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Elopement in Tennessee – The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Are you looking for the perfect place to elope? Look no further than an elopement in Tennessee!

From breathtaking mountains to sparkling rivers, this southern state has everything you need for an unforgettable elopement.

This ultimate guide to eloping in Tennessee will take you through everything you need to know – from getting a marriage license, to working with your budget, to picking an elopement photographer.

With its stunning views, quaint towns, and hidden gems, Tennessee is the perfect destination for a romantic and spontaneous elopement.

Let’s get to it!

Why you should have an elopement in Tennessee

With its intense natural beauty, Tennessee offers couples plenty of options when it comes to planning their elopement-style wedding.

Enjoy a romantic sunset ceremony on a mountaintop or a secret ceremony in a forest glade – the possibilities are endless! And with the state being so big, there are plenty of hidden gems to explore.

Tennessee is also an easy and relaxed state to elope in, and couples can save money and time over a traditional wedding.

With no wedding planner to hire, no guest list to manage, and no large reception venue to book, it can be a much more affordable alternative to the traditional wedding.

There are a range of accommodation options and wedding venues you can book, and they can fit within any budget.

Let’s take a look at exactly how to elope in Tennessee so you can get planning!

A step-by-step guide on what you need to get eloped in Tennessee

Here, we break down what you need to get eloped in TN as a short, step-by-step guide.

Be sure to check out the more in-depth guide on how to elope in Tennessee below, which goes in to exact details so that you don’t miss anything!

  • Step 1 – Get Your Tennessee Marriage License

First things first, you have to make sure your marriage is legal. You will need to apply for a Tennessee marriage license before you can move forwards with your elopement plans. If you don’t, your marriage won’t be legally recognized!

  • Step 2 – Pick a budget

Elopements can be much cheaper than traditional weddings, but without having a budget in mind before you start planning, you can soon find that costs run away from themselves and you end up spending much more than you planned! Have a think about how much you want to spend before taking further steps.

  • Step 3 – Pick a date

You have to have a date for your elopement! Have a think about the seasons and what it will be like in Tennessee then. Also think about your availability, work schedules, and availability of any key guests you might want to attend.

  • Step 4 – Choose from the best places to elope!

Tennessee has so many great locations to elope in. You are going to want to pick somewhere that really captures your essence as a couple, that means something to you, and that will provide amazing memories for years to come. We break down the best places to elope in TN below.

  • Step 5 – Create the perfect Elopement ceremony and reception!

Have a think about what style elopement ceremony you want, whether formal, casual, traditional, or extremely personal. As for the reception, are you going to want to have a sit-down meal, a buffet, a BBQ, ro go to a restaurant? This will also depend on how many guests you invite to your elopement.

  • Step 6 – Find a Tennessee Elopement Officiant

You must have an officiant formally recognize your elopement for it to be a legal marriage. They will oversee the ceremony and will sign the marriage document with you. It’s important to pick a someone that understands your personalities and the kind of ceremony you want to have.

  • Step 7 – Book the vendors, accommodation and travel!

If you are planning on having any vendors – such as a elopement photographer, a videographer, a caterer, makeup artists, and so on – you will need to think about booking them. Some vendors book out years in advance, so if this is a last-minute elopement, you may not get your top choice. You will also need to think about travel and accommodation options and availability.

  • Step 8 – Enjoy yourselves!

Be sure to enjoy your special day expressing your love getting married in the beautiful state of Tennessee!

In-depth guide on how to elope in Tennessee

We’ve covered the brief steps how to elope in TN, now let’s take a more in-depth look at how to elope in Tennessee so that you can be sure not to miss anything important!

Legal Requirements for eloping in Tennessee

You’ll need to get a marriage license to elope in Tennessee.

Each county and city has different rules to follow, so start by researching the requirements in the county or city where you plan to elope.

Once you have the requirements figured out, you can begin the process of applying for your Tennessee marriage license.

You’ll need to bring your government-issued ID, as well as proof of residency. You’ll also need to provide the full name, date of birth, and social security number of both you and your partner. A fee may also be required, so make sure you’re prepared for that too. 

Next, you’ll need to make an appointment at your local county clerk’s office. You can usually do this online, but you can also call the clerk’s office directly.

Make sure you bring all the necessary paperwork and documents with you to the appointment. 

When you arrive at the county clerk’s office, you’ll need to fill out an application for a marriage license. You’ll also need to provide proof of age and identity. Once you’ve filled out the application and paid the fee, you’ll receive your license right away!

Once you have your license, you can move forward with your elopement.

