Bride and groom in pack rafts for an elopement in western Colorado.

Elope in Alaska: What to Know About An Elopement in Alaska

Imagine exchanging vows amidst towering glaciers, under the dancing Northern Lights, or against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. I’m not exaggerating here! This stunning state is practically made for adventure-seeking couples who want to get married their own way. Eloping in Alaska isn’t just about eloping just to get married & get it over with—it’s about embarking on a thrilling adventure that you & your partner will remember for the rest of your lives. From the pristine wilderness to the activities that await, an Alaska elopement promises an experience like no other. Whether you’re seeking solitude in nature or an adrenaline-packed escape, Alaska has it! In this article, dive deeper into planning your Alaska elopement, including the best elopement locations, weather considerations, legal requirements, & more from my perspective as an elopement photographer. Get ready to discover why eloping in Alaska is one of the ultimate ways to say “I do” in one of the most picturesque places on Earth.

Note: This blog post includes some stock images that aren’t my own. Alaska is high on my bucket list for photographing elopements, & I can’t wait to capture your special day there! Let’s chat about how I can help you plan your unforgettable Alaskan adventure.

What Makes Alaska One of the Best Locations for Adventure Elopements?

Alaska has the highest peaks, the most glaciers, the largest bears, & the longest daylight hours. Additionally, it’s one of the best places on Earth to see the Northern Lights. You can explore over 3,000 rivers & 3 million lakes, each with its own unique character & charm. And with more than 6,600 miles of rugged coastline to discover, you’ll never run out of places to explore & sights to see- Alaska is truly one of the best adventure elopement locations.

Elope among the wildflowers

Majestic Landscapes

From the peaks of Denali to the waters of Kenai Fjords, Alaska’s landscapes are some of the most beautiful places in the world in my opinion. Imagine saying your vows among the glaciers, fjords, & snow-capped mountains. Alaska is also home to a lot of wilderness areas. With its vast national parks & remote areas, you can find a sense of solitude & intimacy that’s hard to match.

Northern Lights Elopement in Alaska

One of the most magical things you can experience together in Alaska is witnessing the Northern Lights. The dancing of the Aurora Borealis across the night sky is just…. it can’t be easily described! Eloping during the winter months gives you a better chance of incorporating this natural phenomenon into your elopement day. There is a decent chance of seeing them during the summer months as well, but the nights are short or nonexistent depending on the time of year & where you are.

Adventurous Activity Opportunities

Alaska is full of exciting activities. Whether you’re experienced or not, there’s a lot of guides here that can help you try something new! You can incorporate experiences such as glacier hiking, dog sledding, boat tours, kayaking, or a scenic helicopter tour into your elopement day in Alaska. These adventures not only make your day special but also provide great photo opportunities. Some of the best photos come from couples doing activities that they enjoy & me documenting them having fun together on their wedding day.

A couple kayaking near Holgate Glacier for their Alaska elopement.
Couple kayaking near Holgate Glacier

Alaskan Wildlife & Exploring Alaska’s Cultures

Alaska’s diverse wildlife add an extra something special to experience during your time here. Imagine spotting whales, eagles, or even bears as you celebrate your love. Also, Alaska’s rich cultural heritage offers another thing that makes Alaska such a special place. From learning about Indigenous cultures to exploring historic towns, you’ll find a deep sense of history & tradition that enriches your experience while exploring Alaska together.

Grizzly bears in Katmai National Park in Alaska.
Grizzly bears in Katmai National Park

The Best Places to Elope in Alaska

With Alaska being such a large state to elope in, you probably need to know where you might want to go in Alaska. These Alaskan elopement locations listed here are based on things I know would make for an epic experience but also are some of the most photogenic locations in Alaska. Some of these Alaska elopement locations are great for hiking elopements & some locations are accessible with very little to no hiking. It’s all about choosing a location that has the scenery you want & that is as adventurous or as chill as you want your day to be!

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park with its glaciers, rugged coastlines, & forests for your elopement day is simply beautiful. Nature-loving couples will adore exchanging vows on a scenic overlook before celebrating with a boat tour or glacier hike. Seals & whales might even make a guest appearance at your private wilderness wedding in Alaska!

