The Ultimate Alaska Elopement Guide | Alaska Elopement Packages
Thinking about an Alaska elopement? This guide has all the info you need to plan your perfect elopement day!
- The Ultimate Alaska Elopement Guide | Alaska Elopement Packages
- Where does an elopement photographer go to elope? Alaska!
- 5 Reasons why you should elope in Alaska
- How to elope in Alaska: marriage laws and licenses
- What to do for your Alaska elopement
- What’s the best time of year to elope in Alaska?
- Where can I elope in Alaska?
- 25 Best places to elope in Alaska
- What to wear for your Alaska elopement
- Alaska Elopement Packages
Where does an elopement photographer go to elope? Alaska!
After photographing so many other couples eloping, when it was finally my turn to plan my own elopement, I knew it had to be something completely epic!
My partner and I truly love our home state of Colorado, but we wanted some adventurous, fun, and completely unforgettable. We ultimately decided on a helicopter elopement in Alaska, and we are so happy we did! It was truly the best day ever.
After doing plenty of research and planning this Alaskan helicopter elopement for ourselves, I feel like I’m in a unique position to help other couples planning the same type of day. Whether you want to do an epic hike, multi-day backpacking trip, or your own heli elopement, this post has everything you need for planning your elopement day!
5 Reasons why you should elope in Alaska
- Unbelievable landscapes! Everyone wants a gorgeous backdrop for their elopement, and it’s hard to beat the scenery Alaska has to offer. Look in one direction and you’ll see lush, greenery covered mountains that resemble those of Kauai. Look in another direction and you’ll see icebergs and glaciers. It’s truly a unique place.
- Adventure or Accessible – it’s your choice! One of the great things about Alaska is that you can choose whether you want an adventurous location, or an accessible one, or both (helicopter elopement, anyone?)
- But it’s still domestic. There are few places in the US that look as epic as Alaska but with all the ease of traveling domestically as compared to international travel. And travel aside, there are the legalities of getting married in a foreign country to consider. If you want to avoid all that headache, but still have the type of epic landscape that you’ll find in some amazing international locations, Alaska is a great choice for you!
- Way less crowds. Alaska is known as the last frontier–and for good reason! It’s a sprawling and vast place that has plenty left to be discovered. It also sees a lot less crowds than many other places in the US. While visiting, we had some locations all to ourselves that we knew would be packed if it was a spot back home in Colorado. This is one of the many awesome things Alaska has to offer.
- A great honeymoon destination at the same time! One of the perks of having an adventurous elopement in a location away from where you live is that you can spend some extra time enjoying that location while you honeymoon. Having personally spent our honeymoon in Alaska, I can tell you that it’s a great choice! Whether you want to spend your honeymoon on awesome adventures or relaxing on a cruise or at a resort, there are lots of options to choose from!
How to elope in Alaska: marriage laws and licenses
In order to get married in Alaska, you’ll first need to complete a marriage license application and return it to one of the Vital Records offices in either Anchorage or Juneau or to an Alaskan court.
In order to file the marriage license application, you must meet the following requirements:
- Both parties must have a valid government issued form of identification such as a driver’s license or passport.
- Both parties must be 18 or older (with certain exceptions for younger adults with written parental consent)
- Present records of previous marriage and divorce if previously married
The cost to file a marriage license application is $60. There is a 3 business day waiting period, meaning that you have to wait 3 business days from the time you submit your marriage license application until the time you can pick up your marriage license from the Vital Records office or Alaskan court.
Once your marriage license is issued and picked up, you have 90 days to use it, after which you must reapply.
On your Alaska elopement or wedding day, you’ll complete the marriage license certificate. You will need an officiant AND two witnesses. You hire an officiant if you choose, or you can actually have a friend or family member apply for a one-time license to marry you in Alaska. Check out the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) website for more information.
If you’re planning to elope just the two of you, remember that your vendors (such as your Alaska elopement photographer) can always sign as a witness! I’ve even had couples ask other hikers or random passers by to sign as a witness, which they are always thrilled to do!
After you complete your marriage license, you must file it with the state. You can order your formal marriage certificate which shows your marriage has been registered with the state of Alaska for an additional $30. Typically this will be needed for things like insurance or name changes.
What to do for your Alaska elopement
While technically your Alaska elopement could just consist of going down to the courthouse, many people choose to celebrate their elopement with an adventure or other fun excursion.
I’ve listed out a few of the more popular or fun ways to spend your elopement day.
Planning a helicopter elopement in Alaska
Helicopter elopements in Alaska are very popular, and this was actually what we chose to do for our own elopement! We used Alaska Helicopter Tours, which left from the Knik River Lodge Palmer, Alaska area, and they were fantastic. The pilot took us to locations with absolutely amazing views.
