How To Elope in Asheville, NC

Top Elopement Planning Tips from an Asheville Wedding Photographer

A bride and groom eloping on Roan Mountain, overlooking the great Smoky Mountains.

If you’re an introvert like me, then you need to read this!

⁣Wait what?  You are probably asking yourself how a wedding photographer that seems so full of life is introverted….easy…I hide behind the camera!  We all hide in some form or the other from being the center of attention.  

For many couples,  planning a large wedding can be very overwhelming and stressful for a lot of reasons, but especially if you’re somebody who doesn’t want everyone focused on them. 

Between the large venue, the daunting guest list, the greeting lines, annoying guests, and the uncoordinated hanging out around the dance floor…it’s hard to know where to turn for a quiet, stress free moment.⁣  You know, alone time!  Be present with each other.  A break!

What if I gave you an alternative?⁣

You could have a wedding with as few guests as you want — or NONE — and still have an amazing experience.⁣ You can build a wedding around you, because its you who is getting married.  Elopements are great for couples who just want to be YOU, without having to worry about pleasing everyone else. You just have to know what matters to you, and go get it. No compromises.⁣ What are you waiting for?⁣

Why would a wedding photographer want couples to not have a full blown wedding?  Because elopements can be just as fun if not more, when its done with a couples full interests in mind.  So here are some tips that I can share with you to make this a reality!

Dream Big! Manifest That Shit!

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 you’re wildest dreams aren’t feasible, it will give you a good reading on what you’re going for!⁣

Remember What Mama Said About Spending Your Money!

Set a Budget.

This is good to do AFTER step one because once you know what your heart wants, your brain can go in and start planning how to make it happen, or what an attainable alternative is that 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 same way you want your day to feel like. 

I wrote some tips about that 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

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!⁣

When Should Be Get Married?

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…⁣

Documentary Wedding Photography

Based in Asheville, North Carolina - Available Worldwide

Are you getting married 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!

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