Have you ever experienced something so magical, you think about it again and again? That’s how I felt after shooting Katherine and Garrett’s Alaska elopement. This amazing couple booked me for their elopement in Alaska and told me they wanted to share an intimate day together exploring Alaska in a helicopter. Start to finish, this day was pure magic, and the photos reflect that. Alaska will always be one of the best places to elope, hands down. Let me dive into this absolutely insane Alaska elopement and all the special ways they celebrated their love — and give you a little context about my own mindset heading into the weekend.
Let me provide a little background for the epic Alaskan elopement. In the days before the elopement, I knew I had one of the craziest days of my life coming up. I’m shooting K&G’s elopement from a private helicopter over the beautiful Alaskan wilderness.
I have planned for this for months on end.
I’ve visualized, I’ve pushed my boundaries.
I’ve spent days on end dreaming up images in my head.
I wanted to be so ready for this physically.
I wanted to be rested, full and excited.
But I am not.
I am tired.
I am sad.
I’m burnt out.
I am surviving.
You see, in the last 7 months, the universe decided to stress test me. Or at least that’s the only way I can explain it right now. There are a few things so deeply painful, I can not bring myself to share them here. But I can share this:
I came to terms with the loss of a very good friend, but I’ll never have an explanation as to why. My dad died, I loved him and he loved me, but he was a lifelong alcoholic. To keep it short, “complicated emotions.” The loss brought more pain and emotion to the surface than I’d expected. I sold my home in Oregon and moved back to Indiana to be closer to family. I miss my Oregon friends deeply, I could really use a good cry on the couch over coffee or a walk to talk it out. Our new home in Indiana was a gut and reno, but it had some unexpected expensive problems that the inspection missed. My husband’s sister died.
I got Covid for the first time and a few weeks later my dog and I were attacked by 3 pitbulls. It went on for so long, I eventually came to the realization that it wasn’t going to end, so we ran for our lives. Before I could run, I ripped a pitbull’s jaw off my inner upper thigh. The bite wound I received was inches from my femoral artery and according to two doctors, I am lucky it wasn’t much worse. I could barely walk for 2 weeks and I’ve received 5 brutal rabies shots over 6 weeks, each sucking the energy out of me for 48 hours. When I walk by dogs now, I feel fear where there never was fear before.
Two weeks ago, my grandma died, leaving me in shock and with an estate to figure out in a different state, which right now, feels insurmountable. The morning after my grandma died, I woke up and we’d been robbed. Someone came into our yard in the middle of the night, broke down our garage door and took seven years worth of lawn care tools and camping gear. Not only do we not have a lawn mower in the Indiana summer anymore, but I’m scared to be in my own home sometimes.
Three days before this flight, my husband got crazy sick. So we’ve been isolating in different parts of the house and honestly, I could have really used a hug (or 12) before this trip.
When I got to the airport yesterday, my flight was canceled.
When I woke up at 3 am this morning to try again, my first flight was delayed, my second flight was delayed and my third flight (thanks to the re-schedule) is now 7 hours long.
It’s been a lot. All at once. Without warning. I’m at the end of human capacity.
But here’s the thing, at the end of the day, I’ve committed to this couple. And I want them to remember every last wonderful moment of their wedding day so vividly it brings them to happy, joyful tears every time they look at their album of memories.
I plan to do the best work of my life this week.
Because beauty or terror, no feeling is final.
And this too shall pass.
So fuck it, I’m gonna dig deep.
When Katherine and Garrett first reached out to me, they immediately made one thing clear: they wanted to spend their elopement day exploring Alaska in a helicopter. I helped them plan an epic trip leaving out of Girdwood, Alaska with Alpine Air Alaska (who were amazing, but more on that later).
The couple started their elopement day in Girdwood at the cutest little Alaska-themed cabin tucked away in the forest. The town itself is so quaint with its own ski lodge and this unbelievable Nordic spa.
Garrett made croissants in the morning and wandered off on the porch to have his breakfast and write his vows while Katherine got her make-up done in the bedroom (shout-out to Vibe Artistry!). The bedroom itself faced this unreal mountain range – the perfect view! She read letters from her family and friends and drank a warm cup of coffee in some cozy slippers.
Once Garrett was ready for the day, we wandered across the street to this moose meadow. The area is protected so we could not go into the meadow itself, so I took his portraits while he finished putting on his final touches. His cufflinks had his initials and his jacket had an Alaska map sewn into the side. There was a little heart on Girdwood, where they were staying. What a special and intentional detail!
