Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Walk In Single...Hike Out Married!

Photo Credit: theogeo
Talk about a low-key, non-stress wedding!

Apparently, getting married at a beautiful location and having a simple ceremony has long been a no-brainer for many couples living near the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Who knew?

In Gatlinburg you can walk in as a twosome and walk out as a couple joined by matrimony in a snap. (Just don't get too frisky or risk a talking-to by Smokey Bear!) Why bother with Vegas when you can have the backdrop of the gorgeous grey-blue Smoky Mountains behind you, and toss your flower bouquet into the golden sunset yonder. Having been fortunate enough to have visited and hiked through the Smokies several times, the thought of exchanging vows with a crisp pine breeze wafting under my nose sounds absolutely delicious. From an article (no longer available online) I stumbled upon in yesterday's Chicago Tribune:

In Gatlinburg, there is no waiting period or mandatory blood test to get married. Just like Las Vegas, couples have flocked to the town of 4,900 to get married and stayed for their honeymoon.
Feeling impetuous? A wedding license is available for $38.50 (even on Saturday). Then, stroll into a wedding chapel, say the vows and you can be married in a matter of moments. According to the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, 600,000 people come to the Great Smoky Mountains each year to get married or attend a wedding. The town is marketed proudly as "the wedding capital of the South."
"I've done it seven days a week," Taylor said. "We used to do 'marrythons' on Valentine's Day around the clock. We did as many as 60 in a 24-hour period." Taylor, an ordained Baptist minister known affectionately around town as the "Rev. Ed," has performed weddings for Billy Ray Cyrus (the father of "Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus) and country singer Patty Loveless. Taylor, 77, estimates he's performed about 85,000 marriages in Gatlinburg, where the majesty of the mountains is just a bouquet toss away.
Taylor was the first in Gatlinburg to make nuptials a business. Before he began presiding for the parades of excited couples, Taylor said tourists had to get married at a local farm supply store by a justice of the peace." They'd get there and climb over sacks of feed," he said. Taylor's ceremonies last 20 minutes and cost $150 on up. Taylor will be around a little longer (he has 12 scheduled weddings on Valentine's Day) while he sells his four chapels. He himself is single right now. How many times has he been married? "Too many." "I can tell them what not to do," he joked.
(Full article here.)

Maybe Jake and I will just "marrython" ourselves on down to the Great Blue Smokies and call it a day!

OK, well, at least that's Plan B.

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