Chattanooga gains favor as wedding destination

Tara Plumlee stands in front of the 21,000 square-foot Bell Mill Mansion in Ooltewah. It is one of her four venues in the Chattanooga area.
photo Tara Plumlee holds a tray of assorted canap's in the foyer of the Bell Mill Mansion wedding venue in Ooltewah.

Chattanooga has become a destination for foodies, tech startups, outdoor enthusiasts, and in recent years, couples looking to tie the knot.

Wedding industry experts in the area agree that Chattanooga's natural beauty and cheaper cost of living compared to bigger cities, like Nashville and Atlanta, have become attractive reasons for brides and grooms to choose the city over others when deciding where to get married. A 2017 industry survey of 13,000 couples by the Knot, a popular wedding website among engaged couples, shows the average Tennessee wedding costs nearly $28,000, and local wedding vendors are more than happy to accomodate an influx of couples who find Chattanooga appealing.