How a Winter Wedding in the Smoky Mountains Warms the HeartNovember 18, 2019
How to Choose Your Wedding Date in the Smoky MountainsFebruary 25, 2021
Hello from Regina! I’ve lived in these beautiful Smoky Mountains literally all of my life, and literally half of my 50 years have been spent in the wedding industry. Let’s start planning your beautiful wedding in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge!
While this wedding planner is written specifically for couples getting married at my family’s Honeysuckle Hills venue, all couples getting married in the East Tennessee Smoky Mountains can benefit. This article is packed with vendor referrals you’ll need for a destination wedding here.
Vendors are listed alphabetically by subject. In order of importance, our humble opinion is to book your venue first, followed by your photographer, lodging, caterer, and other services. The #1 mistake couples make is booking their lodging first, restricting them to a specific wedding date because the deposits are non-refundable.
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, email Regina any time.
All-Inclusive Wedding Packages with Receptions
Honeysuckle Hills has pleased guests for fifteen years and counting. My family and I have servants’ hearts and welcome all couples to our farm-style venue with horses, creeks, and more beautiful locations for photography than any other venue. There’s plenty of room for guests to spread out and enjoy themselves, plenty of parking and a rustic chic barn atmosphere with flower gardens.
Celebrate responsibly. We love Jake and his beautiful wife, Jordan, who own Single Barrel Events. They have packages for simply serving the alcohol you bring with you, or an all-inclusive package where they pick up the booze for you. Their entire staff is friendly, serving with a smile. Our insurance company requires you to hire a licensed, insured bartender for any amount of alcohol on property.
Ask Jordan to include some Sugarlands Moonshine for your mountain wedding reception! They even have cute little tasting jars you can buy for wedding favors.
The Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue books nine months to a year in advance for in-season weekends (April, May, June, September, October, and November). If you’re planning a fall wedding in the Smoky Mountains, be sure to book at least a year and a half in advance for October weekends. October typically reaches 100% capacity by February of the current year for both weekdays and weekends. July and August book a few months in advance because of the summer heat and humidity. December through March is considered off-season with your best chance for last-minute openings and discounts.
Our venue only books one wedding on any given day and no more than four weddings on any given week.
While rare, cancellations do sometimes happen. We recommend checking availability of your date regardless. You just might get lucky!
See our article on 2023 wedding dates here. The Smoky Mountains are one of the top destination wedding sites in the world, growing in popularity more every day.
Bands / Live Music
I grew up listening to the fiddle and the banjo on the back porch of many of my friends’ homes. One of those very bands is called the Rich Mountain Celtic Band.
David Myhr – 865-604-0864
Another great band we’ve seen at our venue is Jennifer McClain and the Banjo Cats. They’re a truly professional band you’ll need to schedule in advance since they’re highly sought after. They’ll provide a foot-stomping good time for your guests!
If you’d like to walk down the aisle to a melodic violin, consider Mark Lewis. He will play for both elopements as well as larger weddings with receptions. If you enjoy his music, you can purchase digital downloads on his website, too! I met Mark as a teenager at one of the original music theaters called The Smoky Mountain Jubilee. My favorite joke of Mark’s is “how do you tell the difference between a violin and a fiddle? One has strings, and the other has strangs.” Mark and I have been friends for over thirty years.
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have endless possibilities when it comes to cabin rental. There is literally a cabin for every budget and taste.
Little Mountain Hideaway Cabin – If you’re looking for wilderness seclusion with only the sounds of nature, “Little Mountain Hideaway” may be just right for you! It’s one of the few cabins left in our area that is literally smack in the middle of the woods with no visible neighbors. There’s a creek right across from the spacious front porch, and you’ll never want to leave. It’s the perfect honeymoon cabin for lovers who want their privacy, or for a small family that wants to connect with nature instead of commercialism. Only three miles away, it’s convenient for your Honeysuckle Hills wedding, too!
Scenic Solitude – overlooks the Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue. You’ll have a view of the mountain ridge, our little red barn and watch the horses graze. We don’t know the owners, but many of our couples have stayed here and enjoyed it. The driveway is very steep, so if you have a fear of heights this may not be the cabin for you, especially in the winter.
Caney Creek Cabin Rentals – has a selection of one, two, and three-bedroom cabins within five minutes of our venue. They are owned by Billy and Shirley, long-time friends of our family. My late father used to bear hunt with Billy and can tell you plenty of stories! Their little cabin community has a pond to fish in, and a cute little picnic gazebo.
