It's no secret Gatlinburg businesses took a hit after the 2016 wildfires, and the wedding business is still recovering.

Lee Bennett is the senior pastor at Chapel at the Park, and says he loves being in the business of happily ever afters.

"It's such a refreshing job compared to the regular rigors of being a minister," he says. 

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But right now, business isn't blooming. In 2018, fewer and fewer people are choosing to say "I do" in Sevier County.

And for Chapel at the Park, the Sevier County wildfires in 2016 contributed to that when Cupid's Chapel of Love burned down.

"We were doing about 1,200 weddings a year at Cupid's," Bennett explained. "And of course now those have evaporated so it's affected the marketplace."

In fact, Sevier County was on track to have a record-breaking wedding year in 2016, according to Ron Crivellone, the president of the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association.

"The wildfires definitely took a big hit-- let's say it took the wind out of the sail when it came to having a record year in 2016," Crivellone said. "In 2017 we were down I think we estimated right around 10,000 for marriage licenses for Sevier County." 

And for 2018, reports say the county is down 1,200 weddings from last year.

But this wedding decrease isn't just in Sevier County. Fewer people are choosing to come up to the altar and throw the bouquet across the board.

Now we're looking at a 50-year low for people who are getting married.

Nationally, experts say it's for a number of reasons.

"They're looking at [marriage] differently," Crivellone says. "They're not seeing that you necessarily have to get married to be together or start a family."

Yet, Bennett says there's no shortage of love.

"It's just a shortage of people showing up to make their love legal," he noted. "How's that?"

Bennett and Crivellone both agree the wedding industry is morphing, and businesses have to adapt to that. Both say wedding marketing in Sevier County is ramping up-- organizations and businesses see the importance of social media especially.

Crivellone says while numbers have been down, the percentage of couples coming to the Volunteer State to tie the knot has gone up-- what has decreased is the percentage of people saying vows who already live in the state.