Before you start diving into the nitty gritty of planning your Appalachian Mountain Elopement, it’s best to start with an outline of how to plan an elopement.
Down below I’ve created a simple & foolproof elopement planning guide that outlines everything you need to do to create the most beautiful elopement in the Appalachian Mountains.
- Pick your season
- Choose your date
- Where to elope
- Acquiring permits and permissions
- Parking & getting to your ceremony site
- What to do on your elopement day
- Booking your vendors
- Planning your timeline
- Your elopement is here!
- How & when to tell your friends and family you eloped
1. What’s the best season to elope?
Think about things like weather conditions, outdoor activities you like to do (such as skiing, hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing), road conditions, and how much daylight is available during the day. If you love yoga and want an early morning yoga session in your Airbnb’s backyard, late summer or early fall would bring crisp mountain air to awaken your senses. Or imagine cuddling up by a roaring fire with your partner and playing board games while the snow quietly falls down outside.
Spring. Probably one of the most unpredictable months for the weather in the Smoky and Appalachian mountains. Winter is transitioning into spring, and with that brings heavy rainfall, snowfall, and fog. Snow isn’t always a guarantee in late spring, but Boone, NC has seen the occasionally late snowfall once or twice. Because the mountains here are considered a temperate rainforest, it can be bright and sunny one minute and pouring down rain or heavy fog the next..
But that’s not a bad thing! In fact, it can be pretty amazing! When the rain subsides and the clouds settle into the mountain valleys, it can create an illusion that the mountains are quite literally smoking (link to Taylor’s engagement session for “literally smoking”) or create a mysteriously beautiful effect like at Lauren & Luca’s elopement (see below). It’s probably one of my favorite things about the Appalachian Mountains.
2. Choose your wedding date!
Hopefully that gives you an idea of what season you want for your Appalachian mountain elopement! Now you just gotta nail down that date.
But before you pick your elopement date, here are a few things to consider:
- Indoor or outdoor ceremony. The weather can largely sway your decision on when to have your Appalachian mountain elopement. If you’re eloping in the spring but you’re not a huge fan or snow or the cold, maybe consider eloping in a cozy Airbnb cabin or eloping in the summer instead! Or if you love fall colors and all things orange, red, and gold, September and October would be the perfect month to catch peak leaf season. Check out this link to check out Appalachian mountain weather in the past to help you find the weather that’s perfect for your ceremony.
- Resort openings & activities availability. If you’re hoping to skii, April might be too late to hit the slopes. Or if you’re wanting to go bouldering/rock climbing, mid-summer might be best so you have more day light to spend time outdoors! Make sure you check the availability of companies who provide certain services and the best time to do your activities.
- Overnight stay availability. If you’re looking to splurge a little on your overnight stays, check to see when they’re available before you pick your date.
- Weekday vs. Weekend. Photographers and other wedding vendors tend to book a year in advance, BUT they sometimes have dates available Monday-Friday available- even 2-3 months in advance. So if you’re looking to put your elopement together as a spur of the moment decision, fear not! It is absolutely doable.
- Consider your budget. Sometimes vendors and services offer discounts or special rates for elopements on Mondays-Thursdays. Check your venue, overnight stay, and activities if they have cheaper rates for things during the week as opposed to weekends too!
- Views. Different seasons bring different views! Lush greenery is best for spring and summer, fall colors is best for, well, fall, and snow is best for summer. When you imagine your Appalachian mountain elopement, think about what your surrounding scenery will look and feel like. Are you basking in the warm summer sun? Or saying your vows in front of a toasty fire in the middle of winter with the snow softly falling outside?
After you’ve considered all the factors above, you probably have a few elopement dates in mind. That’s great!! Write them down on your printable elopement planning worksheet and let’s move on to the next step.
3. Where to elope
This is probably one of THE MOST exciting parts of planning your Appalachian mountain elopement! There are so many wonderful places to elope in Boone and Asheville NC that I can understand how overwhelming it might be to nail down a place. I do have a couple of favorite locations to elope and I’ve divided them up by the different types of views down below. There are other factors to consider as well such popularity, hiking distance and terrain, time of day for the best light, etc., but….
The most important aspect of choosing where to elope is to choose a place that feels right.
- Moore Cove Falls
- Looking Glass Falls
- Linville Gorge via Plunge Basin
- Otter Falls
- Fall Creek Falls
Sweeping mountain views.
- Hawksbill Mountain
- Thunder Hill
- Black Balsam Knob
- Max Patch
- Rough Ridge
Still feeling overwhelmed? I feel ya, and I’m right here to help. I’ve been hiking these mountains for over 4 years now and I know the Appalachian mountains like the back of my hand.
Send me an inquiry and I’d be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction.
4. Acquiring permits and permissions
Depending on where you plan to elope, you’re going to need either a permit or specific permission to have your ceremony there. The quickest and easiest way to find out whether or not you need a permit is to check the National Forest, National Park, or Blue Ridge Parkway wedding permit pages.
Note that the Blue Ridge Parkway does not issue wedding permits for the entire month of October.
Typically, most permits won’t cost you over $200. Think of that as $200 for your ceremony site! Crazy and sounds almost too good to be true, right? Just another reason why eloping might be right for you (link to why you should elope for “why eloping might be right for you”).
I typically find that this isn’t something most couples think about until the week before the big day and lemme tell you, it can add a lot of unnecessary stress to your plate. But there’s an easy way to work around this if you plan accordingly!
Check your ceremony site and scout for a flat, open space where you can imagine cars can park. If there is maybe a grassy hillside that’s semi at an angle and can fit possibly 2 cars, consider hiring a few Uber drivers for a couple of hours to bring your guests, or rent out a couple of passenger vans! Sometimes hotels will offer passenger van rides for an additional cost, so it can’t hurt to ask them.
Mountain homes tend to be perched on top of a mountain and can have steep, narrow driveways so parking can be like playing a game of tetris. Consider carpooling as much as you can, or have those who are staying at the house longer to park first and other who need to leave sooner behind them to reduce all the car-moving-around.
6. Choosing your vendors
7. What to do on your elopement day