The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
For the past 90 years, the Francis Marion Hotel has been at the heart of wedding events in Charleston, South Carolina. This tradition is evident in the venue's impeccable service and majestic atmosphere. Named for General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution, the hotel has had many notable historic and famous clientele enjoy its amenities. In 1996, after a restoration project, the hotel was awarded the National Trust Award and today continues to combine modern comfort with its historic ambience.
most captivating feature is its balcony overlooking Marion Square Park, which offers a stunning view for up to 20 guests. The ballroom itself is 4,500 square feet and seats 400 guests at its elegant tables. The room is lit by the soft glow of several antique chandeliers and includes a relaxed lounge area in addition to the dining space.
is a recently restored, beautiful historic space. A traditional fireplace gives the room a warm feel, while several chandeliers create a bright and lively setting. Table and chair decorations are done to meet individual tastes. The ballroom can be arranged for both sit-down dinners accommodating 300 guests and ceremonies for up to 400.
features a fine hardwood staircase that leads up to an indoor balcony providing a unique view of the area that is also a fantastic spot for photo sessions. The ambience of the Gold Ballroom is exquisite yet subtle with a mild Colonial decor. The space can be arranged for a sit-down dinner for approximately 200 guests or a dance hall to entertain up to 300 guests.
What You Should Know
The Francis Marion Hotel specializes in historic elegance and creates custom wedding packages to suit the needs of every couple. The hotel has a total of 19,000 square feet of event space that can be arranged and utilized to design ideal weddings. The three ballrooms with their 24-foot ceilings and crystal chandeliers create a truly memorable backdrop for unforgettable occasions.
All packages include complimentary honeymoon suites with champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries. The Francis Marion Hotel has its own on-site catering service that offers limitless options of exceptional cuisines. Wedding professionals are available to assist couples with planning every detail from start to finish. In recognition of its excellent wedding service, the Francis Marion Hotel has been awarded the Wedding Wire Couple's Choice Award for 2015 and the Best of My Wedding Award for 2015.
The Francis Marion Hotel is a 100 percent smoke-free facility and does not allow pets. All reservations require a credit card guarantee at the time of booking.
One of the key aspects of a Francis Marion Hotel wedding experience is the balance between the historic grandeur provided by the ballrooms and the many modern conveniences. Located right on the premises is the Spa Adagio, one of the best spas in Charleston, where guests can go for rejuvenation and relaxation. In addition to the Swamp Fox Restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Francis Marion Hotel offers wedding attendees the following perks:
- Six-level parking garage
- Special discounted group rates for out-of-town guests
- Bridal menus
- Linen packages
- Gift bag options
- Farewell brunch
From the Vendor
Capture the spirit of historic Charleston.
Capture the spirit of historic Charleston and experience her grandeur complete with antique chandeliers, soaring ceilings, marble fireplaces, monumental windows Beautiful wedding reception and banquet rooms for the most intimate celebration. Expert catering executives to help you plan every detail.
Amenities + Details
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$ – Affordable
Food + Catering
Where do I begin with my wonderful experience with both the hotel & Gillian Crum (the catering coordinator/event coordinator)? I'm a military bride who was planning our January 1st wedding from 7,000 miles away from South Korea. I knew when I started searching venues I wanted simplicity, as in I didn't want to have 40 different vendors to work with as far as food, tables, linens, etc. At the Francis Marion, we parked on Thursday night and didn't have to leave the hotel for a single thing until Tuesday morning when my husband and I left. We had our rehearsal there, rehearsal lunch at the Swamp Fox restaurant, the wedding in the Gold Ballroom, and the reception in the Colonial Ballroom which gave us the feel of experiencing two different locations during the wedding, but just one floor above the other :) The best part was the wedding package which basically had everything we needed. I only had to reach outside of the venue for our flowers, DJ & cake. (These vendors had all also worked with Francis Marion numerous times so I never even had to see the cake or flower vendors the day of, they came at some point of the day while I was busy getting ready, and bam: the flowers were brought to my door by gillian, and the cake was beautiful when we walked into the reception :) Gillian definitely knows what she's doing. She was there EVERY step of the way. I mean every step...I felt like I didn't have to do a thing. She made sure the entire ceremony ran smoothly, came to my room to get the decor the morning of and set it up exactly as asked, etc. She asked if I wanted the flowers brought to our room or left downstairs, 10 minutes later they were in my hands as my makeup was being applied right there in my room. Ladies, if you're getting married and feel overwhelmed by "details", choose this place. Gillian made everything so simple and answered any questions I had politely & quick. It allowed me to focus on my family and friends on our big day while still having everything go off without a hitch! People are still messaging me two weeks later saying how beautiful and fun the wedding was but thats all thanks to Gillian and her staff (also Ryan was such a fun and energetic banquet captain!) I feel like i'm missing something because just everything was so perfect from the first message I sent to her last June but don't let this place get away if you're searching for beauty, elegance & simplicity :) Words aren't enough to justify the perfection of this place as a wedding venue :)
