Your Guide to Planning an LGBTQ+ Wedding in Asheville

Wedding in Downtown Asheville

Celebrate a new chapter with your significant other by exchanging vows in Asheville. Here you’ll find the mountains of western North Carolina provide a gorgeous backdrop for an LGBTQ+ wedding, and Asheville’s progressive community welcomes all couples with open minds and open hearts. This guide, featuring some of Asheville’s LGBTQ+ friendly venues and vendors, will help provide inspiration and guidance for planning your dream destination wedding in Asheville, North Carolina.

Step 1: Asheville Accommodations for the Wedding Party

Need help making a room block for you and your guests? The easiest way to secure accommodations for your wedding is through the team at Explore Asheville. We’ll work directly with lodging properties in the area to gather information on rates and availability based on your criteria, making it easy for you to select an accommodation that aligns with your needs. Head to our weddings section to begin using this free service.

Step 2: Venue Selection: From Elegant to the Unexpected

Asheville is a popular location for destination weddings, and therefore, one of the first things to book is your venue. There are a wide range of wedding venue options in Asheville from outdoor to indoor, and traditional to unconventional. Here are some ideas.

Homewood: Located in Asheville’s post-Victorian Montford neighborhood, Homewood is a beautiful stone manor with an outdoor ceremony site and cocktail area. This gay-owned venue operates under the belief that marriage has always been about the uniting of two loving individuals – no matter the gender. Capacity: 110 - 150 guests

Highland Brewing: Asheville’s very first craft brewery is also one of the most sought-after private event venues and is regarded as one of the best LGBTQ+ locations in Asheville. As a prime location for numerous gay weddings, there are multiple spaces available including a large rooftop deck. Explore Asheville rates Highland Brewing as one of, and they’ve hosted numerous gay weddings. Capacity: 64 – 250 guests

Haiku I Do: This wedding venue in Biltmore Village offers multiple romantic settings for ceremonies and receptions, including koi ponds, Zen gardens, a covered chapel and an all-seasons deck. They offer all-inclusive packages and all of their staff and vendors are LGBTQ+ allies. Capacity: 150 guests

Biltmore: Get married at Asheville’s crown jewel, Biltmore. Created by George Vanderbilt in 1895 as a retreat reminiscent of the grand castles of France and Britain, the estate offers a dreamy backdrop for your special day. They offer exceptional service and have experience hosting LGBTQ+ weddings. Capacity: 27 – 600 guests

The Restoration: Stay and host your wedding in the heart of the city. Downtown Asheville’s newest boutique hotel includes four beautiful spaces for ceremonies and receptions, and offers a luxurious, urban vibe. Capacity: 100 – 325 guests

Exterior picture of Fleetwood's wedding chapel and music venueFleetwood’s: This Rock n’ Roll wedding chapel and bar is the perfect location for micro-weddings and elopements for LGBTQ+ couples. Located in West Asheville, Fleetwood’s is a Vegas-style venue perfect for non-traditional couples who want a edgy venue. Capacity: 50 guests

Hidden River Events: In the heart of Swannanoa, Asheville’s neighbor to the east, is a 20+-acre farm offering everything you need for a wedding, including accommodations. “Every LGBTQ couple who chooses Hidden River Events as their wedding venue enjoys the full benefits of our services and expertise for a beautiful, stress-free wedding. This goes for our affiliated vendors as well.” Capacity: 50 - 350 guests

Step 3: Choose an Officiant

The ceremony and exchanging of vows are undoubtedly the most sacred moments of your wedding so you’ll want to ensure you find an officiant that aligns with your vision and values. If you’re not using someone you know, then there are some gay-friendly officiant options available to you in Asheville.

All The Things Ceremonies: Specializing in LGBTQ+ weddings and elopements, Reverend Angel is an officiant and member of Asheville’s lesbian community. Plan your ceremony with a virtual vow rehearsal and opt for special ceremony add-ons like Reiki blessings, tree plantings, glass unity, handfasting or other ideas you may have.

Heartlight Weddings: With over 20 years of experience, the officiants at Heartlight provide secular, spiritual and traditional services. They are proud to perform same-sex weddings, elopements and other commitment ceremonies for LGBTQ+ couples.

Love & Wisdom: Proudly supporting marriage equality, the open-minded wedding officiants at Love & Wisdom will create a tailored ceremony that reflects who you are as a couple.

