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5 Tips for Planning a Wedding at a Tennessee State Park

July 1, 2021  |  Permalink

Wedding party posing in a feild at Roan Mountain State Parkphoto ©Madison Hope Photography, Roan Mountain State Park

Whether you consider yourself an outdoor enthusiast or you admire the beauty of natural spaces, a Tennessee State Park venue may be the perfect spot for your wedding. With outdoor and indoor venue options, on-site guest accommodations, and breathtaking natural beauty, state parks have a lot to offer. As with any venue, there are lots of factors to choosing the right space that fits your needs and wants. To help you through the planning process, we asked Karman, who's currently planning her state park wedding, for her top five tips.

Disclaimer: The author of this blog post was given a discount on their venue rental. All thoughts and opinions presented in this article are original to the author.

Couple embracing on a bridge over a lake with mountains behind them at Cove Lake State ParkPhoto ©Sarah Moser Photography, Cove Lake State Park

1. Explore Parks You Haven't Visited Before

Looking through all 56 Tennessee State Parks and their venues was such a fun part of our wedding planning process. While my partner and I hadn't been to Norris Dam State Park before, we wanted to check it out because of the unique indoor and outdoor venues. The park was also the most centrally located option in terms of driving distance for family & friends. If you and your partner are open to having your wedding in a beautiful setting, I highly encourage you to explore venue and accommodation options at Tennessee State Parks!

Tip: Visit the Tennessee State Parks Wedding page to find information on each park venue all in one place! Then you can request more information about the venues you're most interested in. Shortly after, a state parks event specialist will reach out and work with you to find the perfect fit.

 

Couple with a dog on a leash in front of a lake at Tims Ford State ParkPhoto ©Lindsay Campbell Photography, Tims Ford State Park

2. Book a Visit to the Park Venue

Once you’ve narrowed down a couple of park options, schedule times to visit and get a feeling for what your wedding day might be like. When we drove through Norris Dam State Park after the Christmas holiday that “feeling” was there and we just knew this was the venue! I think that probably holds true for most couples when visiting venues—the feeling that a particular space is exactly where you want to celebrate such a momentous occasion. While you’re there, consider the accommodations available at the park and whether they’re a good fit for your guests. If you have a chance, book a stay at the park so you can really get the full experience!

Tip: Tennessee State Parks offer cabins, campsites, and even hotel-style lodges that are perfect for guest accommodations. Having your guests stay at the park means they'll have access to all of the outdoor sights and activities, and you'll rest easy knowing your guests are entertained.

 

Wedding venue inside the Cedar Lodge at Cedars of Lebanon State ParkPhoto ©Victoria Heer Photography, Cedars of Lebanon State Park

3. Reach Out to Park Staff 

No one knows more about the state parks than the staff working at each park! If you need help writing out driving directions to provide to your guests, they can give great advice rather than relying on a Google map. When it comes to catering for your wedding, reach out to see if there is a restaurant on site that provides banquet & catering services. Every time I’ve reached out to the state park staff or interacted with the park rangers, they’ve been super helpful and friendly.

 

String lights and table set up outdoors at Cedars of Lebanon State ParkPhoto ©Chad Erickson Photography, Cedars of Lebanon State Park

4. Consider Having Other Wedding Related Events at the Park

Once you’ve decided on the best state park for your wedding and secured the venue, consider having any other wedding-related events at the park, like bridal showers or the rehearsal dinner. You can keep it simple and reserve a picnic shelter for an outdoor bridal brunch, or if the state park has a restaurant offering banquet services, it may be the perfect spot for the rehearsal dinner.

 

Couple getting married on platform outside in front of guests at Frozen Head State ParkPhoto ©Hillary Barnes of Forget Me Not Photography, Frozen Head State Park

5. Embrace the Beauty of Tennessee State Parks

When you go to visit the park, check out some of the must-see spots to get an idea of where you may have photos taken on your wedding day. We decided to meet with our photographer at Norris Dam State Park to talk through photo spots and areas where she has photographed other couples who have been married there. If the park has an amphitheater or other picture-worthy spot, make the most of it and have your ceremony in that area. Embrace all the beauty that is naturally built into a state park wedding!


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About the Author

Karman Meyer lives in Nashville with her fiancé James and their cat, Pepper. She is a Registered Dietitian and writes and shares recipes on her website, TheNutritionAdventure.com. Connect with Karman on Instagram: @karmanmeyer.

About the author