Eloping in Tennessee offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and accessibility. This guide is your key to planning a relaxed and memorable elopement in the Volunteer State. So, grab a glass of sweet tea, and let’s dive into everything you need to know about how to elope in Tennessee.
Why Elope In Tennessee
Eloping Amidst Natural Beauty – Tennessee’s stunning landscapes, including the Great Smoky Mountains, provide an enchanting backdrop for your elopement. From cascading waterfalls to lush forests and rolling hills, this state offers the perfect canvas for your love story.
Immersed in Rich Southern Culture – Tennessee’s music, food, and history add a touch of Southern charm to your special day. You can infuse your elopement with the soulful sounds of the South and indulge in mouthwatering cuisine that will leave your taste buds dancing.
Legal Requirements for Eloping in Tennessee
Obtaining Your Marriage License – Securing your marriage license to elope in Tennessee is a breeze. Just head to a county clerk’s office with a valid photo ID, pay the applicable fee ($100), and receive your license on the spot. No waiting period means you can plan your elopement without delay.
Varied Officiants to Choose From – You have a variety of options for your officiant, from ministers and judges to county clerks and even notary publics. Pick the one that aligns with your vision for your elopement ceremony. One important thing to note is that Tennessee does not recognize online ordained-only ministers from places like Universal Life Church. So if you are hoping to have a friend or family member get ordained online to head your ceremony you may want to consider other options to make sure everything is entirely legal and you don’t run into any hiccups. Your elopement photographer will often have a list of recommendations for officiants that are legal and ready to help you say I Do!
Selecting the Perfect Elopement Location
The Magnificent Great Smoky Mountains – With their awe-inspiring vistas and breathtaking scenery, the Great Smoky Mountains provide an idyllic setting for your elopement. From saying your vows by a serene mountain stream to standing beneath cascading waterfalls, nature’s beauty is your backdrop
A few of my personal favorites are:
When To Elope In Tennessee
Eloping in Tennessee is like scoring a front-row seat to a stunning natural spectacle, but which season suits your love story best? From bloomin’ spring to cozy winter, we’re here to break it down, y’all. So, let’s talk about when to elope in Tennessee.
Spring: March to May
Blossoming Romance – Picture this: trees burstin’ with dogwood and redbud blooms, filling the air with a sweet, floral perfume. Spring in Tennessee is like nature’s way of sayin’ “let’s make this wedding pop!” The landscape is alive with vibrant colors, setting the scene for the dreamiest elopement photos.
Perfect Weather – Spring serves up some of the most pleasant weather in Tennessee. Highs typically hang out in the comfy 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15-25°C). It’s just right for an outdoor ceremony in beautiful spots like the Great Smoky Mountains or Nashville’s charming gardens.
Festival Season – Spring is also the season for festivals. Why not add a dash of Tennessee culture to your elopement? Check out local music festivals or dig into some delicious grub at food and wine events. It’s like an extra slice of fun on your wedding day.
Summer: June to August
Sunny Bliss – If you’re all about sunshine and warm vibes, then a summer elopement in Tennessee is where it’s at. This is when the state really knows how to throw a party with tons of outdoor activities and natural beauty.
Outdoor Extravaganza – With highs usually in the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit (27-35°C), summer is made for open-air ceremonies and picnics. Think about tying the knot in the Great Smokies and having hiking trails, waterfalls, and epic vistas at your fingertips.
Beat the Heat – But remember, it can get hot, y’all! So, pack sunscreen, hydrate like you mean it, and consider morning or late afternoon ceremonies to keep cool when the sun’s at its peak.
Fall: September to November
Nature’s Color Show – Tennessee’s fall foliage is a jaw-dropping masterpiece. Hills and valleys turn into a canvas of red, orange, and gold, creating a breathtaking backdrop for your elopement. It’s like walking down the aisle in a painting!
Mild and Marvelous – Want to elope in Tennessee in the fall? It’s pure magic, with temps chillin’ in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15-25°C). The crisp air is perfect for outdoor ceremonies in spots like the vineyards of Tennessee wine country.
