The Best Asheville Elopement Guide for Unforgettable Memories


Are you looking for the best Asheville elopement locations? You’ve found it! Asheville in North Carolina is a nature heaven with stunning natural NC elopement locations and venues that we’re certain you will fall in love with.

Eric and I are passionate about romantic travel and since we’re also searching around the world for elopement and wedding venues, we’re happy to report on Asheville North Carolina! To help you planning your elopement in Asheville, we thought it was time to put together a detailed guide on the best places to elope in Asheville and around Asheville and how to elope in Asheville.

Whether you want to plan a romantic and adventurous elopement for your wedding day or need pointers for venues, our guide covers every bit of information you may need including the legalities of eloping in North Carolina. If you’re wondering “how do you elope in Asheville NC?”, you better start reading!

Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall

Asheville elopement: Legalties

Elopements in Asheville NC don’t all follow the same legal rules. The legal rules that apply to your elopement in Asheville NC will depend on where you come from.

If you are already legally married in your state or country

Most couple who elope abroad first get married in their country of residence. That is because it is an easier process and the paperwork is more straightforward. Most places require you to either get a marriage licence or to book a preparation appointment which both have to happen in person. When you get legally married abroad, having to go there in person can be costly and time-consuming. That’s why most couples choose to get married legally in their country and simply hold the ceremony and the photo session at their elopement location.

If you are already legally married in your home country, you won’t need to obtain any marriage licence in North Carolina. Your elopement in Asheville will essentially be a “mock wedding”. This means you won’t need an officiant or anyone to be ordained, nor will you have to register your marriage in North Carolina. It’s actually illegal in several countries to get legally married if you’re already married in another jurisdiction (whether to the same or another person).

That said, there are other rules in North Carolina that you may need to comply with even if your ceremony is only celebratory. The main rule is that certain areas and state parks require you to apply for a permit before you can use the space as your elopement location. For most, you’ll need to apply at least 14 days to one month in advance and hold your ceremony on the day and at the time that the permit is issued for.

If you want to get legally married in North Carolina

If you want to get legally married in North Carolina, you will need to obtain a marriage licence. You can obtain such licence at the Register of Deeds office. The licence will expire 60 days after it has been issued. Note that, to obtain a marriage licence, you will need to provide a social security number o a notarised statement that you are ineligible for one. This may be a bit of complicated paperwork if you are not an American citizen. On the day, you will need to be married by an officiant with two witnesses.

In contrary to Montana elopement rules and similarly to the rules that apply to California elopements, you won’t need to pass a medical exam or any blood test before getting legally married in Asheville.

Why you should elope Asheville style

Eloping in North Carolina’s Asheville has got many advantages for couples. One of them is the absolute natural beauty that comes with getting eloped near Asheville. Between State Parks, mountain ranges, stunning drives and beautiful elopement backdrops, there are endless opportunities to find an intimate and romantic spot in the Asheville area for your elopement. You can also elope wedding style, for example, with a few guests and a proper venue. Second, Asheville offers lots of activities that can make your wedding day or even your time after that memorable. From water activities and visiting breweries to hiking and horseback riding, there is something for every couple who wants to elope in Asheville.

Outdoor places to elope in Asheville NC

Are you wondering where to go to elope in Asheville NC? Well, stop wondering! We’ve got you covered in this section. Here, we are sharing destination elopements Asheville ideas that are mostly outdoor ideas and state park inspired. Think about nature, rivers, mountains and stunning backdrops! Let’s see your options.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway, to elope NC style

Are you looking for ides to elope outdoors Asheville has to offer? Well, one of the main Asheville elopement spots in the are is Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 439 miles drive along incredible vistas of nature including lush mountains, tunnels, big rocks and waterfalls. While on the drive, you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains for miles and miles on end which creates a very peaceful atmosphere and can make you feel like you’re the only ones there!