The Francis Marion lived up to all of our wedding expectations! We actually booked the Carolina Ballroom without even visiting and we couldn't have been happier with our choice. Being from out of town, we were very thankful for Gillian Crum (wedding coordinator at the Francis Marion)! She answered any questions we had leading up to the wedding day and was extremely helpful when it came to decorations and a timeline for the day. We were able to arrange a food tasting, which helped us narrow down our choices. Although, the decision was not easy because everything we tasted was amazing! On our wedding day, both sides of the wedding party were able get ready at the hotel. We used the bridal suite and reserved one of the conference rooms. Some of the staff checked in with us throughout the day and made sure we had everything we needed. Everything ran smoothly throughout the day and through the evening. Our guests raved about the food and how fun the venue was for a downtown Charleston wedding. We, along with our families, would highly recommend the Francis Marion! We are so thankful we were able to use them for our special day! -Laura & Jake
Gillian is absolutely amazing!!! I never felt like there was anything she wouldn't/couldn't do for us. Through the entire process I felt like I got her undivided attention and that I was her only bride. As a micromanager, the only thing I wish I would have done differently, was not worry so much about the details of the reception - she really does have it all under control. The entire staff was excellent: bartenders, servers, bell men, and the reception desk staff. I was simply blown away by how much they went above and beyond for us.
There are not enough nice things to say about Francis Marion Hotel. Everything I asked for they were able to do! The venue is gorgeous and the staff is fantastic. Gillian and her team went above and beyond to make our day extra special. My only complaint.....the day wasn't longer! If I had it to do all over again, I would choose Francis Marion for my reception every time!
The Francis Marion (Colonial Ballroom) was a wonderful choice for our wedding reception! Gillian Crum, the wedding manager for the hotel, was great to work with, and very prompt in replying to any question I had! Both Gillian and the entire hotel wedding staff worked so hard to make our reception a night to remember! The dinner service was seamless, and the food entrees were delicious. The set-up was exactly how I had asked, and the value of the venue (hard to find in Charleston!) was terrific.
My husband and I had our wedding here on 4.9.16. I rated them a 2 because before we even booked the FM, I asked the wedding coordinator (Gillian Crum) if she only handled things at the venue or would she be available to help all the way through to the wedding day (I was in the process of interviewing planners), she said verbatim "if you have me, you will not need another planner!" That sounded GREAT... What I didn't know was that she was basically only there for quick emails and the month of our wedding. I planned my entire wedding ALONE. In addition to poor planning, the FM lost items that we rented, causing vendors to call and harass us and our family during our honeymoon, threatening to charge us for items the staff at the FM lost. When I felt as though my issues weren't being addressed, I had to call the event coordinators manager and she had no idea about my grievance... Also, even after laying out a floor plan and discussing SEVERAL times how we wanted things set up, the reception did not look how we discussed at all. My husband and I rented a BEAUTIFUL vintage settee for our sweetheart table (which deserves special attention in my opinion) and the settee was shoved in the back of the reception hall and we were forced to either have the staff move furniture in the middle of the reception, or sit on uncomfortable folding chairs. We sat on uncomfortabl chairs. The wedding coordinator also did not attend our rehersal which led to sheer chaos. I thought she ran downstairs until the front desk told me she left for the day. The ceremony doors weren't closed after the wedding party exited the ceremony, so my guest followed and TRAMPLED my beautiful Lazaro gown which I am still in the process of getting fixed. Our guests said the wedding turned out beautifully. The food was on point but this day was basically ruined for me, with no apologies and I can never have another. This is a pretty expensive, historical venue and maybe my expectations were too high, but I asked specific questions so that I wouldn't be disappointed or expect too much and I was still deeply disappointed. If I had to do it over, I definitely would pick a different venue.
