Tips & Guides

Complete Guide to Planning Your North Carolina Elopement

Hey there wanderers and lovebirds! So, you’re dreaming of a magical elopement in the stunning landscapes of North Carolina? Well, hold onto your hats because this complete North Carolina Elopement guide is filled with all the insider tips you need to make your elopement dreams a reality.

Picture this: saying “I do” with the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, or exchanging vows as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the sandy shores. Yep, North Carolina is the ultimate playground for adventurous couples looking to ditch the traditional wedding scene and opt for something a little more intimate.

But wait, before you start packing your bags and booking your flights, there are a few things you need to know. Like where to find the most picturesque spots to exchange your vows, where to cozy up for the night after saying “forever”, and let’s not forget about navigating those marriage laws – because nobody wants any unexpected surprises on their big day.

So, grab your partner’s hand, get comfy, and let’s dive into everything you need to know about eloping in the beautiful state of North Carolina. Trust me, it’s going to be one heck of an adventure!

Where is North Carolina?

Alright, let’s set the stage for your North Carolina elopement adventure!

So, if you’re not quite sure where North Carolina is on the map, let me paint you a picture. Picture the southeastern corner of the United States, nestled between South Carolina to the south and Virginia to the north. Yep, that’s where you’ll find this hidden gem of a state.

Now, let’s talk geography. North Carolina is pretty diverse when it comes to landscapes. In western North Carolina, you’ve got the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, offering up some seriously jaw-dropping views and some of the best hiking trails this side of the Mississippi. Seriously, folks, you won’t want to miss catching a sunrise from the top of Black Balsam Knob or hiking through the lush forests of Gorges State Park.

But if you’re more of a beach bum, fear not, because North Carolina has got you covered. Head east towards the coast and you’ll find yourself surrounded by miles of sandy shores, charming beach towns, and some of the most epic sunsets you’ll ever lay eyes on. From the bustling boardwalks of Wilmington, NC to the laid-back vibes of the Outerbanks, there’s a little something for everyone on the coast.

Major Cities in North Carolina

  • Wilmington
    • Nearby elopement locations:
      • Wrightsville Beach
      • Ocean Isle Beach
      • Carolina Beach
  • Asheville
    • Nearby elopement locations:
      • Blue Ridge Parkway
      • Pisgah National Forest
      • Great Smoky Mountain National Park

State Parks in North Carolina

  • Gorges State Park
  • Carolina Beach State Park
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • Crowders Mountain State Park
  • Elk Knob State Park
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park
  • Hammocks Beach State Park
  • Hanging Rock State Park
  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park
  • Jones Lake State Park
  • Mount Mitchell State Park

Why Elope in North Carolina?

Here’s why North Carolina is the ultimate elopement destination:

  1. Stunning Scenery: Let’s start with the obvious – North Carolina is drop-dead gorgeous. From the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the sandy shores of the Lowcountry, this state is like a postcard come to life. Imagine saying your vows with the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop or feeling the sand between your toes as you exchange rings on a secluded beach. Yep, it doesn’t get much better than that.
  2. Intimate Settings: Say goodbye to the stress of planning a big, elaborate wedding and hello to intimacy. One of the best things about eloping in North Carolina is that you can truly focus on what matters most – each other. Whether you’re stealing away to a cozy cabin in the mountains or renting a beachfront bungalow, you’ll have all the privacy you need to celebrate your love in your own special way.
  3. Endless Options: No matter what kind of vibe you’re going for, North Carolina has got you covered. Want to keep things rustic and charming? Head for the hills and tie the knot in a picturesque vineyard or a quaint mountain chapel. Craving a little coastal charm? Say “I do” with your toes in the sand or opt for a romantic ceremony overlooking the ocean. With so many options to choose from, the hardest part will be deciding where to elope!
  4. Memories to Last a Lifetime: Let’s be real – your wedding day is all about creating memories that will last a lifetime. And trust me when I say that eloping in North Carolina will give you plenty of those. Whether you’re exploring hidden waterfalls, indulging in fresh seafood, or dancing under the stars, you’ll be making memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.

How to Travel Around North Carolina

When it comes to navigating through North Carolina, you’ve got a range of transportation options at your fingertips.

For those craving flexibility and freedom, renting a car is the go-to choice. With numerous rental companies scattered throughout the state, securing a set of wheels is a breeze. Whether you’re arriving via one of the major airports or other modes of transport, having your own vehicle means you can chart your own course, exploring North Carolina’s mountains, coastlines, and everything in between at your own leisure.

Now, if you’re planning to stay within the city limits or prefer to let someone else do the driving, public transportation might be more your speed. While North Carolina’s public transit system isn’t as extensive as some other states, cities like Wilimington and Charlotte offer bus and public transportation services for getting around town. Keep in mind, though, that these options may have limited routes and schedules, so plan accordingly if you’re venturing off the beaten path.

