May 16, 2022

The Ultimate Guide To Your Max Patch Elopement | 2024

Why You Should Have a Max Patch Elopement

Eloping at Max Patch in North Carolina is an enchanting choice for couples seeking a blend of natural beauty and intimate romance. With my extensive local experience and native knowledge, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to plan the perfect elopement at this stunning location.

From practical considerations like permits and best times to visit, to inspirational stories from past elopements that capture the magic of saying “I do” against a backdrop of rolling mountains and expansive skies, you’ll find all the information you need to ensure your special day is seamless and unforgettable. Whether you’re envisioning a simple ceremony at sunrise or a sunset celebration surrounded by loved ones, Max Patch offers a picturesque setting that will make your elopement truly extraordinary.

How To Plan a Max Patch Elopement

Best Time of Year to Elope at Max Patch

The benefit of eloping in the Mountains of North Carolina? There is no bad time to get married here! The seasons are beautiful and mild all year long! I will walk you through some pros and con’s of each season so you can pick the perfect time for your unique preferences:

Spring Elopements at Max Patch

Spring at Max Patch is a time of renewal and vibrant beauty, making it an ideal season for elopements. As the landscape awakens from winter, you’ll find the meadows carpeted with wildflowers and the trees adorned with fresh, green leaves. The temperatures are mild, providing a comfortable environment for an outdoor ceremony. Spring also offers the advantage of fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more intimate and private experience. Imagine exchanging vows surrounded by blooming flora and the gentle hum of nature coming back to life, creating a picturesque and romantic setting for your special day.

Summer Elopements at Max Patch

Summer brings long, sunny days and breathtaking sunsets to Max Patch, making it a popular time for elopements. The lush, green meadows stretch out beneath a vibrant blue sky, offering a stunning backdrop for your ceremony. The warm weather is perfect for a relaxed, outdoor celebration, and the panoramic views from the summit are particularly spectacular in the clear summer light. However, it’s essential to plan for the higher foot traffic this season attracts. Early morning or late evening ceremonies can provide more privacy and a cooler, more comfortable experience. Embrace the golden hour’s soft light for unforgettable photos that capture the essence of your summer elopement.

Fall Elopements at Max Patch

Fall transforms Max Patch into a kaleidoscope of rich, warm colors, making it one of the most visually striking seasons for an elopement. The foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, providing a breathtaking natural backdrop that enhances the romance of your ceremony. The crisp, cool air adds a refreshing touch to the occasion, and the stunning vistas are framed by the changing leaves, creating a truly magical atmosphere. Fall is also a less crowded time compared to summer, offering a more secluded and intimate experience. Whether you choose a sunny afternoon or a golden-hued sunset ceremony, fall at Max Patch promises a picturesque and unforgettable elopement.

Winter Elopements at Max Patch

Winter elopements at Max Patch offer a serene and enchanting setting, perfect for couples who love the tranquility of the season. The landscape, often dusted with snow, provides a pristine and ethereal backdrop for your vows. The stark beauty of the bare trees and the crisp, clean air create a unique and romantic atmosphere. While the temperatures can be chilly, the peacefulness of a winter ceremony is unparalleled, with fewer visitors and a sense of solitude. Couples should be prepared for the weather, dressing in warm layers and possibly incorporating cozy, rustic elements into their celebration. A winter elopement at Max Patch is perfect for those seeking a quiet, intimate, and profoundly beautiful experience.

A couple is walking on a a mountaintop in their elopement clothes at sunrise.

Best Time of The Week to Have a Max Patch Elopement

Though it might be tempting to want to schedule your celebration on a weekend, I strongly suggest otherwise. You are going to have the most peaceful and stress free experience when you plan an elopement for a week day instead!

A Monday – Thursday wedding is going to give you the best chance of a quieter and less hectic space for your celebration. There will be less hikers and other visitors to navigate around and more space to enjoy the views with your partner.

A couple is hugging and facing the view of the mountains right before sunrise on Max Patch for their elopement.

Can You Bring Decor For Your Max Patch Elopement?

