The Best Places to Elope in Tennessee

June 21, 2021

From the adventure of Chattanooga wilderness to the waterfalls of Smoky Mountain National Park, here are the best places to elope in Tennessee!

If you have ever toured through our mountains or caught the jaw-dropping colors of a fall in Tennessee, or experienced our diverse weather in every season, you will understand its appeal for celebrating your elopement. From the diverse seasons to the intimate settings, to activities around every bend… the best places to elope in Tennessee are those that will create lasting memories.

But for the storied adventurer, choosing a location in the historical state can be a difficult decision! That’s why I have compiled a list of the best places to elope in Tennessee. If an outdoor adventure elopement is on your radar, these are some of the places worth considering in our beautiful state.

As an elopement photographer, I do so much more than photography. I often help couples find the perfect location and help with other aspects of planning like picking the best time for their ceremony based on lighting and other factors. This is one of my favorite parts of being an elopement photographer. Let’s jump right in!

Who Elopes in Tennessee?

The truth is, a Tennessee elopement has a diverse appeal to a wide range of groups. But the one unifying factor of such a wide range of people? They all have a heart for adventure.

For couples looking to leave the hustle and bustle of the city, or looking for a mountain getaway on the East Coast, Tennessee is your ideal location. No matter your level of adventure (whether that be white water rapids or a scenic view of the misty blue mountains) Tennessee has something for you.

Now, pour yourself a glass of wine, pull out your adventure planning notebook, cuddle up with your love beside you, and let’s discover the best places to elope in Tennessee.

Bride and groom walking on overlook at Lula Lake elopement in Chattanooga

Best Place to Elope in Tennessee #1: Chattanooga

Chattanooga is well known as an epic outdoor city with an abundance of rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and backpacking. It’s the perfect area for adventurers and fun-loving couples to explore. If outdoor adventure sports are your thing… then Chattanooga may be the place for you.

Why it is one of the Best Places to Elope in Tennessee:

As a Chattanooga native, I may be a little biased, but this is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The scenery is like something from a fairytale, and the culture is welcoming, friendly, and full of others who love adventure just as much as you do.  Another major plus is Chattanooga’s central location to both Atlanta and Nashville. It provides easy access to major airports, so it is relatively easy to access. I know the hidden nooks of Chattanooga well. So if you have any questions about the best secret elopement hideouts or photo opportunities, reach out and ask!

Best Season to Elope

Chattanooga is beautiful any time of year but my favorite time to photograph elopements is the fall. Autumn in Chattanooga is full of rich colors and milder weather. Imagine yourself wandering riverside with your love on your arm, a breeze in your hair, and fall colors surrounding you.  That’s fall in Chattanooga and that’s what makes it one of the best places to elope in Tennessee.

Activities and More

My favorite activity for a Chattanooga elopement? A sunrise or sunset hike to a mountain overlook. The lighting is perfect, the air is crisp and the mountains provide a stunning backdrop for photos.  

Signal Mountain is a facorite place for these hikes.  The mountain overlooks the Tennessee River Gorge – arguably one of the best views in Chattanooga. Certain times of year when the temps and weather are just right, a cloud inversion happens at sunrise leaving you with the feeling of being above the clouds. (Note that this location requires a permit! Look into permitting early to ensure you have taken care of all necessary steps.)

Your Packing List

Comfy shoes or hiking boots are a must! Some of the most beautiful places in Chattanooga involve a little bit of hiking, and also make it one of the best places to elope in Tennessee! You can always switch into different shoes once at your destination. Pro-tip: be sure to break your boots in before wearing them on elopement day. Nothing ruins the mood like elopement day blisters!

bride and groom elope at sunset in the mountains of tennessee

Best Place to Elope in Tennessee #2: Lula Lake and Land Trust

Lula Lake is a Land Trust on Lookout Mountain just outside Chattanooga, and it holds a special place in my heart. The Land Trust only allows a very few photographers to use their property for photoshoots. Luckily for you, I am one of them! As someone who fully supports conservation, I love the work that Lula Lake is doing to help protect and maintain our precious outdoor spaces.  

Why it is one of the Best Places to Elope in Tennessee:

Lula Lake is a uniquely gorgeous location with one of the larger, more accessible waterfalls in the area. It’s the perfect spot for an off-the-beaten-path elopement day. One of the biggest benefits of eloping at Lula Lake is privacy. It’s one of the only places in the southeast you can have a completely secluded elopement in nature.

Lula Lake is only accessible to the public on certain weekends throughout the year,  but you can reserve the land trust property for your elopement and have the land trust to yourselves! There are a variety of scenic locations perfect for an intimate spot to say vows including two waterfalls, a creek, a gorgeous blue lake, and a mountain overlook, making it one of the best places to elope in Tennessee. 

Best Season to Elope

I recommend my couples marry in spring into early summer at Lula Lake. This is when the creeks and waterfalls have plenty of water from spring rains, and creates a beautiful feature for stunning photography. Lots of water also make this a great time to elope at a waterfall! (Need some more water photography inspiration? Scroll through this portfolio.)

