first, what is an elopement?
eloping isn’t just running away to get married in secret- it’s now come to mean an intimate and meaningful wedding crafted just for the couple. if you’re feeling more overwhelmed than excited when thinking about your wedding day, or if you’re craving something more unique and epic, an elopement might be perfect for you! in this blog we’ll cover the basics on how to elope in asheville!
elopements are meant to be intentional and authentic to each couple; there’s no set way to elope. it’s your time to break tradition and have your dream day, without outside pressure or expectation. close your eyes and imagine your perfect day with your partner- then imagine exchanging vows at the end of that day. it can’t get better than that, right?!
because your elopement day can entail pretty much anything you can imagine, it might seem overwhelming trying to figure out how to plan one. this process should feel insanely exciting and not too scary, which is why i’m here to help you figure it out! keep reading to see some logistics and commonly asked questions about how to elope, and start getting stoked on dreaming up your big day!
how to elope- the basics
ok, so yay! you’ve decided to elope! it’s time to start thinking through some of the logistics about your elopement day. trying to narrow down and answer these questions is probably one of the hardest parts of planning, but go back to that vision of you and your partner’s perfect day. don’t worry about anyone’s opinions or expectations- THIS IS YOUR DAY! your elopement should be all about you, don’t forget that while thinking about these questions.
pinterest is my best friend, and if it’s yours too, start an elopement dream board! grab an iced coffee and start pinning anything that you’re drawn to, and you’ll probably start to see some patterns emerging that might help you start to plan things out!
where are you eloping?
let’s start with a fun one! what’s around you while exchanging vows? waterfalls? 360 mountain views? are you on a flower farm or in a forest or at a stunning venue with gorgeous scenery? don’t decide to go somewhere just because you saw pretty pictures of it on instagram!! this should be meaningful and important, and you’ll get stunning photos no matter where you are.
keep in mind that some locations do not allow ceremonies or have more strict regulations. but don’t worry, i’ll help you find the perfect spot for your day!
restricted locations on the blue ridge parkway:
what date or time of the year are you eloping?
your answer to where you’re eloping might impact this! heavy snow and road closures impact locations in the winter. the fall brings those gorgeous colors but more traffic and stricter permit rules. spring and summer are gorgeous but may be busier and much hotter.
who is there cheering you on?
are you picturing a quiet and romantic elopement, just you and your partner? maybe you want some friends and family by your side! elopements typically have less than 20 guests, but how many people you invite is up to you! you could also exchange vows in private, then celebrate with guests later on!
what activities are you two doing?
think about what you and your partner absolutely love doing together, and any activities that may be especially meaningful to y’all. on your perfect day together are you hiking? exploring breweries? kayaking down the river? hanging out by a lake? maybe you’re just taking it slow and enjoying quality time by a campfire!
do you have a budget?
one reason people decide to elope instead of having a big wedding is to save money. determining your budget can help you figure out where your elopement is, what to include in it, and how to approach vendors!
think about all of the details
if you made one, go back to your pinterest board and start to imagine any details you may need to plan out for your elopement! things like florals, archways, decorations, and of course, your dress are important to think about. once you have an idea of this, you can know what vendors you may need to hire.
what to include in an elopement ceremony
so now that you’re starting to picture your elopement day, it’s time to figure out some details! your elopement ceremony can include more traditional things, as well as really anything else you may want! here are some ideas:
- exchanging vows
- the first kiss
- any religious or spiritual traditions
- read letters from your family or past selves
- exchange rings, tattoos, or anything else you may want to symbolize your commitment
- a first dance
- pop some champagne and have a toast!
- put love letters into a time capsule to start a new tradition
- plant a tree
- continue a sweet or silly tradition that you two already have
how to legally elope
the requirements for eloping vary depending on where you decide to get married. but keep in mind, your elopement day doesn’t have to be the day you actually legally get married! you can exchange your vows and start this new chapter before or after you do all the legal stuff. this gives you more room to go anywhere you dream of without worrying about figuring out the tricky legal stuff. if you do decide to make your elopement day the day you get officially married, i’m here to help figure out all the details with you!
start planning and research!
all right, you’ve thought through your dream day, what you want to include in it, and decided if you want to legally get married on your elopement day. now it’s time to start the real planning and research! you don’t need to finalize every detail right away, but start getting some things in the books so you don’t run into problems later on. as always, i’m here to help with suggestions or ideas!
- pick a date and location
again, the date goes hand in hand with picking a location! if you’re dead set on eloping on the parkway, spring and summer will be your best bet since it’s almost guaranteed to be open and you’ll be allowed to get wedding permits.
2. figure out permits
once you’ve set your date and location, go ahead and apply for any permits you might need. permits depend on where you decide to elope, the blue ridge parkway and smoky mountains have permit requirements, while the national forests don’t require one for small weddings. i’ll be right beside you helping you figure out how to navigate all of this!
3. start looking at vendors
start trying to find amazing vendors that match your budget and aesthetic! consider vendors like florists, photographers, hair and makeup, caterers and bakers, and officiants. it’s important to keep in mind leave no trace principles in this step (well, and in all steps) to make sure your chosen details won’t leave a mark on the environment.
4. find the perfect attire
start hunting for that perfect dress, suit, bathing suit, or whatever else you want to get married in! keep in mind the weather where and when you’re eloping, and any activities you’re planning on doing. for example, if a hiking elopement is your thing, you may want to find a dress that can roll up into your backpack or is light enough to be moving in.
5. start finalizing your activities and timeline
decide on anything that you want to fit into your day, keeping in mind it can be anything! some fun ideas include hiking, kayaking, setting off a sailboat, bar hopping, exploring a city, a jeep or ATV tour, surfing, the sky’s the limit!
once you narrow down what you want to include in your day, you can start drafting out timelines for your day. don’t worry about fitting it all into just a few hours! some people fill two or three days on their elopement! consider things like getting ready, a first look, a party after your ceremony, time to eat and drink, and a first dance.
6. ENJOY YOUR DREAM DAY!!
i hope you now feel ready for this rad adventure you’re about to go on! i can’t say this enough, don’t forget that your elopement is all about you and your partner!!! don’t let anyone deter you or make you alter your perfect day.
ready to do this thing??
i would love to chat with you about the opportunity to document your beautiful elopement day! i’m not just there to pose you and snap some pictures. i want to document what your day truly feels like. plus, i’ll be there every step of the way helping you plan or figure out details so that this process can be as stress-free as possible. i can’t wait to hear about your vision!