How to Elope In Asheville

Elopements in Asheville, NC are definitely some of my favorites! We may not have the same scenery as out west, but we do have some epic mountains, lakes, waterfalls, fields with the mountains in the distance, & so much more. This guide for elopements in Asheville, NC has everything you need to know for eloping in & around Asheville. As an Asheville elopement photographer, part of my job is to help my couples plan the most epic & adventurous elopements in North Carolina!

Asheville is a cute city that has a little bit of everything. It’s a great home base for adventure seekers & tourists who want to experience the outdoors while still being able to enjoy city life. Whether you want to go rock climbing, hike to a waterfall, or spend some time shopping around downtown, Asheville and the surrounding area has it all.

groom leading bride on path on mountain to elope in asheville

What is the average cost to Elope in Asheville?

This honestly depends! But, it will definitely be significantly less than if you plan a more traditional wedding. The most expensive purchase for your elopement will most likely be your photographer and/or videographer. Trust me, it’s worth splurging on! Elopements don’t have to mean there’s less celebrating. It just means you can explore and adventure on your big day (and have me tag along to capture every special moment!) You can expect to spend anywhere from $1500 for a couple hours of coverage to $13k or more for multi-day elopement photography. The cost to elope in Asheville will also depend on what you choose to do on your day.

Where to Elope

City elopement locations

Buncombe County Courthouse

Located in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina, this courthouse has the charm and stunning architecture to make the backdrop of your photos beautiful! Say your vows and then explore what downtown has to offer.

Courthouse Website
 60 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801

brewery where couples elope in asheville


Love beer? A handful of the breweries here in Asheville will actually let you get married at their location!

Mountain Locations

couple holding hands wearing bridal attire eloping in asheville

Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest spans over 500,000 acres. There are loads of trails to explore whether you want an easy hike or a more difficult one. Having an elopement here does come with some restrictions.

There are certain locations that the forest service has asked photographers & couples to avoid whenever possible due to over crowding. Personally, I will only do an elopement at these locations on a weekday when there are far less people visiting them or if it’s an off season. To avoid the crowds even more, I’d highly suggest a sunrise elopement. The lighting is perfect!

For more info on one of my favorite places, checkout my Roan Mountain Elopement Guide.

Checkout the best elopement locations here

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a road that spans from the Smoky Mountains all the way up to the Shenandoahs in Virginia. There are tons of pull offs & view points along the road that make the perfect backdrop to an elopement in Asheville, North Carolina. There’s also a number of short hikes right off the parkway that have the most beautiful views.

The parkway does have some restrictions & requirements. The most important being that a permit is required for your ceremony location. Permits cost $100 & are non-refundable, even if the weather prevents you from being able to get to the location for your ceremony. Although there are some locations where ceremonies are not permitted along the parkway, photographs are still allowed at these locations. Many couples will pay for a permit to have their ceremony at a viewpoint & then hike to the locations such as Rough Ridge, Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail, or Graveyard Fields for their portraits.

Group sizes must be 25 people or less (including vendors) & there are some locations where you must have an even smaller amount of guests.

As with most locations for elopements, week days at sunrise are the best time for your portraits & ceremony due to lighting & the fact that there are less people visiting the Parkway during that time.

State Parks & Forests

These include Grandfather Mountain, Mt. Mitchell, Chimney Rock, & DuPont.

Private Property

bride laying in grooms lap elope in asheville airbnb


When people think about adventure elopements they picture epic landscapes or unique landmarks. But sometimes it’s just nice to elope at a cute airbnb or venue with a pretty view & spend the rest of the week or weekend exploring those locations on your own time.

One reason to have an airbnb elopement in Asheville, North Carolina is so that you can have whatever props or decorations that you’d like. When you elope in the wilderness, you’re not able to have an extravagant archway or picnic with chairs and a table. But when you rent an airbnb or small venue, the options are endless.


Some traditional wedding venues offer smaller elopement packages. These tend to be shorter, on week days, & may have a limit to the number of guests permitted.

These are just a few of the many different options for locations to elope in Asheville, North Carolina. Western North Carolina is known for its beautiful locations such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Smoky Mountain National Park, & the Pisgah National Forest. In the Asheville area you can find mountains, old growth forests, waterfalls, open fields, & so many more amazing places to elope.

As an Asheville elopement photographer, part of my job is to help come up with a suggested location list based off of what you want the backdrop of your elopement to be. A lot of the best places aren’t in any book or blog online. When I send a location suggestion list, it includes the difficulty of the hike (if any), the elevation gain, how popular the location is, the best time of day to have your ceremony there, photos of the location as well as any other information I find to be pertinent for you to know. I always look forward to helping my couples throughout the planning process of their elopements in Asheville!

When to Elope

wedding couple laying down in flower field

When Is the best time of year to elope in Asheville?

Asheville is a very popular tourist town. The weather can also be dicey at certain times of the year, Knowing when to elope in Asheville, NC is so important to ensuring you have less stress on your wedding day.