Rolling in the Hay – is a cabin I just can’t resist sharing! It’s less than five minutes from the venue and looks like a cute little red barn. It’s perfect for a honeymoon cabin and for couples on a budget. It’s nothing fancy, but cute as a bug!
Dollywood Cabins – are only fifteen minutes from our venue and Dolly sure knows how to take care of her guests! You’ll find cabins with multiple bedrooms here, and can even add tickets to Dollywood as part of the package!
Cakes (Wedding Cakes)
Amber at Smoky Mountain Cakes will help you select your cake from one of their stylish designs on their website, or you can send a picture you’ve seen on Pinterest. 99% of the time they can duplicate any buttercream design you send them. Bakery and Desserts by Gracie is a wholesale cake vendor who provides the wedding cakes for our Reception Classic package.
First Fruits Catering will design and make your wedding cake from scratch if you’ve booked one of our all-inclusive wedding packages that includes his delicious reception menu.
Our caterer of choice is First Fruits Catering. Chef Tony received the nickname “The Better than Paula Dean Chef” a few years ago when we overheard a guest say, “This is better than what we ate at the Paul Dean restaurant last night!*” Reach out and say hello any time to Chef Tony! He has a personality of gold and a staff who truly cares about your dining experience. He also travels anywhere in the Pigeon Forge, Gatinburg, Sevierville, and Knoxville area. Be sure to book his services in advance.
* – Paula Dean’s, by the way, is an exceptional place to dine while you’re in town.
Honeysuckle Hills has several enticing areas for your wedding ceremony. It is often difficult for our couples to decide which beautiful area to use, but rest assured you can have photographs made at the other sites even if you don’t get married there. We only host one wedding on any given day, so you won’t be sharing your time with anyone else. Our entire property is exclusively yours during the activity time you reserve with us.
Our willow tree is everyone’s favorite place to get married by our creek, but the Granite Stone Arch is a close second!
Honeysuckle Hills Ceremony Sites
Coordinator (Wedding Coordinator)
One of the most unique things about booking a wedding at Honeysuckle Hills, is the fact you’ll work with me and my assistant, Abi, from start to finish. I was born and raised in the Smoky Mountains and Abi is what we call our sweet little “northern transplant”. You’ll make your first point of contact with me (Regina). We’ll work together from start to finish. When you book your wedding, you’ll receive a handy link to an online guide with directions, how to get your marriage license, a helpful vendor list, and more. You’ll be able to email, text, or call me any time you have a concern and I return email and text within 24 hours (except for Sundays and Mondays).
To begin planning your dream wedding, email Regina.
Abi and I will schedule all your vendors for the package you choose and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Abi gives tours and helps me photograph your wedding if you’ve chosen a package with our photography. She’ll also contact you a few weeks prior to the wedding to fill out your wedding day checklist.
If you’ve booked a larger wedding with reception, you’ll also get to meet one of Lindsay’s helpful coordinators from Custom Love Gifts and Prints. Abi, myself and one of Lindsay’s girls will work as a team to ensure your day runs smoothly. Lindsay can also help with things like invitations, wedding favors and more. If Honeysuckle Hills was booked on your wedding day, of choice, Lindsay can assist you with finding an alternative venue.
Hands down, Chris with J3 Entertainment is the best DJ service in the Southeast. Chris and his team are familiar with our venue inside and out having been here so many times in the past.
DJ Chris creates a handy, online wedding planner specifically for each Honeysuckle Hills couple. Be sure you have yours filled out at least a week prior to your wedding date. You can be as specific as you like, or as vague as you like. Rest assured your DJ will have everything ready for your wedding as long as you fill out your planner.
Dogs / Pet Friendly Weddings & Accommodations
Honeysuckle Hills is a pet-friendly wedding venue. Please feel free to bring your fur babies! They are welcome both inside and outside. Feel free to bring along a pet carrier or crate if your baby needs some quiet time upstairs. There’s plenty of room in either the chapel or the bridal suite for crates.
For a list of pet friendly accommodations, restaurants and more in Pigeon Forge we highly recommend searching on Bring Fido. Their site has a list of pet-friendly businesses all over the United States!
Elopement Packages / Couples Only Weddings
Honeysuckle Hills specializes in elopements, especially if photography is the most important thing to you. Each elopement package is based on activity time. Some couples want photographs in a just a few places, while others spend a few hours with Regina and Sierra. There are literally more places for photography at this venue than any other, and no way possible to use all the possibilities in a single day. Whether it’s just the two of you, or if you have family and friends, Honeysuckle Hills has an all-inclusive elopement package for you. Most couples will go out to dinner at a local restaurant afterward, however, Honeysuckle Hills also has all-inclusive wedding packages with receptions.