You might be wondering if you could bring chairs, arbors, signs, or any other type of prop for your elopement here on the mountain. Be sure to leave all that at home if you’re choosing to elope here or anywhere else in the National Forest. The benefit of this? Planning and preparing for your elopement is that much more simple! You don’t have to plan to bring anything other than yourselves, your rings, and your vows. You can just let the beauty of this natural panoramic view speak for itself.

Forego the traditions of throwing anything on the ground at all for an outdoor elopement here too! The spreading of any birdseed, rose petals, rice, or anything else is not allowed on National Forest land. It’s the best way to respect nature and leave the space as you found it for other future visitors to enjoy.

A couple is standing on a ridge for their Max patch elopement during the ceremony at sunrise. The groom is pushing the hair out of his brides face.

How Many Guests Should You Bring To Your Max Patch Elopement?

This is very important to know when planning an elopement at Max Patch – you need to keep your guest count small! Ideally, 10 people or less, just to keep things simple. Anything larger just isn’t feasible and truthfully, would be a mess to manage. A lot of my couples will do a private vow ceremony here and then celebrate with family at another location that has more amenities. The parking lot for this location is pretty small, and this has become a popular place to visit. It can quickly become a nightmare to navigate vehicles parked all over the sides of the roads and filling the parking lot. Keeping your guest list small will help to mitigate this issue and the headache /worry that comes with figuring out where all your people will park.

You also should only invite guests who are willing, able, and even excited to hike and be out in the elements with you. Nothing ruins the mood of an elopement like a grumpy family member who “wasn’t aware we were hiking”. They should be notified to wear proper hiking shoes and clothing for an outdoor wedding. This will set the stage for a happy and comfortable celebration in beautiful mother nature together!

A couple is standing side by side and holding hands on a ridge for their Max patch elopement as the sun is rising and making everything glow golden.

What Could You Do During An Elopement at Max Patch?

Here is a list of ideas for things you could do during a small wedding here on the mountaintop. Don’t be afraid to go off this list and come up with something that sounds more like you (as long as it’s respectful to others an nature). Personalize your day to who you are – that’s what this is all about!

  • Have a little picnic
  • Share your first dance
  • Play board games or card games
  • Enjoy stargazing
  • Slowly write your vows before sharing them
  • Share personal/private vows
  • Have your official ceremony
  • Do some painting or drawing together
  • Read your favorite books or poetry
  • Do some meditation
  • Share gifts
  • Look through a photo album of your memories together
  • Write letters to loved ones who weren’t present
  • Read letters family and friends wrote you
  • Write a marriage bucket list
A couple sits atop Max Patch and prepares a picnic during their elopement with a mountain view background.

Do You Need A Permit To Get Married At Max Patch?

Officially, you do not need a special use permit to get married at Max Patch as long as you have less than 75 people in attendance total. I know, that sounds like a massive number right?!?! That many guests wouldn’t even be able to park here (or really any other location on National Forest Land in Western NC). Unfortunately some of the laws are a bit outdated, and that is where some local guidance becomes helpful!

Like mentioned above, the most respectful and practical thing to do for a wedding celebration at Max Patch is to keep it really small and simple. Anything larger isn’t feasible This is really important to ensure the continued enjoyment of this space for others. And if you need to, use it as an excuse to elope alone as a couple, or with your closest people!

A bride is keeping her groom warm in her big pink jacket on a mountaintop during a very pink sunrise. They are smiling and laughing with each other.

Best Places to Stay for your Max Patch Elopement

Max Patch is over an hour drive from Asheville. If you are fine with that length trek, you can pick any rental, campground, or hotel in Western NC for your elopement. But, if you would prefer to be close by, you will want to find something closer. Find a a sweet little stay near Hot Springs or Trust NC to be within 45 minutes or less. If you want to be even closer, find a spot that’s even more rural. Here are some of my favorites that will be beautiful for photography/videography, and for your enjoyment!

