How to Elope in Asheville NC

So you’ve decided on throwing tradition to the wind and eloping in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. Great! Now what? 

There are no “right ways” to plan an elopement. The day can look however you want it to, the possibilities are truly endless. Eloping in Asheville can look so many different ways depending on what excites you, but here are a few suggestions for planning your Great Smoky Mountains Elopement. 

One of the biggest decisions to make is where you want your ceremony to be at. There are many options for where “I do” can be for you, but overall there are about three options to chose from- a waterfall, mountain scene, or right in the middle of it all in the heart of downtown Asheville. 

Check if you need a permit

Great Smoky Mountains National Park weddings with more than 75 guests will require a special event permit. There is a $50 application fee and must be filed no sooner than 14 days before your wedding day.

Blue Ridge Parkway weddings are limited to 25 people in attendance (this is including the bride and groom, officiant, and photographers/videographers) and require a special use permit which is $100. Some locations have an even smaller attendance restrictions, like Chestoa View Overlook, which is a maximum of 12 participants.

Make sure ceremonies are allowed at that location

Here is a lost of approved locations if you are considering getting married in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has many amazing locations to choose from, but the following places are not permitted for wedding ceremonies –

  • Rough Ridge Overlook and boardwalk
  • Beacon Heights left fork trail (May be permitted at the end of the right fork trail)
  • Linville Falls
  • Crabtree Falls
  • Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail, Pinnacle Scenic View, and Craggy Dome Parking Area
  • Graveyard Fields
  • Devil’s Courthouse
  • Waterrock Knob

Waterfall Ceremonies

There are a lot of beautiful waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains that would make for the perfect secluded spot for you to exchange your vows at! We have a few tips and tricks for eloping at a waterfall to help maximize your experience as you begin the rest of your lives. 

Have your ceremony shortly after sunrise.

Okay we get it, not everyone is a morning person, so maybe sunrise isn’t appealing to you. But if you do your ceremony at a waterfall there will be a lot less people around photobombing your photos, or eavesdropping on your ceremony, if you do it before 9:30am. Especially if you decide on eloping on a weekday, there will be significantly less people around than on a Saturday or Sunday. 

Bring your rain boots or go barefoot! 

One of the greatest joys about eloping at a waterfall is that you can play in the water afterwards! Jump in and have your heart skip a beat as you hold hands and splash into the water together. Go for a dip and take some romantic photos in the water with a roaring waterfall running behind you. Or if cold toes aren’t your thing, bring your rain boots and stand at the base of the waterfall or in a river as you make things official. 


This is coming from a girl who has the worlds straightest hair, and it won’t hold a curl to save my L I F E. The humidity that is around a waterfall (or really, any body of water) has a high potential to make those curls fall, so load up on the hairspray! Even if you think you’ve got it sprayed enough, give it another spritz. You’ll thank me later. 

Mountaintop Ceremonies

The Great Smoky Mountains has no shortage for beautiful mountaintops to get married at. Wether you are at an overlook or hiking a trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway, or maybe you have your heart set on a year-round location in the Linville Gorge there are a few things to note. 

Have the right transportation.

Some of the most beautiful mountaintops around Asheville have some tricky roads to get to them. We typically recommend you have a 4WD vehicle to help you navigate those bumpy gravel roads. There are some locations like Wiseman’s View that not only needs 4WD, but also needs good ground clearance. That road is accessible year round, but it only get maintained once or twice a year. So the potholes can be a little rough (or a lot. Our AWD CR-V got bottomed out the first time we tried to drive up there).  

Have a golden hour ceremony.

As photographers, we are always chasing sunsets. Golden hour isn’t just a thing that photographers hype up for no reason. The light is the softest at this time, the cotton candy skies are filled with its most brilliant colors, and the majority of people have already retreated back home by that time (or are still in bed!) The temps are cooler at these times of day, so you can fully embrace the warmth the sun gives as its light touches your skin before going over the ridge. The term “golden hour” varies depending on your photographers style and light preference, but most often it is referred to hour and a half after it rises, or an hour and a half before it sets. Both sunrise and sunset are incredible on top of the world. If you are planning on having an all day adventure together, choose your ceremony to be at one of the golden hours and travel to a whole new location for couples photos so you can capture the day in its entirety with a variety of amazing landscapes. 

