It’s summer, and romance is alive in Gatlinburg.
Almost every day this month, you can hear strains of the wedding march echoing from many venues around the area. That’s because Gatlinburg is the wedding capital of the South—more than 25,000 couples say their vows in the Smoky Mountains each year.
Gatlinburg is also a popular place for couples to get engaged or renew their vows. And from florists to formal wear, wedding planners to caterers, and dozens of charming wedding chapels and honeymoon cottages, you’ll find everything you need for the wedding or renewal ceremony of your dreams.
Whether you want an intimate wedding or a huge affair, a simple exchange of vows or a shindig for all your friends and relatives, you can find a romantic, affordable setting for your ceremony and reception.
Outdoor weddings in beautiful Gatlinburg or Great Smoky Mountains National Park are an obvious choice for many couples. There are charming wedding chapels and wedding cottages in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area with lovely outdoor spaces for your wedding or renewal ceremony, which have the added advantage of indoor facilities in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Or you can choose from an almost unlimited number of romantic sites in the park. Cades Cove is one of the best-loved wedding destinations. Imagine saying your vows beside a waterfall, in a century-old church or at a site like Lequire Field, which provides a level space and a gorgeous mountain backdrop for your ceremony.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park sites are best for smaller, simple weddings limited to about 20 people. Keep in mind that the park now requires a permit and $50 fee for weddings. There are specific guidelines, including where you can have your ceremony. So be sure to check with the park rangers when planning your wedding.
Don’t overlook Gatlinburg’s city parks as sites for your ceremony. Each of the city’s three parks offers wedding sites that can be reserved for groups at very reasonable rates. You’ll find amenities like covered pavilions and creekside sites in each park.
Looking for a more unusual venue for your wedding? Consider these:
• Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, 88 River Road. Surprise your fiancée with a very special proposal during one of the dive shows. The aquarium will help you plan your rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception while you and your guests enjoy views of aquatic life. You can choose from a range of all-inclusive wedding packages.
• Ober Gatlinburg. Take a ride on the Aerial Tramway to the top of the mountain high above Gatlinburg, and get married in a setting with spectacular, 360-degree views. Host your rehearsal dinner or reception at the fabulous Seasons of Ober restaurant. After the wedding, there are lots of places for you and guests to play in the amusement park.
• Arched bridge, gazebo or riverside weddings. Scattered throughout Gatlinburg are enchanting havens for intimate weddings. Our wedding planners can guide you to the one that’s perfect for you.
• Wineries, breweries and distilleries. What better place could there be for a party? Check with your favorite winery, brewery or distillery for assistance in scheduling and planning your wedding and reception.