Grizzly Bears. Salmon run. Totem Polls. Glaciers. Whale Watching. Open tundras. Helicopter ride.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Well that’s because it is. Alaska, the 49th state and the true Final Frontier, is far and away one of the most unique and inspiring locations to elope. Why should you elope in Alaska? This question has a thousand answers, but what I have found to love most about this state is its endless sense of wonder. Alaska has so many ecosystems, topographies and climates within its boundaries, most of which are just a little bit inconvenient to access. So you’ll say- Rose- if it’s inconvenient why would I go there? My answer: because if you are looking to fulfill this sense of wonder for your elopement, you need to go just outside the comfort zones of ‘most’ people. Getting outside the hustle of cities and easily accessible roads means less people, more natural beauty, and incredible experiences. And so by that, I mean Alaska.
So, what do you need in order to make this your reality?
1- Date and place!
This may seem obvious, but when you are considering an elopement in Alaska there are a few things you need to think about in regards to seasons.
Summer in Alaska means long daylight hours, and the farther north you venture the more hours of daylight you get. Same obviously rings true for the winter, where in Fairbanks on the winter solstice you’re looking at approximately 3.5 hours of sun. Check out this link to see just how many hours of daylight you can expect!
Alaska is a massive state, where climate and geography dramatically shift. From 20,000 ft up Mt. Denali soars over the tundra, to the harbors of Juneau or Cordova and whales can be seen from the dock and moose patrol the streets. You’ve got just about every ideal location to work with.
2- Obtain a Marriage license
As in all states, you need to have your marriage application submitted prior to the date of your impending elopement. Most applications are approved within 3-5 business days. Alaska also requires an officiant and two witnesses. If you would like a loved one or friend to be your officiant, they can apply for a 1 time permit online. Easy does it! Here is a link to the Alaska Buearu of Vital Statistics for all things marriage license.
3- National Park Permitting
Almost all national parks, no matter the state, require a separate permit for a small wedding. The application processing time can range from 14-60 days, so once a date is chosen be sure to contact the appropriate Ranger Office for info. On that front- I am here to help! Typically these permits are no more than $100. Really it depends on how many people/props you want to bring into the space.
4- Consider the daring
There are few places in North America where you can so easily access glaciers. Throughout the state, helicopter and float plane services can be chartered to bring you up to the tops of the ice fields for some of the most astounding views you’ll ever encounter. Personally, I find them some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet- and also ones that may not be around too much longer. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to take to the skies, I can only highly encourage you to go for it! Major cities like Juneau and Anchorage have several helicopter companies that are great to work with, and know these awesome vistas like the back of their hands.
5- All other details
As with any adventure, there is considerable planning that goes into it. A place where I can be especially useful is in the area of vendor recommendations. Having worked with multiple companies in both South East and Interior Alaska, I can help cut out the stress of finding the perfect florist, makeup artist or even helicopter company. Basically, Ive got you covered for your Alaskan elopement.