How to Elope in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

How to Elope in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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You’ve decided you want to elope in the Smokies, but now what? If you don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place! Here are 4 steps on how to elope in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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Steps on How to Elope

  1. The first thing you need to do is pick a date! It seems so simple, but there are many factors to be considered here. Will you choose a holiday, a weekend, your grandmother’s anniversary, or does it even matter to you? Keep in mind that some locations book out 12-18 months in advance, so your date/location could change. Its great to have a few options!
  2. Determine what type of vendors you will require. The top three vendors for elopements are officiants, photographers and florists. Additional vendors you could hire are bakers, calligraphers, venues and/or cabin rentals. Once you have narrowed what type of vendors you need to hire, its time to hunt them down! We have a list of preferred vendors as well, if you’d like recommendations.
  3. The next thing on the list is to choose a location for the ceremony. Do you want to hike up a mountain? Do you want to elope on the river? Is eloping indoors what you desire? There are endless possibilities! A good place to start is by looking at this map of approved ceremony locations within the park. Again, keep in mind that some of these locations book out 12 months in advance due to their popularity. These locations also require a Special Use Permit from the park. Here is a great resource for that.
  4. You’ve hired your vendors, applied for your Special Use Permit, and you’re wondering what’s next? If you are traveling from out of town, it is best to arrive a day or two early in order to get your marriage license from the Sevier County Clerk’s Office. At the time of this post, marriage licenses for out-of-state residents is $41.00 to be paid by cash or card. It would also be wise to fill out the online application ahead of time using the same link. All of the requirements are listed there as well.
elopement portraits of bride and groom

Other things to note: Cades Cove does not allow motor vehicle access on Wednesdays between the months of May and September. If you plan to elope in Cades Cove, plan for large amounts of traffic, especially in September, October, and November. These are the busiest months as leaves are changing colors!

That’s it! Now you know how to elope in the Smoky Mountain National Park, and you’re ready to go. Some words of advice from me, plan your wedding how YOU visualize it. Don’t let anyone else tell you how you “should” be doing things. This is your day, not theirs! I hope this blog post helps make things easier for you, and congratulations in advance!

Bride and Groom portraits in the smoky mountains

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