Everything You Need to Know for Your Appalachian Mountains Elopement

February 11, 2020

If you haven’t visited the Appalachian Mountains before, then you have no idea how breathtaking this place is. From sweeping mountain views that goes on for miles, to locally sourced, artisanal food and a variety of activities, there’s something for everyone in these mountains. 

Personally, my favorite places to visit in the Appalachian Mountains are the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, Boone, Hawksbill Mountain, and Ghan Shan West (it’s literally the most amazing ramen you’ve ever had, I swear).And that small list of places is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many wonderful places hidden in these mountain ranges, and you have to come visit to find them.

What better place to have your wedding than here in the Appalachians?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Peak wedding season in the Appalachian Mountains
  • Weather
  • Wedding permits
  • Planning your engagement session
  • Favorite Appalachian Mountain wedding venues
  • Mountaintop wedding inspiration
  • Local events and artists
  • Eloping in the Appalachian Mountains

Peak Wedding Season for the Appalachian Mountains

Now that you’re absolutely convinced that you want to get married in the Appalachian Mountains, you’re probably wondering when the best time to get married up here is.

If you’re thinking about a fall wedding and you want to get married during peak leaf season, then late August through early November is your best bet. This also coincides with our peak wedding season (which is all of October), so make sure you book your wedding vendors well in advance!

Most vendors in the High Country book out for peak leaf season roughly 5-12 months in advance. 

Weather

Temperate Rainforest

The Appalachian Mountains are actually considered a temperate rainforest (if you didn’t know) Which means that at any given moment you could see a complete change in the weather. 

Snow

Boone in particular receives more snow than the rest of NC. If you’re coming from lower elevations, make sure you’re prepared to drive on a little bit of snow during the winter.

Snow tires aren’t required (this isn’t Colorado), but tires that aren’t completely worn down are generally a good idea.

Snow will also cause the Blue Ridge Parkway to close down. If you’re wanting to take engagement photos or elope on the blue ridge parkway during the winter, it would be wise to go ahead and secure a backup location.

Wet and Dry Seasons

The wet season (summer) lasts for 4 months from late April until late August. There’s a 34 percent chance of rain on any given day during these months. On the contrary, the dry season lasts for 8 months for the rest of the year.

Seasons

Spring

High avg. temp: 54 to 69
Low avg. temp: 32 to 48
Rain: 30-40% chance
Snow: 0.6-0.8 in
Foliage: late spring start to see greener

I experience the most reschedules in Spring due to the ever-changing, inclement weather. If you’re thinking about doing your engagement photos in the early spring, I highly advise you to consider late winter or late spring instead unless you’re planning an indoor engagement session.

Summer

High avg. temp: 75-77
Low avg. temp: 55-59
Rain: 34-50%
Foliage: full green foliage

Fall

High avg. temp: 53-71
Low avg. temp: 33-53
Rain: 18-34%
Foliage: full green foliage and fall colors

Winter

High avg. temp: 41-46
Low avg. temp: 23-27
Rain: 18-25%Snow: 0.3-0.6 in
Foliage: everything is dead. So dead.

Wedding Permits for National Forests, National Parks, and the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you’re getting married in an untraditional wedding venue (um heck yes), make sure you get all of the right permits before hand. You definitely don’t want a Ranger to crash your wedding and make you leave mid-ceremony (and pay a hefty little fine too). Before you send out those save-the-dates and check that off your to-do list, visit these websites below to get that wedding permit!

Plan your Appalachian Mountains Engagement Photos

Woo hoo!!! It’s time to really dig in and kick off your wedding journey with an engagement session! And if you’re planning on getting married in the Appalachian Mountains, why not have engagement photos in the Appalachian Mountains to match? 

Planning engagement sessions are literally so much fun, and I can’t wait for you to plan yours. Basically, you get to just run around and hang out with your person and your photographer (I hope it’s me), will capture you guys just being you. Of course your photographer will guide your session and pose you in all the ways, but engagement sessions are really laid back and supposed to be all about celebration and remember this awesome time in your life.

Okay, now that I’ve stepped off my soap box, you’re probably wondering what you need to plan for your engagement session in the Appalachian Mountains. I’ve listed my top 5 mountain views, top 3 waterfall views, and basic hiking ettiquete information for you down below to help get you started! 

Top 5 Appalachian Mountain Views

  • Hawksbill Mountain
  • Thunder Hill
  • Beacon Heights
  • Rough Ridge
  • Max Patch

Top 3 Waterfalls

  • Moore cove falls
  • Elk River Falls
  • Linville Gorge

Appalachian Mountain Hiking Trail Etiquette

  • Don’t trespass. Seriously, just don’t do it. You’re not only breaking the law, you’re also potentially harming fragile foliage and putting yourself in harms way. The Appalachian Mountains are fun and all until you fall off a cliff taking a selfie for the gram.
  • If the trail is slim, let people pass you first if you can find a safe space to stand that’s out of the way.  
  • Adequately prepare for the outdoors. You don’t need to be a boy scout to enjoy hiking out here, but do know how to take care of yourself. Bring lots of water while you hike and have extra in the car. Pack an extra pair of socks in case you get them muddy, a first aid kit, and do your research on a hike on AllTrails before you go. Sometimes the trails are unmarked and it’s very easy to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going. AllTrails has a feature that lets you download a hike so you can see where you are on a map (even if you don’t have signal). Better to be over prepared than underprepared!
  • Be kind to other hikers and share popular photo spots. They took the time to hike up the mountain and travel here to see the same thing you did 🙂