The best time of year can also be the worst time of year to elope in Asheville. That’s because the prettiest (in my opinion) month is October, when the leaves change. But, that means there will most likely be crowds of people on the trails. So, if you plan on eloping in Asheville in the fall, I highly suggest choosing a week day, & be willing to do a longer or more strenuous hike to get to the spots where the crowds won’t be. The next best would be late spring or early summer when the weather is nice & the flowers start coming out at higher elevations.

Elope in Asheville in Autumn

Fall in Asheville is by far the most beautiful time of year. This also means it’s the most busy time of year with thousands of visitors each day. If you’re going to plan an elopement in Asheville in the fall, make sure you do a sunrise hike up to a mountain with a view of the fall foliage. The weather is generally dry & mild which makes it perfect for elopements.

Elope in Asheville in Winter

The weather in the winter can be so unpredictable! But once we get our first ice or snow storm, you can expect the parkway to be shut down until March/April. This year the parkway didn’t close until around January, but in years past it’s closed in November. The good thing about winter elopements here, is that there are far less people & it’s very easy to find a private place for your ceremony. Just make sure to have a plan A, B, C, & D! I always suggest to my couples to rent a cute airbnb for their stay here that we can use in case of inclement weather for their elopement.

Elope in Asheville in Spring

If you’re a lover of spring wildflowers & budding greenery, late spring would be the time of year for you to get eloped. There are so many different mountaintops & even flower farms where you can get married surrounded by colorful flowers. It does rain quite often in the late spring here, so just be prepared to either have an indoor backup plan or bring your rain boots & umbrellas.

Elope in Asheville in Summer

Summer is the perfect time to elope if you want to have the classic lush green forests with the purple-ish pink rhododendron flowers blooming in your photos. It does rain a lot in the summer. Pisgah National Forest has almost enough rain each summer to be considered a temperate rain forest! I highly suggest being flexible when planning your summer elopement in Asheville, NC. It could be sunny in the morning and a full blown thunderstorm in the afternoon. When I book an elopement, I make sure to not have any other plans that day even if you only book me for a few hours. I’m always willing to push your timeline up or down to accommodate with the weather. Summers are also a very popular time of year for visitors so consider eloping on a weekday to avoid crowds.

Why you should elope in Asheville on a weekday

In case you didn’t notice earlier, I am a HUGE fan of weekday elopements. Most people aren’t going to take a week long trip to visit Asheville. They usually only plan to be here for a long weekend. That leaves Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays pretty open and available for couples to elope without having to wait for tourists to get out of the way of their photos or ceremony spot. Parking is a lot easier to find & the most popular locations will be more enjoyable since you won’t have to be surrounded by other people trying to get a photo at the same place as us. It’s also great because you’ll have an easier time finding a place to stay in Asheville. It’ll be much easier to find an affordable airbnb, campsite, or hotel to stay at during the week.

What time of day should you elope?

If at all possible, aim for the portraits to be taken at sunrise or sunset! These are the times of day with the best lighting (if the weather cooperates). This doesn’t mean a ceremony at noon will look bad in photos – just that we’ll have to get a little creative to ensure there’s no harsh shadows cast on anyone’s faces. For all day elopements, I highly recommend hiking in the dark to get to the ceremony/vow reading location. I have a popup changing tent so you can get ready as the sun starts to come up. Then the lighting will be absolutely perfect for your vows! Then we can spend the day adventuring and doing your favorite things, take a mid-day break, and then get back outside for a sunset and nighttime portrait session. Best of both worlds!

Another thing to keep in mind is where the sun will be relative to your location at any given time. Some locations face sunset and others face sunrise. Some don’t face either. I can help you choose the best time for the location you want!

Benefits of Sunrise

Sunrise is the BEST time of day for popular locations. No one seems to want to wake up before dark even though at many locations, sunrise is much more beautiful than sunset! You’ll avoid the crowds if you choose to wake up early enough.

Where to Stay In Asheville

There’s a lot of really nice places to stay in Asheville depending on what type of vibe you’re going for. There’s tons of airbnb’s, The Omni Grove Park Inn, Hotel Indigo, & even places to go glamping.

bride and groom portrait on cloudy mountain before they elope in asheville

Getting to & traveling around Asheville

Asheville is full of lyfts & ubers, so if your plan is to stay in the city, you won’t need a rental car. But, if you plan on going anywhere outside of town you will definitely need a rental car. Lyfts & Ubers won’t take you to any of the adventurous locations you see in this blog post. As far as getting here, we’re very lucky in that we have an airport right at the edge of town. If you plan on doing some hikes more off the beaten path, I’d definitely suggest renting a 4WD vehicle. Some of the backroads off of the parkway do not get maintained at all.

What to wear


Depending on the locations you choose to go throughout the day, dresses can add so much to your photos! If you’re on a breezy mountaintop, a flowy dress will look best! Keep in mind that you need to be able to move around in your dress & that it will get dirty.

Shirt, Pants, & Jacket

If you’re wanting to wear a suit, keep in mind that it will get toasty! Which could be a nice thing in the spring or fall months. Make sure that your outfit is stretchy so you can walk around comfortably.


