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What can you learn about wedding flowers by talking to one of Gatlinburg’s top floral designers? Quite a bit.

Gaynell Weeks has spent most of her life creating floral designs for brides, wedding venues, hotels and commercial events. If you’re planning a wedding Flowers of Gatlinburg is one of the top shops in the Smoky Mountains. Their creations are always stunning.

Portrait of the bridebridebridal bouquet in a boxBride standing in front of barn

Bride standing in front of a barn in winter wedding attire.

A couple of days ago I stopped by to ask her a few questions I thought might be helpful to our clients.

For a spring what wedding flowers would you suggest?

Tulips, dehlias, ranunculus, hydrangeas.. there aren’t really many flowers that can’t be ordered in the spring.

What about summer?

Pretty much the same except for peonies. We can get them in the summer but they’re much more expensive because they have to be ordered from either Canada or Holland. Also garden roses can be expensive because they’re grown by specialty growers. They’re in high demand because of their popularity on Pinterest.

But your average everyday flowers like carnations, callas, iris, daisies, astilbe can be ordered about anytime. If you want fresh succulents or lavender we just need more notice to get them.

What about fall and winter weddings?

Just about anything except for peonies. Those are about the only popular wedding flowers you can’t get year round now.

So if a bride comes in and just wants a beautiful bouquet what would you tell her?

I’d advise her to use a mixture of hydrangeas, roses, gerber daisies, tulips; just whatever their favorite flower is. Orchids take a special order and more time. Gardenias are very fragile and sometimes won’t make it through the day. Same with lilies of the valley. I’d stay away from those.

We just need to know what the colors are and then their favorite flowers. I advise brides to choose their colors early and the best first step is to pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses and buy them. Sometime you might pick the dresses for the bridesmaids but the style and size you can’t get so that will affect the colors for the wedding. So it’s best to contact the florist after you get those dresses.

Tell me about different kinds of wraps for bouquets?

These days with shabby chic in style it could be burlap or twine but typically the bridesmaids bouquets are wrapped in the color of the dress. The bride’s dress (typically) will be white or cream and I suggest they use the same color as the dress.

How did you learn so much about wedding flowers?

I’ve done just about everything in decorating and flowers. I have been doing everything in a flower shop for over 40 years; weddings,outdoor weddings, tent weddings, decorating malls and department stores for Christmas. We did the Backstreet Boy’s manager’s wedding at the Four Seasons in Atlanta. Also some really big weddings at the Art Institute. We’ve hung flowers from tent poles, strung tule with lights in it climbing ladders all the time… the reason I love Gatlinburg so much is because the wedding venues take care of all that so we can just concentrate on the flowers.

Any words of wisdom for a bride on picking out her flowers before the wedding?

Just make sure you get your colors right before you get with the florist or get a good wedding coordinator or find a great all-inclusive venue like Bluff Mountain Inn where they take care of everything for you.

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Sara and Barker got Married in the Mountains near Gatlinburg.

When they were married it was a great day for a great couple and their families and friends. We’re excited to share some of the photos of this real mountain wedding here.

Their love story as told by Sarah:
“We met in kindergarten when he had my mom as a teacher, and then when we met and actually started “talking” and liking each other it was in Walmart haha. Our first date was to Riverbend to see Sam Hunt and then to steak and shake and I wanted to kiss him so bad but he didn’t and I got worried.

But we went on another date the next day to El Metate and he did 🙂 he later told me he wanted to respect me and that’s why he waited until the second date<3 🙂 he popped the question in our old apartment when I was completely not expecting it and I was so excited. I laughed and cried all at the same time and I couldn’t stop kissing and hugging him! :)”

Beautiful bouquet by Flowers of Gatlinburg

Sara’s bouquet was designed by Gaynell at Flowers of Gatlinburg. She’s a real artist with flowers.

First look

Barker was hiding behind the tree when Sarah walked down the stairs. While we distracted her by taking photos he walked up and surprised her from behind.

Sweet moment with bride and groom

You can see the love between these two just in the way they are around each other.

Bride and groom exchange rings.

