May 3, 2021

Winter Elopement in North Carolina

Not many people will choose to even consider a winter elopement due to the risk of chilly weather and closed roads. But, if you are willing to make a good backup plan and brave the colder temps, there are some really amazing aspects of a winter wedding!

Winter elopements are lovely for multiple reasons:

  • There are usually way less people on the trails and in public spaces. This gives you the chance to have a higher chance of privacy and seclusion to say your vows.
  • If you get lucky with some snow that is still accessible, it can be beautiful. But even without snow, the winter colors are moody, soft, and unique.
  • There are more views in wooded areas like WNC than there are in the other seasons. The bare trees give way to mountain vistas that were hidden by leaves before.

The Couples Winter Elopement Story:

Dani and Mel decided to have a winter elopement and planned around the full moon. Unfortunately the cloudy sky covered the moon from us on their elopement day. Thankfully that didn’t keep them from squeezing every ounce of special moments out of their experience.

I love sharing the actual timeline I created with the couple, to help when it comes to imagining your own winter elopement. I hope you enjoy the truly special story of their day!

Elopement Package Details

Location: Western NC (Blue Ridge Mountains)
Month: November
Timeframe : 1 PM to 7 PM Eastern Standard Time
Package : Half Day (up to 6 Hours) / Photo + Video
Permit: Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding Permit

Watch their Winter Elopement Film:

1 PM – Coverage Begins
Kathryn arrives at house rental

Detail shots of house, rings, clothing, pup, etc.

1:30 PM : Getting ready
Mel’s sister will help her get ready
Dani’s best friend will help Dani get ready.

Somehow these two snagged an adorable little mountain cabin not far from their ceremony location to stay in. It looked right out of a fairytale situated beneath the pines so perfectly. They had a little box full of all the rings, vows, and letters, and few special stones to hold during their ceremony. They also had their sweet doggie with them who was such a good pupper!

2:00 PM – First Look @ cabin
Couple portraits around cabin afterwards

Dani and Mel wrote letters to each other in addition to vows (which I loved – the more sweetness the better)! Right before their first look, they read these letters to themselves. They wanted to stay connected with hands intertwined & wrapped around the corner of the cabin. As you can tell in the photos that follow and the video above, their goofy and joyful nature with one another is contagious!

2:30 PM – Sign Marriage Certificate

Sometimes signing the marriage certificate doesn’t get captured. I actually find it a really special moment to memorialize the legal side of the experience if it is a part of a couples day. I know this is a particularly special moment for LGBTQ+ couples who haven’t had the right to legally marry until 2015. It’s a really powerful and emotional experience that deserves celebration!

2:45 PM – Family/loved one Portraits

Pro Tip: always suggest making a list of all the groupings of your family and loved ones that you would like to have photos of. This makes things so much smoother and quicker on your elopement day. When posing and smiling for the camera for these official portraits, your cheeks can get tired!

3:10 PM – Leave for Ceremony Hike Location
16 minutes without traffic

3:30 PM – Arrive at Ceremony Hike Location

3:45 PM – Begin
0.6 miles total – out and back
Take portraits along trail
Can go into the woods near the top for a forest vibe

Pro tip: Making sure you account for travel time in your elopement timeline is key. Those in-between moments really do add up!

We had a short little hike up to a beautiful rock face with a mountain view. Thankfully the trail was surrounded with rhododendron and evergreens that gave us some beautiful green color to enjoy even in the winter. Also, isn’t Mel’s silk bouquet so beautiful stuffed in her yellow backpack?!?

4:14 PM – Arrive at top
Settle in, hydrate, get mic’d up for ceremony

4:30 PM –  Ceremony
Officiant: Gina Angel of All the Things ceremonies

Gramophone song to Mel walking down the aisle
grounding ceremony to begin
exchange vows
small crystals to exchange

Dani knew they wanted to see Mel walking up the “aisle” to them with a certain song playing in the background. Of course we made that dream come true! Their elopement ceremony was full of really special and personalized moments to embrace the emotions of the experience. You can hear some of their amazing vows in the video at the top of the blog post (you don’t want to miss them)!

I loved this little moment where these two just straight up broke out into dance mode right after their first kiss.
Their joy is everything life is all about!

5:00 PM – Couple portraits
Details of clothing, florals, rings on hands, vows, box, crystals

5:20 PM – First Dance around sunset
Gramophone song
Electric candles/lantern

Since it was a cloudy winter day for an elopement, we didn’t really get a legit sunset. Sometimes that just happens! You can’t control mother nature. So we did what we could and embraced the moody clouds that were secretly preparing for a beautiful snow the next morning. They brought some electric candles to place around them in a circle to mark their dance floor. As the song played they sang and danced and hugged and giggled as the sun began to fade.

5:40 PM – Tea time picnic as dusk settles

These two are big tea lovers like me! They hiked in a thermos of hot water, 2 mugs, and their favorite tea bags to enjoy on the mountain top. Such a perfect way to slow down and take in the day so far.

6:00 PM – Head back down to cars
Headlamps for hike down

6:15 PM – Drive back to airbnb rental

With two trusty headlamps and a really cool LED lantern, we packed up and made our way back down the mountain. This was their first time hiking in the dark and I love when couples get to experience that new feeling on such a special day like an elopement day!

The couples loved ones had stayed back at the cabin while we had their private mountaintop experience. They were so sweet had spent those few hours setting up a sweet dinner and table. It was full of tacos, chips, charcuterie, a cake, and cupcakes! This is what we arrived to once we got back to the house!

6:30 PM – Start a fire
Beautiful cuddle shots by the fire
Bonfire hang out at house with loved ones

Mel’s dad made a little bonfire as the couple got changed into some comfy cozy clothes. They had some solo time to snuggle up by the warmth before their family came out to join them. A perfect way to end a chilly winter elopement!

7:00 PM – Coverage Ends
Say goodbye and enjoy the rest of the evening with a dinner and good convo!