December 22, 2020

Spring Backpacking Elopement in the NC Mountains

Have you been considering a backpacking elopement as the perfect way to celebrate your marriage? Caralynn and Derek’s story is the perfect inspiration for you! They originally had a totally different location and timeline planned for their elopement day. But then, alas, COVID happened closing their original trail pick and inspiring them to backpack instead of just hike. Thankfully Plan B turned out to be even better than Plan A!

A couple stands on a mountain in NC for their elopement during sunset. They are having their first dance with a mountain landscape in the background.

Here’s their story:

The Adventure In

Since the road was closed to their previous chosen location, we had to pull together a new timeline to a new location. The new hike was a bit farther to hike to then option A was. Because of that, mentioned that they could camp at the top if they wanted to. Thankfully they were down for the adventure. By the next morning I got a text saying they were in! They had cancelled their rental and were so excited to get to use their new camping gear!

We spent the entire afternoon hiking, taking snack breaks, wading in streams, and eventually ended up on the mountaintop to set up camp and celebrate. Caralynn brought along her instant camera to snap some shots throughout the day. I loved that they had some sweet and simple photos immediately to enjoy.

Evening celebration

The weather cleared up perfectly for a gorgeous sunset and a perfect spot all to ourselves. They shared their vows as the warm light glowed and had a first dance under the open sky. They put a few special items in a time capsule box, we popped some champagne (made sure to keep that cork!), and they lit a candle to memorialize their loved ones who couldn’t be there with them.

Once the stars came out we took a few cool night photos and said our goodbyes. Then I left them to make dinner and sleep under the stars. What a way to spend their first night as a married couple!

Watch their Backpacking Elopement Film

Backpacking Elopement Package Details:
– Half Day Experience
-6 Hours of coverage (4 PM to 10 PM)
-A strong focus on video, with a few photos along the way

Looking back now, we could have easily filled a full day of coverage. This would allow for time to swim a bit more, explore a few waterfalls, and make dinner together before the sunset. But, it was still an incredible 6 hour celebration!

I’ve listed their package details below with bits and pieces of their real timeline. This shows you the real behind the scenes of a backpacking elopement day!

Caralynn + Derek’s Backpacking Elopement Timeline


Pack up gear and begin hike (3.5 miles) – explore waterfalls and scenery along the way and enjoy the journey! I’ll take some footage/photos as we go

A couple stands smiling at the camera at the beginning of their hike for their elopement in NC. They have backpacks on to hike to a mountain and camp.

I love taking a “beginning of the journey” photo for the couple right when we start the hike to memorialize that moment and get everyone comfortable with the camera! It’s a sweet and simple ice breaker.

A couple kissing amidst rhododendron bushes during a hike for their backing elopement in NC.
A couple is holding hands and hiking in the distance in a forest for their backing elopement in NC
A couple stands in the distance high on a bridge crossing a waterfall during their backpacking elopement in NC.
Looking down upon a rocky creek in the forest in NC.
A couple stands side by side looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC. They have their backpacks on with wedding clothes hanging from them for their elopement.

This trail that we chose for their backpacking elopement in NC is a really beautiful trail with lots of diverse landscape along the way – one of my favorites!
It allowed us to really enjoy all the different natural areas NC has to offer in a short period of time.

“you don’t have to hike up to your location in your wedding clothes!”

I also wanted to note here that you don’t have to hike up to your location in your wedding clothes! I’ve had lots of couples ask me about hiking and how they work around getting sweaty. You don’t have to wear your nice clothes on the journey, and we also take it slow and steady so you aren’t working really hard for the climb. I’ve got lots of weight in my backpack (it’s full of camera gear and other things!) so we are never in a rush for elopement hikes.

A couple stands on a rock in the middle of a river in the forest in NC. They are facing each other and laughing.
A couple sits on a rock in the middle of the river in NC.
A close up of a white rhododendron bloom in NC.
A couple stands close amidst rhododendron bushes cuddling and giggling.
A couple walks down a rock to prepare for a creek crossing during their backpacking elopement in NC.
a view of the river in afternoon sun in NC.
A couple backpacks up a grassy trail with a small view of the blue ridge mountains in the background in NC
A couple stands on a trail surrounded by tall dead grass with their backpacks on, looking in to the distance.
A couple sits side by side in tall grass smiling
A couple sits side by side kissing in a tall grass field.
A couple is backpacking on a mountain trail in NC with their wedding clothes on their backs.

