Traci & Clay’s Smoky Mountain Elopement in Gatlinburg

Real Elopements,
3 min read Jun 28, 2021

Traci & Clay met in middle school, but it took Clay a little longer than Traci to realize this was a forever deal. The two of them knew that they wanted a wedding that all about their commitment and not a huge party. So they worked with Simply Eloped to marry at the Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. They were thrilled to have family join them in front of the mountains for their heartfelt ceremony. Afterward, the newlyweds and their guests celebrated with a steak dinner in Gatlinburg. We love the his&hers white cowboy hats, the trendy bouquet, Traci’s beautiful off-the-shoulder gown with flowing veil, and Clay’s laid-back style. Read more to find out why they think every couple should elope!


How did you meet? What was your first impression of one another?

Traci: I first saw Clay in middle school and had the biggest crush on him

Clay:  I first saw Traci in middle school as well. I was friends with her brother and knew of her and saw her around but had no idea I’d marry her years later. 

How did you propose or accept the proposal? 

Traci: Clay proposed in the backyard of our land before we were going out to eat. It was raining, and it was private. I loved it, and I was so excited to say yes. His stepdad, who lives behind us, heard me at their house, lol!

Clay: I originally had scheduled a photo shoot. I planned to propose to her during the pictures, but I felt like she was getting suspicious, and I couldn’t take waiting another day! 

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Where did you choose to elope, and why did you choose that destination? 

Traci: We chose Gatlinburg, Tennessee, because I absolutely love the mountains. Clay had never really been, but we chose there because it wasn’t too far away due to us having a family tag along. 

What attracted you to the venue you chose for your elopement? 

Traci: We loved the simplicity and scenery of our destination. We didn’t need any decorations or backdrop with the mountains behind us! 

How would you describe your elopement venue to someone who has never been there? 

Traci: Simple and beautiful! 

What did you do before the wedding? How did you get ready? How did you feel in the moments leading up to your elopement?

Traci: My mom, two friends, and I all got ready together. I was very excited but anxious about things not going as planned. In the end, everything worked out, and once I saw Clay, it was all okay! 

Clay: I spent the afternoon with Traci’s brother and Dad, just hanging out on the porch until it was time to go. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see her. 

How was your experience with Simply Eloped? 

Traci: Overall, it was good. I felt grateful for how it was all planned for me, but I was at the venue before anyone. My helper wasn’t really needed, but her support was great. I guess I just had anxiety because I had not spoken with anyone that day. It all worked out, though, and it was perfect.

How did you choose to celebrate your elopement? 

Traci: Afterward, we ate at Peddlers Steakhouse In Gatlinburg with friends and family. It was great! We also spent the rest of the week in Pigeon Forge and had the best time. 

What words of encouragement do you have for those considering eloping? 

Traci: Your wedding is about the couple. Not what anyone else wants. Pay for what you want and do what you want. I think big weddings are more a showing off than cherishing intimacy coming from someone who originally planned a big traditional wedding. If you don’t like organizing things or stress, you should ELOPE!  At the end of the day, you’re married, and that’s what matters!


Photography by: Mandy Gamble
Planning by: Simply Eloped
Venue: Smoky Mountain National Park, Gatlinburg Scenic, Tennessee

Real Elopements
Written by Janessa White

Janessa White is the co-founder of Simply Eloped and has helped thousands of couples plan elopements. As an expert in the field, she has been featured on Martha Stewart,, Vox, and HuffPost. Janessa thinks elopements are the ultimate way to tie the knot.