Written By Jayne
Elopement Location Inspiration
Featured Travel Locations
Alaska. Land of wide-open spaces, world-class fishing, towering peaks, endless glaciers, miles of unexplored backcountry… There’s just something about this wild, wild country.
I’m flying back from the most incredible elopement in Alaska. And I’m having a hard time writing this post. Mostly because there really aren’t words that will ever do Alaska justice. My review for Alaska boils down to this:
Done. If proper Google SEO didn’t require me to write another 300+ words for this post to rank well, I wouldn’t write anything else. But since I do run a business here, and since I want people to see this post, I’m going to tell you why, exactly, Alaska is so special. Especially for Alaskan elopements.
Alaska is a place you can get lost, both figuratively and very literally. It’s an enormous country – much bigger than the maps make it look.
But it’s also a place you can be found.
The second I landed in Alaska and set foot on Alaskan soil, I immediately felt like I was at home. I don’t know what it was… Maybe the glacier-chilled mountain air? The mountains, calling me home? I just felt it, right away. Home.
On this particular trip, I brought a new friend: Haley. We met 6 months prior; she was a long time friend of my brother. We first met when I moved back to Indianapolis to be closer to family. My brother invited my husband and me to a New Year’s Eve celebration.
Haley and I immediately hit it off at a little dive bar downtown. She’s a fellow dirtbag: someone who’d prefer to be in a tent or a van than in a bed. I knew right away that we were two peas in a pod, and I was craving good company. Not to mention: she’s a pretty damn good landscape photographer.
Her photography drug of choice: Tent Shots. I never played around with tent shots, but I have grown to love them after watching her relentlessly pursue the perfect set-up for her shots.
Photo courtesy of Haley
I don’t know if it was fate or just a strange coincidence, but both Haley and I were dealing with the sudden and unexpected loss of our grandparents. My grandmother had just died two weeks prior and I’d spent the last week cleaning out her house. Then Haley’s grandpa passed away the morning of her flight to Alaska. Both our grandparents loved us very much and were so excited to hear of our adventure in Alaska. Rest in peace MLB & HRC.
So there we are, two hurting souls who had never spent more than a few beers worth of time together, taking off into the Alaskan wilderness with no real plan. Aside from my Alaska elopement at the start of the trip and a Jeep we could sleep in, I didn’t have much booked. Which isn’t like me at all.
I didn’t have much left in me at this point. But I made a promise to myself: producing some of the best work of my life for my clients, K&G (read more about their EPIC elopement here). And, second, seeing a bear – and not getting eaten by it. Spoiler alert: we did not see a bear.
Despite all of that…it worked out. We spent a week sleeping in the Jeep, swapping stories about our grandparents and childhood, and exploring with no real plan. We set up shots and experimented with film and Polaroids. And at the end of it all, I walked away with a good friend….Despite the fact that she claims to have “almost murdered me” once.
Let’s be honest, though, I really did lose just about everything I owned at least twice in that car. That poor car was stuffed to the brim with photography gear, survival supplies, and all our possessions. We learned a lot about Jeep camping that week.
We spent our days experimenting with our cameras and sitting by warm campfires in the most beautiful, untouched place I have ever seen. At each and every corner, we were amazed by Alaska. By the Alaskan wilderness.
Alaska. What do I have to say about Alaska?
If you want to see a collection of personal images I took while in Alaska, you can check the full gallery here.
PS. Haley’s favorite part was wrestling with our rented Jeep’s cargo storage system at least six times per day.
The sheer size of Alaska is unreal. It’s the largest thing I’ve ever explored. The views are spectacular, and the locations pristine. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
There are endless – and I mean ENDLESS – unbelievable locations for your elopement. No matter if you want to hike, bike, ski, dog sled, boat cruise, kayak, raft or take a helicopter around Alaska… there’s something for you. Here’s what I would recommend…
This mountain pass is the southwest part of the Talkeetna Mountains is unreal. The views are wonderful, but it’s a very wet situation. It’s 100% worth it.
This adorable mountain town is just a few hours from Anchorage – an easy car ride. I fell in love with this beautiful little town.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska lies 100 miles south of Anchorage. If you’re stopping by, be sure to check out the great beer and great food at Cooper Landing Brewing.
Whitter, Alaska is known for its access to Prince William Sound, approximately 60 miles south of Anchorage. The town itself is adorable, and there are countless outdoor activities nearby, too. Explore glaciers, go hiking, or take a glacier cruise (we loved this one!). Plus, the fresh fish? TO DIE FOR!!
There are so many waterfalls in the area that we ran with the joke: “Honestly, there’s too many waterfalls,” for quite some time.
I don’t know why, but I didn’t have high expectations for Whitter. But it was simply magical. I’ll always remember eating at this little fish shack while the rain ticked away on the roof. The fresh fish was so delightful, and the ambiance of the place was so relaxed. For a minute, I felt like I was in a different world, one where only this town existed – and it existed just to be beautiful.
Hands down, though, my favorite part of Whitter was the coastline. There’s this one spot along the coastline where I felt so at home, we went back the next morning. I don’t repeat spots often when I travel (restaurants included), but it was unlike anything else.
We slept on a backroad that night with a view of a Glacier and the bay. It doesn’t get better than that.
My trip to Alaska was not the experience I had pictured. At all. It was better.
We spent our nights sitting around a campfire looking out at unbelievable views of mountains, lakes, bays and even glaciers…all right off the road from the comfort of our Jeep.
We laughed hysterically about mosquito nets and tequila hats (a story for another time) and lived every minute as fully as we could.
Like I said: Alaska is a place you can get lost, both figuratively and literally, but it’s also a place you can be found. And on that trip, I found a friend. I found someone who had also trudged through trauma and pain most of her life. I found someone who understood me – and I hope I offered that same comfort in return.
Eloping in Alaska is the adventure of a lifetime, and I can promise you this: you’ll never, ever forget these magical moments. I would go back to Alaska over and over again. So much so that I’m actually planning another Alaskan adventure in July 2023.
If you’d like to meet me there and marry the love of your life, let me know. Plus, since I’ll already plan on being there, I’m charging my “local rate,” which means you can take $1,000 off my standard package prices. For more info, check out my travel page here.
Oh and if you want to see what an elopement in Alaska looks like, check out K&G’s amazing Alaskan Helicopter Elopement Day. What an adventure. And what a way to begin their life together.
If you want more info on where to elope in Alaska, check out this informative blog I wrote.
And even if you don’t elope with me, I hope you go to Alaska someday. You won’t be disappointed.
With love, fresh fish and the sounds of glaciers cracking around you,
PS. Yeti for the win. This flew off the Jeep, bounced along the asphalt…and still works perfectly.
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