Barefoot North Carolina Forest Elopement
Have you ever met two people who just instantly feel like home? A couple who gives so much kindness and joy to the people in their lives? When you have a conversation with these two, they are so intentional about actually listening to everything you’re saying. Well I have, and their names are Grace and Mike Duncan. I had the privilege of capturing their beautiful North Carolina forest elopement.
It’s hard to put into words what it feels like hanging out with these two. If you know people like this, then you know what I mean. It’s like they were designed specifically for each other. Together they radiate this unfathomable joy and kindness that is only of the Father. It’s a breath of fresh air being with them, and I CANNOT wait to see what their lives together can do for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Grace and Mike met early in their college career and became best friends!! They immediately connected because of their love for spending time in nature and caring more about people than things.
I have had the sweet joy and honor of documenting their love from when they were first dating, to being engaged, and now their wedding!! It has been so sweet following their journey!
When it came time for them to start planning their wedding, they had all of these ideas. A few weeks into planning they called me and said, “Kmac, we think we’re going to elope, and we want you to be there.” So OF COURSE I had to say “Yes!!”
In Asheville, North Carolina, there is a really beautiful mountain right along the Appalachian Trail called Max Patch Mountain. It is about nine miles on a bumpy gravel road before you reach the parking lot. Once you get there, it’s about a 15-minute steep walk to the top. You are essentially on a huge grass field surrounded by 356-degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s breathtaking, to say the least.
Max Patch Mountain was super special to Grace and Mike after they had spent a lot of time together there throughout their dating relationship. When they decided to elope, it was the one place they truly wanted to go. They brought along their family and closest friends and booked Airbnb’s in the area.
The day before the elopement, Grace and Mike went to the mountain to scope it out and there were quite literally HUNDREDS of cars lining the road and more than 200 hikers and campers up on the mountain. Understandably so, Max Patch has become such a popular destination for explorers. But seeing all of those people up there really got Mike thinking, “At the end of the day,” he said, “I really just couldn’t see myself sharing one of the most intimate moments of my life with hundreds of strangers.” He just couldn’t do it.
Grace and Mike decided to scratch all of their original plans, and have their North Carolina forest elopement in the front yard of their Airbnb! Surrounded by their closest friends and family it was absolutely perfect! Grace walked to her groom in a silken flowing white dress, no shoes, and the BIGGEST smile on her face! They worshipped, cried, and soaked up every single second.
Two of the sweetest parts of their day were the moments during their ceremony when they read personal vows to each other. This was followed by spending the first minutes of their marriage in worship to our King. The ceremony was so tender as they read their vows, worshipped Jesus, laughed, and cried with all of their people in one place. It was truly a beautiful picture of the love our Father has for us and I’ll never forget it!!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it was truly one of the most special days!! What is your love story? I can’t wait to hear it!
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