November 30, 2020

Asheville Elopement: How to Plan Yours

A couple sits on a mountain during their Asheville elopement facing a beautiful blue ridge view surrounded by clouds, shrubs, and pines.

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, home of buskers, beers, and beautiful mountain views! You might be dreaming of an Asheville elopement surrounded by nature. If so, you’re in the right place!

I’m always so excited to help couples like you experience the magic of these mountains on their big day! 

There’s been a lot of hype about this city lately, but as a lifetime local and an outdoor adventure lover, I can tell you that the secret to an ideal Asheville adventure elopement is actually getting outside of the city limits.

There are so many special, secluded places to enjoy nature and even charming small towns scattered across Western North Carolina, any of which could be the perfect place for you to share your vows and begin a new adventure in marriage together.

Here’s a few tips to consider when planning your special day here:


Rent an Airbnb outside of town and close to where you want to explore.

A couple is standing holding hands at the corner of their cabin rental for their Asheville elopement. They are reading letters before their first look.

 The hills around Asheville are dotted with cute cabins, bungalows, chalets, and historic homes that you can rent for your wedding. There are a lot of reasons I suggest booking an Airbnb rather than a hotel—for one, they usually offer a lot more character and unique interest, which makes them more enjoyable to stay in than a cookie cutter hotel. Plus, the special charm of a cute home can make for some really memorable elopement photos and video! Another reason for choosing an Airbnb over a hotel is pricing. Asheville is becoming a very popular tourist destination, and hotel prices are on the rise because of it. If you stay a little (or a long) ways out of the city, your costs will drop.

Another benefit is that if you are choosing to adventure on your elopement day, you can book a place to stay that puts you much closer to your destination. I suggest picking what you want to do and where you want to go first—be that a specific waterfall you want to stand under, a trail you want to hike, or a view you want to find—and then choosing an Airbnb that’s close by. If you choose somewhere wild (especially if it’s in a national forest or park), it will probably take a while to get there, so shaving off the drive from the city will make a big difference in your planning and how much you can fit into your day.


Plan your day strategically and try to avoid crowds.

A couple stands on a mountain at sunrise kissing during their Asheville elopement.

 If you choose to plan an elopement outside of town, you’ll avoid lots of tourist crowds, but not all of them. The city of Asheville might be a popular destination, but so are the trails and national parks that surround it. The easier to access, the more popular (and crowded) that spot will be. There are a handful of accessible, picturesque spots, like Black Balsam and Max Patch, that are always swarming with visitors. The trailheads to areas like this are filled with bumper-to-bumper cars throughout the day, and even sunset can be busy with photographers looking for that magic golden light.

My suggestion? Plan accordingly. You can still get these popular, picturesque views without all the people, you just have to beat them to it. Not many people are willing to wake up, drive, and hike in the dark, so a sunrise hike is your best option for eloping in intimate solitude. You still might not be totally alone, but there will be far fewer people around and you’ll be able to claim a piece of land for your own. Another smart move when you’re planning is to choose a weekday (Monday–Thursday) to elope. Locals are working, and tourists haven’t gotten to town for the weekend yet, so the crowds are naturally less intense.

If you want to avoid the potential of crowds altogether, consider a longer, less accessible hike. Because they’re harder to get to and more work to explore, you can find great views without all the crowds on these kinds of trails. I know these woods like the back of my hand, and I can definitely help you pick out some trails that aren’t as popular but are just as beautiful!


Don’t try to fit your whole elopement in Asheville into an hour or two.

A couple sits around a campfire during their Asheville elopement, making smores together. Their pup stands behind them looking at them.

Lots of elopement packages offered by other businesses are for 1 to 2 hours. I personally think that this is a disservice to you and what your wedding day deserves. Your elopement is just as worthy of being captured as a big, traditional wedding that would typically fill up 8 hours of the day; the only difference is that  instead of the strict timelines and formalized activities, you get to adventure and explore with no expectations or restrictions.

