A couple walks in the wildflowers during their Alaska elopement

How to Elope in Alaska

There is no place in the world like Alaska. With its dramatic mountain peaks, sprawling glaciers and unreal scenery, Alaska can be an exhilarating, wild and spectacular place to elope. Adventure couples looking to plan an adventure elopement can’t go wrong with an Alaska elopement. Whether you want to elope off an easy-to-access Alaska trail with mountains in the background or you want to explore the wild backcountry in a helicopter, an Alaska elopement will an elopement you never forget. Let’s dive into my complete guide to planning your own Alaska elopement.

A couple reads their wedding vows at their Alaska elopement.

Where to Elope in Alaska

If you’re planning an adventure elopement, Alaska is THE place. Alaska has no shortage of breathtaking destinations for your elopement! If you’re not familiar with Alaska, never fear. Here’s a shortlist of some of my favorite spots. If you’ve got something else in mind, we can always make your perfect elopement happen. 

Details from an Alaska Elopement

1. Denali National Park

No matter the time of year, Denali National Park is a breathtaking piece of wilderness. You can have any type of elopement in Denali, whether you want to go backpacking or whether you want to fly into the park by prop plane to a remote, mountaintop location. You can fly into Fairbanks, or rent a car and drive north from Anchorage. 

Small little huts on a green hill in Alaska

2. The Matanuska-Susitna Valley

This valley has a number of gorgeous locations, no matter the season. One popular spot: Hatcher Pass, a mountainous location accessible by car. If you want to hike further into the area, head out in the summer towards Summit Lake. This area is also home to the Matanuska and Knik Glaciers. To visit Matanuska, you’ll need to pay a special fee and either hike in or fly in. To visit Knik, visit the area by helicopter for the safest option. Knik River Lodge is an awesome spot for a reception, too. 

A helicopter flies over glaciers during an Alaska elopement

3. The Matanuska Glacier

A couple has a picnic on a glacier during their Alaska elopement

Matanuska is such a special spot, it deserves its own place on this list. This glacier, located 100 miles northeast of Anchorage, is 26 miles long and 4 miles wide. Needless to say, Matanuska is one of the most exceptional spots for a wild elopement. To enter the area, you will need to pay a fee of $20 per person, though that fee may vary depending on the private landowner. There are countless trails in the area, though ice spikes are recommended. Alternatively, you can fly into the area for an especially epic elopement. You can opt to elope in the area, and then stop at Sheep Mountain Lodge nearby (just 12 miles away) for a small reception or celebration. 

4. The Anchorage, Chugiak and Girdwood Area

A couple walks together in the Alaska backcountry during their Alaska elopement

Anchorage and its surrounding areas are some of the most popular areas for couples eloping in Alaska. Many people will fly into Anchorage and drive either north or south. The Anchorage area has lots of wooded areas with mountaintop vistas. 

Nearby, Girdwood is a beautiful ski spot home to many classic winter activities; in the summer, it’s a beautiful spot to hike. Many couples love this spot because so many gorgeous spots are within such a short distance — especially if you take a helicopter, like Katherine and Garrett.

The Alaska backcountry

There’s lots to explore along the Turnagain Arm, between Anchorage and Girdwood, with ocean views and mountaintop views. Check out Moose Meadow or Bird Point! In Chugiak, you’ll see plenty of beautiful views with some waterfalls nearby, as well. 

5. The Kenai Area

This quaint fishing area by the sea has so much to offer eloping couples looking for a wonderful and scenic getaway. From mountains to beaches to rolling fields, there’s no shortage of peaceful and pretty spots. The Homer Spit, in particular, is a popular scenic destination and makes for a lovely elopement by the ocean. 

A couple walks in the wildflowers during their Alaska elopement

6. The Juneau Area

Wild animals run through the Alaska backcountry

This south-central area is a lovely spot for an elopement. With lush rainforests and sprawling mountains right by the ocean, this area has so much to offer couples looking for a getaway. Juneau is the capital of Alaska, and most of the tours will dock here so it can be a bit busy. Nearby, though, there are so many pretty spots: the Mendenhall Glacier, plus Mt. Roberts, Brotherhood Bridge Trail, Treadwell Mine, and Auke Bay, to name a few. There are literally countless elopement options here, so we can work together to plan a perfect weekend. 

7. Portage

A boat sails through Alaska

Just south of Girdwood is Portage Lake, and even further out, Portage Glacier. There are plenty of excellent spots to explore in this area. In the winter, you can hike along the edge of Portage Lake to reach Portage Glacier. In the summer, you can opt for a cruise along the glacier (alternatively, hike up Portage Pass Trail).

8. The Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains

A plane flies over the Alaska backcountry

This area has a wonderful adventurous and luxurious option for couples: Ultima Thule. This romantic resort is an exclusive spot in the wilderness, located along the bank of Chitina River. A family built this spot in the Alaskan wilderness, and it’s unlike any spot in the country.

It’s located 100 miles from the end of any road and it’s so remote that many mountains in this area remain unnamed. You’ll fly into the area via private plane, and from there, basically anything you want is on the table. Pick from one of the five private cabins and enjoy fresh fish and local food. 

What to Do During Your Alaska Elopement 

A couple kisses at their Alaska elopement.

