Seasons for Weddings? The popularity of outdoor wedding venues continues to increase with brides and their grooms. One of the most frequent questions our wedding coordinators hear when doing tours of our venue is, “will the wildflowers be blooming.” Followed by, “what will the mountains look like when I get married?” The brides who book our venue from out of state, sight unseen, probably need the most information and visuals since they are not familiar with East Tennessee. However, there’s a saying among those of us in this area. “If you don’t like the weather now, wait 15 minutes, and it will change.” The saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This blog is lengthy, so it’s OK to look at the photographs from each season!
What will the farm and mountains look like in spring? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a spring wedding? It’s the season of new beginnings in spring; Nature starts the cycle of renewal and rebirth. It is during spring that nature regenerates. The farm begins the transition from dormancy. Seeds take root, and shrubs begin to grow and bud. It is the season that everything starts “greening” up. The weather warms somewhat, and days start to get longer. Wetter weather, sometimes in the rain and sometimes in snow, provides the needed hydration necessary for new growth. While trees will start filling in, and some shrubs form buds and early blooms, wildflowers don’t typically start showing up until late spring. The first plants to emerge will be daffodils and crocuses. Eventually, tulips will push through the earth.
There is always the threat of cold weather which will either delay or kill emerging blooms. But, as with any season, nature will do what nature wants to do. Rhododendrons flourish in mid to late April. An advantage is that many wedding venues and vendors will offer special pricing or bonuses during the spring season. Sampson’s Hollow considers January through the end of March as nonpeak season.
Warmer weather typically begins in mid to late April. Eastern Standard Time changes to Daylight Savings Time in mid-March, and days begin to get longer. The longest days are in June, and daylight lingers until at least 8:00 pm. Flowering shrubs begin blooming as early as April. Bedding plants and perennials provide color in the landscape and flower beds. Temperatures in the South are infamous for being hot and humid. We recommend scheduling your wedding ceremony with that in mind.
The white pergola in the meadow lies in the center of the farm. This location provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the fields’ mountains and wildflowers when in season. While wedding ceremonies typically do not last more than 20 – 30 minutes. Based on experience, we recommend scheduling the time of your nuptials until 5:00 pm or after. Consider those older folks who will be attending. Direct heat from the sun can be harsh. However, our wedding venue provides bottled water and hands fans for your guests to stay as comfortable as possible. Our capacity is 150 guests/
The second location is in our wooded location, Sarah’s Glen. The Glen is intimate and contained within a shaded part of the venue. There are three arbors. The center arbor is traditionally decorated with fresh greenery and baby’s breath. Brides may choose to integrate other florals. Our in-house floral designers can assist with this option.
Sarah’s Glen reflects the mood of an enchanted woodland. Tall evergreen trees provide filtered shade with the occasional shards of sunlight, depending on the time of day. The dappled sunlight often generates magical floating orbs through a photographer’s camera lens. The floor or surface of the woods is soft with moss. In the autumn, fallen leave enhances the texture. Access to the precisely “carved out” lower surface is by a recently installed flat stone staircase. The space can seat up to 125 guests. The staff escorts those guests who wish assistance in golf carts.
The other structures in Sarah’s Glen represent an old “fillin’ gas station with vintage metal signage. A 1961 Dodge Truck with “Sampson’s Hollow” was painted on the door and parked near an antique gas pump. A short winding trail goes deeper into the woods to our rustically embellished blue door and fallen trees. Perfect for additional photo opportunities.
The third location for both the wedding ceremony and reception is the Storehouse building. The significant advantage of this location is that it is covered for our guests’ comfort and provides a backup plan in lousy weather. It features a vaulted ceiling with a stunning wrought iron and crystal pendant chandelier. The open concept of the covered front porch allows guests to enjoy views of the Great Smoky Mountains during each season. Both the interior and exterior use Tuscany-inspired lighting for mood and romance. Every wall, flooring, and railing was built with hardwood.
The capacity for the Storehouse is approximately 80 guests seated inside, with another 70 on the front porch. The interior space is climate-controlled, while the outside is not. Free-standing propane heaters can be added to a wedding or event through Anderson Party Rental.
The colors of our fall in the Smoky Mountains need very little in the way of description. There’s a reason that this season of the year is the most highly demanded time for weddings, special events, football, and tourists from all over the United States and various countries. The photos in the collage above illustrate the colors at our venue. The peak time for the best textures and colors of autumn is typically from the end of October through the second or third week of November. But, of course, as with most everything in nature, the timing depends on the weather. Should a potential bride and groom prefer a specific date for their wedding, especially in the fall — we recommend booking far in advance to secure that exact date.
The timeline for wedding day activities will differ, with each day becoming shorter. By the end of September, dusk and the golden hour hover between 7:00 and 8:00. Daylight Savings Time ends the first weekend of November. Darkness will arrive by 6:00 pm. Plan your day accordingly. An on-site and local wedding coordinator is a huge help in navigating the challenges of shorter days at our venue. Keep in mind that in East Tennessee, as with the spring season, weather could be mild, rainy, or warm through much of September. September is typically one of the dryer months.
What images come to mind when you think of decorating for Christmas or for the winter time of year? It is safe to say that the season inspires mental versions of pin trees, evergreen swags and garlands, holly berries, twinkling lights, and primary focal colors of red, green, and white. Perhaps silver and gold or ice blue? Some of the prettier weddings held at our venue have been during December. The textures in the landscape are muted but spectacular.
Our infamous “blue mist” is magical over the mountains beyond us. Our wedding venue looks perfect for winter weddings. There will be freshly cut evergreen garland on the railings of the Storehouse and cabins. Our indoor fireplace has a locally-hewn mantle. It is elaborately decorated with various textures, gold and silver, assorted stems of pine and boxwood, river birch logs, candles, and miniature lights. Should an event wish to have Christmas trees, this is a service we can provide at an additional charge. There won’t be any flowering shrubs other than holly berries. However, the textures in the landscape more than make up the season’s beauty.
The weather. What might one expect?
Anything. We have had snow in this region as early as November. Heavy snow will rarely happen, but if it does, it’s usually in January or February. Most have heard the rumors that Southerners can’t drive in the snow. That’s largely true. Those natives of this region do not have the experience that our northern neighbors have. There have been snowflakes (which happened in December) and a little more in higher elevations.
The photo to the left of this article was taken in December. Notice the garland wrapped and threaded around the railing. The fruitwood chairs have padding with a deep mahogany finish that reflects the beauty of the hardwood. Fresh greenery, baby’s breath, and red berries are added to the tiebacks, defining the ceremony location. Free-standing propane heaters provide warmth for cooler daytime temps.
Additional greenery could be added to the wooden beams of the vaulted ceiling. Our in-house floral team can provide that installation at a modest price. Scattered rose petals have been used in this space.
We would love to chat with you and assist with wedding planning in the Great Smoky Mountains. For more information, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lesley (our rockstar wedding specialist) at 865.803.7075.