Safety

  • What to pack in your hike pack
    • Water (as much as you want to carry)
    • First aid kit
    • Extra socks
    • Headlamps
    • AllTrails offline trail maps downloaded
  • Don’t hike alone and have a buddy system
  • Cell signal is spotty where most trails are, so download everything you need beforehand and let someone know where you are
  • Research a trail before hiking it so you know where you’re going (sometimes trails are unmarked and you can easily get lost!)
  • Hike back before dark if you aren’t experienced hiking in the dark. My advice is to start hiking back 30 minutes to sunset (sometimes early depending on how far you’ve hiked)
  • Stay away from wildlife and respect their distance. There’s a lot of information about what to do when you encounter wildlife by clicking here.
  • Download your trail on AllTrails
  • Have extra water in your car

Leave No Trace

If you haven’t heard of Leave No Trace principles before, let me introduce them to you here! Basically, Leave No Trace is a set of understood guidelines among outdoor enthusiasts about taking care of Mother Earth. The guidelines help us all learn about how to leave a place exactly as you found it. Leave footprints, take pictures, and make memories.

The Leave No Trace 7 principles are:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

To learn more about Leave No Trace, visit REI’s blog post about Leave No Trace here.

Craggy Gardens, a beautiful hike local to the Appalachian Mountains, has unfortunately been harmed by past hikers trespassing off-trail and trampling fragile and endangered plant life. Stories of people not respecting Leave No Trace principles are happening all around the world, but we can make a change together!

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Love Mother Earth.

My Favorite Appalachian Mountain Wedding Venues

Couple kissing Nantahala Weddings and Events venue

Nantahala Weddings & Events

  • Highlight feature: Multiple ceremony locations, sweeping mountain views, lake access, and nestled in the woods
  • Location: Topton, NC
  • Contact Info: Jody | jody@nantahalaweddings.com & (828) 421-0141
  • Highlight feature: features one of the oldest rivers east of the Mississippi, cozy house for getting ready, lodging options and restaurant, rustic barn for reception or ceremony, and an open field for ceremonies, cocktail hour, and reception
  • Location: Grassy Creek, NC
  • Contact Info: 336.982.2109 or click here
  • Highlight feature: sweeping mountain views, wide open grassy field, covered porch, vast reception area, glamping options
  • Location: Purlear, NC
  • Contact Info: info@theskyretreat.com and (336) 973-0444
  • Highlight feature: Lake surrounded by mountains, just outside of Asheville for a quiet getaway, indoor covered pavilion for weather backup plan, lodging and catering options
  • Location: Lake Lure, NC
  • Contact Info: click here or 828.694.3000
  • Highlight feature: Multiple ceremony locations, fantastic customer service and wedding planning, multiple inclement weather backup locations, private lake view, lodging and catering options
  • Location: Blowing Rock, NC
  • Contact Info: lori@chetola.com and 800.243.8652
  • Highlight feature: variety of options, lodging, easier on wallet, fantastic for small weddings and elopements
  • Location: Anywhere
  • Contact Info: Airbnb and Vrbo
  • Highlight feature: Beautiful mountain view, rustic and open concept barn for reception, glamping lodging option, pet friendly
  • Location: Hendersonville, NC
  • Contact Info: info@thecabinridge.com and (828) 606-5815
  • Highlight feature:Sweeping mountain views, large reception area with modern lighting and a wall of windows, giant fireplace, lodging and catering options, expansive yard
  • Location: Boone, NC
  • Contact Info: mandrews@BRMCPOA.com and 828-719-4888
  • Highlight feature: Flexibility, original and unique wedding location, easy on the wallet, perfect for a short ceremony, elopements, and small weddings, close connection to nature
  • Location: NC, VA, TN, GA, WV
  • Contact Info: Blue Ridge Parkway Wedding Permits

Mountaintop Wedding Inspiration

Newlyweds kissing on a bridge on a misty afternoon

See more Appalachian Mountain wedding images by Clicking Here

Consider a Wedding Weekend Experience

I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this post that there are so many activities to do in the High Country. If you’re getting married here, it would be a shame to not do at least one of these!!! I mean, where else can you ski in North Carolina or zipline through the trees with mountains in the distance? C’mon, that’s just too cool to pass up.

So, what kinds of experiences does the High Country have to offer?

Ziplining, snow tubing, skiing, snowboarding, river tubing, natural waterslides, ample hiking, mile high bridge, highland games, wolly worm festival, 4 wheeling, photography hiking class, and SO much more. 

Check out the local High Country website for more local information 

Did I miss anything?

The Appalachian Mountains are home to everyone, and I can’t wait for your wedding here. It’s going to be a (literal) dream come true!

Let me know what you loved, your thoughts, and any suggestions on things to add in the comments below!

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