The Unitarian Church in Charleston is a welcoming congregation that has long provided a home for religious LGBT families in the Lowcountry, so it's an obvious choice as a wedding chapel. In fact, a wedding between two women was one of the best that Sue Findlay, the on-site wedding coordinator, thinks she's ever been a part of.
Snagging the UU chapel begins with an application — Findlay warns that dates are usually snapped up a year in advance. The chapel seats as many as 300 guests (in cramped conditions) and has room for up to six bridesmaids and groomsmen.
"I really let people tell me what they want," Findlay says. "And then if they don't know, I offer suggestions." But those suggestions are never written in stone.
Findlay adds that the UU's minister, Danny Reed, can craft personal ceremonies for any couple, whether they're religious or secular, gay or straight. He'll work out different vows or sermons that can draw from all types of religion — the church recently hosted an Indian ceremony. As Findlay says, the UU is for people who want something different.
"When I hear about other churches in the area, I think there's more rules in other churches about the way a wedding needs to be done, but ours are all different, according to what the couple wants," she says. "For us, it's all about customer service."
One warning though: The church is not air-conditioned. Keep that in mind if you're planning your wedding for one of the warmer months of the year.