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Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue at Tennessee State Parks

May 20, 2021  |  Permalink

How do you find the perfect wedding venue at the right price without sacrificing what you really want? Newly engaged couple Karman and James tackled this age-old question by booking at a Tennessee State Park. In this blog, they talk about finding the budget-friendly venue of their dreams amongst the sparkling shores and dreamy forests at Norris Dam State Park.

Karman and James posing outdoors

Hi, I’m Karman and my fiancé’s name is James and we live in Nashville with our cat, Pepper. When we aren’t playing with the cat, we’re either in the kitchen cooking together, out for a hike (Radnor Lake is a favorite spot for us), or busy working on converting a Chevy Express cargo van into a camper van! We got engaged in October 2020, and we are about five months out from our wedding date.

Notebook with wedding checklist

Choosing a Tennessee State Parks Venue

One of the first items on our to-do list was to decide on a venue. We wanted to find a place that was:

  1. Somewhat centrally located for all our family and friends
  2. Budget-friendly
  3. Felt special to us

Since we are outdoor enthusiasts, we wanted a ceremony and reception that reflected that. The budget-friendly aspect was the biggest challenge when it came to searching for a venue, and it took some creativity and thinking outside the box before we came across the perfect option—Tennessee State Parks!

Sparkling blue lake at Norris Dam State Park
Photo: ©Tennessee Photographs

How did you discover Tennessee State Park wedding venues?

After a lot of web searching, I finally typed in ‘weddings at Tennessee State Parks’ and came across their page. I remember being so impressed looking through photos of the venues at many of the parks across the state. We’ve visited several of the state parks together for hiking and mountain biking, so getting married at one of the parks seemed like the perfect backdrop and setting for outdoor lovers like us! The other important box the state parks marked off was our desire for a budget-friendly venue.

Team Room Venue Exterior at Norris Dam State Park
Photo: ©Tennessee Photographs

How did you pick the perfect park?

Norris Dam State Park stood out as the best option for us, so we set up a time to visit. Driving through the park and touring the Tea Room, we knew it was the place for us to get married. The primary venue is the Tea Room, a cute, rustic building that was constructed in the 1930s as part of the Norris Project and Roosevelt’s New Deal effort. The Tea Room was previously a restaurant but now serves solely as an event venue. Across the way from the Tea Room is an open amphitheater—a beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony!

Another thing that sold us on renting the Tea Room as our wedding venue was that when you rent it for a weekend wedding, you get it Friday through Sunday. This was important since all our family and friends will be traveling in, and so we could have a fun-filled weekend of celebrating with the people we love most!

Planning a Destination Wedding

While our wedding is taking place in the same state we live, I still consider it a destination wedding! Norris Dam State Park is a gorgeous destination, with incredible scenery, great hiking, and the most beautiful blue-green water I have ever seen.

Cabin at Norris Dam State Park
Photo: ©Tennessee Photographs

Were you looking for on-site guest accommodations?

All our family and friends will have to travel in for the wedding, with the shortest drive being 2 hours. With that in mind, we felt like the cabins and campground at Norris Dam State Park would be perfect for those who wanted to stay overnight. Within walking distance of the Tea Room are several quaint, historic cabins for guests. There are additional larger cabins on the other side of the park, about a 5-minute drive from the venue.

How did you find vendors?

Thankfully for the internet and social media, it’s easy to find whatever services and vendors you need for a wedding online. We relied a lot on reviews, referrals, and suggestions from friends to find all our vendors. It was important to us to do a tasting with the caterer before moving forward, so we set up a time for that while we were visiting family over in that part of the state. On that same trip, we met with our photographer at Norris Dam State Park to check out photo spots for the wedding day. She showed us so many gorgeous spots to take photos!

Both the photographer and caterer have done weddings at Norris Dam State Park before, so it made us feel even more comfortable working with them for our big day.

Plan Your Wedding at Tennessee State Parks

You don’t have to spend a fortune to have the wedding of your dreams. Our park venues affordable and located in some of the most beautiful locations in the state of Tennessee.

Let us help you create the natural wedding of your dreams:


About Karman

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,

Connect with Karman on Instagram: @karmanmeyer.

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