The Cabin at Spring Creek Retreats – Quintessential Appalachia; this cabin has top notch cabin design. Enjoy creek access with a very unique tree net and hot tub soak with incredible views. Also has a fire pit, EV charger, and so much more!
Rosetree Retreat Cabin – An adorable shaped cabin with plenty of privacy. A little back deck with heater and super close to Max Patch trailhead!
1973 Airstream at Panther Branch Farm – A unique stay in an adorable refurbished camper. Surrounded by an animal farm with animals you can hand feed!
The Martingale at Max Patch – Lakeside modern cabin with a dock and fire pit just a short drive from Max Patch.
Papa Bears Lair – Cute colors with a quaint farmhouse vibe. Enjoy the soaking tub and fire pit for romantic evening vibes. Has access to a private mini waterfall.

How to Prepare for Your Max Patch Elopement

There are few final things you will want to be prepared for leading up to your elopement at Max patch to ensure your celebration runs as smoothly as possible. Here’s what you need to know:

A couple walks down a winter wooden trail together after their elopement at Max patch
two people show off their hiking shoes. One is in a pair of jeans and the other is in a white sparkly wedding dress with the bottom all muddy

Max Patch Does Require A Hike

In order to access this beautiful mountain vista, you are going to need to hike a little. It isn’t a strenuous or long hike. It’s only about 1.5 miles if you do the entire loop. The entire hike is a mix of dirt and gravel, so there won’t be roots to step up or climb other than right at the beginning. Be prepared with having everything in a backpack and proper shoes. There is some elevation gain, so it will get your heart rate going. Just take it slow and enjoy all the plants and sights along the way.

Also, the trail can frequently get muddy due to the wide open trail. That means your dress, pants, or outfit might get dirty, and that’s okay! Embrace the adventure and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a beautiful place.

If you still need help picking a wedding dress, check out my guide on how to pick your elopement dress.

Max Patch is There For The Enjoyment of Everyone

Max patch is public land, and a popular location for good reason! It’s absolutely gorgeous. But choosing to elope on public land requires an awareness of being a part of something larger than yourself. There are many people who go to nature to find peace and respite from our busy, daily lives. Your wedding is a small part of that larger celebration of life that so many people visiting Max Patch are celebrating too!

You likely will not be alone no matter what time or day you pick (yes, even sunrise). Make sure you and your partner are both okay with that! In order to honor that shared space, be sure to keep your wedding quiet, respectful, and flexible. If you are wanting a bit more privacy, you might want to consider some other locations. Your photographer, videographer or planner should be able to direct you to some less popular options.

I’ll share this quote directly from the Pisgah National Forest Website: “Keep in mind, the national forest is for the enjoyment of everyone. While you are on the national forest, you are not allowed to block a trail or any part of an area for your ceremony. Blocking off an area or hindering access to the trail or an area by others is in violation of Forest Service regulations.

You Won’t Have Service at Max Patch

Just like any time you go into the backcountry, you are likely to lose cell phone service. Be prepared ahead of time with having the map of the area downloaded onto your phone. You do this via Google maps or another app you use. It would be such a bummer to get ready to leave after your celebration and have no idea how to get back to where you are staying!

You will also want to make sure you have communicated really well with your guests and other vendors on time and backup plans. Since you won’t have service, you won’t be able to call if something goes awry.

The Weather is Unpredictable In The Mountains

You could get rain, fog, crazy wind, or clear skies on a mountaintop in Appalachia! The weather forecast is quote often incorrect, so you can’t rely on it. My advice? Be prepared, but also embrace whatever comes for your wedding day! Have everything packed for a rainy celebration or a sunny one. Be emotionally okay with fog or clear skies or whatever graces the memories. It’s a part of celebrating in the great outdoors!

But definitely don’t be out there on the bald in a thunderstorm!

There are NO Amenities at Max Patch

One of the beautiful things about Max Patch is how rural and natural it is. You drive out a gravel road into the middle of nowhere and come upon this open bald with a 360 degree vista. The rural nature of this space also means that there are no bathrooms (not even port-o potties). That means you will want to come prepared. Use the restroom ahead of time (and don’t invite guests that need this type of accommodation).

