How to Elope in the Smoky Mountains

Having your wedding day be as adventurous and as beautiful as you two are together is possible. When imagining an elopement in the smokies, I see two people so genuinely excited to become married. They sun rises with them snuggled up by a fire sipping coffee or relaxing in the hot tub while the steam rises with the mountains in the background. I capture these moments for them as the bask in all the little moments in between. Later that day, we all hike to an outlook spot and the two of them exchange vows atop The Great Smoky Mountains. But howHow can we elope in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee or North Carolina?

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Steps on How to Elope in the Smoky Mountains

Let’s make your dream a reality. Follow these steps to get married in the mountains!

1. National Park Permits

The Smoky Mountains are home to one of the most popular National Parks in the United States. Like many other national parks, the Smokies require special permits in order to be married in within the park. The application for the Special Use Permit can be found below. In order to be approved, the application must be turned in no later than 14 days before your elopement date along with a small fee (which we help secure so you can be totally stress free).

2. Choosing the Perfect Ceremony Location

If you are wanting something within the Great Smokies National Park, there are designated areas where wedding ceremonies and elopements may take place. A few that should be mentioned is Cades Cove and Heintooga Overlook! They both offer different views and are equally beautiful in landscape and scenery.

If you want something that is a little less busy or something that allows you to be a little freer in your wedding day, looking into other mountain trails may be another option for you. Many couples opt to have a commitment ceremony together which means that spend a moment reflecting and committing to one another without a legal ceremony. Sometimes doing paperwork for marriage in their home state is easier than getting married out-of-state. One trail that should have notable mention is Peregrine Peak within the park itself as well. If hiking is your thing and you have soft spot for impeccable views, this may be the place for you.

Although the mountains views are to die for, there are other options for elopement locations. The Smokies are home to many natural waterfalls, rolling hills, and large pines. If hanging off the side of a mountain isn’t your thing, then take your love to the valley and vow to one another while the water splashes behind you.

3. Choosing the Best Time to Elope

Eloping in the mountains is best during weekdays. Weekends become hectic and busy with tourists coming from all over the world. Holidays and busy seasons for the Smokies happen from about October to March. If you want a wedding day with blooming colors and landscapes, September or early October would be the best time to say “I do” here. If you are wanting a snowier white wedding, I say opt for February. Keep in mind though that sometimes eloping in a colder month also means taking the risk of slick and snowy mountains and roads.

4. Obtaining the Correct License

First, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license from either the Tennessee side or the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains, depending on where you plan to have your ceremony. Both sides have slightly different requirements, so make sure to research the specific state’s regulations.

  • Tennessee: To get a marriage license in Tennessee, you’ll need to visit the county clerk’s office in the county where you plan to marry. Both partners must be present and provide valid identification. There is a waiting period of 3 days after obtaining the license before you can get married.
  • North Carolina: In North Carolina, you’ll also need to apply for a marriage license at the local county Register of Deeds office. There is no waiting period in North Carolina, so you can get married the same day you obtain the license.

Making Your Mountain Elopement Unique

Once you’ve committed to the Great Smoky Mountains as your location to say, “I Do”, you can start forging your own unique experiences. As far as knowing how to elope in the Smoky Mountains, leave that to us to help with. Have you ever wanted to take on glamping with your partner? What about visiting a distillery and trying the samples while you giggle the night away? The list goes on with endless possibilities of making your wedding day you.

I envision a couple starting the day in the hot tub snuggled together enjoying coffee while the cold nips at their nose or snuggled up next to the fire inside a cozy cabin. They spend the day together just reminiscing of their journey that has gotten them to this point. At the end of the day, we journey up to a mountain trail where the two of them vow their undying love for each other and become one before heading back to their venue and enjoy a bottle of wine together.

Ways to Make Your Day Unique:

  • Do things that you want to do. Make your day about you two…not who will show up or what traditions are usually done. Only include things that are 100% genuinely you two. Want pizza instead of wedding cake to celebrate? How about a case of beer or bourbon instead of champagne? Do you want to wear a wedding dress full of color or write each other songs? Do IT.
  • Help one another get ready. Tradition tells us the marriage won’t work if you see each other before I do…. but what if your marriage could begin with the two of you helping each other prepare and get ready for whatever lies ahead. Those special moments and touches could be one highlight of the day.
  • Hire vendors that you absolutely love and trust. These people will help forge and curate the most authentic and passionate wedding day that you two deserve and want. Get vendors that will listen to your wants and needs and then offer their expertise to help you. Hire us to be your personal bestie and hype girl so you can relax knowing you’re in good hands. Let’s get this show on the road!

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Let’s forge a wedding day that you’ll be dreaming about forever. I’ll be here ready to talk about how to elope in the Smoky Mountains and make your elopement day epic.



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