The couple had their first look right outside the cabin. They both cried and exchanged gifts: a jewelry box for Katherine, and an Alaskan pocket knife for Garrett.
Once we finished the First Look, we drove over to Alpine Air Alaska for the helicopter ride. I can’t even tell you how magical this experience was! We got to witness glacier calving, which our helicopter pilot told us rarely happens during his rides.
We planned out several stops throughout the day. The first stop: landing on a glacier for the couple to say their vows. Is there really any better place to exchange vows and start your new life together?! The couple had their first kiss in front of a beautiful, crystalline pool of glacial water with mountains in the backdrop. It was beyond words.
Our next stop: the mountain in the background of their vows. We landed on gravel and stepped out to the most unreal views for Katherine and Garrett’s celebratory champagne pop.
Because there are no trails in the Alaska backcountry, it’s important to be mindful of the wilderness. After all, just because there are no trails, doesn’t mean that you can just walk anywhere you want. We took some photos in a field of wildflowers, but I instructed Katherine and Garrett to walk on short grass and stop on rocks and gravel as much as possible. We don’t want to crush the flowers!
The helicopter landed on a different glacier for the next stop. Katherine and Garrett pulled out their blanket and their picnic: wine, champagne, charcuterie and lots of delicious snacks. What better way to celebrate their marriage?!
True Elopement Magic happened next… As we were flying to our next spot (a waterfall), someone on the chopper radio said they just landed at the waterfall. I looked out of the helicopter window and saw this lake with little icebergs floating in the water and it all clicked. Our pilot said it was an area he had never landed before, and promptly dubbed it “Jayne’s Point.” (This was a bucket list item I never thought I had.)
Here’s where the magic comes in: As we approached the ground, the wind from the helicopter blades blew around dandelion fluff. You can see it in the photos – as we approached the ground, it looked like we were in the middle of a snow globe. It was, quite possibly, the most spectacular moment of the day – and this is why we just “go with the flow.” That moment will live on in my memory forever.
Katherine and Garrett shared their first dance by the glacial lake with little baby icebergs floating around. Before we flew off for the day, they shared one last kiss on Alaskan backcountry soil.
That evening, Katherine and Garrett shared fresh caught wild salmon brought down for them specifically from Anchorage. The newlyweds sat out on the porch and took it all in before cutting their cake and having a drink – wine for her, beer for him.
Looking at Katherine and Garrett’s wedding photos still makes me emotional. We had the most unbelievable day, from start to finish, and I was so happy to hear from them! Read their testimonial below.
My now wife and I planned an Alaskan helicopter elopement about a year in advance. We spoke with a half dozen elopement photographers and thought long and hard about who we wanted to document our special day.
Jayne was the easy choice. She was super friendly, experienced, well-priced, and just seemed like a genuinely great person! (If you don’t want to read the rest of this review, just know that Jayne is an 11/10 and you should book with her right now)
The planning process was fun, and Jayne made it easy for us. Her research gave us so many great options for locations and companies to work with, and she hit it out of the park! Our day ended up exactly as we dreamed it would be.
The preparation stage of the elopement day was great. She made us feel super comfortable and went above and beyond to get a variety of great detail and getting-ready shots.
In the helicopter, on the glaciers, high in the mountains, she was a creative genius. SO many angles and backdrops, we ended up with what we feel are possibly the greatest wedding photos ever recorded. I don’t think we’ve had a conversation with any of our friends in which our wedding photos didn’t come up since this elopement.
After our adventure, Jayne came over and photographed our intimate dinner and cake cutting. We ended up hanging out for hours and had a glass of wine, because she is awesome.
We were thrilled with our experience with Jayne and highly recommend you book her as your photographer. She spent more than 12 hours with us on our day, and as mentioned the results were simply perfection.
Make-up by Vibe Artistry (a native Alaskan!)
Flowers by Yarrow & Co in Girdwood, Alaska
Cake by Alaska Wedding Cake Boutique in Anchorage, Alaska
If you’re dying to elope in Alaska, why not drop me a line? My team and I can help plan that unbelievable, butterflies-in-your-stomach, absolutely jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime Alaska elopement. Nothing is out of bounds. Email me here!
In the meantime, take a look at the full gallery below.