And let’s not forget about the modern convenience of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft! In urban areas and tourist hotspots, these apps can be lifesavers for getting around town without the hassle of parking or navigating unfamiliar streets. Simply pull up the app, request a ride, and you’ll be picked up in no time. So whether you’re heading to a romantic dinner in downtown Wilmington or exploring the vibrant nightlife of Asheville, ridesharing apps offer another convenient option for getting around North Carolina with ease.

For those arriving from out of state, flying into one of North Carolina’s major airports is likely your best bet. And if you’re headed to one of the coastal or resort areas, smaller regional airports offer additional flight options to get you closer to your destination.

Major Airports in North Carolina

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) – Serving the Charlotte area.
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) – Serving the Raleigh area.
  • Wilmington International Airport (ILM) – Serving the Wilmington area.

Smaller Airports in North Carolina

  • Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – Serving the Asheville area.
  • Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN) – Serving the coast.

Best Time of Year to Elope in North Carolina

“When is the best time to elope in North Carolina?” is always a hard question to give a clear answer to, because it really depends on what kind of atmosphere you’re dreaming up for your elopement. So let’s go through what the weather tends to look like in each season; that way, you can decide for yourself which season will help you craft the day you’re envisioning!

Spring (March – May):

As the flowers begin to bloom and the temperatures start to rise, springtime in North Carolina is the perfect time for your elopement. Expect mild weather and blooming flowers, making it ideal for eloping amidst wildflowers. During spring, temperatures in North Carolina typically range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit.

Summer (June – August):

Ah, summertime in North Carolina – hot and humid conditions, with temperatures often ranging from the upper 70s to the mid-90s Fahrenheit. Despite the heat, the long days and warm nights create an ideal setting for beach elopements.

Fall (September – November):

Fall sees a drop in temperatures, ranging from the upper 50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. Whether you’re saying “I do” amidst a sea of vibrant fall foliage in the mountains or beneath a canopy of oak trees draped in Spanish moss, fall is the ideal time to capture that cozy, romantic vibe.

Winter (December – February):

While winter in North Carolina may or may not bring snow-covered landscapes, it does offer a quieter, more serene setting for your elopement. With mild temperatures, typically ranging from the mid-30s to the upper 50s Fahrenheit, and fewer crowds, this season is perfect for couples seeking a more intimate celebration.

So, whether you’re dreaming of a springtime affair among wildflowers, a fall celebration surrounded by fiery foliage, or a summertime beach elopement, North Carolina has something to offer every couple. Just remember to plan ahead, consider the weather and climate in different parts of the state, and most importantly, follow your heart. After all, your love story deserves to be told in the most beautiful way possible, no matter the season!

Top 6 Best North Carolina Elopement Locations

Alright, lovebirds, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect spot to tie the knot in North Carolina, you’re in luck! In this section, I’m spilling the beans on the Top 6 Best Places to Elope in the state. From jaw-dropping mountain views to dreamy coastal escapes, each spot has its own special charm that’ll make your elopement unforgettable. So cozy up and let’s dive into the most enchanting places to say “I do” in North Carolina!

1. Wiseman’s View

Wiseman’s View offers couples an awe-inspiring backdrop for their elopement. With panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s perfect for exchanging vows amidst breathtaking scenery.

Closest airport + driving time: Asheville Regional Airport; 1hr 50min

Closest cities/towns: Boone, NC

Best time of year to elope/get married: Fall

Cost: $0

2. Jump Off Rock

Located just five miles from downtown Hendersonville is Jump Off Rock, an overlook with panoramic mountain views. It’s open all year, sunrise to sunset.

Closest airport + driving time: Asheville Regional Airport; 30min

Closest cities/towns: Hendersonville, NC

Best time of year to elope/get married: Spring

Cost: $0

3. Something Blue Mountain Venue

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Something Blue Mountain Venue, is a heavenly spot for couples seeking a dreamy setting for their elopement.

Closest airport + driving time: Asheville Regional Airport; 50min

Closest cities/towns: Asheville, NC

Best time of year to elope/get married: Spring

Cost: starting at $1,200

4. Black Balsam Knob

Black Balsam Knob offers adventurous couples a stunning backdrop for their elopement amidst stunning mountain views and pine forests.

Closest airport + driving time: Asheville Regional Airport; 1hr

Closest cities/towns: Brevard, NC

Best time of year to elope/get married: Fall

Cost: $0

5. Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park with its mountains and forests, provides a unique and enchanting setting for an unforgettable elopement.

Closest airport + driving time: Asheville Regional Airport; 1hr 10min

Closest cities/towns: Cherokee, NC

Best time of year to elope/get married: Spring

Cost: $50 (special use permit)

6. Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park, with its pristine beaches offers couples a picturesque backdrop for their elopement.

