Asheville Elopement Wedding: Your Big Day Made Manageable

Elopement Wedding

Is your dream wedding quiet, cozy and off the beaten path? A wedding doesn’t have to be a royal ball to be perfect. Elopement weddings are more popular today than ever before. These low-stress, low-cost ceremonies are an intimate way to start your life together.  HeartLight Wedding’s team of Asheville wedding officiants can give you the personal ceremony you and your partner want.

Your Own Wedding Schedule

North Carolina has no waiting period between when you get your marriage license and when you can get married. If you don’t want to plan a year in advance and count RSVP cards, you don’t have to. You can bring together a timely but lovely event with savvy planning. Ask HeartLight Wedding officiant, Rev. Hannah Desmond for information on free venues, beautiful natural locations and any extras you want.

If you don’t want to miss out on your reception, elopement isn’t out of the question. Get married on your schedule and plan a casual celebration afterward. You get to have your cake and eat it too without the pressure of the “big day” making decisions difficult.

Make Your Own Wedding Ceremony

One of the most overwhelming aspects of a classic wedding is juggling social expectations. With an elopement wedding, the only person you have you please is yourself. If you want to wear lime green, no one will mind. If you choose not to exchange rings, no one will ask why.

HeartLight’s team of Asheville wedding officiants is more than happy to craft a ceremony as traditional or one-of-a-kind as you’d like. Whether you want to mix in parts of one another’s religion, incorporate a personal ritual or exchange swift but meaningful vows, we’ll help you express what’s unique to your relationship.

Unique Wedding Venues

Cutting the long guest list opens whole new worlds of location opportunities. Instead of renting pricey entertainment halls, you can find family-owned venues like farms, wineries, gardens, waterfalls and historic buildings that will rent out a small space for a reasonable price. Add a winery tour, go for a hike or go to one of Asheville’s “adventure parks” to celebrate your own way.

An elopement wedding also gives you the opportunity to find free venues. Parks, wildlife sanctuaries, the city square and even your own backyard are beautiful and free. Not sure where to start looking? In over 20 years of performing ceremonies, we’ve found a few free wedding venues in Asheville that we highly recommend.

Does It Have To Be Just Us?

Not at all! An elopement can be a small ceremony with just your most important friends and family by your side. With a miniature ceremony, you can ask Rev. Hannah or Rev. Tom to incorporate people into the proceedings. Even if it’s as simple as giving their toasts during the ceremony, it can emphasize the part friends and family play supporting a healthy relationship.

Elopement ceremonies are just as momentous as any extravagant wedding. As Asheville wedding officiants, Rev. Tom and Rev. Hannah are always honored to be involved in such intimate celebrations. If you’re ready to take the leap, contact us and schedule your wedding today.

LGBT-Friendly Wedding Officiants in Asheville

Same-Sex Wedding

From elegant-traditional to quirky-informal, every wedding is a unique reflection of the couple it binds together. It’s easy to get caught up picking colors, cakes and clothes, but at the heart of your wedding is the ceremony. As LGBT-friendly wedding officiants, it’s our job to craft a ceremony that celebrates you and your partner in a way that’s meaningful to you.

What Is an Interfaith Minister?

HeartLight’s Asheville wedding officiants are compassionate interfaith ministers. Interfaith ministry is best described as “spiritually inclusive.” Rather than affiliating with a single faith, interfaith ministry respects all religions and focuses on the common bonds between people. We study a wide variety of faiths, rituals and customs to help us create sincere, respectful ceremonies no matter what your beliefs may be. Interfaith ministers can provide spiritual, secular, multi-faith, non-denominational or non-religious ceremonies.

Crafting Your Ceremony

As your wedding officiant, it’s our job to help you build a personalized ceremony that affirms and celebrates your life together. For many couples, it’s important to incorporate creative touches, short readings, rituals or other unique aspects that will hold a special place in your memories. Consider factors like whether you’d prefer brevity or fluidity. You might want a blend of humor or a sense of serenity. As experienced officiants, we can offer as much or as little guidance as you’d like.

Setting the Tone

One of our most important jobs is setting the tone of your ceremony. It forms the backbone of your wedding and is the springboard on which you will start your life together. Every officiant has something different to bring to the table, and finding the right match is an important part of wedding planning. Our team of Asheville wedding officiants represents a range of personalities, backgrounds and voices. Rev. Hannah is known for her soothing presence and Rev. Tom is relaxed yet dignified.