From the Heart Florist has pleased our brides for well over a decade. Their website is pretty generic, so I recommend you call them directly at 865-774-5588.
This is the florist we use for our all-inclusive wedding packages. We’ll set up an account for you here for the floral credit included in your package. Kris or one of her talented staff will help you choose flower types and colors for your bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. If you spend more than the allotted amount, they can bill you for any difference. This is rare, and usually only occurs for weddings with a larger than normal wedding party.
You will not have to spend your floral credit for decorations at Honeysuckle Hills. Our venue is already decorated at each ceremony site with a base of greenery and white flowers. We will add silk flowers to match your wedding colors as closely as possible. While we don’t guarantee a specific flower type or shade of color, we get as close as we can. The same is true for reception centerpieces.
Hair & Make-up
Here’s our list of favorite stylists who travel to the Honeysuckle Hills venue (and beyond).
Summer has a reputation with hair and make-up for the entertainers in our area. She is incredibly sweet and professional and we always enjoy seeing her at our venue.
She prefers that you reach out to her at her Summer Lynn Beauty Facebook Page.
Fringe Salon has traveling stylists with more traditional styles. We always enjoy anyone they send from their local salon!
Dolly’s Dream More Resort is only fifteen minutes from our venue and Dolly always does things first class! The resort has a restaurant, spa and more. It’s perfect for families who want to combine a trip to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country for the kids! They do wedding room blocks, so call 1-800-365-5996 and ask for the wedding rate.
Willow Brook Lodge is centrally located in Pigeon Forge close to all the restaurants and attractions. Be sure to ask Miss Donna about wedding room blocks. She attends church with Regina and has managed Willow Brook for many, many years. She is so sweet that our celebrity bride chose this hotel for all her family in June of 2018.
Best Western Toni Inn is on the quiet end of Pigeon Forge, and only ten minutes from Honeysuckle Hills. It’s also only ten minutes from Gatlinburg in case you want to explore both towns. This hotel is an excellent choice if you’re getting married on one of the car show weekends (third weekend in April and the second and third weekends of September).
Our Ridge Runner’s Mountain View site is every Jeep owner’s choice for their wedding ceremony in the Smoky Mountains. There are no roads to this nature preserve area, but we allow Jeeps to drive up to the top any time. The mountain view is stunning, adding to an adventure you’ll never forget!
Pigeon Forge hosts the famous Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion every year in August!
Cades Cove is a popular eleven mile loop in the Smoky Mountains and perfect for a topless Jeep drive. The Great Smoky Mountains in general just can’t be beat when you have a need to feed your Jeepsy adventurous soul!
You’ll need to get a Tennessee marriage license to get married in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. If you already live in the state of Tennessee, it may be easier to get the license in your own county. Our officiant will mail the license back to your county courthouse. If you live out of state, the link below will help you find out where you need to go and how much the license will cost. If you obtain your license in Sevier County, our legally ordained officiant will return the license to the courthouse. The courthouse will mail your marriage certificate to you in a few short weeks.
It’s super easy to get the license here, and there is no waiting period to use the license.
Ministers / Officiants
Honeysuckle Hills has two different officiants who are both legally ordained to perform your wedding ceremony. One is Christian, faith-based, and the other is open to civil ceremonies as well as Christian. We also have two others on call for special requests or when our two main officiants are unavailable.
Pastor Lloyd performs wedding ceremonies exclusively at Honeysuckle Hills, and does not travel off-site. He is Regina’s brother-in-law, a retired Veteran, and performs only Christian, faith-based ceremonies. Watch his video to find out of he’s the perfect officiant for your wedding here. As long as he is available on the day of your wedding, we’re happy to request him especially for you.
Pastor Tommy Orange is a long-time favorite in our area. Pastor Tommy travels all over the mountains with his smiles and infectious personality. He loves his calling in life to marry couples in the Smoky Mountains, and it shows! Be sure to book him early, because his demand is so great that we can’t always guarantee him. Pastor Tommy will marry all couples, both faith-based or civil ceremonies.
Pastor Jody is our mountain-man, perfect for couples who want an authentic Smoky Mountain experience. He is a loving person, who will do both faith-based or civil ceremonies.
Pretty much take your pick… Like everywhere else, Pigeon Forge is full of walk-in nail salons and they are all pretty much the same in my humble opinion. I can’t say one is any better than another, honestly.
We do, however, prefer Smoky Mountain Salon and Spa with local nail technicians and the friendliest staff around.
