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wedding ceremony at The Emporium Arts Center in Knoxville

The Emporium

Arts and culture add ambiance to any wedding venue and this is especially true with The Emporium. Located in Downtown Knoxville, this revitalized building includes a mix of historic and modern features that are rustic yet charming. Home to local and regional artists, the Emporium is where creativity flourishes. If you’re looking for a unique and special venue, then consider The Emporium for your special day. Don’t forget to book a profession Knoxville Wedding Photographer as soon as possible. Not only is it one item crossed off your list, but it is also one of the most important decisions you will make.

The History

The Emporium housed a variety of businesses throughout the years. Built in 1898, it was originally home to a prestigious furniture company. Operated by The Sterchi Brothers, the company claimed to have everything you needed to furnish your home from “a teaspoon to a piano.”  This new addition to Knoxville was four stories high and included a basement. Historical records show that at least 25 people were employed by the company.

The building later housed a wholesale goods distributor and was later a textile manufacturing facility.  After extensive renovations in 2004, it opened as Knoxville’s first true arts center. Today the building is home to the offices of the Arts & Culture Alliance, as well as offices for other arts and cultural organizations.

The 28,000 square feet of flexible space is home to artist studios and galleries, featuring all types of arts and culture. Music, textiles, and other types of creative art compromise the space in a way that brings color and life to the Emporium.

Downtown Wedding at The Emporium Center Knoxville

Space and Location

The ambiance of an 1898 building is found among the materials saved during the renovation, along with new additions. For example, large, glass windows illuminate the large space, providing plenty of natural light. 

Historic elements of the building make a great backdrop for wedding photography. Exposed original wooden beams and old brick walls provide for a rustic setting for your ceremony and/or your reception.

The Emporium can accommodate a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 480 guests for weddings.  Rental fees include chairs and tables and the venue allows outside vendors. You can choose any caterer you want that is willing to service this venue.

The location of Gay Street is historic in itself. For one, it was the first paved street in all of Knoxville. Gay Street is also home to one of the oldest and largest Veterans Day Parades in the United States.

In addition to The Emporium, there’s the Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain, the East Tennessee History Center, and the Maple Hall Bowling Alley. All kinds of great cuisine are available at a variety of restaurants. 

To explore Gay Street, just hop aboard the free trolley. It’s a great way to explore this famous Knoxville street, for both you and your guests. In fact, encourage your guests to stay for an extra day or two. There’s so much to see and do, they’ll be glad they did.

Night time photos in downtown Knoxville by Erin Morrison Photography

The Photography

 The vibe that is Gay Street and The Emporium is one of celebration and that’s why I love this part of Knoxville. There is inspiration everywhere you turn due to the arts, culture, history, and uniqueness of this place. 

The Emporium offers a setting like no other when it comes to wedding photography. The use of natural light is among my specialties as my style is documentary and involves using natural light.

The large windows that illuminate the original wooden beams, hardwood floors and brick walls of The Emporium are among the buildings greatest improvements. The remaining historic elements provide enough of a backdrop to add ambiance to the focal point of the photography—you and your partner.

This building is beautiful inside and out. Celebrating your special day here is something you will remember forever. Professional photography of your special day is something you will treasure forever.

The Emporium Center Wedding in Downtown Knoxville

About Erin Morrison Photography

I’m a professional wedding photographer based in Knoxville. My experience has offered me opportunities to work with a variety of couples in many different venues. The Emporium is a restored downtown jewel and a truly beautiful venue.

Imagine what the Sterchi Brothers would say today if they knew their building is now home to the arts. As sellers of everything from teaspoons to pianos, I can’t help but think they would be proud that weddings are celebrated here. That the investment they made in 1898 remains and is a gathering place for inspiration, creativity, and love.

Planning a wedding is a monumental task. Once you know your date, contact me so that I can check my availability. I’m always honored when selected to photograph a wedding. I also know from past experience that no matter how much you plan, sometimes things just don’t go as expected.

It is often the unplanned moments that result in the best photographs. My style is to capture the special looks you share with your partner, the tears of joy from your loved ones, and the overall tender moments that brought you to this day.

Forget staged photos—they’re definitely not my style. Perhaps your favorite uncle doesn’t like his photo taken. Forcing him to stand still for a photo isn’t going to make him very happy. However, if I catch him from a distance, dancing with or smiling at you, then we have a winning moment captured forever.

Investing in your wedding day photography is one of the most important things you can do. After the wedding cake is gone, the band has gone home, and the day is done, the photography remains. You will treasure your photographs, especially on your anniversary.

Knoxville Wedding Photographer Erin Morrison Photography

Knoxville Wedding Photographer

Knoxville is a great place to begin your marriage. The city is alive and vibrant, from the bustling downtown to the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Whether you reside here or you are planning a destination wedding, be sure to include The Emporium on your list of possible wedding venues.

To view examples of my work, view my portfolio here. To learn more about area attractions and places to stay, check out Visit Knoxville. Better yet, feel free to contact me to check availability and rate for my services!


Natural light + honest photographer for all humans.


Knoxville, Tennessee



Office Hours: M-F 8am-5pm | S-S 12pm-5pm

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