Activities and More

It has to be said, saying your vows underneath the 100-foot waterfall is the most epic elopement of all time. And, it can be a reality at Lula Lake. To add a splash of color and sparkle to your wedding day agenda, check out Fox and Fern Style. Because no one has ever gotten a bouquet, boutonniere, or flower crown on their special day and regretted it.

Your Packing List

Don’t forget your four-legged friend! Lula Lake is dog-friendly and a treasured pet can add a unique dimension to your special day.

Best Places to Elope in Tennessee #3: Smoky Mountain National Park

For an authentic and rustic elopement experience… Smoky Mountain National Park may just be the spot for your Tennessee Elopement. The park contains diverse and dramatic scenery, 800 miles of hiking trails, rivers, waterfalls, epic scenery, and crisp mountain air.

bride and groom elope at chattanooga waterfall

Why it is one of the Best Places to Elope in Tennessee:

There is something for everyone in the Smoky Mountains. Scenic drives, waterfalls, hiking, horseback riding, and helicopter tours… the park has it all. The Smoky Mountains is one of the most visited National Parks in the country… and for good reason! 

Then, consider staying longer in the park after your elopement celebration in order to explore. My favorite part is the many vistas overlooking the mist-covered mountains. (The Smokies were named by the native Cherokee for the iconic whitish-blue mistiness that often hangs over the peaks!) The magic of being in the presence of these mountains makes it one of the best places to elope in Tennessee.

Best Season to Elope

The Smokies are amazing any time of year, but winter and spring are my favorite times to visit. Winter is the quietest time in the park with fewer crowds. This can allow a much more intimate experience for your elopement. (The Smokies get really crowded in summer and fall!) 

Winter sunsets are particularly beautiful. January and February often bring snow to the Smoky Mountains – if a snowy elopement has piqued your interest! Spring offers milder crowds and some of the best wildflowers I have ever seen in Tennessee.

Activities and More

For my adventurous couple, this is one of the best places to elope in Tennessee. Check out Scenic Helicopter Tours, for an aerial view of the mountains. While not for couples who are height adverse, these tours provide an elopement activity you will not soon forget.

Your Packing List

The Great Smoky Mountains require a special use permit for all wedding ceremonies. They also only allow permitted photographers to take photographs of your ceremony. (Luckily for you, I may just know a gal with the qualifications!) Do your research beforehand, and make sure all permits and registrations are completed before your big day.

Best Places to Elope in Tennessee #4: Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls is an adventurer’s paradise. This is one of Tennessee’s most renowned outdoor destinations is full of waterfalls, creeks, gorges, and vistas, making it one of the best places to elope in Tennessee. There are plenty of adventure activities within the park also including rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking. 

Why it is one of the Best Places to Elope in Tennessee:

The views in Fall Creek Falls are unmatched. It’s also home to the tallest free-falling waterfall east of the Mississippi River. With 29,000 acres there is plenty of space to explore and you can easily escape the crowds and create an intimate elopement celebration without the random passerby hiking through! 

There are multiple lodging options within the park, which is ideal for inviting a few guests to come to celebrate your special day. With a number of great ceremony spots, your only problem will be which one to choose!  Many of these elopement locations are close to parking and easy access to facilities, another ideal aspect if guests are involved.

bride and groom embrace during sunrise at snooper's rock wedding


Best Season to Elope

I have strong feelings about this one. If you are going to elope in Fall Creek Falls, you must do it in the fall. The autumn colors are unbeatable from the many vistas and views points the falls provide. If you are a couple who is planning on a fall elopement and desire a splash of warm color and jaw-dropping scenery then look no further. The colors alone make this one of the best places to elope in Tennessee. 

Activities and Other Ideas

I love it when my lovebirds are also adventurers because it makes for some incredible photographs. In Fall Creek Falls, I recommend renting a paddleboat or canoe and paddling out into the lake for sunset. But the adventure does not have to end when the ceremony is over. Continue the celebration at Bolt Farm Treehouse. Known as the “luxury honeymoon treehouse,” it is complete with a canopy king bed, private deck, private fire pit, and a yoga exercise porch. Need I say more?

Your Packing List

A cozy Pendleton blanket to keep you warm while stargazing! Fall Creek Falls is an hour from any sizable city making it a great location to enjoy the night sky. So bring a few layers so you and your love can relive the magic of the day under a blanket of stars.

Creating an Elopement Ceremony Catered to You

These are just a few of the best places to elope in Tennessee. If you have not realized already, Tennessee is an epic place to celebrate your love. Leave it to me to have a long list of locations and plenty of more secret spots for couples looking for something off the beaten path! 

Assisting couples while they dream big and plan their elopement brings me so much joy. Helping others understand the draw of my home state, and appreciating the unrelenting natural beauty Tennessee provides lets me know I am doing my job well.

If you are ready to take your Tennessee elopement planning to the next level or have more ideas about the best places to elope in Tennessee, let’s talk. I can’t wait to hear from you!