Ideas for a good time at your wedding!April 28, 2021
Top Wedding Dates for 2023 in the SmokiesOctober 13, 2021
The Beauty of an All-Inclusive Wedding in Gatlinburg, TN
Planning a wedding with a reception in the mountains of East Tennessee? An all-inclusive wedding venue that handles all the details for you is the best way to book a destination wedding in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Who wants to travel hundreds of miles from home and work like a dog setting up a wedding? And who wants worry about who’s coordinating, playing the music, if there’s enough seating, parking, or where to get the food? The entire venue at Honeysuckle Hills is set up, decorated, and ready to go. You could literally walk in and enjoy a good party without bringing a single thing from home.
Honeysuckle Hills is family owned and has been hosting all-inclusive wedding packages for fifteen years. If you’re looking for a venue that is more personal and service oriented, I’d love nothing more than to take care of all the details so you can relax and enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. I’ve worked with the same trusted vendors for over a decade, so you can also rest assured the services included in your package will be high quality.
After deciding all-inclusive is the best choice for your Smoky Mountain wedding, the first thing you should do is check the availability of your venue. So many brides make the mistake of booking lodging first, only to discover we’re already booked for their preferred date. There are more cabin style and DIY wedding venues in the Smokies than ones who provide full service, so you’ll be able to find a wedding venue, although it may not be everything you’d hoped for. All wedding venues have a unique way of caring for their guests and a special something that they’re well known for. Our Honeysuckle Hills venue only allows one wedding on any given day, and a maximum of four each week. We’re also the only venue with horses that can “pose” for your wedding photographs, and we have more gorgeous locations for photographs than any other place you’ll find. Southern hospitality comes natural to us, having been raised at mountain dinner tables where neighbors stopped in without invitation often (some venues give you a code to the door and you may never even know who runs the place). Lodging is abundant in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, so the chances of having nowhere to sleep are much lower than the chance you’ll miss out on the venue you have your heart set on. Book your venue before the lodging.
The largest draw to our Honeysuckle Hills venue is the wedding photography. But even if you prefer using your own photographer, Honeysuckle Hills was created and landscaped as a photographer’s paradise! I know how personal this decision is to you, so I created three different photography packages to choose from for your wedding with reception. One is a simple approach for images of the couple only at a designated time in three different locations on our breathtaking grounds. The second includes photographs of all the “main events.” The third is the all-encompassing, photograph everything, albums included, two photographer, have it all package. I use off-camera lighting, creative posing, and artistic touches in the final delivery. All the images you see on our website and social media were created by me unless otherwise indicated. Whoever you choose to create your wedding photos, be sure to give them plenty of time at our Honeysuckle Hills venue. There are literally more locations that can be used in a single day. The options include mountain views, creeks, waterfalls, an enchanted forest that will remind you of a hobbit shire, a vintage truck, hitching post, chandelier & barn walls… the list goes on.
One of the biggest advantages of using an all-inclusive venue for your wedding ceremony is having seating and décor at the ceremony site already in place. An even bigger advantage is having a back-up ceremony site ready to go at a moment’s notice in the event of bad weather. The Smoky Mountains are known for pop-up thunderstorms in the summer and rather unpredictable weather period in all months. If you’re unsure what time of year is best for your Gatlinburg wedding, read our article about how to choose your wedding date. Honeysuckle Hills has an indoor chapel that seats up to 50 people with plenty of air conditioning for summer months and heat in the winter (we updated our heating and cooling system in 2021 and it’s more efficient and eco-friendly, too!) We have a covered pavilion that will seat 75 people, providing shade and overhead fans. Both locations are easy to use at the drop of a hat, especially with our staff who is ready a moment’s notice to change direction.
Don’t forget that even if you aren’t able to have your wedding at your preferred location, you can always have photographs there when the rain passes. The outdoor ceremony sites include a white pergola accessed by an arched bridge, a tall weeping willow with fairy lights, lanterns and a granite stone arch near a seasonal wildflower garden. We keep silk flowers in the most requested colors and will add the ones that match your theme closest to your ceremony location and your reception centerpieces.
