle Beach, I was continually surprised by the affordable prices and logistically convenient packages. More often than not, a flat fee will get you most everything including set-up, rentals, wait staff, linens and even dinner. For a couple looking to get big bang for their buck and keep the planning process simple, Myrtle Beach is a fantastic option. Spring and fall are the most popular times of year for weddings and be sure to book a year in advance for the more popular venues mentioned above.

In the time leading up to your destination wedding, be sure to treat your guests to some good ol’ fashioned fun at either Broadway at the Beach or The Carolina Opry Show. Also, be sure to take advantage of the world-class golf since the majority of Myrtle Beach’s courses are open to the public and absolutely spectacular.

Myrtle Beach surpassed my expectations and is undoubtedly a hidden gem within the destination wedding market. If you’re considering a beach ceremony or Southern charmer of a wedding, definitely keep Myrtle Beach at the top of your must-consider list!

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

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