Ring ceremony at their wedding. They got married in the mountains alright!


The happy couple walking down the aisle following the wedding ceremony.

Sweet kiss on the forehead

Bride and groom photos following the ceremony. A sweet kiss on the forehead with Bluff Mountain in the background. A perfect wedding day.

Groom & groomsmen by the fence

Barker and his groomsmen pose for a photo on the fence by the barn. Great bunch of guys.

Bridal party in the mountains.

Big wedding party for this wedding in the Smokies. The yellow really made the photos pop!

Bridal party having fun

A fun candid shot while catching some cool photos of the bridal party.

Bride and Groom Kissing

Sara and Barker had a lot of fun with the bride and groom photo session. Another romantic pose in the mountains.

Special decorations for the reception.

Wanting something special for this couple, we had special decorations hung by Campbell’s Party Rental. Table decorations by the Bluff Mountain Inn Wedding team. The reception was in the Garden Reception room.

Beautiful Wedding Cake

A gorgeous wedding cake provided by Confectionista’s Kitchen in Seymour, TN.

Bride and Groom First Dance

Sara and Barker’s first dance as a married couple.

Bride and Groom make a heart out of fire

Having a little fun experimenting with sparkler art in front of the chapel.

Reception in the Garden Room

Sara’s dad proposing a toast to the happy couple on their wedding day.

We want to thank Campbell Tent and Party Rentals for setting up beautiful drapery and lights in the reception hall. As always, Flowers of Gatlinburg does an incredible job of making dream bouquets come to life and Confectionistas Kitchen does beautiful, intricate detailing with cakes! Photography at Bluff Mountain Inn by RIK Photography

Congratulations to Sara, Barker and their great group of friends and family. They’ve now been happily married for few weeks! Cheers!!!

Call 865.908.0321 today to talk about how you could have a beautiful mountain wedding!

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Wedding Photographer

Once you find that perfect wedding photographer who matches your style and uniqueness, here are 5 things to discuss with your photographer before the Big Day:


If your wedding is going to have a unique theme, let the wedding photographer know! This way they can do their homework to come up with some one-of-a-kind portraits. It is a great idea to bring some props that matches your personalities.


Timing is very important on wedding day. It is a great idea to let your photographer know what time your hair and make up start and end, the time guests start to arrive, etc. This will help the photographer strategically plan their day for portraits and family photos.

Your Ideas

You have more than likely chosen this particular photographer because you love their style, but it doesn’t hurt to give them some of your ideas. Photographers are more than happy make your ideas pop with their own creative style. Sometimes photographers are even willing to go off-site to get that cool shot you want so badly!

Family and Friend Dynamics

Let the photographer know what family and friends will be there; and also what specific family members and friends you want photos with. This will help them map out the style and time for family portraits. Sometimes with the broad family dynamics, some people chose to not have their photo taken with others. It is a good idea to let the photographer know ahead a time to avoid any awkward situations when calling family up for photos. Better yet, have a list of family photo combinations for your photographer.

Packages and Contracts

More than likely, your professional photographer has a couple of packages to choose from. This topic of conversation is also a good time to ask about the rights to the photos and to find out where some of the best photo labs are. You will probably have to sign a contract with the photographer, but this is to not only protect the photographer, but you as well!

Now that you have discussed your wedding day with the photographer, it is very important that you feel a connection with them. After all, you will be seeing the photographer more than any other vendor!
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bride having a cool and calm wedding dayWedding Day can come with stresses and high emotions, but these pointers will help give you ideas to stay cool, calm and collected during your big day!

1. Choosing an all-inclusive wedding venue is one ideal way to keep the stress down. A venue like Bluff Mountain Inn takes care of everything from the planning to the decorating. Just describe your ideas of a dream wedding and let them handle the work of making it come to life!

2. It is known that exercise helps relieve stress, even if it is just a short walk. If you are feeling a little anxious, taking a short, 10-minute walk will help you gather your thoughts clearly and get your happy endorphins pumping to get you re-energized to walk down the aisle. And what better place to relieve some stress by walking outside and knowing you are in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains!?

