February 27, 2024

How To Plan Your Dream Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding [Updated for 2024]

Mountain Magic

I am so happy you’re here and considering a Blue Ridge Parkway wedding. After all, this stretch of road is ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL!

As a native to the area, spending a lifetime exploring here, and helping countless couples plan and capture their celebration in these mountains, you can trust I know just about everything there is to know about getting married on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Whether you’re hoping for something a bit more adventurous with a longer hike and some more outdoor activities, or short and sweet to invite your loved ones and pups, I’m here to help you bring your dream to life.

Since it can be difficult to navigate the steps to having a Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding on your own, I’ve compiled some really important tips. This guide will get you started in planing a unique Blue Ridge Parkway wedding perfect for you. Let’s start the adventure!

I updated this post from its original December 7, 2021 version, adding new photos and information.

Things I’ll Cover:

TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is the Blue Ridge Parkway?
Why You Should Have a Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding
How to Plan A Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding
– Picking A Wedding Date
– How to Pick a Location
– Do You Need A Permit?
– How Many Guests Should You Invite?
– Where to Stay
Extra Tips From A Local Photographer/Videographer

A couple stands at sunrise in the beautiful colors of the morning in their wedding clothes, on a trail not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is high grass and flowers and lots of green.

What is the Blue Ridge Parkway?

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic roadway that traverses the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Virginia, seamlessly connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park.

Spanning 469 miles without a single stoplight or stop sign, it offers an uninterrupted journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the eastern United States. The Parkway is dotted with numerous campgrounds and countless overlooks, each providing stunning mountain views and access to a network of remarkable hiking trails.

This continuous chain of natural beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities makes the Blue Ridge Parkway not only a marvel of engineering and preservation but also an idyllic setting for small weddings and elopements, where couples can celebrate their love amidst the serene grandeur of the Appalachian wilderness.

Check out this interactive map to explore it a bit more on your own!

A couple stands hugging on a mountain as the sun rises behind them. They are having a Blue Ridge Parkway wedding immersed in nature. The plants around them are fall colored and everything is warm toned.

Why You Should Have a Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding

Having a wedding on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a unique and enchanting experience that blends natural beauty with romantic charm. The Parkway, renowned for its breathtaking vistas, lush landscapes, and vibrant seasonal foliage, provides a picturesque backdrop that is perfect for capturing unforgettable wedding photos.

The serene environment, away from the hustle and bustle of urban settings, allows for a more intimate and personal celebration, whether at one of the scenic overlooks, along the trails, or in a quaint, rustic venue nestled in the mountains.

Additionally, the Parkway’s diverse flora and fauna create a magical ambiance, making every moment of the wedding feel like a fairy tale. With its unparalleled scenic beauty and tranquil atmosphere, the Blue Ridge Parkway is an ideal location for couples seeking a memorable and naturally stunning wedding day.

A couple sits on a mountain during their Asheville elopement facing a beautiful blue ridge view surrounded by clouds, shrubs, and pines.
A couple who chose to elope in Asheville is standing in front of the mountains at sunrise hugging in their wedding clothes.

How To Plan A Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding

When is The Best Time To Have A Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding?

Choosing an elopement date for a Blue Ridge Parkway wedding involves careful consideration of the area’s seasonal beauty and weather patterns. Each season offers a unique charm. By selecting a date that aligns with your desired ambiance and preferred weather conditions, you can ensure a magical and memorable experience amidst the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Know When the Roads are Open

It will be important for you to know that there are road closures throughout the year for different reasons. Construction and snow are the two major occurrences that can shut the parkway down. Sometimes you can get around these closures to certain locations with a different route, but sometimes you can’t.

The parkway is typically closed for a long time in the winter, unless we get some surprise warm weather. If you want to access your location by car, choose a date for your wedding between April through September.
But if you don’t mind cooler temps, I help couples plan elopements even in the winter by choosing special spots that are accessible by foot!

Construction road closures are random. However, a Ranger should be able to warn you of future projects.
I always suggest having a back up location in place, just in case your chosen location is inaccessible last minute!

Choose A Season You Enjoy

Choosing a season can be a bit tricky because the weather up at higher elevation is going to be different than down in the valley. You can’t look at the forecast for Asheville and expect it to be the same up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Winter – Winter offers serene, snow-dusted vistas. Perfect for those willing to brave the weather for more privacy (via foot access) and a totally unique experience.

Spring – Spring brings blooming wildflowers and fresh greenery. Wait until late April so the higher elevations can catch up in the transition.

