South Carolina Aquarium
    15 Reviews
100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston, SC 29401  | map
Services: Ceremony, Reception
Catering: Offered in-house, Outside vendors welcome
Maximum capacity: 500
 
 
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4.8 out of 5.0
4.8
out of 5.0
Quality of Service:
 (4.8/5.0)
Responsiveness:
 (4.8/5.0)
Professionalism:
 (4.8/5.0)
Value:
 (4.8/5.0)
Flexibility:
 (4.6/5.0)
 
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5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
We reserved the Harbor Deck/ Executive Ballroom for our April wedding and it was the perfect choice! The staff was very helpful and great to work with. We had a huge request for our pictures and they made it happen for us! I would recommend this venue for anyone wanting a wonderful memory!
Wedding: 04/05/2014
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0

amanda 2 Reviews
Having our wedding at the SC Aquarium was a dream come true! Samantha and Brian were true professionals and made it very easy to plan our wedding. They were very responsive to all of our questions, and helped us find mutually acceptable compromises for things that we wanted to do (flower petals, tables placements, etc.) The venue itself is breathtaking, and you couldn't ask for more awesome dance partners - fish, sharks, turtles, lemurs - OH MY! The outdoor veranda was so gorgeous at night and provided the perfect backdrop for our photos. We absolutely adored the SC Aquarium and HIGHLY recommend it to everyone!
Wedding: 10/19/2013
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
The SC Aquarium is definitely the place to have your wedding! Samantha and Brian were amazing! They made sure that all my requests were accommodated and that my wedding was one to remember. The only thing that I would change is that I wish I had known that there was another wedding going on, on the roof of the venue. This would have allowed us to better coordinate some of our vendors. However, they still provided stellar service because my guest had no idea there was another wedding happening around the same time. Awesome Job!!
Wedding: 09/01/2013
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
Having both our ceremony and reception at the SCA was awesome! Our guests loved the uniqueness of the venue and how much fun they could have exploring the exhibits. My husband and I did not want a traditional setting and we got just what we wanted. The backdrop for our ceremony was awesome, overlooking the river with the Arthur Ravenel Bridge in the background. The service they provided was great, and I would recommend them to any bride-to-be!
Wedding: 05/26/2013
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
We had our Ceremony & Reception at the SC Aquarium. It is a fabulous place to have an event. Our guest were speechless at how magnificent and unique the venue was.

The entire staff at the aquarium are very helpful and always there to answer all of our questions and are as accommodating as possible to our every request.
Wedding: 05/04/2013
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0

The Future... 5 Reviews
The best place to have a wedding!!!
Wedding: 06/16/2012
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
Wonderful Venue! I was worried at first about separating the tables for our 250 seated guests between floors, but we have heard NOTHING BUT COMPLIMENTS! Each room is so unique and wonderful that it was just beautiful and encouraged walking around and movement. A real plus for a wedding. And a big thank you to Samantha for all her help. Did I mention it was WONDERFUL? :)
Wedding: 01/15/2012
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
We had a small wedding, just 65 guests and we choose the third floor terrace and executive room of the South Carolina Aquarium. Everything turned out so beautiful and perfect! I was able to choose my own vendors and they worked great with them all. There was a great backup plan in case it rained, thankfully it did not. However it was a little colder than we thought, so we were able to add heater braziers the day of the wedding and it worked out perfectly! Everyone stayed warm when they were outside as long as they were close to a heater, but it still was wonderful! The price was great and the view was amazing! Can't get a better deal in downtown Charleston!
Wedding: 11/11/2011
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
We had our wedding and reception on the third floor terrace. So lovely. The view is AMAZING!! It was raining on our wedding day, but we still had the wedding outside on the terrace. I didn't want to miss the view. The space is easy to use, and get to via an elevator. You don't see any of the actual aquarium, but you do see the bird sanctuary and the top of the tanks. Restroom facilities are nice and there is a seperate one that can be used by the bridal party. Holly is so very easy to work with and there are lots of spots around the grounds to take photos. All in all a fun wedding location.
Wedding: 04/24/2010
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
5.0 out of 5.0
5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
They allow us to take our photo there
Wedding: 03/12/2005
Services Used: Jewelry, Unique Services (Other)
4.9 out of 5.0
4.9/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  4.5
The location is beautiful and Samantha was very helpful. I scored them 4.5 on flexibility due to the fact they have some limitations on decor and such in the interest of their animal safety. As it IS an aquarium, we totally understood that. However, it is something one would want to be aware of when booking a venue.
Wedding: 10/12/2013
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
4.8 out of 5.0
4.8/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  5.0
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  4.0
  • Flexibility:  5.0
The SC Aquarium is absolutely gorgeous! I can't think of a more beautiful venue to have a wedding reception in!
Wedding: 10/27/2012
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
4.2 out of 5.0
4.2/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  4.5
  • Responsiveness:  5.0
  • Professionalism:  5.0
  • Value:  3.5
  • Flexibility:  3.0
The Upside: We just had our reception at the South Carolina Aquarium. The view is really beautiful, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better one in Charleston. The team there is very easy to work with, they responded to every question and call almost immediately. Of course it makes for very beautiful pictures because of the vibrant colors and displays. Our guests (99% from out of town), were very impressed with the whole space, and many told us that it was the most unique venue they'd ever experienced a wedding in. The kids (about 20, ages 1-11) absolutely loved it; we set up a classroom as a "kids zone" and we provided two qualified babysitters (background checked) to watch them for the entire reception. We just provided some games, coloring books, colorful bracelets and a fun kids menu and they were perfectly happy the entire night (their parents were very, very grateful for this! We highly recommend it).

