How To Elope In Asheville, North Carolina
A big traditional wedding just isn’t the right thing for every couple. Elopements have always been popular, but more than ever couples are choosing to do what they truly WANT to do for their wedding day, and I’m here for it! If you feel like your love is best expressed through adventure and spontaneity, eloping can be an awesome choice.
Sometimes when people think about eloping, they picture big adventurous locations like Hawaii or Utah (where I do love to photograph elopements), but we also have one of the best elopement destinations right here in North Carolina. Eloping in Asheville can be beautiful, fun, and adventurous.
Asheville is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains – with amazing views and breathtaking scenery all around you, it’s the perfect way to start your life together as a married couple (and a pretty badass spot for photos!).
As an elopement photographer in Asheville, I know the city and the surrounding area and can help you pick the right spot for you and your partner’s vibe. Whether you want to get married among the rhododendrons in the mountains, or get married at Asheville’s coolest Rock n Roll chapel, I’ve got your back.
Locations To Elope In Asheville
I really never get sick of photographing elopements in Asheville. I could spend the rest of my life exploring all the trails and beautiful natural scenery, and still not see everything.
Part of what makes Asheville a great spot is that there are a lot of places you can tie the knot, from serene and peaceful botanical gardens to stunning mountain-top views. Some of my favorite spots include:
1. The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most beautiful places in and around Asheville. With its winding roads, lush forests, and gorgeous mountain vistas, it’s the perfect spot for romantic photos or to capture breathtaking views as you say your vows.
You can hike through the wilderness or take a scenic drive with your partner, and there are plenty of great spots along the way to stop for photos. Whether you want a dramatic backdrop of mountains or a picturesque waterfall, you’re in for a treat.
While the Blue Ridge Parkway is an amazing place for your Asheville elopement, it’s also important to point out that the Parkway is one of the most visited spots in the National Park System, so it can get busy (especially during the fall), so it’s best to plan in advance for permits and other requirements. Let me know what you’re picturing and I can help!
2. National Forest Land & Other Trails
Asheville is surrounded by gorgeous trails and parks that can make great elopement spots – As part of an effort to keep these wild spaces wild, I don’t always list those locations publicly, but can provide options to you that will fit your vibe!
3. Asheville Botanical Gardens
The Asheville Botanical Gardens is another great option – the Asheville Botanical Gardens allow for small weddings up to 30 people, and as of early 2023 the rental rates are $150-$250.
Whether you want to get married under a blooming cherry tree or at the ornate gazebo in the center of the gardens, Asheville Botanical Gardens can be a great spot for a small wedding or elopement.
4. The Biltmore Estate
If you’ve heard of Asheville, you’ve almost definitely heard of The Biltmore Estate. This sprawling estate offers acres of lush gardens, beautiful green lawns, and stunning architecture, ideal for romantic wedding photos. You can pose in front of the grand mansion or take a stroll through the luxurious gardens for a truly picturesque Asheville elopement.
The Biltmore can be busy, and does have some elopement/photography guidelines, so if we’d like to do photos at the Biltmore, I’d recommend that we do them after holding the ceremony itself elsewhere.
If you love historic architecture, the Biltmore Estate is definitely worth checking out. There are sweeping vistas of the mountains and the estate, and lots of interesting and intimate spots for photos.
5. Fleetwood’s Rock n Roll Wedding Chapel
When you think ‘elope’, you might think Vegas. Fleetwood’s Rock n Roll Wedding Chapel is an awesome, funky dive bar where you can get married, drink cheap beer, and see a local band all at the same time.
If you’re not the ‘hike to the top of the mountain’ type of couple, Fleetwood’s is a super fun place to elope in Asheville, with cool vintage vibes making it perfect for alternative portraits, like flash photos.
We can always pair this with another option too – either visiting a state park or maybe a downtown brewery after you get hitched!
6. Breweries, Breweries, Breweries
Asheville isn’t just all rugged mountains and trails. If sitting down and eating and drinking is more your speed, Asheville has you covered. It’s the biggest city in western North Carolina, so it all has tons of awesome restaurants, and literally more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the world. Some of these breweries and restaurants allow special events, including elopements and small ceremonies – if this is more your vibe for your Asheville elopement, I’d be happy to give you some recommendations of my favorite spots!
Step By Step Guide On How To Elope In Asheville
Asheville is a prime destination for adventurous people who want an intimate and romantic getaway, so it makes sense that it’s become a great city for elopements! If you’re from out of town, you could always extend your stay too and make it your honeymoon too.
Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite Asheville elopement locations, let’s talk about how to actually do the dang thing.
Step#1 – Choose A Location
First, start by choosing your location. Asheville is full of amazing natural scenery, including the list I shared above, but also has so many other amazing spots. I’d love to chat with you and hear your vision for the day, and I can help guide you to the right place for your dream elopement.
Step#2 – Type Of Ceremony
Once you’ve decided on your location, it’s time to start planning the details of your elopement. This is where things can get a little tricky, depending on what type of elopement you want. If you want a discreet ceremony with no one involved but just you two, you can easily do so by hiring a local wedding officiant to perform your vows (you just need two witnesses, of which I can be one). However, if you want to include friends as well, there are plenty of Asheville-based vendors that can help make this possible.
Step#3 – Vendors & Services
Another important thing to consider when planning your Asheville elopement is finding the right vendors and services. Whether you need florists for beautiful bouquets and decorations, or even wedding planners to help coordinate everything, Asheville has plenty of options that cater to your needs. I’ve worked with lots of vendors in Asheville and can help refer you to the right people to help with whatever you might need.
Step#4 – Decide Your Attire
What should you wear on your Asheville elopement day? Honestly, whatever you want! Some couples will wear suits or white dresses, others will keep it super casual. Asheville is a city filled with eclectic and trendy fashion, which can be inspiring. Consider the type of elopement you’re going to have – if we’re going up the mountains, consider flowy dresses and sturdy shoes. If we’re staying downtown, you can maybe go more formal. It’s also totally cool to do an outfit change during your elopement at some point! At the end of the day, planning an Asheville elopement is all about finding what makes you happy.
Step#5 – Marriage License
North Carolina is an awesome place to elope because there is no waiting period after you get your marriage license. You’ll visit the county clerk’s office, apply for your marriage license, and can get married the same day. Please note that these rules sometimes change, so please always check with the proper authorities to make sure!
Best Time of Year to Elope in Asheville
When thinking about the best time of year to elope in Asheville, the main two things to think about are weather and crowds. First of all, I love photographing elopements in Asheville year-round – the town and especially the mountains do get snow in winter, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a winter elopement. Fall can get CRAZY busy and lodging can be expensive as leaf peepers come in from all over, but for good reason: fall is super super beautiful in Asheville. If planning for a fall elopement in Asheville, we’ll just have to be sure we plan accordingly to maybe visit some less-crowded spots.
Spring and summer are both beautiful times to visit Asheville – summer can of course get hot, but is generally less hot than other parts of North Carolina due to elevation. This can also mean that the sun is more intense at higher elevations, so it’s something to consider.
Overall, If you’re thinking of eloping in Asheville, let’s chat! You won’t regret it.