(UPDATED FOR 2024)
Why elope in Alaska?
When it comes to planning a wedding in Alaska, for the majority of us it likely is not the most convenient place to get to. For anyone looking to drive from Miami to Anchorage, that would be nearly 5000 miles on the road! But we’ve driven the Alaska highway ourselves through Canada and beyond and we’re here to tell you that it’s certainly worthwhile for the adventurous couple looking to share an unforgettable experience. We’ve never seen so many herds of wild elk, bison, caribou, black bears, and grizzlies with their cubs! Of course if you don’t have the time to go by road, flying is the most popular option :). So back to the why elope in Alaska. If you are looking for an EPIC ADVENTURE elopement location, Alaska is the perfect place! Alaska is rugged and largely untouched and not nearly as busy as much of the lower 48 states and their National Parks. Here you will find great things to do and places to elope that include glaciers galore, screaming mountain peaks, an ocean filled with puffins and more – offering a diverse array of experiences. There is something so inescapably enchanting about an environment with so few roads where everything need be accessed by foot, boat, or air. Alaska truly lives up to it’s title as the last frontier – a place outdoor lovers would be moved by to get married within.
- Why elope in Alaska?
- Alaska Elopement Planning Checklist
- Top things to do in Alaska for your Elopement
- Where to Elope in Alaska
- Alaska Helicopter Elopement
- What to wear for your Alaska Elopement?
- Alaska Marriage Laws + Permits for Eloping in Alaska
- How much does it cost to elope in Alaska?
- Alaska Elopement Packages
- Alaska Elopement Photographer
Alaska Elopement Planning Checklist
While every elopement is different, they all have the same bones when you first start planning + when you are just about a week out. This guide will for sure help you in planning deeper into your elopement and understanding getting married in Alaska better, but here is a brief checklist you can have to help you stay organized in your planning.
- Decided to elope and the basics (like a specific month or general region of Alaska)
- Book an Adventure Elopement Photographer
- Decided on a more specific area, activity and general plan through planning with elopement photographer.
- Book Travel – stay, flights, rental car
- Attire Shopping
- Book any other vendors you may need (hair, makeup, florist, chef, etc)
- Apply for Marriage License
- Write Vows
- Arrive + Relax
- ENJOY YOUR FREAKING DREAM WEDDING DAY!
Now that you have the bones, let’s dive into it!
Top things to do in Alaska for your Elopement
Alaska is home to some of the most epic and biggest adventures. If you’re a couple who loves exploring the outdoors, then Alaska is a haven for almost every activity you can imagine. These are some of the awesome things to consider including on your elopement day or during your trip in Alaska:
- Ice climbing
- Rock Climbing
- Glacier Hiking
- Kayaking around glaciers
- Whale watching tours
- Sailboat rides // small personal boat tours
- Helicopter tours/ride
- Float plane ride
- A Small plane ride to your elopement location
- Fly Fishing
- Hiking in the untouched backcountry
- Backpacking with no one around
- Dog Sledding
- Visiting a reindeer farm
- Soaking in hot springs
- Going rafting
- Star gazing
- See the Northern lights
- Alaska Scenic Train Ride
- Polar Plunge
In some situations your activity on your elopement day may determine or help you decide your elopement location. For example, if you feel strongly about seeing whales as apart of your elopement day experience then you will likely elope in Seward, AK over Palmer.
Where to Elope in Alaska
Being the last frontier in the United States it is for sure top state to consider for your elopement, full of awe inspiring beauty. Alaska is HUGE, for perspective you could fit two of Texas into Alaska. So, where do you pick for your elopement? Below is a map of some of the places to consider. But let’s explore the top 5 locations in further depth….
Kenai Fjords National Park
Alaska has 8 National Parks! That is second only to the state of California. So while eloping in Yosemite or having a Joshua Tree wedding are magical in their own right, there really is no place even close to Alaska in terms of the enchanting solitude and seemingly endless natural landscape! Kenai, is for sure one of our favorites and offers a ton of things to do and see for your elopement. When Bill + I first started planning our own elopement, this was the first location on our list for consideration. While we ended up eloping in Mt. Rainier National Park on our very own wonderland trail backpacking trip, we are so glad we got the chance to visit Kenai Fjords a few years later. The park is home to 40 different glaciers, with the most known in the area being Exit Glacier. It’s true for all of Alaska really, but when it comes to getting close and personal with glaciers, this park does not disappoint! It is so stunning and the first on the list because it has it all – mountains, water, glaciers and a ton to do! If you elope here you may want to consider staying in Seward which is not too far from Anchorage, but you will most definitely need to rent a car. For more information on visiting the park and planning your wedding here/permit information you need to visit the National Park’s website.