Because this is an open bald, there also aren’t any trees or structures. This doesn’t give you anywhere to get privacy to change into your outfits. A lot of my couples will do getting ready photos/video at their rental beforehand. Then we drive out to Max patch for the celebration portion of the day.

Max Patch is Over An Hour Drive From Asheville

I’ve had plenty of couples be surprised about this in the past. Even though I mention this above, it feels important to re-iterate just in case you missed it. Max patch is at least an hour and 15 minutes drive from Downtown Asheville. It’s just like many other mountain locations for elopements in the area. It can be a bit of a haul from the city to the trailheads. If you aren’t staying at a rental cabin nearby, I suggest making sure you have enough gas and a good playlist before you begin the journey to this beautiful location.

Max Patch Has a Gravel Access Road

Like many gravel roads, the conditions are always changing. You never really know how rutted out it will be depending on recent weather and visitor usage. I suggest an AWD or 4WD vehicle with a decent bit of high clearance for getting to your Max Patch Elopement.

A couple has their first kiss as a married couple during their elopement on max patch at sunrise.

Real Max Patch Elopements & Reviews

Dee + Matt’s Sunset Max Patch Elopement

“Kathryn truly captured our day in a way we get to cherish and rewatch forever. She worked with seamlessly with our photographer, and when we watch our elopement video, it’s like watching our photos come to life. She managed to catch little noises, smirks, and looks that fly by so quickly when you’re in it. We were on a budget and we weren’t sure if we would do a video because we were trying to keep the costs of the elopement to a minimum and keep things as simple as possible. I’m happy we cut corners in other ways and accommodated the video into our final budget because it’s been so lovely to share with family, friends, and our future daughter. One of our favorite things about the video is how she incorporated the cicadas and wind into the music. It really transports us back to Max Patch, hiking up to find our spot. Also, we had our first dance at the cabin we were staying at nearby. We had forgotten our string lights at home and Kathryn was kind enough to bring some for us to decorate! Thank you Kathryn for making our video (and our day!) so special.”

Lindsay + Kyle’s Sunrise Elopement at Max Patch

“First off I wanna start by saying that choosing to elope can be exciting and scary all in one. The research alone can be quite overwhelming and hard to manage all alone. We came across Kathryn after reaching out to one or two other photographers and truly feel it was “meant to be.” She exceeded our expectations and helped walk us through every step of the way. She even went out of her way to help us find air bnb’s that would allow us to bring our 4 fur babies along with us for our trip, as this posed to be one of our biggest challenges. We were served with some strong brisk winds on the morning of our sunrise elopement and my husband failed to take the advice Kathryn had previously sent us about the weather at our location. She offered up the own hat and gloves off of herself to make sure he was as comfortable as he could be. Neither of us expected that, but proved no fault to her character. Her energy is so positive and friendly. We were very comfortable with her and having her spend such a special day with us that our closest loved ones weren’t there to witness. I highly encourage you to put your trust in her. She proved to be worth every penny and gave us the best experience I feel we could have had choosing this path. Our pictures and video are nothing short of beautiful or amazing. We are blessed to share our experience with this wonderful lady! ❤️”

Destiny + Justin’s Foggy Max Patch Elopement

“Kathryn was absolutely amazing on our wedding day. We literally could not have asked for a better Videographer for our special day. Working with Kathryn before our wedding to make the plan for the day, she was just so organized, prepared, professional and “knows her stuff”. She was a pleasure from start to finish. I was a bride with a thousand and one question in the middle of the night and Kathryn answered every last one of them with grave detail! Her over all energy is amazing and truly made the process that much easier over all. She is an artist with her craft, that’s for sure. I told her I wanted our wedding video to capture the vibe of our wedding which was romantic, purposeful and whimsical and she did exactly that. I think my husband and I have watched our wedding like 20 times since she has sent it to us. It just brings us so much joy and truly takes us back in time to our wedding day. I can not say enough good things about Kathryn as a person or a Videographer. Hire her, hire her, hire her!”




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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