3. A DIY emergency kit! Sometimes the smallest mishaps seem dire on a wedding day. This kit can include things like a small sewing kit, stain remover pens, healthy snacks and water, bobby pins, hairspray, lint roller, aspirin, safety pins, etc.

4. Making last-minute decisions can raise the anxiety. Who is your biggest helper? Appoint them to help you make these decisions! Remember, it is always okay to ask for help. Also, if you have a wedding planner, put your trust in her that she will make your dream day as smooth as possible. After all, this is what she loves to do!

5. Taking care of yourself is key! A good night’s sleep will give you the energy to power through the day. Along with getting rest, eating is just as important! While you may be concerned with the fitting of your dress, eat a healthy and balanced breakfast (and even lunch!). It will keep the nerves down as well as maintaining that energy that you got from that beauty sleep.

While the day may seem hectic (or crazy!) keeping cool and calm will help you enjoy the moment and give you many more memories to last a lifetime!

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Zen of Planning Mountain Wedding

So what is Zen, and what does it have to do with planning your Mountain Wedding?

First of all what Zen is not: a diet, a cult, or something that requires a lot of chanting. It’s a way of thinking, being still and mindful of each second, breathing deeply and focusing. A Zen mindset can help keep you calm when the seating plan or a relative is driving you nuts. Consider Zen a spiritual connection to your wedding planning process.

Just say to yourself, “Here and now everything is just fine”. Now let’s take a deep breath and get some Zen-like resolutions going. We want you to be a blissful bride…

  1. Consider kindness a way of being. It’s an expression of your love and compassion for others, including your girlfriends who gave up their lunch hours to help you make party favors and the aunt who arrived three hours early to spend some quality time with the bride (it could happen).
  2. Respect others’ property which includes time and energy. Asking your bffs to help you out making those favors is ok but expecting them to be available 24/7 isn’t. They clearly love and are happy for you, but remember it’s your highest priority, not theirs.
  3. Be Honest; do not deceive. The future hubby may want a wedding at the courthouse but you’ve always wanted, and planned on, a mountain wedding. If you say, “whatever you want, Honey,” but resent it for the rest of your life, you’re cheating both of you. Let him know what’s in your heart and work out a compromise; an honest one.
  4. Care for your mind and body; don’t overindulge in anything. It’s so much fun with showers, bachelorette parties and the like, but there are many temptations (food, drink, cute bartenders). You will want to fit into your dress, don’t want a hangover, and mainly, want to be able to face yourself in the morning. Moderation is the key.
  5. Remember, Silence is Golden. Even if one of your attendants is behaving badly (not showing up for fittings, criticizing decisions), don’t talk about her behind her back. Find out what’s bothering her and try to work out the problem.
  6. Be humble and don’t judge others. Remember that you are about to become part of a bigger family (his/hers) by getting married. Family members can have faults, and even if you have trouble accepting those flaws, accepting the family will make your marriage better.
  7. Be generous in sharing your fortune. As all those wedding gifts begin to arrive, think of the less fortunate and consider donating your current housewares (toasters, mixers) still in great condition to a thrift shop or charity.
  8. Keep calm and carry on. Remember this; it’s not all going to go perfectly. Accept the facts that on your wedding day you won’t be able to control the weather, crazy traffic or your sister’s mood swings. Worrying about that stuff today won’t fix potential problems tomorrow. Take a deep breath and let it go.
  9. Don’t lose sight of the truth. Your wedding day is a joyous occasion and celebration. It’s not about having the party of the decade. Don’t let planning your mountain wedding, decorations and the small stuff get in the way of the day’s real purpose; joining your lives together.


People from all over the world come to the Smoky Mountains, for peace and tranquility, and more than likely its part of the reason you started planning your mountain wedding here in the Smokies. If you take a little time to sit and reflect on the beauty and nature that surrounds you here in these mountains it will bring blessings to your celebration. 

Wedding Planning ZEN


 Bluff Mountain Inn is an all-inclusive wedding and reception venue in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. 865.908.0321
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