Summer –
Summer provides warm temperatures and lush landscapes. Perfect for those wanting to do some swimming at a lake or in cool rivers during their wedding adventure!

Fall –
Fall showcases vibrant foliage with stunning autumnal hues. Ideal for sunrise chasers (since trails will likely be busier) and those who like a cooler temperature.

A couple is walking along a big rock at sunrise on the blue ridge parkway with pink lighting up the mountains for their wedding morning.

The Best Locations For Your Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding

Picking a location is one of the most special, and possibly most difficult, tasks for couples. I mean, where do you even begin, right?

Don’t have somewhere on the parkway already that you love? This is where your videographer/photographer should be able to help! There are so many spots along this 469-mile stretch that would be lovely for a wedding, but some are more crowded and popular than others. Some are also not available for wedding permits.

Finding someone who knows the area well and who can help you pick the perfect location is super helpful to have an intimate and legal experience.

Consider a Location Farther Away from Big Cities

As I mentioned in the intro, the Blue Ridge Parkway spans from NC all the way up into Virginia. That means that there are LOTS of locations for an elopement along that span of the roadway.

As you can imagine, lots of the most popular hikes are around the bigger cities, like Asheville NC. If you’re hoping to have a more private location, consider choosing a spot farther away from bigger cities.

Short Walk Location Suggestions:

01. Buck Spring Gap
South of Asheville, NC

A wedding ceremony on the Blue Ridge Parkway is happening with family sitting around and the couple holding hands.

Buck Spring Gap is an awesome option for an elopement or a small wedding. It is ideal for celebrations with a few guests who can’t walk very far. There are a few places for a ceremony, and both are quite accessible from the large parking lot right nearby. This open spot is also tucked away from the road. This helps remove the loud road noise you would get at a typical overlook. The impact this makes on your enjoyment AND the recording of your vows is major!

There are a few areas to explore and hike around after your ceremony, including a really lovely view of the mountains. This spot is also super close to The Pisgah Inn & Mount Pisgah Campground. This means you have plenty of great options for a place to stay overnight directly in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Inn has an impressive dining room with a large wall of windows. No matter where you are seated, you can have an epic view.

02. Chestoa View
Near Linville, NC

Chestoa View, a stunning rock overlook, offers a 180-degree view of the Linville Gorge mountains—among my top spots in Western NC. It’s an ideal ceremony location, easily accessible with a short walk, slightly off the main road for privacy. Plus, it’s near other attractions like Linville Falls and Gorge trails for your elopement day adventures!

03. Jumpinoff Rock
North of Boone, NC

If you seek seclusion in NC, this spot, a small rock-built overlook, offers views of the surrounding mountain range. Due to its size, it’s suitable for only a small wedding party. There is a wooded, dirt path to the viewpoint only a half a mile from the parking area. Jumpinoff Rock is smack dab in the middle of Doughton Recreation Area and Boone. This prime spot gives you seclusion and the option of more places to explore for your wedding day.

Hiking Location Suggestions:

01. Beacon Heights
South of Boone, NC

A couple stands in front of their officiant with a winter mountain scene behind them during the ceremony of their blue ridge parkway wedding.

I love this trail because it gives you a great mix of forested areas and mountain views at the top. This hike is a short one at a distance of less than a mile round trip but does have a lot of steps involved. You are not allowed to have ceremonies off the left fork in the trail, but you can from the viewpoint via the right. I recommend utilizing this location for ceremonies year-round because it remains accessible even if the parkway is closed.

This spot is close to a really cute college town, so there are nice little shops and restaurants to explore nearby. There’s also plenty of other outdoor activities to include in your elopement day if you choose to have a ceremony here.

02. Craggy Gardens (Craggy Flats Bald)
North of Asheville, NC

A small group of people are standing on a grassy hill with the sun shining through the fog during a ceremony for their Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding.

There are lots of low-lying trees and rhododendron in the area, making it colorful and lush. Plus the grass gets really high in the spring and summer! The rules are constantly changing about whether or not you can visit the Pinnacle for just video and/or photos, so check with the ranger to confirm before your wedding. In order to access the Craggy Gardens area, your group will have to park down at the Picnic area and hike up a little less than a mile to the top. The trail is a bit steep, so making sure everyone is prepared and brings proper shoes and clothing is key!

The entire area of Craggy Gardens along the Blue Ridge is pretty spectacular. A few places, such as Craggy Pinnacle, prohibit ceremonies, but you’re guaranteed to discover stunning views for your ceremony in the Craggy Flats Bald area.

Note: Make sure you don’t go out of the rock boundary at the top of Craggy Pinnacle Trail if you do go up there for photos. Protecting rare and sensitive plant life there, simply enjoy the view from inside the rock wall!