There are several other providers in Alaska, however, such as Alpine Air Alaska, Seward Helicopters, and Temsco Helicopters. There are also companies that offer similar tours via small planes or floater planes. I have seen some epic elopements with these companies as well!
One of the biggest reasons that couples choose helicopter elopements is that they offer such great bang for your buck in terms of what you get to see for the effort it takes. For our own helicopter elopement, which was a 4 hour tour, we landed on a mountainside, then on a glacier, went on to an ice wall next, and then finally made a quick stop at a waterfall. And that’s to say nothing of the incredible scenery we saw from the helicopter itself! As a bonus, we sighted a bear and some moose as we flew from one stop to another!
When we landed on the mountainside, I was telling my partner and the pilot how astonishing it was, because normally we have to hike for hours and hours to get to a view like this. And instead the pilot just plopped us onto the side of the mountain! We said our vows to each other at this incredible spot without sweating a drop!
Of course, helicopter excursions aren’t the most cost effective way to see Alaska, and if you’re bringing guests, it can add up quickly. However, if you’re saving costs by foregoing a traditional wedding, you may have the budget for something like this. This is exactly what we did, and I can say it was 100% worth it.
If you have questions about planning a helicopter elopement in Alaska or want to get started, reach out! I can give you all the scoop about this epic elopement option!
Hiking elopement in Alaska
Alaska has a ton of hiking options at all skill levels!
I will say that many of the best hikes I’ve seen are on the more challenging side, and trails tend to be a bit more overgrown/less maintained than my home state of Colorado. But on the other hand, they are also MUCH less crowded! Perfect for an Alaskan hiking elopement!
Backpacking elopement in Alaska
If you want to step your hiking elopement up a notch, consider a backpacking elopement! Our 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip was one of our favorite excursions in Alaska.
This is one of the best ways to see some of the stunning and secluded scenery, like this epic lake below that we had all to ourselves for hours in Alaska.
Scenic Drive elopement in Alaska
If you’re looking for a more relaxed option for your elopement day, but still want the epic views, consider one of Alaska’s many scenic drives such as these:
- Hatcher Pass
- Denali Park Road
- Portage Glacier, Portage Valley, and Whittier Tunnel Drive
- Exit Glacier Road
- Old Glenn Scenic Highway
- Eklutna Lake Area
- Arctic Valley Road
- Matanuska Glacier Scenic Drive
- Turnagain Arm Drive
Iceberg Kayaking elopement in Alaska
After our helicopter elopement excursion, our iceberg kayaking trip from Seward was our next favorite adventure. We used Liquid Adventures in Seward and they provided a truly epic trip for us. We opted for the four hour trip (although I wish we would have done 8 hours!), where we started in a jet boat in Seward and first traveled to an island like strip of land (called a moraine) in Kenai Fjords National Park. We then got into our dry suits and kayaks to paddle for a couple hours around the icebergs.
It was truly magical and would make for a very special elopement day.
Other adventure elopement options
Why stop at this list? You can literally do anything you can think of on your elopement day! If you and your partner love to fish, consider a fly-fishing excursion for your day! How about visiting multiple craft breweries? Alaska has plenty to offer!
The options are endless! Check out more inspiration in this guide to planning your adventure elopement!
What’s the best time of year to elope in Alaska?
Of course the question “What’s the best time of year to elope in Alaska?” is a relative one. The answer depends on what your preferences are!
Many people that don’t live in Alaska are surprised to learn how short the “summer” season is. Conditions start to resemble summer in late May; however there is quite a bit of variability.
July is usually the warmest and has the most wildflowers; however, it’s important to note how quickly the weather can change in Alaska. It might be sunny and warm one hour, and the next hour the low hanging clouds move in and are covering all the mountains within sight. It’s one of the most unpredictable weather environments I’ve ever experienced. And don’t forget about the midnight sun in the summertime! Long hours of daylight means extra time to spend exploring and enjoying your day.
August tends to be more rainy than June or July, and the fall colors are starting to turn by mid to late August.
September (and even into October) is when the fall colors really start to shine and give some beautiful contrast against the blue of the mountains. The weather starts to get even more crazy at this time, so be prepared for all conditions!
If you’re one of the brave souls who wants a snowy winter elopement, your best bet is to go during late winter such as January, February, or March, as October through December snows vary so much from year to year.
Finally, similar to the weather here in Colorado, I usually don’t recommend a spring elopement. This is typically “mud season” when in some areas the snow is melting and conditions are not ideal. And those wanting warmer weather could be disappointed by a late spring snow. If you want warmer conditions, I recommend waiting a few months until June or even better, July. And if you do want winter conditions, going a little earlier is a much better bet.
The weather in Alaska can vary by region! See a breakdown of annual average high/low temperatures, hours of sunlight, and number of rainy days per month by each region here!
