Due to Blue Ridge Parkway management staff focusing on reopening the park following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the park will not accept or process any applications for Special Use Permits that do not provide at least 30 days notice prior to the requested event date. Thank you for understanding.
So, you want to get married on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It just so happens that we allow that. You and your special someone can exchange vows surrounded by the stunning views and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. Naturally though, there are rules.
All weddings, “elopements”, and/or vow exchanges that occur within the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway require a Special Use Permit. The Special Use Permit is a management tool we use to ensure the park is protected and preserved for all future users. Please review the Leave No Trace principles to learn how to assist us in caring for this special place. Then, read the following Frequently Asked Questions, Restrictions, and Instructions for Applying before emailing an application. If you have further questions after reading through this whole page, or if you would like to inquire about the availability of a date and/or location, email BLRI_Permits@nps.gov
Special Use Permits are considered on an as-received, case-by-case basis and can be affected by group size, road closures, construction, other permitted events in the area, and global pandemics.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Wedding/Elopement/ Vow Renewal Permits
Is there a fee for a wedding permit?
Yes. Per regulation, there is a non-refundable application fee of $60.00 due at the time of application and a non-refundable administrative fee of $40.00 due when the permit is issued. The fees are non-refundable as they are cost recovery for work completed in receiving, processing, and administering the permit.
Are there any restrictions on the size of my wedding group?
Indeed. Wedding permits are limited to 25 total people - including wedding party, officiant, and photographer – or fewer. Some locations are limited to fewer people for safety reasons (see Restrictions). Weddings held at Peaks of Otter lodge may allow up to 100 people, but must be booked directly through the Lodge.
Are there any date/time restrictions?
Yes. Wedding permits are not issued for any federal holiday, federal holiday weekend, or during the entire month of October.
What does my wedding permit cover?
The permit is a two-hour authorization for wedding/elopement/vow exchange ceremony activity on the date/time at the location approved by the permit. The permit does not authorize reception activity at the location. The park will not, and the permit does not supply an officiant, state license/paperwork, photographer, party bus driver, or any other wedding planning services.
Can I block off the area for my wedding to keep the public out?
No. The approved location is still a part of public lands and remains open to normal visitor use throughout the event.
Do the officiant and/or photographer have to apply for a separate permit?
No. The officiant is considered a part of the approved activity, and as long as the photographer is only using a camera, tripod, and simple lighting, no extra permit is required.
What if it rains or the parkway is closed on the date of the event?
Rain on the wedding day is good luck, right? There are no “rain checks” or refunds, and the issuance of a Special Use Permit does not hold the National Park Service responsible for circumstances beyond its control. If the motor road is closed due to public safety concerns, access to the approved location will not be granted.
Special Use Permits for weddings are not issued on federal holidays, federal holiday weekends, or during the month of October. Permits are issued only during daylight hours. Yes, we already said this. It’s important.
Special Use Permits for weddings are not issued for the following locations at any time (MP=Milepost):
- Inside any government building, historic or otherwise
- MP 176.2 - Mabry Mill historic area (May be permitted in the grass area in front of the Mill pond)
- MP 213.3 – Blue Ridge Music Center
- MP 241.1 – Bluffs Lodge and surrounding grounds
- MP 294.0 – Bass Lake
- MP 302.8 – Rough Ridge Overlook and boardwalk
- MP 305.2 – Beacon Heights left fork trail (May be permitted at the end of the right fork trail)
- MP 316.4 – Linville Falls
- MP 339.5 – Crabtree Falls
- MP 364.1 – Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail, Pinnacle Scenic View, and Craggy Dome Parking Area (May be permitted at Craggy Flats Bald)
- MP 418.8 – Graveyard Fields
- MP 422.4 – Devil’s Courthouse
- MP 451.2 – Waterrock Knob
The following locations are available for Special Use Permits for weddings but have limited capacity:
- MP 74.7 – Thunder Ridge Overlook – Limited to 15 total participants
- MP 85.9 – Sharp Top Pinnacle – Limited to 15 total participants
- MP 320.8 – Chestoa View Overlook – Limited to 12 total participants
- MP 367 – Craggy Gardens gazebo – Limited to 10 total participants
The following locations are not within the boundary or jurisdiction of the Blue Ridge Parkway and do not require a Special Use Permit from the NPS:
- Wiseman’s View (Contact US Forest Service Pisgah National Forest)
- Black Balsam Knob (Contact US Forest Service Pisgah National Forest)
- Sam’s Knob (Contact US Forest Service Pisgah National Forest)
- Grandfather Mountain (Contact Grandfather Mountain State Park)
- Mount Mitchell (Contact Mount Mitchell State Park)
The following is a list of some of, but not all of the activities and/or items that are not allowed during a wedding/elopement/vow renewal ceremony:
- Live or dried natural plant/flower material is prohibited. This includes cut flowers for bouquets and potted plants. Live plant materials may contain insects or unwanted pests that could to be introduced into the park. Silk or paper flowers are allowed.
- The releasing of doves, butterflies, tigers, or other types wildlife is prohibited.
- The throwing of birdseed, rice, Jell-O, or other food related items is prohibited. Feeding wildlife is prohibited (36 CFR 2.2(a)(2)). Remember that this is bear country and recall those LNT principles you learned earlier.
- The use of horses or horse drawn carriages is prohibited.
- The use of fire or open flames is strictly prohibited. This includes candles. (If a candle is necessary for your event, a battery-operated candle is suggested). And flamethrowers. (If a flamethrower is necessary for your event…well…let’s talk.)
- The use of arbors, arches, stands, risers, or other similar unnatural props is prohibited.
- The attaching of ribbons, flowers, balloons or signs to vegetation, rocks, or existing NPS signs within the park is prohibited.
- The placement of signs or other event notifications along the motor road or within the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway is prohibited.
- Amplified instruments, speakers, PA systems, bullhorns, etc. Please be respectful of other peoples' desire for peace and quiet.
- The releasing of balloons within the park is prohibited. Look at that view. It doesn’t need balloons.
- Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. For additional information specific to alcohol, please read the Superintendent's Compendium.
Instructions for Applying
- Download and complete the 10-930s application form. Complete the form with as much detail as possible. Federal regulations require a Social Security Number on an application requiring a financial transaction. Social Security Numbers are managed in accordance with appropriate Personally Identifiable Information policies.
- Pay the $60 application fee at www.pay.gov. Cash is not accepted.
To pay online at pay.gov:
- Search for “Blue Ridge Parkway”
- Click “Continue” under “Blue Ridge Parkway Special Use Permit Fees”
- Click “Continue to the Form”
- A permit number is not necessary to pay for the application fee
- Complete the form, including placing your last name in the “Comments” section
- Check the “Application Fee” box
- Enter payment information
- Review and submit
- Submit the completed application form the Blue Ridge Parkway Permits Coordinator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that applications must be submitted with at least a 30-day notice before the proposed event date.
- After initial application, the Permits Coordinator will be in contact if there are any questions or concerns. If there are no questions or concerns, when appropriate, the Permits Coordinator will be in contact with instructions on how to proceed. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Application processing time varies.