The Ultimate Guide to Getting Married in Savannah
With drippy Spanish moss and steamboat-inspired architecture, it's no wonder that Savannah is a popular city for weddings.
There is no doubt that Georgia is a beautiful state to get married. With its drippy Spanish moss, coastal lowlands, and quaint urban areas, it's no wonder that residents and outsiders alike flock to places like Savannah to say, "I do." The city is almost an effortless place to get married. As a result, no matter where you end up, the backdrop is gorgeous. "I tell couples all you need for a gorgeous wedding here is a fabulous dress, a fabulous bouquet, and honey, Savannah will do the rest," says Esther Griffin, owner of Esther Griffin Photography located in the heart of Savannah.
Tori Bronston, owner of Bronston Photography in Savannah, echoes this sentiment. "Weddings in Savannah are always magical. Savannah is filled with beautiful Spanish moss trees and historical architecture, making every corner unique and a breathtaking backdrop for any occasion," she reflects. In short, if there's one Southern city that has it all, Savannah delivers. So if gorgeous buildings, lovely natural areas, and a quintessential glimpse of the South are what you crave, consider getting married in Savannah, Georgia.
Best Times to Get Married In Savannah
The weather in Savannah is gorgeous year-round. However, couples getting married in this Southern city have other considerations beyond the temperature. "Beware of hurricane season. Typically late September and early October are generally high peak dates for hurricane season," advises Tara Skinner, owner of Tara Skinner Weddings & Events in Savannah. But, of course, no one can predict how severe a hurricane season will be (some have caused city-wide evacuations). Therefore, Skinner advises protecting your event. "We always encourage our clients to purchase event liability insurance with the weather-related items covered just in case."
"I shoot weddings year-round, but the peak seasons are March through May and September through November," offers Griffin. "Temperatures are generally mild in March and April, warming in May and then cooling down a bit again in September and staying moderate through early December." However, even colder months in the dead of winter can have unexpected warm, sunny days.
If you're looking for explosions of color, center your wedding around blooming season. "Spring azaleas and other trees and shrubs can bloom as early as February, but they usually flower in March and April," advises Griffin. Another word of caution is for those having events near the water. "If you are getting married near the marsh, you're likely to encounter the tiny but mighty sand gnat, especially in March, April, and November," says Griffin. "They're out at dusk into the night." She also advises that they're attracted to hair products, so come up with a plan to counteract the pesky bugs.
As far as the tides, high tide works wonderfully for capturing gorgeous images. Bronston tends to take her couples near the Tybee Island Light Station to take ethereal wedding photos. "I like it when it's high tide so I can pose my couples around the jetty rock backgrounds," she states. Bronston also informs clients that even if their wedding takes place in harsh daylight, Savannah offers shaded options. "Most areas have lots of covered areas with trees to create large spots of shade. This gives you great mid-day photos without the worry of squinting from the bright sun."
Types of Wedding Venues in Savannah
From marshside vistas to urban hotels, Savannah has an excellent range of venues that cater to weddings of all sizes. "Savannah is one of the nation's top destinations for weddings, and it's easy to see why," says Griffin. "From the famous fountain in Forsyth Park to quiet squares to an island chapel to historic homes and a soaring cathedral, you'll find venues that are perfect for an elopement, an intimate wedding, or a grand affair."
"Savannah is known for its hot summers," advises Bronston. "If you're planning a wedding during July and August, I would recommend choosing one of our stunning hotels such as Perry Lane Hotel, The Desoto, and the JW Marriott to keep your guest cool and your bridal party fresh." Other downtown hotels include The Kimpton Brice Hotel and The Present, which are perfect for small gatherings.
Those who wish to be away from downtown can consider locations that offer a Southern vibe outside the city. Holly Oaks on the Marsh has a gorgeous manor home and a property with fantastic sunset views. If you prefer a rustic venue, Red Gate Farms has a stunning red barn. Finally, Gingerbread House has quintessential Southern architecture in gorgeous steamboat style.
Another attractive option is to wed at Tybee Island, which is about 20 minutes outside of downtown Savannah. However, it would be best if you secured a permit to do so. "To get married on the beach at Tybee Island, you will need a permit," advises Griffin, whose favorite time to photograph on the island is sunset. "Even though we're on the East Coast, the island curves around in such a way that you can see the sun setting in the distance."