Alaska is the PERFECT spot for your adventurous location! I often recommend my couples plan a special adventure for their elopement day or around their elopement day to make their Alaska elopement feel extra special. Here are some epic ideas to plan when eloping in Alaska

A couple walks away from their helicopter in Alaska during their Alaska elopement

In Alaska, the possibilities are endless! It is truly one of the most wondrous places I have ever shot couples — and if you think it, I can make it happen. We can plan the perfect unforgettable experience for your elopement. 

The Best Time to Elope in Alaska 

A couple smiles for a photo in their helicopter during their Alaska elopement

Before you set your heart on an Alaskan elopement, it’s important to better understand the weather and seasons in Alaska. It’s especially important if you have a specific vision in mind for your elopement and your photos. 

Let’s talk about sunshine. In the summertime, Alaska has long days and short nights, like some type of eternal sunshine. The length of those days will depend heavily on exactly how far North or South you plan to elope. It could mean a full hour difference for sunset or sunrise. This means that sunrise could be anywhere from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. depending on the location you pick. 

In the wintertime, Alaska has much shorter days; sun sets at a more extreme angle, too, than the summertime. In the winter, you may have around four hours of great sunshine, which is a factor to consider. You will end up with some lovely, romantic golden hour photos in the mid-afternoon, so it’s crucial to keep these timelines in mind. 

Glaciers in Alaska, shot during an Alaska elopement

Alaska can have variable weather options, too. Summertime is of course a guaranteed primetime weather season for visitors. It’s nice and warm and everything is in bloom, too. Summertime falls between late-May and mid-August. 

In late August, the rainy season starts in Alaska. The leaves won’t turn color yet, and there are plenty of pretty wildflowers. The Fireweed sprouts in August, too. 

Glaciers in Alaska, shot during an Alaska elopement

Fall in Alaska kicks in around late August, and despite the rain, the time of year is really beautiful! Catch fall colors from August to September, even sometimes early October, though September is your best bet for fall colors. If you do pick the fall, you should be okay with some rain here and there. 

Winter in Alaska will vary. Sometimes it starts in late October, and sometimes it comes in late December. If you’re looking for peak winter, your best bet is to shoot for January or February. 

How to Apply for a Marriage License in Alaska

A couple reads their wedding vows at their Alaska elopement.

There is one more technical thing you will have to think about when eloping in Alaska: your marriage license. Getting a marriage license, and planning the essentials, can be an overwhelming part about your elopement. However, don’t worry, I’m here to make sure it all happens smoothly, without a hitch. 

When eloping in Alaska, you have two options. If you prefer, you can get your marriage license in your hometown and get legally married while still at home. For many, this is a lower stress option so you can worry about your elopement ceremony without thinking about the legality. 

A couple smiles at each other during their Alaska elopement

However, if you want to get legally married in Alaska, the state has a process to make it happen. To obtain an Alaska marriage license, you’ll need to submit your application to the Bureau of Vital Statistics by mail or in person. You will need to wait three days once you submit your application and your $60 license fee. You will need two witnesses (I can sign as one witness!) as well as an officiant for the ceremony. For more information, click here. 

In addition to your permit, you may need additional permits depending on the location of your elopement. Don’t worry, though, I can handle these when we pick a spot. 

Where to Stay During Your Alaska Elopement 

An Airbnb photographed during an Alaska elopement

Alaska has absolutely no shortage of EPIC places to stay! Whether you’re looking for a mountainside lodge or a remote getaway or a serene seaside spot, there are so many awesome options: 

A white wedding dress hangs on a balcony during an Alaska elopement

No matter where you choose to stay, I’ll make sure to plan the coolest elopement for your special getaway! 

How to Get to Alaska 

A couple walks away from their helicopter in Alaska during their Alaska elopement

You can get to Alaska by land, by air, or by sea. Most people, however, will fly directly into Anchorage International Airport and, from there, rent a car. You can also opt to fly into some of Alaska’s smaller airports, like Fairbanks, Juneau, or Ketchikan. All these cities have connecting flights within Alaska and outside of Alaska. There are also seasonal flights from other countries. 

If you have the time, you can also opt to drive up to Alaska and visit parts of Western Canada using the Alaska-Canada Highway. It’s also part of a much bigger road (which some people have on their bucket list), the Pan-American Highway. This highway goes from Ushuaia in Argentina all the way up to Alaska. 

A couple celebrates with a bottle of champagne during their Alaska elopement

In addition, many people will visit Alaska by boat. From May to September, you can take a cruise up to Alaska from Seattle. 

Once you arrive in Alaska, I recommend renting a car for maximum flexibility. So many spots in Alaska will be off the beaten path, and a car allows you plenty of flexibility to explore the entire state. 

Ready to Elope in Alaska?

Chomping at the bit to plan a wild elopement in Alaska? I’m your Alaska elopement photographer. Let’s get to planning! Because I’m already traveling to Alaska in July 2023 and 2024, you can take $1,000 off my Alaska elopement packages (check out the dates here).

Is Alaska not the right fit? That’s fine, too! Take a look at my existing travel schedule for discounted rates to dream elopement destinations! Or, check out this list — it will help spark those adventure elopement ideas!

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