A-Z Smoky Mountain Wedding Vendor ChecklistMarch 10, 2020
Ideas for a good time at your wedding!April 28, 2021
Any day is a great day to get married in Gatlinburg, but if you’re wondering when the leaves change, what month has the most flowers in bloom, or what events cause the most traffic, this article is for you.
Couples choose a wedding date for a variety of reasons. Some want the anniversary of their first date, first kiss, or first, “I love you.” Some choose a grandparent’s anniversary or a numerical combination on the calendar for luck. I remember how popular the 7-7-7 date was on July 7th, 2007. Many others followed through 2012, and then the 10-10-20 date (10+10=20) drew a record number of couples to our mountains. It shocked me at the numbers of couples who refused all other open dates for their lucky number combination. Most chose to accept or risk a less satisfying wedding experience for the date rather than choose another for their venue of choice. So, if you’re a numbers person and no other date will do, be certain you plan at least a year and a half or more in advance to ensure you get the venue you want. Another option is to book a wedding officiant for a couples only ceremony on your preferred date, then celebrate with family and friends on another.
If the type of venue and geographical location is most important to you, this article will help you decide the best date to get married in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. We’re going to break it down month by month to allow you to see the changing seasons and notify you of any special events in our area that may cause extra heavy traffic (and higher rates for lodging.) Please keep in mind that the Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville areas all have different mountain elevations. This variant causes the seasons to arrive at different times. For example, if you’re hoping for the best fall leaf color it begins in early October at the highest elevation (Newfound Gap,) and works its way down. The leaves at the higher elevations will be completely gone by the time the valleys below peak with color. Be sure to ask your wedding venue where they are located according to elevation if leaf color or any other seasonal request is most important. Always remember that God ultimately decides when to paint with green or gold, but your venue’s advice can increase the odds for your desired circumstance.
The months can be classified as either seasonal or non-seasonal for weddings. The most popular wedding months in Pigeon Forge and Gatinburg, in order of popularity, are October, September, first week of November, April, May, and June. It should be shouted from the roof-tops to plan your fall wedding as far in advance as possible. Book your wedding venue BEFORE your lodging. There are more lodging choices than venue choices. It’s true we have hundreds of venues to choose from, but each has a unique offering. The selections include barn, cabin, National Park, wedding chapel, waterfall, mountain view, and even drive-through!
All photographs in this article are specific for the Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue in Pigeon Forge, which is at a medium “valley” elevation. To see more images categorized by the time of year, visit the Honeysuckle Hills Photography Viewing Site[
January is a non-seasonal month with cold temperatures averaging in the lower 50’s, but can dip into the 20’s. Chances of snow are pretty good, especially in the higher elevations. The potential for hazardous road conditions exist, so be sure to book lodging and venue insurance. There are no leaves on the trees, and no flowers blooming. Wedding photographers will take advantage of the framing bare tree limbs provide, and mountain views photograph beautifully year-round. Some river and waterfall locations are surrounded by evergreen trees such as hemlock, laurel, and rhododendron. It is dark by 5:30pm Eastern Standard time here in January. Off-season discounts are easy to find for both venues and lodging, with the exception of New-Year’s Eve and Day. Traffic is low, with the exception of New Year’s weekend. Wedding dates are easier to get, even last minute. The New Year’s holiday tends to book six months or less in advance
February is another non-seasonal month for the most part. Valentine’s weekend and President’s weekend can be quite busy. Chances of snow are the best you’ll get, especially mid-month. The potential for hazardous road conditions exist, so be sure to book lodging and venue insurance. Temperatures are still averaging in the lower 50’s, but can dip into the 20’s. There are still no leaves on the trees or flowers blooming. Again, some river and waterfall locations are surrounded by evergreens, and photographers enjoy the creeks, rivers, and views. It is dark by 6:00pm Eastern Standard time here in February. Off-season rates are easy to find for both venues and lodging, with exception to Valentine’s Day and President’s weekend. Traffic is low with exception to the events mentioned. Wedding dates are easier to get, even last minute. The holiday dates tend to book six months or less in advance.
March is the crazier than a woman on menopause month when it comes to weather. Quite literally, you may experience a day in the 80’s followed by a day of snow, especially during the first three weeks of March. Temperatures average in the lower 60’s. It is dark by 6:30pm Eastern Standard time prior to the time change, and 7:30pm after. This month is considered the beginning of wedding season, although most couples book their wedding last minute. Income tax refunds hit around this time, causing a rush of last-minute wedding bookings. Any available wedding date for other seasonal months are snagged as well, and by the end of March most venues in our area become 80-100% booked for the current year. By the middle of March we see fresh green leaves on willow trees along with daffodils, forsythia bushes, and small crocus blooming. Traffic is medium, and businesses such as zip lines, UTV rentals, and racetracks see an increase in activity. Spring break can last from mid-March to mid-April, as different school districts choose different breaks. Spring break is typically the week prior to and following Easter Sunday.
