About Kate
Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.  And, with my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you. SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision. I changed course so that you can too.  Ready to explore eloping?!  Let's Chat!
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4 Mistakes to Avoid when you elope in Tennessee

How-To & Tips

If you want to elope in Tennessee, you want to make sure not to make these 4 mistakes.

I’m not one to highlight the negative, but these four mistakes are things I’ve seen people make before. When these mistakes are made, it ends up making their wedding take a turn for the worse. So let this blog, and the following advice, be from one friend to another. ❤️

Mistake #1 to avoid when you elope in Tennessee – Not thinking about the weather.

The south is known for its temperament winters and warm summers but there can be less appealing weather. When you elope in Tennessee you need to think about the potential weather. Like in the fall, Tennessee could be impacted by hurricane winds and rains. And there can be freezes in the winter, like this incredible winter waterfall elopement.

As you plan out your wedding experience, make sure you’re mindful of the time of year and the time of day that you elope in Tennessee!

If you’re going to elope in Tennessee you need to think about the legalities of the marriage.

Mistake number two is people don’t do the appropriate research into the legalities of their wedding. Permits are often required and ordination is a little unique in Tennessee.


Depending on your location, you might be required to have permits and other approvals to use it as your wedding spot. Things like access permits, special use permits, party size, and commercial photography permits are things that you need to look into.

I know that might feel like a lot of things to think about (especially if you’ve never really heard about these things before) but there is nothing to worry about when working with me. I help all of my couples gather all the information that they need. Together we get all the paperwork squared away!


In Tennessee specifically, they are a bit more strict on ordination licenses. If your officiant, or whoever you plan to officiate, has been ordained online, it won’t be recognized within the state. This means you have to go with a more traditional route in hiring your officiant. OR, when you book me as your elopement photographer, I have gone through the extra steps the state law requires for a formal ordination! This allows me to legally officiate weddings in Tennessee! (And pssst—my help to do so is at no extra cost to my eloping couples!😊)

There are totally ways to get around this hiccup, they just require you to be creative and intentional.

So if you’re going to elope in TN, make sure you think about the legalities of who can marry you!

Lastly, you obviously need to make sure you get your marriage license! In Tennessee, it lasts for 30 days after issuance.

Mistake #3: Only eloping near the tourist spots when you elope in Tennessee

Tennessee has always been beautiful and worth visiting, but the attraction to Nashville has blown up. Gatlinburg and Great Smoky National Park are other hot spots for tourists. Both of these spots can give way to incredible elopement activities and opportunities. But there is a dark side to the trendy, tourist spots.

Obviously there are positives and negatives to being near the central spots.

For one, if you’re looking for more access to things and more “obscure” elements, you’ll have an easier time. For example, if you want a smorgasbord of gourmet vegan desserts, the tourist spots will definitely have it. But you’ll have to pay more for it, risk available dates, need more lead time, and potentially get overwhelmed with all of your options.

The biggest practical negative to your elopement hub being a tourist spot is that you’ll have to pay for it. More demand, higher prices! Both Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Nation Park have an intense wedding industry. This means you will be stuck with the high-priced, high turn-around, highly used experience.

The biggest vibe negative to your elopement hub being a tourist spot is that it has been done before.

You deserve freedom, flexibility, and a chance for a little more privacy. ❤️

By not working with someone who excels in finding off the beaten path you might think the beaten path is all that’s out there for you. But there IS another option. I pride myself on my ability to find the “vibe” my couples are looking for even within the limitations the have (including wanting something unique!)

(And if vegan cake and seasonal market fliers matter to you but you don’t want to be near it all at a major hub, we’ll do what we can to find a way to meet your needs. 🤗)

Check out this full flushed list of other incredible Tennessee location spots!

The final mistake: Thinking you have to elope alone in Tennessee

As a proud photographer of all, I aim to always be mindful of the sensitive aspects that each of my couples could face. With that in mind, I don’t want any of my couples to venture to the south without a thoughtful guide to help them towards the direction of tolerance, safety, and comfort.

The south IS evolving. Those of us that live here and believe in the beauty of that evolution, affectionately refer to it as the New South. But the old South is out there.

If you’re in public spaces, inclusivity is more the norm and I always (ALWAYS) actively seek places, locations, and vendors that are welcoming to ALL my people.

But I do believe it is best to have a guide to support you on this journey. I’ll vet your vendors, help you to do our best to avoid bad spots, and create an incredibly empowering elopement experience.

Elope in Tennessee Successfully

Hopefully, the above list of 4 mistakes can help you plan your elopement more successfully in Tennessee, but there are a couple of other things you want to keep in mind. I’ve gathered a quick list of other resources or topics for you to be aware of:

  • This blog covers all the things you need to think about when trying to elope quickly, but it’s just a great resource on things you need to think about when planning your elopement, regardless of your timeline.
  • You can check out this post to learn how much an elopement should cost.
  • This blog gives you 7 questions to ask on your hunt for your elopement photographer.
  • If you want to include friends and family in your elopement, this blog shares with you how!

I’m currently booking for 2024 weddings and if that’s you, now is the time for us to talk. I would love to help you elope in Tennessee!

What should I know about eloping in Tennessee?

Make sure your marriage is legal!!
Tennessee doesn’t recognize anyone who has been ordained online. This means you are stuck going a more traditional route in hiring your officiant OR finding someone (mee!) that has a formal ordination that can still support your original vision.

About Kate...

I put  my photography, obsessive planning, and all I’ve learned in my life + business + travels to work as an accomplice & adventure concierge for elopements of all kinds. 
Freeing couples just like you to have an adventurous wedding unlike any other!



How-To Planning Tips

Location Inspiration

Elopements-Us Two

Elopements-Us 2 + Crew

Activity Inspiration

Hi! I’m Kate, 

and I’m in your corner.

Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.

With my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you.   SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision.  To create a safe space for couples to create a wedding experience that feels right.

I changed course so that you can too.

Freeing couples to get married exactly how they want to, with no limits on what that looks like.   Is that bold?!?  Maybe, but you're ready!

Let's build your elopement adventure!



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