Planning the Perfect Gatlinburg Wedding




bride and groom holding hands


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Grinning Gary’s Advice On The Perfect Gatlinburg Wedding

Hey there, lovebirds! Grinning Gary here, your friendly local guide to all things Gatlinburg. If you’re dreaming of a picturesque wedding in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, you’ve come to the right place. Gatlinburg is one of the most popular and beautiful spots for tying the knot, and I’m here to help you plan the perfect Gatlinburg wedding. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know, from choosing the ideal venue to navigating the legalities, all sprinkled with a dash of my signature humor and charm. Let’s dive in!

Gatlinburg Wedding Chapel

Choosing the Perfect Venue

Outdoor Venues

When it comes to outdoor venues, Gatlinburg has some truly breathtaking options. Imagine saying your vows surrounded by the natural beauty of the Smokies! One of the top spots is Cades Cove, a picturesque valley with stunning mountain views and lush meadows. Another favorite is Spence Cabin, located along the Little River with its tranquil setting and beautiful backdrop.

Outdoor weddings offer the benefit of natural beauty and scenic backdrops that can make your special day even more memorable. However, planning an outdoor wedding does come with its own set of challenges. Make sure to consider the weather and have a backup plan in place. Also, don’t forget to check if you need any permits for your chosen location.

If you’re looking for some pro tips, here’s one: Always have a tent or indoor space as a backup in case of inclement weather. And trust me, having a clear communication plan with your guests about the venue and any potential weather issues will save you a lot of stress on the big day.

Indoor Venues

Not a fan of outdoor weddings? No worries! Gatlinburg boasts some fantastic indoor venues too. The Lodge at Buckberry Creek offers a cozy, rustic ambiance with luxurious touches, making it perfect for a romantic wedding. Another excellent choice is the Greystone Lodge, known for its elegant spaces and top-notch amenities.

Indoor venues provide a controlled environment, which means you don’t have to worry about the weather. Plus, they often come with all the facilities you need, from catering to restrooms. Decorating indoor spaces can also be a lot of fun, allowing you to match your wedding theme perfectly.

Whether you’re going for a rustic look or something more modern and chic, indoor venues in Gatlinburg can accommodate your vision. Personal tip: Visit the venue at the same time of day as your wedding to see how the lighting works and to plan your decor accordingly.

Unique and Unusual Venues

For those looking to add a unique twist to their wedding, Gatlinburg has some truly special venues. How about getting married in a treehouse? The Chapel at the Preserve offers a beautiful treehouse wedding experience, surrounded by nature. If history is more your style, Magnolia Manor provides a charming historical setting that’s sure to wow your guests.

Unique venues can make your wedding stand out and create unforgettable memories. The appeal of a unique setting is that it offers a story to tell and an experience that’s unlike any other. Imagine exchanging vows in a cozy treehouse or a historic manor with a rich backstory – it doesn’t get much better than that!

Remember, the key to a memorable wedding in a unique setting is to embrace the venue’s charm and let it shine through in your decorations and theme. Work with the venue coordinators to ensure everything aligns perfectly with your vision.

Deciding on a Wedding Theme

Rustic and Country Themes

Rustic and country-themed weddings are all the rage in Gatlinburg, and it’s easy to see why. Incorporating elements like burlap, mason jars, and wooden decor can give your wedding a warm, homey feel. Popular color schemes include earthy tones like browns, greens, and creams.

For a truly rustic wedding, consider local vendors who specialize in rustic wedding supplies. They can provide everything from handmade decorations to rustic-themed catering. One of my favorite local spots for rustic decor is the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, where you can find unique, handcrafted items.

Personal tip: Use natural elements like wildflowers and wood slices in your decor to enhance the rustic feel. And don’t forget those mason jars – they make great centerpieces and candle holders!

Elegant and Classic Themes

If elegance is more your style, Gatlinburg can certainly deliver. An elegant wedding with classic touches never goes out of style. Think timeless attire, sophisticated decor, and a venue that exudes class. The Lodge at Buckberry Creek and Greystone Lodge are excellent venues for an elegant wedding.

Finding local florists and caterers who can create an upscale experience is key. Look for vendors with experience in elegant weddings to ensure everything is top-notch. From the perfect floral arrangements to a gourmet menu, every detail should reflect the elegance you’re aiming for.

For a touch of glamour, consider adding elements like crystal chandeliers, fine china, and luxurious fabrics. And remember, elegance is all about the details – so pay attention to those finishing touches that will make your wedding truly special.

