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 www.donfieldsphotography.com|
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.