Magnolia Plantation is one of the most popular places in Charleston. It will steal your heart once you see it. This luxurious location looks like it was intentionally created for romantic walking and secret proposal. Every spot at this amazing place is suitable for taking photos. We will show you some of them in this article. But first, let’s talk about the history of the famous plantation.
Magnolia Plantation consists of historic house surrounded by the marvellous gardens. It is located on the Ashley River. This place has a long history. In the middle of the 17th century it was mentioned in documents for the first time. Thomas and Ann Drayton built their small house and made a garden next to it. The Drayton Hall mansion was built almost 100 years after it. We bet Thomas and Ann had no idea how massive and beautiful their garden would become. Several generations of their family developed the gardens, adding something personal and expanding the plant's variety. From the very beginning the garden was supposed to be a romantic place. What does it mean? It means the beauty of the wild nature stays untouched, so the gardens may look a bit uncared. The atmosphere of the unmanicured park and garden is fantastic.
In 1870 the gardens were open for public walking, as the owner needed to make money. Plantation saw a lot of historical events. It was severely damaged and burned during the Civil War. But after that everything was restored. People could not let this unique place disappear. In 1972 the Plantation was added into the National Register of Historic Places.
We can proudly say that Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the Lowcountry's oldest tourist site. Buried in verdure and the flowers of all manner, it brings so much joy to the people.
Now we can show you the variety of nice places, where you can take beautiful photos during your engagement or secret proposal.

1. White bridge to the isle

Massive white bridge surrounded by all kinds of trees and plants hidden in the woods of Magnolia Plantation. The bridge has a simple design with almost no decoration. The photos taken here are nice and cozy.

2. The tree with lying branches

This spot looks like a scene from a fantasy movie. A huge tree put its branches near the ground, as if it wanted to hug the visitors. It’s like the evidence of alive nature, that is truly panoptic. Here your secret proposal will be featured with the magic of nature.

3. White wooden footbridge over a blackwater

We bet you have seen the bridge like this in fairytales. White arch bridge among the old trees is your way to make the secret proposal like in a romantic movie.

4. A bench between the trees

A hidden spot perfectly located between two old trees. The bench is quite old, so the trees have hugged it really tight. You can comfortably sit here and spend some time with the love of your life. Away from the buzz you can discuss whatever you want including the main question – Will you marry me?

5. Beside the unfinished boat

This place is quite unusual. It is a kind of reminder connected to Plantation history. The main element here is an unfinished boat, similar to those that were used in the past for transportation of people and goods. Now the boat is hidden inside the beautiful summerhouse. It helps to keep it in a good condition, so the boat will last longer. Outside the summerhouse you may see massive trees covered with Spanish moss. Taking photos here you will have not only nature as a background, but also something made by human’s hands.

6. The Greenhouse

As you may guess, this place contains all kinds of plants and flowers. Some of them are quite typical for our climatic zone. Others are exotic, you will never see them growing outside the greenhouse. A special temperature and humidity are kept here to create a comfortable environment for different plants. There are also some details made for visitors’ comfort. A net of nice paths goes through the entire place, so walking here you won’t need to worry about anything. Also here you may see small sculptures that create a special atmosphere standing among the rampant greenery. This place is perfect for secret proposals in case of bad weather. Due to the numerous plants, you can take a photo next to the plant you like most. Or you may choose to be surrounded by different exotic plants.

7. Trees Arch

This place is hidden from the Main House. If you would like to arrange your engagement photo session here, we will be happy to share the exact location of this arch. Once you come here, you will see the trees row. The trees’ branches compose a natural arch. The main advantage of this place is the lack of visitors. It perfectly suits the secret proposal. Moreover, if you plan to propose in March or April, this place will be full of flowers. Its beauty will be breath-taking.

8. Bamboo grove

A truly unique spot of the Magnolia Plantation. Walking here you feel like a small piece of Japan is located right in front of you. Bamboo looks phenomenal as a photo background. The pics taken here are featured with the atmosphere of peace and some kind of mystery. The grove has several options for taking photos. The couple can seat on the bench, walk or stand among the bamboo. The only thing you need to keep in mind: it takes about 5-7 minutes to get here from the Main House.