My husband and I had our wedding ceremony and reception at the Francis Marion on May 29th, 2016. The service that our guests, my husband and I received was absolutely outstanding. I would recommend having your wedding there. The only reason I am giving them 3 stars and not 5 is because when choosing my vendors I called Francis Marion for their advice on a DJ. I called and asked specifically if they had worked with Burt of FingerSnappin Entertainment in the past. They said yes they had worked with this DJ and they would highly recommend him. Unfortunately, this DJ was absolutely terrible and I am currently trying to get fully refunded. My advice would be to make sure when a bride calls you for your professional and highly respected opinion about vendors, that they are actually a good business. Please do not ever recommend his DJ services to any bride in the future.
We had our wedding reception at The Francis Marion's Gold Ballroom in April 2016, and it was a wonderful experience. I would highly recommend them. The venue itself is of course beautiful, the location is great, and the food was also very good, but the real treasure here is the wedding coordinator, Gillian Crum. I can't tell you how helpful she was, not just during the planning, but the week of the wedding as well. She truly helped us achieve exactly what we wanted, and went above and beyond. We had a destination wedding, and I don't believe we would have been able to pull it off without her help and expertise. The rest of the staff was wonderful, as well.
The Francis Marion and especially Gillian Crum was absolutely wonderful to work with! We actually chose to hold both our wedding ceremony and reception here, and I am so glad we did. We planned our wedding from out of town and within a 5 month engagement, and I do not believe I could have done it without Gillian. She basically comes with the venue as a mini wedding planner, and really did serve as a week of and day of coordinator. I can not say enough nice things about her or our experience with this hotel! If I had it to do over, I would use Francis Marion again in a heartbeat!
Fantastic HotelReviewed on 12/16/2015 Laney T
My guests had an amazing time staying at the Francis Marion Hotel! There were no complaints from any of the guests! Gillian Crum was such a pleasure to work with :) I would highly recommend this hotel!
LOVED MY WEDDIN AT THE FMReviewed on 12/09/2015 Kelly A
Everything at the Francis Marion Hotel was great. Throughout the entire planning process Gillian Crum was professional and so helpful and extremely accommodating. The location is great, all my guests stayed in the hotel and had access to everything in the middle of downtown and made it easy after the reception to get to an after party spot! The room was beautiful and the service was great and my guests raved about the food, I had shrimp and grits and pasta stations. Its a one stop shop and you can't beat the value!
We absolutely LOVED every minute of planning our wedding at the Francis Marion Hotel! Gillian is amazing, as was the entire staff. From beginning to end, every question we had was answered and every detail planned to make sure we were getting exactly what we wanted. They were extremely accommodating and we loved the fact that we didn't have to travel all over Charleston on our wedding day. They're wedding packages and pricing are ideal for a couple on a budget (mindful however that this is Charleston we're talking about). The space was gorgeous and the food absolutely delicious. I really cannot say enough great things about the Francis Marion!
Great VenueReviewed on 8/23/2015 Dana T
Our reception was held in the Colonial Ballroom of the hotel and it was beautiful. The service was excellent, and the catering was great. Gillian Crum, the event coordinator was great. She saved us a ton of money we would have spent on a wedding coordinator. She was super attentive to detail and put our mind at ease about the whole planning process. We are still hearing about how great the reception was and how beautiful the hotel was.
Amazing job!!Reviewed on 4/14/2014 Maggie A
The Francis Marion is a gorgeous venue and affordable! Caroline Bean, the wedding coordinator is the best! And the good was great too!!