Where to stay in Seward?
This dreamy cabin is cozy and perfect for a just you two elopement! We love the double shower and tub for romantic getting ready content on your elopement day and the beautiful woodsy outdoor space, perfect for a first look! Be mindful that the weather in Alaska as a whole has a tendency to be a bit unpredictable and Seward itself is surrounded by beautiful Pacific Temperate Rainforest.
When to elope in Kenai Fjords?
This park is open year round, but due to weather conditions the best time to elope here would be June, July or August. To avoid crowds you could elope during “shoulder” season and consider late May or early September.
This is a 51 mile road road with amazing views and connections to awesome trails showcasing mountains, meadows and lakes. The closest town to stay in would be Palmer, AK. This location is perfect if you are wanting a hiking elopement. Some trails we recommend considering would be Reed Lakes, April Bowl and/or Gold Mint Trail. This is a very popular elopement location, but for good reason with its amazing views, to avoid crowds I would recommend a weekday or sunrise elopement pending what location you pick. The area is over 200 acres so it is easy to find your own little perfect nook. If you want to photograph with the iconic red A-frames you do need to book a stay there to do that. Outside of hiking you can also go parasailing on your elopement day here in the right conditions.
Where to stay in Palmer?
This luxury, classic farm stay is super beautiful and spacious. It has two bedrooms if you plan to elope with yourselves and a couple of other people! We love the kitchen, it is just waiting for you two to cook up breakfast together or dinner on your elopement day!
When to elope at Hatcher Pass?
All year Hatcher Pass can be pretty chilly. Even in the summer the highs aren’t above 58 degrees. We would recommend eloping here June to early/mid September.
Denali National Park
Probably the most well known National Park and one of the most beautiful peaks in the US! The closest town is Fairbanks, AK. There is only one road running through the park and it is 92 miles long! There are many trails here where you can be high up looking down on peaks/valleys or you can hike and have the mountain towering above you. During your time here, you are bound to run into some wildlife like bear or moose. We defiantly recommend getting up close and personal with this mountain on a flight tour! For more information on visiting the park and permits for a wedding in the park you need to visit the National Park’s website.
Where to stay in Fairbanks?
This large luxury cabin has it all for your elopement with guests! It is complete with a hot tub, suana, spacious rooms, including 8 beds and a super cute claw tub!
When to elope in Denali National Park?
The best months are July, August and September. The best time to see the Northern Lights is from late August to early April. There are key factors here – a dark and a clear sky. Fairbanks is known for being the best option for seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska!
KATMAI NATIONAL PARK
This is the 4th largest National Park in the US coming in at 40 million acres! This park is home to a lot of bears. This park has a lot of diverse and unique landscapes, making it a super fun place to explore and elope at! If you are considering this for your elopement location it is super important to know that you can not drive here – you can access this park by boat, plane or seaplane! The park has a stunning coast line, river access with bear viewing, a volcano you can visit from the air or with guides and so much more! For more information on planning your trip here and getting a wedding/special use permit please visit the parks website!
Where to stay for your elopement in Katamai National Park?
Since you can not drive here it raises the question about stay! You can stay inside of the park at Brooks Lodge. Or you can stay in Anchorage and do tours from town, avoiding the need to rent a car in Alaska, which can be expensive.
This cute chalet in Anchorage is darling with two bed rooms and looks like a lovely space to spend time and a great location to base out of for all of your adventures/tours!
If you are open to renting a car or a further drive out of the city and have guests coming to your elopement we recommend this stunning stay complete with a suana and beautiful mountain views. This spacious modern cabin is one you will not want to leave.
Kachemak Bay State Park
Last, but not least on the list for sure is Kachemak Bay State park, near Seldovia, AK. Really, we could put 100 locations on this list, but that is what the map above is for 🙂 This is another location only accessible by boat or plane. Are you catching a theme for Alaska elopement locations yet? The best activity to do here is by far kayaking around the bay and seeing the glaciers, otters and bald eagles! The park has stunning trails ranging from to eight miles making for the perfect adventure for your ceremony.
Best place to stay for Kachemak Bay State Park?
Same as the previous location, you can stay closer or you can stay in Anchorage. This home on Airbnb is named one of the best in the state! It can house up to 10 people, is right on the water and has all you would need for your trip!
Another option would be to stay in Homer, AK. This cabin in Homer has a hot tub and great overall outdoor space to have dinner after your elopement. The entire is cozy and I doubt you wont love thsoe mountain views!
When is the best time to visit?
You guessed it, the BEST time to visit is in the Summer months! You can still come here on shoulder season though! The best time to see whales in this area is June + July!
