Moonshine Games and Tastings
No mountain wedding would be complete without a bartender and moonshine, right? Gatlinburg has built quite a reputation for its distilleries, and Sugarlands Shine is my absolute favorite. This could be because Mark Ramsey visited our home, where it can neither be confirmed nor denied that shine was made or consumed. It could be because I enjoy watching the “Master Distiller” show. Mostly, though, it’s because I know how much our couples and their friends enjoy the taste of the Sugarlands brand of Shine.
A good bartender like Single Barrel Events goes a long way toward making the moonshine tastings a success. They’ll make sure no one over-indulges and can get back to their cabins safely. I always let our guests leave their cars overnight in our parking lot if they need to hitch a ride with a fellow wedding guest, too. Be sure you ask Single Barrel Events about their horse trailer bar! They can park it right next to the gate where our own horses, Sugar and Ben will hang their heads over the fence hoping for a pat on the head.
Some moonshine games you might consider are “Pin the Tail on the Possum,” the tried and true “Spin the Bottle,” or guessing which flavors have been blended together. If you play Pin the Tail on the Possum, I’ll put the possum picture on our outhouse for you!
Water Balloons & Photo Booths
I bet you never heard of this game for a wedding! Truthfully, it should only be attempted in the summer months when the heat and humidity of the Smoky Mountains calls for relief. In July and August your guests will have a blast with this one. Even the older guests who don’t participate will laugh harder than they have in years! It’s further recommended that you allow your guests to change out of their wedding clothes before playing, and prior notice should be given in invitations. (Or not… depending on the level of sponataneous shenanigans your group will tolerate.)
Water balloons don’t require a specific set of rules. Heck, once the DJ announces, “It’s time for the water balloons,” a natural free for all will likely ensue. But if you prefer a classier event, consider having my friend Heike with Tennessee Celebrates Tennessee Celebrates set up a decorated area that you could also use as a photo back drop.
So, if you’ve already set up a pretty balloon arch (and maybe even decided on the water balloon hilarity,) a photo booth activity is a logical addition. The balloon arch will draw attention to the photo booth, and the water balloons will undoubtedly provide pictures guaranteed to provide belly laughs for years! Whether you add balloons or not, your Photo Booth will be one of the highest traffic areas at your wedding. Honeysuckle Hills has two different places for vendors to set them up, and one is under cover from rain. Both sites have electricity, which is essential for ones provided professionally.
You might consider hiring The Vibe Photo Booth The advantage of using a vendor is that you won’t have to mess with set up, provide your own props, or break it down later. Professional vendors can also print on-site as well as provide links where your guests can download their images later. (Just in case the water balloons soaked their picture or the moonshine games caused them to forget where they put it.)
Couples are forever asking me for ideas on how to honor mothers, grandmothers, and best friends at their wedding. There’s always that one person who spent countless hours helping plan the wedding, listening to you vent, and keeping your sanity. Chef Tony Catering may likely be providing the delicious meal and wedding cake already, so why not ask him to add on some cakes or cookies with dedications? Chef Tony can even whip up your loved one’s favorite dessert. The DJ can get everyone’s attention easily as you present each recipient with their gift. The possibilities are endless… “Best Mom,” “Hottest Bridesmaid,” “Oldest Bachelor,” birthdays, and anniversaries are just a few.
The funniest cake presentation happened at Honeysuckle Hills last year, although it wasn’t planned to happen the way it did. When the time came for the bride to present the birthday cake, its recipient was nowhere to be found. The DJ repeatedly asked for him until the bathroom door swung open with the man in question. Everyone broke out in Happy Birthday song, but most could only giggle with the melody.
The Shoe Game (Newlywed Game)
We’ve mentioned the DJ quite a bit in this article, and by golly there’s good reason! Chris with J3 Entertainment is used most often for our all-inclusive wedding packages with receptions. The most requested wedding game is called “The Shoe Game.” The wedding couple takes off one of their shoes, and as a series of questions are asked the couple with the answer raises their shoe. DJ Chris can provide the questions for you, or one of your friends can do this dastardly deed!
- Who said I love you first?
- Who is most likely to get a speeding ticket?
- Who is most likely to say I’m sorry after an argument?
- Who spends the most money?
- Which one is most likely to be found binging on junk food while watching a marathon of ‘Outlander?’”
Ok… the one most likely to binge watch “Outlander” is actually me, but if it applies to you, too, then we will be friends forever!
The UTV Entrance / Exit
This is the modern version of the horse and carriage wedding entrance or exit for adventure lovers and true country couples! Honeysuckle Hills has secret family parking areas to hide your all-terrain vehicle for the ultimate element of surprise. But if you don’t want to haul your UTV to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, rent one!
My favorite place to rent a UTV is from Elijah with Shine Runner’s UTV Rentals Elijah is another Smoky Mountain native like myself, and a young entrepreneur at that. Elijah will be able to give the best advice on areas you can explore the Smoky Mountains while you’re in town for your wedding because he knows the area like the back of his hand. If you’re a city dweller in need of excitement, this is a great experience. Our mountains are best enjoyed with wind blowing through your hair and the feel of freedom.
Our wedding venue is set up perfectly to drive right up to your wedding ceremony site in a UTV, or to exit in one later. Add some sparklers overhead as you drive through and your guests will talk about it for years to come! The UTV is street legal with headlights, turn signals, and registered plates and tags. If you have plans for photographs at our Ridge Runner’s mountain view site, the UTV can be included in the pictures!
The First Look Switcharoo
This has been done twice at Honeysuckle Hills, and it’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. First, let me explain what a “First Look” is. A First look is a time set aside for a wedding couple to see each other for the first time in their wedding attire instead of during the ceremony. There are many benefits to doing this. The biggest advantage is that it will give you more time for creative pictures of the two of you. If crowds give you anxiety, the first look will alleviate that stress, too. When your fiancé sees you for the first time it’s exclusively for the two of you, providing some cherished, tender moments. There are so many beautiful places to have wedding photographs made at Honeysuckle Hills, it’s almost essential to do a First Look so that you’ll have time to fit everything in. The average time I spend taking pictures of my wedding couples is 45 minutes to an hour.
The “Switcharoo” is when a bride or groom decides to have someone else act in their place during the First Look. The other party is typically blindfolded or turns around so they can’t see their partner walking up behind them. That’s when the belly laughs happen for all who happen to be watching… one strange, hairy man hand later the blindfold gets ripped off, curse words fly, and no one is nervous any more. It completely turns the mood around and sets the tone for wedding day fun!
IMPORTANT ADVICE: Be sure your wedding day itinerary allows enough time for this wedding day prank. Otherwise you may end up sacrificing time other important images could be taken, or images could be forgotten if you become more rushed. Plan on the fake first look to take at least 20 minutes from start to finish.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these fun wedding day ideas! The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas of the Smoky Mountains are the best places to plan a destination wedding. I know I especially appreciate all the tourists who visit and the lasting friendships we make at the Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue. All of you are the reason I rise with a smile every morning!