Best Wedding VenueReviewed on 4/01/2014 Jessica E
The Francis Marion Hotel is the BEST hotel to have your wedding reception at. I worked with Caroline Bean in catering services and she was beyond FANTASTIC. Caroline made the entire process so easy. From being prompt to answer emails and make updates to our event, we were able to put together an amazing reception. The hotel front desk staff was wonderful as well. They made sure that all of the guest who booked rooms in our block were well taken care of as well. The Francis Marion worked extremely well with all the vendors that I hired for my reception (photographer, DJ, bakery, Chaircovers)
Long Path to a Great WeddingReviewed on 11/15/2013 Tiffany P
We had our wedding reception at the Francis Marion, and to be honest, my experience with them is not easy to articulate in a review. We had many ups and downs. Although we were working with caring and kind people, we still came across several frustrations, which would eventually be made right. Overall, I was extremely pleased with how the event turned out – we loved our wedding, we love the vintage hotel, and it’s location in the center of Charleston, SC. There are many benefits to choosing a venue like The Francis Marion: Room set up and clean-up is included in the cost. The price of silverware, plates, glasses, white/black napkins and linens, and cake cutting is all included in the cost. They allow you to bring in your own alcohol (at a fee per person) which helped us get better bang for the buck on the alcohol we were serving. The catering is done by the Francis Marion – another decision to cross off the long wedding list – and the food was awesome. I was somewhat concerned with how the food was going to taste, because we’ve had less than stellar meals at the Swamp Fox, but both our tasting for the wedding and the actual wedding food was amazing. People have been raving about it - particularly the Crab Cake Station, Pasta Station, and passed hor devours! Our frustrations stemmed mostly from us asking for some (what we believed were reasonable) changes to their ordinary set-up. I was surprised how hard it was to get them to agree on some of these requests, especially with how much we were paying to the Francis Marion alone. Almost every change we made came at a price. However, let me reinforce, that in the end, it all turned out beautifully, but I can’t discount the frustrations we felt while getting to the final event. All the people we spoke with were more than caring and kind, but they didn’t necessarily have the power to make the decisions. Caroline was instrumental in helping us achieve our wedding day vision, she definitely had more say/empowerment than others we spoke with at the Francis Marion.
Great Experience and Wonderful Wedding CoordinatorReviewed on 10/27/2013 Leslie
The Francis Marion was a beautiful location for our wedding reception. Caroline Bean, the wedding coordinator for the hotel was a joy to work with and made the whole planning process as easy and smooth as possible. Most of our guests were from out of town and loved staying in such a central location.
Great VenueReviewed on 6/21/2013 jord r
I had my May 2013 wedding reception at the Francis Marion Colonial Ballroom and it was absolutely beautiful. All the staff were extremely helpful and kind. The food was delicious and the chef was incredibly accommodating to gluten free diets, childrens options, etc. Caroline Bean was awesome and always immediately answered all my questions. The hotel includes a night in a suite for the newlyweds and even had a special surprise waiting for us in our room on the wedding night. I would definitely recommend the Francis Marion hotel!
November WeddingReviewed on 12/15/2012 Sarah Z
my husband and I had our reception here for our November wedding. It was awesome! Beautiful, great service and very professional and organized. Cannot complain about a thing! If you have the money it will be well worth it!
Pleased in every way!Reviewed on 12/09/2012 sarah z
Wonderful wedding coordinator and hotel staff!
Perfect SpotReviewed on 11/19/2012 Callen P
Great room. Right downtown. Very friendly. Chocolate covered strawberries. Let us check in early. Very friendly.
Think Twice: Lacking Customer ServiceReviewed on 11/13/2012 Anne H
My husband and I had a rather large semi-destination wedding this past year; and ended up having to organize several (3+) hotel room blocks with 10-20 guest rooms in each. We selected various hotel options around Charleston based on price point, location and offered amenities. The Francis Marion Hotel was the only hotel that did not return my phone calls, turned away guests when rooms were still available in the wedding block & actually made coordinating out-of-town guest accommodations frustrating as well as inefficient. This was one hotel that I should have removed from the list of hotels presented to out-of-town guests; but guests could not beat the price for the prime location on King Street.
amazing venueReviewed on 11/11/2012 Holly R
the staff was absolutely amazing. My husband was in a car accident the night before the wedding and broke his back. We were told we were not going to be ble to get married. Caroline and her team were able to help mke sure we still had a perfect wedding. They upgraded us to a larger suite to ensure all of our family could watch the ceremony and helped us find a videographer at last minute to film the ceremony. They played the ceremony in the ballroom to all of our guests. The food was amazing as well. I could have not asked for a better venue.
Parents of the brideReviewed on 5/11/2012 Nicole M
The general consensus of all of our guests was that it was the best meal anyone ever had at a wedding reception. The Francis Marion made our guests feel like number one and we couldn't ask for more than that! We opted for a 1920's theme that was a huge hit with our guests and the staff dressing the themed part was great. Everything exceeded our expectations. The staff was wonderful and very accommodating.
April BrideReviewed on 5/02/2012 Emily G
Loved our wedding here in the Gold Ballroom! The staff made everything run smoothly even though we were out-of-towners. Everything was well organized and beautiful.