HOW TO ELOPE IN ALASKA in 2024
The Ultimate Guide to planning an Alaska elopemenT
DIGGING THE RESOURCES? You ain’t seen nothing yet…
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Alaska is a wonderland full of towering mountain peaks accessible by hiking or helicopter, abundant wildlife, and adventures for days. Consider this your guide for how to elope in Alaska.
Let’s talk how to elope in Alaska.
When you decide to elope, there are a LOT of locations up for grabs. Colorado, Wyoming, and Hawaii are all high on the list, but there is truly no place that rivals Alaska. Especially since parks like Glacier National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and others are now requiring reservations for particular days that sell out faster than concert tickets.
Plus, there’s the Northern Lights, places to go whale watching and to see bears. Alaska is one of my favorites, and I’m breaking down ideas and tips on how—and where—to have the most fantastic elopement. With me as your Alaska elopement photographer, of course!
Best Times to Elope in Alaska
Also, as a side note, there are times of the year that are better if you want to elope in Alaska. Of course, this depends on what you want as a couple, but traditionally the best weather months are May-September. May and June can have great weather, and September starts to show beautiful colors. Though this shoulder season means some activities might be just ending or not yet started.
Some activities, like certain helicopter companies, will run year-round. Others, like most everyone in places like Seward, only run for about 4 months of the year.
“Our decision to elope in Alaska is certainly up there for life experiences, choosing Sam to capture those moments is a decision we will never regret. We all had the time of our lives”
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Northern Lights Wedding in Alaska
The longest daylight hours for your Alaska elopement will be in the months of May-early September. In contrast, if you want to experience prime time for the Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights!), they can be seen from September through April.
BUT, if you want your best chance at seeing them, consider visiting Fairbanks in January-March. Once the weather calms down after the turn of season (the winter solstice), it means skies will have a better potential to be clear. It is, essentially, when the geomagnetic recipe is better. There is less daylight in autumn, yet that makes it better to see the sky illuminated with breathtaking colors.
Wettest & Driest Months in Alaska
While August does see long daylight hours, it is actually the wettest month in Alaska! That means there’s more potential for helicopter tours to cancel/reschedule due to weather.
In contrast, the driest month? May! But snow will still linger in higher elevations.
What is the best time to elope in Alaska?
While rental cars are more expensive, if you want longer daylight hours and warmer weather (55 degrees or warmer), June-August is ideal. If you want to witness the Northern Lights, consider late September or February-March in Fairbanks.
PRO ALASKA ELOPEMENT PLANNING TIP: I’ve found that the shorter the planning runway is for eloping in Alaska, the more difficult (more so than many other places). I’d recommend starting to seriously plan and lock down your photographer at least 4-6 months out.
Have You Booked Your Rental Car?
June-August is the prime season for great weather, but also for tourism. Since the pandemic, rental car demand has skyrocketed, meaning for a compact car from a company (and not Turo, the rental car version of AirBnb), you can expect to pay at least $1500 or so, for around 6 days. That is personally the best deal I’ve found. After Labor Day, demand for rental cars goes down and by mid to late September, rental car prices are nearly half of what they were in June-August.
If you are okay with a premium for your rental car for peak summer, then book early! That also means if you’re booking out-of-state vendors (like photography), you’ll be doing them a favor by booking them earlier too, so they can get their rental car booked as well!
Many rental companies also do not allow you to take your rental off paved roads, so taking the scenic route through Hatcher Pass to Talkeetna is a no-go. Be sure to check up on their policies!
Best Places to Elope in Alaska
Ok, Alaska is massive. An Anchorage elopement will look much different than one in a more rural location, such as Fairbanks. Peek at the areas below, and see what strikes you depending on what you both have in mind.
Although this is the largest city in Alaska, an Anchorage elopement has the advantage of city vibes surrounded by incredible, snow-capped mountains. Another bonus is that Anchorage has an airport, which means that you don’t have to travel far or get a connecting flight to a more remote location.
The Chugach State Park is right next door, and Kenai and Talkeetna are close. So if you want a more rural feel to elope in Alaska, you can fly into Anchorage and have those “get away from it all” photos that Alaska is known for.
Top Anchorage Elopement Location: Hatcher Pass
If you love glaciers, there are 40 near the capital city, giving an elopement in Juneau a genuinely unique feel. The nearby Tongass National Forest is also the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world.
Juneau is known for amazing wildlife—whales, birds, and bears…oh my!—and you can easily reach the city by ferry or the airport but NOT by car. Crazy, right?
