Alaska Backpacking Elopement

A couple holds hands and walks towards their tent on their wedding night.

Lillian + Bryce’s Backpacking Elopement in Alaska

Lillian + Bryce from our first call together knew exactly how they wanted to get married. Sharing an adventure doing something they love as both a couple and as individuals. Getting out in the back country and exchanging their vows on a backpacking trip. As two local Alaskans, the outdoors has been greatly a part of their relationship. From their first date being a hike to the many backpacking trips and the exploring of the National Parks together. They wanted to backpack and get marred on Crow’s Pass, a very stunning + popular hiking destination in the Chugach Forest. Fitting, as their first date was also in the Chugach range and a hike that had been on their bucket list for some time. However, this year’s late snow caused concern for the river crossing on the trail for their wedding day. We picked a back up location to a glacier melted lake surrounded by a beautiful peak and pristine privacy.

Day 1 – Hiking in + The Elopement Ceremony

We set out, one day earlier than planned due to a storm system projected to come into the mountains in our best efforts to avoid the rain. The point to point trail being in more wilderness meant it was to be less trafficked. We spent time early on in the trail working on ways to cross the river safely since many of the bridges were out. Lillian + Bryce pushed through easily, working together, eyeing up the trail and supporting each other – another key part of their relationship from achieving their goals to supporting each other in their own individual expeditions. Once we were past all of the water crossings, we were pushing through thick lush greenery. As we hiked along Lillian told us the name of most of the plants. The Devil’s Paw plant was wildly impressive with how tall it was sometimes towering over us. Once we made it out of the tree line we were in a 360 view of the mountains, not a soul in sight. As we trekked up in elevation, while route finding, we passed plenty of moose and bear tracks.

After crossing a stunning area of peaks and lush meadow of reindeer lichen we made it to camp. The lake was so beautiful with it’s stunning blue and massive peak surrounding it with with some snow still left from the winter. We were greeted by a family of mountain goats way higher up on the peak. Lillian + Bryce found the perfect spot for camp and set up their tent as the rain came in. We checked the forecast on our satellite phones to determine when might be the best time for them to share their ceremony. It looked like their would be a pocket of no rain in about an hour from then, so we waited while eating dinner huddled down in our tents.

Once the rain stopped they each got ready – Bryce by a rock off in the distance, Lillian in their tent. As the rain started to trickle back into our little pocket of the mountain, Bryce waited facing the lake to see Lillian in her dress for the first time. They shared their first look in the absolute privacy of the remote mountains, a dream like moment. Lillian did a twirl to show off her favorite part of the dress – the tassels in the back!

They held their ceremony by the water on a little rock cliff. While Bill officiated the ceremony, they shared their vows privately. Even though it was raining, it didn’t seem like it was as time just stood still for a minute, feeling like nothing else existed except their love for each other. They shared their first kiss in the rain – a real life The Notebook moment and a cheer of excitement for becoming husband and wife!! Before we took shelter in our tents for the night from the increasing rainfall, we captured a few portraits to soak in the moment.

Day 2 – Hiking Out from Camp

We woke up from our tents just a little past dawn – first up refilling waters + making breakfast! After we packed up our gear, ready for the hike ahead we set out. The first leg of the days hike was the steepest part of the trail, 2000 feet of gain in only 1 mile. We took it slow, gladly for our legs, but also to take in the incredible view of overlooking the lake and surrounding peaks. It was fun to see where they had gotten married and camped from above. Once we made it to the top it was smooth sailing the rest of the way, mostly down hill. The wind at the top of the ridge must have been over 60 mph! Now that we were on another ridge, no longer in a valley, we had all new views and sights before us for the days hike.

A photo of the couple looking back on where they got married below.

We passed snow patches, water crossings, braided streams and gorgeous views. We stopped along the way to see the wild flowers and to check the map. Lillian has a love for maps and enjoyed pointing out the different peaks, finding exactly where we were and checking out other potential trails for the future. We took our time on the trail back, as the rain had stopped and we were making great time. Lillian + Bryce changed back into their wedding attire for more portraits along the Powerline trail by a beautiful river and peaks in the background.

As we neared the end of the trail, we had our eyes open for Lillian’s mom who was bringing their pup, Yeti, to meet them. Yeti was so excited to see his parents! At first he was curious with the dress and the cameras, but truly just a stoked little pup. We finished out the trail with him as he stopped in puddles and hop skipped along. Once we reached the end of the trail the sun was peaking through the clouds from time to time. Now that the rain had stopped and we were back at the comfort of our vehicles, we took the moment to fill out the official paperwork for their marriage!

Lillian and Bryce’s backpacking adventure wedding is the type of experience that we yearn to capture here at Adventure and Vow. Sure, when most people envision setting out from the comfort of their daily lives to explore the quiet beauty of the back country, we’re dreaming of warm nights and sun filled skies. But the magnetism of an authentic moment is the true unpredictability that lies in a moment that is unique in our lives. With the vision of sharing their vows in the mountains and promising their lives to one another, a little rain wasn’t going to put a damper on their day. They set out for something real and together embraced what nature gave them. Lillian and Bryce’s love for each other shined through the cloud covered skies and sets the mood for this adventurous couples lives. No matter the situation, they’ll be there smiling hand in hand ready for the beautiful mystery headed their way :).

Day 3 – Reception with loved ones in Anchorage

While originally their family and friends were going to also meet them at the end of the trail, we shifted things around some due to the predicted weather. While when we exited we ended up with a segment of no rain, it is a good thing we made the change as the wind was howling. Instead, we celebrated with loved ones at the BBQ they had planned the following day. Bryce told us later that day he was glad we made the change as moving up the hike by a day gave them time to rest, reset and really get to enjoy the time with everyone for the BBQ. We met at a near by park with a lake and beautiful views for group photos before heading to their BBQ. The venue was an Airbnb with beautiful flowers, a lovely kitchen for family members to help make the cocktail pitchers and a cozy setting for a fire + smore’s. They had one mixed drink for Bryce’s favorite cocktail and Lillians – Blackberry Bourbon Smash and Coconut Pineapple Punch. As they ate dinner, Bryce’s dad gifted the newly weds something he had been saving and creating since Bryce was born – a book of milestones in his life. Lillian said she was also given a gift as Taylor Swift dropped a new album on their wedding day, one of her favorite artist! They shared with their guests the sneak peek images from the backpacking trip and they shared the story of their day – loved ones in awe. Bryce told us that he loves that you can see how wet their jackets are in the ceremony photos from the rain. As friends and family ate + chatted, they also filled out a fun cross word puzzle the couple had put together with questions about them and their relationship – the answers were the words in the puzzle. Before the evening ended Lillian and Bryce cut one of the many home made pies Lillian’s mom had made for dessert. They cut their favorite, Strawberry Rhubarb, and shared the first piece as newly weds!! It was an intimate and joyous way to celebrate their union with those that they love.