5 easy steps to plan your asheville elopement

August 21, 2020

Choosing your Asheville Elopement Location (and how to pick the best one)

It can feel kind of overwhelming choosing a location for your Asheville elopement.

And your ideal location will vary depending on what you need and want for your elopement.

So before you start Googling all of the most beautiful elopement locations in Western North Carolina, ask yourself-

“Do I prefer….stellar mountain views with or without a hike? An awesome brewery or a sunset, mountaintop picnic? An all-day adventurous excursion for my elopement, or something a little more simple and low key?

Use this formula to help you choose the best place to elope in Asheville:

Hike, light hike, no hike
Just you two or you two and friends and family (>10)
Mountain views or waterfalls or lush forests
Sunrise or sunset
Close to Asheville, or Pisgah National Forest, or Smoky Mountain National Park
Reception party or small dinner or neither

Based on your answers, you can start to narrow down your Asheville elopement locations! Or you can check out my blog post on my top 9 favorite elopement locations in Asheville.

The Best Seasons to Elope in Asheville

Asheville receives delightfully pleasant weather year round. 

Summer isn’t too hot (but just hot enough for a dip) and winter isn’t too cold (minus the occasional snow flurry). 

Some things to keep in mind when choosing a season (and date) for your Asheville elopement:

  • You want to make sure grandma isn’t too hot outdoors,
  • Your makeup doesn’t run from the sweat,
  • …and your strapless dress won’t be inappropriate for a 30 degree chill
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect from Asheville weather:

Summer = Sunny + Occasional afternoon thunderstorms + Pretty hot

Fall = Mix between sunny and cloudy + Kinda windy + Mild hot and cold

Winter = Usually cloudy mixed with sunny days + Snow + Windy + Cold

Spring = Thunderstorms and Sunny + Windy + Snow + Pretty dang cold

Of course, I cannot guarantee the weather (because obviously). This is just what I’ve observed over the years.

Avoid these 5 Things When Choosing your Elopement Date

There’s a couple of things to consider when choosing a date for your elopement, and you may be wondering why. If it’s just you two getting hitched, then why does it matter when you’re not coordinating with guests?

Why does your elopement date matter?
  1. Most popular hikes + locations in Asheville are crowded on weekends
  2. Some wedding venues don’t allow elopements on weekends
  3. Most venues offer weekday discounts
  4. Aligning your elopement with a meteor shower or other event may occur on a weekday
  5. Starting your elopement on a weekday means you have the rest of the week and weekend to adventure around Asheville and start your honeymoon

I offer elopement packages exclusively from Monday through Friday because those are the best days to keep your ceremony quiet and intimate and by avoiding the crowd.

How can an Elopement last all day?

Eloping doesn’t mean you should just get a fancy dress, say some vows, and then it’s over. HEEEEECK no that’s not what an elopement is. 

You have full control over how you want your Asheville elopement to be- right down to the minute.

Whatever your speed, Asheville has plenty of (stellar) activities to choose from.

Adventurous? Rent out a helicopter for half a day and explore a remote part of Smoky National Park. Foodie? Go on a brewery tour in Downtown Asheville and pick out your signature wedding day beer. 

Check out this list of things you could do during your Asheville elopement to get you started:

  • Helicopter ride
  • Thru-hike the Art Loeb trail
  • Camp at the top of Black Balsam Knob
  • Canoe on Lake Lure
  • Rock climb at Rumbling Bald
  • Hire a private chef to cook for you at your private chalet
  • Drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway and find a hike to call your own

That’s not all Asheville has to offer though (because there’s plenty more).

How to have a Legal Ceremony in 7 Steps

  1. Plan a date in your calendar to obtain your marriage license. It must be anytime 60 days prior to your elopement.
  2. Complete the Marriage License Application online
  3. Go to the Register of Deeds office to receive your Marriage License
  4. Get your marriage license and bring it with you to Asheville
  5. Elope!
  6. Submit/Mail/Hand in your signed Marriage License to the Register of Deeds 
  7. Get your marriage certificate! 
….But before you head off to the courthouse, make sure you know these crucial details
  • A marriage license and a marriage certificate are two. different. things.
  • You receive a marriage license 60 days before your elopement, and a marriage certificate 10 days after your elopement
  • A marriage license is required to become legally married in state of North Carolina
  • The license is valid for 60 days once issued, which means you must elope within 60 days after you obtain your license
  • You can receive your marriage license for an Asheville elopement at Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office at 205 College Street. 
  • The Register of Deeds’ Office hours are from 8am to 5pm on Monday through Friday
  • A Marriage Certificate is $10, and you can purchase them in person, by mail, or online
  • Asheville is in Buncombe County, NC
  • Your marriage license is valid for the entire state of NC

Required for both of you

  • Social Security Card. If you do not have yours, all they need is something with your full name and your full 9 digit social security number on it, such as a W2, tax form, etc.
  • Driver’s License
  • $70 total (debit/credit, money order, check, and cash are all acceptable)

What is an Elopement Permit and How to Get One (specifically for an Asheville elopement)

An elopement permit is an official document that allows you to reserve a date, time, and place for your ceremony on any government owned property.

