Friday, June 24, 2016

Weddings with Small Guest Counts

How to book your Pigeon Forge wedding in the Smoky Mountains
Intimate weddings of 25 or less

Are you planning a wedding in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, and only want to invite a few of your closest family and friends?

Are you considering a reception at a local restaurant like after the ceremony instead of a reception at your wedding venue?

Do you want a stress-free day with a wedding venue already decorated and full of wedding detailed conveniences, but without the rushed, road-side chapel approach?

If so, this article is for you, and will give all the details on how to book a destination wedding at Honeysuckle Hills with a close-knit group of 25 or less.

If you are eloping, with just the two of you or with your children, please see this link for even more options:

The Essentials
Honeysuckle Hills Wedding Venue Provides

  • Tour on a day before the wedding to choose your ceremony site, get to know our staff and how your wedding day will go, and drop off guest books, unity sand, wedding favors, etc. (If you choose to bring these items our staff will put them out for you, but it's not required.)
  • A one hour "head start" is allowed to enter the venue prior to reservation start time and get dressed.  We have two separate dressing rooms, each with its own restroom.  Guest restroom located downstairs.
  • Friendly staff to direct your wedding ceremony, play ceremony music, and make your family feel welcome (We're sharing our home with you, so come on in!)
  • Ask about our venue only rates if you prefer to use your own photographer.  We absolutely do welcome this option.
  • Flower gardens,open spaces, fences, arched bridge, creek running through the property, and so much more.


Sales tax is already included in our quoted rates

All wedding packages include

  • Scheduled visit on a day before your wedding to choose ceremony site, allow Regina to get to know you, and make a plan for the photography
  • Choice of ceremony location, including back-up plan for rain
  • Minister
  • Wedding Director
  • Photography
  • Flash drive of all wedding images
  • Credit toward professional prints, canvases, or albums.  (or take this as a discount off the package price)

Wild Horses      

$1800 Wed-Fri            
$2000 Saturdays
  Includes $150 product credit

Our most popular, this package is perfect whether you want the breathtaking images with our horses that are trained to run behind you, or if you simply want more photography time for the most variety possible.  This reservation is a full hour and a half.

It's also a great choice for a couple bringing their young children.  Instead of pictures with the horses, more time can be devoted to your babies.  It often takes a little more time for little ones to adjust to the excitement and new surroundings. 

The Outdoor Adventure

$2500 Wed-Fri             
$2900 Saturdays  
  Includes $200 product credit         

Two hours of the most creative wedding images possible.  This package allows for enough time to travel three short miles from Honeysuckle Hills to private property bordering the National Park.  An old chimney, mountain views, mountain creek falls, and another vintage barn are possibilities there.  You may also choose to have the full two hours at the Honeysuckle Hills property.

Contact Regina

Our willow tree is one of the many ceremony locations you'll be able to choose when you get married at Honeysuckle Hills 
As you walk through our spacious venue, beautiful scenery greets you absolutely everywhere.  
The pavilion alongside our creek is a popular spot for rainy day weddings

How to Determine the amount of time you will need

An hour is sufficient if:
  • You are not hiring a professional photographer
  • Your family and friends will be taking their own snapshots of your wedding
  • You are using one of the Honeysuckle Hill's ministers and not your own
  • You are not bringing wedding cake or purchasing wedding cake from us

An hour and a half is recommended if:
  • You are hiring a professional photographer of your choice or the Honeysuckle Hills photographer 
  • You are using your own minister (extra time recommended in this case because they know you personally and deliver a longer ceremony)
  • You are not bringing wedding cake or purchasing wedding cake from us
  • You have guests not following each other and coming from different areas (This gives you a little wiggle room in case some arrive late)
Two hours is recommended if:
  • You are hiring a professional photographer of your choice or the Honeysuckle Hills photographer and want more time for your bride and groom images
  • You are using either the Honeysuckle Hills minister or your own
  • You wish to either bring wedding cake, or purchase wedding cake from us
  • You wish to use the reception area downstairs to eat your cake(already set up and decorated with white or chocolate brown table cloths) *** 3 hours required for receptions with food***
August brings bright colors to the Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue among the scenic mountain ridge views

What is a Honeysuckle Hills wedding actually like?

How to contact Regina with questions or to book your wedding:

866-572-7724 Toll Free
865-368-5569 Text (no texts after 8pm please)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How to Reserve Enough Time for your Wedding Venue

How long do I need for my Honeysuckle Hills wedding?

Over the past ten years, we've noticed a few things that are worth sharing to help with your decision on how long to book your wedding venue.  While wedding chapels operate on a completely different model, this information would also apply to any wedding venue with open spaces, gardens, vintage barn or woodland chic atmosphere.

Reserve early. The best dates typically book a year or more in advance. October Fridays and Saturdays book well over a year in advance. Any wedding venue that pours their heart and soul into their grounds and customer service will book before the others. In other words, the best venues always book first.

