Gatlinburg Elopement Packages Guide
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the gateway town to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Known for its incredible beauty, proximity to most of the big metro areas along the East Coast and the Midwest, and popularity, the Smoky Mountain region has become a top draw for eloping couples. Read our Gatlinburg elopement packages guide below to learn everything you need to know about a Smoky Mountains elopement wedding…
- Climate – Gatlinburg’s location in easternmost Tennessee allows the area to be well positioned to avoid extreme heat and humidity in the summer as well as arctic temperatures in the winter months. While it certainly does get hot in Gatlinburg, the town’s proximity to mountains allows visitors quick access to higher elevations and cooler temperatures. Come winter, this gateway to the Smokies is far enough south that it avoids the extreme blizzard and frigid conditions found in cities in the northern Midwest and Eastern Seaboard locales. The average low temps in Gatlinburg in January are about 25 degrees Fahrenheit (the U.S. average lows are about 20 degrees). In July, Gatlinburg’s average highs are 86 degrees and relative humidity averages 85%; June and August tend to be a bit less humid. October is the least rainy month, with an average precipitation of about 2.5 inches. It does snow a little in the Gatlinburg area in the winter, but this will only add to the romance and offer unique photo opportunities for winter elopements! In fact, while many choose to get married in the summer months, Gatlinburg can offer the unique atmospheres of all four seasons for eloping couples. Plan an exquisite snowy ceremony in the winter, a breathtaking ceremony draped with abundant colorful forests in the autumn, or an inspiring ceremony featuring blooming wildflowers and trees reawakening in the spring and avoid the summer crowds.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park – This is the most popular U.S. National Park, regularly receiving ten million visitors per year, and for good reasons! Yes, the Smokies offer unparalleled beauty and scenic vistas, but they manage to do so within easy reach of many of the country’s nearby large cities. The park offers easy accessibility to their views in the form of well-maintained mountain roads as well as miles and miles of hiking trails that offer moderate to challenging hiking conditions. Before or after your Gatlinburg elopement, you can use the town as a base to explore this one-of-a-kind national park. To avoid the crowds, plan to have your Gatlinburg elopement (and park visit) in the spring or fall.
- Area Attractions – Few destinations allow you to combine your desire to visit one of the most popular national parks in the country with a large menu of tourist attractions like the Gatlinburg area does. You’ll find diversions that range from the kitschy (like the Hollywood Star Cars Museum) to the elegant (like numerous wineries scattered around the area) to the adventurous (like the Gatlinburg Space Needle or the Gatlinburg Sky Lift). The area is unique in that it not only is a popular elopement packages destination, but it also offers entertainment options for nearly every taste. You can please the rugged outdoors types, shopping devotees, foodie fans, and even families with youngsters when you decide to get married in Gatlinburg. The town is a touristy gateway to the Smokies, so if all your guests wish to do is hike in the mountains – they’ll get their fill! However, for those guests who like a taste of “big city” life and/or the odd touristy spots wherever they go – Gatlinburg will satisfy their wishes.
- Nearby Points of Interest – Dollywood: this is the amusement park named after legendary country music entertainer Dolly Parton. Dollywood is located about ten miles from Gatlinburg, in the town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The park boasts several “themed” areas, hosts many festivals throughout the year, and puts on numerous concerts. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: where Dollywood is located, of course, but is also home to other attractions. These tend to focus on southern culture, country music, or are loosely related to Dollywood. Like Gatlinburg, nearby Sevierville, Tennessee offers a range of touristy attractions including zipline adventures, car collection museums, shopping, and wineries. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Smokies from Tennessee lies Asheville, North Carolina. This charming town is known for its “artsy” vibe and historic architecture, and is an elopement wedding destination in its own right.
- Location or Access to Much of the U.S. – Gatlinburg is ideally situated within a day’s drive of roughly half of the U.S. population. It is located about 3 1/2 hours or 220 miles from Nashville, about 4 hours or 250 miles from Atlanta, and about 4 1/2 hours or 300 miles from Cincinnati. For those eloping couples who have friends or family members scattered around the U.S., Gatlinburg is relatively centrally located in the eastern U.S. Guests will appreciate attending an elopement ceremony in this touristy gem as they can explore the mountains, take in the scenery, or visit the town’s numerous attractions before and after the ceremony.
- Elopement Package Choices – Thanks to the sheer number of wedding venues in the Gatlinburg area, eloping couples can choose from a wide range of elopement packages that will fit their budgets, tastes, and lifestyles. There are numerous wedding chapels scattered around this region of Tennessee which can offer elegant indoor wedding ceremonies. Many of these same chapels offer beautiful outdoor settings in lush gardens, or feature the stunning Smoky Mountains as a backdrop. You can enjoy a simple ceremony that features just the two of you or construct a full-featured wedding that includes dozens of guests. Gatlinburg’s gamut of venues usually feature some degree of “a la carte” ceremony features that will let couples pick and choose exactly the ceremony extras that they wish to include or omit.
- Tennessee Marriage Licenses – The state of Tennessee makes applying for and receiving a marriage license a relatively painless and convenient experience. To elope in Gatlinburg, couples should apply for a marriage license in Sevier County, where the town of Gatlinburg is located. Sevier County makes the process pretty simple: you can start by applying for your Tennessee marriage license online. There is no waiting period in Tennessee, and you can have your elopement ceremony on the day that you receive your marriage license.
For the truly adventurous, an elopement wedding ceremony within the actual borders of the Smoky Mountains National Park is possible. You must contact the park’s main office to obtain the required permit and pay the small fee to get married in the park.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to elope in Gatlinburg to take advantage of Tennessee’s natural beauty and Southern hospitality. You can find other Tennessee elopement packages that might be more in line with your personal style, and still take advantage of the Volunteer State’s ease in receiving a marriage license and its wide range of indoor and outdoor wedding venues. The memories that you make when you get married in Gatlinburg, or elsewhere in Tennessee, will last a lifetime!