Alaska Helicopter Elopement
It is no secret that some of the best places in Alaska are only accessed via aircraft for an overhead view, but for also just getting there! Alaska is probably the best location in the United States for a helicopter elopement!
Tips for booking/doing a helicopter elopement:
- Read reviews of the company you are considering booking
- Do not book via email – call + talk to them, make sure you understand everything you are booking and what the logistics look like.
- If you get motion sickness pack dramamine.
- Your photographer (HEY!!!) will need to fly with you for the best coverage. Most small aircraft will need to know the weight of all guests and items being brought so be sure to know weight of them and their camera gear.
- Make sure you have extra time in your timeline for checking in and going over the safety on top of the flight time.
Helicopter Tours for your Elopement in Alaska:
- Seward Helicopters – This company offers quick tours with landings and overnight tours where you can stay near Bear Glacier. Outside of flight tours they also offer glacier dog sledding experience.
- Alaska Helicopter Tours – This company can fly for an elopement for just you two or up to 50 people with their tours! They even include chocolate covered strawberries for their wedding flights! Packages on their website start at $700.
- Alpine Air Alaska – This company is based in Girwood, AK. Their packages for a wedding are offered by time and include a 90 minute tour, a half day tour and a full day tour.
- Temsco Tours – They have several locations and tours in Alaska, what I find most exciting is their tour that lands on a glacier in Denali!
- Outbound Heli – Outbound is based in Palmer, Alaska and will take you anywhere you want to go. They fly everyday and work closely with eloping couples. They have a 5 seater which is perfect if you book us for photo + video and also smaller ones that carry just 3 people.
What to wear for your Alaska Elopement?
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, Alaska is cold. Alaska is also actually apart of the Pacific Northwest region, so like Washington, it can be super rainy and gray! So first let’s start with items that will be important to pack for an Alaskan Elopement:
- rainboots or the popular shoe in Alaska, Xtratuf Boots
- bear spray if you plan to do much hiking in wilderness or camping
- bug spray
- sunglasses (glaciers are bright! lol)
- sunscreen (in the summer there are days with 24 hours of sunlight!)
- an outer layer you do not mind being photographed in
- AND of course, all of your WEDDING items! (ie – vow books, gifts, attire, etc)
Now, what makes a perfect Alaskan Elopement Dress?
Eloping in Alaska means you are probably for sure going on an adventure no matter if it is hiking, exploring the ice on ropes or going in a helicopter you need a dress that works for adventure! I recommend something lightweight – this is good for a flight, being able to move and if it gets wet from rain it wont be super heavy. I also recommend something flowy, for those epic top of the mountain windy shots, but also for ease in mobility! One of our favorite recommendations who can make a dress custom for you that would be perfect for Alaska would be Daci Gowns. When wedding dress shopping keep in mind the temperatures, you might want to consider a dress with sleeves or that you can easily add layers under/over.
Grooms attire for Alaska Wedding:
The fun thing about grooms attire is you get more color choice options, do not shy away from it here in Alaska. The colors most common in the background of your elopement will be white, gray, blue, green and black. If you are eloping in the fall you can also get some orange and reds. Sure you can go with a black, gray or navy suit, but what about a deep purple? Or a burnt red color?
Same as the bride advice, be sure you can add layers as needed under your suit. Also, make sure your pants have some stretch if you plan to do any bigger adventures! We recommend shopping at Indochino.
Alaska Marriage Laws + Permits for Eloping in Alaska
How much does it cost to get married in Alaska?
It cost $60 to get married in Alaska – this cost is for the application for your marriage license. It is an additional $30 if you want a record of your certificate of marriage after the officiant has mailed your documents back to the office after your wedding. Once you obtain your marriage license you have up to 3 months to use it, after that you will need to apply again. You can apply online here.
Can you get married same day in Alaska?
No, you can not get married in Alaska the same day that you receive your marriage license. The state of Alaska has a three day waiting period. So you must wait three days to get married after getting the document. This is very important, so plan ahead when making your travel and plans!
What do you need to get married in Alaska?
To get married in Alaska you need an Alaskan marriage license, an officiant (this is included in our services) and one witness to sign (also included!).
Can you get married in Alaska without being a resident?
No, you do not need to live in Alaska to get married in Alaska. You do not even need to be a US Citizen to get married in Alaska – this also depends on what country you are from though, so be sure to check your local countries laws too!
Do I need a permit to elope in Alaska?
You probably do need a special use permit to get elope in Alaska, but this depends on what location you choose. A permit is for the act of getting married on the land, this is completely different from the marriage license. Obtaining permit information is something we help with during the planning process. Permits can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 pending location and group size. To get a permit you need to contact the corresponding land management permit officer.
How much does it cost to elope in Alaska?
