HOW TO BOOK YOUR WEDDING
Hello from Regina! I’m so happy you’re choosing the Smoky Mountains for your wedding, and especially our family’s venue. Here’s a step by step guide on how to book your wedding at the Honeysuckle Hills venue in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area. It also explains what to expect after you book, and how our family team will assist with planning the wedding. Our venue specializes in all-inclusive weddings for couples who don’t want the hassle of doing everything themselves.
• Check availability of your wedding date BEFORE booking your lodging.
If you have your heart set on the Honeysuckle Hills venue specifically, booking your cabin first may put you in quite a predicament. Cabin fees are usually non-refundable, although most will allow you to change the dates. However, some high demand dates (like mid-September through Thanksgiving,) cause cabins to book up sometimes even faster than wedding venues. So, you might find yourselves stuck with a particular wedding date if you book the cabin first unless you’re willing to lose money you put down on the cabin rental. If you have no idea when to get married, I can help you choose the date. I even have a helpful blog article that gives insight into the weather, what’s in bloom, when the leaves turn color, and when special events are in town that cause high traffic. I’m just a phone call or email away… let’s find your perfect date together!
• We typically book weddings on Wednesdays through Saturdays.
We only do one wedding on any given day, and do our best to book no more than three each week. We’re closed on Sundays and Mondays. We typically close Thanksgiving Day and the weekdays leading up to it, along with the week of Christmas. We prefer to block off Tuesdays for cleaning and graphic design work to deliver wedding images, but if your preferred day happens to fall on a Tuesday and it’s a must-have for sentimental reasons I understand and most of the time an exception can be made. However, I’ll schedule your tour for earlier on wedding day since we’re closed the day before. Because of these scenarios we do not have an on-line calendar. We prefer personal human contact. The more we communicate, the better your over-all experience will be.
• Choose your all-inclusive wedding package.
We have packages for weddings either with or without a reception. If you’re unsure which is right for you, I’m happy to walk you through each offering until we find the package just right for you. We can even start with the smallest package that will meet your needs at the moment, and upgrade later. Upgrades are always permitted, but you can’t always take away services that are booked. The most important thing is to secure your date, and we can only hold your date tentatively for a short period of time. It is only 100% secure after signing a contract and making payment. Saturdays in peak wedding months are exclusively for weddings with receptions. My sincerest apologies we cannot book a smaller elopement on those days.
• Think about ceremony time.
If you’re not sure, I’m glad to help you choose based on the time of year, when the lighting is the best, and what time it gets dark. Because we only do one wedding each day, the ceremony time can be changed even as last minute as the morning of the wedding. Elopement style weddings reap the benefits of this most because we can change the time for the best weather conditions that day. (As a reminder, we do have covered and indoor back-ups for the ceremony in case it rains.) We can absolutely change the ceremony time for weddings with receptions, too, but sometimes it’s challenging to with larger guest counts. Sunset wedding ceremonies can be scheduled, but keep in mind the number one reason couples come here is for the many photo opportunities, and photographers must have daylight to capture images. Once the sun sets it’s dark, and no further scenic images can be captured.
• Consider using our photographer verses your own choice for packages with receptions.
Our elopement packages include our photography regardless, because they’re basically a photography session where you can also get married. However, our weddings with receptions are priced both with and without photography in case you’d like to use your own. I always love to see other artists at work, and we will treat them with the same love as we do you and your family. Your photographs are the most important thing on your wedding day.
• Official Contract and Payment Schedule…
I’ll gather a little information first, such as both your names, your mailing address, phone number and e-amil address. The contract will be sent by DocuSign and is loaded with details including the specifics of the package you booked, names and phone numbers for your vendors, and the first draft of your wedding day itinerary. You’ll have at least a week to look over the contract. After signing, I’ll send you a convenient on-line invoice for your first 1/3 payment. The next 1/3 will be due sixty days before your wedding, and the last 1/3 fourteen days before. If you’ve booked a wedding with reception, I will make any final adjustments to the last invoice if your guest count changed. The guest count is usually most accurate two weeks before your event.
• Carefully consider our refund policy before signing the contract and making payments.
Our wedding services are non-refundable and you will be making scheduled payments as described above for those services. If there is a legal shelter in place because of a pandemic, we will allow you to reschedule based on availability. We will allow you to reschedule for any reason one time based on availability. However, there are never any refunds. Event insurance is available for packages costing $7500 or more and is recommended. Life happens, and you never know you need insurance until you need it! Some great companies to consider are https://www.eventsured.com/ and https://www.theeventhelper.com/. (We do not endorse or stand by any particular insurance company, so feel free to do your own research as well.)
