When you’re planning your Virginia elopement, figuring out where to elope is probably the No. 1 question. Fortunately, Virginia is an incredible state. You can find everything from mountain views to beaches to wild horses to mystical forests.
Virginia has several distinct regions so I’m going to organize this guide that way. To hop from one section to the next, just hit the jump link in the table of contents.
Table of Contents
An elopement is a small intentional celebration of marriage. If a big wedding is an event, an elopement is typically experience driven. You might go for a hike or have a small intimate dinner or plan a weekend getaway for your closest family and friends.
Yes! I view elopements as celebrations for the couple and up to 12 guests.
As much or little as you budget for! Typically the couples who work with me spend about $5-15,000 on their elopement.
Absolutely! I know lots of beautiful, accessible spots that require little to no physical effort.
If you are hoping for an adventurous elopement with epic photos then consider a location on the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Shenandoah National Park, or at one of Virginia’s state parks like Grayson Highlands. If you are including guests you will need some kind of venue for people to gather. (But that venue could simply be an Airbnb or VRBO.)
If you are hoping for BOTH epic photos and a small reception for friends and family, I recommend connecting with a photographer or planner before you book anything else. A photographer or planner who specializes in elopements and small weddings (like I do) will know what to recommend for elopement locations.
There are more than 50 elopement location suggestions in this article.If that feels overwhelming, here are my top six:
For adventurers who want to stay close to northern Virginia:
For people who want an intimate, five-star luxury experience:
For people who want a unique experience:
For adventurers who want to stay close to southern Virginia:
For people who want beach photos and possible wild pony sightings:
For people who want an intimate celebration where everyone stays on site:
I’ll start with Shenandoah National Park because it is by far the most popular elopement location for me. Shenandoah National Park is located in north-central Virginia. It’s characterized by views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Within Shenandoah you can experience waterfalls, swimming holes, wildlife, epic mountain views, backcountry camping, dark skies (meaning clear views of the stars) and Skyline Drive – the meandering 105-mile road that spans the park.
For my full Shenandoah National Park Guide, click here.
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for almost 500 miles through Virginia. Meaning there are almost endless possibilities for elopement locations off of the parkway. But here are the highlights.
Some of these – like Humpback Rock, McAfee’s Knob and Apple Orchard Falls – require a hike to reach the summit. Others, such as Raven’s Roost, Cahas Mountain Overlook and Mabry Mill, are pull-offs that can be accessed directly from the parking area. Thunder Ridge and a handful of others require a short (easy) walk. For both hiking and accessible possibilities for elopement ceremony locations, Peaks of Otter is an excellent option.
Of the spots on this list, if you are having guests and a reception afterward I would recommend Chateau Morrisette and Peaks of Otter.
Blue Ridge Parkway Elopement Locations:
The Shenandoah Valley runs down Interstate 81 from Winchester in the north to Lexington in the south. On one side you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the other, the Appalachian Mountains. It’s where I grew up and there are SO many incredible places to elope.
Here are some of the best:
Rosemont is located in Berryville and offers an elopement package that includes an officiant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, overnight stay in their honeymoon cottage, complimentary champagne, and breakfast for two in the morning.
The State Arboretum of Virginia is located in Boyce outside of Winchester. It’s free to visit the arboretum and no photography permits are required. You can’t reserve this space, so I definitely recommend this location for weekday sunrises to ensure you get privacy for your elopement ceremony.
Briede Vineyards is located in Winchester. They have a small tent they rent for intimate celebrations (up to 30 people) as well as a small pavilion. Briede is a great option if you want a vineyard wedding but don’t need the space for a large party.
The Inn at Little Washington is one of only six three-star Michelin restaurants on the East Coast (the others are in NYC). A lot of my couples who elope in Shenandoah National Park dine sumptuously at The Inn at Little Washington afterwards. You can also book one of two event spaces at the Inn if you want to host a reception there (max 30 people for a sitdown dinner). This venue includes a five-star hotel.
Luray Caverns may be the most unique wedding option on this list. It is the largest cavern on the East Coast. You can get married underground surrounded by incredible stone formations. Their smallest wedding package is for up to 12 guests and includes a private ceremony space surrounded by candles.
The Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg is a beautiful Victorian-style mansion that has been turned into a bed and breakfast and fine dining restaurant. It’s a lovely choice for smaller groups who want to lodge together and have a reception with great food.
The Local Chop & Grill House in Harrisonburg serves food sourced from local producers. It’s situated in the old City Produce Exchange building and retains that industrial vibe. This is a good choice for a reception venue if you are eloping locally (at, say, the JMU Arboretum) and are looking for a place to host a delicious dinner afterward.