I don’t share my local favorite, hidden gem spots online.
I reserve them specifically for couples who book with me.
If you want help picking unique locations that are perfect for you to explore during your elopement day,

I’m your girl!

A couple is running towards a tunnel on the road during their Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding in their nice outfits with pines all around them.

Do You Need A Permit For Your Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding?

YES! You do need a permit to get married on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here’s a bit more detail on how to prepare for applying for one:

Wedding Permit Restrictions

The Blue Ridge Parkway used to not give out special use permits for all of October, BUT NOW THEY DO! They also don’t seem to have any regulations around Holidays anymore either (though I still suggest avoiding those dates all together).

I also suggest applying for your the permit at least 3 months in advance! That gives the Rangers plenty of time to get back to you. You can still try and apply for a permit closer to the wedding date, since they require a 30-day notice, but there is no guarantee they will get back to you in time. A permit should be one of the first tasks you complete after you’ve decided on a location.

You can view all the detailed information and access the permit form on their website HERE.

Some Popular Locations NOT On The Blue Ridge Parkway

When picking a location on the Blue Ridge Parkway it’s also important to know which areas are a part of the Parkway System and which ones aren’t.

Popular places like Max Patch and Black Balsam are mistaken to be Blue Ridge Parkway locations, but in fact, they ARE NOT on Blue Ridge Parkway Land. These spots are actually on Pisgah National Forest Service Land. Pisgah is run by the National Forest Service, not the National Park Service. That means, if you apply for a permit through the Blue Ridge Parkway system for one of those locations, you will be wasting your time (and possibly your money) since they don’t have control over these areas.

Be sure of the proper land municipality your location resides on, is the place you reach out to for a permit!

A couple is reading vows to each other under an umbrella in a foggy, green forest off the Blue Ridge Parkway for their wedding. The groom is looking down at his book while the bride is smiling up at him.

How Many Guests Should Your Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding Include?

When planning a wedding on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s important to consider the number of guests to ensure a seamless and memorable experience. Imagine what you’d like your dream day to feel like…

A “Just Us” Experience

You have the option of keeping the ceremony incredibly intimate, with just the two of you, allowing for a deeply personal and private celebration amidst the stunning mountain scenery. Elopements with just the couple allow for the most flexibility. You don’t have anyone you need to update or communicate with. You can simply enjoy the day at it plays out naturally,

Happy Medium

Still, want to include some loved ones? Keep it small and with only your closest family or friends. Inviting a handful of your favorite people can add a touch of warmth and shared joy to the occasion. It can also keep stress low with minimal expectations from others, but a few extra hands to help in places you need it!

Max Guest Count Allowed

For those who wish to include a slightly larger group, the Parkway permits gatherings of up to 25 people (like noted above), making it possible to celebrate with a small but meaningful circle of loved ones while still adhering to regulations. BUT, in my experience, finding a large enough space to easily accommodate even that many people can be difficult. Most spots can feel crowded even with around 10 people.

There aren’t many locations that are easily accessible for family members that might have mobility issues, need bathroom access, or require shelter if it were raining. Take this into consideration when planning your guest list!

Create Your Dream Wedding Day

If you want to have it all, aka time alone as a couple AND time with family, you can do that too! Have an adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway just the two of you, and celebrate with your family and friends somewhere else on a different day or time.

The wide range of options ensures that you can tailor your Blue Ridge Parkway wedding to fit your vision, whether you seek solitude, a close-knit celebration, or a modest gathering.

A couple stands holding hands at the corner of a cabin reading letters they wrote each other for their Blue Ridge Parkway wedding.

Where to Stay for Your Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding

Choosing exactly where to stay for your Blue Ridge Parkway wedding depends on the location you’ve picked for celebrating and exploring. Again, this is a 469 mile stretch of road we are talking about! I would definitely nail down that decision first. Once you’ve picked a spot, then you can choose on what kind of experience you want to have around where you stay:

1 – ADVENTUROUS
Book a campsite at one of the many campgrounds along the Parkway or other local spots.
You could find some free dispersed sites in neighboring National Forest if you’re more of a “wing it” couple, or reserve a spot at an official campground if you prefer knowing where you will land.
Get creative with what you have gear wise, or rent something new (like a camper or camper van) to make the most of your once-in-a-lifetime wedding experience!

2 – LUXURY
Book a rental nearby an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway through a rental company like Airbnb or VRBO.
Some of my favorite rentals in the Asheville area are :
The Nook
The Cardinal Treehouse
Hickory Cabin
Wander Black Mountain

Extra Tips For Your Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding

01 – The Blue Ridge Parkway is Public Land

One important thing to realize when planning a wedding on public land is that there will be other people present.

