The picturesque Isle of Palms is a barrier island located 12 miles from historic Charleston. Such a little corner of paradise is famous for its miles of deserted beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, clear waters, wildlife, beautiful dunes, world-class resorts, original spas, and delicious restaurants. If you are looking for the best elopement location, Isle of Palms beach in Сharleston County, SC is an excellent option. You can take my word for it because I have done over 50 photo shoots in this beautiful place, and each intimate wedding was unique.
The beach is really huge. If you have had to wind circles around a small cozy bay searching for a parking space, you will undoubtedly appreciate this advantage. Let's talk more about what awaits lovers on Isle of Palms. As a Charleston elopement photographer, I know a few secluded places. You will not find them in any guidebook, and I am ready to show them to you anytime!

1. The Ceremony

The ceremony is the most touching, tender, and emotional part of the wedding. There are many scenarios for the ceremony; choose the option most suitable for your couple. Usually the ceremony includes exchanging rings and personal vows. You can add sand rituals. Well, what kind of wedding is complete without the first sweet kiss already in the role of legal spouses? When photographing a ceremony, I aim to capture the process and the whole range of your emotions: a shy smile, a loud laughter, tears of happiness, and insightful and meaningful looks at each other. I love taking pictures from different angles of Charleston elopement locations. Close-up photos show all the emotions on your face, and full-length shots are needed to demonstrate the luxurious outfits of the newlyweds. Pictures of people from far away show not only people but the entire background with the picturesque ocean and blue sky on Isle of Palms, Charleston, South Carolina.

2. Signing marriage license

After the ceremony, you need to fill out official papers. It ensures you know what you are getting, when and how you will pay for it, and what will happen if all services are not delivered on time. Even the most tedious part of the wedding ceremony can be turned into a fun project that would be super memorable. I try to capture every emotion while you officially become married. Here is a smile, a thoughtful look, and eyes in which tears of happiness are already visible. Maybe I'll give you a suggestion with the posing while assigning. In any situation, I try to use different angles to show the very minor details and general plans equally successfully with all the beauties of Island of Palms beach.

3. Sand ceremony

If you want to add some mysterious rituals to your outdoor micro wedding, I recommend a sand ceremony. What is it? The sand ceremony is a tradition when a couple pours sand from separate vessels into one. This rite symbolizes two people united in marriage. Some couples use the sand they have collected together from the beach on Isle of Palms or from places they come from. Others, who have children, prefer having their toddlers help in the process. Couples can also choose any vessels they wish to use. Many of these can be family heirlooms or other meaningful items. A ceremony is an easy way to visualize two people coming together as one. The process of pouring one's individual container into a larger vessel, creating something new and constant transformation comes with marriage. In addition, such ceremony in a lovely elope location looks very romantic in the photo.

4. With your family

Choosing an intimate wedding on Isle of Palms near Charleston SC many couples decide to spend the most important day of their lives together. Suppose you choose to invite your closest friends or want to spend an elopement with your family. In that case we will involve your family members in a photo shoot on the best locations to elope. Usually we choose classic options where you will be located close to each other, smiling and radiating happiness. Be sure to take pictures of kisses with parents, even if it's a little standard. This is touching! I also love the fun angles and playful poses. Feel free to show emotions. Tears of joy will not spoil the photo, the main thing is that I, as an experienced Charleston elopement photographer, will be able to capture the right moment.

5. Sunrise and Sunset

If you prefer vibrant sky colors, then sunrise and sunset are the best times. Since Isle of Palms Charleston is located on the east coast, if you dream of seeing the sun slowly rise from the water, it is better to take a photo shoot in the early morning. Arriving 45 minutes before sunset at such a best wedding elopement location will allow you to take full advantage of the golden hour and capture those rich sun tones bouncing off the waves. When the sun rises and sets, you can take romantic pictures through the trees, sand dunes, and bushes; it looks fantastic. I often recommend the couple to come to the best place to elope in South Carolina at dawn or dusk to play with the light. The contrast is relatively soft, the colors are rich and saturated, and the shadows are long, emphasizing relief and texture but not so dark as to sink into blackness.

6. Water edge shore

Many people imagining a photo shoot on Isle of Palms SC, first of all think about shots on the beach. It's very convenient because you can be near the water itself, but at the same time not get wet and keep the look of the groom's expensive shoes or the bride's dress train. It's where the water will be perfectly visible. At the same time, photos on the waters edge shore are safe if you do not plan to dry the dress after the photo shoot. That is total immersion in water without removing the wedding dress. Glare on the water, splashes, mirror reflections of the sky, or a couple in love on the elope wedding location - it's always beautiful. Walk along the coast, splash each other with water, and run along the waves - such pictures will warm you up on cold winter evenings for a long time and make you smile once again at your loved one.

