Your Asheville Adventure Elopement Guide

Updated 4/6/21

Are you considering ditching the big, traditional wedding for something more intimate? Don’t know where to start? Here is your guide if you’re considering having an elopement or intimate wedding in the mountains around Asheville, NC!

The term “elopement” gets tossed around quite a bit these days. It has taken on new meaning. Gone are the days where it’s steeped in negativity. You don’t have to run away in secret. You just simply make the decision that your ceremony is going to be about the two of you. It gives you the freedom to slow down. It gives you the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, really! Helping you plan for your elopement is another service I offer. Reach out if you feel overwhelmed! I love helping my couples with these steps!

Quick tips:

  • Apply for a marriage license. The Register of Deeds office is open 8am to 5pm Monday-Friday. Make sure you arrive before 4:30pm. Note: a marriage license is only valid for 60 days from the date issued! Be sure to have your ceremony before it expires!
  • To avoid crowds, elope during the week. A sunrise ceremony will increase your chances of having a more private ceremony.
  • Book a photographer that is familiar with the area. Contact me 🙂 I will also assist with suggesting vendors and helping with any permits you may need. Plan to say your vows at sunrise or sunset for the best light!

  • Book an officiant! Your marriage will not be valid without an ordained officiant in NC. The state of North Carolina requires an officiant and two witnesses to solemnize the marriage. See my suggested officiants in this post!
  • Pick a location based on your comfort level for hiking and weather, etc. There is something for all comfort levels! I help with this step as well!

Read on for more helpful elopement tips!

Couple eloping near Asheville, NC

Pick your date or season

Every season is gorgeous in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Obviously winter can come with its challenges as most of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed which can prevent easy access to some great views. However, there are still plenty of options! With that said, Spring, Summer, and Fall gives you the greatest return for excellent locations. Deciding on the time of year you want to have your ceremony gives you a a great starting point. Let’s talk about them. Here are my favorites!

Fall

The autumn color in these mountains is beyond anything! However, the majority of humans also feel this way. Autumn is an extremely busy time in Asheville as tourism really ramps up during this time. Unless you get hitched during the week at sunrise, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of unwanted guests at your ceremony. Even then, the possibility of having people around is very high. That might not be a dealbreaker for some, but it’s definitely something to consider if it is. The other consideration is how booked up vendors can be during this time. If you decide Fall is your time, make sure you start booking all vendors and accommodations early!!

Autumn elopement in Asheville, NC
Couple celebrating their elopement

Summer

Let me just say one thing about summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains – RHODODENDRON BLOOMS! These mountains start POPPIN’ toward the middle to end of June. Many locations even have tunnels of them you can walk through or get married between!

There are many, many wildflowers that grow in these gorgeous mountains throughout the summer though. You really can’t go wrong in the summer. Plus, in the higher elevations, the temperatures are typically much cooler than the valley. This makes for a very pleasant, less sweaty ceremony or hike to the ceremony location! More on weather later on in this post!

Eloping couple near the Blue Ridge Parkway

Spring

Who doesn’t love Spring?! Especially if you live in an area that experiences all the seasons. Spring is the rebirth where everything goes from brown to green. The mountains start to come alive. The temperatures are mild. Spring can be very rainy here in Asheville. Isn’t rain on your wedding day good luck though?! Even if it rains, I’m here for it. Don’t let the weather stop you from saying “I do”. Plus, the waterfalls in the Spring are flowing like crazy!

Choose Your Vendors

See my suggestions below but it’s important to choose vendors that you’re aligned with. Especially when it comes to an officiant. An officiant is just as important as a photographer. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure it’s someone you actually like! Here are some of my suggestions below!