Choosing Vendors for Your Savannah Wedding
One of the most significant decisions that will impact your wedding is selecting quality vendors for your celebratory day. Chances are, once you secure your first vendor, they can help you find other professionals to orchestrate your vision for the day. "The beauty is obvious, but the one thing I love about Savannah weddings is the way that all of the vendors—planner, venue, florist, hair and makeup artist, officiant, band, classic car rental—work together to make the day perfect for our couples," says Griffin.
Bronston also advises booking your vendors as early as possible. "If you're planning to get married in one of Savannah's 22 squares, make sure you reach out at least a year in advance for the popular spots," she suggests. "It is not uncommon for venues and wedding photographers to be booked 1-2 years in advance."
Start by hiring a quality wedding planner, such as Tara Skinner Weddings & Events or Megan Elizabeth Weddings and Events, especially if you're trying to organize a destination wedding. Photographers tend to book quickly, and both Esther Griffin Photography and Bronston Photography can document your day beautifully.
Look at Ivory & Beau for your wedding gown, and Urban Poppy can handle all of your wedding day florals. For lounge seating and vintage rentals to accent your festivities, look through all that Savannah Vintage & Event Rentals has to offer. Tracy Brisson with Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements can officiate your ceremony or micro wedding.
Many venues offer in-house catering services but Thrive Catering will feed your guests from cocktail hour through post-reception munchies. Let Wicked Cakes of Savannah bring your wedding cake visions to life, and your dessert will taste fabulous, too. All About You Entertainment will keep your reception hopping, and a limousine from Above and Beyond will whisk you away in style.
Legal Considerations for Getting Married in Savannah
A marriage license from the county is required to wed in Savannah legally. Both applicants need to show up in person to receive the permit. There is no waiting period, and the document is valid for up to six months from the date it is secured. The fee for the license is $66.
Permits are also required to get married in any of the squares inside Savannah's city limits, which involves renting the space for three hours. "Squares can be booked exactly one year from the date you are requesting, and on busy wedding dates, these time slots fill up fast," advises Skinner. She often obtains these permits for her clients, which involves being at the booking office at 6 am the morning that your wedding date becomes available. As stated above, a permit is also required to marry on the beach.
Incorporating Regional Touches Into Your Wedding
Include a touch of Savannah into your wedding. Tuck handmade sweets from Chocolate by Adam Turoni into welcome baskets or at each place setting as a favor. Spirits, such as bourbon whiskey, by Ghost Coast Distillery, can inspire your signature drinks at your wedding reception.
Contact JKH Ceramics to treat your bridesmaids to a gorgeous jewelry item or purchase adorable pottery bud vases to serve as wedding favors. Natural skincare products from Salacia Salts are the perfect additions to make the hotel room feel more like home for your guests. Of course, as an attendant thank you gift or wedding favor, you can't go wrong with a handmade soy candle from Tiffani Taylor.
For those that want to continue the after-party, give your guests a can of locally-brewed beer from Two Tides Brewing. A big plus is that they can drink it on the way. "One of the perks of Savannah is the open container policy," states Skinner. "This makes for a fun exit when your guests can take a to-go drink with them after the reception and continue the party downtown the rest of the night."
Activities for Wedding Guests
"Many couples choose to marry in Savannah because it's a wonderful place to invite their guests," states Griffin. "It's a destination that has something for everyone: fabulous food, breathtaking natural beauty, gorgeous architecture, art museums, historic homes open for tours, and great nightlife."
A walk through Savannah's historic district is a highlight for guests who are staying downtown, and Griffin offers step-by-step instructions on the best route. "The prettiest walk is to start at the fountain in Forsyth Park and walk north up Bull Street to the Savannah City Hall," she suggests. "You'll go through the prettiest squares and past the best shops and cafes. Take the stairs to the right of City Hall. They will take you to a cobblestone street leading right to River Street. Walk west until you get to Plant Riverside District, which is filled with great food and entertainment."
Guests can also get their bearings of Savannah by hopping on one of the Old Town Trolley Tours. Bonaventure Cemetery is historic and beautiful, and visitors can catch a show at The Historic Savannah Theatre, which has been lovingly restored. A riverboat cruise on the Georgia Queen is also an excellent way for all ages to spend the afternoon.
No matter what your guests decide to do, Savannah is a fabulous choice for your wedding day. "Savannah has a charm about it that creates a memorable experience," says Bronston. "The lowcountry vibes and great hospitality will make you so happy you decided to have your wedding here."