Are You Considering a Dolly Sods Elopement?
Updated June 2, 2020.
The Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia is known for its lush grassy meadows and breathtaking vistas. Because of its distinctive landscape, many people are interested in getting married in this region. If you’re in the process of planning a Dolly Sods elopement or wedding, there are a few things you’ll want to know.
The roads to Dolly Sods are currently OPEN. Due to the ongoing pandemic issue, people are asked to limit their group sizes to no more than 10 . You can check the current status of Dolly Sods and other Monongahela National Forest recreation areas at the USDA Forest Service website.
Know the Weather!
Look at the weather forecast! One of the downsides of getting married in the great outdoors is that you’ll be at the mercy of the weather. There’s no way to guarantee that you won’t have rain, strong winds, or stormy weather on your wedding day. However, you can get a better idea of what to expect by looking at the weather forecast from years past.
In certain months, Dolly Sods gets a lot more rain, while other seasons tend to be a lot drier. It’s worth noting that due to its elevation this area is prone to frosts and freezes at any time of the year. Dolly Sods gets quite a bit of snow in the winter, and FS Rt 75, flanking the eastern side of Dolly Sods, is typically closed to vehicles from January 1 to April 15. If you’re set on planning a winter wedding, you’ll be better served looking at some of the ski resorts in Canaan Valley. By checking the forecast in advance, you’ll be able to find the best possible date for your wedding.
While getting married in a U.S. Wilderness Area might seem unusual, weddings at Dolly Sods are actually quite common. So many people are drawn to the natural beauty the area. A wedding here is unlike a wedding that you could have anywhere else. Planning a wedding here is a lot less difficult than you might think, too!
Even if you’re not sure that you’d like to get married in the Dolly Sods Wilderness, you should look into having your engagement photos taken here. The scenery you’ll find here makes a lovely backdrop for photos, and it can make for engagement photos that are highly memorable. You can even just come up to the area during or after your wedding to do some portraits.
How Much Will it Cost?
Weddings come at a cost, even if you’re going to be eloping. You’ll want to think about what you can reasonably afford to spend on your wedding. From there, you’ll want to see if a wedding in the Dolly Sods Wilderness is something that will fit into your budget.
There are no fees related to having your elopement or wedding at Dolly Sods. With that said, this area doesn’t provide much in the way of amenities either. Dolly Sods Wilderness is definitely a wedding location for those who truly love nature. There are no bathrooms and any food or beverage you want to have will need to be brought along with you.
Where to Stay
If you’ll be having any guests, it’s important to take them into account when planning your elopement. How far are you from Dolly Sods? Will your guests have to travel a long distance if they want to attend your wedding? What are you and your guests going to eat?
The closest town to Dolly Sods Wilderness is Davis, WV. It generally takes a around an hour to travel from Davis to Dolly Sods. If you’re planning on eloping here you need to allow for plenty of transit time. The roads into the wilderness area are gravel, so you can’t blast up the mountain at 60 MPH (unless you like beating the crap out of your car).
Camping is allowed at Dolly Sods, but visitors are cautioned to “leave no trace.” Nearby towns like Davis have a few lodging options such as the Billy Motel, Alpine Lodge, and Bright Morning Inn. The larger Canaan Valley area also has a number of resorts like Canaan Valley Resort and Timberline in case your guest list gets a bit too large for smaller hotels. There are also a few private rentals and Airbnbs in Davis.
Where to Eat
Getting hitched works up an appetite, and luckily the surrounding area has you covered. In Davis, hit up Hellbender Burritos and grab some of those monster burritos, or hit Stumptown Ales and pick up a growler of tasty craft beer from one of WV’s finest breweries to toast after you tie the knot. Farm-Up Truck sometimes parks outside of Stumptown, and they make killer chicken and waffles and sliders.
If you travel to nearby Thomas you can hit up TipTop for breakfast sandwiches and great coffee. The Purple Fiddle has lots of good, organic food options and frequently has live music in the evening. Mountain State Brewing has good beers and a spot to host small receptions.
Choosing the Right Photographer
One of the biggest reasons people choose to get married here is that they want to have stunning wedding photos to look back on. Because of this, you’ll want to be very careful about the photographer you hire for your wedding. You should think about whether or not the professional you’re working with has captured weddings here in the past.
Best Photo Spots
If you work with a photographer that doesn’t know the Dolly Sods area very well, you might miss out on some beautiful photo opportunities. When you’re contacting potential photographers, you should make a point of asking them about weddings they’ve done at Dolly Sods.
If you do opt to get married in this region, you won’t be limited to just one location. There are several spots that make for picture-perfect weddings, but the Bear Rocks Preserve is one of the most popular wedding and elopement locations. Its pine trees, exposed rocks and stunning views make it one of the most gorgeous places to exchange vows in all of West Virginia.
Make sure you take everything into account as you’re planning your elopement. Getting married in the Dolly Sods Wilderness can be a magical experience, and you should try to make the most of the opportunity. Keep the advice above in mind, and your wedding planning should go off without a hitch!