Smokies are open for weddings

Great Smoky Mountains in October, (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) --- Sevier County wedding industry folks are trying to do damage control to make sure people know federal cuts have not closed outdoor weddings in the national park.

Eric Gebhart, a local photographer with New Beginnings Photography, says he's been getting calls from people worried they wouldn't be able to get married outside.

"Yeah I just don't want people to be aprehensive about planning weddings in the national park," said Gebhart. "I'm very relieved because half my business comes from doing weddings in the national park."

The national park service doesn't plan on closing any of the popular wedding areas or get rid of staff members who work on weddings. Last year there were 800 ceremonies in the park.

Chamber leaders say weddings are a big part of the county's business. Jim McGill, director of the Sevierville Chamber, says the wedding industry supports every other business in the Smokies. Many get married here and return to celebrate anniversaries year after year.

"Year after year, and it's just a tradition for them and I've talked to couples that have come here for 30 years," said McGill.

"It's just scary when people don't want to come here to do weddings or visit for that matter," said Gebhart.

Right now more than 100 weddings are already booked to take place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year..

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