9. Gazebo

A charming cast iron gazebo decorated with romantic ornament is an iconic landmark of Magnolia Plantation. The combination of white and green colors makes it even more romantic. Surrounded by trees, the gazebo looks wonderful in the photos. It makes a great composition with the trees and nature if the photo is taken from a distance. If the photographer comes closer, it will be possible to capture beautiful details of this construction. Whatever style you choose, this spot will perfectly fit your photos. Besides the gazebo is located not so far from the main bridge of the Plantation – the Long White Bridge.

10. The big tree by the water

This spot is located behind the Main House. A huge tree bent over the water surface, as if it was looking at its reflection. The wide trunk turned into a viewing platform for visitors. The Spanish moss and various plants create a special atmosphere at this place. Here you may notice several shades of green that look stunning in the photos.

11. The huge sheared tree

Another giant tree taking a rest not so far from the parking space. Its size is impressive. The tree is covered by the bright green moss and surrounded by other old trees. This spot is like a place of sleeping nature. It has a special charm that can be captured by the photographer. If you adore peaceful yet unusual places, you will like this location.

12. The Main Road view

The wide road is an amazing photo session location. It has enough space to take photos of a whole family. Both sides of the road are full of greenery, century-old oaks grow among it. From this spot you can easily get to the local zoo, the Labrinth and the Long White Bridge. As the road is wide, the photos taken will be full of air. It won’t look like you are tightly surrounded by the plants. Such pictures always look impressive.

13. The Main House backyard

The building itself is incredibly beautiful. Whatever angle you shoot, it will be surrounded by lovely plants and old trees. There is also a massive staircase that can be used for taking photos. The green lawn is a perfect addition to the whole landscape. Saturated with the sunlight it provides a bright background for the photos.

14. The Red Bridge view

According to our experience this bridge is the second most popular one after the Long White Bridge (the main bridge of the Plantation). The Red Bridge looks vibrant and extraordinary. Both sides of it are decorated with rectangular pots containing nice flowers. This detail adds more romantic charm to this location. Beautiful trees grow around the bridge. This place looks phenomenal from any angle. The red color of the bridge brings a bright accent to the photos making them iconic.

15. Outside the Greenhouse

Although the majority of unusual plants are located inside the Greenhouse, the outside of it is also worth attention. Dark deep colors of the building together with the big windows put a piece of mystery in your photos. If you want not only the greenery as a background for your photos from Magnolia Plantation, you may consider this location.

16. Looking at the path through the trees

This is one of our secret spots. It looks very nice from the particular perspective. The gap in the Spanish moss and the path’s curve compose a romantic foreground and background. The standing couple will be surrounded by the natural frame of tree branches. In case you catch a good lighting at this spot, the photos will look even more stunning.

17. The Front of the Main House

We believe at least one picture from the photo session should be taken near this building. This is the place where the plantation began, the heart of the famous place. The house has a unique exterior with the dark grey roof and cedar decoration. The wide porches and columns create a remarkable image of the plantation-era home. Due to the huge popularity of this spot, we recommend taking photos here before the Plantation is open for visitors or at the end of the day, before it closes.

18. The Long White Bridge

This is the main bridge of the plantation. Everyone, who is planning to visit the Magnolia Plantation, will visit this location. The bridge is quite impressive. Due to the white color, it shines among the greenery. Some years ago it was destroyed by the fallen tree and then restored. While the restoration took place, the mini version of the bridge was installed on the land, so the people were able to see how it looked. Now the bridge is fine, and we can take numerous photos here.

19. The Long White Bridge side view

The main bridge has several options for taking photos. The previously mentioned general view is good. At the same time, you should know the photographer will be a bit far from you. That’s why we suggest considering the sideview as an option. In such case the pics will be taken much closer to the couple. Also as there are a lot of beautiful plants surrounding the bridge, the picture will be framed by them. The atmosphere of the ready photo will be romantic and intimate.

20. The Long White Bridge from afar

Another option for taking pictures at this popular location. The bridge can be a part of the background. You can comfortably sit on the bench while the big bridge will be visible behind you. The photos will be nice and cozy whatever pose you choose. You can turn your back on bridge or you can look at it, both ways are very good for photo shooting.

21. The trees outside the plantation

The place is located near the parking lot. It has amazing old oaks that compose an arch. This detail looks fantastic in the pics. The huge advantage of this location is the lack of people. But please keep in mind that wedding ceremonies can be arranged here as well. So if you plan a secret proposal and this location is your plan A, please consider having plan B if it turns out the location is occupied due to the wedding celebration. Usually we arrive at the photo session location 15 mins earlier than the couple. So if the place is occupied, we will inform you accordingly.

