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Alisha Cory




How to Plan a Memorable Charleston Anniversary [5 Steps]

March 2, 2023

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Are you planning a Charleston wedding anniversary?

Charleston, South Carolina is a beautiful and romantic city which makes it perfect for a wedding anniversary celebration. However, let’s roll it back a bit… doesn’t every anniversary celebrated begin with a fantastic love story? Of course!

A Personal Love Story

Matt and I happened to meet due to a good, old-fashioned Midwest hail storm. It was summer and I was home from college working for a staffing agency. My first assignment was for State Farm Insurance, assisting the Catastrophe Response Team. (The CAT team travels the country from disaster to disaster helping policyholders with property damage.)

Like a good neighbor, Matt was there estimating the damage. Due to the type of work he was doing, he wasn’t in the office often; however, when he was there…I paid attention…;)

To this day, the next part of our story is debated… but, since I’m doing the telling, I guess you’ll only hear my version. 

One day, as I was getting in my car after work, we talked for a moment in the parking lot.  Since he wasn’t a local, he was asking about the area… places to visit, restaurants, etc. He seemed like a great guy and I could tell we were hitting it off. However, rather than asking me to go to dinner with him, he got in the car and left! If you’d been there, you would’ve felt the awkwardness. It was like he wanted to ask me out, but just didn’t make it happen.  Could it have been the age difference???  As standard Alisha fare goes, I followed him. That’s right. I followed him and parked next to him at his destination parking lot. He got out of his car with a look of shock.  With a big smile on my face, I said, “So, are you going to ask me out to dinner or what?”

Now, most guys would’ve… should’ve run hearin’ that kinda sass. Who knows, maybe that would’ve been the smart thing to do. If that happened to one of my boys today, I’d say “run like a bat outta”… the furnace. 

For sure, I came off pretty strong, but sometimes you just need to call it like you see it. 

The rest is history. We dated that summer and then continued dating long distance until the following Spring when he proposed. We married 5 months later. Yes, as you can imagine, there were “squawkers”.

Squawkers is an Alisha-ism for “friends and loved ones who let you know they think you’re crazy”. Alas, the young never listen… ahem, I was 19 with a lot to learn.

Interestingly, as a young person, I never thought about explaining our story to future children. Truth be told, I’d be a nervous wreck if one of my boys did something similar to Matt and I!

Well, here we are 25 years later with four amazing young men to call our sons. We might be a little battered and bruised, but we’re more in love now than when our story began. It’s the bumps in the road that tell you who the person is beside you.

To my husband:  Yes babe, I too envision sitting across the table from you when we’re 90 years old.

How to Plan your Charleston Wedding Anniversary

While it can be a bit daunting to plan an event, I believe that if you allow enough time for organization anyone can make it happen. Here are 5 steps to prepare and execute a memorable wedding anniversary in Charleston: 

Step 1: Collect Wedding Memorabilia & Preserve

As my 25th wedding anniversary approached, I retrieved the Cory memorabilia boxes out of storage and started reminiscing. Being a wedding photographer, I wished my original details would’ve been captured (flat lays weren’t a thing 25 years ago) and that my old memories could be digitized for easy, sharable access and preservation. Deciding to make wishes a reality, I had my original details photographed, scanned and digitized my old wedding portraits using the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner and sent my antiquated, VHS wedding tape to iMemories for MP4 conversion.

Examples of scanned wedding portraits:

As part of reminiscing, I also opened the preservation box containing my wedding dress. The preservation box was supposed to protect against yellowing, mildew and permanent creasing, but did it really work? I was definitely curious and decided to open the mystery box and find out. I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful condition of my dress. Images below are taken after professional steaming and zero restoration.

Step 2: Plan an Anniversary Photoshoot & Document Family

As a mom and photographer, I can’t overstate the importance of professionally capturing your family at regular intervals. Over the years, I’ve done just that and invested in having other photography professionals photograph my family. I’ve never regretted the time, expense or bribes offered to my children.

Our recent 25th anniversary photoshoot in Charleston was the ultimate milestone for Matt and I. We had a fantastic day celebrating our lifetime commitment to each other, as well as, acknowledging that we’re preparing our hearts for a quieter home. While our oldest son has been on his own and conquering the world for a few years now, our next two young men are leaving the nest and off to new adventures in the Fall. A few of my favorite portraits from our anniversary session below.