Last minute brides are not necessarily out of luck... occasionally there is an unfortunate cancellation, and we always offer a discount in attempts to re-book the date. Don't count on this to happen, but if you're flexible it's a great way to save money.

Reserve plenty of time. We can't stress this enough, especially if you're using the Honeysuckle Hills photographer, or any professional photographer who makes a full time living from their craft. Too often we see brides trying to squeeze too much into a short time period. A budget is one thing, but please be realistic in respect to what can actually be accomplished in the time frame you can reserve. Also give yourself a little wiggle room for those unexpected things like guests running late, forgotten items, or last minute additions.

When in doubt, ask Regina for a timeline. This will put things into perspective for you.

I have seen too many brides over the years say, "Oh, we only need something very simple," when in reality their ideas and wishes require more time than they originally booked. Make a list of the must have events for your wedding, and then ask for that time line. If your budget doesn't allow enough time for everything, prioritize. The worst thing you can do is try to cram it all in anyway.

Some things to consider when deciding how much wedding venue time to reserve are:

1) The number of guests
2) The style of your wedding dress (how long it takes to put it on; lace up takes longer)
3) How many people will be in the dressing room with you
4) Having parents and grandparents officially seated
5) Using your own wedding officiant / minister
6) Reception needs (cake, finger foods, or a full meal)
7) Your photographer's needs (level of creativity, use of off camera lighting, number of areas they plan to use at the venue, and how many family photographs you wish for)
8) Alcohol consumption
9) Time for dancing / DJ / Band
10) Traditional wedding events such as bouquet toss, toasts, cake cutting and first dances
11) Seasonal Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg traffic situations

When using your own minister, consider booking extra time. While not required, we recommend adding at least thirty more minutes to your reservation when using your own minister. Why? Because they know you more personally, they will deliver a longer, more uniquely personal ceremony. It does not matter how many times you tell them to keep it shorter, they just can't. The average ceremony deliverance when brides use their own officiant is twenty minutes. This puts the wedding ceremony process from start to finish at around thirty minutes, sometimes a little longer. If you only have an hour booked at our venue, that doesn't leave much time afterward for photographs. Even if you have more time booked, this additional ceremony length needs to be factored in to the overall itinerary.

Be realistic when it comes to the wedding budget. We have structured our venue so that we have many conveniences and decorations already, saving you a LOT of money. We're always set up and ready to go, even with a back up plan for rain. Because of this, we are one of the most economical wedding venues in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area considering everything included.

The best way to save money if you have a tight budget is to keep the guest count SMALL. Larger guest counts mean the need for more reservation time, more food purchases, larger wedding cake designs, and more. Brides who insist on inviting everyone despite a lower available budget always end up sacrificing quality. This is not a good idea, sweet girls.

It is better to save your money for a future wedding date and have your dream wedding later than to cut corners and add stress for immediate gratification.

Alternatively, consider a wedding elopement now and have more money to spend on wedding items that truly last (such as experienced, creative photographers,) and save your money for a vow renewal celebration at a later date.

Wedding music and larger celebrations... Don't skip out on the professional DJ. Our Bose Mp3 player sounds great.  I've gone through two of them in ten years, and for our smaller, more intimate weddings it's perfect.  However, when you've hired a caterer and several hours to enjoy our beautiful venue, the DJ is the icing on your cake.  He's the pretty bow that holds the beautiful gift box together.  His sound system rocks, and he can do things like create unique song mixes and start a song at a particular time point.  He has microphones for announcing events so that no matter where your guests are on our spacious farm and gardens, they will hear it.   This is money well spent, we assure you.

Don't cave under pressure from family and friends to do things you don't want to do.  This advice probably needs to be at the very top of this article, but it must be addressed.  Over and over again we see family put undue stress on a bride for something they want instead of what the bride wants.  We will always follow our bride's wishes, but it's almost impossible to keep it under control when family members become vocally aggressive.

If you want to elope with just the two of you in the Smoky Mountains, then take care who and when you announce this blessing to.  I can't tell you how many times a bride has scheduled an elopement only to upgrade to a wedding with guests and reception shortly after.  Sure, we love it!  But the question is, will YOU love it?  

We are also often asked, "Can my parents please attend my elopement" or "Can a few more people attend my wedding?" shortly after it's booked.  Of course, we are always sensitive to this loving gesture.  But it does inevitably take away from the time you would have originally had for photography or other scheduled events.  You will spend longer in the dressing room, the guests will want time to take pictures of you with their own cell phones, you will need more time for extra family pictures, and they will want to spend time giving affectionate hugs and kisses to you.   So again, if you find yourself with a few extra guests for your elopement or wedding celebration, please consider adding more time to compensate.

Overall, the very best way to find out how long you need to reserve is to call Regina and ask.  She can be reached at 866-572-7724, or she answers text during normal business hours at 865-368-5569.