Planning a Smoky Mountain Cabin Wedding
Every couple dreams of a uniquely perfect wedding. A couple’s dream venue might be a cathedral or a family chapel, a windy beach, or a flashy nightclub. Here in Tennessee, couples are often inspired by the majesty of the Smoky Mountains. Nothing says “Forever” like the timeless beauty of the Smokies surrounded by your closest family and friends. That is why a Smoky Mountain cabin wedding is such a beloved choice for local nuptial celebrations.
A cabin wedding isn’t a little wooden chapel – it’s a private mountain lodge. You can enjoy all the charm of a backyard wedding shared with close family. But with all the luxury and beauty of a mountain vacation home. Of course, planning a cabin wedding is a little different than the usual venue arrangements. Today, we’re here to share a few helpful tips on planning the perfect Smoky Mountains cabin wedding.
Choose Your Cabin on Photos and Virtual Tours
Because the cabins are residential private when booked, venue tours are not usually available to planning couples. The cabins are more like private residences with large family rooms – big enough to host an at-home style of event. Of course, this also means that booked parties receive absolute residence-level privacy. Unlike a traditional venue ballroom, it is usually not possible to book a live walk-through of the cabin.
You will need to choose the right cabin for your wedding based on the detailed gallery of photos available. Most wedding cabin providers know how to shoot a great photo-tour and a few have set up 3D walkthroughs so you can take a virtual tour instead.
If your event or guests have specific needs, use the photos or 3D tour to determine if a particular cabin has the needed features. If you’re not sure, you can always call the venue to ask for clarification or special cabin preparations.
“It’s helpful to do an online search and see if any wedding planners or photographers have blogged a wedding at that particular cabin. Not only are their photos helpful, but they may be able to chat with couples about what they’ve seen done with space!” – Absolute Wedding Perfection
Catering Gets the Ball Rolling
Another big difference is how you plan for catering. Instead of a catered meal, cabin weddings are more welcoming to a buffet set up in the kitchen. This is a casual setup that guests can enjoy all day and even through the night. You can know for a fact that leftovers will go to use – they’re in your fridge for snacking during the entire span of your wedding event.
Your caterers will bring the food platters and set up your buffet. They can help you facilitate special dinners or keep the platters coming for the all-day reception. When your catering hours are over, you can enjoy the spread all night as snacks and leftovers for the whole family.
“Be sure you have refrigerator space!” – All About Weddings
Know Your Numbers
Booking a wedding cabin is all about the right number of guests. You will need to know how many rooms, plates, tables, and chairs are necessary. If you are renting ceremony and reception furniture, you will also need to book a cabin with the right amount of open space for the number of seats you’ll need.
So know your numbers. Have an exact count of guests, rooms, tables, and chairs before you start exploring cabins and falling in love with beautiful properties. The best way to get the right balance is to work with an experienced Smoky Mountains wedding planner. A planner who knows cabin weddings can help you match the number of guests to the right size of a cabin.
“If furniture needs to be moved—check with the manager or owners of the cabin to make sure this is ok.” – All About Weddings
Home-Style Fun Reception Events
When planning your reception events, consider the Smoky Mountains to be your enormous, beautiful backyard, for a breathtaking backyard wedding. This is the perfect opportunity to play a wedding-themed ring-toss. Or set up a darts game, and make fun wedding crafts stations for the family to enjoy. You can make cookies and cupcake decoration stations, or a best-wishes tree where relatives can leave loving notes wrapped in ribbon for you. If you’ve ever wanted a hot chocolate station on a wedding day (looking at you winter wedding couples), then this the time to do it!
With a cabin wedding, the events and stations you set up can be shaped uniquely to the interstate, tastes, and traditions of your families.
“The spaces at cabins can sometimes be choppy compared to traditional wedding venues, but defining each space makes it feel more cohesive.” -Absolute Wedding Perfection
Book Your Vendors Differently
For a cabin wedding, let your vendors know that the venue will be a little different. Instead of playing in a ballroom of dancing relatives, your DJ, bartender, and other wedding entertainers will be playing for a private cabin and a smaller crowd. Whether you’re kicking up your heels in the living room, on the deck, or out in the lawn, make sure your wedding vendors know you are looking for a cabin venue and not the traditional ballroom or community center.
“Many wedding vendors will customize their packages so always call to discuss.” – All About Weddings
Share & Confirm Directions to the Private Cabin
We also strongly advise that you give directions and navigation tips to find your wedding location. A private cabin is nestled into the mountain folds and can be hard to find for guests or vendors. Transport your guests in arranged cars and share direction tips with your vendors who will be there for you on the big day.
Your hair and makeup team may need to find your cabin in the misty morning. The decorators may need to find the cabin before you arrive, or before your party transitions to ceremony decor. Your caterers need to be set up with hot food before scheduled meal times. So coordinate directions and your schedule clearly to ensure everyone can find your hidden mountain paradise and arrives on time.
“If you can, do a drive to the cabin so that you are familiar with the surroundings.” – Elease Productions
Exactly as Kid-Friendly As You Want It to Be
Planning a cabin wedding, you also have the freedom to completely control the age-appropriate preparations. If your nearest all have infants in the family, you can design a uniquely baby-friendly wedding with a nursery and safety beyond what public venues can offer. Or you can plan an adults-only celebration with party games that you can be confident that no child might wander into from a different nearby party. With the cabin all to yourself, you control the age-limit from perfect safety for infants to perfect privacy for adults.
“Consider hiring a sitter to keep kids in the game room if you are wanting your reception to be more for the adults.” – All About Weddings
Don’t Worry About Guest Transport
Taxis and Ubers often take up a surprising portion of a wedding budget – but not for a Smoky Mountain cabin wedding. You can scratch most of your transport and separate hotel costs from the budget because the cabin has you covered. Once your guests arrive, they won’t have to leave for the entire duration of your multi-day wedding event. Your guests can take themselves safely to bed just by going upstairs to their room after a long night of celebrating your nuptials. Everyone gets ‘home’ safely between days and nights of celebration and there’s not a single risk that your dress will be damaged between one venue and the next.
If you do have guests staying at another cabin or accommodation, consider hiring a driver who can transport guests to your wedding. Many shuttle busses cannot get in and out of some of the resorts so a van or car may be the best plan. Further, parking can be a real issue at some of these Smoky Mountain Cabins. Helping your guests navigate this process is a win for everyone involved.
“Try renting cabins close to one another for easy guest accommodations.” – All About Weddings
Your Entrance May Look Different
By the time your ceremony starts, you’ve probably been handed a gift or given a hug to a guest. So, there can be a bit less of a “ta-da” moment when you walk down the aisle. Most likely, since you are having a cabin wedding, you are having a more intimate affair anyway. So, there will be some little things here and there that may have to change.
“But at the end of the day, it’s your WEDDING DAY and will be amazing!” -Absolute Wedding Perfection
Let Us Help You
Planning a Smoky Mountain cabin wedding is time-consuming. The Smoky Mountain Wedding Collective would love to help. Fill out our contact form and be connected to over forty wedding professionals in the area! All you have to do is sit back and let the vendors come to you.