7. Resort city

Island of the palms SC is a small town with only 4347 inhabitants (as of 2020), but it has its own original style and flavor. The first thing that catches the eye of tourists is colorful, beautifully decorated houses, original benches, and graffiti created by street art masters. On the walls, the name of the settlement, "Isle of Palms" is displayed in bizarre patterns. Suppose you are planning a photoshoot in such beautiful elopement locations near me. In that case, we will definitely take a few shots against the backdrop of urban development. Such images will fundamentally differ from everything that awaits us on the beach: soft sand, clear water, thick bushes, and reeds. A trip to the city is an excellent opportunity to do something unusual near the beach.

8. On the dunes

I can confidently say that the dunes are one of my favorite eloping locations. Soft sand, picturesque reeds, beautiful thickets, and original fences, thanks to which grains of sand do not scatter in different directions deep into the coast - are the ideal ingredients for getting quivering, romantic portraits on Isle of Palms. I like taking pictures on the dunes, as there are special ledges where the newlyweds can comfortably sit so that I can take some bright shots in a sitting position. At sunset, mysterious photos through the reeds look gorgeous because they create the effect of peeping. As if you are trying to retire to enjoy the first kiss as legal spouses or whisper words of tenderness into your ear. Such great candid shots are filled with sincerity.

9. Against the backdrop of greenery

All Charleston beaches Isle of Palms, except for the public beach, are located in a specific way. You should park your car and turn into the passages between the houses to get to them. Near most of these buildings are tall thickets, mighty trees, and shrubs. There is a convenient path to them, so you don't have to worry that you will scratch your legs or damage your bright clothes along the way. These thickets form spectacular corridors immersed in greenery - an incredible photo zone created by nature. We will take the chance to take a few shots against the background of foliage. There is practically no greenery on the beach, except for small bushes and reeds, but they do not look so majestic. A photo shoot in the green tunnels is a good option for windy weather. Such corridors on elope wedding location are protected from strong winds that usually blow from the water; calm reigns here in any weather.

10. Against the background of stones

Some people look for other places near Charleston SC, then Island of Palms beach with its sand dunes and mirror-like ocean for their wedding photo shoots. In this case, I know what to advise them about another beautiful elopement location US. Next to the Isle of Palms, there is an unusual place called Sullivan's island, known for its picturesque heaps of stones. A trip to this island is an excellent opportunity to take some original shots against the background of stones; you can also sit on the rocks. The most daring visitors can even climb up the hill so that I can pick up exciting angles that will take your breath away. It is lovely to come to Sullivan's island at sunset when the last beams of the sun break through the rocks and dissipate.

11. Against the backdrop of the ocean

Turn your back to the dunes on Isle of Palms Charleston, South Carolina. Only the endless ocean will open your eyes. This is a truly majestic sight, although sometimes I hear from couples that the background in the form of the water's edge and part of the sandy beach in the photo looks boring. However, if you are the first to see the ocean so close, such a photo shoot can be a unique event that you will tell your children and grandchildren about. Some of my clients say that the presence of the ocean is the main reason they choose to hold an elopement in Charleston. I have always liked minimalistic photos in which we see only a couple in love and a mirror-like water surface. Anyway, we will have a photoshoot in different eloping locations. The edge where the sand meets the ocean and the elements combine in an iridescent pattern can be one of them.

12. Against the backdrop of a sandy beach

I used to work in such a way that when my clients and I came to the beach, we started taking pictures from the water and slowly moved to the part where there was only sand. Perhaps you can see the ocean or the rest of Isle of Palms Charleston. But usually I prefer pictures on a clean sandy background. All the attention is drawn to the lovers and not other objects because there is nothing in the image except human figures and silk sand. I will try to focus as much as possible on you as a couple, on your emotions, feelings, and experiences. The morning light on the beach at this free elopement location is magical. It has an entirely different color temperature compared to the golden evening hour. It can provide a soft glow if we start the photo session early enough.

13. Reflection in water

During my career as a professional photographer, I have done quite a few photo shoots on Isle of Palms beach Charleston SC. I can confidently say that one of the favorite photos of all the brides and grooms for whom I have done elopement is a photo with a reflection in the water. To do this, we choose the angle so that the water looks like a barrier. The first option: you stand to the water, and I, respectively, at a certain distance from you and from the source of water, and in this way, we can capture your reflection. The second option - we choose the part of the beach washed by the ocean, where the water is almost immediately absorbed into the sand and becomes wet. There are no waves, which means you won't ruin your clothes or shoes, but if you look from afar, a mirror image appears on the sand. It seems very romantic. If everything fits together: we find ourselves on a not very flat part of the coast. Nature will delight us with soft lighting; we can get not just a photo but an absolute masterpiece in such elopement location. I advise you to enlarge, print and hang the most beautiful shots in the bedroom, living room, or in any other room in the house.