  • Permit: Required
  • Best time to elope: June – August
  • Hiking difficulty: Easy to strenuous, depending on the trail
Elope in Kenai Fjords in Alaska
Glaciers at Kenai Fjords

Alyeska Resort in Girdwood

Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, set in the beautiful Chugach Mountains, provides a breathtaking setting for your elopement. The aerial tram up Mount Alyeska offers incredible views of Turnagain Arm & seven hanging glaciers. Exchange vows on the mountaintop, then relax in the resort’s luxurious accommodations for the perfect combination of wild Alaskan beauty & modern comfort.

  • Permit: Not required
  • Best time to elope: Year-round
  • Hiking difficulty: Easy to moderate
Mountains in Girdwood, Alaska.
Mountains near Girdwood, Alaska

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias, a vast national park larger than Switzerland, is ideal for couples seeking a remote & untouched wilderness elopement setting. Towering peaks, glacial valleys, & pristine rivers create a stunning backdrop for your vows, whether in front of the massive Root Glacier or amidst a field of wildflowers. This location is perfect for couples craving a true escape.

  • Permit: Required
  • Best time to elope: June – September
  • Hiking difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska.
Wrangell St. Elias National Park

Hatcher Pass

Hatcher Pass provides stunning alpine scenery without the crowds, making it an excellent choice for a peaceful elopement. Rolling tundra, rugged peaks, & crystal-clear lakes surround you as you exchange vows in a secluded spot reached by a scenic drive & short hike. This location is ideal for couples desiring a low-key, nature-focused ceremony.

  • Permit: Not required
  • Best time to elope: July – September
  • Hiking difficulty: Easy to moderate

Valdez, Alaska

Valdez, a charming coastal town, is surrounded by towering waterfalls, majestic glaciers, & the glistening Prince William Sound, offering a perfect mix of sea, mountains, & small-town charm for your elopement. Exchange vows on the shores of Valdez Glacier Lake, then celebrate with a kayaking or fishing excursion for a touch of adventure.

  • Permit: Not required
  • Best time to elope: June – August
Thompson Pass in Alaska.
Thompson Pass near Valdez, AK

Homer, Alaska

Homer, known for its stunning coastal scenery, art galleries, & laid-back atmosphere, provides a picturesque setting for your elopement. Exchange vows on a secluded beach with the rugged peaks of Kachemak Bay State Park in the background. After the ceremony, explore the famous Homer Spit or take a scenic flight over the bay for a relaxed, artsy elopement experience.

  • Permit: Not required
  • Best time to elope: May – September
  • Hiking difficulty: Easy to moderate

Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park, conveniently located near Anchorage, offers 495,000 acres of rugged mountains, glaciers, & wildflower-filled valleys for a wilderness elopement experience close to the city. Exchange vows at the scenic Flattop Mountain overlook or beside a secluded waterfall, making it an ideal choice for a half-day elopement adventure.

  • Permit: Required for some areas
  • Best time to elope: June – September
  • Hiking difficulty: Easy to strenuous, depending on the trail

How to Plan Your Alaska Elopement

When it comes to planning out all the locations, logistics, & vendors for your elopement in Alaska, I’m here to help! As an experienced adventure elopement photographer, I’ve helped couples get married in all sorts of locations & when it comes to planning this– I’ve got you!

The Alaska Elopement Checklist

  • Write down why you want to elope- you’ll be faced with a lot of planning & it’ll help keep perspective.
  • Decide on your budget for eloping in Alaska & be sure to do research on actual costs.
  • Where do you envision eloping to? What date would you like to get married on? Are certain locations better during certain seasons?
  • Will you be inviting a small gathering of family & friends, or would you prefer an intimate celebration just for the two of you?
  • Verify if the chosen location requires any permits for your elopement ceremony.
  • Secure your official marriage license, ensuring compliance with all legal formalities & plan for the 3 day waiting period.
  • Book Alaska elopement vendors & your travel + accommodations. Select wedding attire for your elopement day.
  • Elope in Alaska & have the best time exploring!

