An eloping couple laughs together in front of a large waterfall in North Carolina
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Epic Waterfall Elopement in North Carolina

Are you considering eloping in North Carolina? There are so many different amazing landscapes across the state, from the beach to the Blue Ridge and everything in between.

This wild waterfall elopement editorial shoot was shot about an hour outside of Asheville, NC. There are so many amazing hikes with waterfalls in that area, it’s like a goldmine!

How To Prepare For Your NC Waterfall Elopement

Backpack from REI, Bouquet by Vessel & Stem

Eloping in North Carolina?

Find Your Waterfall

There is no shortage of gorgeous waterfalls in western North Carolina, and so the most difficult part of planning your NC elopement might be just picking the best one!

Things to Consider


Some of the most beautiful waterfalls near Asheville are also super popular. You may want to choose a less popular trail so that you can have some privacy for your elopement ceremony.

Your Hiking Ability

Some of the most epic waterfalls in North Carolina are at the end of a long, strenuous hike. You definitely don’t want the first time you hike 4+ miles to be on your wedding day, or you might be in a world of hurt.

Your Elopement Day Timeline

It’s easy to forget about transit time when planning your day. If you’ll be hiking to a waterfall for your elopement, make sure you plan in ample time for the actual hike. I recommend allowing one hour per mile that you’ll be hiking to give yourself time for stops or delays.

Pack Your Gear

Your elopement photographer will almost certainly have backups of the essentials, just in case you forget something, but there are a few things you’ll want to make sure you bring along for the hike to your elopement spot!

A Change of Clothes

Many eloping couples choose to hike to their spot in comfortable hiking clothes and then change into their wedding clothes at, or close to, their elopement location. This allows you to have a more comfortable walk and keep your nice clothes cleaner.

Another reason you’ll want a change of clothes is just in case you end up getting wet from scrambling around the waterfall. Hell is a 5-mile hike in a wet, heavy wedding dress.


Depending on the season, you may want some warm base layers to wear underneath your wedding clothes.

Flesh-toned fleece-lined leggings are a great option if you’re wearing a dress since from a reasonable distance, they’ll just look like your legs!

First Aid

Bringing a first aid kit with you is always a good idea for any hike. And scrambling on wet, mossy rocks near a waterfall introduces some additional risks.


Don’t be hangry! It has become a sort of cliche that couples never get to actually sit down and eat on their wedding day. But, if you’re planning on hiking and exerting yourself, you’re definitely going to want to bring ample, nutritious, satisfying snacks.

Get A Permit (If Necessary)

If you want to elope at a waterfall in a National Park or other protected land, you’ll probably need to get a permit!

Allow a few months for that process, and be sure to look at the park’s specific guidance regarding wedding permits and photography permits, as it varies from park to park!

Brush Up On Your Leave No Trace Principles

For any outdoor elopement, practicing the seven Leave No Trace principles is super important. As outdoor, adventurous elopements become more popular, it becomes increasingly important that we take care of our trails, public lands, and natural spaces.

That includes packing out any waste (yes, that includes confetti and champagne corks!) and not geotagging specific locations when you share images online.

Graffiti, like carving your initials in a tree, scratching a message onto a rock or building a rock pile, is also harmful to the environment and detracts from the enjoyment of a beautiful natural space.

Looking for a complete guide to eloping in North Carolina?

Check out the guide

From taking care of the legal stuff to finding your perfect elopement location, this guide covers it all!

There are so many amazing options to consider when planning your North Carolina elopement!

If you’re eloping in North Carolina, especially in the Blue Ridge mountains around Asheville, I’d love to photograph your day and help you plan the adventurous elopement of your dreams!

Looking for more waterfall elopement venue ideas? Click that link to read an awesome roundup of some of the best in the world.

How Much Should You Budget For Your Elopement?

Meet The Author

Leah is an elopement photographer and avid hiker who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is obsessed with waterfalls.

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  1. These are amazing tips and I didn’t even know that North Carolina had such amazing waterfalls!

  2. These photos are sooooo beautiful, and so many great tips for choosing a waterfall that best suits the occasion. Also super glad you touched on LNT principles!

  3. Such an awesome resource for couples looking to elope in NC! These waterfalls are so beautiful, I want to come visit! Wonderful photos.

  4. Now i wish to photograph an elopement at a waterfall. i love them so much but let’s see if i find some in germany. Have you ever been to NZ they have wonderful waterfalls you would love it! i really like that you gave some essential tips for an eleopement day

    1. I’ve seen photos of some of the waterfalls in NZ and they seriously *are amazing*! I hope to get there to photograph them myself one day!

  5. So much wonderful information thank you for sharing! I am from NC originally and miss how beautiful those mountains are. Your pictures are gorgeous I would love to see more. Great work!

  6. Absolutely stunning location, you photographed the couple and the beautiful place so well!! This is gorgeous

  7. Daaaanggggg! Now all I wanna do is go have a waterfall elopement!! Thanks for sharing all these helpful tips!!

  8. A waterfall elopement in North Carolina sounds so dreamy! These are great tips!

  9. THIS IS SUCH A GREAT RESOURCE!!!!! Also those photos are incredible!!!!

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