Perfect venues for the Blount bride and groom

Mother Nature can sometimes offer the perfect setting for the bride and groom’s special day. In East Tennessee, many venues take advantage of the beauty of our natural surroundings and build wedding facilities tailor-made for outdoor weddings or inside weddings with a spectacular view.

Mother Nature can sometimes offer the perfect setting for the bride and groom’s special day. In East Tennessee, many venues take advantage of the beauty of our natural surroundings and build wedding facilities tailor-made for outdoor weddings or inside weddings with a spectacular view.

Location, location, location. For most engaged couples, once they have decided on the wedding date, the next big decision is the venue for the ceremony and reception.

For Blount County brides, several ideal locations are just minutes away.

The Lily Barn in Townsend has become one of the popular outdoor wedding facilities for local brides and grooms.

“One of the more unique things about the facility is we have the capability for an all-inclusive, one-stop wedding,” said Sarah Greenway, general manager of The Lily Barn. She said they have wedding packages that suit any budget.

The Lily Barn boasts a picturesque setting. The barn is 120-year-old cantilever barn, sitting on a 3-acre perennial garden. On site, there is an open air pavilion, which overlooks the day lily fields and seats up to 300 people. Also, a creek runs through the property and a large lily pond with water lilies and lotus is on site.

On site catering is available from Miss Lily’s Cafe with many mouthwatering options available. According to Greenway, a lot of couples choose the create your own hors d’oeuvres. Mashed potato and grits served in martini glasses are a crowd pleaser at receptions, Greenway said.

Miss Lily’s Florist is also available on site to meet wedding floral needs. From bouquets to centerpieces, bright colors are a hot trend, according to Greenway. Deep reds, magenta, orange lilies in hand-tied bouquets are hot for today’s bride, Greenway said. She also said that more attention is being paid to the intricate details such as the ribbon in the hand-tied bouquets.

To find out if The Lily Barn is the right place for your wedding or event, check out their Web site,

For those couples who are interested in planning an intimate wedding in a picturesque setting, Greenway suggests the Heartland Little River Wedding Chapel. There are several all inclusive packages to meet the needs of the couple whether their wedding plans include 20 to 60 guests. For more information, go to

For a versatile venue in the heart of Maryville, couples would do well to consider planning their wedding at the Royal Oaks Event Facility.

“We can accommodate all aspects of any event,” said Joyce Green, who with her husband, Steve, are partners of The Royal Oaks Event Facility

The newly-renovated Royal Oaks Events Facility can coordinate events for the bride and groom with a wedding planner who will help arrange the perfect rehearsal dinner or reception from the restaurant’s menu. The bar on the premises, which has an old English pub feel, allows the couple to have several beverage options. The event coordinator can help schedule valet service for the event, as well as arrange for a photographer and florist.

The ballroom, which is elegant, yet comfortable, at the Royal Oaks Events Facility can seat up to 200 guests. The terrace, which can be used in addition to the ball room, can comfortably seat 75 to 100 people. The dining room has a warm and inviting atmosphere and it can comfortably accommodate 60 guests and when used with the bar can seat more than 75 people.

According to Greene, when the designers asked her what design plan she had in mind, she told them that she like The Plaza in New York. “They took that and ran with it,” Greene said.

“Come experience the eclectic menu and the attentive and friendly service,” Greene suggested.

Royal Oaks Event Facility is located in the heart of Royal Oaks golf community at 4411 Legends Way. For more information, visit their Web site at

An unobstructed view of the mountains awaits at Country Manor Acres. April Jopling and her husband, Reed, own the 63 acres of land in the Smokies. “The property is so large that we have hilltops and valleys, an old barn, ponds and so forth. We can accommodate your needs from boots and blue jeans to black tie affairs. Country folk and city slickers welcome. We can do weddings and receptions, barbecues and barn dances,” Jopling said. “And, it goes without saying, we have absolutely spectacular mountain views.” Country Manor Acres is located at 250 Boat Gunnel Road in Townsend. For more information, visit their Web site at

For a truly unique experience consider having your ceremony on the riverboat the Star of Knoxville through the Tennessee Riverboat Company. Donna Jordan said they offer romantic wedding cruises on the Tennessee River.

“We have accommodations for two to 250 people, from intimate to elaborate. We offer wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners with menus ranging from casual to elegant. We also have a wedding director on board to assist the bride as part of the package.” And for the die-hard Tennessee football fan, Jordan said “your wedding can take place right in front of the stadium, in front of the Big Orange “T.” For more information, visit the Web site at or call 865-525-7827.

New to the wedding and party scene is The Barn Event Center. This unique venue nears Cades Cove in Townsend is suited for everything from weddings to reunions, parties and conferences. The Barn combines a hint of the past with its post and beam, mortis and tendon building, but gives a nod to the future with state of the art facilities and amenities.

Debbie and Richard Way have put their heart into this facility, from the first desire to save the old cantilever barn to the amenities they have built into the facility today. The Barn Event Center offers a 450 square foot commercial kitchen, designer silver, white china and elegant glassware, linens, a built-in stage and dance floor, as well as full banquet and wedding facilities.

Small private dining rooms can seat up to 26 people while the large room with the stage can accommodate from 20 to 150. In addition, the patio area can hold up to 26 guests.