Top Juneau Elopement Location: Mendenhall Glacier
The Seward area is south of Anchorage. It’s a 2 ½ hour drive between the cities, but the ultra-cool way to get there is by train. The trip is four hours, and the views in between are ah-mazing! Seward is definitely more rural and has lots of wildlife and trails. Plus, it’s on the water (like a lot of Alaskan cities!), which makes for gorgeous images, too.
Top Seward Elopement Location: Helicopter to Glacier
Denali just may be one of the best reasons for getting married in Alaska! Trails, mountains, and gorgeous views are just a 1 ½ hour plane ride—or eight-hour train or four-hour drive—from Anchorage. P.S. You can also fly from Juneau, which is just under two hours.
Top Denali Elopement Location: Denali National Park
The truly adventurous will adore Fairbanks with its rustic atmosphere. Get ready to embrace the wilderness and include a bit of fun into your Alaskan adventure, such as snowmobiling, watching the Northern Lights, and visiting a reindeer ranch. It’s just an hour’s flight from Anchorage, or a—yikes—12-hour train ride (but just imagine all you’ll see!). It’s an eight-hour drive between the two locations if you want to rent a car and make a few stops along the way.
Top Fairbanks Location: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Best Activities to Do When Eloping in Alaska
One of the most amazing things if you want to elope in Alaska, is that there are so many things to do that are unique to the state. When you plan your elopement, you can include these ideas into your photos, or you can stay on your honeymoon and check these off of your list. There’s no lack of adventure for those who love nature and the great outdoors!
- Ride a dog sled.
- Do a glacier walk when you elope in Alaska.
- Land on a glacier via helicopter (so cool!).
- Go whale watching.
- Check off new national parks.
- Visit a reindeer farm.
- Pack raft in an iceberg lagoon.
- Hike to a cabin.
- Take an air tour to see the remote portions of Alaska. Alpine Air Alaska does special outings, and they also have dog sledding on glaciers.
- See bears. Head to Katmai or Lake Clark for this!
- Fly to Gates of the Arctic National Park.
- Get off the grid.
- Go to Fairbanks or further north and experience the northern lights.
What Does an Alaska Adventure Elopement Cost?
Let’s be real for a sec… if you’re coming from out of state and want a whole-ass type of elopement day, $5k just isn’t realistic.
The cost of travel can add up, and things like helicopter flights start at $1500 or so for the two of you and your photographer.
Curious about a typical adventure elopement budget?
How to Get Married in Alaska
One important thing about eloping in Alaska is actually getting married. What do I mean? Well, an elopement goes beyond looking fab and having images with your sweetie against a fantastic landscape. There’s paperwork and legality to think about, but it’s not as hard as you might think! Here’s the nitty-gritty:
How Much Does it Cost to get Married in Alaska?
You need to obtain a marriage license (the current cost is $60, and you can download the PDF here), which is valid for 90 days. Be sure to get it within a reasonable timeframe for when you plan to get married. No blood tests are required, and you have to be over 18 (under needs parental consent).
There is a 3 day waiting period, and you will also need an ID and birth certificate, if you are mailing or faxing (so ‘90s!) your application, you’ll have to have a Notary Public to witness it before you send it off.
Your application must be turned in to one of the following:
The Vital Records Office in Juneau or Anchorage;
An Alaska Court
Do You Need a Witness to Elope in Alaska?
Alaska also requires a witness for your ceremony (the internet says 2, but most licenses I now see only have one witness line) —I can a witness, or your pilot can witness if you’re flying somewhere! For more information on getting married in Alaska (or any other state), check out my handy blog post with all of the essential links.
So, are you ready to Elope in Alaska?
I love Alaska, and it’s no secret! And I totally enjoy trekking with my couples (literally anywhere) to capture the vision they have in mind. If you need services other than photography, I highly recommend:
Hair and makeup artists are particularly hard to come by in Alaska. Though she’s based in Oregon, my top adventure elopement specialist is Meaghan, of Fleurt Beauty Company. She offers concierge service (a tagalong service of sorts!) and knows what extra details adventure elopements take. Tell her I sent ya!
Your Alaska Elopement Photographer
As a lover and traveler of Alaska, I couldn’t be more stoked to show you the little-known spots, the stunning vistas that will make you swear you’re in a fantasy world of Middle Earth or Narnian proportions.
From the breathtaking Northern Lights as seen from a dogsled to humpback whales singing you a wedding song in Resurrection Bay, to towering glacial peaks, you’re sure to be struck dumb.
With your own custom planning portal, you’ll be ready to plan your greatest adventure yet, with custom vendor referrals, location resources, marriage license info and a helluva lot more.
Are you ready to experience all of what the Last (and best) Frontier has to offer?
Ready for your best adventure yet?
Don’t let availability and opportunity pass you up – reach out and let’s start planning your epic adventure!