Pack properly. 

There are a few select locations in the Great Smoky Mountains that have incredible views without a strenuous hike, such as Jump Off Rock in Fletcher, Wayah Bald in Franklin, or Wiseman’s View in Marion. But more often than not, most of mountaintop locations with 360 degree mountain views will require some sort of a hike to them. There are trails of varying difficulty and length, but always over-prepare. Some of these trails might be *doable* in heels, you’ll probably be way more comfortable in some outdoor footwear, so bring your hiking boots! Also be sure to pack some water, so you can focus on saying your vows and not be distracted by your thirst after your hike. Bring ponchos and headlamps and/or lanterns as well so you can hike in the dark or the rain with ease. 

Checklist for mountaintop ceremonies:

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hiking Boots
  • Jackets
  • Hiking Boots
  • Headlamps/Lanterns
  • Ponchos/Umbrellas
  • Champagne & plastic flutes
  • “we eloped” sign

City Ceremonies

Nature not your thing? Okay! Downtown Asheville has many amazing spots to elope at and activities to do. With a city covered in art, breweries, and restaurants, there’s no shortage of places to go and things to see. 

Elope at the Asheville Courthouse

Yay for courthouse weddings! The courthouse in Asheville has stunning architecture inside for some gorgeous photo opportunities. The two story building has some beautifully decorated ceilings, rails and windows for a variety of backgrounds. The Grove Arcade is just a couple miles down the street from the courthouse, and has some beautiful indoor scenery and lots of fun shops to check out along the way. And don’t forget the iconic “Love is Alive in AVL” mural thats right across the street! 

River Arts District

Asheville is *literally* covered in art. There is a whole area that is covered in some hand crafted murals and jaw-dropping graffiti art. If art speaks to your soul, check out the River Arts District and see if that’s what “I do” looks for you. 

The Biltmore Estate

What more romantic way to spend a wedding day than walking around the gardens sipping wine at the Biltmore Estate? With a mini petting zoo, winery, walled garden, rose garden, indoor conservatory and mountain views, you really cant ask for more. With its luxurious ballrooms, charming courtyards, and picturesque landscapes, the estate provides the perfect setting for a fairytale wedding. Whether you want to exchange vows in the Rose Garden or on the South Terrace overlooking the mountains, the Biltmore Estate offers a range of exquisite venues to choose from. Plus, their team of experienced wedding planners can help you create a personalized and unforgettable elopement that perfectly captures your love and style. If having your ceremony here interests you, or just taking some photos with America’s largest home, inquire here.

Choose your favorite Vineyard or Brewery

Eloping at a brewery or vineyard can be a unique and memorable way to tie the knot. Both breweries and vineyards offer stunning backdrops for wedding ceremonies and receptions, with picturesque landscapes, lush greenery, and beautiful architecture. In addition, these venues often offer delicious food and drinks that can be incorporated into the wedding celebration. Whether you’re a beer or wine lover, eloping at a brewery or vineyard can be a great way to combine your love for each other with your passion for good drinks and stunning scenery. Plus, these venues can often accommodate smaller, more intimate weddings, making them a great option for couples looking for a more low-key and personal ceremony. Some of our favorite breweries and vineyards are Hi-Wire Brewing, Highlands Brewing Co, Point Lookout Vineyard and Burntshirt Vineyard.

Eloping in Asheville, North Carolina is a perfect option because it offers couples the opportunity to experience a unique and romantic setting. With its breathtaking mountain views and charming small-town hospitality, Asheville is the perfect place to say “I do.” Plus, it’s an affordable option for those who want to save money on a wedding. Couples can also take advantage of Asheville’s many attractions, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Biltmore Estate, to make their elopement a memorable and unforgettable experience.

Elopements, travel, Weddings

February 28, 2023

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