22. The White Bridge

Another picturesque location at the plantation. The bridge itself is very beautiful. Also there is an old tree covered by the greenery that leans over the bridge like an arch. Please keep in mind: it takes about 7 mins to get there from the ticket office. If you consider this bridge for your secret proposal, let us know. We will check in advance if the bridge is under construction or not. Besides this place is not overcrowded, as not so many people know about it. It perfectly suits you if you prefer a more private photo session.

23. The path among the trees

There are several places like that at the plantation. Here you will find azalea bushes growing together with the trees on both sides of the road. They compose a natural green hall that looks incredible during the blooming season. Plus this place is not overcrowded. It is a very romantic yet spacious location.

24. Brick footsteps by the water

This location used to provide an easy access to the water. Now it can be used for taking photos by the water. You can sit on the footsteps or stand as you like. Having your photo session here is your chance to literally touch the history of its legendary place. Just imagine, centuries ago people used to sit here and enjoy the beauty of the nature, same as you now.

25. Flowerbeds

Magnolia Plantation is also famous by its well cared flowerbeds. Walking here you will see they have numerous colors, shapes and styles of flowerbeds. Obviously they look stunning in the pictures especially during the blooming season. The magic of natural colors will brighten all the photos taken near the flowers.

26. The Pillars near the House

Each side of the Main House looks phenomenal. Walking around it, you will see massive white pillars. Although Magnolia Plantation is all about the rampant greenery and bright flowers, there are also spots for those who like architecture. The pillars are one of these cute spots. As there is no decoration on them, nothing will be more important than you and your beloved.

27. Maze

Every maze has an atmosphere of mystery. This one is not an exception. Magnolia Plantation horticultural maze is an unusual spot with a sophisticated monument in the middle. Manicured bushes create the green walls that can become a beautiful background for your photos. Mysterious yet intimate and romantic, this place brings up so many emotions.

28. On the Red Bridge

Bright bridge looks vibrant in the photos regardless of the shooting angle. Red is the color of love. That’s why this spot is more than perfect for your secret proposal. Aside from the unique appearance it has another advantage. The bridge is located not so far from the plantation entrance. If you can’t wait to propose and like the bright colors, this location will suit you best.

29. On the Long White Bridge

Another option for taking photos on the main bridge of the plantation. You may stand near the bridge or on it, both ways are good for shooting. The bridge is surrounded by the massive trees covered with Spanish moss, bushes and other plants. If you catch the blooming season, the flowers will add colorful details to the photos. This location is very good for secret proposal photo sessions and standard photo sessions.

30. Liana fence shed

This spot looks very unusual. Liana is not so common for the plantation, but here you may see how strong and beautiful this plant is. Thanks to the unique outlook of the liana, it creates a truly special atmosphere and adds a texture to the pictures. The fence shed itself creates an extra frame. So looking at the photo you will see a kind of frame in frame. The only thing you need to keep in mind: there may be several picnic tables for visitors. They make the spot not so intimate.

31. The Small Bridge

This small and cozy bridge is located in the middle of the plantation. If you don’t mind a little walking, you will get there and see how nice and quiet this place is. It is worth visiting. The bridge itself is installed close to the water, so we can capture your reflection on the water surface. It looks very romantic in the photos.

32. Water reflection photos

The plantation has a huge territory. Here you may find access to the river as well as to the several ponds. It provides a great opportunity for taking photos near the water surface, so you and your beloved will reflect in the water. In order to take such photos, the photographer goes to the opposite side of the pond. As the ponds are small, they are perfect for taking such photos.

33. Half-round Bridge

One more charming bridge where the amazing photos can be taken. The only detail you need to keep in mind: it may be slippery. If you choose this location, you will see the bridge surface is equipped with anti-skid attachments. This bridge is waiting for those who are not afraid to take some risk, because it’s definitely worth it. The bridge shape composes a perfect composition in the photo, we bet no one will be able to take their eyes off such a picture.

34. Drayton Family monument

Majestic marble monument dedicated to the family who founded the plantation in 1671. Unlike other places of the Magnolia Plantation, this location has wonderful marble angels that can become a lovely background for your photos. This is a great option to take the photos against some kind of carving background instead of different kinds of greenery.