The JMU Arboretum is smaller than the State Arboretum above and does require photograph permits, but is a beautiful choice for an elopement. This arboretum is a good fit for couples with connections to JMU or who want a beautiful wooded wedding with easy access to Harrisonburg for their reception.
If you are looking for a midsummer wedding venue with flower backdrops White Oak Lavender Farm just east of Harrisonburg might be a great pick. The farm has both the lavender fields and a vineyard. They accept events with up to 50 people. If you are hoping to get photos with the lavender in bloom, then I recommend choosing this venue in late June or early July.
Pebble Hall Wildflowers is a hidden gem just south of Harrisonburg in Weyers Cave. They have fields of wildflowers, sunflowers and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a beautiful spot for a small celebration with easy access to either Harrisonburg or Staunton for a post-ceremony celebration.
Orlesa Farms is a newer venue and bed and breakfast located in Staunton. They have an incredibly beautiful property with lots of options for smaller ceremonies. They have specific packages for elopements and micro weddings with up to 40 guests.
Valley Mills Farm is just west of Staunton. The venue features a historic home, rolling hills, meadows and woods. They have a large event barn, but also offer packages for smaller celebrations. Their micro wedding package is for up to 20 guests and their elopement package is for up to 10. Valley Mills is probably the quintessential “Shenandoah Valley venue.”
The Inn at Forest Oaks is about 20 minutes from the quaint town of Lexington and 6 minutes from Natural Bridge State Park. The main inn has six rooms and there’s a cottage with five rooms. All together they can sleep 22. This would be a good pick for couples who want to elope on Cole Mountain or at Natural Bridge State Park and then have their whole guestlist stay on site together.
Cole Mountain is on the Appalachian Trail and features sweeping 365-degree views and meadows. Most people hike Cole Mountain in a 5.6-mile loop, but to get to the main summit it’s actually only about a 30-minute walk from the parking area. It’s a stunningly beautiful vista and the space is large enough to make it easy to step away from other visitors and have a little pocket of seclusion.
Crabtree Meadows is an easy 3.3-mile out-and-back hike northeast of Lexington that features panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The views are largely east facing so it’s a perfect choice for sunrise (and you’ll likely have it to yourself at that time of day). It’s a great choice for people who want panoramic sunrise views without crowds.
I’m putting Crabtree Falls in Shenandoah Park on this list tentatively because, as one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, it is an iconic spot in Central Virginia. But it’s also really, really popular. If you’re looking for waterfall backdrops I would honestly recommend other places. If you’re in the area, though, what you could do is hike to the top of Crabtree Falls at sunrise and have your ceremony overlooking the falls on the viewing platform. Though this is a short hike, it is steep and relatively challenging, so everyone involved would need to be in good physical condition.
The Red Fox Inn and Tavern is located in Middleburg, which is about an hour outside of DC.
It’s a truly beautiful, intimate place with lovely gardens and an almost European feel. Small weddings can be held in either what they call the “secret garden” or courtyard gardens. Packages include food from the tavern, a cake, and bouquet and boutonniere.
Clyde Willow Creek Farm is primarily a restaurant but they also do small weddings. Ceremonies are typically held on the back lawn beside the beautiful willow trees. Receptions are held in one of their “private dining rooms” in the upstairs of the restaurant.
Hummingbird Cafe Indigo is located in Old town Alexandria right off the Potomac River. It’s beautiful and light filled and includes a patio that can be used for small ceremonies or receptions. From the cafe you are walking distance to several parks that can be used as backdrops for wedding party formals or couple’s portraits.
Great Falls National Park is a stunning location for a somewhat adventurous Northern Virginia elopement. Permits are required for all wedding ceremonies but they do not reserve particular spots so expect other visitors to share the space with you. To maximize privacy, consider a sunrise ceremony. There are also no pavilions, so in the event of inclement weather, expect to either get wet or use umbrellas!
If you are looking for a truly stunning romantic venue for your Northern Virginia elopement, then Great Marsh Estate may be the place for you. While they specialize in big weddings, the estate also occasionally serves as a backdrop for smaller gatherings. It offers you a European vibe without ever having to leave Virginia.
Goodstone Inn is another venue with a European feel. The Inn features beautiful gardens, a conservatory, walls of ivy, rolling hill views and a stone building that would not look out of place in the countryside of England. Goodstone is the perfect backdrop for small luxury celebrations that want to stay close to Washington, DC.