On the day, you’ll need to sign a marriage document and having it notarized by the officiant. This document will then need to be sent back to the city officials.

Then, all you have to do is wait for your marriage certificate to arrive in the mail. 

How much does it cost to elope in Tennessee?

The cost of your elopement will vary greatly, depending on a number of factors. This includes the venue and type of ceremony you choose, the number of guests, and any extra services you might need.

When it comes to eloping in Tennessee, be prepared to pay around $2,500 for a basic elopement package, which includes the venue, the officiant’s fee, a photographer, simple attire, and a handful of other services.

This price can increase significantly with a very experienced Tennessee elopement photographer, more guests with more catering requirements, lavish decorating, and high-end accommodation.

It’s important to factor in the cost of dress, flowers, music, makeup, and other items you may need.

Here are some key considerations to make when thinking about the cost of your Tennessee elopement.

Location costs

Depending on the type of venue you choose, the cost of your elopement venue can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Outdoor venues such as gardens and parks are often the most cost-effective, while indoor venues such as hotels and banquet halls may be more expensive.

Couples can also opt for a courthouse wedding. This is a great option if you are looking for a low-cost, no-frills ceremony.

There are many locations you can choose to elope in in Tennessee, so whatever style day you are planning, there will be something for you!

Ceremony costs

You will need to hire an officiant to oversee and run your ceremony. This is a legal requirement, and they will also sign your marriage certificate.

You can choose to have someone experienced, or choose someone less experienced that might be cheaper.

Whoever you pick, make sure they understand what you want from the day and the style of ceremony you are after.

You may also want decorations and flowers in your ceremony, as well as music, All these items cost money, especially if you want live music.

Additional services

Catering – If you’re hoping to surprise your guests with a delicious meal, you’ll need to hire a caterer to provide the food for your elopement. Depending on the number of guests and type of cuisine you’d like to serve, catering costs can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Photography/Videography – Professional photography and videography can add up quickly. If you’d like to capture your special day so you can enjoy photos and videos from your day in the future, consider hiring a professional photographer and/or videographer for your elopement. Prices will vary based on the type of services you need and the level of skill of the photographer or videographer.

How much does it cost to elope? The ultimate guide

If you want to read more about budgeting an elopement in Tennessee, be sure to check our our guide on how much to spend eloping.

Tennessee elopement budgeting tips

If you’re looking to stay on a budget, there are plenty of ways to cut down on expenses.

For instance, you could opt for a thrift store dress or a vintage gown.

You can source wild flowers from nearby.

You can make your own wedding cake using a DIY wedding cake recipe.

You could also ask family members to do your makeup or make decorations. You could ask a talented friend to take your photos. These could even be their wedding gift to you!

Of course, these options are likely not going to end up as good as a professional option, but they will be significantly cheaper.

When to elope in Tennessee

When it comes to deciding when to say “I do”, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It all depends on your individual needs and wants.

That being said, there are certain times of the year that are more popular for eloping than others.

A popular time of the year to elope in TN is during the spring and summer months. From April to August, the weather is perfect for outdoor ceremonies, and the vibrant colors of nature make for stunning photos.

If you’re looking for a unique time, consider eloping during the fall. Fall is a great time to elope in Tennessee, as the leaves are turning golden and the mountains are starting to cast a beautiful silhouette. The foliage of the trees also creates a breathtaking backdrop for your photographs.

Winter may be too cold for a traditional wedding, but it’s perfect for a cozy elopement! For a winter elopement, consider heading to the mountains of Tennessee. The snow-capped peaks provide the perfect backdrop to say your “I dos”.

Best Places to Elope in Tennessee

Tennessee is an incredible state full of breathtaking scenery, romantic destinations, fun cities, and friendly people. There are so many incredible places you could elope, that it can be hard to decide where to go!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite options below!

The Great Smoky Mountain

With its stunning views and outdoor adventures, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most romantic places you could choose to get hitched. Whether you decide to get married atop a mountain or in a secluded meadow, the majestic backdrop of the Smokies is sure to make your special day perfect. Plus, the park offers a variety of elopement packages, from all-inclusive to a la carte.

The Appalachians

If you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, consider the rustic beauty of the Appalachians. This area of Tennessee is home to some of the most stunning views in the state, with lush forests and pristine rivers. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful setting or an outdoor adventure, the Appalachians has something for every couple.

