7 Reasons To Elope in the Smoky Mountains

smoky mountains elopement

7 Reasons To Elope in the Smoky Mountains

Some couples choose to elope in the Great Smoky Mountains because of the flowing rivers and rocks and love to be down by the cool water. Others choose to have their wedding in the Smokies for its dense forests in the summer and beautiful foliage in the fall. And then there are the ones who love to be high up with jaw-dropping scenic views and sunsets.  From the top of the Foothills Parkway to the rivers of Greenbrier and Elkmont, and high atop all the rental cabins in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, the views in the Smokies never disappoint.

We grew up just minutes from the national park boundaries, and some of our favorite memories are riding through Cades Cove with all the windows down looking for a black bear in the woods, hopping across boulders in the Little River, and carrying flashlights into Elkmont to watch the synchronous fireflies at night.

In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the park at Newfound Gap. Every time we drive to the gap, I imagine what it was like that day listening to him say it was dedicated “for the permanent enjoyment of the people.”

Each year, we photograph weddings throughout Smokies at locations including Spence Cabin, Cades Cove, Greenbrier, the Foothills Parkway, rental cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and picturesque wedding venues such as The Magnolia and Dancing Bear Lodge.

We’re proud to be licensed and permitted wedding photographers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For the past eight years, the park has entrusted us to be among the select photographers allowed to officially work in the park, respecting the beauty that has been preserved for all of us to enjoy for more than 80 years.

While there are hundreds of reasons to elope in the Great Smoky Mountains, here are seven to get you started!

7 reasons why eloping in the smoky mountains might be the perfect fit for you:

  1. The first thing you think of when you see the river is, “what’s the best route to climb over these rocks to get across to that spot on the other side?”
  2. You don’t care about getting your wedding gown dirty. You only wear it once, right!?
  3. You’re not scared of rain. I mean, we all hope it doesn’t rain on your wedding day. But if it does, you’re still cool with it.
  4. You are seriously considering wearing your chacos or Birkenstock’s during your wedding. They don’t sink into the grass or the dirt like high heels do, and they’re way more comfy.
  5. You love scenic views and awesome sunrises and sunsets. And early morning pancakes in Gatlinburg are THE best.
  6. You love log cabins, campfires and s’mores. That smoky smell in your hair and in your flannel shirt is awesome.
  7. You love Dolly Parton and know the words to all her songs like 9 to 5 and Islands in the Stream (which you are highly considering it to be your first dance song). You like to think of your fiancé to you as Kenny was to Dolly.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Wedding Photographers

JoPhoto is a license and approved wedding photographer in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smokies are a beautiful location for weddings, elopements, and engagement photos. Some of our favorite wedding locations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park include Spence Cabin, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Greenbrier, and the Foothills Parkway.

We are authorized Great Smoky Mountains National Park wedding photographers, and the park is a beautiful destination for mountain weddings, elopements, and photo sessions. If you live in Knoxville, Maryville, East Tennessee, or you are traveling to Gatlinburg, Sevierville, or Pigeon Forge from out of state, then you know how gorgeous the national park is for photos. We have the permit required to photograph weddings in the park, and we visit the park dozens of times each year to photograph weddings.

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Hi! We're Joe and Kathleen, and we're a husband and wife photography team specializing in weddings and elopements for adventurous couples in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and East Tennessee.


Celebrate in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, by the river, on top of the mountains, or in a cozy cabin...wherever adventure takes you, our job is to take photos you'll love for years to come.

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Smoky Mountain Wedding Photographers

Joe & Kathleen Atkins


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