So why not getting married on a Blue Ridge Mountain! Well it’s possible! Some of the prime spots for Blue Ridge Parkway elopements include:

  • Craggy Gardens
  • Glassmine Falls Overlook
  • Tanbark Ridge Overlook

Rules to elope at Blue Ridge Parkway as one of the outdoor Asheville elopement ideas H4

Eloping or holding a small wedding at Blue Ridge Parkway requires a Special Use Permit. Application fees are $60 and the permit fees are $40. You will need to download the form and submit it by email at least 30 days before your big day. The permit only allows you to hold a small ceremony but no reception. Note that certain areas of the park are not available for elopements and small weddings. For the areas that are, restrictions are in place such as:

  • you can’t bring certain things like live plants and can’t attach anything to nature
  • depending on the area, you can have up to 25 guests
  • the areas remain open to public during your ceremony so you may have a bunch of strangers walking by.

You can find more information and apply for you permit here.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With miles on end of mountains, wildflowers, trails, rivers, wildlife and waterfalls, you can’t go wrong with eloping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Rules to elope at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Because this is a national park, there are strict rules when it comes to weddings and elopements. You will need to apply for a Special Use Permit at least 14 days in advance with an application fee of $50 (more in advance is advised if possible as the fee is non-refundable). There are locations in the park where ceremonies are not allowed. You can find the list of approved areas on the website. 

These approved locations include:

  • Cataloochee Valley and Overlook: The overlook provides you with an incredible view of the mountain ridges and is protected with a fence. 
  • Cataract Falls: This is a beautiful backdrop for an elopement ceremony with a 25- foot rocky cliff and water coming down. The walk is short and easy to get there so no need to be hikers!
  • The Historic Mingus Mill: This are is perfect for evening weddings but has limited availability.
  • Chimneys Area: Want to elope by a river? This might be the spot you’re looking for. Located near Little Pigeon River, you’ll be able to hold your ceremony by the river bed and enjoy the picnic tables for your reception.
  • Road to Nowhere at Fontana Lake overlook for a maximum of 15 cars and 30 people
  • Heintooga Overlook: To reach this spot, you’ll need to walk the Flat Creek Trail. From the top, you’ll get amazing view to exchange vows.
  • Deep Creek Picnic Pavilion: a good choice if you want a picnic after your ceremony. Note that it is a very busy area in the summer with camping, waterfalls and tubing so it may not provide the peaceful scenery you may want.
  • Cades Cove: The overlook provides a stunning panoramic view of the mountains. in the summer, the view is quite lush with wildflowers. In the winter, you may see snow!

There are a few indoors locations as well:

  • The Methodist Church in Cades Cove
  • The Missionary Baptist Church at Cades Cove
  • The Palmer Chapel at Cataloochee
  • The Primitive Baptist Church at Cades Cove
  • The Smokemont Church

As per usual, you cannot typically hold your reception on the ceremony location. However, the park has two cabins you can rent for the day and hold your reception with your guests:

  • The Appalachian Clubhouse 
  • The Spence Cabin

You can find more information here.

River backdrop at the Great Smoky Mountains for an Asheville elopement
River backdrop at the Great Smoky Mountains for an Asheville elopement

3. Pisgah National Forest & Nantahala National Forest

Pisgah National Forest & Nantahala National Forest are one of the top Asheville elopement locations for couples who want a stunning scenery and minimum organisational burden. Both forests are public land which means you do not need a permit to elope or get married on the grounds. 

As the forests are public grounds, it is possible that you’ll have a couple of strangers eyes watching your ceremony or even clapping but the grounds are so large, it’s also easy to find a remote spot to have more of an intimate wedding.

The forests are quite gorgeous with waterfalls, rivers, incredible views over the mountain ranges and ridges. It’s particularly beautiful during fall when all the leaves change colour. 

There are also several activities you can do to add some spice to your big day such as horse riding, climbing and water activities. 

Some of the top elopement spots in Pisgah National Forest include:

  • Roaring Fork Falls
  • Roan Mountain Rhododendron Garden
  • Wiseman’s View
  • Pink beds
  • Black Balsam Knob
  • Tom’s Creek Falls
  • Paint Rock Farm

There are cabins and campgrounds in both forests which makes it easy to host your guests if necessary. You can find more information here. Note that you will need a permit if you have more than 75 guests.

4. Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate is on private grounds and is essentially a large castle mixed with an Inn. The grounds are superb and the castle background quite unique in the area. If you want to feel like royalties, this might be what you’re looking for.

Note that Biltmore Estate is also great if you want to hold a reception and have the possibility of staying overnight as the estate can provide accommodation for both the couple and guests. It provides indoor and outdoor options for the ceremony and endless photo locations with either the estate, gardens or mountain ridges in the backdrop.

The estate can be booked within 90 days (3 months) of your elopement. Prices depend on the Biltmore elopement package you choose. We recommend contacting them directly to inquire about your elopement.

5. Lake Lure

Located only 43 minutes from Asheville, Lake Lure is the perfect spot for a peaceful elopement. There are quite a few elopement possibilities and locations at Lake Lure. First, you can choose to host your elopement at one of the venues like the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa. The Inn also provides a range of cheap elopement packages NC with different settings and services. 

Alternatively, you can go about it independently from a private venue. At Lake Lure, Morse Park is a popular elopement location. It sits on the lake so it offers beautiful lake views. If you’re having just a couple of guests and no chairs and decorations, you can just show up and don’t need to reserve the space.

Morse Park is also home to a beautiful gazebo which can make for a bit of a more traditional wedding set up. You will need to book the gazebo and reserve in advance. 

The options include renting a pontoon boat and getting married on the lake, getting married on the docks or on the beach. There are several coves along the lake as well such as Firefly Cove and Pirates Cove which can make for more intimate elopement locations.For pointers, renting the gazebo costs around $500 per event. You can find more information here.

6. Lake Glenville

Lake Glenville offers 26 miles of shoreline locations that could potentially be what you’re looking for. This blue reservoir is also home to three waterfalls and endless stunning sceneries. Whether you want to get married on the water, by a waterfall or on the beach, Lake Glenville is a great option.

Lake Glenville is also home to cute venues such as the Sawyer Family Farmstead

7. North Carolina Arboretum

Do you want to get married surrounded by nature without having to explore too much? Then the North Carolina Arboretum might be what you’re looking for. With glasshouses, stunning flower patches and lush gardens, this is the perfect set up for a romantic and lush elopement. What’s great about it is that it feels more like a venue, yet still brings the intimacy an eloping couple looks for.

The arboretum is also located just 15 minutes outside of Asheville which makes it a very convenient Asheville elopement location. You can make your elopement ads simple or as sophisticated as you wish at this location. There are several indoor and outdoor locations to consider including:

  • the Heritage Garden with the gazebo
  • Blue Ridge Court
  • the Event lawn
  • the Education Centre Veranda
  • the Baker Lobby
  • and more

You can find more information here. Asheville elopement packages start at $750. 

8. Diamond Falls Preserve and Bat Cave

Getting married in Bat Cave is like getting married in the most intimate and peaceful place. The wedding terrace has been specifically created for elopements and offers the perfect intimacy in a dreamy scenery. By getting married here, you’ll be surrounded by lush forest and the Little Creek. 

You can even have a maximum of 20 guests spend the night so you can enjoy the day to the fullest.

You can find more information here.

9. Stone Ashe Vineyard

With a 360 degrees view of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Stone Ashe Vineyard is a stunning venue to host your elopement. You can have up to 50 guests on the ceremony site and they even have on site accommodations for the couple and guests. The vineyard offers a choice between outdoor and indoor venues along with both a ceremony and reception area. You can request a quote here.

10. Asheville Botanical Gardens

The Asheville Botanical Gardens are a different place than the North Carolina Arboretum but just as gorgeous. The gardens are only suitable for an outdoor elopement or small wedding so keep that in mind when picking your Asheville elopement location.

You can have up to 30 guests including vendors and the officiant. Amenities are those available during visitor centre hours and you cannot bring any chairs or tables. The space can only be rented for the ceremony part and not for the reception. North Carolina elopement packages for the botanical gardens range between $150 and $250 depending on the number of guests. 