Nashville

Music City is an ideal place to tie the knot. Whether you’re a fan of country music or not, there’s no denying that Nashville is an incredible choice for a Tennessee elopement. From the beautiful downtown skyline to the amazing restaurants and nightlife, and from the honky-tonks and live music venues of Broadway to the romantic venues of The Gulch, there’s something for everyone in this fun-time city.

Gatlinburg

Located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a popular choice for for couples looking to elope.

With its cozy cabins, romantic views, and plenty of attractions, Gatlinburg is sure to make your time special and memorable.

Be sure to check out our full guide on having an elopement in Gatlinburg!

Chattanooga

A picturesque city by the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is the perfect place to wed. With its incredible natural beauty, vibrant nightlife, and unique attractions, Chattanooga is sure to give your day the perfect touch. Consider the views of Lookout Mountain for a romantic touch, or the romantic ambiance of the Tennessee Aquarium for something a little different.

Pigeon Forge

If you’re looking for a small town elopement in Tennessee, look no further than Pigeon Forge. This charming little town is full of fun activities and attractions, making it a great choice for you.

Make it a magical Tennessee elopement ceremony and elopement reception

Designing the ceremony

When thinking about the style of your elopement ceremony, think about what makes you special as couple.

Think about your shared and unique interests.

Think about your individual personalities and what makes you, you.

Do you want to have a traditional ceremony with readings and formal songs, or would you like something more casual with background music and poetry?

The choice is entirely yours!

Think about ways you can include your guests in your elopement ceremony to make them feel included. Can some of your guests read a poem, can they perform some music, or can they help with decorations?

Designing the reception

For your reception, think about whether you want catering done, have a simple BBQ, or go to a restaurant.

Will your venue suit being decorated?

How can you make the reception be something that works for your personalities?

Could you have lawn games, horseback riding, or other outdoor activities?

Be sure to build it around what you want as a pair.

Choose a Tennessee elopement Officiant

You’ll need to pick the perfect person to help make your special day unforgettable.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional ceremony or something more unique, you’ll want to make sure you’ve found the right person to lead the legal part of your day.

There are a few things you’ll want to consider.

First, you’ll want to find someone who shares your spiritual beliefs and values. This is a key aspect of your ceremony, and it’s important to find someone who can provide a meaningful and supportive experience.

You’ll want to make sure the person you choose is experienced and comfortable with elopement ceremonies.

Not all officiants have experience in elopement ceremonies, so it’s important to find someone who is familiar with the process and can guide you through it.

You must check that the person you choose is licensed to officiate weddings in the state of Tennessee. There are certain regulations and requirements when it comes to getting married in Tennessee, and you’ll want to make sure your officiant is properly trained and licensed.

Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing officiants in Tennessee who can provide you with a meaningful and memorable ceremony.

Choose any vendors you need

Although elopements tend to be smaller affairs than traditional weddings, there may be some vendors you would like to help with the running of the day.

Here are some key vendors you may want to think about hiring.

Elopement Planner

Although many people plan their own elopement, you may want to get an elopement planner to help put the day together for you.

They will talk to you about your wants and needs and then take all the stress away, leaving you with only a few key decisions to make.

They will organise everything do you can simply turn up and get married!

Florist

If you want to give your ceremony and reception some added style, or you want to walk down the aisle holding a bouquet, you might want to consider a wedding florist that can help you with the flowers.

Decorator

You can, of course, have a simple elopement without any decorations or fanfare, but you may also want to consider some simple or formal decorations to make the ceremony and reception your own.

A professional wedding decorator will know how to make your venue look amazing, where doing your own decorations may not look as good as that photo you saw on Pinterest! So consider this if you want your elopement to look amazing.

Music

Music is a key part of the background for an elopement ceremony and reception. Music helps to set the scene and emotion.

Do you want a professional DJ so you don’t have to worry about the playlist, or will you simply stream some music from your phone?

We would recommend hiring someone to take care of music for you so you don’t have to worry about phone service, playlists, and battery life of your device!

Picking a Tennessee elopement photographer and Tennessee elopement videographer

One of the most important aspects of getting married is finding a great photographer, and also a wedding videographer.

These professionals will capture your wedding day in a way that you simply can’t do unless you know what you are doing.

A Tennessee elopement photographer will know all the unique and amazing locations you can take your formal and fun photos, and will know how to capture them so that you look back at them with pure joy.

A videographer that specialises in weddings will also know how to capture the day on video so you can watch it back for years to come. And there’s something about seeing your wedding on video that photographs just can’t replicate.

So definitely consider both of these professionals if your budget allows.

Hair and makeup

You want to look great at your wedding!

