Y’all…we finally did it! After almost 4 years of helping all our couples plan their wedding and elopement days, we finally had our very own Alaska elopement. Our day was sweet, intimate, full of happy tears, and adventurous – a perfect reflection of who we are as a couple and the life we have been building together. We couldn’t have dreamed up a better way to kickstart our marriage!
I’ll be real, though. Being on the other side of planning an elopement was a strange – and sometimes stressful – experience. Despite having helped so many other couples plan their elopement days, we found that some of the decisions that are easiest to help our couples with were the hardest choices to make for ourselves, especially when it came to settling on a location. And even once we had decided on Alaska, narrowing it down to just one small part of a very massive state was such a tough decision to make!
We also had our share of logistical challenges that were made even more complex thanks to the pandemic – we learned that lodging in Alaska books up fast, we learned the importance of having a flexible day-of schedule thanks to the ever-changing early summer weather, and we learned that finding a rental car in June amidst the rental car shortage is tough.
But all things considered, everything came together beautifully. Our experience eloping in Alaska solidified our belief that eloping is the best way to get married, hands down. We spent the morning in our treehouse-style cabin, getting ready just the two of us (and our amazing photographers, more on them later!). After a tearful first look, we explored some glaciers via Alaska’s best mode of transportation – helicopter! Then we spent the afternoon hiking in the Chugach Mountains with our five best friends for our ceremony. We wrapped up the evening by heading back to our AirBnb for homemade burgers and a late night hot tub soak.
It was literally the best day of our lives.
Throughout the planning process we got asked why we chose to elope in Alaska all. The. Time. Leading up to our elopement, our answer was kind of a long one. Our relationship was founded on travel and adventure. We took our first getaway out of town the first weekend we were ‘officially’ dating, and celebrated our first anniversary in France. On that first weekend away together, we sat down at a café in Bend and made a list on a napkin of all the places we wanted to go together. When we got engaged – and honestly even before then – we knew we wanted to explore somewhere totally new for our elopement. We’d always figured we would elope somewhere abroad, and both Patagonia and New Zealand were at the top our list of dream destinations. But the realities of planning our elopement during Covid-19 meant that we decided to stick with a destination somewhere in the U.S. Once we decided that, Alaska simply felt like the obvious choice. It’s a place that is still totally wild, was somewhere we had never been before, and has a certain out-of-this-world feel that we were drawn to. Plus, we had just moved to Bellingham, Washington and we could see the ferry to Alaska out our kitchen window multiple times per week. It just felt right.
Our answer has changed a bit since we first decided to elope in Alaska. Now it’s: “Why would you want to elope anywhere else?!?”
Every single moment of our elopement day was unforgettable, but taking a helicopter tour of Spencer Glacier might just be the most incredible experience of my life. We booked a tour out of Girdwood with Alpine Air. Our pilot was an amazing guide, and we just couldn’t get over the stunning views of exploring the wild landscape of Alaska from above. We even flew over a black bear as he hopped a crevasse on the glacier (can you spot him in the photos below?) which is super rare! Our pilot said that in his five years of doing flight tours, he had only seen a bear on the glacier on one other occasion! If you’re going to elope in Alaska, we cannot recommend doing a helicopter tour enough. The experience was worth every single penny. We will definitely be doing more of these on our future travels!
Our day was made perfect with the help of the most incredible team of vendors! We had a tough time finding local Alaskan vendors who were available on our date, responsive, and shared our values, so we ended up hiring some of our favorites from elsewhere.
As photographers ourselves, having stellar images to remember our day by was a top priority – we ended up investing about half of our overall elopement budget in our photographers and man oh man was it worth it. Nate and Megan are all around incredible humans and mega-talented artists. They fit in so well with our group of friends, and our photos bring tears to my eyes every time I look through them.
Katarina is a literal hair and makeup wizard. We had worked with her previously as the hair and makeup artist for some of our past couples, and she is hands down my favorite HMUA in the Pacific Northwest. Not only is she the sweetest person, but her skills are unparalleled. After a 16 hour day that included rain, wind, a helicopter ride, and a rigorous 6 mile hike, my hair and makeup still looked amazing.
Alexis is a complete gem of a human, and I’m so glad we got to work with her for our own elopement, after collaborating with her on a handful of others! She designed all of our florals – a bouquet, boutonniere, my hairpiece, and she even included boutonnieres for each of our guests as a surprise to us! We worked with her to design dried arrangements so we could fly with them to Alaska (and keep them forever afterward!). Everything she made looked incredible with the landscape.
We can’t wait to get started helping you make all your wedding dreams come true. With over 3 years of practice helping guide couples in crafting their perfect wedding day experience, we’ve got all the tools you need to make your dreams a reality. We’re ready to help you pick the best, unique location, connect you with local vendors, and create an adventure-filled and stress-free day. All you have to do is have an amazing time together and get married! We can’t wait to be your elopement photographer and wander with you.