Justin Brickler is a Tennessee-based wedding photographer specializing in documentary and creative editorial styles, dedicated to authentically capturing the cherished moments of your wedding.






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How to Plan an Elopement in Alaska: A Photographer’s Guide to Capturing Your Intimate Adventure

Choosing to elope can bring a rush of excitement along with some butterflies for many couples. The allure of the Alaskan wild adds an extra layer of anticipation to the adventure! Whether spurred by the overwhelming prospect of planning a grand wedding or a desire for a more intimate celebration, Alaska beckons as a destination that promises both awe-inspiring landscapes and unexpected experiences. This guide will help you  navigate the practical aspects of eloping in Alaska and underscore the significance of capturing the often-overlooked, genuine moments that make your day truly special. If you’re considering an elopement elsewhere, fear not—much of the advice shared here applies universally. So, let’s embark on this journey together!

Alaska wedding photography captures a couple enjoying a quiet moment.

Choosing the Perfect Location:

Alaska, with its vast and diverse landscapes, offers an abundance of options for an unforgettable elopement. If you and your partner are the adventurous, outdoorsy type, this northern wonderland is calling your names. When choosing the perfect location, consider the intimate details – the moss-covered rocks, the reflections in the lakes, or the soft glow of the midnight sun. These nuanced elements will not only enhance your visual narrative but will also create timeless memories.

Seasonal Considerations:

Before delving into the specifics of locations, let’s take a moment to understand Alaska’s distinct seasons and how they can influence the ambiance of your elopement.

Summertime: During Alaska’s summer, prepare for the longest days, with the duration of daylight varying based on your location. If you’re dreaming of soft and romantic sunset light, be ready for it closer to midnight. On the flip side, a sunrise ceremony might unfold around 4 a.m. Summer offers unique lighting opportunities, and understanding these nuances will contribute to the overall look and feel of your photographs.

Wintertime: Winter in Alaska presents shorter days and a more extreme angle of the sun. With approximately 4 hours of good light each day, you’ll find the winter landscape bathed in a romantic golden hour mid-afternoon. Consider these factors when planning your winter elopement, ensuring that the sunset time aligns with your desired ceremony time.

Weather + Seasons when planning to Elope to Alaska:

Alaska’s weather can be as unpredictable as it is breathtaking. To enhance your planning, consider the distinct seasons and their unique characteristics.To check the Alaskan weather and climate, click the following link: https://www.alaska.org/expert-advice/weather-climate.

Happy couple enjoying a peaceful moment in the enchanting Alaskan forest. Embraced by towering trees and surrounded by nature's beauty, the duo shares a joyful connection. Experience love in the heart of Alaska's pristine wilderness with this picturesque scene of togetherness.

Summertime: From late May to mid-August, Alaska experiences a warm, green, and inviting season. While sunshine abounds, it’s essential to note that August marks the beginning of the rainy season. Explore wildflowers, such as Lupine, in earlier months, and witness the vibrant Fireweed later in the season.

Fall: Starting around mid-August, fall becomes apparent as leaves begin to tinge yellow, and the rainy season kicks in. Embrace the stunning colors from mid-August into September, with the possibility of catching the rich hues of fall in September. Be open to the chance of rain, which can add a moody and dramatic touch to your imagery.

Romantic couple enjoying a scenic Alaskan forest adventure surrounded by nature's beauty.

Winter: Alaska’s winter can be a game of hide and seek, with snowfall varying from before Halloween to early December. For a more reliable winter wonderland, consider planning your elopement in January and February. While weather conditions can be unpredictable, these months offer a more consistent winter setting. I would not recommend eloping during this time of year due to the weather conditions, because it is much more feasible to do so during the springtime.  

Discover the magic of Alaska’s seasons and how they shape your elopement experience—your love story, set against nature’s ever-changing canvas. To message me, CLICK HERE

Back-Up Plans:

In Alaska, having back-up plans is not just a precaution; it’s a necessity. Weather patterns can be a whirlwind, affecting your wedding day unexpectedly. Whether rain, shine, or snow, all weather in Alaska possesses a unique beauty that can lend itself to gorgeous backdrops. Be open to embracing the elements, but always make safety a priority.

Fly-Out Elopements: For those dreaming of mountain peaks or glaciers that involve flying, weather consideration becomes paramount. Inclement weather like blizzards or rain storms can affect and postpone plane and helicopter flights. It’s wise to have a backup location on the ground and collaborate with transportation companies for alternative dates.

Non-Fly-Out Elopements: If you’re planning to stay grounded, there’s more flexibility in dealing with weather conditions. Slick, icy roads or blizzards may prompt a recommendation to reschedule, especially for long drives. Rain and wind are workable and can create moodier and more dramatic imagery. Choosing a location that provides some shelter from the weather, like a forest setting, can enhance your experience.

Where to Elope

With seasonal and weather considerations in mind, let’s explore various areas around Alaska, offering a range of landscapes and backdrops.