The Barn Event Center of the Smokies is located at 7264 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend. Call 865-448-3812 or visit the website at

Hidden away in Blount County is a true jewel for weddings, receptions -- even romantic honeymoon getaways! Butterfly Gap Retreat is just minutes from Maryville, yet hidden in a private, scenic hideaway that offers distinctive architecture, comfort and stunning views.

At Butterfly Gap, brides and grooms can design their own wedding wonderland, from the secluded guesthouse to the 4,700-square-foot “studio” that has four revolving walls to open to the outside. All the worry of planning that dream outdoor wedding can be eliminated at Butterfly Gap, as the studio can be completely closed in if the weather is bad, or opened up to Mother Nature in better conditions for an indoor-outdoor venue. The pavilion has a 25-foot wall of glass that frames a view that will literally take away your breath.

The studio can accommodate up to 250 people and the new pavilion is designed for a wedding with up to 175 guests. Amenities range from taking care of such simple things as linens to providing horse-drawn carriages. An event coordinator will help brides-to-be with any details they choose.

Butterfly Gap was recently chosen as the Editor’s Choice-Most Unusual in the September 2007 issue of Ultimate Cabin Guide.

Butterfly Gap Retreat is located at 225 Shadow Ridge in Maryville. By phone, the number is 865-984-6021, and the website is

At Sampson’s Hollow, a family wedding set the stage to offer today’s brides and grooms a picturesque place for their special day. The property on which Sampson’s Hollow sits has been in the Flynn family since before 1879, and maybe even further back than that! Bill Livingston, proprietor of the property, is the grandson of Sampson Flynn, for whom the facility is named.

Sampson’s Hollow lies in the middle of over one hundred acres of beautiful farmland that is just about a stone’s throw away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park . In the winter of 2001, Josh Livingston and his fiancée, Lesley Roberson, announced that they planned on getting married on the family farm.

In a journal entry, written following Josh and Lesley’s wedding in August 2002, the groom’s mother wrote that even with weather threatening “I could not have asked God for a more perfect evening for my son’s wedding. It was as if His Handprint was on every aspect of the event… As Josh and Lesley drove away in the horse and carriage, I smile to think that God might have been tapping His feet--just a little bit.”

The wedding received so many compliments that the owners decided to offer the farm to others who wanted to get married in this beautiful setting. They now offer wedding packages, as well as the opportunity to work with the bride and groom to plan t heir special occasion.

An example of a wedding package would include the Country Garden Wedding, which is designed for the happy couple and up to 15 guests. The package also includes a small garden reception on the property. Additional options may be added such as a horse-drawn carriage, finger foods, flowers for attendants, and video of wedding. Other packages can be tailored to include lodging at the honeymoon cabin and the reception.

To call Sampson’ s Hollow, dial 865-983-4442 or check out the website at

Preservation Plaza and Top of the Plaza at 115 W. Broadway in Maryville, is also a newcomer to the wedding venue scene. The building has been completely redone by Doug and Teresa Horn and now offers an elegant setting for wedding, receptions, rehearsal dinners or parties. Katie Kinney offers personalized service to make sure the party -- whether a dinner or full reception -- have everything the bride and groom could want. Call Katie at 865-964-6360 for a tour of the Plaza.

Green Meadow Golf Club is sometimes said to be one of Blount County’s best kept secrets because of its outstanding golf course and low-key promotions. For the bride and groom who are looking for a beautiful setting, good food and personalized attention, the Club, 1700 Louisville Road in Alcoa, offers a main ballroom, dining room and a casual lounge and bar -- all with a breathtaking view of the mountains. Angie Farr can assist in planning menus and other details to make a rehearsal dinner, wedding reception and even a wedding ceremony truly special. The main ballroom seats up to 200 people. For information, call Angie at 865-982-8783 (Extension 28) or go to the Green Meadow website at

M Gibson Hotels offers a choice in Blount County that gives brides and grooms three options to tailor to their plans.

“In the Alcoa area, M. Gibson Hotels owns and operates three beautiful properties,” said Candace Parkerson, vice president of sales and marketing for M. Gibson Hotels, “Courtyard by Marriott Alcoa Airport, Fairfield Inn by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express. Each hotel offers its own unique amenities, services and charm.”

The event staff at the hotels can help brides to plan their special day. In addition to offering a venue for receptions or dinners, the hotels also can accomodate overnight guests who may be coming in for the wedding. Contact the sales associate or event planner at any of the three hotels for more information.

Campbell Tent and Party Rentals strives to make the personalized, “do-it-my-way” wedding less of a stress point for brides to need to rent tables, chairs, china, foundations -- any of the hundreds of items on Campbell’s list. Whether it’s just a special item or two to fill in, or an entire wedding or reception venue that needs setting up, the folks at Campbell work with each individual to meet their needs, says Jack Campbell II.

“We are very competitive with our pricing,” said Campbell. “All our equipment is clean and very high quality. We believe in the Golden Rule personally, and with our business. We treat every customer the way we’d like to be treated if it was our event.”

Campbell says having a good inventory should give the couple some peace-of-mind that the company can handle whatever comes along.

“I remember one wedding a couple of years ago. It was an outside wedding and the forecast said sunny skies, so we set up by the pool but had no tents. The forecast changed. They called at 9 Saturday morning. We had a 20-x-60 foot tent out there in an hour. We do whatever it takes to make the customer happy even if it means working 14 hours to make it right. Anything that helps take the stress out of the event,” said Campbell.

For more information about Campbell Tent and Party Rentals, call 865-983-3456.

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