Gatlinburg is well-known as one of the top wedding destinations in the country. Why? Our gorgeous scenery and proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one reason. Another is that this area offers dozens of themed weddings -- take your pick from weddings on horseback, to gazebo or garden weddings, weddings by waterfalls and many more. It's also easy to get a marriage license in Tennessee; you can even pre-apply online. Get all the Tennessee marriage license information you need here where couples age 18 and over can apply and get a receipt for their transaction. Once you apply you need to pick up your license at either of the centers listed on our marriage license page. You don't need a blood test or a witness and there's no waiting period to get a Tennessee marriage license.
After you get your marriage license, there's the wedding to plan! Gatlinburg offers some of the most romantic chapels and themed weddings you'll find anywhere. Below we've written a short summary of some of the types of weddings you can enjoy in our area. Each is unique and beautiful in its own way. We recommend that you treat your wedding planning like any other service decision. Make inquiries of several chapels or wedding planners before making a final decision. If it's possible to visit your chapel or planner ahead of time, so much the better, but many couples do plan their weddings long distance then arrive here for the ceremony.
We won't mention any chapels or wedding planners by name, but you'll definitely be able to get a good idea about some of the wedding themes available in Gatlinburg.
Hillbilly weddings: This is an offbeat and fun wedding where the minister is an actual bearded man dressed in hillbilly garb. You can have indoor or outdoor hillbilly weddings. These are very basic ceremonies, but are a lot of fun. They offer garden and mountain chapel ceremonies and some interesting variations, such as jump the broom, Native American, Sixteen Candles, Rose Ceremony, and more.
Ripley's Aquarium Weddings: Here's a unique place to say 'I do'. Let Ripley's Aquarium create a natural backdrop for your wedding. It's the best of both worlds as you can have nature all around you, but the wedding will be inside, so rain can't ruin your day. They can even plan your rehearsal dinner and reception, so from start to finish your special time will be memorable and fun.
One way to make an aquarium wedding a one-of-a-kind affair is to arrange for a 'penguin experience'. This 30 minute interaction with an African Penguin allows you and your guests to learn more about this amazing creature. You'll have fun and there will be time for photos and to see the penguin up close.
Wedding Planners and Chapel weddings: There a dozens of wedding chapels in the Gatlinburg area, so it's important to contact several and compare their packages, as they are all different. Here is a sampling of some of the most popular wedding venues and packages that the local chapels offer:
Often a chapel will provide multiple venues so no matter the weather or your tastes, you will be able to enjoy a perfect wedding. You can have the ceremony in a little white chapel, creek side or on a bridge over a stream. Gazebo weddings are also very popular. Log cabin chapels make romantic spots for weddings, as do weddings held near waterfalls.
Speaking of waterfalls, you can find wedding planners who will help you plan your wedding in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Before you decide to go with a particular wedding planner, be sure they are following the regulations for permits and that they have a Commercial Use Authorization. You'll find more information about that here: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/wedding-guidelinesm10-2010.pdf
Those are some of the venues, and the packages that the chapels and wedding planners offer vary in size and complexity. Here are a few standard packages you'll encounter:
Basic packages: These usually include the ceremony, bouquet for the bride, boutonniere for the groom, music and small cake. Some of these basic packages include a variety of add-ons, such as larger cake and room for an increasing number of guests, with tiered pricing, depending on how many people are attending the wedding. If you choose an indoor wedding, often photographers will take additional photos outside.
All-inclusive packages: These packages include most everything you'll need for your special day, including professional wedding planners. These packages offer you more flexibility and can be customized. You can even be married at your cabin. When you work with a wedding planner you can get the dream wedding you always wanted and reduce the stress that comes with arranging all the details. Customizing these weddings is really fun. Let your imagination be your guide and use our gorgeous scenery as a romantic backdrop for your ceremony.
When you work with your wedding planner let them know how many people will be attending, and if you will need accommodations for them. Accommodations for guests can often be arranged as part of your wedding package via one of the cabin rental companies in town.
Which of these amazing wedding venues or packages do you like? You can learn about all of these wedding venues and many more in our free PDF wedding planner brochure.