That property includes places like National Parks, National Forests, State parks, etc. 

It’s a common misconception that you can show up to any plot of land in Asheville for your elopement. There’s actually a little bit of procedure to follow to ensure that our protected land stays protected. 

Asheville is surrounded by a few National Parks and National Forests including Pisgah National Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Each park has their own sets of rules and guidelines on how to obtain a wedding permit. 

You can visit each website for their own rules, restrictions, and guidelines.

Traveling to Asheville & Getting Around

There are two ways to get to Asheville- plane and car

The Asheville airport is surprisingly easy to navigate and oftentimes has cheap flights. You can usually find a direct flight to Asheville from any large(r) airport in your city. The airport itself is a quick 15 minute drive away from downtown Asheville as well, so it’s relatively cost efficient to grab an Uber from the airport to your downtown Asheville Airbnb or hotel. 

Another way to get to Asheville is to drive here. Asheville is connected to many major highways and it’s usually a straight shot to get to (even from small towns in and around the area). 

Regardless of how you get to Asheville, you will absolutely want to rent a car.

Because once you’re here, you’ll definitely want to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a scenic highway conveniently located close to the city and features a plethora of stunning mountain views. You can only access it by a private vehicle. 

There are also many many many amazing hikes nearby and you can only get to them via car (there are no public transportation to any of the popular hikes). 

Where to Stay in Asheville

My recommendation is to stay at an Airbnb in Asheville, but of course you have more options than just that. 

Airbnb’s in Asheville are just as unique as the city itself. There are cabins, yurts, A-Frame homes, cute little city apartments, and even tree houses. 

So if you’re eloping in Asheville, then why not go all in and really experience it? Splurge a little and stay at an Airbnb that’s unique to Asheville culture (with mountain views of course). 

Check out some of my favorite Airbnb stays:

Hire Your Asheville Elopement Team

Now that you know you want to elope in Asheville, you’ve gotta piece the rest of the puzzle together. 

Who’s going to make your bouquet? Should you have a reception, and if so, where? And who will officiate if it’s just you two?

The vendors listed below are the best in the business, and I promise they will do a fantastic job at putting together your elopement. 


Hair and Makeup



Your friend or family member! Get ordained here

Wedding Dress Boutiques

Wedding Cake

Signs, cards, and invitations

Choosing Your Elopement Attire

Let me lead with this- you should wear whatever you want. Period.

You’re already going an nontraditional route by eloping, so why not go a step further and wear something nontraditional too?

Get your wedding dress dirty, wear a colored suit, or whatever “suites” your style (I couldn’t help be a little punny).

So that poses the question…What’s the best elopement dress? 

The best elopement dresses usually include…

  • Movement! You’ll want your dress to showcase all that wind steaming in from the mountain valleys and to the mountain tops. 
  • It’s the right size. You’re most likely going to be packing your wedding dress in a backpack for the duration of the hike (unless you’re a total badass and you hike up a mountain in your dress like what Lauren did). A giant, ball gown dress might be a lot harder to pack into a backpack, or it might not fit at all. 
  • Warmth. If you’re eloping in the winter, a sheer and strapless dress will be beautiful but it’ll be far from warm. You can certainly layer a shawl on top, but you could also do long sleeves instead. 

And if you’re stumped on how to choose the perfect elopement dress, ask your wedding dress experts over at Juniper James Bridal or Kindred Bridal!

Hey I’m Alexa, your Asheville elopement photographer

I specialize in photographing elopements and small weddings because I believe smaller gatherings open the door for more meaningful moments, interactions, and conversations.

I’ve been photographing and guiding elopements for the past 3 years, and I love it more and more as time goes on. From your first message to the day before your elopement to delivering your photos- I’m sharing that same level of stoke as you. 

Contact me for your elopement photography. I’ll photograph your Asheville elopement in a way that’s timeless, nostalgic, and above all emotional.