Seasonal Themes

Aligning your wedding theme with the season can add a magical touch to your special day. Gatlinburg offers beautiful backdrops for every season. In spring, you can take advantage of blooming flowers and vibrant colors. Summer is perfect for lush gardens and outdoor festivities. Fall offers breathtaking foliage and warm, cozy vibes. And winter – oh, winter weddings in Gatlinburg are like a fairy tale, with snow-covered landscapes and twinkling lights.

Each season brings its own unique decor and menu options. For a spring wedding, think fresh blooms and light, airy decorations. Summer calls for bright colors and outdoor setups. Fall is all about rich hues and harvest-themed decor. Winter weddings can feature sparkling lights, elegant whites, and cozy details.

Personal tip: Embrace the season’s natural beauty in your decor and theme. It not only enhances the ambiance but also provides a cohesive look to your wedding.

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Hiring Local Vendors

Photographers and Videographers

Capturing the magic of your big day is crucial, and that’s where professional photographers and videographers come in. Gatlinburg has a wealth of talented photographers who specialize in wedding photography. Some of the top names include can be found on our Gatlinburg photography article.

When selecting a photographer or videographer, it’s essential to review their portfolio and ensure their style matches what you’re looking for. Look for someone who can capture both candid moments and posed shots beautifully. Remember, these are the memories you’ll cherish forever, so don’t skimp on this part!

Personal tip: Meet with your photographer or videographer beforehand to discuss your vision and make sure they understand your expectations. A good rapport can make a big difference in the final result.

Caterers and Bakers

Food is a big part of any wedding, and Gatlinburg offers some fantastic catering options. Whether you’re looking for a gourmet meal or a more casual buffet, local caterers like The Peddler Steakhouse and The Park Grill can deliver. For your wedding cake, consider local bakeries such as Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop and The Wildflour Bakehouse.

Organizing tastings is a great way to ensure the menu meets your expectations. It’s also an opportunity to get creative with your menu and reflect your personal tastes. Don’t forget to accommodate any dietary restrictions your guests might have.

Personal tip: Include some local favorites in your menu to give your guests a true taste of Gatlinburg. Think Southern comfort food with a gourmet twist!

Florists and Decorators

Flowers and decorations set the tone for your wedding, and Gatlinburg has some excellent florists and decorators to help you bring your vision to life. Consider local florists like Cupid’s Petals and Flowers of Gatlinburg for beautiful arrangements that match your theme.

When working with a florist, be sure to discuss your theme, color scheme, and any specific flowers you want. They can help you create stunning bouquets, centerpieces, and other floral decorations that tie everything together beautifully.

Personal tip: Use seasonal flowers to keep costs down and ensure your arrangements are fresh and vibrant. And don’t forget the little details – a few well-placed flowers can make a big impact.

Accommodation for Guests

Lodging Options

Gatlinburg offers a variety of lodging options to accommodate your wedding guests. From cozy cabins to luxurious resorts, there’s something for everyone. Some top recommendations include The Lodge at Buckberry Creek for a more upscale experience, and Cabins of the Smoky Mountains for a rustic, homey feel.

When booking accommodations, consider the proximity to your venue. It’s convenient for guests to stay close by, especially if you’re planning a late-night reception. Booking early is crucial, especially during peak tourist seasons. Many venues offer group rates, so be sure to inquire about those to save on costs.

Personal tip: Provide your guests with a list of recommended accommodations and any booking details they need. This can make the planning process smoother for them and ensure everyone is well taken care of.


Arranging transportation for your guests can make their experience more enjoyable and stress-free. Options include shuttle services, car rentals, and ample parking at the venue. If your venue is in a more remote location, providing a shuttle service can be incredibly helpful.

Consider hiring a local transportation company like Rocky Top Tours to manage the logistics. This ensures your guests arrive on time and can enjoy the festivities without worrying about getting lost or parking.

Personal tip: Communicate all transportation details clearly with your guests, including pick-up and drop-off times and locations. This helps avoid any confusion on the big day.

Activities for Guests

Gatlinburg is packed with activities to keep your guests entertained before and after the wedding. From hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to exploring local shops and attractions, there’s plenty to do.

Create a wedding itinerary that includes some fun activities for your guests. This could be a group hike, a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium, or a shopping trip in downtown Gatlinburg. Providing your guests with options ensures they have a memorable experience and get to enjoy everything Gatlinburg has to offer.

Personal tip: Include some of your favorite local spots in the itinerary. It’s a great way to share your love for Gatlinburg with your guests and give them a taste of what makes this place so special.

Planning the Ceremony and Reception

Ceremony Planning

Planning a meaningful and personal ceremony is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. Start by selecting an officiant who aligns with your values and vision for the ceremony. Whether it’s a religious leader or a friend, make sure they understand what you want.

Incorporating local traditions and elements can add a special touch to your ceremony. Consider including a traditional Appalachian song or a local flower in your bouquet. Writing personalized vows is another way to make the ceremony unique and heartfelt.

