The Asheville area is filled with some of the most gorgeous landscapes, hikes and mountain views, making it the perfect area for an elopement. Here is everything you need to know about how to elope in Asheville!!
Step 1. Choosing a Location & Applying for Permits
Make sure to do research on hiking distances and conditions before you choose a location to make sure it’s the best fit for your elopement, or ask your photographer/planner for their advice and suggestions!!
Some things to consider:
- How many guests do you want to be there? (Some locations have a guest limit)
- What time of day do you want to get married?
- How accessible is the location? (Will your family be able to get there comfortably? Will you have to drive or hike?)
- Are there any activities you want to incorporate?
- What will the weather be like? (How will you have to prepare for the weather?)
- How busy or secluded is the location? (Consider the time of year! October is always a busy month because it’s peak foliage)
Getting married on public lands makes for the prettiest wedding venue, but comes with it’s own set of rules and restrictions. These rules vary by area, so here is a breakdown of locations with links to apply for permits!!
1. The Blue Ridge Parkway
The parkway runs through Western North Carolina and is one of the most popular drives in the state. The road is 469 miles long and consists of many overlooks and hiking trails. Lots of couples choose a location along the parkway for their elopement.
- Limited to 25 guests.
- Wedding permits are not issued for any federal holiday, federal holiday weekend, or during the entire month of October.
- Permits are issued for a 2 hour time slot.
- Application fee of $60 and permit fee $40.
- Apply for a permit here.
- Other Rules & Restrictions:
- Live or dried natural plant/flower material is prohibited. This includes wedding bouquets and potted plants. Live plants may contain insects that could be harmful to the park. A great alternative is to bring a wooden or silk bouquet. The photo on the left is a silk bouquet, and the photo on the right is a wooden bouquet. One of the perks of having a bouquet like this is that you’ll get to keep it forever!!
- Some things such as alcoholic beverages, balloons, arbors, arches, and candles are prohibited. (A more in depth list of prohibited items can be found here.)
- You can read all the rules here.
2. The Pisgah National Forest
This National Forest is in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. Unlike locations along the Parkway, any land within the Pisgah National Forest does not require a permit for weddings with less than 75 guests. You can read all the rules here.
3. Jump Off Rock
This is one of my favorite elopement ceremony locations. Located in Hendersonville, about 20 minutes from Asheville. There are 3 different ceremony spots to choose from. Limited to 10-12 vehicles. You can reserve a spot for up to 4 hours here.
4. Wedding or Elopement Venues
There are quite a few venues tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains that allow you to elope in Asheville, while also having a more accessible and private ceremony. A few of my favorites:
- Something Blue Mountain Venue – This wedding venue is located in Marion, 28 miles from Asheville. They can accommodate up to 24 guests with 360 views of the mountains. And they’re open year round!! You can read more and inquire about booking the venue here.
- Laurel Falls – This wedding venue is located about 20 minutes from downtown Asheville and includes 4 separate 1920s-style homes for up to 19 guests to stay overnight. The venue itself can accommodate up to 75 guests, making this a great option for couples who want a bigger wedding as well as mountain views. You can read more and inquire about booking the venue here.
- The Ridge – “A French and Spanish inspired wedding venue, that provides guests with breath taking 360 degree views of WNC’s gorgeous mountain ranges. Located in Marshall, NC, The Ridge offers the perfect elegant setting while the Blue Ridge Mountains offer the perfect backdrop for your wedding.” This excerpt from their website describes the feel and vibe of this venue perfectly! You can read more and inquire about booking the venue here.
- The Biltmore – The Biltmore Estate, located right in Asheville, is known for it’s elegant and historic architecture and beautiful gardens. The Biltmore house is the main wedding venue for bigger weddings, but they have 8 different venues on the property including some smaller venues for intimate weddings. Cedric’s Garden and the Conservatory both accommodate 30-60 guests, making those the perfect place to elope in Asheville. You can check out all their venues here.
Step 2: Choosing a Time of Year & Date to Elope in Asheville
- Spring – The parkway will begin the open again in late March or the beginning of April. This is a great time to elope in Asheville because the trails won’t be too busy until summer.
- Summer – The summer months will most likely be the prettiest as everything starts to grow and bloom again, but of course that does attract more hikers and tourists. I would suggest eloping on a weekday in the summer to avoid the weekend crowds.
- Fall – Fall in the mountains is gorgeous as the leaves start to change. The trails will become even busier, and the parkway does not issue permits for entire the month of October, so I suggest getting married on a weekday or at a more private venue during the fall.
- Winter – Winter is a beautiful time to get married if you’re envisioning a snowy elopement. The trials will be pretty empty so you won’t have to worry about it being crowded. Parts of the parkway will be closed Nov – March due to snow and ice, so I suggest choosing a location somewhere else or having a solid backup plan in case you’re not able to make it to your original location.
Step 3. Booking Vendors
Choosing the right vendors for your elopement can make or break your wedding day. The process may seem overwhelming at first with so many vendors to choose from, so I suggest asking vendors (such as a planner or photographer) in the area for suggestions. I offer a list of my favorite NC vendors to all my couples, and this list only includes people I know and trust!!
My biggest piece of advice is to hire vendors that specialize in elopements and smaller weddings. Most vendors have a lot of traditional wedding experience, and because elopements are so different, you’re going to want to hire someone who is more familiar with the planning process and flow of an elopement. You can read more about what to look for when hiring an adventure elopement photographer here.
Step 4. Start Brainstorming
Once you have your date & location picked out, your vendors, and any required permits, the next step is to start planning!! I suggest planning a date night with your fiance to start brainstorming what you want to do on your elopement day. Try not to get too caught up in the little details or timeline, just focus on dreaming up what the perfect day would look like. Nothing is off limits when you’re brainstorming!! If you need a little help getting started, check out my last blog post for 10 Asheville elopement day ideas here!!
Step 5. Plan Your Day
Make a list of the things you’d love to do and then start doing research!! If you need any help booking or planning activities, your photographer or planner should be able to help!! Don’t hesitate to ask your vendors for assistance because chances are, they’ve done it before!!
Next step is to take your list and make a timeline for your day. I work alongside all my couples to help them make a personalized elopement day timeline. Whether you booked a 4 hour elopement, a 2 day elopement, or anything in between, I’ll make a custom timeline with you over a phone or facetime call to make sure you’ll have the day you imagined without feeling rushed.
Step 6. Finalize Details & Prepare for the Day
Start preparing for the day 1 week beforehand!!
- Finalize last minute details with vendors like where and when to meet, when to pick up the bouquet, etc. Schedule phone calls with your planner and/or photographer a few weeks beforehand to make sure everyone is on the same page and ready for the big day.
- Pack – Make a list throughout the week of anything you think you may forget to pack. Dress/Suit, Extra Layers/Clothes, Rings, Veil, Jewelry, Vows, Shoes, Hiking Supplies, etc.
- Keep an Eye on the Weather – Keep an eye on the weather the week before, and prepare for the worst!! Rain won’t ruin your wedding day if you’re prepared for it, I promise 😉 Target sells the cutest clear umbrellas that are perfect for rainy wedding days and look awesome in photos, I always have 2 in my car for emergencies!!
- Legal Documents – Pick up your marriage license and make sure you have any required permits.
Step 7. Enjoy your Elopement Day!!
Relax and have fun!! Your wedding day only happens once, so soak up every second!!
Heyyy!! I’m Erin! Thank you so much for reading. If you’re looking for someone that can help you elope in Asheville, I may be the perfect photographer for you!! Click here to contact me and let’s start planning your dream elopement day!!