Unique Winter Cades Cove Wedding | Colleen + Garrett


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Hi, I’m Megan and your story matters to me. You deserve to break your wedding day from the traditional mold into something that is uniquely you.

I specialize in intimate mountain weddings and elopements and love working with people who are stoked to get married in nature surrounded by their closest family and friends. I am here for you and to organically tell your story. 

Getting married? Check out my recent work here and connect with me here to learn more! 

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In the heart of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Colleen and Garrett exchanged vows in a breathtakingly beautiful setting: Cades Cove. With nature as their backdrop, the couple’s wedding was filled with love, laughter, and lots of unforgettable moments. The rolling hills, lush greenery, and historic structures of Cades Cove only added more beauty to their special day, making it nothing short of stunning. Overall, It was a day that perfectly showed off their love story, creating a perfect start to their journey as husband and wife.

Couple reading their vows at Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Why Should You Get Married At Cades Cove?

Cades Cove in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains is a great place for your wedding or elopement. First, it’s surrounded by beautiful mountains, which make for amazing wedding photos. There are different places to have the wedding ceremony, depending on what you prefer. The calm nature around these places makes the wedding feel even more special. Additionally, you might even see some animals, which adds some fun to the event. There are also old buildings around Cades Cove that give weddings a rustic, old-timey feel. All in all, if you’re looking for a stunning, memorable, and unique wedding, Cades Cove is a top pick. It consists of beautiful nature, various places for your ceremony, and a touch of history that sets it apart.

How To Get Married In The Smoky Mountains

First, to get married in the Smoky Mountains, the first step is to acquire a Tennessee Marriage License. Next, choose a location within the Smoky Mountains such as Cades Cove. So many places offer stunning views and natural beauty for your ceremony. You will need a Special Use Permit for weddings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lastly, always remember to adhere to the park’s specific guidelines for weddings. Be sure to plan ahead and secure all necessary permits and documents before your big day. I can always help with this process! From here, you will just need to get the elopement and wedding essentials prepared. Learn more about how how to elope in the Great Smoky Mountains by recent my recent blog!

How Much Does It Cost To Get Married At Cades Cove?

Getting married at Cades Cove can be a very cost effective option. The Tennessee Marriage License typically costs $97.50, but the price can be lowered if the couple participates in a premarital preparation course. However, keep in mind that these costs are subject to change. Additionally, the Special Use Permit will cost $50, and is required for hosting weddings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will also need to consider the costs of an officiant, wedding attire, florals, a photographer, and anything else you feel is necessary for your special day.

Everything I Can Help With

Hiring myself to document your elopement or wedding provides more than me just taking photos! I strive to help my clients with permit assistance, location scouting, helping to choose outfits, and connect you to local vendors. These are just a few things I can do to help your wedding or elopement day go smoothly!

How Many Guests Can You Have At Cades Cove?

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a standard wedding permit for Cades Cove allows up to 20 attendees. This includes not just guests, but also key participants like the officiant and photographer. The park enforces this limit to maintain its natural beauty and reduce interference with other’s experiences. However, your chosen location within Cades Cove may influence the allowed guest count. It’s crucial to stay updated with the current rules and regulations during your wedding planning process.

Is Cades Cove Easily Accessible?

Cades Cove is an accessible and pleasant place for everyone to visit. It has restrooms that anyone can use and a visitor center that’s open year round except for Christmas Day. Also, one of the best things about Cades Cove is the 11-mile road loop. Every Wednesday from May to September, only walkers and bikers can use it, so no cars are allowed. If you need easier access, you can drive up to several buildings. There is even a new path that people with disabilities can use to get to the famous John Oliver Cabin. Additionally, you can also bring your dog if you’re staying at the Cades Cove Campground. So whether you love hiking or just want to enjoy the beautiful views from your car, Cades Cove has something for you.

When Is the Best Time To Get Married At Cades Cove?

Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a truly stunning place to have a wedding any time of the year. But, some seasons are more favorable than others! The best times are from the middle of spring until the end of fall. Lots of people like to get married in the summer because there are lots of blooming wildflowers in the Smokies. Otherwise, others like the fall, especially October, because of the changing leaves adding to the scenery. Colleen and Garret eloped in December and it still turned out just as beautiful as a warm summer day.

Overall, no matter when you choose, it’s best to have your wedding in the morning or evening when the light is best. Just remember, you need to finish up at least an hour before sunset so everyone can leave before the park closes.

Where Should You Stay For Your Cades Cove Wedding?


Choosing to stay in Townsend for your Cades Cove wedding is a decision you won’t regret. Known as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies,” Townsend offers a serene and calm environment, creating an ideal setting for your special day. It’s conveniently located close to Cades Cove, reducing travel time and allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the beauty of the area. Townsend has a variety of accommodations to choose from, ranging from bed and breakfasts to luxury cabins, all offering excellent amenities and comfort. Additionally, Townsend also contains local attractions like the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and Tuckaleechee Caverns, providing entertainment for you and your guests.

Cabin In The Woods

If you prefer a more intimate setting, consider renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. In this area there are a wide range of cabins, from cozy one-bedroom hideaways to large lodges that can accommodate your wedding guests. These cabins not only provide a unique and private space for your stay, but also offer incredible views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Imagine waking up on your wedding day to the sun rising over the majestic Smoky Mountains. It’s a magical experience that will make your special day even more unforgettable. Additionally, check out my blog about the most perfect cabin elopement I captured in Colorado here!

Hotels & Vacation Rentals

The Cades Cove area offers a variety of accommodations to fit every preference and budget. If you’re looking for hotel-style amenities, there are numerous hotels offering comfortable rooms, on-site dining, and other conveniences. For those who prefer a more home-like setting, Airbnb and Vrbo provide a wide range of options, from cute cottages to luxurious cabins. Most of these are hosted by locals who can offer insider tips about the area. Alternatively, you may consider other vacation rentals, including secluded mountain lodges and modern condos, which offer privacy and unique features. Overall, each accommodation choice allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Cades Cove while enjoying a restful retreat after your wedding festivities.

bride and groom taking photos at a cabin after their cades cove wedding

What Can You Include Into Your Cades Cove Wedding?

I highly recommend my couples to consider including some activities or meaningful moments into their elopement or wedding day. Some aspects that can add to your overall experience include:

Natural Beauty As Your Backdrop

One of the biggest perks of a Cades Cove wedding or elopement is the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. The mountains, green fields, and vibrant wildflowers provide a backdrop that no man-made venue can match. Include this into your ceremony by choosing a quiet, scenic spot for your vows. Colleen and Garrett chose to write their vows on a blanket in front of the mountains to make for a truly unforgettable moment.

Historic Charm and Rustic Elegance

Cades Cove isn’t just about natural beauty. It’s also home to a number of historic buildings that give a unique, rustic charm to any wedding or elopement. Consider exploring these structures during your day and make an adventure out of it.

Adventure-Filled Activities

In addition to the ceremony, Cades Cove offers a number of outdoor activities that you and your guests can enjoy. Embark on a guided nature hike or tour to explore the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the area. For the more adventurous, consider organizing a group horseback ride or even biking around the 11-mile loop road. Colleen and Garrett explored the nearby road and it made for the best photo opportunity. Overall, I recommend making a whole weekend out of your wedding. This will make everything completely relaxed and enjoyable.

bride walking on the river at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Have Your Own Cades Cove Wedding

Colleen and Garret’s breathtaking wedding in Cades Cove was a perfect blend of love and nature. Surrounded by tree-covered mountains and valleys, their day was truly unforgettable. 

Inspired to create your own enchanting mountain wedding or elopement? Fill out my contact form today to start planning your dream wedding in the beauty of Cades Cove. Let’s make your love story come to life!

the national park sign of Great Smoky Mountains
Bride writing her vows at Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
bride and groom taking photos at a cabin after their cades cove wedding
bride and groom taking photos at a river after their cades cove wedding
bride and groom taking photos at a river after their cades cove wedding

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