Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why a Smoky Mountain Wedding is Better than the Beach

I've lived in these Smoky Mountains all my life.  I mean literally, I was born at the tiny little hospital in Sevierville that has since been replaced with LeConte Medical Center, and raised where I could run the ridges freely.  I never got snake-bit (I was constantly told to watch for them,) and I've never been chased by a bear (although I chased a few of them with my Daddy.)

Like a lot of you, I get wanderlust from time to time.  When you live in the mountains, you want to see something else, like the beach.  Charleston, South Carolina is my sandy destination of choice.  It's rich in history, there are deer, raccoon, and other wildlife on Seabrook Island, and the people who live there are as friendly as those in my home town.

Once, I even met a couple on one of my vacations there to photograph their engagement session.

One would assume, at this point, that when a girl like me decided to marry her soul mate, she would choose a beach wedding over her own mountains.

Are you NUTS?!

Photograph by Don Fields Photography

Admittedly, a girl who would raise an orphan squirrel given as a present by her sweetheart is not as likely to get married on the beach.  But there are so many other reasons why I personally believe that a Smoky Mountain wedding is so much better.

  • Wedding venues at the beach have sand, water, and sometimes have pretty sunsets.  And that's IT.  If you're smart enough to hire a photographer who knows how to expose for the bright sun behind you, and knows how to capture both you AND the sunset, great.  But that's all you're going to have.  If that's all you want... fine.  But mountain girls like me are spoiled with more variety in scenery.
  • Unless you have plenty of money to burn, the chances of having any privacy on the beach is slim.  And remember, the wedding crashers at the beach hide very little.  They sure won't be adhering to your dress code.
  • The wind and rainstorms at the beach wreak havoc on a wedding ceremony unexpectedly and frequently. That much wind makes it harder to hear the wedding vows, and harder to record voices in a wedding video, too.  I happen to love a good wind-blown hair / veil look, but if you don't, the beach is definitely not for you.
  • Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have more types of wedding venues to choose from.  Candlelit chapels, waterfalls, creeks, flower gardens, horse stables, drive-through chapels, mountain views, historic home places... it's endless.  The mountains cater to more personalities and interests.
  • Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have more for children.  If you're blending two families together, a good go-kart track or petting zoo is essential.  If that won't do it, Dolly's roller coasters will.  I will bet good money that Dolly's Splash Country beats any water park on any beach, too.
  • Instead of getting sunburned on the beach, get a massage at The Island in Pigeon Forge at the Margaritaville Island Hotel.  And by the way, sunburns look horrible in wedding pictures!
  • You can look at palm trees all year round.  OR you can feast your eyes on rich wintergreen in December topped with snow, dogwoods in the spring, blooming rhododendron in the summer, and gorgeous auburn and gold leaves in the fall.  Autumn in the mountains is my favorite time to get married in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg.  
  • A mountain wedding touches the soul.  There will be more time to slow down and enjoy the moments you join your lives together.  Beach weddings race the sunset, and if anything goes wrong there is no time to adapt.  Sure, a beach wedding can be in the middle of the day, but who wants to stand there in that humid heat?  If you're uncomfortable, that is what you're going to remember.  
Come create mountain wedding memories instead.  You can always go to the beach for your honeymoon...

You know I can't end this story without a plug for my own Pigeon Forge wedding venue, Honeysuckle Hills.  I've pulled all the great things couples desire for a beautiful outdoor wedding in one great place.  (And yes, we sure do have a back-up ceremony area in case it rains)

So whether it's just the two of you, or if you're bringing along 100 guests, come get married with us!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Elope to the Smoky Mountains

Our new granite stone wedding arch is quickly becoming one of the most popular ceremony locations 

First, I hope your day is as wonderful as mine right now.  Seriously... God has blessed me with acres of beauty that attracts great people like you who want to get married.  I never take this blessing for granted.  There hasn't been a single person in ten years I've met here that I haven't loved.

You want to elope. Or, maybe you want to renew your wedding vows.  Either way, you want the most beautiful venue in Pigeon Forge to share these vows and commitment to each other.  Welcome to Honeysuckle Hills!  It's not just our gardens, landscaping, and horses that will make your day special.  It's the personal experience we're going to share with a family touch.

You are too important to me for it to be anything less. 

If we were sitting together beneath the willow tree getting to know one another, that would be perfect. But since you're on your phone or computer researching instead, I can still help.  

How Honeysuckle Hills may be perfect for your elopement...

  • Your photographs will be out of this world creative... because Honeysuckle Hills has the best wedding photographer in the southeast.  We guarantee your images will rival anyone else's.  Period.
  • What if it rains?  No worries.  It's good luck, and luckily for you we have three different ceremony areas ready to go in case the weather gets bad.
  • Privacy.  You will not have to share your special moments with the public.  Our venue is private, and no other wedding will take place while you are our special guests.
  • Dressing Rooms.  There is a dressing room for BOTH of you, and Regina will assist the bride with her dress if necessary.  
  • Caring Ceremony Officiants.  We have a variety of wedding officiants, both Christian and civil.  They are all caring individuals who respect your wishes with a sincere desire to make your ceremony what you wish it to be.  
If you love a romantic willow tree, I planted one eight years ago.  Every year I've watched it grow, just as I know your love for each other will through the years.

