Top 5 Places to Elope in Virginia

THE COMPLETE GUIDE ON HOW AND WHY TO ELOPE IN VIRGINIA.

What is so special about Virginia and why the heck would we want to elope here?

Close your eyes and imagine what you want your elopement location to look like – Do you picture being on a mountaintop where you could scream your vows to the world? Salty air, wind blown hair and the waves crashing down as you devote your life to your best friend? Or maybe an open field with the birds singing their own sweet songs as you kiss your new spouse for the first time? Waterfalls or quiet, tricking streams more your preferred location? Well guess what friend, Virginia has it all. There is somewhere in this state, with a little location scouting, I can find your dream location. Whether your dream day looks like a quaint and simple ceremony, or a full day adventure ending the night with stargazing and a last dance among some tea lights – I am your girl to make it happen.

I want to make your dream elopement – a reality. What I love most about elopements it that it is truly YOUR DAY and the possibilities of what you can do is endless. Each elopement is so unique to each individual and I sincerely LOVE helping my couples plan it all out. No stress, no worries, no fear. It is all about capturing the true essence of you two – and who are you are as a couple. If that looks like hiking to the top of a mountain in a dress, allowing it to turn an ombre of brown and sharing your vows over the most rad scenic backdrop? Count me in. If it looks more like standing in an open field at sunrise among a few family and friends, then running back to a quant AirBnb in the woods with a private chef to cook you breakfast – wonderful, I’m there.

You tell me your vision – and watch me make it come to life.

Heard enough already? Book me here!

How do we elope in Virginia? A few tricks and tips for making day as smooth as possible.

  1. Elope on a weekday – No matter where you choose your location, I can almost guarantee you are better off choosing a date during the week. Think about choosing a Monday through Thursday date because there will be less crowding in general – hello more privacy. Especially if you are wanting to hike on your special day, the trails will be much more clear. Consider this in advance if you’re planning to have other people join you. I mean I personally can’t think of a better excuse to get out of a day or two at work, right?
  2. Golden Hour – Ok you hear photographers talk about this SO MUCH and you might be wondering what the heck it is, and why it matters when it comes to your elopement. Golden hour is considered the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset – and it provides that beautiful golden glow that we all crave in photographs. I suggest planning your ceremony with this in consideration. If the sunsets at 5 pm – maybe start your ceremony around 3 pm in order to have plenty of time for family portraits and my favorite photos; the first sunset as Mr. and Mrs. There is something incredible about this moment and I love to capture the feelings that come from it.
  3. The legal stuff – There are two ways you can go about this. Either have an officiant at your elopement, or get married in a courthouse a different day and still have your intimate ceremony on a mountain to celebrate your commitment. People do this often, especially when looking at doing destination weddings. It’s just much easier and less of a hassle. Click here to read more on how to get a license.
  4. Weather – Hear me out – Do not let the weather ruin your special day! So freakin’ what if it rains on your elopement day? Get out there and dance in it. Have your dang Notebook moment and kiss like you just married your best friend. Some of my favorite photos I have ever taken were in what is considered “bad weather”. The main reason I include this at all, is because the parkway is a main attraction for elopements, and depending on when you decide to hold your ceremony – the parkway does close down when it snows or even if there is potential for a storm. Something to be aware of and plan ahead for.
  5. Timeline – The best part – planning your big day! As I mentioned previously, your elopement day can look however the heck you want it to. Whether it’s a sunrise hike to exchange your vows then a private chef to cook you brunch, or have a picnic in the woods before going up in a hot air balloon to pop some champagne – literally.. use your imagination and we will make it happen. You will tell me what vibe you’re going for whether it’s laid back or more on the adventurous side through a custom questionnaire that I’ll send you – and from there your journey will began. I will come up with some options that I think fit your story and we will finalize the timeline from there together.
  6. Book any accommodations ahead of time – I highly suggest renting out a space for your day, and as soon as possible once you figure out your date. This way allows you to have a place to get ready, wind down, or drink some wine in the evening without worrying about lifting a finger. You won’t have to stress about making your own place picture perfect in time for your wedding day. Not to mention – IT”S YOUR WEDDING DAY FRIEND. You deserve a stress free getaway more than anyone. I will link a list of totally rad Airbnbs around my top elopement destinations below for you to look at!

Where Should We Elope??

  1. Shenandoah National Park – An obvious number 1 pick for so many reasons – but mostly because it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL here. There are numerous ceremony options with the most scenic vistas available to you, whether you are wanting to hike or not. You have mountains, open fields of wildflowers, cascading waterfalls – Shenandoah National Park has everything you could possibly want and more. It’s just waiting for you and your love to explore. Inquire with me to hear all about my favorite spots to say your vows! How do you elope here? If there will be 15 people or less, then you do not need a permit. Considering having more than that or having some sort of set-up for your ceremony? Click here to fill out the permit.
  2. Grayson Highland State Park – Wide open fields, 360 degree mountain views, wild ponies – do I need to say more? Did I mention there are wild ponies? This place doesn’t seem like it should belong in Virginia. It is by far, one of my favorite places I’ve visited honestly. There is a special use permit required which you can find and fill out here.
  3. Blue Ridge Parkway – What do you need to know about eloping on the parkway? Hire someone who has done their research on this please. Also hire someone who proudly follows the Leave No Trace principles. (It’s me, I’m your photographer 😉 But really, if you think you can legally just jump on the parkway and have your ceremony – you are sadly mistaken, friend. Lucky for you – I am here to help! You can find all the rules and regulations here. Some of my favorite places to elope include: Raven’s Roost Overlook and Thunder Ridge Overlook – neither require a hike and are family friendly. If you are more on the adventurous side, Sharp Top Mountain is 1.5 mile hike and it has my heart. Let’s you get married there, pretty please.
  4. Great Falls Park – Don’ listen to TLC – go chase these waterfalls and you won’t regret it. If this is more your speed rather than the mountain views then this is the spot for you. Find out how to apply for a permit here.
  5. Coastal Virginia – Salty air and crashing waves more your style? No worries, we got that as well. I would recommend checking out Sandbridge beach or Chincoteague Island.

Where to Stay?

I have not stayed at any of these places, just thought they were neat AirBnbs in convenient locations.

  • Near Shenandoah National Park
  1. Shenandoah Hideaway
  2. Shenandoah Sunsets
  3. Cabin w/ great views
  • Grayson Highland State Park
  1. Cute cabin w/ hot tub
  2. Modern Mountain Retreat
  3. Waterfront Cottage
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  1. Cabin for 8 near Ravens Roost
  2. Sharp Top Cabin
  • Great Falls
  1. Firefly Cottage
  2. Lovely Bethesda
  • Coastal Virginia
  1. Sanctuary on Sandpiper – sleeps 10
  2. Waterfront Retreat

Ready to book? Inquire here:)

Kristen Noel Photography

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