You can reach out to them about details here.

11. Brevard area for waterfalls

Do you want to say yes in the middle of a large waterfall and surrounded by trees? Then the Brevard area is made for you! With plenty of falling water, water reflections for cool photos and a peaceful decor, this is a great spot for elopements near Asheville. 

Note that this is a popular spot during summer so off season or early mornings are best for elopement cermeonies. 

The Brevard area is public ground so you don’t need a permit.

12. Mount Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell State Park is located about 30 miles from Asheville. It is home to the highest point of the Mississippi River and offers stunning mountain views during the day. The park includes trails, campgrounds, rivers, and picnic sites.

To host your elopement in the park, you will likely need a permit which you can obtain here. Your application will need to be submitted at least 14 days before our event.

13. Lake James State Park

Located about 50 miles from Asheville, Lake James State Park provides lots of beautiful lake views, trails, water activities and campground opportunities. If you like nature and want to turn your elopement into an experience, this could be the perfect location for you!

To host your elopement in the park, you will likely need a permit which you can obtain here. Your application will need to be submitted at least 14 days before our event.

14. Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park is located at the border between North and South Carolina. The landscape is slightly different with more rugged rivers, high waterfalls, and sheer rock precipices. The park offers a range of activities such as horseback riding as well which could be a fun romantic activity to to do once you’ve tied the knot. 

To host your elopement in the park, you will likely need a permit which you can obtain here. Your application will need to be submitted at least 14 days before our event.

15. South Mountains State Park

Located about 55 miles from Asheville, you’ll find South Mountains State Park where the Appalachian Mountains and the Foothills meet. The park has got a mix of waterfalls, trails, horse back riding experience opportunities and the stunning Jacob Fork River. There are endless Asheville elopement opportunities at South Mountains State Park.

To host your elopement in the park, you will likely need a permit which you can obtain here. Your application will need to be submitted at least 14 days before our event.

16. Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park is located only 25 miles from Asheville and is a great option for an Asheville elopement. The park offers dramatic mountain sceneries, waterfalls and overlooks on Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. 

Some of the best elopement locations in Chimney Rock State Park include Chimney Rock,Lake Lure Lookout, Vita Rock and Hickory Nut Falls. most of these spots allow for a maximum of 15 guests. The Pavilion and the Outdoor Classroom allow for 150 and 70 guests respectively. Note that most elopements and ceremonies are not allowed on holidays and holiday weekends.

The fees depend on the number of guests and whether you need a ceremony and reception rental.You can find more information here.

Elopement and wedding venues Asheville NC offers

In the previous section, we share outdoor affordable wedding venues in Asheville NC and near Asheville. These were more outdoorsy with nature places and destinations. In this section, we’re sharing more traditional venues that also cater for elopements and small weddings. 

17. Canaan Valley North Carolina, for an elopement in the Asheville area

Canaan Valley is a venue located about 15 minutes form Asheville making it both a stunning and convenient venue. Canaan Valley is a mix of barn meets chic with lots of outdoor and indoor spaces to hold your ceremony.

The venue offers an elopement package that allows you to bring 6 guests and also includes dealing with the paperwork. 

On site, there are several experiences such as horseback riding and spa services. You can also use the on-site accommodation. The elopement package starts at $1200. You can find more information here.

18. Miss Caroline’s Country Wedding Chapel

Surrounded by the Smoky Mountains, this cute chapel is perfect for an elopement and great photo opportunities. It’s even more gorgeous in the fall when trees change colour and enlighten the chapel. The Chapel is located in Maggie Valley and offers a range of packages that stay at $449. 

If you’d like to get married outside, the Chapel comes with a waterfall site that is absolutely stunning. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a waterfall backdrop but don’t want to hike and need easy accessibility.

You can find more information here.

19. 1889 WhiteGate Inn, one of the top Asheville cottages Asheville NC has to offer for elopements

Near Downtown Asheville, you’ll find the 1889 WhiteGate Inn to be a stunning elopement venue. With waterfalls, Koi ponds, fire places and on-site spa services, the establishment offers both indoor and outdoor elopement opportunities. If you’re thinking of a chic but cozy elopement in Asheville, you will probably love this inn.

