Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 24

Around GEORGIA

By Amber Lanier Nagle

Goin' to the chapel
Say 'I do' at one of Georgia's little wedding venues

MINNA CIRINO PHOTOGRAPHY

Rich in Ringgold
history

Ringgold Wedding Chapel,
ringgoldweddingchapel.com;
capacity: 60
Nestled in the rolling hills of
Northwest Georgia, Ringgold (also
known as the " Wedding Capital
of the South " ) has provided the
The Tiny Mobile Wedding Chapel can
accommodate 10 people and can be
matrimonial backdrop for many
delivered to locations near Savannah.
celebrities. In 1969, country musicians George Jones and Tammy
Wynette started their tumultuous, on-again-off-again union
there-seven years before they recorded their No. 1 hit " Golden
Ring. " Fellow country star Dolly Parton got hitched to longtime
husband Carl Dean there in 1966, noting in an interview that it
was far enough away from Nashville to give them some privacy
and " I also liked the idea of 'rings of gold'-Ringgold. "
" Back when couples had to have their blood drawn and
tested prior to getting a marriage license, we had a laboratory
here that could do the test and have the results in an hour, " says

24

Georgia Magazine

February 2021

MARY CLAIRE STEWART / BERRY COLLEGE

W

hen love is in the air, couples envision themselves
exchanging vows before their closest friends and
family members. Some dream of tying the knot at
large, elaborate venues, while others imagine more intimate,
sacred settings. By definition, wedding chapels are small,
church-like buildings where marriages (sometimes several
in a single day) are performed.
A handful of wedding chapels punctuate Georgia's scenic
byways. Some offer convenience,
affordability and full packages
that include marriage officiants,
music and flowers. Others boast
historical roots and natural grandeur, and at least one provides a
portability and delivery option.
Though they are different in design, setting and history, all of the
state's chapels of love are worth
singing about.

Darci Smith, owner of the Ringgold Wedding
Chapel. " When the test cleared, they could get a
license at the courthouse and exchange vows, all
in the same day. "
The red-brick wedding chapel just across the
street from the Catoosa County Courthouse has
hosted as many as 13 weddings in a single day. In
2019, 600 couples wed there.
Smith purchased the business in 2017 during a
low point in her life.
" I had lost my job and, because of a tough
family situation, I had taken on the responsibility of
raising a young cousin, " she says. " I went to a small
business forum in Chattanooga and happened to sit
next to Teresa [James]. I believe I was led by God-I
was supposed to meet her that day-and I ended up
buying the business from her. "
Since then, Smith has seen it all.
" We've seen brides from other countries, " she
says. " We've married couples who met online; we've
remarried couples who were once married [to each
other], then divorced, then changed their minds
again; we've seen men marry their ex-wives' sisters;
and one time, the chapel was full of friends and
family members, and the bride and groom got into
an argument and walked out. "


http://www.ringgoldweddingchapel.com

Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 14
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 17
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 19
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 25
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 27
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 33
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 34
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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