Wedding Vendor Recommendations in Alaska

Choosing an Alaska Elopement Photographer

When selecting a photographer, focus on photographic style, experience, & personality. Although all these factors matter, personality is one of the most crucial aspects outside of liking the work of your photographer. Also, don’t dismiss photographers who are based outside the location you elope! Often, as a traveling photographer, I can bring fresh excitement & perspectives, potentially capturing your elopement in innovative ways locals might overlook. Coming into new settings can lead to unique, creative shots that others might take for granted.

Getting Married in Alaska & Obtaining a Marriage License in Alaska

Here’s a shortlist of everything you need to know about getting your marriage license in Alaska. You can get your marriage license application here.

Tests: No blood test or physical exam needed.

Residency: Both residents & nonresidents can apply for a marriage license.

Witnesses: The only legal requirement is that the two parties must agree & declare that they intend to be married, in the presence of each other, the person performing the ceremony, & at least one other witness (your photographer counts).

Age: You must be 18 or older to marry without parental consent & a court order. Birth certificates may be required to prove your age. No one under 16 can marry in Alaska, & 16-17-year-olds need a court order & parental consent from both parents. The person you’re marrying can’t be more than 3 years older if you’re 16-17. Call the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics at (907) 465-3391 for more info if you’re under 18.

Location: Your Alaska marriage license is only valid for marriages in Alaska or Alaska State waters.

The town of Sitka, Alaska.
Sitka, Alaska

Waiting Period: There’s a 3-business day wait that starts when your mailed or faxed application with payment is received. You have to wait 3 full business days before picking up the license & having the ceremony. If you need your license ASAP & can’t pick it up in person, include $10 for Priority Mail with tracking. Regular mail can take 4+ weeks & can’t be tracked. Total for the application & Priority Shipping is $70.

Payments: Make checks or money orders out to Alaska Vital Records & include payment when mailing your application.

License Expiration: Your license is good for 3 months from the issue date. You have to get married before it expires, or it won’t be valid. No refunds or extensions are allowed.

Marriage by Proxy: Proxy marriages (where someone stands in for the other person) aren’t allowed in Alaska. Both of you have to be there with the two witnesses & the officiant.

Divorced Applicants: All divorces must be final & filed with the courts in the state they were granted. List the start & end dates of all previous marriages on your application. You only need to submit a copy of your divorce decree if the divorce or dissolution happened less than 60 days before applying for the marriage license.

Permits: Depending on the location you choose for your elopement in Alaska, you may or may not need to obtain a Special Use Permit. These permits typically range from $150 to $300. Navigating the permitting process can be tricky, so it’s advisable to hire an experienced adventure elopement photographer who can guide you through the requirements for your chosen destination.

Traveling to Alaska

Alaska may feel like a world away, but getting there is easier than you might think! Flights range from $450 to $1,000, depending on your departure city, with plenty of nonstop options. I recommend flying into Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the perfect base for your Alaskan adventures. Anchorage is centrally located, giving you easy access to coastal fjords, Denali National Park, & Fairbanks (a prime spot for northern lights viewing). Plus, the city’s amenities make it a great place to charter a bush plane for more remote explorations.

Best Times & Seasons for an Elopement in Alaska

Summer Elopements in Alaska: Summer is prime time for an Alaska elopement, with wildflowers in bloom, moody clouds, greenery, & abundant wildlife. It’s the perfect season for hiking, ATV rides, kayaking, glacier treks, helicopter charters, & accessing most locations & trails. Plus, long daylight hours mean endless adventure! Plan your summer elopement between June & August for the best experience.

Fall Elopements in Alaska: Alaska’s stunning fall colors are short-lived, often lumped together with summer & winter. While predicting peak foliage is tricky, September is usually a good bet. Expect cooler temperatures & vibrant, warm hues painting the landscape. Fall also offers a chance to spot the enchanting northern lights.

Winter Elopements in Alaska: An Alaska winter elopement is a unique option, with activities like dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice cave exploration, & snowmobiling. Imagine cozying up in a cabin after a day of winter fun, sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace. Though daylight hours are short, you can still pack in plenty of adventure. Plus, winter months offer the best chance to witness the northern lights, especially in Fairbanks. For peak aurora viewing, aim for a March elopement.

