Allison and Michael met while in medical school in Blacksburg. Both of them love the outdoors and they spent the first few years of their relationship getting outside and exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. In her initial inquiry, Allison said “we press our reset button by hiking and soaking up nature, so eloping in the mountains only feels right.” I absolutely love that!
So we planned a Blue Ridge Parkway elopement for just the two of them.
Allison and Michael opted for a “split day,” which means we organize their day into two parts — sunrise and sunset. The day of, though, we weren’t sure we’d get a sunrise. There was a 50 percent chance of rain and it was supposed to be super overcast. But we decided to go for it anyway and met well before dawn in the parking lot of Humpback Rocks.
When we got to the top it was super cloudy, but there was no rain so we counted that as a win. They got dressed separately then did a first look before their ceremony. Rev. Kate Adams, one of my favorite local officiants, hiked up with us to perform their ceremony. First they exchanged private vows.
Then they opted for a handfasting ceremony, which is an ancient Celtic unity ritual. In it, the couple’s hands are tied together (literally tying the knot). The knot is meant to symbolize their commitment to one another.
As Kate tied the rope around their hands, the sun began to stream out behind the clouds in the most crazy array of colors. It was absolutely magical — like the universe was blessing their union. We stopped for a minute and just looked at the mountains.
It was probably one the most incredible sunrises I have ever seen.
After their ceremony we explored Humpback Rocks and took portraits. Once the crazy golden-orange light faded but the sun kept peaking out illuminating parts of the mountains.
They got an incredible morning. Afterward we headed back to the cute Airbnb they had rented. It was just minutes from the parkway.
There, they hung out with their dogs, made coffee, cooked frozen waffles for breakfast and cut their cake. Then they snuggled in the hammock for awhile and then went back inside to take a nap during the middle part of the day.
After nap we headed out to explore a second hike for sunset. This time we went into Shenandoah National Park.
It’s pretty rare to get equally stunning sunrises and sunsets, but these two did. Instead of the crazy pinks we saw in the morning we had gold and orange. Allison wore a shawl a friend had crocheted for her and they watched the last of the light go down together.
If you’re planning your own Blue Ridge Parkway elopement here are a couple things to keep in mind:
The Ultimate Small Wedding Planning Guide and Checklist