Table of contents

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photo by Leah Moyers Photography

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin

Have you ever envisioned a romantic wedding with a group of close friends attending, set in a cozy cabin? Perhaps you would love to marry within a cottage nestled in the wild and idyllic landscape of the Smoky Mountains? Did you think such a wedding was only the stuff of dreams? Surprisingly, it’s not. A ceremony set in such a special and unique location is possible.

Varied options are available as settings for weddings taking place in the mystical Smoky Mountain region. Spence Cabin, however, is one of a limited number of designated locations where weddings are permitted within the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This cabin is one of only two rustic, historic buildings located in the center of the park which may be rented for receptions and special events.

Spence Cabin is a beautiful setting often chosen for weddings. But prospective brides and grooms must be aware of the details and requirements before they book the location.   We will address those details, with recommendations. 

Planning a Spence Cabin Wedding
Photo by Erin Morrison Photography

Smoky Mountain Weddings

Destination weddings are trending. Many couples who had planned to wed in 2020, postponed due to COVID safety concerns. Their eagerness to tie the knot in 2021 has created backlogs for many destination locations.

Whether you plan to wed this summer or next, you may want to consider a rustic chic or cabin wedding. If so, the Smokies are the perfect destination. Spence Cabin could be the perfect spot for a ceremony including a modest number of guests. Or for the reception, following a wedding at another location. 

The Smoky Mountain Wedding Collective strives to help you plan the perfect event. We are focused on connecting you with the information and services you need to make your wedding memorable. Here are our thoughts on the implications of marrying at Spence Cabin.  

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photo by JoPhoto

The Cabin’s History and Amenities

Built in 1928, Spence Cabin was a vacation home for Alice Townsend, wife of Colonel Townsend, owner of The Little River Lumber Company, and the Little River Railroad. It belonged to the Appalachian Club resort community. The National Park Service restored the cabin in a way that honors its historic importance.  

  • Wooden floors and paneling.
  • French doors that open upon a screened porch with rocking chairs.
  • A gas fireplace of smooth, river stone.

These are some of the cabin’s attractive features. Following are more valued points for wedding venue seekers:

  • Two stone patios provide attractive, shaded spots for entertaining.
  • One is located directly adjacent to the river.
  • Much of the cabin is wheelchair accessible.
  • There is room for two or three vehicles near the cabin.
  • More parking is within walking distance. 
Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photo by Derek Halkett Photography

Features of Spence Cabin

Since this is a rustic location, not every traditional wedding venue feature is present. Consider these features below when you plan a Spence Cabin wedding.

Heating and Cooling

The rural, set amid the lovely Smoky Mountains are often naturally cooled in warm seasons by refreshing breezes fueled by the nearby river. The historic cabin contains neither furnace nor air conditioning. Fans are provided, however, to supplement nature’s breezes. 


The cabin includes a kitchen, for the convenience of those holding weddings. The food preparation area contains stainless steel counters, a double sink, refrigerator, and microwave oven. Electrical outlets are available for keeping food warm and to facilitate catering. 

Plates, silverware, napkins, and glasses are not provided. You or your caterer must supply them. 

Tables and chairs

You won’t have to worry about renting chairs and tables for the serving tables at your reception.  Seating and tables are provided for your guests.

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photo by Erin Morrison Photography

Other Factors to Consider

Available Reservation Dates and Permits

Spence Cabin can be reserved for day use between April 2nd and October 31st. The weather between these dates is often of suitable temperature for outdoor weddings. Small weddings could take place inside the cabin. Reservations can only be made one year in advance. For more reservation information, continue reading below!

Internet or Wi-Fi

You are entering a timeless, historic building. Internet and Wi-Fi will be unavailable while enjoying the peace of Spence Cabin. Make suitable preparations.

Guest List

The cabin’s design and setting limit the guest size to 40 guests. If your guest list is of reasonable size, the Spence Cottage can be a wonderfully cozy, apropos setting.

Getting-Ready Items

An important detail that could be easily overlooked. Spence Cabin does not include the mirrors you will need for the bride and bridesmaids to look their best. Come properly prepared, with the number of mirrors and other items you think you will need. 


Personalized themes and flowers are permitted. But decorations cannot be attached to the trees or to the building.

Virtual Tour

Does Spence Cabin sound like a wise selection for your wedding or reception? Take a tour today through the Great Smoky Mountains Association or via Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photo by Juicebeats Photography

Getting Married at Spence Cabin

The specifications for renting Spence Cabin for your wedding and reception are quite understandable. Spence Cabin is all about atmosphere, not technology and lavish amenities. The cabin’s location, within range of the lapping sound of the Little River, the whimsical pink cottage image, make this a fun and unique small wedding venue or reception center.  

Reservations at Spence Cabin For Your Wedding

If you are ready to plan a Spence Cabin wedding, there is a three-step process: Reserve, Apply, Pay.

RESERVE: Check availability and make a tentative reservation by emailing your request to prior to submitting an application OR reserve your date at: If the requested date and location
are available, a tentative reservation will be made to hold the location. Sites are available 1 year in advance.
APPLY: Submit Application form (10-930 or 10-930s) in .pdf or .docx format to
PAY: Make payment (see fees & payment section) Application Fees are Non-Refundable. You can pay online at  
• Finalized Special Use Permits (SUP) will be emailed to the applicant and must be signed upon receipt.
• Application and payment must be received at least 14 days in advance of an event and at least 21 days for
special requests. There are no guarantees a last-minute request can be accommodated.
• Permit holders must ensure all service providers understand and adhere to the permit conditions to
avoid termination of the permit. The permit holder may be held liable for any condition of the permit
which is not adhered to by vendor(s).

More information can be found at:

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photo by Erin Morrison Photography

Smoky Mountain Wedding Collective Vendors are Familiar with Spence Cabin

Many of our photographers, planners, officiants, and florists have worked at Spence Cabin. They offer a wealth of knowledge about regulations and the perfect photography locations in the area. We can help you plan and execute the perfect wedding and reception in the gorgeous Smoky Mountain region. 

The Smoky Mountains are a popular setting for weddings. The Smoky Mountain Wedding Collective is here to provide quality service and advice for every aspect of your event.

Longing to get married inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Other than Leconte Lodge or the Appalacian Clubhouse, Spence Cabin is the only indoor location in the park where you may hold your wedding.

Many happy weddings have taken place in this authentic example of vintage architecture. Just remember to consider the details we’ve included to plan a Spence Cabin wedding. We have done our best to offer an overview of the most important factors. To help you envision your wedding taking place in the fairytale setting of a cabin in one of the most mystical mountain settings in America. Whether your wedding takes place at Spence Cabin or at another setting in the Smoky Mountains Region, the skilled, professional members of the Smoky Mountain Wedding Collective will put forth their best effort to make your event memorable.

Plan a Cozy, Rustic Wedding at Spence Cabin
Photography by Danielle Evans Photography

Yugen Productions

WEDDING Videographer

Wildwood Media was born out of a desire to create content and capture moments for those who are inspired by love and creativity. “Wildwood” is an uncultivated forest that has been allowed to grow naturally. Like wildwood, our untampered style delivers the purest form of your story. We value our client's stories above all else. Wildwood Media Photography truly strives to create individualized films and photos that perfectly commemorate the details of your event. It is our desire that our films and photos will bring you back to the abounding joy of your wedding day over and over again for years to come. We have over 100 five-star ratings online and are fully insured!


Jennifer Allen

Photographer Member statS

in business since


starting pricing



Join the Community


smoky mountain weddings

Serving the Great Smoky Mountains National Park