Personal tip: Practice your vows and the ceremony flow beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly on the big day. And remember, the ceremony is about celebrating your love – keep it personal and true to who you are as a couple.

Reception Planning

Creating a fun and memorable reception is all about planning the right entertainment and activities. Live bands and DJs are popular choices, but consider adding some interactive elements like photo booths or lawn games.

Organize the reception timeline to include key moments like the first dance, cake cutting, and toasts. Having a well-planned timeline ensures everything runs smoothly and guests stay entertained.

Personal tip: Consider hiring a wedding coordinator to help manage the reception. This allows you to relax and enjoy the festivities without worrying about the details.

DIY Elements

Adding DIY elements to your wedding can add a personal touch and make your day even more special. From handmade invitations to custom favors, there are plenty of ways to get creative.

DIY projects can also be a great way to save money. However, it’s important to manage these projects without overwhelming yourself. Start early, enlist the help of friends and family, and keep it simple.

Personal tip: Choose a few key DIY projects that are meaningful to you and focus on those. This ensures you have the time and energy to create something beautiful without getting stressed out.

Navigating Legal Requirements

Marriage Licenses

Obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step in planning your Gatlinburg wedding. You’ll need to visit the Sevier County Clerk’s office, located at 125 Court Ave, Suite 202E, Sevierville, TN 37862. Both parties must be present, and you’ll need to bring valid identification. An office is in Gatlinburg and you can find out more information about it at the website above.

The process is straightforward, but it’s important to ensure all legal requirements are met. The license is valid for 30 days, so plan accordingly. There’s no waiting period, and the cost is around $40.

Personal tip: Double-check all requirements before heading to the clerk’s office to avoid any last-minute surprises. And keep your marriage license in a safe place until the big day!

Local Regulations and Permits

Depending on your venue, you may need additional permits or need to comply with local regulations. For outdoor venues, permits are often required, especially in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Working with local authorities can ensure everything is in order and avoid any disruptions on your wedding day. Most venues will help guide you through this process, but it’s always good to double-check.

Personal tip: Start the permit process early to allow for any delays or additional requirements. And keep all documentation organized and easily accessible.


When is the best time to have a wedding in Gatlinburg?

The best time for a Gatlinburg wedding depends on your preferences and the type of wedding you want. Spring and fall are popular due to the mild weather and stunning natural beauty. Summer is great for outdoor weddings, but it can be crowded. Winter weddings are magical with snow-covered landscapes, but be prepared for colder temperatures.

How far in advance should we start planning our Gatlinburg wedding?

It’s recommended to start planning your Gatlinburg wedding at least 12-18 months in advance. This allows ample time to secure your preferred venue and vendors, especially during peak wedding seasons.

Can we have a small, intimate wedding in Gatlinburg?

Absolutely! Gatlinburg is perfect for small, intimate weddings. Many venues cater to smaller gatherings, providing a cozy and personal atmosphere. Focus on creating a meaningful experience with fewer guests, and you’ll have a wedding that’s just as memorable.

Are there all-inclusive wedding packages available in Gatlinburg?

Yes, many venues in Gatlinburg offer all-inclusive wedding packages. These packages often include the venue, catering, photography, and other essential services. Choosing an all-inclusive package can simplify the planning process and ensure everything is coordinated seamlessly.

What are the options for eco-friendly weddings in Gatlinburg?

Planning an eco-friendly wedding in Gatlinburg is entirely possible. Look for venues and vendors who prioritize sustainability. Use biodegradable or recyclable materials for decorations, opt for local and organic catering, and consider digital invitations to reduce paper waste.


And there you have it, folks! Grinning Gary’s ultimate guide to planning the perfect Gatlinburg wedding. From choosing the ideal venue to navigating the legalities, I hope this guide helps you create a beautiful and memorable wedding day.

Gatlinburg’s charm and natural beauty make it an ideal wedding destination. So go ahead, embrace the adventure, and make your dream wedding a reality in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. And remember, planning a wedding is a journey – enjoy every moment of it!

Here’s to love, laughter, and a happily ever after in Gatlinburg. Cheers!


  • Grinning Gary McLaughlin

    Grinning Gary McLaughlin is Gatlinburg’s own treasure trove of tales, a local historian with a knack for weaving humor into the fabric of everyday life in the Smoky Mountains. With roots running deep in the heart of Tennessee, Gary’s passion for his hometown shines through in his engaging and light-hearted narratives. Whether he’s sharing insider tips on hidden gems or recounting hilarious anecdotes from around town, Gary’s writing makes every reader feel like a welcomed friend, ready to explore the wonders of Gatlinburg with a smile.

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