The footwear that you choose to wear to your elopement is SO important! You want to be comfy but I’m also guessing you’ll want them to look cute! Opt for footwear that fits the environment – even if that means bringing a couple pairs. Dr. Martens, hiking boots, & Blundstones are super cute for hiking elopement! While some slip ons may be better for waterfalls so you can take them off and walk barefoot in the water.

Make sure the shoes you wear are already broken in & comfortable. I highly recommend Darn Tough socks for hiking elopements because they help prevent blisters.

Activity Ideas

Asheville is full of so many fun ideas and activities for your elopement. Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking or Camping
  • Mountain Biking
  • Wine tasting
  • Brewery Hopping
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides
  • Helicopter Rides
  • Splashing in waterfalls
  • Visiting your favorite or a new restaurant
  • Watching the sunset
  • Stargazing (I can take photos of y’all with the stars!)
  • Picnics (Checkout Asheville Luxury Picnics)
  • Kayaking
  • Yoga
  • Drive on the blue ridge in a vintage car
  • Climbing at the climbing gym
  • Picking your own bouquet at a flower farm
  • Jeep Tour
  • Explore downtown

More Tips

Looking for an asheville wedding & elopement photographer?

How Many Hours of Coverage Do I Need?

That depends! Do you want to hike up a mountain, say your vows, and then spend the day brewery hopping? You’ll need a full day package. Want to do a first look at your airbnb, hike to an overlook for your ceremony, explore a waterfall for portraits and then meet up with family later in the day for a reception? You’ll need my 10 hour package. Or if you just want to do a short hike, read your vows, have a picnic breakfast, then you’re looking at a half day package. The best part is that you get to choose what you do on your day & exactly what you want covered.

Will you help me plan my elopement?

Not sure where to start with planning? No worries! When working with me, the only thing you need to narrow down before booking is a date & some ideas of what you want your day to look like! Here are some of the things I’ll help you with when planning your elopement.

  • Vendor suggestions for cakes, makeup, florals, etc.
  • Location suggestions & personal scouting. If in our search we discover a location I’ve never been to before, I will drive out to check it out before your big day & send you photos so you’re able to picture yourself there!
  • I’ll research any permit requirements or other regulation info that may be applicable to your specific location.
  • Personalized timeline. Even smaller elopements & weddings need a timeline to keep the day running smoothly.
  • Gear help! While many of my couples are seasoned hikers, a lot of them aren’t! And that’s totally okay! I’ll be here to help you with any gear suggestions & give you a packing list to make sure you have everything you need for your elopement.
  • Activity suggestions. – Who says an elopement has to be a short ceremony & some photos and that’s it? The best part about eloping is that you get to do whatever you want on your wedding day! Whether you want to do a sunrise hike, visit your favorite pizza shop in your wedding attire, or even go on a hot air balloon ride, I’m here for it. It’s your day, so make it a fun one!
  • & so much more!

Meet your elopement photographer

Hey! I’m Kirsten, & I’m the photographer behind this blog & Kirsten Alexandria Photography. I specialize in weddings & adventure elopements here in Western North Carolina. Asheville is a very special place to me! In 2017 I hiked most of the Appalachian Trail & absolutely fell in love with the mountains here in North Carolina. The bald mountains and luscious forests are incredibly stunning & I really love sharing the beauty of these places with others like you. If you’re planning to elope in Asheville, I’ll help make it a day you’ll look back on & want to remember every little detail of.

Maybe you’ve never pictured yourself walking down the aisle. you’re wanting to avoid all of the stress of planning a traditional wedding. Traditional weddings don’t allow you to be your true & authentic self anyway! Inevitably you’ll make a decision based off of what someone else wants for you & your dream wedding no longer feels like you. So ditch those traditions and get married in the great outdoors! Say your vows to your partner with the birds chirping & the wind blowing in your hair. An intimate wedding or elopement is the perfect way to create memories you’ll want to remember forever. I’ll be there to take some epic photos of your whole experience. And while my job is to be your photographer, I like to be so much more than that for my couples. I’ll help carry your gear up the mountain, help you find other vendors, locations, & more.

What to expect

I live in Asheville but I’m always open to traveling wherever you see yourself getting eloped in the USA. There are so many elopement photographers in the Asheville area to choose from. Like a lot. So what makes me any different than the next? I love taking photos that show the true emotions & in between moments of your wedding day. My edits are in a natural, golden, & dreamy style. I always make sure that my images reflect the colors the way we saw them that day. I put your experience and needs ahead of my portfolio wants or needs.

I’ve made sure to be as educated as I can on all of the different regulations on the land when it comes to weddings & have thousands of miles of hiking & backpacking experience. I’m also a wilderness first responder for your peace of mind while we’re in the backcountry. I’m an adventure seeker & aim to make your wedding day photo experience a fun, comfortable, & adventurous one. Let’s chat about how we can make your dream elopement in Asheville NC come true!

If you think we’d be a good fit, I’d love to chat! Check out my elopement photography info, and then let’s schedule a video call to get to know each other better.

Get In Touch

If you’re looking for a photographer and you connect with my work, I would love to hear from you! Please allow up to 72 hours for a response.

Weddings starting at $3000. Elopements starting at $1500. Engagement sessions starting at $600.

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