Cades Cove Elopement | tent camping on your wedding night

How to Get Married in a National Park

Whether you choose to get married in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park or another of the 63 National Parks in the United States, each have their own SUP application process and guidelines to follow in order to get married within the boundaries of the park. We are privileged with the opportunity to access these breathtakingly epic spaces, and with that, comes the responsibility to take care of these public lands by following the requirements and restrictions set in place by the park.

Special Use Permits

A Special Use Permit (SUP) is required to hold weddings, elopements (even those with 2 people), vow renewals, or any commitment ceremonies in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. These guidelines are intended to facilitate discrete services and ceremonies appropriate to the quiet, natural settings found in the park.

You can apply for a SUP up to 1 year in advance, and applications & payments must be receive at least 14 days prior to the ceremony. Keep in mind, there are no guarantees that last minute requests will be approved. The application fee is $50 for spots on the pre-designed location list. If you book an adventure elopement with Magnolia + Ember, I will help you navigate all the legality and applying for the permit, educate you on restrictions specific to the GSMNP, and help you plan the whole experience with any elopement photography package.

Cades Cove elopement ceremony at Wildlife Overlook

Tip For Champagne Popping in a National Park!

Per the restrictions listed in the Special Use Permit, required for any elopement in a National Park, alcohol is only allowed in designated picnic areas and campgrounds. This means popping a bottle of bubbly for that celebratory spray photo is considered an open container and illegal in most park areas.

A great alternative is a 750mL bottle of Topo Chico. Not only does this keep anyone from getting fined or arrested for having alcohol in a National Park, this aligns with the guidelines provided by Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. We want to ensure we are mindful about our environmental impact when getting married outside. Sparkling water is better for the environment and does not leave a sugary residue that could be harmful for fragile vegetation and wildlife.

Blog Post: Leave No Trace | how to plan a minimal impact elopement

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