• After booking, I’m only a phone call, email, or text away.
I answer email once each day, even when we’re closed on Sundays and Mondays. Texts on Tuesdays through Saturdays are the quickest way to reach me. It’s always better to schedule a phone call, but if you miss me just leave a message. I try to return the call within 24 hours (unless it’s on a day we’re closed.) You’ll work with me from start to finish, and meet other team members on dates you tour the venue or on wedding day.
• I’ll give you a link to a handy, on-line guide you can add to the home screen of your phone.
This guide has directions, helpful vendors, lodging suggestions, how to get the marriage license, and much more. Feel free to share this guide with all of your wedding guests as well. I always enjoy helping you personally, but if it’s the middle of the night and you can’t sleep because you’re daydreaming about the wedding and realized you’d like someone to do your hair and make-up… ta da! Suggestions are right there in the guide.
• Always schedule an appointment to tour our venue.
We absolutely will show you around if you show up without one and there’s nothing going on. BUT… please, please PLEASE make the appointment. It is heartbreaking not only for you but also for us when you show up and we can’t take care of you because other guests are on property or if we’re out running errands. We’re not a commercial venue. We’re family-owned and operated.
Two weeks prior to your wedding day we’ll send a wedding day checklist to fill out. It will ask questions such as how many people are attending, who you’d like to walk you down the aisle, etc. After you submit the form we may reach out with a few questions of our own. We’ll go over the checklist during your tour or rehearsal the day before the wedding. Rest easy knowing that we’re here to guide you every step of the way.
• We work with a team of amazing wedding vendors for our all-inclusive packages with receptions.
Chef Tony will reach out to plan your delicious reception menu and cake. If you keep the credit for the bouquets, you’ll work with Kris at From the Heart Florist. She will help you choose the floral designs and will deliver on wedding day. Our DJ has a convenient, on-line planner for songs and announcements. You can be as detailed as you wish, or just tell him the songs you want to walk down the aisle to and the genre of music you prefer. We have friendly wedding officiants to choose from for the ceremony, both faith-based and non-religious. We can introduce you to some friendly bartenders if you’d like to have alcohol at your wedding. (Alcohol and bartending is never included in the package.) If you choose Regina as your wedding photographer she will help you choose locations to have images made and offer some creative ideas to tell your story. If you have your own photographer, she’ll reach out to them to welcome them to your team. Our staff will let everyone know what to do and when on wedding day, and that is worth its weight in gold all by itself.
• Be aware that 75% of the time, your guest count will go up.
You know your family and friends much better than I do, but I always like to share my fifteen years of experience seeing counts go up instead of down. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are tourist destinations with record-breaking numbers of visitors every single year. If you’d like to keep the wedding small and intimate, go ahead and prepare a response for those who pressure you for an invitation. Blame it on me if you have to, because I don’t mind taking the heat for you. Weddings with smaller guest counts are always less stressful and less expensive. A general rule of thumb is to invite only the people you’ve had some form of close contact with in the past three months (in person or long phone or email conversation.)
• It’s normal to feel like you ought to be doing more than you are.
Seriously… we try to have everything in place so that our couples don’t have to stress over it. We work with the best vendors in the southeast, and they know our venue inside and out. Everything here is set up and ready to go. You could literally walk in and get married with just your attire and the wedding rings. Feel free to bring things to personalize (guest books, pictures, or wedding favorts,) but you honestly don’t have to bring anything else at all.
• Remember… I’m just a phone call, email, or a text away.
Don’t ever feel like you’re bothering me. I’ve done this a million times, but you haven’t. There are no stupid questions! Aside from the days we’re closed on Sunday and Monday, I return missed phone calls within 24 hours. I answer email at least once each day even when we’re closed. I admit I do go to bed with the chickens (unless we have a late evening wedding,) but I get up with them, too. So if you have a question at midnight, go ahead and send it before you forget it. I’ll answer when I’ve awakened to the sounds of Smoky Mountain birdsong and we’ll be excited together about your wedding idea!
So there you go! It’s time to book your Smoky Mountain dream wedding at Honeysuckle Hills. There’s no better day than today to start planning, so let’s get started!