Planning an Elopement in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

Planning an Elopement in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

February 12, 2024
February 12, 2024

     It’s no surprise that the Smoky Mountains are a popular destination for couples looking to elope. The beauty that the Smoky Mountains’ possess with rolling mountains, thick forests, and creeks creates the perfect location for those looking to have an intimate wedding in a scenic location! Here’s what you need to know before planning your elopement or intimate wedding in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

     The Cherokee called the mountains Shaconage, which translates to the “place of the blue smoke.” The blue haze that lingers above the mountains is caused by volatile organic compounds that are given off by the natural vegetation in the Smoky Mountains! The smell of pine trees is actually the natural gases, volatile organic compounds, scent! The volatile organic compounds give off a blue-tinted vapor, which is why as you look out across the smoky mountains, they fade into beautiful blue shades the further away they are!

Elopement in the Smoky Mountains

Reasons to Elope in the Smoky Mountains:

     The Smoky Mountains have beautiful woods, rolling mountains, valleys, creeks, and waterfalls that are all perfect for the couple who is looking to elope!
     The Smoky Mountains create a natural border between Tennessee and North Carolina, with popular towns nestled near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Some of these cities include:

  • Townsend, Tennessee
  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • Cherokee, North Carolina
  • Bryson City. North Carolina

     Not only do you have a beautiful range of outdoor locations and activities in the Smokies, but you also have a few major towns with so much to offer to visitors! You can do so much more than just say your vows, swap rings, and take photos! You can plan to do activities like:

  • Drive the Cades Cove Loop
  • Enjoy the 850 miles of hiking trails
  • Take a dip in the Townsend Wye swimming hole
  • Check out Ripley’s Aquarium
  • Have a day at Dollywood Amusement Park
  • Stroll down the strip of Pigeon Forge for shopping and food
  • Check out Grotto or Laurel Falls
  • And so much more!

Where to Start with Planning your Smoky Mountain Elopement:

     If you’re planning an elopement in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, here are the steps to take to have a magical elopement! Want to skip the planning and have everything taken care of? Book your elopement experience!

Step One: Choose a Date for your Elopement!

     The awesome thing about the Great Smoky Mountains is we get to experience every season! The summer is the most popular season to come to the Smokies, as it is a family-oriented location that gets lots of tourists every year. Fall in the Smoky Mountains is also a popular time for tourists, as the rich, vibrant colors of the trees are breathtaking. Be sure to secure your date and reservations far in advance, as towns near the Smoky Mountains get extremely busy during the summer and fall (especially Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg!)
     The Smokies typically get a lot of rain in the month of May, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for to elope in the early summer!

Step Two: Choose a Location in the Smoky Mountains!

     If you’re planning to get married in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, you will need a Special Use Permit for your ceremony, as well as your photographer/ videographer will need a Commercial Use Permit. Go to the National Park Website and obtain your Special Use Wedding Permit. You will need to complete an application as well as pay a non-refundable application fee. Here are the guidelines for Special Use Permits for Weddings.
     If your photographer/ videographer does not already have a permit to take photos or to film in the Smoky Mountains, here are the details and the application they must complete.
     This map has over 30 approved ceremony locations in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which you can submit an application for!

Step Three: Obtain your Marriage License!

     To elope in the Smoky Mountains, you will need to go to the Sevierville county courthouse, or the county clerk in either Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. You can complete your pre-application form here!

     Sevierville County requires:

  • Both participants must be 18 years of age
  • Both participants must present a valid driver’s license OR certified birth certificate along with a photo ID
  • Both participants must present a social security card
  • If not a United States citizen, you must present a valid passport
  • If either participant has been divorced or widowed, you must know the exact date the divorce was final, or date of death. If the bride has had a name change in the divorce but hasn’t changed the name on her driver’s license, she will need to provide a certified copy of her divorce decree.
  • There is no blood test
  • There is no waiting period
  • License must be used within 30 days of issuance
  • License can be used the same day as applied for

Step Four: Secure your Elopement Vendors!

     Lucky for you, you’re already in the right place to book the best elopement photographer and coordinator! You will also need to look into other vendors to help make your elopement experience complete, such as an officiant, florist, and hair/ makeup artist!

     Need help finding other vendors? When you book your experience, I will help with all of the logistics, activities, vendors, and so much more!

Step Five: Enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains!

     After you’ve finalized your date and location, made reservations, obtained permits and legal documents, and finished up your planning by securing your vendors and finding the perfect wedding attire- it’s time to get married! Hell yeah!
     Remember to go with the flow, enjoy the experience, and have the best day ever with your other half!

Planning an elopement in the Smoky Mountains is sure to be unforgettable! This beautiful part of the world has so much to offer, and is sure to become a special place to those who choose to start their next chapter!

Want to plan your dream elopement and have beautiful, emotional images to remember the adventure?
Book your elopement experience today!

Smoky Mountain Small Weddings