Romance is always in the air in Gatlinburg. And, love has no price…but weddings sure do. According to CNN Money.com, in 2008 the average price for a wedding rang in at $21,814. (That’s down from $27,490 in 2007.) According to The Wedding Report, a Tucson, Ariz.-based research firm, the average amount couples are spending on a wedding is expected to drop in tandem with the economy, decreasing at least 10% in 2009.
Gatlinburg is known as the United States’ second most popular place to get married as of 2008 (behind Las Vegas) with approximately 42,000 weddings each year. It might surprise you to know that we are only 3rd in the world behind Las Vegas and Istanbul. We want to help you have the destination wedding of your dreams without the stress and the huge price tag. Here are some of our best wedding tips and suggestions:
1. On Top of Old Smoky. Why Gatlinburg? Because of the Great Smoky Mountains, of course. There are too many beautiful wedding locations to mention. One of our favorites is a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park known as Greenbrier. In spring, the Greenbrier area of the park is renowned for its wildflowers. The drive to the Ramsey Cascades trail provides good wildflower viewing, and the Porters Creek Trail makes a good wildflower walk. Displays of wildflowers can be seen along the first 1.5 miles of trail. Wildflowers generally start in March and peak in mid to late April. This is a great option for a handful of your closest friends and family. Call Smoky Mountain Weddings for an officiate for your ceremony–simple, private and affordable.
2. Capture the Memories. Don’t forget to capture your Smoky Mountain Wedding memories with pictures of your beautiful day. Everlasting Memories offers photography as a part of their all-inclusive wedding packages or wedding photography as a stand alone service the wedding that you plan on your own. Regardless of which route you take to the altar, don’t forget the beautiful photography for your day.
3. Beautiful Wedding Chapels. Whether you are looking for a rustic log-cabin wedding or a breath taking Victorian Chapel, Gatlinburg has the perfect place for your wedding. Victorian Gardens is one of Gatlinburg’s premier wedding chapels and is styled after a local historic church and sits on a hillside not far from the center of Gatlinburg. Feel free to call one of their experienced wedding coordinators; they are well informed to provide full service-from ceremony to receptions or limousines.
4. Dress the Part. Can’t imagine hauling that ballgown-style wedding dress to Gatlinburg from home? Why not get a dress while you’re here. Fantasy Bridal & Formal Wear is located on the main parkway in downtown Gatlinburg and offers parking right next door to their boutique. They carry over 2000 gowns of the latest styles from sizes 0 to 82. Capes are available for sale or rental. Veils, Tiaras, Bras, Slips, Shoes and Jewelry are available FREE to use with your gown rental. They also have over 800 tuxedos in stock for immediate rental.
5. Unconvential Weddings. Want a Rock ‘ n’ Roll wedding? Try the Hard Rock Cafe. That’s right–Gatlinburg is home to the world’s only Hard Rock Cafe with a wedding chapel! They profess before one and all, their true intention henceforth to walk the road of life as your rockin’ destination for great tunes, times and a weddings. For more ideas on how to spend your Rock ‘n’ Roll honeymoon, check out Gatlinburg Rocks.
6. Stress Free Receptions. For stress free receptions, you have your choice of several options. For a more traditional experience for 10 to 100, you can choose an all-inclusive wedding package with one of Gatlinburg’s wedding chapels. For a more casual experience for a smaller group, we invite you to think about having dinner out at a restaurant like Bear Creek Grill where they offer a great everyday menu as well as a special wedding package menu.
7. A Bed for Every Head. One of the challenges of destination weddings is finding group accomodations for everyone that feel like home but are still affordable. Cabin rental is a great option for wedding parties. You can rent cabins–like the cabins of Anne’s Road or Winfield Heights–that are within walking distance of each other. Close, but not too close. The price per person is often less than a hotel, and you have all the comforts of home like a living room and kitchen plus bonuses like game rooms and hot tubs. To take best advantage of Price Discounts, avoid planning your wedding during peak season.
8. Wedding Gifts. How do you get the perfect gift for a destination bride? You have lots of options. Gift certificates for dining at wonderful places like Greenbrier Restaurant or Bear Creek Grill are always great options. Is your favorite bride and groom the adventurous type? Why not treat them to an exciting Zorb experience or Zipline thrill. And, you can send them the gift from their registry to their home. Wedding gift etiquette dictates says it is perfectly acceptable to send a gift directly to the bride or groom’s home several weeks prior to the wedding and up to 6 months after the wedding.
8. Your Love Nest. A log cabin honeymoon is special indeed. Decide what you want first. Do you want a mountain view, city view, or wooded view? Are you looking for an outdoor hot tub and and indoor whirlpool tub? Would you like to have a pool table, swimming pool access or the latest in electronics? Gatlinburg has an option for almost everyone. On a budget, make sure you check out the off-season specials.
9. Take Care of Yourself. Take the time to pamper yourself before and after the wedding. About You Salon offers special bridal treatment for you and your wedding party. From hair and makeup to spa treatments. About You Salon offers you an opportunity to look and feel your best on your special day. After the wedding, In Cabin Services will bring rest and relaxation to you–from relaxation spa and massage packages to steak dinners and gift baskets. Check out their romantic packages.
10. Special Treats. Are you still looking for that special treat to make your honeymoon memorable? Everyone is looking for a little something different. Take time to indulge yourself in the beauty of the Smokies and experiences that can become family traditions in the years to come. Here are some suggestions: take a private tour, take in a show, do a little shopping, get a bird’s eye view, or take a dinner cruise.
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.