2 Day Northern Lights Elopement in Alaska

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Let’s create a day for you that’s wild, bold, and full of fun in a dramatic landscape!

sam@samstarns.com @samstarns

Where to see the Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis

If you want to see the northern lights during your elopement, while you technically could see them in many places in Alaska, your best bet for weather and latitude is somewhere like Norway or in Alaska.

Northern Lights Elopement Alaska

The most popular aurora borealis destination in Alaska has to be Fairbanks, and for good reason. It has clearer weather than Anchorage, is higher in latitude, and still has an accessible airport.

And that’s exactly where these two Aussies flew to for their Northern Lights Elopement.

Our decision to elope in Alaska is certainly up there for life experiences, choosing Sam and Rachel to capture those moments is a decision we will never regret. We all had the time of our lives, stress free and best of all – aside from eloping of course – we walked away with two amazing lifelong friends.

The Wedding Day(s)

Day One

Mel and Jen started their multi-day northern lights elopement experience with a bang, or rather, rumble! We met first thing in the morning to take in the sights via snowmobile! As we went up to speeds of 50 mph, we zoomed through birch boreal forests, passed dogsledders, and even caught sight of a moose and her yearling calf!

We stopped for a warm wood-fired pizza lunch and proceeded to their first wedding portraits of the day at a local wildlife reserve outside of Fairbanks. The snow-covered trees enveloped us in quiet as we walk a couple of miles through what felt like Narnia in winter. There was even a moose spying on us through the trees!

black dress and black suit lesbian Alaska elopement among snowy trees

We took a quick break to nap and have dinner before needing our energy for our aurora dogsled tour and Jen & Mel’s ceremony! They got dressed and ready in a heated yurt, accompanied by a few lucky sled dogs who stood as witnesses during their ceremony! After having a few moments alone in the yurt while we waited for the aurora outside, they had their intimate ceremony that included their kiddo reading a letter he wrote to his two moms.

Can I get married under the northern lights in Alaska?

an elopement couple under the northern lights in Fairbanks, Alaska - northern lights elopement alaska

We then got even warmer boots and snow bibs on, and loaded into 3 separate dog sleds to chase a proper “northern lights wedding venue”. The dogs were itching to go and once they were given the cue, off we went through the forest. The dogs immediately stopped barking and it was blissfully quiet. The only sound we heard was the strides of the dogs and the sled gliding on the snow.

We finished around midnight, and were back to our lodgings at 1am (well, some of us! Mel and Jen had a directional mishap) because our second day started at 8am.

Day Two

Our second day saw us meeting up with a guide to drive us to a glacier and ice cave several hours away. We snowshoed the trail and brought micro spikes for the ice cave (which partway in turned into a frozen stream/river). We chose a guide because in fresh snow, it can be hard to find the trail and even with snowshoes you may end up post-holing and getting stuck. Our guide was familiar with the area and was able to take us to a few additional, more secret, spots.

The car ride back involved 5 tired but fulfilled people, whose laughter lasted the entire way back with us discussing who of the two brides, and two female photographers who love tacos should be labeled “taco queens”. IYKYK.

Dying for another northern lights elopement?

Check out this gorgeous adventure in the Lofoten Islands of Norway!

How to Prep for a Northern Lights Elopement

Hire a Photographer who Knows how to Photograph in the Cold

Photographing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit is different than photographing at 0 or below. Photographers need to be fully prepared and know what their gear might do in that cold. Do they have extra gear (not just batteries, but whole camera bodies)? How are they going to deal with condensation when a camera is brought in somewhere warm after being outside?

Pro Tip to Stay Warm

While the temperature hovered around 0-4 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and up to -18 around midnight, we were prepared with jackets for warming breaks, and Hot Hands in boots and gloves/pockets.

Some other items to bring/consider for warmth:

  • A parka that covers your rear and has a fur-lined hood (this helps divert wind and absorb any heat lost from your face!)
  • Boots that are insulated and waterproof, ideally with lined tops. I personally wore these Kamik boots and stayed fairly warm. Make sure they aren’t super snug. A tight fit means you’ll be cold!
  • Layers
  • Thick wool socks
  • Hot Hands hand warmers
  • A thick buff or balaclava
  • A pair of thinner gloves (particularly if you want to photograph the aurora) and a pair of thicker gloves for things like snowmobiling or dogsledding.
  • Your favorite photographer who will have your jacket ready for warming breaks and who knows how to photograph elopements in Alaskan winter 😉


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