Your 2023 Ultimate Guide for an Alaska Elopement!

Finding the perfect place to plan an elopement can be tricky because the possibilities are endless! Elopements are small, intimate weddings that allow couples more freedom in choosing their optimal location. The state of Alaska is an enchanting wonderland filled with towering mountain peaks only accessible by hiking or by helicopter, abundant wildlife, and epic wilderness adventures. Alaska is the country’s largest state, but it is also the least inhabited, meaning it contains incredible natural beauty and endless wilderness that makes a stunning backdrop for exchanging vows. From the Northern Lights to whale-watching excursions to searching for bears, Alaska is full of adventurous experiences and places to elope. With the assistance of an amazing photographer (like me!), specializing in elopements, couples can create the intimate, epic Alaska elopement they’ll remember forever.

Everything You Need To Know For Your Alaska Elopement 

When You Should Elope in Alaska & How to Pick Your Date

Choosing the right time to elope in Alaska can be tricky because weather and sunlight vary widely throughout the year. Traditionally, the best months to elope (with the best weather) are May, June, July, August, and September. May and June are known for having mild weather; as September approaches, the colors of nature start to really blossom. However, in these warmer months, couples should be aware that some traditional “winter” activities might not be available. 

Couples should also be aware that some excursion companies only operate during certain months of the year in Alaska. Most helicopter companies run year-round, but other activities only run for about four months out of the year. 

In terms of lighting, the longest daylight hours occur from May through early September. The optimal time to experience the Northern Lights (the Aurora Borealis) is September through April. The absolute best place to see the Northern Lights is in Fairbanks, Alaska, from January through March. After the stormy season, skies will be clearer, and it will be easier to see the Northern Lights. The fewer hours of daylight during this time of year also make it a better time to see the sky’s breathtaking colors. 

August is typically the wettest month of the year for Alaska, with long daylight hours. Couples should be aware that helicopter rides are more prone to have to cancel or reschedule due to weather. May is usually the driest month. 

Snow covered mountain by a road in Alaska; perfect backdrop for an Alaska Elopement.

Alaska Elopement Locations

Alaska is full of unique locations for elopements. This massive state features stunning landscapes with snowy mountains and rural areas. Couples can choose the best place that suits their preferences. 

This state has many unique national parks that are great places to elope, including Denali National Park, Katmai National Park, and Kenai Fjords National Park. These parks feature high peaks, expansive views, forests, glaciers, and wildlife. The Alaskan coastline is another breathtaking location to get married, with 46,000 miles of shoreline. Coastal fishing towns like Skagway and Seward make perfect elopement locations. Alaska is also known for its mountains, including the Chugach Mountains (O’Malley Peak, McHugh Peak, Mount Magnificent) and Hatcher Pass. 

The Cities

Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. The city has an airport, which makes it easier to travel to without trying to find access to a more remote location. The Chugach State Park is nearby, as well as Kenai and Talkeetna. Couples might choose to fly into Anchorage and then travel to a more rural area for a more intimate, less city-like feel. 

Juneau is Alaska’s state capital and has an urban city feel, although it is also known for its unique wildlife (whales, bears, birds, and more). Couples can travel to this city by ferry or airport but cannot reach it by car. There are 40 glaciers near Juneau that make stunning backdrops for adventurous elopements. The Tongass National Forest is nearby and is the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. 

Denali is full of breathtaking outdoor spaces to have an elopement. Denali National Park and Reserves feature mountains, hiking trails, and gorgeous views, all accessible by plane (about 1.5 hours from Anchorage), by train (8 hours from Anchorage), or by car (4 hours from Anchorage). 

Fairbanks is a place where adventurous couples can enjoy the wilderness and a rustic atmosphere. Fun, Alaska-style activities in Fairbanks range from snowmobiling to watching the Northern Lights to visiting a reindeer ranch. Fairbanks is about an hour’s flight away from Anchorage or a 12-hour train ride, or an 8-hour car ride from Anchorage. 

Seward, Alaska, is south of Anchorage and is accessible by plane, car, or train. Most people choose to travel there by train because the four-hour trip features breathtaking views of Alaska. Seward is a rural town full of wildlife and trails. It is located right on the water, which makes a gorgeous background for elopement photos as well. 

stunning landscape of mountains and water for an Alaska elopement

The Adventures

Alaska elopements can include many amazing wilderness adventures that the state has to offer. These excursions can be great photo opportunities or just a way to have some fun in addition to the wedding ceremony. Activities include: 

  • dog sledding, 
  • walking on glaciers, 
  • taking a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier, 
  • whale watching, 
  • visiting a reindeer farm, 
  • hiking, 
  • taking an air tour, 
  • renting a cabin, 
  • looking for bears, and 
  • experiencing the Northern Lights. 

How to Get an Alaska Marriage License

Friends and relatives can perform a marriage ceremony in Alaska, and beautiful locations are not hard to come by, making this one of the best states for a simple elopement! Alaska is unique in that in addition to a minister, priest, recognized religious leader, rabbi, or other ordained person, a friend or family member can legally perform the marriage ceremony. 

