How To Elope in Asheville, NC

Top Planning Tips from an Asheville Elopement Photographer

A beautiful moment captured in photography as a bride and groom share a passionate kiss against the serene backdrop of a lake.

Attention all you fashion-forward duos with an edge for the unique! Are you a bit of an introvert? Someone who seeks tranquility over turmoil? Well, guess what? Your wedding can reflect that too!

You might be wondering how an elopement photographer (full of vibrant energy) can be introverted… the secret is – I thrive behind the lens! We all dodge the spotlight in our quirky ways.

Let’s face it, large weddings can be daunting. Overflowing guest lists, sprawling venues, awkward socializing at the dance floor… and the perpetual quest for a quiet moment to recharge. Sounds too much? It doesn’t have to be that way!


What if I gave you an alternative?⁣

Picture an intimate wedding, with a guest list as short as you prefer. Or better yet, envision a day just for the two of you! Craft a wedding that mirrors your true essence because your big day should be about YOU without the pressure of pleasing the crowd. Elopements offer this matchless freedom and more. So, why should you even ponder over concessions?

You might be asking, why does a wedding photographer vouch for minimalistic weddings? Simply because elopements, planned around your unique desires, can be as vibrant, if not more, than traditional weddings. Let me share a few hacks to transform your dreams into reality. What are you waiting for, trendsetters? Celebrate love and your style in the enchanting surroundings of Asheville, North Carolina!

A couple eloping at Roan Mountain, walking down a trail with flowers in their hands.

Real Celebrations for Real Couples!

Timeless and Unforgettable elopement photos for fun loving couples

Looking for a timeless Asheville elopement photographer? A photographer who cares about telling YOUR story? Do you crave Documentary Photography with a creative twist? You’ve found the right place! Come, let’s get started.

Dream Big! Manifest It!

Visualize how you want your day to feel. Don’t set limits in this phase. Do you want to hike and then change? Do you want to say “I Do” on a mountaintop, at a lake, or on the deck of this cute cabin you love so much? Even if your wildest dreams aren’t feasible, it will give you a good reading of your goals!⁣

Set a Budget.

This is good to do AFTER step one because once you know what your heart wants, your brain can plan how to make it happen or what an attainable alternative still meets your vision.⁣  Reach out to a few photographers to get pricing. Go small and go big, then pick an amount somewhere in between. Your elopement needs to be captured the way you want your day to feel. 

I wrote some tips here: 9 Questions To Ask a Wedding Photographer.


Choose your location. Of course that is the obvious, but its an important task. Your location is the most important part of planning. You need to know about sun location, timing, ease of access, etc.  This is where having a photographer who cares about you is impotant.  I will go out and scout different areas for my couples, take some videos, then sit down in a meeting with them to decided.  Choose somewhere that really speaks to you! And make sure you pick the best time of year for weather that you like best.⁣ Fall of course is one of the times of year, and that also books up the most for the adventure elopements

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Its All About The Guest List

Decide who you want to invite: this part is no joke. Don’t think you have to invite everyone. This is YOUR wedding day, and only the people who make you feel your absolute best should get the invite!⁣

The date of your elopement may need to be strategic and will also play a big part of your planning, especially when finding a venue.  You have to pay attention to the climate and weather patterns of the place you want to go, as well as when tourism peaks, if you want a stress-free experience.⁣ You dont want to be at a prime location at prime time, because then its like having a full blown wedding.

Book Your Travel

Once you’ve got some of your vendors in mind, it’s probably time to book travel and accommodations! This is part of the planning process with your photographer.  You want to make sure that your lodging is close to the location, or how much time is needed for transport.  The timing of this is super important, so make sure you give yourself enough time to book. Availability for popular areas can fill up 6 months to a year in advance, so don’t wait!⁣

Check Local Marriage Laws & Get your Marriage License

This really depends on how you structure your day.  Many times couples will do a simple courthouse ceremony prior to the elopement, that way its more about them and their vows.  Other couples hire an officiant, one who is local, and have them walk them through the process and application.

bride and groom at lower falls graveyard fields during fall

Pick out your Outfits (don’t forget your rings!)

Consider the location you’re eloping and what kind of weather you may have. What sort of activities you have planned will also impact your outfit choice, and whether something should be looser or more fitted etc. What do I need  to know for outerwear?  Do I need to wear hiking boots and a rain jacket, versus just a nice walk in my dress shoes. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box either — wedding attire doesn’t need to only be black and white!⁣

Vows. What Do I Say?

This part is all about you and how much you love the person you are going to be looking at while reading them.  Be emotional, funny, intimate, but most importantly, BE YOU!  Some couples also get vow books from Etsy which look great in photos.

 The vow ceremony is the focal point of your adventure. It’s the moment where you stop, take a deep breath, and commit to one another on your own terms. Definitely put plenty of heart and soul into your vows, and buy a vow book that you can come back to and update for years to come…⁣

Based in Asheville, North Carolina - Available Worldwide

Are you eloping in Asheville or anywhere else in North Carolina and are looking for a photographer to document the emotion of your day? I’d love to talk to you more about your plans. My style of photography is best suited for people who are drawn to natural and honest moments and want their day documented unobtrusively.  If that sounds like what you are looking for, let’s talk!

Picture of Michael Freas

Michael Freas

I am a documentary wedding photographer with 10 years of experience.
Multiple Top Award Winning Images and published in Rangefinder, Rolling Stone, Variety, Insider and Destination I Do.