35. Garden

The garden is a gem for the photographers. Due to the well-cared bushes, it has a lot of straight lines. They create an unbelievable composition in the photos. The lines draw attention to the couple standing among the greenery. Depending on the season, the garden may look like a sophisticated green location or like a colorful place with numerous flowers of all kinds.

36. A bench in the tree

A massive old tree is ready to hide the lovely couples, providing a bench between its roots as a place to sit. While looking unusual, this location is very cute and romantic. If you prefer sitting during the photo session, I recommend this place. Besides, it’s not overcrowded which is good if you consider yourself as a shy person. This is one of our secret locations, so please do not share it with anyone. Just kidding!

37. Maiden Statue

This place is full of mystery. First of all, it is difficult to find. Secondly, it is hard to identify the age of the statue and the reason for the installation. The only thing we know is that now this monument can be a part of your background, especially if you would like to have some rustic and a little dramatic detail in your photos.

38. Viewing deck

Another place with access to the water. This location looks like a piece of bridge. A special atmosphere here is created by the position of the deck. Looking at the photos, you may think this place somehow stands separately from the rest of the area. A true magic of photo shooting will happen if we capture the side view of the viewing deck in the daylight. The Spanish moss will create a kind of a magic mist around the couple, as if they have hidden from the whole world to say the most important words to each other.

39. Main House Footsteps

This location has been recently restored. Now it looks even better than before. The footsteps are so good for taking photos. You can sit on them and hug your beloved. The steps are decorated by big flowerpots and covered with ivy. A nice spot in case you need a couple of not-so-green backgrounds.

40. A path by the water

One more magnificent place in our collection. The huge trees grow on both sides of the path. They are fully covered with Spanish moss. It looks like there is no space between them. This natural decoration is absolutely irresistible, it gives a special depth to the taken photos. We are sure you will be impressed by walking here even more than by looking at the pictures of this spot.

41. A farm

The dream place for the animal adorers. This farm is not only a beautiful background for your photos. It’s also a great place to visit in case you love the animals. As you may see we caught a fluffy pony, which came to the fence to say hello. Even if you are not sure about the animals, the fence itself is still a good prop for the photo session. You can lean on it or just stand beside it. Anyway it works great for photo composition.

42. Blooming Azalea

Bright, emotional, colorful! We can’t find enough words to describe the beauty of blooming azaleas. Just check the photos, they will speak for themselves. Magnolia Plantation is famous for its flowers, especially these ones. Here you will find a lot of old and fabulous bushes with all kinds of azaleas. They bloom in March, so don’t miss your chance to behold this natural carnival of flowers.

43. An old oak near the carriage house

The oak is a very impressive tree. Besides this one has a very unusual branch. It is arch shaped. As you may guess, it perfectly fits the photos providing a natural frame for the couple. The oak grows near the spacious lawn. It gives a lot of air to the photos. The couple is not surrounded by the numerous plants, so all the attention is put on it.

44. Magnolia Gardens Lantern Festival

How to add more color to the photos if the blooming season is over? The Lantern Festival is an amazing opportunity for taking vibrant and uncommon photos. Usually it takes place at the end of the year. If you feel like you are interested in such an event, do not hesitate to visit the official website and check the dates. This is a unique chance not only to enjoy the historical plantation, but also to get an absolutely different experience once the sun sets.
As you may see the Magnolia Plantation is a unique place. It gives us endless opportunities for taking as many amazing photos as we want. Here you may see a lot of different bridges that can become a perfect background for the photos. The massive old trees covered with the Spanish moss and the numerous flowers will blow your mind. This place is a source of unflagging inspiration for all kinds of creative people. Me and my team are always happy to come here for a photo session. The beautiful nature and the sincere emotions of the future newlyweds are priceless for us. Besides the weather in Charleston is usually nice, so the chances to take good photos are very high. Even if there is rain, you do not need to worry. We always have a couple of umbrellas with us, so the secret proposal photo session will not be spoiled. The photos taken on the rainy days are so emotional. Believe us, we have a huge experience in this field.
We hope this article helped you to see how many options you will have at Magnolia Plantation. Come and see yourself, this magical place will stay in your heart forever.

    Dennis Aliaksandrou: The Charleston Wedding Photographer

    Article author:
    Dennis A. / Lead Photographer