Rust Manor House is a unique venue in that the historic property is managed by NOVA Parks in partnership with the Audubon Society. As a result, it’s a little more affordable than other Northern Virginia venues with similar assets. Most of the ceremonies are held on the front lawn, but there are 68 acres of property available. The inside of the manor is perfect for small receptions, or tables can be set up outside.
If you’re looking for an upscale rustic venue for your micro wedding in Northern Virginia, 48 Fields Farm is where to go. The farm is one of the few venues in Northern Virginia that has all-inclusive micro wedding and elopement-specific packages.
Prospect Hill is a beautiful, historic bed and breakfast located just outside of Charlottesville in Louisa. They currently offer two elopement packages that include a small wedding cake, use of the inn grounds, champagne and an officiant.
The Mill at Fine Creek is one of the most distinctive venues in Central Virginia. It’s located just outside of Richmond. Most elopement ceremonies take place in the original gristmill ruins that are now covered in ivy. It gives a kind of intimate castle vibe and is quite lovely for small celebrations.
The Wool Factory is an urban industrial venue in Charlottesville. It has several room and ceremony options and is a perfect space for a small, intimate gathering that has a quirky modern feel.
The Historic Polegreen Church is a novel venue in Virginia. It’s an open air church located just outside of Richmond. It’s like a cathedral composed of forest and is a beautiful choice regardless of your religious affiliation.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond is a beautiful backdrop for a small celebration. Portraits can be taken amidst the artwork.The Birch Douglass Private Dining Room is the right size space for an intimate reception.
My parents were actually married in the Rose Garden at Maymont in Richmond so I’m a little biased here, but it’s probably one of the best (and most affordable) options on this list for a Virginia elopement. Weekday micro weddings can be booked on this 100-acre estate and park for only $250.
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond is one of the biggest botanical gardens in Virginia. They offer three semi-private outdoor garden settings for small celebrations (up to 18 people, including vendors). Hors d’oeuvres can be purchased separately for a post-ceremony cocktail reception.
Montalto is part of Thomas Jefferson’s estate. It offers 360-degree views of Charlottesville and Monticello. The historic venue has “boutique wedding packages” for celebrations with up to 40 guests.
Waterperry Farm is located outside of Charlottesville. It’s a bed and breakfast but they are primarily known for their stunning gardens. They don’t host full-sized weddings but do allow small elopements to be held in the gardens.
The Virginia Aquarium makes for a unique and incredible backdrop for an elopement. Get married with sharks and turtles onlooking and then enjoy a relaxed reception aboard a catamaran boat.
The Norfolk Botanical Garden is the biggest botanical garden in Virginia and provides endless options for photo backdrops for your elopement ceremony.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located in Virginia Beach. No permit is required for small celebrations that have no setup (i.e., no chairs or arch). To get this stunning beach location to yourself, consider a sunrise ceremony.
First Landing State Park provides views of Cape Henry and the Chesapeake Bay near Virginia Beach. The beach and waters there are exceptionally calm and offer a beautiful backdrop for small elopements.
Chincoteague Island is well known for wild horses, but it also offers incredible beachfront views. Consider picking one of the bed and breakfasts or inns like the Channel Bass Inn or the Island Manor of Chincoteague as your home base for a small adventurous island elopement.
Grayson Highlands is considered the No. 1 state park in Virginia. It features beautiful mountain views, incredible rolling meadows and wild ponies. It’s my go-to choice for a southwestern Virginia elopement location.
Cascade Falls is a beautiful waterfall hike outside of Blacksburg. It’s about a two-mile walk each way (very moderate) and features an incredible waterfall. There’s a viewing platform for an elopement ceremony right beside the waterfall or you can walk down to the base.
The Belle Garden Estate is located outside Rocky Mount. It’s a historic wedding venue that mostly caters to big weddings, but they also have elopement and micro wedding packages for small celebrations held Sunday-Thursday. The venue has mountain views and a beautiful historic home to use for receptions or getting ready.
The Martha Jefferson Inn is a four-star hotel located in Abingdon. They are well-known for their restaurant and spa and offer a luxury home base for small weddings and elopements.
Natural Bridge State Park is most well-known for the massive stone natural archway, but it also features rolling meadows and mountain views. While the bridge itself gets a lot of traffic, the hiking trails are often less busy than places like Shenandoah National Park or the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Bald Knob is a short, steep hike in Newport outside of Christiansburg that features stunning mountain views. It’s very similar to Humpback Rocks near Charlottesville and offers incredible sunset views of the New River Valley.
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