In addition to your day simply being worthy of an unrestricted timeline, there’s also just the factor of how long travel takes around here.  Although we’re nestled right in the mountains, there aren’t epic views in or near the city; in fact, if you’re staying in Asheville, you’ll have to drive upwards of an hour on winding mountain roads for those panoramic views, and even if you’re staying outside of town you should account for a bit of a drive. Enjoy the process, roll the windows down, blast your favorite playlist, and embrace the journey from place to place throughout the day. It’s part of the mountain life.

Don’t listen to the urge to choose an elopement location just because it’s close to town; pick locations and activities because you love them – not because they’re convenient! Ultimately, this day is all about the experience, and that means doing what you love, somewhere you love, with who you love, without feeling rushed.

So, instead of planning a short little ceremony and a handful of photos, I encourage you to choose to invest in this day fully, and fill it to the brim with memories that you will be able to relive through your photos and video.


Experience the amazing range of outdoor activities for an Asheville elopement!

A couple is jumping in the lake for their Asheville elopement. They are in their wedding clothes surrounded by mountains and jumping off the dock into the water while holding hands.

There’s a reason I still call Asheville home: it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise! There are so many different activities y’all can do to make the most of your elopement day: 


Short hikes, long hikes, steep hikes, flat hikes; trails with dense forests, rhododendrons, waterfalls, big rivers, little creeks, flat mountaintops, and empty valleys—you truly have an unbelievable range of options when choosing where to hike in WNC! 


If you’re up for a really unique adventure elopement, think about camping. There are so many opportunities for overnight backpacking around Asheville. But, if you’re looking for something a little easier there are plenty of cute little campgrounds and free campsites to choose from. Imagine spending the night together around the campfire and falling asleep to the sound of nature. And you can camp in whatever suits you best; in your campervan, tent, or RV. 

Mountain Biking

I’ve been mountain biking for a couple years now, and I love hitting the trails with my partner! WNC is actually the ideal place for mountain bikers. We’ve got accessible trails that range from beginner to advanced.


If you think you have to go west for good climbing, think again! Western North Carolina has some of the best climbing in the Southeast, from bouldering to scaling massive rock faces. There are plenty of guide companies that can help if you’re new to it! 

Water Sports

There are so many rivers and lakes around WNC, so there’s a body of water that’s perfect for every activity, whether it’s adventurous or relaxing! Adrenaline junkies might like to take on some level 4 rapids. Others could just take a dip in a swimming hole or float down a river. Again, there are many guides and companies that can help you make this happen.  

Hot Air Balloon Ride

You don’t have to exercise to take advantage of nature in WNC! There are several local companies that provide hot air balloon rides. Imagine spending your wedding day sunrise floating over mountains and valleys still cloaked in morning’s fog. Swoon!


Prepare for Asheville elopement weather

A couple stands in a rainy forest with an umbrella over them during their Asheville elopement. They are dressed in wedding clothes and the groom is reading vows to his bride while she looks at him and laughs.

If you’re planning an Asheville elopement, make sure you’re prepared for all the different types of weather you may encounter. This is going to be really important to the enjoyment of your experience. Mountain weather is unpredictable and quickly changes. Make sure you’ve got layers for potential temperature shifts. Elevation makes a difference, so even if you’re planning a summer elopement, up on the mountain at sunset can be chilly!

You will also want to be prepared for rain. Storms roll through here quite often (Pisgah National Forest is a temperate rainforest for a reason), so having things to keep you dry is going to help keep spirits high! You also want to know that your Asheville elopement might not have all the big views you want. The weather might instead will leave you with the beautiful dense fog that creates a very moody vibe. Be prepared physically and mentally for whatever might come. That ensures you will have the best experience possible, no matter what!

A photographer is standing outside in the mountains with a camera around her neck at golden hour.

Meet Your Asheville Elopement Photographer

If you’re looking for help planning the details of your Asheville elopement, I’m an open book! I love Western North Carolina since I was born and raised here. Therefore, I consider myself an expert on the area and I’m passionate about sharing my know-how with couples. I want you to have the wedding of your dreams in these beautiful mountains I call home. If you want, you can to read more about having an Asheville elopement HERE.