All I can say to start this off is just WOW. This North Carolina adventure elopement through the Linville Gorge Wilderness was jam packed full of magic, adrenaline, excitement, and downright epicness. And lots of luck.
I met with Catherine and Scott in North Georgia a few months prior to the date they had decided they were going to commit their lives to one another. They had their date in mind but didn’t know where or how they wanted to elope. From there, I used my expertise and knowledge to help craft the ultimate elopement experience for these two. After getting to know them and their hiking abilities, I suggested a few spots to them, but was so incredibly excited when they took my advice and went for my top pick for them: a full day elopement experience in the Linville Gorge Wilderness of North Carolina. It’s not an easy excursion for sure, but these two were perfectly suitable for the trek, and I was so humbled that they trusted me to choose the right place and create an unforgettable experience that I felt fit perfectly with them.
As I always do with adventurous outdoor elopements, checking the weather in the days leading up to the day of the elopement was a top priority. And in this case, we were definitely concerned about a washout, or worse, dangerous conditions that would prevent us from going out at all. Thunderstorms were in the forecast for days. Yet as the day unfolded, it was clear that luck was on our side.
I remember arriving earlier than Catherine and Scott to the visitors center, and I was driving through some showers on the way there, keeping my fingers crossed that everything would remain rather tame. That day’s forecast had the storms parting later in the day, so it was all just a matter of when that would actually happen and if it would somehow work in our favor. Well, despite the constant concern for days upon days, it didn’t rain one bit after they arrived to meet me that day. It was magical. It was perfect.
Our first leg of the day’s adventure, we hiked all the way to the bottom of the gorge. I led them down to the basin of the largest waterfall in the gorge, the aptly named Linville Falls. I felt it was the perfect place to do their first look, because of COURSE you can still have a first look even if you’re eloping! It was just stunning. The leftover rain and humidity along with the peaking sun had created the most ethereal setting imaginable, and the falls roared in the background due to all the recent rains of those late spring months.
We played around so long at the bottom of the gorge after their first look that we lost track of time and had to hightail it back to the trailhead, where we’d be meeting the officiant for the sunset ceremony atop Hawksbill Mountain. By the time we got back, we were already an hour behind on schedule. Things only got worse when the older officiant underestimated the hike for the second half of the day, which would take us to one of the gorge’s most beautiful summits with the most spectacular views. That view, however, requires completing a pretty steep and strenuous hike, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Well, Catherine, Scott, and myself had to keep moving swiftly in order not to lose any more light as we already were, so we let my boyfriend/assistant and the officiant take their time for the officiant, and the three of us made a beeline for the top. After all, they had to set up and change into their wedding attire once we reached the end of the trail.
We were close to the sun dipping over the western rim of the gorge as we made our approach, and Catherine and Scott hurried to get ready. We walked out to the jagged, vast outcrop that symbolizes the peak of Hawksbill Mountain to take a moment and soak it all in (and down some whiskey in a flask) before we got down to business. We had no idea how far behind the officiant was, and we didn’t want to risk it, so Scott pulled out the script for the ceremony and got right to it. They both said their vows, exchanged rings, and sealed it all with a kiss. Of course we did it all over once the officiant arrived, too. Kinda fun doin’ it twice.
In the end, this day was a whirlwind. But that’s how all adventurous elopements are. I don’t guarantee my clients that their adventurous elopement will go exactly the way they’ve envisioned due to one thing or another but I do promise them that I will do my absolute best to make it all worth it. And I’m so glad that I could follow through with that promise for Catherine and Scott and I’m so, SO honored to be able to be the one to witness, create, and document this unforgettable experience for this freaking amazing couple.
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