Hi! I'm Kirsten, an Asheville wedding, elopement, & engagement photographer. While I am based in North Carolina, I do offer travel packages & even discounts for locations on my bucket list!
Searching for a photographer who will deliver fun, intentional & storytelling photos? Look no further! Your wedding day memories are precious & I will document them with the same love & care as if they were my own.
Western North Carolina is full of epic locations ready to be explored! In this blog I go over the best locations in Western North Carolina for your adventure Elopement! I think that North Carolina is such a beautiful & underrated state for elopements! It may have smaller mountains than out west, but some of the mountains here are so much more beautiful! (And you don’t have to deal with altitude sickness). These are my favorite locations that I’ve scouted out for your elopement in North Carolina!
What makes this location great: From the top of Craggy Pinnacle there are 360 views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains which makes this location perfect for either sunrise or sunset. Craggy Gardens / Craggy Pinnacle are super close to Asheville & are very easy to get to. Just follow the Blue Ridge Parkway going north from Asheville for about 40 minutes.
Permits required: While it is prohibited to have your ceremony at the top of Craggy Pinnacle, you are able to get a wedding permit to have your ceremony at Craggy Gardens. The permit costs $100 and is good for a 2 hour ceremony. Only weddings or elopements with 25 people or less are allowed. The Craggy Pinnacle trailhead is only a minute down the road & makes an excellent post-ceremony hike to get to the perfect view for your portrait photos.
Important information you should know: Craggy Pinnacle & Craggy Gardens are part of the Blue Ridge Parkway which means you must follow the national park system rules when it comes to your elopement. This means no live flowers, no props or decorations, no more than 25 people including your photographer & officiant, the road may be closed due to bad weather, wedding permits are not issued for the entire month of October or any federal holiday or holiday weekend, & you must follow all Leave No Trace principles.
What makes this location great: Mount Mitchell State Park is the highest point on the east coast, making the forest and the land look very different than most of the mountains we’re used to. You will feel like you’re in a fairytale storybook when you walk along the nature trail. The great part about getting married here is that it’s very accessible. You can drive your car right to the picnic area and then walk along the very maintained nature trail to take your photos. The views are fantastic even from the parking lot & it’s always at least 10 degrees cooler on top of the mountain than it is in town.
Permits required: In order to elope at Mount Mitchell, you must first reserve a picnic shelter and then acquire a special activity permit. Once you’ve filled out your permit application, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Just make sure you don’t send any money with the application as the prices may vary. The park will reach out to you with the cost once the application has been accepted.
Important information you should know: Ceremonies are only allowed Mondays – Thursdays (excluding holidays) from May until the end of September due to overcrowding on the weekends/holidays. Ceremonies may only be held at the picnic shelters & photos are not allowed at the summit of the mountain (honestly the photos turn out better on the side trails and parking lot because the tower on top of the mountain is kinda ugly). Only 16 people including the couple, photographer, & officiant are allowed. No plant materials including flowers are allowed, no music & no alcohol.
What makes this location great: Okay so technically this location is in Tennessee but it’s so close to the border of Western North Carolina that I had to include it. The hike to the top of the bald mountain is not very long or strenuous. It is uphill but the hike is worth it once you get to the top. There are 360 views of the Appalachian Mountains & is absolutely beautiful at sunset. Another great aspect about this location is that the roads leading up the mountain are fairly well-maintained during the winter so you won’t have to worry as much about any weather issues shutting down the road like you would with most other mountains in the area. The roads still get shutdown from time to time but it’s less often than the Blue Ridge Parkway or other popular elopement spots.
Permits required: Yes. This location is in a TN state park so in order to have a ceremony here, you will need to apply for a special use permit. Fees vary depending on your event so you must submit your application before paying the fees. Fees can range from $0-$250+.
Important information you should know: Although most people refer to it as Roan Mountain, the mountain where most people take their photos and elope at is actually called Round Bald. Roan Mountain is actually the mountain on the other side of the parking lot and is covered with trees with no views from the top.
What makes this location great: This location is a gradual uphill hike that’s only 30 minutes away from Asheville, NC. The falls make a beautiful backdrop to your dream elopement.
Permits required: No. Catawba Falls is located in the Pisgah National Forest which means that you will not need a permit unless you plan to have more than 75 people present. But, if you’re eloping then I’m assuming that’s not the plan!
Important information you should know: This location is a very popular tourist spot due to how accessible it is & how easy the hike is. Because of this, I would suggest planning your elopement during a weekday. Winter & early spring are actually the best time to elope at Catawba Falls due to the amount of rainfall. This will mean the falls will be bigger & more beautiful. (But also you might have rain so make sure to prepare for that just in case!)
What makes this location great: There are so many different locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway that will make the perfect backdrop for your elopement! There are lots of waterfalls, forests, hiking trails, & overlook pull-offs for the two of you to explore after your ceremony. If you’d enjoy some variety in your photos, I’d be more than happy to book you for a full day to follow you along on your adventure and photograph your favorite moments.
Permits required: In order to elope along the Blue Ridge Parkway you must apply for a Special Events Permit. There are restricted locations along the Parkway where elopements are not allowed. Applications must be submitted at least 90 days prior to the elopement date.
Important information you should know: If you want to get the most epic photos & you dig the moody & warm vibes of autumn colors, make sure to elope at sunset or sunrise in the fall! The Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful all year round, but fall is definitely a completely different vibe. Be aware that during the winter the BRP is generally closed due to icy road conditions.
Feel free to reach out! In addition to being an Asheville based elopement photographer, I also help all of my couples with the logistics of planning their perfect day! Whether you need help with location scouting, creating a timeline, applying & researching permit requirements, or more, I’m here for you! If you’re more interested in learning about my process, contact me by clicking the button below or click here for more info.
Amanda & Joe
"Kirsten was so sweet and fun to hang out with - it felt like we brought a friend along with us! She captured everything I wanted and gave us the perfect photos for us to remember our special day.
We received a mix of candid photos and portraits.
I thought I would feel awkward taking portraits. but she gave great prompts that made it fun and had us laughing. When I received my photos. I was blown away at how natural we looked and how much of our love was captured in the photos. I am literally obsessed with how our pictures came out!"
Payton & Kristen
"Kirsten produced lovely photos from our very dreamy and memorable mountain photo shoot. We display the engagement photos proudly all around our house. She knows the area well and can suggest areas if you are not.
She's non-judgmental if you're nervous about being in front of a camera and LGBTQ+ friendly! We highly recommend Kirsten to anyone looking to get engaged or elope in the Asheville area."
Caroline & Cameron
"😭😭 These are amazing. Thank you so so much for making this chaotic day look so peaceful and magical. I know we were rushed but you'd never know from these pictures. We couldn't have asked for more! and thank you for getting us our gallery and sneak peaks so quickly!!"
Amythest & Sara
"Kirsten was delightful and really allowed us to be ourselves and enjoy the time together. The photos from this session are warm. intimate. and really showcase the love that my wife and I hold in our relationship. I am forever thankful for that afternoon Kirsten spent with us. if you are considering booking a session. this is a business you want to do it with <3"
Sarah & Alex
"Kirsten was absolutely amazing to work with! While visiting the States on our honeymoon, we arranged to have photos taken to commemorate our elopement, and Kirsten took our vision and ran with it! Kirsten made the the entire experience so easy for us - from helping us plan and pick a venue, to bringing her pop-up tent for a wardrobe change at the top of the mountain.
Kirsten went above and beyond The photos themselves are more beautiful than we could have hoped for. and we are so grateful. Could not recommend Kirsten enough!"