Our couples only wedding packages include a flash drive of all your beautiful images and a product credit toward professional prints, canvases, giclees, or albums.  Our albums are of much higher quality than you'll find on your own.  This also makes it easier to have an album in hand quicker.  (Instead of constantly putting off when you're going to "get to it.") 

Albums start at only $300 for a beautiful glossy coffee table book like you see below.

This album is an 8x8" hard cover, glossy book with up to 45 of your favorite images.  You will get to approve its design, before it is produced and shipped right to your door.


All prices below already include Sales Tax

Military, either active or retired, please accept a 10% discount as a small token of my appreciation to you.

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)

"Lickety Split" Love 

 $650  All Days
  Includes $50 product credit

A 30 minute reservation that allows enough time for the ceremony and formal portraits in one location. Our staff will lovingly guide you through the ceremony and provide heart-warming images to enjoy from one location on our farm.  Please understand the photography time is VERY short and limited in this package.  It was created for couples who want to get married in a beautiful place and have charming, traditional photographs, but they don't want to spend the time required for variety and creativity.

An Hour of Beauty

 $1200 Wednesdays through Saturdays
   Includes $100 product credit

Excellent choice for the couple who wants more time for Regina to be creative, but does not wish to have photographs with the horses or at the mountain ridge view.

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.

I urge you to give me as much time as you possibly can.  Instead of walking around with a camera around my neck, I'm using a tripod, assistant, hauling lights, etc.  I can't create images like you see on our website unless you give me the time to use these powerful tools and take the time to know you.    If all you want is a good exposure from an expensive camera, there are literally hundreds of other places you can obtain this, and much cheaper.  To me, you are priceless.  

How to Book Your Couples Only Wedding

1) Let's find your perfect wedding date!   Email me at or text me at 865-368-5569. 

2) You'll need a place to stay.  The cabins closest to Honeysuckle Hills are at Caney Creek.  Our favorite is "Starkey's Cabin."  Another beautiful cabin company within 15 minutes of us is

3) Need hair and make-up?  I love, only ten minutes from us.  However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing your hair and makeup yourself so you feel more natural.  Even if I think you're gorgeous, if you're not comfortable "all made up," then it shows in the pictures.

4) Need a bouquet?  Kelly and Kris at From the Heart Florist will fix you right up.  865-774-5588.  You're also welcome to bring your own bouquet.  

5) Want to rent the dress, tux, or a few accessories?  Jeff at Fantasy Bridal has never let any of my couples down...

6)  The marriage license is so easy to get!  If you don't live in Tennessee, you do have to get a license here, but it's so quick to do.  You can even start the process on-line.  If you already live in Tennessee, just bring your license with you from your home county courthouse.

I sincerely can't wait to hear all about you... if you're ready to get married in the Smoky Mountains, there's no better time to start planning than today.

I love romance, and I love using light.  It defines a mood like you see here.

So many places to photograph... if you're adventurous we'll hike up a hill.  It's worth it.

Love the rain?  If doesn't fall from the sky, I can make it fall from my water hose!

Sugar is sweet, but she's also silly sometimes.  

Our brides are the happiest...and most beautiful!

We love your babies, too!  If you're not giggling right now something's wrong...

Don't worry about a traditional dress.  This one was hand-made, Native-American style.  Do what's right for YOU.

I love emotion... which is why I also love putting my light where I want it, even on a cloudy day.

Our brides are the most BEAUTIFUL.  Period.

Monday, February 06, 2017

The Perfect Pigeon Forge Wedding for 100 guests

Are you planning a wedding in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area with as many of your family and friends as possible?  Honeysuckle Hills is one of the larger destination wedding venues in the area, accommodating up to 100 of your guests.  If you need an even larger venue, let Regina know and she can refer you to one of the other great places in town that has an equal reputation for putting their couples first.

Afraid all the guests you invite won't come?  Honeysuckle Hills has a 90% RSVP rate, no matter where in the USA your guests are coming from.  Seriously.  We're in Pigeon Forge, a highly popular tourist destination in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  You simply give them that extra incentive they need to schedule a full-blown family vacation.  And once they visit our website,, that's all it takes.  They already know they love you and want to see you get married, so let's start planning this celebration!

The Perfect Wedding Package 
The Honeysuckle Hills all-inclusive wedding for 100 guests

  • A full one hour rehearsal the day before the wedding
  • Access from 8am to dark on wedding day
  • Minister's services (Deduct $125 if you have your own)
  • Ceremony director (to seat guests, arrange and direct the wedding party, work with you to create the itinerary, and coordinate with vendors,)
  • Buffet meal provided by the famous Chef Tony for 100 (your choice of menu and non-alcoholic drinks)
  • Wedding cake to serve 100 (your choice of design and flavors by Chef Tony as well)
  • A $500 credit at From the Heart Florist (can be removed if you prefer to bring your own flowers, otherwise they'll work with you and deliver)
  • DJ service by Scott Goebel, playing from ceremony until end time
  • Three hours of our creative photography
  • Flash drive of all wedding images and a $300 product credit toward prints, canvases, or professional wedding albums
Pricing, including the 9.75% sales tax is as follows:

$11,000 Wed thru Fri with photography
$ 9,000 Wed thru Fri without photography

$12,000 Saturdays with photography
$10,000 Saturdays without photography

Regina's top five reasons the "Perfect Wedding"all-inclusive package is right for you:

  • The wedding back home will force you into having so many guests the budget will rival the cost of a down payment on a house.  You still want a larger celebration, but you want it to be a lot more manageable.  
  • You don't want the stress and labor of renting chairs, decorating, landscaping, working, planning, or having all your friends in your own back yard.  Nor do you want the sterile environment of a hotel banquet hall or public areas that have no privacy or back-up plans in case of bad weather.  You especially don't want all the work required to make one of the cheaper, "bare bones" venues look beautiful, and surprise... even the largest cabin has parking challenges.
  • You're not a country club bride, but you're definitely a down home country girl with a lot of great friends who are going to need some room to spread out and have some fun.  I might add here that if you're a city girl that works, too... Regina will claim you as one of her country cousins before you leave.
  • You love flowers, creeks, mountains, horses, and the great outdoors, but you also want all of conveniences needed for a wedding.
  • Most importantly, you just want to feel special.  And you know what?  You sincerely are to Regina.  Without YOU, she can't carry on the family history or do what her heart loves every single day.

Chef Tony takes pride in his table spreads of delicious food and drinks!  He will also box up any leftovers for you to keep.

Chef Tony will also work with you to design a wedding cake.  You may want simple, or you may have other ideas.   This is an "Alice in Wonderland" themed cake that I guarantee no one but Chef Tony could have done so beautifully.  

Plenty of seating, with your choice of either white or chocolate brown linens 

Chocolate brown linens are popular for fall weddings in the Smoky Mountains.  It gives a richer, cabin-like feel.
Aunt Sharon created these center pieces for every reception table.  She starts with a base of white and cream flowers.  The log slices on the tables are also included.

Here is an example of Aunt Sharon's addition of other flowers with color.  She can add flowers that closely match your own wedding colors, included in your package.  You may also wish to use your flower credit for live centerpieces instead.

The pavilion just outside the barn in fall... This area is loved for dancing and for a back-up plan in case it rains.  Your guests will tend to gravitate here to socialize and enjoy the views at our venue.  They'll also enjoy the stream as they lean across the back railing.
Our gardens and ceremony locations abound with flowers, especially May through October.  (Though there is always something to enjoy in our landscaping year-round, whether it's flowers, fences, streams, or horses...)

Walking over this bridge to the white arbor is an exhilarating feeling when you're getting married in the Smoky Mountains!  It sits right at the edge of one of the tall mountain ridges that hug our wedding venue. 

Fall weddings are extremely popular in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, so be sure you book early.

The stone wedding arch is quickly becoming a popular ceremony site. The horses will come to greet you as you walk down the aisle, too!

If your eyes need more photographs, please visit  All weddings are in chronological order, making it easy to see what our venue will look like during the time of year you wish to be married.

Honestly, the best way to experience all the spacious beauty Honeysuckle Hills has to offer is to visit.  Call or text Regina any time at 865-368-5569 with questions or to schedule your tour. 

Regina's top five tips for a successful wedding with a large guest count:

  • If photography is important to you, schedule the majority of the posed images BEFORE the ceremony.  A "first look" can be done so that your loved one doesn't feel cheated, and guess what?  They get to experience this without the anxiety of having 100 pairs of eyes on them as they do it.  It's a personal, private moment that belongs to you alone.  Your make-up is fresh, and you won't feel the pressure of guests waiting to see you while you're having pictures done after the ceremony.
  • Ask for a private area to dine alone for about fifteen minutes.  Time and time again I see our couples return their fork to their plate as guest after guest comes to their table to express their love.
  • Do not, I repeat DO NOT feel bad if you don't like all the suggestions your friends, mothers, wedding party, aunts, teachers... you name it... give you.  Always remember it's your wedding, and Regina will back you up with any decision you make.
  • Be realistic when it comes to your itinerary, and consider the recommendations of your wedding planner.  They've seen a lot, and a good planner knows what to ask and how to schedule it so that you're utilizing the time wisely.  A good planner will also listen to your own unique ideas, and will not discourage you.  They might give advice, but your wish is always their priority.  Just keep an open mind to the suggestions they give to carry out your desires best.  The better wedding venues will have planners as I've just described, instead of ones with a corporate check-list that must be followed to the letter.  
  • Decide from the beginning if you want to do as much as possible yourself, or if you want your wedding planner to take the burden away from you.  Our "Perfect Wedding" package was decided specifically for couples who want long-time professionals to do the hard work for them.  They want the best chance for things to go smoothly, and they want their family to enjoy the day instead of work so hard they spend all night in their cabin's hot tub soothing their exhaustion.  (There are much better uses for hot tubs...)

Absolutely can't wait to hear all about you... I'm dedicated to making sure your wedding at Honeysuckle Hills is the best it can possibly be.  Let's start planning...