20 Ideas to Elope in Alaska

  1. Glacier landing via helicopter for a stunning ceremony backdrop
  2. Midnight sun elopement during summer solstice
  3. Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) viewing & stargazing
  4. Dog sledding adventure to a remote cabin for a cozy, intimate ceremony
  5. Seaplane flight to a secluded lake or island
  6. Whale watching & exchanging vows on a private boat charter
  7. Hiking to a scenic overlook or waterfall for an unforgettable ceremony
  8. Skiing or snowboarding down a pristine slope in your wedding attire
  9. Ice cave exploration & photos in a surreal, blue-hued wonderland
  10. Camping under the stars in a clear dome or yurt
  11. Hot air balloon ride over the stunning Alaskan landscape
  12. Scenic train ride through the mountains, with a stop for your ceremony
  13. Kayaking or canoeing to a remote beach or glacial lake
  14. Fishing adventure & riverside picnic elopement
  15. Flightseeing tour of Denali National Park, with a mountain landing for your vows
  16. Snowmobiling to a picturesque, snow-covered location
  17. Wildlife elopement among the bears, moose, & caribou
  18. Glacier trek & ice climbing for an adrenaline-pumping wedding day
  19. Chasing waterfalls & exchanging vows surrounded by lush forests
  20. Cultural immersion with indigenous Alaskans, learning traditions & customs

Remember, the beauty of eloping in Alaska is that you can create an adventure that perfectly suits your style & preferences. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box & craft a truly one-of-a-kind experience!

Include the Northern Lights in Your Alaskan Elopement

The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is between mid-August & mid-April, when less daylight leads to darker night skies. If you really want a chance at seeing the northern lights when you elope in Alaska, planning out timing during the cooler months when it is darker for longer is usually best.

Fairbanks: Your Best Bet for Northern Lights Viewing– Fairbanks is a top spot for catching the northern lights in Alaska, thanks to its prime location, long winter nights, & strong auroral activity. Plus, the city has tons of tours, activities, & cozy accommodations dedicated to aurora viewing. Craving a more remote experience? Head to Coldfoot, Wiseman, Utqiagvik (Barrow), or Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse in the Interior & Arctic regions. But don’t worry – you can still see the northern lights throughout the state, though your chances dip as you journey south.

Guided Tours or DIY: You Choose! Northern lights tours are available in the Interior, Arctic, & Southcentral regions, with knowledgeable guides whisking you away to secluded viewing spots with minimal light pollution. Opt for a single-day excursion or boost your odds with a multi-day package, complete with meals & stays at unique, remote lodges designed for optimal aurora viewing. Prefer to chase the lights on your own? Keep tabs on the statewide aurora forecast & Fairbanks aurora tracker. Many Alaska hotels even offer a northern lights wake-up call to rouse you when the sky starts dancing!

Alaska Helicopter Elopement Tours

Nothing screams “Alaskan adventure” quite like soaring over breathtaking glaciers, towering peaks, & pristine wilderness from a bird’s eye view! Now, when it comes to finding the perfect Alaska helicopter tour company, you’ve got some stellar options. Here are the best tours that’ll make your elopement dreams a reality!

Alaska Helicopter Tours: Fully customizable helicopter tours for going to some of the most remote places in Alaska. The guides here can take you to some of their secret hidden gems of locations when you elope in Alaska.

Outbound Heli: These seasoned pilots know the Alaskan wilderness like the back of their hands. They’ll whisk you away to breathtaking locales for an unforgettable flightseeing adventure.

Alpine Air Alaska: With decades of experience under their belts, these folks are masters of the Alaskan skies. Prepare for some serious vistas!

Seward Helicopters: This crew specializes in whisking couples off to remote glaciers & alpine meadows for intimate elopements with a view.

No matter which outfitter you choose, an Alaska helicopter tour is guaranteed to add an extra dose of wow-factor to your big day. After all, how many newlyweds can say they exchanged vows on a remote glacier? You’ll be one for the books!

How Much Does an Alaska Elopement Cost?