Parking should always be a consideration for your venue, especially if you have a guest count of 50 or more. There is ample parking on flat ground right next to the entrance at Honeysuckle Hills. The Smoky Mountains are full of twisting, winding, steep roads because of the hilly terrain. This means that parking is not always at a premium at most locations, so it’s a good idea to ask any venue or cabin rental company how many spaces their parking area has.
The #1 advantage of the Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue is the coordinating. You’ll speak with me from start to finish, and I’ll be there during the majority of your wedding day to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. It’s important to me to know who you are and what brought the two of you together. I enjoy scheduling all the vendors included in your package like First Fruits Catering, From the Heart Florist, and J3 Entertainment. If you need other services like a bartender, photo booth or butterfly release I know just who to call on. My crew will love you just as much as I do. I’m often assisted on wedding day by my daughter-in-law, Sierra, or another full-time staff member like the spunky, smiling Abi. Having a staff who knows the venue inside and out is a huge blessing. At a recent wedding, Lindsay with Custom Love saved the day by providing a decorative box for the bride to hold her phone during the ceremony and read her vows. She had forgotten the decorative vow books at her cabin and didn’t realize it until it was time to walk down the aisle. Later that evening, my assistant, Abi, showed everyone how to line dance, which kept the mood festive during a summer rain shower. We’re always looking for ways to make sure everyone is having a good time.
Music for your wedding package at Honeysuckle Hills is taken care of by Chris Neal with J3 Entertainment. It’s important to me that our vendors love her couples as much as we do, so when a company I’ve used for over a decade retired, I had to go on a hunt for the perfect replacement. Chris was hired by a bride in 2020 who insisted on using him because of their personal affiliation. I knew within an hour of his first wedding he was the one and I’ve never regretted adding him to our team. He arrives on time every time, dresses professionally, wires the officiant with a microphone, and has a voice that keeps everyone excited about what’s next. The staff he sends when he’s unavailable is just as friendly, so rest assured your guests will be entertained. A good DJ is honestly the key to a successful event because their announcements and musical flow keep everything organized. They keep the mood high, and you don’t have to worry about wi-fi failing because they come prepared with music already on their hard drives.
The reception menu and wedding cake is of the upmost importance. I’ve used First Fruits Catering for well over a decade and he’s one of the first vendors you’ll talk to after booking with us. He has several scrumptious menus to browse, but don’t let this overwhelm you. Everyone’s favorite here is his rosemary beef roast and chicken marsala along with his mouth-watering cheesecakes. Rest assured he’ll pull together a meal that all your guests will love! There are so many choices, we recommend that you write down the items you notice on his menus that strike your fancy the most. After sharing your choices with Tony, he can pull it all together and suggest a menu no one will forget. Many couples send a picture of their preferred wedding cake design and Chef Tony can duplicate it or recommend more suitable alternatives. We’ve seen a recent trend of trading the wedding cake for specialty desserts, cheesecakes, or cupcakes, so don’t be afraid to ask for something “out of the box.” The majority of Tony’s recipes come from scratch, and he even grows his own herbs for in-season weddings. He takes a personal approach with you when planning the meal, so many of our couples keep in touch with him through the years. Some have even asked if he has a restaurant!
The bridal bouquet is a tradition that will always be around, so our wedding packages include a credit at a local florist shop called From the Heart Flowers and Gifts. Kris has run the shop personally for well over two decades in a cute little white farmhouse only 20 minutes from the Honeysuckle Hills venue. Their website is a bit generic, so don’t let that discourage you. Kris’ specialty is speaking with you personally by phone, and following up with emails and photographs. Each of our wedding packages includes a specific flower credit. For example, if your package indicates a $350 credit, Regina sets up an account for you for $350 to spend with Kris. You’ll then “go shopping” with her for your bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. Kris will have everything delivered on wedding day, and we’ll make sure everyone has their flowers for the ceremony, including pinning on the boutonnieres. If you prefer to bring your own bouquets, no problem! I can discount the flower credit from the total package price.