Closest airport + driving time: Wilmington International Airport; 45min

Closest cities/towns: Carolina Beach, NC

Best time of year to elope/get married: Spring

Cost: $0

How to Legally Get Married in North Carolina

The first step to getting legally married in North Carolina is to get your North Carolina marriage license. The rules & requirements for marriage licenses varies by state, and may be different from your home state – so let’s go through what you need to know about getting a marriage license in North Carolina!

North Carolina Marriage License + Laws

Witnesses required: Yes (2)
License is valid for: 60 days
Waiting period: None
Minimum age requirement: 18
Who can officiate: Any regularly licensed or ordained minister/priest/judge
Self-solemnization allowed? No
North Carolina residency required? No
Blood test required? No
Cost: ~$60

You can obtain your NC marriage license by visiting a local county Register of Deeds in-person or online. To learn more about North Carolina marriage license + laws, read my blog >> HERE <<.

Best Places to Stay in North Carolina

Whether you’re dreaming of a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains, a luxurious resort with all the bells and whistles, or a rustic campground under the stars, North Carolina has you covered. From charming Airbnbs and upscale lodges to serene campgrounds, there’s something for every couple looking to make their elopement weekend as magical as it can be. Below are some of my top picks!


Hotels, Lodges & Resorts


Activities To Do During Your North Carolina Elopement

Embarking on your North Carolina elopement adventure isn’t just about saying “I do” – it’s about creating unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime and celebrating with the people you love most (whether that’s just the two of you or you & your BFF’s)! That’s why it’s important to plan some intentional activities during your time in North Carolina, both on your actual elopement day (so I can be there to capture it all!) and on the days surrounding it, to make the absolute most out of your trip.

Luckily, the state is brimming with exciting activities and experiences to make your elopement weekend truly special. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie at heart, or an adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during your time in North Carolina. So, if you’re ready to take your celebration to the next level, let’s explore some of the fun-filled activities you can add to your elopement itinerary:

  • Go hiking in the mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Kayak or paddle board on one of the many lakes
  • Relax on the beach
  • Enjoy a romantic dinner at a waterfront restaurant
  • Catch sunset at Rough Ridge
  • Do an ATV Off-Roading adventure
  • Tour the Biltmore Estate
  • Go whitewater rafting at the US National Whitewater Center
  • Take a train ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
  • Horseback riding at Cataloochee Ranch

Best North Carolina Elopement Vendors

Looking for the perfect elopement vendors can be a daunting task when there are SO many out there! I always recommend asking friends or vendors you’ve already hired (such as your photographer!), first, so that you can get recommendations from people you trust. Then Instagram, Google, & directories like Wandering Weddings will be your friend after that as you continue your search! Below are some rad North Carolina elopement vendors to consider hiring for your big day.

North Carolina Elopement Hair & Make-up Artist

Locks & Lashes

North Carolina Elopement Florist

Contentment Floral Design


North Carolina Luxury Picnic

Pop-Up Picnic

Meet Your North Carolina Elopement Photographer

Woman sitting on couch with camera in her hand.

Hey y’all, I’m Tessa – your North Carolina elopement photographer, adventure buddy, right-hand woman, and lover of all things outdoors! I’m a big believer in the power of crafting an intentional elopement day that represents you & your partner in the most authentic way possible, so that’s why I’m here.

Not only will I capture the moments of your day for you to cherish forever but I’m here to encourage you to build a day that looks & feels like YOU, and no one else!

North Carolina Elopement Packages & Pricing

Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about eloping in North Carolina & have gotten to know me a little bit, you might be wondering what it would be like having me as your elopement photographer!!

You can take a look at my North Carolina elopement package & pricing below, and then head to my contact page to get in touch about your elopement – I’d be SO honored to photograph your epic day!

4 hours to Multi-Day Coverage Includes:

  • Engagement session 
  • 60+ page Planning Guide w Vendor Recommendations 
  • Custom Location Guide
  • Timeline Planning
  • Professionally Edited, High-Resolution Images
  • Sneak Peeks within 48 hours
  • Online Gallery with Unlimited Downloads
  • Printing Rights
  • Unlimited Number of Photos
  • Travel anywhere within North Carolina

Sample North Carolina Elopement Timeline

12:00 PM: Photographer Arrival Time

12:15 PM – 12:45 PM: Getting Ready & Details at Airbnb

12:45 PM – 1:15 PM: Partner 1 Puts on Attire

1:15 PM – 1:45 PM: Partner 2 Puts on Attire

1:45 PM – 2:15 PM: First Look

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM: Travel from Airbnb to Ceremony Location

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM: Ceremony

3:45 PM – 4:15 PM: Group Portraits

4:15 PM – 5:00 PM: Picnic w Cake

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Activity Time

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM: Sunset Couples Portraits

8:00 PM: Photographer Departure Time

More North Carolina Elopement Planning Resources



I'm a micro-wedding and elopement photographer in Upstate, South Carolina. My style is documentary—I love capturing the in-between, unposed moments between you and your love. I strive to know you and capture you at your most authentic.