The price tag for your Alaska elopement can vary quite a bit, depending on the kind of day you’re dreaming of. A simple celebration at an easy-to-reach location will cost less than on a glacier after a private helicopter ride! So you need to figure out what matters most to you, whether it’s an epic adventure, scenery, incredible food, or romantic, stylish touches. Invest in those priorities & skip the rest. Eloping is all about doing your day your way, so don’t get bogged down by “shoulds.”

To give you a ballpark idea, here’s a breakdown of potential costs for an Alaska elopement:

  • Photographer: $4,500-$12,000
  • Wedding attire: $500-$3,000 or more depending on your tastes
  • Travel & Accommodations: $1,000-$3000
  • Permit: $0-$300
  • Marriage License: $60
  • Officiant: $250-$500
  • Florist: $500 or more depending on season/intricacy
  • Hair & Makeup: $350+
  • Helicopter Tour: $1,000+

Remember, you’ll pick & choose what’s important to you. Whether you go all-out or keep things simple, your Alaska elopement is sure to be an epic adventure!

Sample Itinerary for a Week in Alaska

This is one of many options you have to explore Alaska. This sample itinerary combines seeing the landscapes & fun activities, ensuring an Alaskan elopement trip you’ll remember!

Day 1:

  • Arrive in Fairbanks, the “Golden Heart City”
  • Visit the Museum of the North to learn about Alaska’s history & culture
  • Take a relaxing soak in the Chena Hot Springs
  • Enjoy a cozy dinner at The Pump House, a historic restaurant on the banks of the Chena River

Day 2:

  • Wake up early for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Alaskan wilderness
  • Explore the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, featuring vintage cars from the early 1900s
  • Go for a scenic hike at the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
  • End the day with a romantic starlit picnic under the midnight sun

Day 3:

  • Fly to Anchorage & rent a car
  • Drive along the stunning Turnagain Arm to reach the charming town of Girdwood
  • Take the Alyeska Aerial Tram for views of the surrounding mountains & glaciers
  • Indulge in a delightful dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant, perched atop Mount Alyeska

Day 4:

  • Embark on a dog sledding adventure through the Alaskan wilderness
  • Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see bears, moose, & other native animals up close
  • Drive to the picturesque town of Seward, which is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Unwind with a romantic waterfront dinner at Ray’s Waterfront

Day 5:

  • Take a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park to see glaciers, whales, & sea lions
  • Hike to the stunning Exit Glacier & marvel at its blue-hued ice
  • Enjoy a sunset kayaking trip along the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay
  • Celebrate your love with an intimate dinner at The Cookery, known for its fresh Alaskan seafood

Day 6:

  • Drive back to Anchorage along the scenic Seward Highway
  • Stop at the Beluga Point Lookout for a chance to spot beluga whales
  • Toast to your incredible journey with a farewell dinner at the acclaimed Crow’s Nest restaurant, offering panoramic views of the city & the Cook Inlet


Are You Ready to Elope in Alaska?


Your Alaska Elopement Photographer

Hey there! I’m Malachi the photographer behind Shell Creek Photography, specializing in adventure elopements & intimate weddings. With a deep love for the outdoors, I’m here to help you create your elopement in the awe-inspiring landscapes of Alaska. Although I haven’t yet had the pleasure of photographing an elopement in Alaska, it is high on my bucket list! From the towering peaks of Denali to the pristine fjords of Kenai, I’m ready to explore every with you & create stunning images that tell your unique love story.

Your adventure elopement in Alaska deserves a photographer who’s as enthusiastic about the journey as you are. Together, we’ll plan a day filled with unforgettable moments, whether it’s hiking through remote trails, witnessing the Northern Lights, or sharing a quiet moment on a glacier. Let’s chat about how I can bring your elopement dreams to life & help you navigate the planning your day. Reach out to me, & let’s make your Alaska elopement an extraordinary adventure!

Malachi Lewis at Shell Creek Photography in the mountains of western Colorado.


Give me the details! Let’s talk about your wedding or elopement day. Just fill out the form & I’ll be in touch with you soon. The more info you give me the better! You can also view pricing info.

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