Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re getting married (yay!) and have also decided to elope!
When it comes to determining where to elope, the options are seemingly endless. Of course, City Hall or Las Vegas will do just fine. But why not get married someplace epic, in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable – along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina!
The Blue Ridge Parkway boasts 469 miles – over half of which are in North Carolina – of scenery, parkland, and mountains. The highs and lows of the parkway’s elevation make it an ideal place to sneak off the route itself to get different vantage points and stunning photos.
If eloping on the Blue Ridge Parkway sounds like the perfect elopement solution to you, here are a few tips to get you started!
5 Tips for Eloping on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
1. Start dreaming up the perfect place to say your vows.
Although these locations may not be completely private, there are a few overlook trails, waterfalls, and knobs with stunning views. Your wedding images will be gorgeous with the backdrop of locations like the ones below.
Be aware that some areas may require a climb or hike, and others are near water. You want to wear the appropriate footwear while heading out to some vantage points, but don’t be afraid to take fancy shoes along to change into once you reach your destination.
This may not be the most exciting tip, but it is one of the most necessary. A permit is required to get married on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some of the info required for the permit is the date, time, and location that you desire to get married.
Having a permit allows you to have two hours of coverage and up to 25 guests. As a sidebar, if you are having 25 guests, be sure to choose a location along the parkway that is accessible for even your most physically challenged guest.
For more info about permits and how to successfully secure one before your wedding day, be sure to visit the website. Another point to consider is that permits are not issued for holidays or any time in October due to the foot traffic on the trails and parkway itself.
3. Pick a time of day for your elopement.
This may be one of the most difficult decisions! Sunrise is calm and beautiful as the sky starts to light up with beautiful colors. Sunset is equally lovely as the sun begins to go down and we get that yummy golden light.
No matter the time of day, consider the logistics of getting on and off of the trail as well as the intensity of light (or lack thereof).
Also, factor driving time to and from the location into your plans.
4. Consider your attire.
Briefly mentioned before, good footwear is a must. No one wants to hike in heels or dress shoes, so consider purchasing a pair of hiking boots. Remember to break them in before the wedding day to avoid blisters!
Wearing a long, flowy gown will make getting to your location on the Blue Ridge Parkway that much easier.
Consider the fabrics – tulle and some softer fabrics may rip or get snagged on a tree limb, so be careful! White dresses may get a bit dirty (which I’m 100% here for), so going with an off-white or a statement color could be a fun alternative!
Guys – make sure your pants aren’t too tight. 😉
Chafing your legs in skinny dress slacks may not be the best idea. Wear looser, more comfortable pants, and if skinny is more your style, feel free to bring a pair along in a backpack.
5. Plan a few pre- or post-wedding activities.
You’re already out in nature, so why not incorporate some fun that’s centered around the outdoors? Instead of the traditional wedding reception – assuming that a couple eloping along the Blue Ridge Parkway is ok with breaking standards – why not opt for fun outdoor activities?
Take a peek at the list below for a few ideas – all of which would make for the most amazing photos!
- Take along a picnic basket. Don’t forget the blanket, and pack your basket with wine and a lovely charcuterie that can be easily set up at your location.
- Enjoy a campfire. Take along all the fixin’s for s’mores, and cap off your sunset elopement with a romantic fire. Sooo dreamy!
- Go canoeing. If you’re near water, why not take along a canoe and go for a romantic paddle down the river?
- Explore the parkway with a mini road trip. North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway has many lovely spots (see #1 above!), so why not hop in the car and hit a few different locations for photos that your grandkids will gawk over in the years to come?
- Have your first dance under the stars. This can be done in front of a campfire at the end of the day, or anywhere along your hike! Download a song onto your phone – you can’t rely on cell service in all locations – and get ready to slow dance in the moonlight. All the heart eyes!
- Enjoy a meal prepared by a private chef. If a picnic isn’t your thing, imagine having a wedding reception style meal for just the two of you. You can make plans or reservations at a cool restaurant and have a post-elopement celebratory meal, either just the two of you, or with friends and family!
Asheville, North Carolina is a gorgeous place (check out this cute couples glamping shoot if you don’t believe me!).
Asheville has tons of restaurant and brewery options. Celebrate by heading there immediately after your elopement, or gather family and friends together at a later date.
If you decide to have a bigger reception after your elopement, here are a few recommendations for reception venue options in Asheville:
No matter your reason for choosing North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway, it is an incredible place to elope. With views and terrains that vary throughout the seasons, you’re sure to have some dang beautiful photos of your private celebration with the one you love!
Planning your own elopement? I’m North Carolina based but available worldwide, so contact me if you want to start planning!