Tennessee is a top-five destination for weddings nationally, and a perfect place for a family reunion – there are plenty of unique places to do both.
One of the most luxurious stays in the state is nestled just inside the Great Smoky Mountains. Spanning 4,200 acres, Blackberry Farm in Walland is more than just a resort, it’s an experience. With horseback riding, concerts, a brewery, a spa and wellness center, and special farm-to-table meals served al fresco, there’s no shortage of activities. It’s an upscale experience, perfect for a special milestone occasion like convening the whole family for a 50th wedding anniversary or your own elegant wedding weekend.
Glorious old Victorians and Antebellums provide a grand backdrop for tying the knot. Franklin lays claim to some of the most historic, such as Carnton, a plantation house built in the 1800s. Just up the road in Nashville, Belle Meade Plantation’s Carriage House, Two Rivers Mansion and Riverwood Mansion are hot spots for receptions. In Memphis, Woodruff-Fontaine House, a well-preserved 1871 French Victorian, is punctuated by manicured gardens and towering magnolias that gussy up any scene. Others to consider include the Historic Sam Davis Home in Smyrna, Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill, Cedar Hall in Bartlett and Crescent Bend House & Gardens in Knoxville.
Tennessee’s wineries aren’t just for sampling red and white. You can also stage your special day among the state’s many vineyards and tasting rooms. Arrington Vineyards provides a stunning spot for outdoor weddings or a sun-drenched family reunion. Other scenic wineries perfect for tying the knot include Crown Winery in Humboldt, Villa Nove Vineyards in Butler, Goodwater Vineyards in Mosheim, Natchez Hills Vineyard in Hampshire and Tennessee’s oldest winery, Highland Manor in Jamestown.
Only in Tennessee is there a venue where you can buy your cattle via auction and also throw a wedding in the same visit! That’s part of the beauty of West Tennessee’s Crazy K Ranch in Michie, which has an enormous barn and two event centers. In Middle Tennessee, The Barn at Sycamore Farms in Arrington offers a glamorous Southern setting with its beautiful wood barn, as well as an island on the farm’s lake (yes, an island!) for your ceremony. In Townsend, book your day of bliss at The Lily Barn, which offers a rustic gazebo surrounded by 3 acres of lovely perennials in the Smoky Mountains foothills.
For the wedding couple (or family) who loves Mother Nature, Tennessee has 56 state parks in which to exchange vows or frolic with loved ones. Recreation areas such as Pickwick Landing, Montgomery Bell, Reelfoot Lake or Tims Ford are ideal for those who love the water, while the 30,845 acres comprising South Cumberland is the perfect place for hiking, swimming and beautiful overlooks. Want to totally go off the grid? Have your ceremony at Indian Mountain State Park in Jellico for some extreme peace and quiet.
The Peabody Memphis
One of the state’s oldest hotels – celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019 – is also one of the most popular places in Memphis to be joined in marriage. The Peabody Memphis offers a beautiful Romeo and Juliet honeymoon suite with a two-story sitting room and spiral staircase. The “South’s Grand Hotel” can accommodate celebrations ranging from a small family affair to a large-scale event of 4,000. Ask about anniversary packages and other special events, too.
There’s no shortage of special occasion venues in the towns surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Those wanting to say “I do” will get the ultimate high from atop Clingsmans Dome, the tallest point in the Smokies. Cabin rentals in Sevierville are custom-made for large groups and provide plenty of hiking options and waterfall dips for families of all sizes and skill levels. Gatlinburg is owning the moonshine scene with the massive Sugarlands Distilling Co. and Ole Smoky providing a fun way to sample the area’s culture. Music fans will have a blast in Pigeon Forge by checking into Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort and Spa or taking a spin on the various rides at Dollywood. Or, gather the group to explore the ever-popular Titanic Museum.
Getting hitched? Then look no further than Nashville, one of the top cities in the country for bachelorette weekends. From the tunes pulsating through Broadway with breakfast well into the night to the cutesy shopping to the food, there’s an endless amount of fun to be had for girlfriend groups. Start with brunch at Biscuit Love, followed by a chocolate-and-wine pairing workshop at the Goo Goo Shop & Dessert Bar. Mosey back on over to The George Jones for a little musical education and some wine at the rooftop lounge before dinner and elevated cocktails at the Black Rabbit. Conclude the evening down on Printer’s Alley, where there’s always live music.