LGBT-Friendly Services

For LGBT couples in North Carolina, finding an experienced wedding officiant that’s inclusive and supportive can be a challenge. Interfaith ministers like those at HeartLight Weddings are state-recognized wedding officiants. Your marriage will be official and legally binding. We understand state marriage license laws and will guide you through the process. HeartLight Weddings has been performing many types of inclusive ceremonies for over ten years and is proud to serve the LGBT community. If you’re struggling to find other services for your wedding, like a welcoming location, we may be able to offer recommendations as well.

Can We Really Get Married in North Carolina?

Yes, you can! LGBT weddings have been legal in North Carolina since 2014, and all of the state legislator’s attempts to change it have failed. Whether North Carolina is your home state, your dream venue or simply convenient for your families, you and your partner are welcome to take your vows here in Asheville.

HeartLight Weddings is proud to perform same-sex weddings, elopements, handfastings, and commitment ceremonies throughout the Asheville area and beyond. For more information, feel free to contact us today.

5 Outdoor Wedding Venues Near Asheville, NC

Buck Springs Gap Wedding

In a place as lush and lovely as Asheville, many couples dream of saying their “I do”s in a cathedral of nature instead of church halls. Outdoor wedding venues are plentiful in Asheville. From elopements to ballrooms, you can find the perfect venue on any budget.

North Carolina Arboretum

NC ArboretumPicture your wedding taking place before 65 acres of curated gardens, rustic gazebos and a stately conservatory with rolling mountains beyond. The North Carolina Arboretum is minutes from downtown Asheville and is a wedding venue that tops many local couples’ wish lists. Guests are free to walk the gardens, and you can capture incredible photos amidst the colors of the Quilt Garden, the poise of the Bonsai Garden and the glorious view from the Forest Meadow.

The Arboretum provides ample space as an outdoor wedding venue and plenty of interior space as well. A perfect choice for eco-conscious couples, the Arboretum requires wedding parties to make an green wedding pledge promising to respect the garden grounds and minimize the environmental impact of their ceremony and reception.


Asheville Botanical Gardens

Travel to the heart of Asheville for your wedding venue and reception location. A sylvan sanctuary of forest glades, meadows and streams, the Botanical Gardens is a verdant backdrop for small to medium-sized weddings. Choose from favorite wedding spots like their creekside gazebo, meadow-side cabin and wooded back gardens to put together your dream stage.

The Botantical Gardens is an affordable outdoor wedding venue with an indoor reception area, the Butler Room, available for parties up to 60 people. Banquet tables and chairs are provided for use in the Butler Room. Larger, outdoor receptions can be accommodated as well.


Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

In intimate oasis hidden just minutes from the heart of Asheville, Beaver Lake is the perfect spot for a quiet ceremony. Two decks along the lake boardwalk provide sweeping views of calm water, dense forest and meadow grasses. Late spring through early fall promises songbirds and wildflowers along a well-tended path.

The Bird Sanctuary is a free outdoor wedding venue with space for an elopement or a small ceremony with only a few guests. Parking is ample and free, but a $1.00 donation per vehicle is recommended to help maintain this hideaway for many years to come.


Buck Springs Gap

Buck Springs Gap WeddingTake a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at Milepost 407.7. Park and head to the trail head sign. Just 500 feet up the trail, you’ll come to an overlook. Buck Springs Gap’s breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a glorious backdrop for small ceremonies. You can tie the knot on the top of the world and come back to visit any time you like.

Buck Springs Gap is a free Asheville wedding venue with no charges for parkway access, parking or the venue. It’s ideal for eloping or just a few guests. Wedding parties that feel a bit adventurous can find beautiful photo opportunities, including an overgrown retaining wall and an old spring house, not far from the Overlook. Book your honeymoon at a nearby resort and get away from it all without setting foot on an airplane.


Lake Eden Events

Lake Eden EventsEscape to a mountain valley and have your ceremony on the banks of a glittering lake. Just 25 minutes from the city, Lake Eden has the ambiance of a destination wedding while being convenient for your friends, family, and Asheville wedding officiant. The retreat’s 90 acres offers picturesque views, a gorgeous dais for your ceremony and ample space for your reception.

Lake Eden’s rustic, renovated Barns is a fantastic spot for an indoor reception. They also offer several services to enhance your experience. Cabin accommodations for up to 34 guests, next-day brunch, bonfires, golf cart shuttles and more are available.

Don’t forget to make plans for rain, limited electricity and other necessities that come with outdoor settings. With a good plan and the perfect spot, the memories of your wedding day will be as enchanting as you’ve always dreamed.