The downside(s):The main hall is very, very large, so it is difficult to decorate without having the whole thing swallowed up by the space. We had special lighting, thinking that it would help define the space, but even that was lost.
Photography is difficult because of the special lighting in each space and (again) because of how large a space it is. Definitely check with your photographer to make sure they've shot there before and are prepared with the correct equipment.
The floor setup was difficult to arrange. My mother said it best, moving people around in that space is "like trying to herd cats". Because it's such a large and different venue, your guests are going to want to walk around and see all or some of the displays before settling in. I don't think I ever once had every guest in one room, which I was hoping for, for a large group shot, and it just can't be arranged in a space so large and engaging.

If you're looking for a unique, never-going-to-forge-it space, than the South Carolina Aquarium is your venue. Best for large parties, especially with children. The floor plan isn't impossible, but it is a challenge. Overall, it was worth working for, and the team there makes it as comfortable as possible for you. I probably wouldn't choose it again if I had a choice, but it was definitely beautiful and we're still hearing from guests how much they enjoyed the anti-cookie-cutter setup.
Wedding: 06/02/2011
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
4.0 out of 5.0
4.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  4.0
  • Responsiveness:  3.5
  • Professionalism:  4.5
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  3.0
The SC Aquarium is a beautiful choice for a ceremony or reception. We did only our reception there and were thrilled overall! It truly is a beautiful, unique location. It gives the guests a treat because they can enjoy browsing while they're waiting for the wedding party. One drawback is that you HAVE to use Stephan Duvall Catering for the food. They can be pretty pricey but will do the best they can to make your event a success. The only reason I marked flexibility kind of low is because it IS an animal conservatory, so there are some things that they can't be flexible on. This is understandable, given the venue though. Overall, DEFINITELY recommend it.
Wedding: 07/07/2007
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
3.7 out of 5.0
3.7/5.0
  • Quality of Service:  3.5
  • Responsiveness:  3.0
  • Professionalism:  3.0
  • Value:  5.0
  • Flexibility:  4.0
This was my rehearsal dinner venue. The view alone (we were on the rooftop) was well worth the price! The service, however, left something to be desired. One of the special events team-members was very good to respond to emails/etc., but she all but herded us out with bullhorns and kept saying things like "last call" "last song" to our guests and entertainment on the night of the event. She also said "cut-it-off" to the bartender, 30 minutes prior to the close of our event. Sometimes a get-it-done personality can be great (behind the scenes and planning), but it was very caustic to be around on the night of our event, as she didn't know how to take the edge off of her comments. It was just not the kind of professional service you would expect from someone in her role. She was very abrupt, but Leigh (another event helper) was an absolute delight. She was able to get her job done while still being pleasant. I would also ask up-front about how present the special events team will be at your event, because we had to hunt them down multiple times. They were in their office cubicles, and it would have just been nice if they had mentioned where we could find them since we were under the impression they were there for us the entire event.
Wedding: 10/09/2011
Services Used: Ceremony & Reception Venue
 843-579-8656
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4.8 out of 5.0
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