Packages start at $2100 depending on your needs and requests! You can find more information here.

20. Asheville Courthouse for a Downtown Asheville elopement

Asheville Courthouse is another option when it comes to Asheville venues for an elopement. Though more traditional, it’s also a cost efficient option!

Marriages are performed on the second floor of Buncombe County Courthouse, usually during weekdays. You’ll need ti pay a $20 fee in cash and will need two witnesses. You can call 828-259-3407 for more updated information as the magistrate isn’t always available on the same days.

21. Claxton Farms, one of the charming Asheville NC venues 

For a small wedding or an elopement, Claxton Farm is absolutely perfect. It offers both an indoor and an outdoor venue to cater for all types of weather! The vibe at Claxton Farms is a mix of rustic and chic for the perfect barn wedding in Asheville. 

At Claxton Farms, you can have a maximum of 15 guests and you can rent the space for 2 hours. That gives you enough time to have your ceremony and take photos. 

There are lots of photo opportunities at Claxton Farms. Eric and I love the barn style. On top of photos in and in front of the barn, you can also use the cabins and gardens for cool outdoor photos. 

The elopement packages Asheville NC at Claxton Farms start at $2550. You can find more information here. You can also contact them at (828) 658-1390.

22. Homewood, a stone manor for the perfect Asheville elopement

This 1920’s stone manor is absolutely gorgeous and will be your dream venue if you’ve ever wanted to get married at a castle! The venue provides both indoor and outdoor spaces for elopements and weddings. The venue comes with a stunning backyard and a grandiose fireplace.

To learn more about how you can elope here, we recommend contacting the owners directly here.

23. The Ridge & The Chateau

The Ridge & The Chateau is located in Marshall, NC. It offers both outdoor and indoor places to hold your Asheville elopement ceremony. The Chateau is the indoor location with fireplaces, stones and a French and Spanish architecture while the Ridge is the outdoor space with 360 degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Ridge & The Chateau packages account for up to 25 guests, 35 guests and 50 guests.  Each package includes 5 hours of ceremony and reception time, along with unlimited alcohol, food, staff, equipment, decor. You can find more information here.

24. Capital Club of Asheville

Now, if you’re interested in a bit of a unique take, Capital Club of Asheville might be just what you’re looking for. Capital Club of Asheville offers a rooftop elopement venue with views on the Asheville area and where you can host your ceremony with only 15 guests. Whether you want to hold your ceremony only or your ceremony and reception, Capital Club of Asheville offers several packages that are flexible.

You can find more information here.

25. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is located in Asheville and is more suited for the reception than the ceremony. It’s got cool brick walls with a vintage boho chic vibe and serves delicious award-winning food. If you need a place to have a special meal after your ceremony, this is a great option. 

26. Omni Grove Park Inn, a superb elopement Asheville NC bed and breakfast

Right in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll find the Omni Grove Park Inn which is an absolutely stunning venue for an elopement. Whether it’s just you two or you have a few guests, you’ll love both the indoor and outdoor spaces. With lush gardens, wedding arches, water spaces and brick walls, the Omni Grove Park Inn is gorgeous. We would highly recommend also staying a couple of nights so you can enjoy all the facilities including the pool and the spa.

You can find more information here.

27. Fred W. Symmes Chapel, South Carolina

The Fred W. Symmes Chapel’s nickname is “the Pretty Place Chapel” due to its gorgeous view on the mountain ranges. The chapel offers incredible sunrise and sunset views as well and is one of the best places to elope in Asheville!

Elopement packages South Carolina offers at Renting Fred W. Symmes Chapel start at $2550 for two hours. You can find more information here.

Best time for an Asheville elopement

The best time for an Asheville elopement depends on the weather, the touristy season, your budget and your preferences.