I would say an elopement in Alaska all in can cost between $9k to $30k+. This all depends, like all elopements, on what your elopement experience is like and if you have guests or not. Budgeting for an elopement look so different for everyone! These are the items you need to consider when deciding what your own elopement in Alaska may cost:
- Stay ($1000 – 5000)
- Travel (flight, car, food, etc)
- Dress / Suit
- Officiant (included in our cost, but you can expect to pay between $400-1500 if you are hiring one)
- Video if you plan to hire that (We offer it as an add on to our packages!)
- Marriage Paper work ($60-96)
- Misc (decor, vow books, gear you may need that you do not already have, etc)
- For more involved elopements you may also need a planner or day of coordinator
How to Get to Alaska?
Travel to Alaska for sure effects the cost of your elopement. The main area you might fly into for an elopement in Alaska is Anchorage. This is a major airport and flying with Alaska Airlines may be the cheapest way to fly in since they have a hub there. The other option – though a longer travel idea – would be to arrive via Ferry from Washington.
Cruises are very popular from Seattle to Alaska. You could take a cruise ship over, let that aspect be your honeymoon, and elope on one of the days off of the ship. Be sure this works with the cruise itinerary and plans before booking.
Secondly, a rental can be expensive in Alaska, so plan ahead for that and don’t forget to check Turo as well as your general rental car options.
You can also drive to Alaska via the Alaskan Highway. We have done this drive before and we can tell you it is not for the week hearted nomads lol….the road is by far one of the worst roads we have driven. On top of the route being extremely remote. The awesome thing about the drive through is the chance to see things like buffalo, bears, moose, deer and caribou. Depending on your route you may pass by Jasper National Park, Banff National Park or some awesome hot springs. Driving to Alaska takes more time, but can be cheaper and a fun way to travel together for your wedding!
Alaska Elopement Packages
Our Adventure Elopement packages are based on years of experience capture epic days in the wild built around our couples relationship. As elopement photographers, we specialize in big adventure elopements – from backpacking, to multi-day, multi-adventure elopements. Our elopement days are packed with activity, joy, intention and emotion. We are both ordained and offer photo, video and assistance in planning your dream elopement and configure the logistics to bring it to life. Our packages start at $7300 for a half day elopement and we offer up to multi-day elopement celebration packages. Our packages are perfect for couples who maybe want a small adventure and time with the family or want a multi-day or multi-excursion events in the backcountry.
We are based in Washington State, so we only travel to Alaska once or twice a year. Right now for the 2024 season we are available in Alaska August 27-30th and September 1-2 and 9-11th. For more on our availability check out our home page or just reach out!
Here is one of our past eloping couples said about about working with us:
Monica + Sam
“Traci and Bill are both so warm and genuine, there is no doubt that they truly want to get to know you as a couple and help you create an elopement experience that is truly authentic to your relationship. Every time we met with them over Zoom to brainstorm ideas, we were amazed at all of their knowledge and pure passion for their work. From helping us narrow down a location based on the general ideas we had, to suggestions of activities we could fill the day with, to recommending vendors for hair and makeup, flowers, private chefs, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., Traci and Bill have it all covered…Traci frequently checked in with us to make sure we were doing okay and to see if we needed any help with planning. I never imagined that planning an elopement to a place we’d never been from across the country could be so stress free!
The day of our elopement was an absolute DREAM. Traci made sure that we did every single one of the activities on our list, without making us feel rushed at any point in time. They gave us the space and freedom to truly enjoy every moment of our day together (both spontaneous and planned). Traci and Bill are truly a power couple (I swear they can read each other’s minds)… they work together seamlessly to capture every candid and intimate moment without anything feeling staged or overdone.
And the final products… our highlight video and gallery were both breathtaking. They captured every moment of our day so perfectly… the artistic vision behind each image and the way Bill wove our personal vows together in our video… we don’t have the words to describe how incredible it is. Working with Adventure and Vow was a 10 out of 10, 5 star experience…if you’re considering an elopement, you can’t go wrong with Traci and Bill!”
Alaska Elopement Photographer
Hi-Ya, we are Bill + Traci, an elopement photographer team that thrives off of epic adventures out in the wild. We ourselves eloped on a 76 mile backpacking trip around Mount Rainier. We do not shy away from the big adventures or the small intimate moments life has to offer.
Our first trip to Alaska was so incredible and we can see why any couple would want to elope there! From the mind-blowing glacier tours, to the raw back country, the joys of seeing wildlife and relaxing on the seas. Alaska is truly an outdoor lovers dream location.
We love helping our couples craft their dream elopement day to start off their marriages. We are with our couples every step of the way when planning their elopement and on the big day to make sure they have the best experience they can. We work in Alaska during the Summer to early Fall months and look forward to connecting with you!!!