Denali National Park: A majestic expanse of mountains and wilderness. Denali National Park offers magical scenery year-round. Whether camping in spring or flying into Ruth Glacier for an intimate elopement, Denali promises a breathtaking backdrop.

Matanuska-Susitna Valley: Hatcher Pass, Matanuska Glacier, and Knik Glacier in the Mat-Su Valley provide stunning mountainous landscapes. Hatcher Pass, accessible by car, offers year-round beauty, while Matanuska Glacier and Knik Glacier provide unique opportunities for those willing to venture further.

Newlyweds pose for photo in Alaska.

Anchorage & Chugiak & Girdwood: Anchorage, being a central city with a main hub airport, offers wooded areas and mountain access at Flattop. The nearby town of Girdwood, nestled in lush green forests, is a picturesque choice for couples seeking an intimate celebration.

Check out this article: https://alaskatours.com/alaskas-regions/ (includes a map, photos, and favorite activities)

Seward/Homer/Kenai Area: The Kenai Peninsula, with its quaint towns and diverse landscapes, is a treasure trove of romantic scenes for eloping couples. Homer Spit, with its mountains, beaches, and Lupine and Fireweed fields, creates a captivating seaside elopement setting.

Juneau: Juneau, the capital of Alaska, stands out with lush rainforests, towering mountains, and vast ocean views. Beyond the well-known Mendenhall Glacier, explore locations like Mt. Roberts, Brotherhood Bridge Trail, Treadwell Mine, and Auke Bay for a unique Juneau elopement experience. LEARN MORE

Alaska’s ever-changing weather demands thoughtful wardrobe planning. From summer warmth to winter chill, layering and adaptability are key. Be it rain, shine, or snow, plan for the unexpected—let’s discuss the perfect backup plan, ensuring your day unfolds flawlessly. To message me, CLICK HERE

What to Wear When You Elope in Alaska:

Layers: While you can wear your usual wedding attire on the big day, having layers both under and over is a smart choice. Bring a light coat or windbreaker for occasional cool moments. In summer, consider nude leggings under your dress for added warmth if needed. For fall, a rain jacket and rain boots can be valuable additions, while winter elopements may require long johns under suits and gowns.

Footwear:Don’t forget about your feet! The right footwear is essential for a wedding adventure in Alaska. In summer, anything from flats to hiking boots is suitable. For fall, sturdy hiking boots or rain boots are recommended. In winter, opt for warm winter boots, ensuring both functionality and style. Also, if you are visiting a glacier you will want to purchase a set of crampons to place over your footwear. 

Bugspray: Amidst the grandeur of Alaska’s wilderness, mosquitoes can be an unexpected challenge, particularly during the peak season in June and July. To ensure your focus remains on each other and the stunning surroundings, consider bug spray an essential part of your elopement wardrobe. A quick application before your ceremony and throughout the day can make a significant difference, allowing you to savor the moments without the distraction of buzzing wings.

Officiant and Witnesses: Understanding the legalities of getting married in Alaska is straightforward, ensuring a smooth elopement process. You’ll need an officiant and two witnesses for your Alaska elopement. Options include hiring an officiant, having a family member or friend apply for a one-time license, or having trusted vendors sign as witnesses. If a second witness is needed, officiants or vendors may offer assistance. (FAQs to know when eloping in Alaska.) There are many businesses to hire an officiant, but I would recommend looking into someone in the area you are eloping.

Romantic couple immersed in the serene beauty of an Alaskan forest, surrounded by towering trees and lush greenery. The pair shares a joyful moment, embracing each other amidst the breathtaking wilderness. A perfect blend of love and nature in the heart of Alaska's enchanting forests.

Ensure a smooth elopement by researching the marriage license process in the county where you plan to marry, and secure the license well before your elopement day—ideally two days prior to avoid any last-minute complications. The marriage license costs just $60 and is a crucial element of your special day. Click the link to access the state’s marriage license application. 

For locations requiring permits, apply at least a month in advance to secure your chosen date, ensuring a hassle-free and legally sound celebration of your love.

Permits: Many parks and recreation areas in Alaska, such as Denali National Park, Eklutna Lake, and parts of Hatcher Pass, require permits for events. Research your chosen area ahead of time to determine if a permit is needed, or consult with me for assistance.

Vendors: Creating your dream elopement team in Alaska is made easier with a curated list of vendors. From florists to helicopter companies, officiants, and planners, connecting with the right team ensures your elopement vision becomes a reality.

Planning an elopement in Alaska is an extraordinary journey, filled with unique considerations that contribute to a story you’ll cherish forever. By carefully navigating seasons, weather, locations, and attire, your adventure becomes a celebration of love against the breathtaking Alaskan backdrop. If the idea of an Alaska elopement now tugs at your heartstrings, I’m here to guide you through the details and help transform your vision into an unforgettable reality. Reach out, and let’s craft the details of your once-in-a-lifetime day! To message me, CLICK HERE

Styled Session Credit:

Host: The Invitation, Models: Jackie & Garry, Dress: Bateau Bridal Boutique, Florals: Elan Florals

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