For the most part, everyone is usually super respectful and quiet. Lots of people are even excited to see a wedding happening outside on a mountain instead of at a venue! But, I understand that people and crowds can be a bit of an annoyance. It’s good to start with the awareness that you are choosing public space and there is a high potential for others to be present. Mindset is everything when it comes to an outdoor adventure elopement on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

If you want a space that is more private, hiking deeper into the woods, choosing a location with a lot of open space, or booking a small private venue instead will give you better options.

02 – Have a Back-Up Plan

Even with all of your planning and preparations, you never know what could happen to affect your elopement plans.

When planning a wedding outdoors, many different things can affect your timeline and expectations. I’ve had it happen many times. It is a very real possibility!

The weather in the mountains is super unpredictable. It can be beautifully sunny down in the valley and socked in with fog up on the Parkway. A rain storm could come through or thunder threatens on the horizon. Maybe a bear encounter closed a portion of the Parkway. Who knows! Being flexible is always important when planning a wedding outdoors. You also need a backup plan so that you can rest easy knowing you have another option that you are just as excited about.

03 – Find Alternative Floral Options

The Blue Ridge Parkway doesn’t allow live florals due to their protection of the land from invasive species, which is very important! If you still want to include florals in your day, there are lots of awesome options for non-live florals to choose from.

You can find many different Etsy vendors who make alternative floral options from silk flowers to paper flowers and even wooden flowers. They can still look really beautiful and classy if you pick the right one. Plus, they last forever so you can enjoy them for a lifetime and re-use them as decorations in your house.

Some couples might choose to skip the florals altogether.

Honestly, a live floral bouquet can get really heavy and inconvenient pretty quickly. The paper and silk bouquets are also lighter than live florals, but you might just want to be hands-free. I think having a floral wristlet or a floral crown is a great option if you still want florals involved but don’t want to carry around a big heavy bouquet.

For more ideas on different wedding flowers, check out my previous blog post.

04 – Expect Fog at Higher Elevations

The Blue Ridge Parkway is known for being moody and foggy, especially around Mount Mitchell.

Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain East of the Mississippi, therefore the clouds just like to sit atop its peak like a hat. Fog is just something that you just have to embrace when picking a mountain located in a temperate rainforest for your elopement.

If you get a clear day, you’re lucky, but the fog is just as beautiful in its own way.

I help all my couples mentally prepare to focus on each other more than the weather for their wedding day because joy and nature are all around you no matter what!

05 – Hire a Photographer and Videographer Who Knows the Blue Ridge Parkway Well

Choosing a photographer or a videographer who has spent a lot of time on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the smartest things you can do for your wedding. This will ensure that you are supported by someone who can help you pick a good location, create a realistic timeline, provide backup options, and more!

That will be the perfect person to inspire confidence in your choices and guide you along the journey.

I grew up in Western NC and have spent my life exploring these mountains. I’m able to help you find those hidden gem and local favorite spots that other photographers just won’t be able to do.

A couple is kissing on a mountain in Asheville for an elopement and it is sunrise. The bride is in a white dress and the groom in a black suit. There is fall foliage all around and they are standing on a rock with soft blues and pinks in the mountain view. The photographer is capturing them in a sweet moment.

Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding Summary

Planning a Blue Ridge Parkway wedding offers you an enchanting and picturesque backdrop for your special day! This blog post explored the many reasons to choose the Parkway, including its seamless 469-mile stretch through the Appalachian Mountains, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, and its array of overlooks and hiking trails perfect for intimate ceremonies.

We delved into guest list considerations, highlighting options from private elopements to gatherings of up to 25 people in accordance with permit regulations.

Additionally, we provided insights on selecting the ideal elopement date, considering the distinct seasonal beauty that the Blue Ridge Parkway offers.

Whether seeking a solitary, romantic moment or a small celebration with loved ones, this guide will inspire you to create unforgettable memories in one of the most stunning natural settings in the eastern United States.

Imagine exchanging vows surrounded by panoramic vistas and the serene beauty of nature—your Blue Ridge Parkway wedding awaits


HEY ThERE Y'ALL!

I’M KATHRYN OF EVERGREEN ERA

I CREATE & CAPTURE EXPERIENCE CENTERED ELOPEMENTS
FOR EASY-GOING COUPLES WHO FEEL AT HOME IN NATURE.

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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WOMAN OWNED | BASED IN ASHEVILLE, NC | LIFETIME LOCAL

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