Is alcohol an important addition to your celebration? If it is, our favorite bartender is Nick with Vital Event Services. He’s that hometown, smile-all-day-long, knows-your-drink-choices kind of bartender. He’s not a huge corporate chain and his heart is in his work. Nick will be able to simply be there to satisfy the Tennessee laws for alcohol consumption at an event, or he can put an entire package together and bring the liquor, glassware and ice. We don’t include the bar in the all-inclusive package because some people choose to leave off the libations. But if you know your crew appreciates some Smoky Mountain moonshine or a good stiff whiskey Nick will make y’all happier than Tickle on the Moonshiner’s show. We permit the bar to open immediately following the ceremony. Otherwise people tend to get a little too tipsy a little too quickly. This makes it a lot harder for us to round everyone up and pay attention to what’s next, but the worst thing is the way it makes people look in photographs. For some reason drunk people just don’t smile the same way as sober people.
Even though you don’t have to bring a thing to an all-inclusive venue like ours, a lot of couples do like to have a few items to personalize their experience here. We’ll put out any decoration that can be hand lifted from a box. Engagement pictures, photos of lost loved ones for a memorial table and wedding favors are very common additions here. Before your night is over, we’ll have it all packed up and ready to load into your car (seriously, we don’t want you to lift a finger here!) If you find yourself wanting to add too many more things, we urge you to take a deep breath and repeat the phrase, “keep it simple.” No one will remember the wedding favor trinkets or the over-the-top additions, they will remember the social interactions, the love, and the peace and quiet of a country atmosphere. And you won’t be worn out or make your family feel overworked!
One of the best features of the Honeysuckle Hills’ all-inclusive venue is the spacious yard area and the flower gardens. A creek runs through the entire property and there are songbirds galore. We keep bird houses to attract swallows which in turn eat those pesky little gnats that fly around in the mountains. They don’t eat all of them, but do significantly reduce the population. We keep Cutter’s brand Eucalyptus and Lemon Oil bug deterrent on hand just in case your guests forgot to bring some from home (any time you’re outdoors in the Smokies, you’ll encounter a critter of some fashion). We also keep tubs of iced down water in a few locations in the warm months and a Keurig coffeemaker in the cooler months. Our cornhole and horseshoe games are never vacant during a wedding celebration, either. I’ve seen some couples bring more yard games from home, so if that’s something you’d like to add to your own wedding we’ll be sure it’s all set up for you.
Our horses, Sugar and Ben, usually come to the fence to see what all the fuss is about when we have a wedding going on. As tempting as it is to bring them carrots or other goodies, they’re on a special diet, so ask Regina for a little of their tasty food if you want to encourage them to interact with you across the fence. A lot of couples who add Regina’s photography to the wedding package will have their pictures made with Sugar running around behind them, or nuzzling up to them. She always choosing her favorite person in the field and we never know if it will be the bride or the groom. The one she chooses gets head nuzzled with 2,000 pounds of horse love! If you’ve chosen your own photographer, you can still have photographs with our horses grazing in the background. If your photographer is professional and carries liability insurance, we can allow them to photograph Sugar running next to you as well. Honeysuckle Hills is the only wedding venue with horses that are more than “pasture pets.” Unfortunately, riding is not allowed since they are rescues, but the Big Rock Dude Ranch is just down the street if you want to test your Western skills.
Honeysuckle Hills is the type of venue where people kick off their shoes and stop to smell the roses. It’s a natural, no-fuss escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and a more relaxing way to enjoy a destination wedding in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. You won’t find fancy crystal here and definitely need to leave the stiletto heels at home. You absolutely will feel loved and feel part of something special (be sure to read all about our family history!) It’s a country-chic atmosphere with vintage touches and a place to leave your troubles behind. We hope our smiles will be contagious and we hope you’ll have so much joy in your heart when you leave that your mood is contagious for a century!