The Alaska State Vital Records Section issues marriage licenses in Juneau and Anchorage. In other towns, couples can obtain licenses from local county courts. The application process for a marriage license can be started online and completed and signed in person. Couples must pay a $60 marriage license fee to the Vital Records Section or local county court. 

Couples must present a government-issued ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID) in order to obtain a marriage license. You do not have to be an Alaska resident to get married in the state. Couples can get married three days after obtaining their marriage license. Couples have 90 days to get married after their license is issued. 

Alaska requires two witnesses to be present during an elopement. 

couple standing barefoot on a mountain for their Alaska Elopement

What to Wear to Your Alaska Elopement

Even though elopements are smaller and more casual than a traditional wedding, wearing the classic wedding gown and/or suit is still a popular choice. Elopements can be fairytale-like, boho, glamorous, unique, or classic, so choosing attire that suits your style is important. 

Couples should keep wedding day photography in mind as well. For lots of action shots, choose a dress that has a flowy design. For hiking and rigorous activity, choose a lightweight dress that is easy to move around in. Finally, for dramatic, fairytale flair, choose a modern gown. 

Choose a dress that matches the ambiance of the elopement. Envision the types of photos you want captured on your big day. For a fairytale elopement, choose a princess-style fluffy dress. On the flip side, for a boho-chic style, choose a dress with boho flair and thick patterns. Choose an elegant style like a ball gown for a classic, upscale ceremony. 

You’ll spend most of your day in your wedding clothes and you’ll want to be comfortable in your dress if you are wearing one. Pick the right length sleeves, the right fit, the right length, and the right style. Keep Alaskan weather in mind – the state is cold, so choose something you can pair with layers (the same goes for if you’re wearing a suit). Also keep in mind that long dresses might drag in the snow or mud (and that’s totally ok). 

Keep It Practical

Choose something practical – don’t wear a form-fitting dress to do a monumental hike, don’t wear thin material that will be freezing in the snow or rain, and wear whatever makes you feel the most confident and beautiful. The same goes for suits- you’ll want to make sure it has a little bit stretch so you can move freely and you’ll want something you feel good in!

Bring shoes that are practical as well. You might even need hiking boots or quality tennis shoes to bring to the elopement. You can always put on more formal shoes for photos. Bring cold-weather accessories such as warm hats, gloves, vests, scarves, blankets, umbrellas, boots, skin toned leggings, and more! These accessories will help you stay warm and comfortable and can add a “cozy” vibe to your elopement day photos. 

Couple kissing on mountain during their Alaska Elopement

Hiring an Alaska Elopement Photographer

No elopement is complete without a skilled photographer to make the big day extra special. I specialize in capturing the unique, love-filled moments of adventurous elopements around the world. Your big day should be extraordinary, even if it is a small, intimate elopement. All couples deserve a wedding experience that is unforgettable. The day should be as fun and stress-free as possible, filled with joy and adventure. Alaska is a place where couples can enjoy an adventure they’ll never forget. 

I photograph small weddings and elopements, helping couples craft their dream wedding. I have over ten years of experience photographing weddings. I’m also there to help couples in other aspects of their big day, including providing advice, giving vendor recommendations, figuring out travel logistics, and more. 

Furthermore, I enjoy getting to know couples and learning about their love story. Through getting-to-know-you questionnaires and in-person meetings, I learn all about couples in order to better help them design the wedding or elopement of their dreams. I give couples access to my exclusive 70-page planning guide, including tips and tricks, logistics, and planning tools they’ll need to craft their perfect day. 

The Big Day

When the big day arrives for your Alaskan elopement, I’ll follow you around as you explore the state’s natural beauty, indulge in local foods, participate in epic activities, and of course, exchange vows. I dedicate the entire day to capturing all those sweet, candid moments you’ll cherish forever. 

Once the elopement is over, I’ll spend time editing all those beautiful photographs for your Alaskan adventure. After 8-10 weeks, I will send you an online gallery so that you can view, download, and print your photos and share with friends and family. 

I genuinely love what I do, and my passion is evident in my work. Although I specialize in New England weddings and elopements, my photography career has taken me all over! I would love to work with you in photographing your stunning Alaskan elopement. 

Alaska Elopement

Alaska is full of stunning natural beauty. From wildlife, hiking, and glaciers to breathtaking views, Alaska is a one-of-a-kind place to elope. This enchanting state has many locations that would be perfect for a small elopement and many adventurous excursions to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget. With me as your Alaska elopement photographer, you’ll be guaranteed to come back with stunning images from your big day that you and your spouse will cherish forever.

For more destination wedding/elopement content, click on the blog links below! Then, let’s chat about your upcoming elopement or wedding day. 

The Ultimate Acadia National Park Guide

How to Elope in Portland, Maine

5 Fantastic Small Maine Wedding Venues

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intimate Weddings