Columbia, South Carolina is a town of traditional southern romance. Historical plantations, mansions, gazebos, courtyards and gardens abound in Columbia. Columbia's bustling historical society focuses on century-old buildings that symbolize the grand old architecture of Columbia's rich, illustrious past. The society leases its retro buildings for social functions like wedding parties and receptions.
Historic Foundation Properties
The Historic Foundation (historiccolumbia.org) rents four impressive buildings for celebrations. The circa-1796 Siebel House sits in the heart of the city's historic district. The house accommodates 80 guests and the garden holds 250. March of 2011 prices start at $900 for four hours. The circa-1915 Big Apple is a synagogue-turned-black-nightclub and is the site where its namesake swing dance craze began. It holds 80 guests and rents range from $700 to $1,100. The Robert Mills House and Grounds rents the carriage house and courtyard for $600, and the garden for $200 more, as of March, 2011. The circa-1818 Hampton-Preston Mansion covers four acres of gardens and grounds with rentals at $2,000 a day.
South Carolina Museum
The circa-1893 Columbia Mill Textile Building (museum.state.sc.us) has various spaces and prices, all of which include tables, chairs, audio-visual equipment and permission to serve alcoholic beverages. The following prices were compiled during March of 2011. The 200-guest Vista Room costs $400 for a half day and $600 for a full day. The 236-guest Auditorium rents at $300 for a half day and $500 for a full day. Both places combined rent for $600 for a half and $900 for a full. The Red or Blue Rooms hold 20 to 40 people, and the first hour costs $75 with additional hours at $50. The 600-guest Atrium rents for $500 a day and allows evening receptions only. The Blue Marlin (bluemarlincolumbia.com) caterer offers a $14 per person buffet dinner for receptions held on the South Carolina Museum premises.
Clarion's Palmetto Ballroom
The Clarion Palmetto Ballroom (clarionhotelcolumbia.com) is an elegant 400-guest ballroom with 6,000 square feet of space. The hotel supplies free reception items right down to the centerpiece and linens. The rent and buffet prices were recorded in March of 2011. The elegant ballroom rents for $1,000 all day. A sit-down dinner or buffet runs $25 per person, and it has a dance floor and a hosted bar for guests. The downtown hotel also offers smaller reception areas at different prices.
Built during the new millenium as an upscale hotel, Lynlee Hall (lynleehall.com) has since been refurbished. During inquiries made in March, 2011, the hall rented for $825 all day and can seat 150 guests for an elegant dinner and reception. However, the hall can actually hold 275 people for a hors d'oeuvres reception. It includes a wooden dance floor, tables, chairs and decorations. The hall has a commercial catering kitchen and ice machine, but renters must bring their own caterers.
City Roots Farm
City Roots Sustainable Farm and Reception Center (cityroots.org) is perfect for a medium-sized rustic wedding. If a couple desires an informal, casual affair that includes outdoor fun, this is the perfect spot for a country wedding reception. The three-acre urban farm is only five minutes from downtown. The space can seat 50 for cocktails or 150 for a semi-outdoor celebration. Grounds include a contemporary barn hall with two porches, an indoor tilapia farm where guests can interact with the fish and a greenhouse for guests to admire and enjoy. A price was not readily available.
St. Timothy Church
St. Timothy Church (sainttimothyscolumbia.com), a charming circa-1892 stone church, houses a reception room, outdoor fountain and quiet meditation garden. According to March of 2011 prices, nonmembers can rent the property for $300 to $500 for the entire day. The building holds 100 guests and includes a wedding coordinator. The property has a kitchen, tables, chairs, linens and china. Renters must bring their own caterers.
Lake Murray Yacht
The Spirit of Lake Murray (spiritoflakemurray.com) is a fully air-conditioned charter passenger yacht with an upper and lower deck to accommodate guests. The reception consists of a two-and-a-half-hour cruise on Lake Murray and the boarding dock is just 10 minutes out of Columbia in the city of Ballantine. It has a commercially equipped galley, indoor bar and outdoor patio deck with surround-sound audio. It can accommodate 70 guests for a sit-down dinner or 100 guests for a cocktail reception. According to March, 2011 online prices, it costs about $1,500 to rent the yacht and guests can be served a catered American breakfast at $9 per person.
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Diane Crispell writes food and culture reviews for several online publications. She wrote a neonate newsletter for Orlando Medical Center and, as a USDA scientific news writer, wrote a "Gainesville Sun" front-page story. Diane later became a medical research writer for Presley Publications, Denver. She holds a Bachelor of Science, honors, in journalism from University of Florida.