These two were total troopers! This was one of their first backpacking trips and they were tired by the time we made it to the top, but getting to see the view gave them a RUSH of energy. The were so excited with how beautiful it was!

6:30 PM – Arrive at Mountain Top
Set up your tent (if there isn’t a spot, which I imagine there will be, we can find another area and adjust the timeline)

7:00 PM – Detail Shots
(clothing hanging, handwritten vows, flowers, etc.)

Get ready together somewhere at the top that’s pretty and private

A landscape of the blue ridge mountains in NC.
A couple sets up a tent on a mountaintop during their backpacking elopement in NC.
A bride is walking towards a groom with her dress unzipped. They are on a mountaintop and they are getting ready for their elopement ceremony.
A bride and groom stand on a mountaintop in the blue ridge mountains during their backpacking elopement. The bride is helping the groom tie his tie.
A bride and groom stand giggling as the groom helps put on her floral wristlet. They are in the blue ridge mountains of NC for their elopement.

They both went barefooted throughout the rest of the evening since there was lush grass and smooth rock below our feet. Getting ready was a really sweet and simple moment of joy for the two of them (and what a view, right?!)

A handful of polaroids from a backpacking elopement in NC.
A ring box with the bride and grooms ring sit in the grass during a backpacking elopement in NC.

7:30 PM – “ceremony time”
Trade rings
read personal vows

7:45 PM – Some alone time after vows

A bride and groom stand facing each other and holding their vow books on a rock at sunset during their backpacking elopement in NC. There are big blue ridge mountains in the background.

When I do photo + video package, I record a couples full vows in video form so they can re-live that special moment in the most realistic way. I use their vows in their film (if they want) and give them a full separate recording to enjoy on it’s own. This means I don’t have any photos of the exact vow moments, but I truly believe it is better to re-live through video anyway!

A bride stands in front of a blue ridge landscape during her backpacking elopement in NC
A silk floral wristlet on a bride in nature on a mountain in NC.

8:30 PM – Sunset on the mountain top

first dance
Hot tip: download your first dance song onto your phone – you likely don’t have service in outdoor spaces, so if you want to make sure you’ve got your first dance song to play, you better have it downloaded onto your phone fully!

A couple stands in the distance on a mountain in NC for their elopements first dance.
A couple stands in the distance on a mountain in NC for their elopements first dance at sunset.
A couple stands in the distance on a mountain in NC for their elopements first dance on an open rock face at sunset.

8:00 PM – Pop Champagne

8:15 PM – Hang out/relax/take polaroids
Light candles to honor loved ones (need candles and a lighter!)
Eat cake

A landscape shot of the blue ridge mountains in. NC at sunset.
A couple stands close, forehead to forehead, during their elopement day in the NC mountains The groom is holding a bottle of champagne.
A couple on their elopement day in NC stands holding a single candle at dusk with their eyes closed.

9:00 PM –  Star Photos once it gets dark enough

One of the best parts about a backpacking elopement is getting to see the stars! You’re camping overnight, so there is all the time to wait until it gets dark enough outside. it takes a while for the stars to come out even once the sun has gone down. Therefore, you have to take this into consideration to get star shots on an elopement day

A starry sunset sky over the mountains in NC during a backpacking elopement.
A couple stands side by side looking into the distance with headlamps lighting them up during sunset on their elopement day in NC.
A couple stands side by side facing each other beside their a lit up tent for their backpacking elopement in NC. The sun has set and there are stars in the sky.
A starry sky in the NC mountains

Kathryn will hike back to car while ya’ll stay and enjoy!
Around 1.5 hour hike back

10:00 – Coverage Ends




I believe everyone deserves a wedding experience that feels genuine to them.
That’s why I help those who value intimate, unique, & adventurous memories
have a celebration they cherish for a lifetime.
If you’re dreaming of an elopement immersed in the natural beauty of Western NC,
get in touch and I’ll help you bring everything to life!




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