14. Silhouettes

What if we want delicate silhouettes to be visible in the photo? In that case, we need to arrive at the eloping locations about 15 minutes before the sun ultimately sets below the horizon. Then there is still lighting behind you, and there is practically none in front of you. You can also use artificial light sources. If the photo session is scheduled for the evening hours, this is an excellent opportunity to take mysterious pictures at the end of the primary process. Silhouettes look incredibly gentle on a simple bright background on Isle of Palms Charleston, when the newlyweds look at each other. I usually choose a deserted place at the water's edge for silhouette portraits. Of course, there will not be many of such shots, but one or two will help to diversify the photo shoot. Silhouettes are a great way to convey the viewer's drama, mystery, emotion, and mood.

15. Dogs

If we arrive at the elopement location early in the morning, you will see how people walk with their dogs on Isle of Palms. They love animals. It will be great if you decide to take your dog to the photo session; I support this idea and will take some pictures with your pet. But, from my experience, dogs tend to get tired quickly from a lot of attention, so it's good to bring some relatives or friends with you to keep an eye on the dog. For example, we will take a few shots with the animal and pause when the dog is resting or distracted by other entertainment. I will continue to take your portraits. After some time, we will again take a few pictures with your pet. It will be easier for you too. You don't have to constantly monitor the dog, and the animal is more comfortable because he doesn't have to take part in the photo shoot all the time.

16. Path to the beach

Between the dunes on Isle of Palms Charleston is a path to the beach. It looks very romantic and mysterious. I prefer to add an exciting moment at this location as if someone is spying on the couple. On the contrary, you can take several shots of yourself posing. All attention is riveted on you because the landscape on both sides of the path is monotonous. However, you can take several photos against the backdrop of houses. But against such a background you will be the only bright spot in the picture. I will try to take a series of exciting photos of such a romantic elopement location in a relaxed atmosphere: how you just walk, hold hands, talking, laughing, kissing. Such simple at first-glance photos look very sincere; they lack simulated emotions. Looking at these photos decades later, you will remember and relive all these emotions.

17. Through the reed

Through the reeds on Isle of Palms near Charleston SC, we can take beautiful photos by blurring the front ground and background a lot. The couples I work with usually like it when the reed looks fuzzy, only they are in focus. This way we get exciting photos. The reed fits perfectly into the surrounding landscapes of water, sand, and beautiful houses. I always get great pleasure from photo shoots in this location. Difficulties are associated only with the fact that sometimes it is hard to focus if a strong wind is blowing and the reeds are swaying. But, since I have a solid experience in photo shoots under challenging conditions in the best elopement locations in the US, I always manage to come up with something. I try to find a direction where you can more clearly capture the face in the picture when you look piercingly into each other's eyes.

18. Boardwalk, pier

There is only one pier on Charleston beaches Isle of Palms, but unfortunately, it is privately owned and used. It can only be climbed to take beautiful pictures if you have booked a room at The Sea Cabins and Oceanside Villas on this pier. The wooden fishing structure is painted originally, making it as entourage as possible. The most mysterious and romantic photos can be taken from a lower angle. It's the best location to elope in the US. Photographing an intimate wedding here at dawn or dusk is pure pleasure. There are several small boardwalks that I also often use during photo shoots. The space around is literally immersed in greenery, creating an oasis. You can choose promenades overlooking the dunes or the water; each platform is decorated in its own way. We will definitely discuss which option you prefer. During photo shoots with the newlyweds, I try to use different unusual structures on Isle of Palms near Charleston SC, so the photos are beautiful and original. There are not so many landscapes on the beach, apart from sand and water (although this background is enough to take breathtaking pictures).

19. Props

Of course, newlyweds often use rings and flowers in their photo shoots because these are invariable wedding attributes. But I also welcome using other additional accessories, such as balloons, Bengal sparklers, and umbrellas (they can also protect you if it rains). An exciting idea is to use unique signs, such as plaques with memorable dates for your couple or other items. They may mean nothing to an outside viewer but be something important for the two of you, reflecting your character traits. The symbols are drawn on the sand on Isle of Palms Charleston beaches also look beautiful in the photo. Props help to make a photo shoot more exciting and individual. Other photographers and I organize many photos shoots in such elopement locations for different couples in love. Still, using the original decor will distinguish your pictures from other images.
Maybe after viewing photos and reading descriptions of the most beautiful corners of Isle of Palms, you still doubt whether this place is suitable for your elopement. In that case, I have good news for you. I live a 10-minute drive from this beautiful beach. I often come here to work or just relax with my family. So at any time convenient for you, I can go to the coast and use the FaceTime app to show the Isle of Palms beach beauty. After the first glance at the island, you will have no doubts. On my website, you will find all the necessary information about elopement photography prices and more. With extensive wedding photography experience, I can always tell you how to do it better and advise the most picturesque places and the best angles. Together, we will make your micro wedding the most unforgettable event in your life!

    Dennis Aliaksandrou: The Charleston Wedding Photographer

    Article author:
    Dennis A. / Lead Photographer