Although you may well be able to do your own hair and makeup, and although a friend might be awesome at styling you, you may just want to get a professional in to make the day more fun.

A professional wedding makeup artist and hair stylist will do your hair and makeup as well as any key members of the day, such as the maid of honor and mother of the bride.

This is a experience many people treasure, so consider getting a wedding makeup artist and wedding hair stylist for your elopement.

Attire

What will you wear?

Are you going to wear a traditional wedding dress or something more casual?

Will you buy it from a wedding dress store, or order one online?

What about suits? Will they be fitted, made-to-order, or off-the-shelf?

Or do you want something less formal, suit as shirts and waistcoats?

Figure out your Accommodation and Travel

Two important aspects to consider that many couples forget is accommodation and travel options.

These can book out in advance, and if you have guests coming from afar, you will want to think about whether they can get to your elopement and if there are places to stay!

Accommodation

Tennessee has many varied accommodation options you can choose from.

You can stay in a formal hotel, a rustic cabin in the mountains, a house by a lake with all your guests, or you could even camp in nature!

Whatever style and budget elopement you are having, there is something for you to choose from.

Make sure there are accommodation options available on your proposed elopement date.

Travel

Travel will not usually be too much of a problem in Tennessee. But if you are planning on eloping in the middle of nowhere, you will want to consider how you, your guests, and your vendors are going to get there!

Also think about the time of year. It can be more expensive to fly around the holiday periods and national holidays, and winter months can always make travel more difficult.

Also have a think if any of your key guests might find it difficult to get to your venue. Be sure to let them know in advance about your plans so they can make arrangements.

Exactly how to elope – the ultimate guide

If you want to read more about how to elope, be sure to check our our ultimate guide on how to elope.

Pros and Cons of an Elopement in Tennessee

As we near the end of this ultimate guide, let’s get a summary of the pros and cons of having an elopement in Tennessee.

Pros of an elopement in Tennessee

There are many pros to a Tennessee elopement. Here are some of the top reasons.

  • Incredible Scenery

Tennessee is filled with some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. From the rolling hills of the Smoky Mountains to the cascading rivers in the east, TN offers a breathtaking backdrop for your elopement.

  • Unique Venues

With a range of venues from rustic barns to elegant ballrooms, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot for your elopement. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional church ceremony or a romantic outdoor setting, there’s something for everyone.

  • Affordable Costs

Elopements are often much more cost effective than larger weddings. In Tennessee, you’ll find that elopement packages or DIY elopements can fit within any budget and still provide you with the perfect experience.

  • Friendly Locals

Tennessee is known for being a friendly and welcoming place, and you’ll find that this extends to the locals you’ll meet during your elopement. You’ll be sure to get the help and support you need to make your dream elopement come true.

Cons of eloping in Tennessee

There are some cons, too. Here are the top cons to think about.

  • Limited Local Vendors

Finding a reliable and trustworthy wedding vendor in rural Tennessee can be a challenge. This means you may have to look further afield or be more flexible with your expectations.

  • The weather

Tennessee’s weather can be unpredictable. This could mean that your outdoor wedding plans may be disrupted or even canceled due to extreme weather conditions.

  • Tennessee is a big state to get around

Many of the rural areas in Tennessee don’t have public transportation options, which means that you will need to arrange for your own transportation to the wedding. This can add to the cost and time associated with the elopement.

  • The (potential) planning

Although a traditional wedding may have more planning involved, an elopement still needs to be planned. You will need to make sure you meet all the legal requirements discussed above, arrange a venue, arrange key vendors, and make sure you and your guests can actually get there.

  • You may miss traditional wedding elements

As with any elopement, you will likely miss out on some traditional wedding elements, and it’s important to consider this when thinking about having this style of wedding. Which guests will not be invited? Will you still have a full reception or not? Will the ceremony be the type you want, or will you miss having a bigger, more formal affair? Will you miss having a big celebration with all your family and friends?

Have a great time eloping!

Wherever you decide to elope, Tennessee or otherwise, we hope you have a great experience getting married!

This is one of the most amazing moments of your life, so be sure to take the whole experience in and enjoy it!

Have a great time tying the knot!

Other Resources

If you are looking for other places to elope, check out our other ultimate elopement guides, including…

Eloping in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Eloping in Montana

Elopement in Texas

Elopement in California

How to elope in Arizona

How to elope in Utah

How to elope in Michigan

Eloping in Asheville NC

To read more about the costs of eloping, take a look at our ultimate guide on the cost of eloping.

And for even more on elopement planning, have a look at our ultimate guide to eloping.

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