The options are endless in where you want to get married in North Carolina. You can get married on the beach, on a mountain, in a garden, in the forest, or in a city. You have so many options!! Making sure you know all your options is why I have created this guide on how to elope in North Carolina from sharing locations, activities to do, answering FAQs, and more! Get ready to say absolutely fall in love with this southern state.

Where is North Carolina?

North Carolina is on the east coast of the United States. It’s located right in-between Virginia and South Carolina. The western part of North Carolina also touches Tennessee and Georgia too.

Why You Should Elope in North Carolina

North Carolina is beautiful with its beaches on the east coast, its mountains on the west side of the state, the cities, the green forests, and all the gardens and wildflowers. The weather in North Carolina is known for being moderate throughout the year (even in the winter!). North Carolina is considered to be in the south with its friendly southern hospitality, good BBQ food, and a rich history from it being in the original 13 colonies to being a part of the Confederacy to flying the first plane.

FAQs About Eloping in North Carolina

Do I need to live in or be from North Carolina to get a marriage license? Nope! You do not need to be a resident of North Carolina to get a marriage license. The marriage license is only good for North Carolina though.

Can we have a family member or friend perform the ceremony? Unfortunately, no. In the state of North Carolina, only “an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, a magistrate, or a federally or state-recognized Indian Nation or tribe” (as stated on the marriage application website) is allowed to ordain a ceremony. However, you can get legally married in a courthouse, and then hold a ceremony where a family member or friend performs the ceremony during your wedding or elopement.

Will we need a witness to get married? In North Carolina, you will need 2 witnesses for your marriage. You can ask either two guests to be your witness, two vendors (your photographer and videographer, for example), or you can ask two strangers that are hanging out near your ceremony. I’m always happy to sign your witness paper if you do not want any guests present at your elopement in North Carolina too!

Best Locations to Get Married at in North Carolina

Beach Elopement Locations in North Carolina

The coast on North Carolina is something special with stunning blue water in the oceans, white sand beaches, and colorful beach houses.

  • Topsail Island
  • Surf City
  • Wilmington
  • Emerald Isle
  • Outer Banks

Mountain Elopement Locations in North Carolina

The mountains in North Carolina are known for its quaint downtown areas, funky boho vibe, and stunning mountain views.

  • Asheville
  • Boone
  • Blowing Rock
  • Hendersonville
  • Highlands

City Elopement Locations in North Carolina

The cities in North Carolina are known for its city-scapes, great food, and endless things to do in the city.

  • Raleigh
  • Charlotte
  • Greensboro
  • Durham
  • Greenville

The Best Time of Year to Get Married in North Carolina

Winter: In the winter time, it totally depends on the vibe and what kind of weather you’re wanting. Although snow is not that common anywhere in North Carolina, going further west towards the mountains is your best bet for a cold weather elopement. If you’re set on a winter elopement, but want a warmer day, then go further east towards the beaches. There’s still no guarantee the weather will be warm, but the chances are higher!

Spring: North Carolina is known for having warm days anywhere from 55-80 degrees in the spring. The best spring months is April and May for consistently nice weather, although March also has the occasional nice weather too. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, the weather is getting nicer.

Summer: It’s hot and humid in North Carolina during the summer. The closer to the beach on the east coast or the closer to the mountains in the west you get, the less humid it is. But it still gets hot! Crowds are also a factor in the summer (both at the beaches and in the mountains), but there are always locations to have some privacy for your ceremony and reception and for photos.

Autumn: This is North Carolina’s time to shine! There’s the peak leaves changing on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains in the west, which are typically at peak levels during the last week of September and the first two weeks of October. The beaches are less crowded, but the weather and water is still warm until mid to end of October.

Activities To Do On Your Elopement Day

  1. Go on a hike. No matter what time of year you get married, there are sooo many trails to choose from with incredible views. There are lots of short and easy trails or there are more challenging and longer hikes! Even if you’re by the beach, there’s typically walking paths to explore too.
  2. Spend the day on the water. Whether you choose to rent a boat, a kayak, or a canoe, you can spend your day out on the water either on the Atlantic Ocean or by a nearby lake near your location.
  3. Go to a local brewery or a winery. There are always breweries and wineries to choose from almost no matter where you go. There’s Bold Rock Hard Cider, Wrightsville Beach Brewery Co, Salty Turtle Beer Co, Highland Brewing Company, and soooo many others!
  4. Have a picnic lunch. Picnic companies are gaining popularity, so you’ll most likely be able to find one nearby! The picnic company usually sets up a spread for you and your partner – whether you want it up on a short hike or by a lake.
  5. Go skiing or snowboarding or snowshoeing. This is obviously an activity for the winter time, but a go-to classic for a winter mountain elopement. Going out west, just outside Charlotte, is where the best skiing in North Carolina is.
  6. For the history lover, stay on or near a historic site to explore. There is SO much history in North Carolina from the colonial days during the Revolutionary War to political history in the Civil War to flying the first plane to being the birthplace of Krispy Kreme and so much more.
  7. Go check out live music. No matter what type of music you’re into, there’s a place for everyone! A lot of the time, there is live music at bars, lounges, music clubs, etc. In North Carolina, you’ll especially be able to find a lot of country bars which are always a fun and “local” experience!
  8. Explore the local area. Go sightseeing and hit the tourist spots, eat at a nice restaurant, and be present in the moment together.

North Carolina Elopement Photographer

Well hey there – if you didn’t know me already, I’m Emily! I’m a North Carolina elopement photographer based in eastern North Carolina. I spend a lot of time photographing adventure elopements of rad couples around the world. I’m obsessed with all things elopements, being out on the water, hiking mountains, outdoor adventure, and am truly so grateful that I get to call this my job!!! 

If you’re looking for a photographer for your North Carolina elopement who will:

  • Photograph your beautiful North Carolina elopement ceremony and activities through storytelling photos that you can look back on for the rest of your life
  • Help you come up with your dream elopement day and itinerary
  • Help you find activities in the local North Carolina area to make your elopement intentional, unique, and memorable

…then I’m your person!!!

Visit my website to learn more about me, get to know my approach to elopement photography, and then reach out to me if you think we’re a good fit. I cannot wait to hear from you and start planning your dream North Carolina elopement!!

Final Tips for Eloping in North Carolina

  • Sunrise is the best time of day to have a ceremony to avoid crowds, no matter where you’re planning on getting married (inside, outside, on a beach, on a mountaintop, in the city). A sunrise ceremony is also the best way to beat the heat if you’re getting married during the warmer months.
  • If you’re wanting a beach elopement, the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean which makes for the best lighting for photos. Sunrise is also usually more private compared to the sunset on the beach.
  • How to Plan Your Dream Elopement: Advice from Someone Who Eloped
  • All-Day Elopement Timeline Examples
  • A gallery of mine to check out of Sunrise Photos on the Beach
  • A gallery of mine taken in Asheville

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