The weather for an elopement in Asheville

Unlike the weather for Ireland elopements, Asheville and its surrounding areas’s weather and temperatures follow the four seasons. Summer lasts about from June to September while winter lasts from November to February. Summers are warm and humid while winters are dry and cold. 

Because the Asheville are is surrounded by lush mountains and rivers, it’s particularly beautiful around fall when trees change colour.

Note that regardless of the season, the forest areas get foggy and muggy year-round which can create cool mystical atmospheres. But if it’s not your thing, you may want to pick a different location.

Touristy season

The Asheville area is particularly popular in the summer which is peak season. That’s when people take over rivers with water activities and hike the trails most often. For that reason, it may not be the most intimate time to hold your elopement in or near Asheville. That said, there are always ways to get around that. For example, holding your ceremony at sunrise or sunset is a good way to avoid the crowds.


Peak season is the most expensive season when it comes to elopement packages, accommodations and flights. 

View on the Blue Ridge Parkway for an Asheville elopement
View on the Blue Ridge Parkway for an Asheville elopement

How long is a typical Asheville elopement

The most basic Asheville elopement photographers packages, all-inclusive elopement packages NC and Asheville elopement packages NC mountains style usually last at a minimum 2 hours and at a maximum 5 hours. Depending on whether you organise it yourself or purchase a package, the duration of your Asheville elopement can last as long as you want it too!

Best airports to fly onto to elope in Asheville

You’ve got to options to fly to in order to elope in Asheville. If you’re an international traveler, your best bet is to fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport and then drive to Asheville. That is about a 2 hour drive.

Another option for both national and international travellers is to fly into Asheville Regional Airport which connects to some of the biggest airports in the USA. International travellers will likely have a layover in a different state, in cities like Atlanta (Pennsylvania) or Chicago (Illinois)

Should you elope in Asheville on a weekday or the weekend?

This is up to you! There are advantages to eloping in Asheville on a weekday including more availability, lower costs, certain venues or permits only allow for weekday elopements, and usually less crowded. On the weekend, you may not have as many options or you may have to extend your budget a bit but  you can definitely make it work.

What to wear for an Asheville elopement

Whether you’re eloping in Asheville City or in the Asheville natural areas, you can wear traditional outfits for your elopement, especially if you’re getting married between spring and fall. As you’ve seen, most locations don’t require a lot of hiking or walking so you won’t need t bring any hiking boots or gear.

If you’re eloping to Asheville in the winter, you may want to wear some layers with a warmer suit. 

How much does it cost to elope in NC?

You may be wondering “How much should I budget for elopement?”. Well, most people who wonder they should have a wedding or elope are conscious that elopements can be much cheaper than weddings. 

Depending on your Asheville elopement package or if you organise it yourself, your elopement can cost as little or as much as you want it to. The cost of Asheville luxury elopements won’t be the same as budget Asheville elopements. If you’re looking to elope on a budget, you’ll want to pick one of the venue options that costs the least. For example, that would be getting married at a small chapel or in a spot without a need for a permit. 

If you’re opting for a package, cheap elopement packages in NC start at around $1,000 but are often more around $2,500.

From our experience, if you want a simple elopement with a couple of guests and a photographer, you should budget at least $2500. If you want to have a small ceremony without guests in nature with a photographer for an hour, you should be able to bring that own to $2,000. These are just estimations and will vary depending on your needs. In certain cases, especially during the lower season, there may be last minute elopement deals.

You will need to add flights, accommodations and other activities to your budget as well.

Packages to consider for an Asheville elopement

When organising your Asheville elopement, you may want to look at Asheville NC elopement packages and hire an Asheville elopement photographer. There are a few packages out there that might suit your needs.

Note that elopement packages in Asheville are provided by photographers, venue owners, and wedding planners. Depending on whether you also want certain vendors at your elopement, these people will be able to give you a list of local vendors you may want to work with.

Certain packages you may want to look at include Simply Eloped Asheville, with waterfall elopement packages NC, and The Cabin Heaven.


Any questions on this guide on your Asheville elopement? Drop them in the comments or on insta @twolostexplorers and I will get back to you asap.

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