Step 3: Make Dinner Reservations

Halls Chophouse – Prime meats & cuisine in an upscale environment

Husk – Redefining what it means to cook & eat in the South

82 Queen – Local cuisine served with gracious hospitality

Poogan’s Porch – Fresh approach to Lowcountry cuisine

FIG – Honest & straight forward, Food Is Good

Tavern & Table – While not in Charleston proper, great food with a water view

Step 4: Make Hotel Reservations

Planter’s Inn – “Offering distinguished Southern style that perfectly blends the present with the past and offers views of America’s oldest public market, the one-of-a-kind Charleston City Market Suite measures approximately 1,100 square feet, making it one of Charleston’s premier hotel accommodations.”

Hotel Emeline – “Throughout the last century, 181 Church Street has had many iterations, guests and experiences, all contributing to Emeline’s unique identity.

In 1852, George W. Williams, a Charleston entrepreneur, expanded his wholesale grocery business by building on 181 Church Street. The business grew to be the largest of its kind in the South, generating millions of dollars in revenue.

When Mr. Williams first built his business, he brought on his five most trusted clerks as partners with him in the firm.

In an age where power and prestige were held tightly by the elite, Mr. Williams chose to share the opportunity, beginning a culture of togetherness, entrepreneurship, and mutual respect that marked his business for decades.

In the 1860s, he was forced to close his grocery business but the significant capital generated over those years allowed him to invest in various ventures run out of the same building, including a provisions dealership and a bank.

As time came and went, so did the occupants of 181 Church Street.

Today at 181 Church Street, you’ll find Emeline, a proud and noble hotel in Charleston’s historic district.”

The Dewberry Charleston – “Inside and out, The Dewberry is a manifestation of founder John Dewberry’s vision of “Southern Reimagined™.” As much a setting as it is a state of mind, the hotel was brought to life over eight years by a team of architects and designers who shared Dewberry’s mission to present Charleston from a uniquely personal perspective. The result is a thoughtfully imagined juxtaposition of past and present that redefines what is possible when historic preservation is paramount.”

The Charleston Place -“Designed to complement Charleston’s historic architecture, the hotel breathed new life into the city. Together with its restaurants, cocktail lounge, spa, and retail shops, The Charleston Place created jobs and won the hearts of locals, vacationers, corporate travelers, meeting planners, and wedding planners alike.”

Hotel Bennett – “The south’s grandest luxury hotel, Hotel Bennett was inspired by native Charlestonians. Located on the fashionable King Street, the prominent entrance opens upon the corner of historic Marion Square. Style and elegance come to life throughout with unique appointments to the accommodations and guest amenities. Custom furnishings and local artwork complement the exquisite dining experiences in Gabrielle, La Patisserie, Camellias, and Fiat Lux. The hotel perfectly blends unparalleled luxury with an unmatched setting in the country’s most beloved city.”

The Vendue – A hotel showcasing a wide array of luxurious art. “We’ve been a part of this city’s story since the 1780’s. Originally, a thriving marketplace, we are happy to have evolved into one of Charleston’s most unique and stylish historic boutique hotels. While the bones might be old, our vibe is modern, playful and well suited for today’s tasteful traveler.”

Zero George – “Zero George’s immaculately restored circa 1804 buildings and private courtyard are the ideal home-away-from-home while exploring Charleston’s allure. We aim to delight, spoil, and surprise as we serve up Old World authenticity with contemporary, upscale hospitality.”

Step 5: Plan Charleston activities for the duration of your stay

  • Visit Waterfront Park with beautiful views of the Charleston Harbor and Pineapple Fountain
  • Visit the South Carolina Aquarium and the Great Ocean Tank (deepest aquarium tank in North America)
  • Go for a walk on Rainbow Row and take in the historic Charleston homes
  • Visit the Charleston City Market
  • Visit a wide array of historic plantations and gardens: Middleton Place, Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation and/or Boone Hall
  • Visit the beautiful beaches at Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach


When organizing my 25th anniversary celebration, I trusted the following local businesses:

Anniversary photos: Marcela Rowe Photography | Makeup Artist: Erika Paola | Hair Stylist: Micki Hair Artistry | Florals: Branch Design Studio | Vehicle Rentals: Whip Dash | Designer Gowns: The Showroom Charleston | Tuxedos: Charleston Tuxedo | Bowtie: Brackish | Jewelry: Polly’s Fine Jewelry | Gown Cleaning & Preservation: Julius Alterations & Cleaners

Are you planning a Charleston wedding or anniversary? Book your experience today. Inquire here!

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