Gina & Melissa – A Meaningful Mountain Elopement

Covid Wedding - Forest Hiking Wedding - Queer

A global pandemic wasn’t getting in the way of Melissa and Gina’s mountian elopement. They meditated together, warmed one anothers rings, said personal vows and became wife and wife amongst nature.

Words by Melissa

Amid a global pandemic and political chaos here in the U.S., we decided to elope. 

By some miracle, the two of us had found each other again. We were separated by thousands of miles and almost a decade; what’s a little disease and disaster. Unknowingly, the two of us had been existing in these parallel worlds and had had our hearts broken in exactly the same way. However, it was that heartbreak that brought us back together… that and a little whiskey induced Facebook messaging. 

My first visit to Los Angeles from North Carolina told us both everything we needed to know. Our connection was on an entirely different level. We were bound spiritually, and we both could see the vision of the life we would one day have together as clearly as we are living that life now. 

Nothing we did from that moment on was traditional. 

We bought a house together before Gina moved here permanently from LA. We had our wedding rings designed together. We decided without a “formal” proposal to get married, and we helped each other get ready on the day of our wedding. 

Our engagement was the perfect reflection of what we wanted our marriage to be and what we had not had in our previous marriages, a true partnership. 

When Gina finally moved into the house with me, it was everything I knew it would be. Peaceful, easy, and so full of joy. The day of our elopement was no different. 

We had our coffee together on our front porch and set on paper our intentions for our marriage. We had breakfast delivered from one of our favorite local restaurants, then soaked in our hot tub with watermelon mimosas until it was time to start getting ready. The hot tub was our wedding gift to each other instead of a honeymoon.. best decision ever! 

Next was an episode of two femmes sharing a mirror. In all seriousness, the struggle was real. 

Once we were properly put together and out the door, we began our ascent to the mountain top. The fall color had just started to peak along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and clouds were rolling in from all directions. We were prepared for rain, but somehow we knew there wouldn’t be a drop. 

When we arrived at the trailhead, our photographer and officiant were there to greet us. We were shivering with excitement.. and well because it was about 20 degrees colder at that elevation than in the valley! Ever the troopers, we began our hike along the Art Loeb Trail. Our photographer captured every moment so perfectly that day, that going back through the photos brought us both to tears. 

As sad as we were that our families could not be present, there was also something so incredibly intimate and romantic about it just being the two of us. 

As we wandered along the trail searching for the perfect place to begin our new chapter together, our officiant pointed out a small path off of the trail leading to a field exploding with yellow and gold, and with the most beautiful backdrop of moody grey mountains. Our officiant created a custom ceremony that spoke to us both so beautifully. A grounding meditation and breathing exercises were incorporated and encouraged us to be even more present before exchanging the vows we had both written to each other. We had custom vow books made for the ceremony so we could re-read those words later in our marriage, ever a reminder of how we felt in that moment on the side of that mountain. 

One responsible social-distanced cocktail in downtown Asheville, NC, a rather comedic photoshoot with our dogs Lucien and King, and finally a slow dance in our beautiful home, and it was the end of a perfect day – and the beginning of the rest of our lives. 

We would both do it all over again. 

All of the learning, growing, and even the pain to get to where we are now. We wish our kind of love for every human because everyone deserves to be loved perfectly and as they are.


Photography by Jenny Tenney with Elope Outdoors Asheville

Bridal Boutique David’s Bridal and Candler Budget Bridal
Cake French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Crystal Crown Howling Moon UK
Engagement Rings Professional Jewelers of Asheville 
Florist Angie Ausley 
Haircomb The Glowing Bride
Officiant Julia Albertson with Elope Outdoors Asheville
Vow Books Print Smitten

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Dancing With Her is created on the beautiful land of the Bundjalung Nation. We acknowledge that we have benefited from the colonialism which dispossessed the Bundjalung People of their land and culture, and pay our respects to Bundjalung elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge sovereignty was never ceded. The land we live and work on is Aboriginal Land.

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