Officiants

Amanda Jones – Happily Ever Asheville www.happilyeverasheville.com

Julia Albertson – Heartfelt Elopements www.heartfeltelopements.com

Vanessa Allen LaRotonda – Adventure Officiant @adventure.officiant

Florists

Carolina Flowers – www.carolinaflowers.com

Flourish Flower Farm – www.flourishflowerfarm.com

Videographers

Peak of the Mountain Productions – www.peakmntfilms.com

Heartistree Studio Films – www.heartistree.com

Wedding Attire

Juniper James Bridal – www.juniperjamesbridal.com

Maggi Bridal Asheville – www.maggibridal.com

Meadowbrooke Bridal – www.meadowbrookebridal.com

Hair/Makeup

AnaRie – www.anarie.com

Brushes and Braids – www.brushesandbraids.com

Della Terra Beauty – www.dellaterrabeauty.com

Music

Kate Leigh Bryant – Violinist – @k8tunes

Food/Pop-up Picnics

Asheville Luxury Picnics – @picnicpopupavl

Parkway Picnics, LLC – parkwaypicnics.squarespace.com

Braised & Confit – www.braisedandconfit.com

Pick Your Location

This is my favorite part! There are many considerations to this. If you’re involving family and/or friends that aren’t avid hikers, there are plenty of options. If it’s just the two of you, and you’re up for an adventure, the possibilities are endless! I have hiked more than 5 miles for a ceremony and I did an overnight, backpacking trip. Whatever your comfort level, I have something for you. One consideration for a mountain wedding is the weather! The weather can change VERY quickly. I would recommend bringing layers and preparing for any situation. Fog can move in at a moment’s notice as well.

Pisgah National Forest

Most locations in Pisgah National Forest do not require a permit if you have less than 75 guests. So, if you’re eloping, you’re in the clear!

Roan Highlands

Roan Highlands (some know this area as Roan Mountain) is a series of balds along the NC/TN border. Balds are unique to the Appalachian Mountains and are quite incredible! The Rhododendron blooms and the Flame Azaleas are breathtaking in the summer! This place is magic in any season though!

Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala has many hidden treasures! I did an overnight, backpacking elopement here and it was one I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

Eloping couple in Nantahala Nation Forest
Nantahala National Forest Elopement

 

The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers so many amazing views! What’s better is that they actually allow ceremonies on the parkway! There are some rules, however. Get more details on rules here. Here are the highlights:

  • A permit is required. That will cost $100 which is non-refundable. ($60 application fee with a $40 administrative fee due at the time of application.)
  • These locations are off limits (however, they can’t stop us from taking epic photos at these locations! Only your ceremony is prohibited)
    • Inside any government building, historic or otherwise
    • MP 176.2 – Mabry Mill historic area (May be permitted in the grass area in front of the Mill pond)
    • MP 213.3 – Blue Ridge Music Center
    • MP 241.1 – Bluffs Lodge and surrounding grounds
    • MP 294.0 – Bass Lake
    • MP 302.8 – Rough Ridge Overlook and boardwalk
    • MP 305.2 – Beacon Heights left fork trail (May be permitted at the end of the right fork trail)
    • MP 316.4 – Linville Falls
    • MP 339.5 – Crabtree Falls
    • MP 364.1 – Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail, Pinnacle Scenic View, and Craggy Dome Parking Area (May be permitted at Craggy Flats Bald)
    • MP 418.8 – Graveyard Fields
    • MP 422.4 – Devil’s Courthouse
    • MP 451.2 – Waterrock Knob
  • Live or dried natural plant/flower material is prohibited. This includes cut flowers for bouquets and potted plants. Live plant materials may contain insects or unwanted pests that could to be introduced into the park. Silk or paper flowers are allowed.
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Hey! I’m Laura Sparks, the ginger behind Sparks in the Forest. The possibilities really are endless in Western North Carolina! I could probably write a novel on all of the locations in Asheville, NC! I’ve lived in these mountains for more than 13 years. I’m here to help you find the perfect location and take some killer photos of you, too. You deserve a day that is about the two of you! Reach out so we can make your dream become a reality!