April means wedding season is now in full swing! It isn’t dark until close to 8:00pm Eastern Standard time. The first two weeks of April average temperatures in the lower 60’s to mid 70’s with night-time temperatures much lower. Snowfall is rare but possible, especially in the higher elevations. It is likely to melt on the same day it falls in the lower elevations. Later in the month some days will see temperatures in the lower 80’s. This tends to be a rainy month, so keep track of the weather and book a venue with a back-up rain plan. Dogwoods and redbuds typically bloom around the middle of April, also known as the Smoky Mountain Wildflower Pilgrimage. You’ll see trilliums, geraniums, bloodroot and more in the national park and at venues within and bordering it. The grass is growing, and leaves steadily emerge from all trees. Venues are able to supplement their landscapes with annual plants from nurseries. Ferns and hostas emerge and roses, azaleas, primroses, and irises are blooming by the end of the month at Honeysuckle Hills. Traffic is medium. Beware of the annual car show this month! It is typically the third weekend of April, but is always listed in the Pigeon Forge Calendar of Events. Traffic during this car show is insane, and lodging is more expensive and harder to find. The antique cars will make the men in your wedding very happy, but you’ll need to look up back roads on travel apps to keep other guests from wringing your neck. Book your April weekend wedding at least nine months to a year in advance. Weekdays are easier to find last minute.
The first two weeks of May are the second most popular wedding date choices next to October. Temperatures average steadily in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s, and it is not dark until about 8:30pm Eastern Standard time. Trees are fully leafed, grass is thick and green, and many more flowers emerge. Honeysuckle Hills has roses, honeysuckle, yellow water iris, purple rhododendron, and purple wisteria in bloom this month. The yellow buttercups in the horse field is the most requested photography site. Pampas grasses are fuller and taller. Temperatures average in the lower to upper 80’s by the end of May. Traffic in town is medium on weekdays and higher on weekends as schools go on summer break. Book your May weekend wedding at least a year in advance. Weekdays are easier to find last minute.
June is the month for romance, cook-outs, hiking and weddings! School is out, and this is prime vacation time. You can expect a 90% rsvp rate from your wedding invitations, as most will plan a Pigeon Forge vacation with your wedding. It’s not pitch dark until 9:00pm Eastern Standard time. Temperatures average in the upper 80’s to lower 90’s with higher humidity. An evening ceremony is recommended at 5pm or later. Afternoon thunderstorms become more common but pass quickly. Goosenecks, zinnias, cosmos, hibiscus and day lilies start blooming at Honeysuckle Hills. Annual potted flowers highlight areas like our water wheel. Mountain Laurel blooms in the National Park. Traffic in our area is high, especially on weekends. Book your June weekend wedding at least nine months to a year in advance. Weekdays are easier to find last minute.
Hot and humid is the best way to describe the months of July and August. It’s much, much easier to book a last minute wedding during these months, with the exception of July 4th Independence holiday weekend. Sundresses are the common wedding attire. Please be kind to the men in your wedding party and refrain from making them wear hot layered tuxes and suits. Temperatures average in the mid 90’s with high humidity, making afternoon thunderstorms more common. Otherwise it is typically a drier month. It’s still not dark until 9:00pm Eastern Standard time. Evening wedding ceremonies are best. Honeysuckle Hills starts to flourish with brightly colored flowers. You’ll find black-eyed susans, sunflowers, rose of sharon, day lilies, zinnias, and cosmos. These beauties attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. Book your July weekend wedding six to nine months in advance. Weekdays are easy to find last minute. Traffic is high throughout this month because school is still out for summer break.
Again, hot and humid describes July and August in the Smoky Mountains, with temperatures averaging in the mid to upper 90’s with high humidity. Afternoon thunderstorms are still common. It will be dark by about 8:30pm Eastern Standard time. Zinnias, cosmos, crepe myrtle and more continue to bloom at Honeysuckle Hills and the forested areas are deep emerald green. The waterfall location called Honeysuckle Falls is approximately five to ten degrees cooler than town, as are most National Park locations. Ceremonies are best for 5pm or later. Shade steadily falls the rest of the evening offering more pleasant conditions to dance and celebrate. The creek that runs through the Honeysuckle Hills property is popular for barefooted children and adults alike. The best part of August is the annual Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion! Many couples spend this entire week in town to socialize with other Jeep lovers and book weekday adventure weddings at our Ridge Runner’s ceremony spot. Traffic in town is medium, with higher traffic during Jeep Invasion. Jeep people are very friendly and this auto show is the absolute best for a family atmosphere.
