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Autumn Weddings and Smoky Mountain Flowers

Posted by on June 30, 2017

A lot of people believe that the best and brightest season in the Smoky Mountains National Park takes place in Mid-October. This is just not true. The beautiful colors of fall actually span a good seven weeks, making Gatlinburg, Tennessee a wonderful place to have a wedding with the variants of autumn wedding flowers. If you are considering the Smoky Mountains for your union, autumn is a wonderful time to host it because of the beautiful foliage and flowers that sneak their way from high elevations down through the mountainsides to the foothills.


Autumn Wedding FlowersAutumn in the Smoky Mountains National Park is a very beautiful time because of the variety of the leaf season. Residents and guests alike enjoy the the motley of gorgeous colors because of the large variety of trees and flowers in the Smokies. Of course, the timing of autumn colors change depending upon a variety of variables. It’s almost impossible to predict the exact dates of ‘peak season’ because of this.


In the Smoky Mountains, the colorful displays of trees and flowers start above 4000 feet and begin as early as Mid-September with the beautiful change of the yellow birch, the mountain maple, the American beech, the hobble bush, and the pin cherry. These are perfectly visible from certain locations such as Clingmans Dome Road.


The autumn color display typically reaches its peak at middle and lower areas between mid-October and early November. This is a beautiful, amazing time in the park because of the colorful trees and flowers such as the scarlet oak, the red maple, the hickories, and the sweetgum. If you’re still trying to pick a date for your autumn wedding, you can always read the fall color report from October of 2016 for some idea of what the area could look like.




Near the end of September, the correct mixture of colors are starting to pop up around the Smoky Mountains because of the cooler temperatures. The warm, sunny days mix with the rainfall to shepherd in a gorgeous autumn color display. The timing of the color change in the flowers and trees can be lined up with the change in the calendar; meaning the growing length of the evening and night. Days begin to grow shorter and nights begin to grow longer and the chemical processes in the leaves begin to decorate the area with nature’s fall palette.


The usual peak of autumn leaf color is at the middle to lower elevations where the largest medley of trees live; bringing about changes above 4,000 feet where the parade of autumn colors begins, slowly moving down the mountainsides into the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The high areas are still predominantly green, but there’s no doubt that fall is on the way.


Dogwood, maple, sourwood, and sassafras are the first to shepherd in the change in autumn wedding flowers and colors, turning red, orange, and yellow. At this stage, there is just the start of the autumn color change amongst these early fall beginners. Even more noticeable are the autumn wildflowrs in the Smoky Mountains that include the black-eyed Susan, the coreopsis, the sunk goldenrod, the irowneed, the great blue lobelia, a variety of asters, as well as all of the vibrant fruits on the trees and shrubs. 


Early October:


By the start of October, the trees in the Smoky Mountains high country are now beginning to show vibrant fall colors. This includes the yellow of the American beech, and the yellow birch and the multiple shades of red on the mountain ash, the mountain maple, and the pin cherry. In the lower areas, a few color changing flowers and trees such as the sourwood are beginning to show bright reds, but they are sparse and scattered. Some of the maples are starting to change colors in some places.


The brilliant golds and yellows of the yellow birch, yellow buckeye, and american breach mix well with the variety of shades of red on the mountain ash, pin and black cherry, creating a landscape that looks as though an artist might have painted them. As far as autumn wedding flowers go, they look amazing.


Most of the forest is still mostly green, but now it is dotted with color on the slopes. The sourwood and sumac are a brilliant red, the dogwoods and maples are changing as well. Autumn wedding flowers including the mountain gentian, the goldren rod, and the black cohosh are rocking their colors and make a great addition to any wedding landscape.


Middle October:


In Mid-October at the lower areas, the autumn colors are really coming along beautifully. It is the mixture of cool nights and warm days that bring about the changes in the leaf colors. The park may be very dry or experiencing conditions that are warmer than usual. This will affect the duration, timing, and intensity of the autumn wedding flower season. The high point of the color at the foothills is over a week away. In the valleys, there are vivid red colors. Golds are joining in, making a beautiful landscape.


A line of sunny days and cool evenings will allow the gorgeous color display that so many people are looking for when they’re getting ready to tie the knot. Everyone can enjoy the brilliant reds of the environment from the cranberries, apples, and blueberries.


Late October:


When October begins to end, the autumn colors at mid height are slightly past peak and are truly spectacular to witness. Reds are more vibrant than ever, and the colors at the highest points of the park are just past peak.


At the lower points, though, the fall colors are rapidly developing. The first frost of fall will begin to change color within a week or so. Black gum, sourwood trees, sumacs, dogwood, and spicebush continue to display brilliant reds. The golds are still present on the tuliptree, black walnut, beech, spicebush, hickories, and birch.


If you’re planning for your wedding in early November, you can rest assured that it is not abnormal for the autumn wedding flower colors to last throughout the first week or two of November. If the weather cooperates, it may last even longer.


Planning Your Wedding:


No matter what time of year you plan for your wedding, the Smoky Mountain National Park is a great place, but in the autumn it really comes alive with brilliant colors that make you wish you could spend your entire life in the park!


If you choose to host your wedding in autumn, you can balance your autumn wedding flowers around what the landscape will look like. If it’s in late September, you can choose a pallet that has some reds and yellows and some greens. If you choose October, you may want to add in more and more reds and golds and take out some of the green. By the time late October arrives, you’ll want to match your colors to the brilliant shades of gold and red and forgo green completely.


For your autumn wedding flowers, you may want to consider some of the wildflowers that grow in the area for your decorations, trellises, and bouquets. You can design your entire wedding around the brilliant landscape of the Smoky Mountain National Park.


Hosting your wedding in the autumn in the park is a decision that you will appreciate for the rest of your life when you’re looking back on this special day. Make sure you take some great photographs because the beautiful display of autumn wedding flowers as well as the variety of trees that change colors is going to make this special day even better.


image credits: Pintrest

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