Step 4: Find a Planner

Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Allow one of the experienced planners in Asheville help you with the details – big or small.

Shay Brown Events: Shay and her team have decades of experience helping couples plan for their weddings. They offer consulting for couples who want to plan their event but need coordination for the big day along with full-service planning –think venues, flowers, dress shopping, entertainment and staffing. A longtime ally to Asheville’s LGBTQ+ community, Shay and her team have produced some phenomenal events, including the Pride Brunch for a local food event, Chow Chow.

BobbyMark’s Designs: At this gay-owned businesses, you’ll find a dynamic duo known for creating weddings that wow! Mark creates stunning designs with flowers (and without) while Bobby handles all the planning from full-service needs to week before assistance.

Rising Fern Events: Benefit from the experience and professional guidance of Erica at Rising Fern. Services include assistance with budget creation, venue search, meal planning, event timelines, and coordination for LGBTQ+ couples.

Carolina Love Events: Create a once in a lifetime event and streamline the wedding planning process for peace of mind on your big day. Carolina Love does the heavy lifting for you, offering floral design and vintage furniture rentals. They’re also a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.

Verge Events: When you want a wedding that’s as big as the love you share with your partner, then the team at Verge can deliver. They’ve had their wedding designs featured in Martha Stewart, Style Me Pretty and The Knot. They fully support marriage equality and helped organize same-sex ceremonies long before it was legally recognized.

Plain with Sprinkles Events: Get the full support of planning a wedding and at the same time support social justice. The team at Plain with Sprinkles is dedicated to vetting all of their vendors to ensure they’re truly inclusive of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC couples. In addition, 5% of all sales is donated to local organizations focused on social justice reforms.

Step 5: Activities for the Wedding Guests

Plan fun outings for your wedding party or give your guests ideas on how to maximize their experience in Asheville.

Spring Mountain Vista with Flowers

Explore the Outdoors: Choose your own adventure in some of the oldest mountains in the world. Asheville’s has multiple entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects you to waterfalls and breathtaking views from atop the highest peaks east of the Mississippi. For a group outing, plan an LGBTQ+ hiking tour with the team at Blue Ridge Hiking Company.

Take A Foodie Tour: Taste your way across town with Asheville Food Tours, get a bird’s eye view during the Asheville Rooftop Bar Tour (LQBTQ+ owned) or get outdoors and forage for mushrooms with the team at No Taste Like Home.

LaZoom Comedy Tours: Hop on the “big purple bus” to learn Asheville’s history, discover hidden gems and laugh at LaZoom’s quirky sense of adventure.

Nightlife: Ready for a fun night out? Asheville Beauty Academy, a gay-owned club, offers several events throughout the week that caters to the LGBTQ+ community, including a weekly drag brunch. The Getaway River Bar is another fun spot with weekly drag and comedy shows. In Asheville’s South Slope neighborhood, you’ll find Banks Avenue Bar, an LGBTQ+-owned hangout with weekly drag performances.

Biltmore Aerial

Biltmore: No trip to Asheville is complete without marveling at the dream home of George W. Vanderbilt. The Biltmore is a testament to the gilded age with plenty of activities for your wedding party, including behind-the-scenes tours, gorgeous gardens and the most visited winery in America.

Shopping: You’ll find a lot of independent stores and boutiques throughout several shopping districts in Asheville. There are several places that would be good to pick up gifts for the bridal party including French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Spicewalla, The Asheville Shop and Asheville Emporium. Looking for gifts that support local LGBTQ+ business owners? Check out Asheville Bee Charmer (LGBT-owned), Thyme in the Garden, Firestorm Books and Coffee (a queer, collective-owned bookstore), Bellagio Art to Wear and Different Wrld.

Bliss Out: Asheville has long been a wellness destination. Rent a private hot tub at Shoji Spa & Retreat, enjoy a two-hour session at Sauna House, get a massage at the gay-owned Urban Exhale, book an outdoor yoga session with Allé, Asheville’s Trans Yoga Teacher, or if you’re staying at the Omni Grove Park Inn, then their world-class spa is not to be missed!

Handmade Art: Explore Asheville’s River Arts District, which consists of a vast array of artists and working studios in 22 former industrial and historical buildings spread out along a one-mile stretch of the French Broad River.

Header Photo: Three Region Photography