Having a backup plan
As you can see, Alaska is not a place of predictability. As an elopement photographer, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a backup plan, or even multiple backup plans. Scrambling at the last minute to figure out what to do if a road is closed or otherwise just isn’t how you want to spend the morning of your elopement day. Advance planning here will give you a lot of peace of mind even if you don’t end up needing your backup options.
Even more important than a backup plan though is a flexible attitude. No matter the weather, if you have a good attitude, your elopement day will be awesome!
Where can I elope in Alaska?
Alaska has a lot of different options for different types of scenery–whether you want to get married on a glacier, near the ocean, on a mountaintop, or in a forest.
Where you elope will depend on things like what time of year you go, what activity you want to do (hike, helicopter, etc.), and how far in advance you’re planning.
A word on permits
Many places in Alaska, such as the National or State Park lands, require having what’s called a Special Use Permit to get married there. Rules for these types of permits can change at any time, and in some cases require a LOT of advance planning. Always do your research (or get help from your elopement photographer) when it comes to figuring out the necessary permits.
25 Best places to elope in Alaska
Have your Alaska Glacier elopement on the Knik Glacier via helicopter! Get more info above in the section on Alaska Helicopter Elopements.
Hatcher Pass Lodge
Haines State Forest
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Katmai National Park
Orca Island Cabins
Find more info on the Orca Island cabins here.
Denali National Park
Portage Pass Trail
Get more info on this trail here!
Kenai Fjords National Park
Find info on special use permits for weddings in Kenai Fjords National Park here.
Eagle River Nature Center
Get more info on renting the facilities at Eagle River Nature Center for your small wedding or elopement here.
Grewingk Glacier Lake
Hatcher Pass Lake
Getting to this lake requires a 2 night backpacking excursion from Hatcher Pass, some of which is through a bit of rough terrain–not for the faint of heart! The last part of the hike to the lake is an unnamed and unmarked trail, with very little information available about it online. If you’re interested in backpacking to this lake for your elopement, get in touch! I’d love to help you plan your Alaska elopement!
Turnagain View Lodge
More info on weddings at the Turnagain View Lodge here!
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Check out more info on Bison Hall weddings at the AWCC here!
Glacier Bay National Park
Find info on special use permits for weddings in Glacier Bay National Park here.
Map of best places to elope in Alaska
What to wear for your Alaska elopement
When it comes to dressing for your Alaska elopement, I cannot recommend layers enough! Your extremities will get cold first, so definitely remember your warm socks (plus an extra pair), hats, gloves/mittens, and scarves. Nude colored, fleece lined leggings are also a great thing to wear under a wedding dress. And of course, don’t forget your rain jacket!
This guide to hiking elopements has great information about what to wear for outdoor elopements and when it comes to footwear, check out this guide on wedding hiking boots, including some of my favorite choices!
Alaska Elopement Packages
Based on my experience, especially with elopements and microweddings, couples need more than just a photographer.
Unlike with a traditional wedding, you may not have a venue coordinator or wedding planner helping you think through logistics, locations, or all the little details that really add up!
I don’t just show up and take photos on your day. I’ll be here for you every step of the way.
I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a photographer. What makes me different is that my number one goal is to be here for YOU–not just as your elopement photographer… but as your elopement partner to help you create the epic day your love story deserves!
All of my Alaska Elopement Packages include:
- Elopement & Micro wedding VIP Planning Guide exclusively for Wild and Found couples
- Questionnaires to help you through the planning process
- Personalized location assistance
- Local vendor recommendations
- Logistics help and a custom timeline
- Gear and day-of checklists customized for your day
- More one-on-one planning help
- Assistance with wedding permit if needed
- Cost of photo permit included
- More one-on-one planning help
- An entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media
- The rights to print, share, and download all of your images
- A sneak peek of 5 images with 24 hours
- PLUS a 20% off discount on prints, albums, canvas art, etc. for your first order
The Ultimate Full Day Alaska Elopement Package
Perfect for an epic “just us” adventure and every unforgettable moment in between.
Includes 12 hours of photo coverage
Includes a 1 hour complimentary day-after photo session in a nearby location.
8 Hour Alaska Elopement Package
The best choice for capturing memories of your entire elopement day, from getting ready through your celebration.
Includes 8 hours of photo coverage.
Includes a 1 hour complimentary day-after photo session in a nearby location.
4 Hour Alaska Elopement Package
Best suited for covering the highlight moments of your elopement day.
Includes 4 hours of photo coverage.
It costs $60 to elope in Alaska for the marriage license application fee, plus $30 for the license itself
Yes, you need two witnesses and an officiant to elope in Alaska.
Yes, you need an officiant and two witnesses to elope in Alaska.
Are you planning an elopement in Alaska?
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Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!
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