*Buck Springs Gap photo by Lisa Price Photography.

Recommended Venues & Wedding Professionals in Asheville, NC


Bridging time and space, these links bring you to those who can help you find everything you need for your wedding ceremony and reception.

In Asheville NC area.


VENUES: Majors Estate Clyde NC.


Hand crafted gazebo at Majors Estate

This beautiful new venue is  ideal  for your wedding. Only Minutes from Asheville, Majors Estate provides an array of amazing locations for your ceremony and reception. There is a custom-built chapel, handcrafted gazebo, and a three-story entertainment space, to name a few. The Pigeon River tumbles over rocks and spills as it flows through the property offering serenity and a perfect backdrop for wedding pictures.
Majors Estate offers packages of all sizes to suit your budget and the vision you have for your wedding day. You can find more detailed information on customizing your package by contacting Event Manager, Katrina Evans, at 828-476-7763 or via email at Be sure to visit the Majors Estate website.   Rev. Hannah Desmond is happy to provide her services at Majors Estate.To reserve your wedding date with Rev. Hannah call 828-242-8621 or email

ASHEVILLE, Any Way You Like It  local restaurants, services of all kinds, wedding venues, fun events. This website is a comprehensive guide to all things Asheville.


Bel Amour Wedding Photography  828-216-1740

Facing the Lens Photography    828-3677430

Dew berry photography and design 828-264-2119 or 828-467-5674


The Colorful Palate – restaurant and catering. Exquisite! The best food and catering company in the Asheville area. Contact them at  828-684-7470

WEDDING CAKES – Butterbug’s Baked Goods  828-712-9402

WHITE DOVE RELEASE:  Incorporate a professionally coordinated white dove release into your ceremony.  This is a  breath- taking experience remembered by all in attendance. Call 828-582-9115



Asheville Wedding Locations in Nature

There are many gorgeous venues in the Asheville area. If you are planning a small wedding or elopement, there are a number of locations in nature that provide a beautiful setting for you and a few witnesses.

Botanical Gardens, Asheville NC

A rustic bridge over the bubbling stream makes a beautiful backdrop for a wedding,ceremony.    There is also  a gazebo on the grounds which can be rented through the botanical gardens.


Waterfall Weddings in North Carolina

Within a 40 mile radius of Asheville, there are at least 30 waterfalls. I suggest a wedding at one that is easily accessible. This gentle fall looks like a bridal veil. It is the perfect setting to exchange vows and celebrate a sacred union.

Mountain Weddings in North Carolina

Rev. Tom of HeartLIght Weddings performs a ceremony at Bucks Gap wed.

Rev. Tom of Heartlight Weddings performs a ceremony at Bucks Gap.

About 30 miles up the Blue Ridge parkway this overlook is spectacular and private.

A short ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway brings you to enchanted Vistas.




Tree in Bird Sanctuary, Asheville

Bird Sanctuary Next to Beaver Lake

A large tree with a great curving trunk offers a dramatic backdrop for a small wedding.There are two decks within the Bird Sanctuary which overlook beautiful Beaver Lake. These spots are great for an elopement wedding or a ceremony with only a few guests.








Asheville Wedding Officiant Testimonials and Reviews

“I was incredibly impressed with the level of assistance Rev. Hannah offered. She always answered my email questions quickly and was willing to meet up with us whenever we needed her. She even showed us the perfect spot for our ceremony! Rev. Hannah provided us with several different options for our ceremony script from which we were able to custom create the perfect script for us. She was incredibly professional and I would recommend Rev. Hannah to anyone who is looking for a wedding minister! Thank you, Rev. Hannah, for everything.” – Kristine & Erik Rasmussen

“My daughter’s wedding would not have been the same without Hannah, our ceremony officiant. She added joy and calmness to what has to be a bit of a hectic time for any mother… Hannah honors a breadth of spiritual perspectives in the co-created ceremonies she leads which tells of the breadth of her spiritual experience. I would recommend her to anyone wanting a meaningful ceremony for any of the most important aspects/events of one’s life.” – Lois Clement

“We really enjoyed having Hannah as our wedding officiant. She was very open and warm and did a great job customizing the ceremony for us.” – Delphine and Baxter Stewart

“Having you as our handfasting officiate was awesome! Not only did you read the words, you understood what we were about.” – Kyla and Troy Slade

“Hannah was awesome, I couldn’t have picked a better person to do our ceremony.” – Arianna & Lucas

