Looking for places to elope in Virginia? Here’s our recommendations for an adventurous elopement in the mountains!
The Best Places to Elope in Virginia
When it comes to eloping in Virginia, you have lots of beautiful options available to you. When planning your elopement there are lots of things to balance like privacy vs. accessibility. We’ve started with the basics here to show you the more popular spots and some that are better to avoid crowds.
The places we’ve shown here are just a sample of what’s out there! Reach out to us and we’d love to chat about all the possibilities for places to elope in Virginia!
For even more in-depth info on eloping to the Blue Ridge Mountains, check out our complete Elopement Guide below!
Our Favorite Places to Elope in Virginia
Grayson Highlands State Park
When you want elevation in Virginia, this is the place. Above 5000 ft in much of the park, Grayson Highlands is adjacent to the highest peak in Virginia (Mount Rodgers). Summer temperatures are quite pleasant – sometimes even chilly in the mornings. It’s one of the first places you’ll see the leaves change (and snow arrive) in the fall.
We used to visit Grayson Highlands State Park quite often as a younger family. It’s a magical place that still retains that “wild feel” of the mountains. When the rest of the world (especially northern Virginia) is all busy and hectic, this place feels very remote and has an essential quiet like you won’t find anywhere else on the east coast.
After all our travels out west, Grayson Highlands to us is like an east coast version of a small slice of Montana. Dark skies, wildlife, high meadows & that remote feeling. It’s definitely one of the best options on our list for privacy.
Our favorite way to “show off the park” is for a sunrise elopement for two. Click here to see more photos of a Grayson Highlands Wedding!
Shenandoah National Park
If we could choose just one place to shoot elopements, Shenandoah National Park is very close to the top of the list. It covers a vast stretch of land and it combines accessible overlooks with peaks you can hike up and catch all the views below.
Shenandoah is closer to major population centers than Grayson Highlands, but with it having an entrance fee we feel like it still has opportunities for privacy (especially as compared to locations in Western NC where elopements are even more popular).
Another important details – Shenandoah actually does issue wedding permits for October, as long as they are before a certain time in the morning (as of this writing at least). Whereas the Blue Ridge Parkway does not allow weddings at all in October.
Shenandoah is a great choice if you’re looking for that rural Virginia feel, combining views of the valley with hikes to one of the many peaks in the park. The Appalachian Trail parallels much of Skyline Drive (the road through the park). Also, because of the geography of the park, there are great options for either sunrise or sunset light for your elopement too!
Just imagine … you’ve had your ceremony with your closest family and then hike up to enjoy sunset at the park’s tallest peak. You share a first dance, pop champagne, and hike back down under the light of the moon…
For more information about Shenandoah, you’ll definitely want to check out our guide: How to Elope in Shenandoah National Park
Or for more photos check out this blog post Virginia Mountain Wedding!
Blue Ridge Parkway
If Shenandoah “wins” in Virginia because of it’s sheet size, the Blue Ridge Parkway claims a win for it’s length. Nothing on the east coast comes close for mile after mile of vistas, meadows and waterfalls too. Stretching from Shenandoah National Park to Smoky Mountains National Park to the south (and crossing into North Carolina on the way), there are so many amazing places to elope!
In Virginia, the northern section of the Parkway takes on a similar personality as Shenandoah. The road “rides the ridge” above with valley views to the east and the west. Overlooks abound to catch sunrise or sunset. Trails will take you to peaks along the ridge where you can stand on rock outcroppings and enjoy the views all around.
South of Roanoke, the Parkway shifts in personality as it heads towards North Carolina. You still have opportunities for views above the valley, but the road takes paths along lower elevations too. You get to drive alongside rural farms and communities where it feels like “time has stood still.” Some of our favorite places to stop along the way are Floyd, Va and Chateau Morrisette.
The Blue Ridge Parkway – just like Shenandoah – has many overlooks along it’s length. This makes it a great choice as well for a wedding ceremony with as little hiking as possible (or none at all)!
Places to Elope in Virginia | Details to think about
Planning your Elopement in Virginia is so much more than just looking for a great location. Here are some top details you’ll need to keep in mind:
- Marriage license and Officiant. Many states around Virginia allow for officiants to be ordained online (which makes it easy for a family member to “wed” you if you choose). However Virginia is very particular about “who” can perform a ceremony. It’s very important to vet your vendors and make sure your officiant is legal in Virginia.
- Tourist seasons. Each season in Virginia has it’s “reason” so to speak. Fall can especially be challenging, especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ve found that Shenandoah can be more manageable in leaf season, perhaps because there an entrance fee. Either way, you will want to avoid peak times of the day to be traveling & for where you intend to have your ceremony.
- Permits. Every place to elope in Virginia has it’s own requirements. For example, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah are through two entirely different offices for example, and have different rules for issuing wedding permits. You’ll want to be working with an elopement photographer who has experience where you are going – and even better, someone who has a direct link to the people who work the permits office so issues can be resolved quickly!
- Best light for your photos. Trust us, you do not want your ceremony to be mid-day!
- Weather and climate. Spring and Fall are delightful in the Virginia mountains. Summer is another favorite of ours but only as long as we are timing the day around sunrise or sunset. Otherwise it’s just too hot!
- Think about where you will stay. We’d say Shenandoah has the edge for selection of VRBO or Airbnb properties – as compared to Grayson Highlands. If you’re looking at the latter it may be better to look south to the Boone area for a good selection.
- Don’t forget your reasons “why” you are choosing to elope. Remember, this isn’t about creating another stressful wedding day. Eloping is all about choosing the experience YOU want as a couple.
- Hire the right team. Vet your elopement photographer and ask about their experience & knowledge of the area. Someone who knows the area like a local will be able to provide you the best experience possible.
Tip: Plan your day together with a nearby vacation rental in the Virginia mountains
To help you with inspiration for your day, you might have seen our example elopement itinerary on our resources page How to Elope. We definitely recommend booking a nearby VRBO or Airbnb for your elopement day! Why?
Because eloping should be about spending time with each other. Having someplace to call “home” together – even for just a few days – does so much to anchor your experience together.
Practically speaking, the right vacation house is where you’ll love getting ready; it’s a great a back-up option in case it rains; and is another chance for beautiful photos of the two of you.
Looking for the best place to elope for you?
This is just an overview of what’s available in Virginia for your adventure elopement. We have so many specific spots we’d love to share with you, including all our “secret” locations you won’t find through researching online or on Instagram.
All of our couples receive access to our interactive, virtual map of every beautiful location in the Blue Ridge Mountains that we have cataloged from our adventures over the years. Elopements have become more popular than ever – which means you need a knowledgeable couple who has experienced this area first hand to find the right spot for you.
Why not reach out to us today and let’s start planning your epic elopement!