The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most stunning parks in the US! It is the perfect destination for elopements that is lush and green in the spring and summer, and stunning golden hues in the fall.
This national park is located between North Carolina and Tennessee, which is perfect for couples on the east coast looking for something closer, or for those midwest or west coast couples wanting a farther destination for their wedding.
This park really has it all: forests, creeks, wildlife, waterfalls, and just overall stunning surroundings. It’s a dreamy location for elopements!
Here’s what you need to know about eloping in the Smoky Mountains!
Eloping in the Smoky Mountains: The Full Guide
The Great Smoky Mountains covers over 800 square miles on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, and it’s the most visited national park in the country! It’s very obvious why, with it’s trademark smoky haze, the wildflowers, and all the stunning trees.
There’s so much space to explore, so there’s still a guarantee that you’ll find some privacy for your elopement and get a spot to yourself! You can use Asheville as a home base to explore the park, as there are five different entrances a little over an hour drive.
If you want an unforgettable elopement with the most picturesque views, the Smoky Mountains would be the best choice!
Smoky Mountains Elopement Tips
If you want to elope in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll need to go through the specific process to get a permit. You will need to submit a $50 non-refundable fee along with a Special Use Permit at least two weeks before your elopement date. And since itt’s a popular destination, make sure to book your location far in advance!
You also should keep in mind that you will need to choose one of the pre-approved ceremony spots in the park, but there are quite a few to choose from! You can find around 10 locations along the Foothills Parkway, a couple locations near Cades Cove, and others in the heart of the park as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the park doesn’t allow permits on Saturdays or Sundays in Cades Cove in October. This is a typically very busy time of year, so if you want the fall colors for your elopement, you’ll need to choose a weekday instead!
Where to Elope in the Smoky Mountains
There are a lot of stunning locations for an elopement in the park, and here are a few of the favorites:
- Foothills Parkway: You’ll find plenty of overlooks that will give you the breathtaking views of the mountains, forest, and you will also be able to access creeks and waterfalls close-by
- Cades Cove: This is one of the more popular spots for elopements with the Wildlife Overlook and LeQuire Cemetery Overlook as perfect options to say your vows!
- Spence Cabin: This whimsical little pink cabin is a rustic and romantic spot that is filled with history and sits on the banks of the Little River.
- Cataract Falls: If you want a waterfall backdrop for your elopement, this is a spot with easy access. You can walk there just a short distance from the visitor’s center. But keep in mind, that this spot gets busy so if you want to avoid crowds, you should choose a weekday morning!
- Appalachian Clubhouse: This is a fun spot has a small indoor space for an intimate dinner if you have some guests that you want to bring along!
When to Elope in the Smoky Mountains
There are definitely specific times of year that are ideal for eloping in the Smoky Mountains, but it also is all about your preference! Think about the type of backdrop you’d want for photos, what your favorite time of year is, the type of weather you’d like, etc. Every season is bound to be beautiful here!
Winter Elopement in the Smoky Mountains
Winters are a bit unpredictable, because you could get warm, sunny days or you could get chilly weather with huge snowstorms. Roads are closed once the weather gets bad, but you can still get some snow in the lower elevation areas. You definitely have to be more flexible in the winter, but you do have the chance of getting a beautiful winter wonderland with less crowds!
Spring Elopement in the Smoky Mountains
This is a truly incredible time to visit the Smoky Mountains because you will find the wildflowers in full effect! You have warmer days, but you still may find snow in some of the higher elevation areas. With all the snowmelt this may mean the rivers and waterfalls will be more full, which could be a really stunning backdrop for photos!
Summer Elopement in the Smoky Mountains
Summer is typically the busiest time of year to visit the park, and the weather can get pretty warm and humid, with the higher elevation areas staying a bit more manageable. To avoid crowds, you can venture onto one of the higher hiking trails, or plan for a weekday sunrise elopement.
Fall Elopement in the Smoky Mountains
Starting in October, you will start seeing the fall colors bloom in the park and they normally peak in the mid and lower elevations in October and early November. You’ll see the stunning colors on sweetgum trees, red maples, scarlet oaks, sugar maples, and hickories which gives you a variety of color and a picturesque landscape all together. This is a truly incredible time to elope here, but keep in mind that it will need to be on a weekday!
Tennessee Elopement Photographer
Hi, I’m Rachel, a Tennessee Elopement Photographer based in Georgia. The Smoky Mountains are an absolute dream and the perfect spot for an elopement in the US! My mission is to make your wildest wedding day dreams come true by offering a one-of-a-kind experience while capturing the purest, most intentional moments behind my lens that you’ll be able to treasure for generations to come. So if you want help planning your Smoky Mountains elopement, I’m your girl! Reach out here to talk more about your vision.