We love it when you send your notes and testimonials to our facebook page

Heartlight Hiking Weddings

HeartLight Hiking Wedding at Craggy Pinnacle with Rev. Amber Desmond

HeartLight Hiking Wedding at Craggy Pinnacle with Rev. Amber Desmond

For those who want their wedding to be an adventure to remember, Rev. Amber Desmond, an ordained minister, avid hiker and adventurer,offers her services to couples who dream of a wedding in their own private paradise. Familiar with the trails, waterfalls and scenic vistas of the area, Rev. Amber will lead you to an agreed upon location where she will perform a wedding you have chosen and personalized. Rev. Amber’s hiking partner, Zach Brown, of Brown Mountain Light Photography is available to accompany you on your adventure and document your day, your ceremony and the view with beautiful photographs. Rev. Amber and Zach are also available for zip line weddings and white water rafting weddings. Contact Amber to begin planning your adventure in the mountains of  Western North Carolina. Send Amber a message through the contact page of this site.

Perfect spot for a weddig

Outdoor Weddings

From Rev. Hannah Desmond

The summer months are filled with weddings. I have been traveling around the western NC area quite a lot.  My husband, Rev Tom Johanson also performs ceremonies so I am sometimes traveling alone as he will have a wedding to perform in the opposite direction.

My book is finished and up for sale on this website.  I finally have time to catch up with filing, advertising and other business related efforts. I like to keep a file of each wedding I perform with a copy of the marriage license,  the ceremony, the check and a photo of the bride and groom.  I have quite a bit of work to do to catch up on these files.

Come Rain or Come Shine!

Summer time has been outdoor wedding time and I have performed a lot of ceremonies. The biggest problem with summer weddings has not been the chance of rain but the HEAT. If you are planning an outdoor summer wedding it is a good idea to have the ceremony in the late afternoon or early evening.  A hand fan on each chair provides guests with some relief.  Please do not seat your guests in the sun. I have been to several weddings where there is a pavilion or large gazebo and for some reason, the guests are seated outside of the shaded area and out in the hot sun. I look out at a sea of sweaty faces hoping for a short ceremony.  For the outdoor reception provide large fans that keep the air moving.  Most outdoor weddings I have attended have  buckets filled with ice and bottled water, an excellent idea to keep your guests hydrated.

Outdoor Weddings Create Some of the Most Beautiful Wedding Atmospheres

Summer weddings are beautiful, the brides wear filmy gowns and the grooms are often in white linen suits, flowers are bountiful as are bees and, lately, I have seen hummingbirds fluttering around the flowers at the weddings.   Scheduling a late afternoon outdoor wedding,Taking time to provide hand fans, large electric fans, cold water and seating in the shade makes for a beautiful and enjoyable outdoor summer wedding.



When a romantic weekend turns into a marriage proposal, HeartLight Wedding officiants provide a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. There are discounted fees for  short notice weddings and wedding planned a few days in advance.  The fee includes witnesses, if needed, the ceremony and filing of the license. We provide elopement ceremonies in Asheville NC and New Orleans, LA We are ready to perform your ceremony! 828-242-8621

New Orleans Weddings

 Winter Weddings, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest & Halloween Weddings!

The winter months are Rev. Hannah’s favorite time to be in New Orleans. The mild winter and early spring are perfect for an elopement ceremony in the French Quarter,  a simple wedding under the Oaks in the park, a garden wedding or an elaborate Plantation wedding.

Jazz Fest weddings!  World class music and food and the biggest party on the planet, a perfect venue for fun loving couples to say “I DO”.  Rev. Hannah is available both weekends of Jazz Fest to perform your ceremony at the fair grounds.  Rev. Hannah provides the waver for the 3 day waiting period. You can buy your marriage license and get married the same day with Rev. Hannah as your officiant.

MARDI GRAS WEDDINGS!  Get married at the largest street party in the world. Rev. Hannah can suggest great spots for a Mardi Gras day wedding or a wedding during the Mardi Gras season. The waver for the 3 day waiting period is supplied by Rev. Hannah. You can buy your marriage license and get married the same day with Rev. Hannah as your officiant. 828-242-8621

HALLOWEEN WEDDINGS: Halloween rivals Mardi Gras for fun, costuming and a gigantic street party in New Orleans. Rev. Hannah knows every nook and cranny of the French Quarter and Fabourg Marigny. She can suggest wonderful, spooky places to say your “I Do’s”  The waver for the 3 day waiting period is supplied by Rev. Hannah. You can buy your marriage license and get married the same day with Rev. Hannah as your officiant.    828-242-8621



Posted by on Tuesday, February 5, 2013