How to Elope in the Smoky Mountains in Four Steps

How to Elope in the Smoky Mountains in Four Steps

Mountain Adventure Elopement at Alum Cave Trail on Mount Leconte in the Smokies

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! As a Smoky Mountain elopement photographer, I’ve broken it down into four easy steps. These four steps will keep you organized, and help you elope in the Smoky Mountains with ease! Your dream Smoky Mountain elopement shouldn’t be overwhelming and filled with stress, let’s do this together.

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4 Steps to Elope In The Smoky Mountains

Having lived near the Smoky Mountains for so long, I have a unique respect and adoration for their beauty. When my elopement couples opt for the Smokies, my heart skips a beat. I love going out there to explore and capture their love story. Let’s plan your dream day together!

bride and groom hugging before they elope in the smoky mountains

When Are You Going to Elope in the Smoky Mountains?

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 or location could change. As a precaution, consider having a few backup options in case of a last minute change!

bridal bouquet with white roses and greenery perfect to elope in the Smoky Mountains

Who Needs to Be There?

Decide what vendors your dream elopement in the Smoky Mountains requires! Typically, the top three vendors for elopements are officiants (to make things official when you say, “I do!”), photographers, and florists. Additional vendors my elopement couples hire include, bakers, calligraphers, a specific venue (for a reception or dinner after ceremony) or a cabin. Once you have decided who needs to be there to make your dream day a reality, it’s time to find your perfect match! If you’re looking for incredible recommendations, we’ve got you covered! Reach out, and I’ll get you hooked up.

pigeon forge outdoor engagement man and woman standing on wall together

Location, Location, Location

For my elopement couples, choosing the location for the ceremony is the best part. Opportunities are limitless, especially in the Smoky Mountains! Do you want to hike up a mountain? Do you want to elope on the river? Or are you looking to elope indoors with a view of the Smokies? A good place to get started is by looking at an approved map of ceremony locations within the Smoky Mountain Park! This is going to help you find the spots with the best views.

Of course, keep in mind some of these locations book out sooner than others, sometimes even 12 months in advance! Some locations require a special use permit from the park, check it out here!

Let’s Elope!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re getting so close to your big day! This may be the most important step, so pay close attention. Don’t forget to order your marriage license from the Sevier County Clerk’s Office. Especially if you’re traveling from out of town, make sure to come into town a couple of days early to get everything figured out! While a marriage license is usually pretty inexpensive ($41), don’t let that lessen its importance. Without that, this is all just for fun. Take your time, and do some research, fill out your paperwork online, and let’s make things legal!

elopement portraits of bride and groom

Keep in mind, certain locations that we all know and love have strict restrictions during various points of the year. So, if you want to elope in the Smoky Mountains, take 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. Colors begin to shift and change, and as you can imagine, it’s an incredibly popular time to get married there!

Your Memories are Important

I know some couples choose to elope for the adventure and fun, while other couples are trying to save some money and do the dang thing! However, just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean your memories aren’t still something to be honored and treasured forever. As a Smoky Mountain elopement photographer, I understand and respect the importance your day carries. We still want those special moments between you and your partner before you say, “I do!”. Whether that’s a first look, or a first dance, it’s all important and should be honored.

You deserve to have these moments captured for a lifetime, let’s chat about making your day one that gets honored and treasured forever.

Bride and Groom portraits in the smoky mountains

That’s it! With these four easy steps, your Smoky Mountain elopement will be a breeze. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that your Smoky Mountain elopement is about you and your partner. Make the day what you both want. If you don’t want to cut cake, but want to pop champagne together, DO IT! These memories you’re creating are yours and deserve to be what you want them to be.