The Honeysuckle Hills venue has its own photographer, Regina, often assisted by the energetic Abi. Regina has twenty years of experience with a Masters designation from PPA, along with Fuji Masterpiece awards and inclusion in three different PPA loan collections (one was on the cover). Sierra has just started working toward her Masters, but has vision and talent that is steadily paving her way.
If you already love what you see on our Honeysuckle Hills Photography Gallery and social media pages, all of it was created by Regina unless specifically indicated. Their photography is the number one reason couples choose Honeysuckle Hills.
If Honeysuckle Hills is already booked or if you simply want to explore a few alternatives, here are some of our favorites. Regina and Abi do not travel off-site to other venues. You are always welcome to use the photographer of your choice for any all-inclusive wedding with reception.
Don Fields Photography has decades of experience and is highly recommended for videography as well. Don and Melissa photographed Regina’s wedding and have been both friends and colleagues for decades. Don has a studio located in the Governor’s Crossing shopping center just in case you’d like a traditional family portrait while you’re in town. He also travels onsite to your cabin or other location for family reunions and more.
Kelly Marquez Photography travels to Pigeon Forge, TN, all the way from Destin, Florida. If you’re a bride in Florida who wants an established relationship with your wedding photographer before traveling to Tennessee, we highly recommend her. She is a well-known destination wedding photographer who travels just about anywhere.
The Peddler is hands-down the best honeymoon restaurant in Gatlinburg. Our elopement couples especially love this fine dining experience on the Little Pigeon River. Its romantic atmosphere can’t be matched and the food is delicious. Plan on spending a little extra money at this restaurant, but it’s totally worth it. They do not accept reservations, but you can call ahead. Ask Regina or Sierra to call ahead for you.
The Red Oak Bistro is a more private fine dining experience in Gatlinburg. We learned about this restaurant by word of mouth referrals from our couples. They do take reservations and you will be exceedingly pleased here.
The Local Goat has such a reputation for good food that Regina and Sierra have yet to eat there. Every time they try, they just can’t get in! So, be sure to make a reservation for your family ahead of time. This is a great place for couples that elope with their families, but prefer to go out to dinner after the ceremony and photography.
The Cherokee Grill is best enjoyed at night because of its pretty gas lanterns and candles that illuminate the restaurant. They don’t take reservations, but Regina or Sierra will be happy to help you do call-ahead seating.
Mama’s Farmhouse is for all you country folks with hearty eaters in your family! No one will leave hungry here…
If you prefer to go to a storefront salon, Smoky Mountain Salon and Spa is our favorite, and only ten minutes from our venue. They do not have stylists who travel offsite, but their location is easy to get to and especially nice in the summer months when you’d like ice-cold air conditioning while you’re having make-up applied. Schedule your services there to be completed at least two hours before your ceremony starts. This way you’ll have plenty of time to get dressed without the stress of a time crunch. It will also give you a little wiggle room in case services run behind a little.
Don Fields Photography is our videographer of choice. He has done video for many weddings at Honeysuckle Hills since the day we opened our doors. Don and his wife, Melissa, will record the entire ceremony, plus do interviews to mix into a romantic, movie-style video you’ll watch on every anniversary!
Bob Clarke has also done video at our venue for several years. Bob’s services are especially helpful for a bride on a budget who simply wants the ceremony recorded for family back home who aren’t able to attend the wedding. Bob also provides full-coverage video, so be sure to ask about all his offerings.
Wedding Venues If Honeysuckle Hills Is Not Available
First, try not to stress. We truly wish we could take care of everyone, but we know that’s not possible. If we’re already booked, here’s a list of our favorite alternatives:
Chapel in the Hollow is by far the best venue for elopements when Honeysuckle Hills can’t take care of you. The #1 reason couples choose Honeysuckle is for the creative images, and likewise for Chapel in the Hollow. Chastidyi overflows with ideas and talent and you’ll love her intimate woodland venue.
Mountain Mist Farms is not far from our beloved Honeysuckle Hills and has an incredible view of mountain ridges and a vineyard. Lindsay, who provides outside coordinators to assist Regina and Sierra, oversees this venue that accommodates up to 100 guests.
The Magnolia is only five minutes away from Honeysuckle Hills and can accommodate 75 guests. The mountain view here is unmatched. Please understand the need to shuttle guests to the top because of the steep road is kind of a required thing in order to get that amazing view. This venue is stunningly upscale and does cost more than our venue. However, if a mountain view ceremony is the most important thing to you, it’s worth the money and the little sacrifices to get to the top. Lindsay, our outside coordinator, also takes care of this lovely venue so you’ll be in excellent hands.