September offers cooler temperatures by the middle of the month. The first half of September can still see temperatures in the upper 80’s, but with a little less humidity. From mid to late September, the upper 70’s and lower 80’s are more common with decreasing humidity levels. (However, the rare Indian Summer temperatures of 90 degrees can happen.) Darkness falls by 7:00pm Eastern Standard time by the end of the month. The leaves do not begin their change in color yet, but this begins the busiest wedding season time. BE SURE to book your September weekend or weekday wedding at least a year to a year and a half in advance. The best weekend is the last one of the month. The first weekend is Labor Day, followed by annual car shows the next two weekends. The second two weekends of September are the most insane, heaviest traffic times. Lodging costs more and his more difficult to find. BE SURE to book lodging as close to your wedding venue as possible during those car show weekends. Look for back roads, as the main highway through town sees up to three hour traffic delays. The last weekend of the month is better weather and less traffic. We locals call it the “calm before the storm.” Speaking of storms, September is typically a drier month unless a Gulf Coast hurricane blows north, bringing heavy rain to the mountains. This is rare, but be sure to book a venue with a good back-up rain plan. The Honeysuckle Hills venue starts to see many fall wildflowers start blooming such as goldenrod and asters. The pink windflowers are lovely by the willow tree!
Book your October Smoky Mountain wedding at least a year and a half to two years in advance for either weekend or weekday. Traffic is high. This is the single busiest month for weddings in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, with the last two weeks of October booking the fastest. Honeysuckle Hills starts seeing leaf color from mid October through first week of November because it is at lower elevation than Gatlinburg. The peak leaf color varies from year to year, with your best chances the third week of October. The first half of October still boasts flowers such as zinnia and asters, and most venues supplement with potted mums. Many venues decorate for fall with pumpkins, gourds, and hay bales. It is dark by 6:30pm Eastern Standard time this month, earlier by Halloween. Speaking of Halloween, this is actually a popular date for weddings. If you have a gothic, festive, or Celtic theme be sure to book your Halloween wedding date well in advance. Temperatures average in the upper 70’s with low humidity the first half the month, and the lower 60’s toward the end. October is typically a drier weather month. Night-time temperatures can dip into the 30’s, which is necessary to induce leaf color changes. Fire pits are common this month and lots of fun!
November starts to see much cooler temperatures, averaging in the mid 50’s to lower 60’s. Snow can potentially fall as early as the first week of November, so be prepared. As a Smoky Mountain native, I’ve seen the leaves maintain beautiful color all the way through Thanksgiving, and I’ve seen them fall quickly during the first week after a hard frost of 17 degrees the night before. The weather is unpredictable this month, so if you still want beautiful leaf color, book your wedding no later than the first week of November. Photographers can absolutely find leaves hanging on in spotty locations for your photographs through the end of the month. (There’s just not a blanket of gold like the last two weeks of October.) No flowers are in bloom, but Honeysuckle Hills maintains their hanging ferns and potted mums as long as possible. Off-season begins after Thanksgiving. Traffic remains high. It is dark by 5:30pm Eastern Standard time after the time change. Book the first week of November a year and a half to two years in advance. Book all other November wedding dates six to nine months in advance.
December begins the off-season for weddings, with the exception of the week of Christmas and the week leading to New Year’s. You will start to see off season discounts and booking last minute is very easy. There are few leaves left on the trees, and no flowers in bloom. Waterfalls typically have evergreen forest growth surrounding them, so it’s still a great time of year for an outdoor wedding adventure. Bring a coat for in between photography location changes and you’ll be fine. Temperatures average in the upper 50’s, but can dip into the 30’s. Snow is possible, but the chances are not as high as in January and February. Honeysuckle Hills closes the week leading to Christmas through Christmas Day. Many other wedding venues do the same, with the exception of the traditional wedding chapels. It is dark by 5:30pm Eastern Standard time. This is a romantic holiday month for last minute elopements and great rates.
Questions about how to book a wedding in the mountains of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg? Regina would love to answer your questions. Simply e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 865-368-5569.
There’s honestly no better place to get married than the Smoky Mountains!