Frequently Asked Questions About Weddings


How do I book an event? 

All event scheduling must be booked through and approved by UT Gardens rental staff: Holly Jones -, 865-974-9266, or James Newburn -, 865-974-7256. Site tours are encouraged prior to booking and may be arranged with rental staff. A non-refundable deposit of 1/2 the total rental fees (cash, checks, M.C., Visa, Discover accepted) and a signed Event Rental Agreement must be received in order to secure and hold the date. Final balance is due no later than 4 weeks prior to the event. For events booked 30 days or less before an event the full fee must be paid and is non-refundable.


Can a date be held?

A date may be held for 10 full days with no money exchange. An Event Rental Agreement will be sent for review during that time. After 10 days, if there is no Event Rental Agreement signed and a deposit received, the hold will be released. There can only be one date held at a time, and each date can only have one hold at a time.


What if I need to cancel?

If cancelations occur at least 30 days prior to an event, fees paid beyond the non-refundable deposit will be returned. No refunds are given for cancelations less than 30 days prior to the event. No refunds are given for inclement weather.


What if it rains?

The McIlwaine Friendship Pavilion (covered with open sides), if available, is an option for reserving if inclement weather is expected. Additional fees may apply. Tents are allowed from outside vendors with prior apporval.


What is the catering policy?

Any licensed and insured caterer may provide services. All vendors (e.g., florists, caterers, musical groups, etc.) must contact the Gardens' staff two weeks pror to the event to arrange delivery, set up and parking. It is the lessee's responsibility to inform vendors of this policy.


What is the alcohol policy?

The dispensing and consumption of alcohol must be in accordance with the UTIA alcohol policy. Alcoholic beverages may only be served by vendors that are properly licensed and possess all the required state and local permits. Currently enrolled students may not be served or be in possession of alcoholic beverages on UT property.


Does the Garden provide any site furnishings?

Tents, tables, chairs and decor are not provided. The exception is the Chidren's Garden Pavilion, which includes rectangular tables and chairs for up to 30 guests, if requested. We recommend coordinating equipment through your selected vendor.


Are there any restrictions on decorating?

No environmentally harmful, unsightly or potentially dangerous materials may be used - such as rice, glitter, confetti, birdseed, artificial flower petals or fireworks (including sparklers). Butterflies and bubbles are permissible outdoors. Limited decorations including candles, garlands, and fabric, and signs directing guests to the event venue may be permissible with prior approval.


Is the photography permit included with the rental fee?

When hosting a wedding reception and ceremony at the Garden, a professional photography permit fee is included. Any area of the Garden may be used for photographs on the day of the event but cannot be reserved. Photographers and guests must not stand in the planting beds or damage or remove vegetation or garden structures in any way.


Will there be other people in the Garden on my wedding day?

Yes. UT Gardens is open to the public and other events may be happening on the same day. Visitors from the public will be notified by signage that your event space has been reserved.


Where can my guests park?

There are plenty of parking spaces available for weekend events (excluding UT special events). Please park in designated areas only. During business hours (M-F, 8-5) parking is very limited and confined to ten spaces reserved for Gardens pakring. Special arrangements for parking are available with advanced notice. Parking outside of the designated areas may result in lessee being ticketed, fined, or towed.


Are there any other rules I should be aware of?

We are unable to book any events on Fridays or Saturdays of UT Home Football Games. Check out ​ for the latest schedule.