Book Early – Fall is a hot ticket for weddings and elopements, so venues, photographers and accommodations fill up fast. Make sure to plan ahead and snag your dream date and location.
Winter: December to February
Cozy Vibes – Winter elopements in Tennessee are all about that cozy and intimate vibe. The state takes on a whole new charm, perfect for snuggling by a fireplace or saying “I do” in a snowy wonderland.
Winter Wonderland – Up in the Great Smoky Mountains, snow can turn the landscape into a fairy tale. Imagine a cabin elopement with snowflakes falling gently around you. It’s the stuff winter dreams are made of.
Mild Lowland Weather – Down in the lower elevations, winter is milder with highs typically in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (4-15°C). It’s perfect for outdoor elopements in cities like Nashville and Memphis without freezing your boots off. In the higher elevations, it can get downright freezing! So plan accordingly and make sure you’re properly prepared for frigid weather if you plan a mountain elopement in the winter months.
Holiday Magic – And don’t forget the holiday magic! Getting hitched during the holiday season means you can add a sprinkle of festive decorations and events to your celebration.
When it comes to choosing the best time of year to elope in Tennessee, it’s all about your style and vibe as a couple. Whether you go for the bloomin’ romance of spring, the sunny bliss of summer, the color show of fall, or the cozy vibes of winter, Tennessee’s got your back. So, grab your partner’s hand, set a date, and let the adventure begin. Your Tennessee elopement will be a tale worth tellin’ for years to come!
Planning Your Stress-Free Tennessee Elopement
Crafting Your Guest List – Eloping offers the flexibility to share your special day with just your partner or a select group of loved ones. Decide on the size of your guest list to create the intimate atmosphere you desire. Pro tip, the fewer guests you have the more your options will open up in terms of locations in national parks and forests, which often have their own rules about guest limits.
Choosing the Right Officiant – Find an officiant who resonates with your love story, whether it’s a religious leader, judge, or someone special to you. Personalize your ceremony to make it uniquely yours.
Personalizing Your Vows and Readings – Express your love with heartfelt vows or select readings and poems that speak to your journey as a couple. You may want to check out another blog post here about how to make your elopement ceremony uniquely you.
Permits and Legal Considerations For A Tennessee Elopement
National Parks and Special Permits – Eloping in a national park, such as the Great Smoky Mountains, may require a special use permit. Consult the National Park Service’s website for specific requirements, fees, and applications. You’ll want to make sure you allow enough time for the permit to process before your wedding or elopement and not cut it too close! I suggest allowing at least 12 weeks if not more.
Private Venues and Airbnb’s – If you opt for a private venue or a cozy rental you can avoid having to worry about permits but always make sure any airbnb owners are aware that you’ll be having a ceremony at their property. Some are totally cool with it and others would prefer you didn’t, so to avoid getting hit with any additional fees after the fact, always disclose that you’ll be saying your vows during your stay.
Elope In Tennessee & Stay At A Unique Airbnb
Make your elopement extra special by staying in unique Airbnb locations across Tennessee. You’ll find everything from glamping domes to a-frames and what better way to start off your elopement celebration than in a super cute space with a mountain view? The below suggestions are ideal for just the two of you to get cozy and they provide some awesome photo ops! You may also be able to get married directly at a rental! This can be an easy way to avoid spending most of your elopement day in the car between locations and still have some epic mountain views.
Where to Eat in Tennessee During Your Elopement
You’re bound to work up an appetite on your elopement day and no one wants to get married while hangry!
Fun Activities To Do While Eloping in Tennessee
An elopement day doesn’t have to be only vows and pictures. You can craft your day however you want! Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas that’ll provide some amazing photo opportunities while you both have a blast.
Horseback Riding In Cades Cove
Have your own horses? You can bring them along on your elopement adventure and go riding in one of the most beautiful places this country has to offer.
Not down for trailering in your own horses but still want to ride? You can sign up to take out a trusty steed from the stables near the park.
Prefer getting a bird’s eye view of the mountains?
Ready to elope with a sweet Tennessee twang? You can be certain that your elopement in this charming state will be nothing short of spectacular. Y’all are in for a beautiful adventure, so embrace it, savor it, and cherish it. Happy eloping!