If you are working with a small wedding budget – don’t fret; Dara & Choeth are proof that you can pull off a stunning event for only $3,500.

To keep their guest list small, the couple opted for a destination wedding in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. A private rental cabin served as the venue for the rustic wedding.

“{The reception} was like a gathering at a cookout. We all ate, drank, sang, and danced. We had a marvelous time together. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores, as a replacement of a wedding cake. And launching our Wish Lanterns later in the evening was beautiful in the night sky,” says Dara.

Thanks to photographer Theary Meak   (with 2nd shooter Whitney Huynh) for the lovely photos!

 

intimate smokey mountain wedding

Dara, 28 & Choeuth, 30

Sevierville, TN

Wedding Date: April 7, 2012

Number of Guests: 50

Wedding Cost: $3,500

Wedding Ceremony Location: Backyard of a cabin up in the Smoky Mountains

Wedding Reception Location: Inside the cabin


Intimate Tennessee wedding

intimate tennessee wedding

typewriter guest book

rustic photo frame

blush pink and white wedding bouquet

diamond engagement ring

Mason jar photo frame

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We wanted to celebrate our special day with close family and friends who we care for & have been there for us. We wanted to be able to spend quality time with our guests and just be ourselves. A wonderful gathering in a casual and relaxed atmosphere, where everyone was able to have fun and enjoy themselves.

fabric and lace garland

Smoky Mountain wedding

bride and groom shoes

White feather fascinator

Smoky Mountain barn wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Coming up with ideas on how to make it simple and different was a bit challenging. But it was fun because we were able to customize our wedding to our own tastes. It gives us more freedom to be creative and make our wedding a unique experience, which will be a reflection of the two of us.

photo garland

photo garland

wedding lantern

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

In the beginning, it was. But being a destination wedding, it helped to keep our guest list small.

Lace wedding dress

MRS. hanger

Smoky Mountain wedding

rhinestone studded wedding shoes

white feather hair fascinator

Smoky Mountain wedding

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them? 

No, we didn’t. Everybody understood and supported our reasons.

Smoky Mountain wedding

pink and white wedding bouquet

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

The whole ceremony! To finally stand up there face to face with the man that I will be spending the rest of my life with, was a dream come true. It was finally happening! And to see our guests cry during the ceremony meant a lot to us. It was very emotional. Lastly, we have to give it up to the entrance of our wedding. We had a “soul train” thing going on as we were coming down the aisle. To top it off, our Rev was dancing along with us! Our guests laughed and cheered us on. They loved it!

Smoky Mountain wedding


What were the highlights of the reception? 

The whole reception! It was like a gathering at a cookout. We all ate, drank, sang, and danced. We had a marvelous time together. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores, as a replacement of a wedding cake. And launching our Wish Lanterns later in the evening was beautiful in the night sky.

wedding s'mores

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

lighting a sky lantern

Smoky Mountain wedding

wedding guests releasing wish lanterns

wedding guests releasing sky lanterns

sky lantern

sky lanterns

wedding guests releasing paper wish lanterns

Wedding wish lanterns

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

That we were able to just ‘wing it’ and not be on a time schedule. And of course, it saved money and was less stressful!

Groom in H&M suit

Smoky Mountain wedding

Feather hair fascinator

Groom wearing converse sneakers

Groom wearing converse sneakers

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding? 

It’s your big day. Have your wedding the way YOU want it and not what you think others might expect. Let the wedding be a reflection of the two of you. You’ll be more comfortable in a setting that suits your personality. Also, having an intimate wedding will allow you to interact and spend quality time with your guests. Good luck and know that your wedding will be just as beautiful!

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain barn wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Smoky Mountain wedding

Vendors:

Wedding Venue: Wolfsong Lodge (private cabin rental)

Wedding Photographer: photography Theary Meak, 2nd shooter Whitney Huynh

Videographer: Knot For Real

Wedding Dress: zoombridal.com

Tux: H&M

Shoes: Marshalls

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9 Comments  |  Filed Under: Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Destination Weddings, Real Weddings

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Comments

  1. Posted by steph addicott on May 28th, 2012 at 10:56am

    wow! what a gorgeous wedding! just shows you don't have to spend tens of thousands to have a truly beautiful wedding.
  2. Posted by Nichole on June 5th, 2012 at 1:03am

    Simply AMAZING!
  3. Posted by Brittany on June 18th, 2012 at 4:49pm

    I just want to say "wow"! Wonderful ideas, yet so simple. I love the Chinese lanterns, great I idea. Because of you, those will be at my wedding next year.
  4. Posted by Felice on July 10th, 2012 at 8:10pm

    That looks like a very enjoyable wedding and I love the way the couple looks so at ease. Great photos. What a neat celebration!!!!
  5. Posted by Jamie on October 17th, 2012 at 6:48pm

    Amazing and beautiful! Amazingly enough, I found this because I am planning my wedding for next October and my fiance and I are seriously reconsidering having it in the Smoky Mountains and downsizing the guest list and making it more intimate (and cheaper than our $5,000 budget)... this is what came up!

    I am loving it and hoping you might be able to give me a run down of your budget or some recommendations on cabins/preachers, etc. in the area!
    Thank you and congratulations!

    Jamie
  6. Posted by Marty2000M on March 7th, 2013 at 12:46pm

    It truly was beautiful but how did you manage the $3500 budget while including food, the 2 photographers, the bride's dress, etc. Could you send me a breakdown of the budget? It seems unbelievable as beautiful as it was.

    Thanks!
  7. Posted by J55 on March 23rd, 2013 at 9:20pm

    What a beautiful story... love that you stayed true to what is really important :)
  8. Posted by Rhonda middleton on August 18th, 2013 at 10:29am

    Where was this rustic barn in the photos? Close to the cabin site? I'm considering this cabin for my wedding and love this barn.
  9. Posted by Mrs. Guest on July 4th, 2014 at 10:41pm

    We are getting married at WolfSong Lodge in October this year .. thanks to this post! Gorgeous :)
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