Alaska elopement

Alaska is an amazing elopement location. The vast and diverse landscape can bring you so many different things, such as the crystal clear water, the northern most rainforest, waterfalls, and insane snow capped mountains. This is one of my favorite places to shoot elopements. This guide is going to go over everything you need to consider, such as locations, crowds, seasons, and permits. Read on to find out exactly how to elope in Alaska, and see the most beautiful Alaska elopement locations.

Where is Alaska

Alaska is the northern most state in the United States. It’s a huge land mass, and there’s multiple ways to get here. The best way (typically) to get to Alaska is to fly into Anchorage. However, it depends on where you’re going. There’s another major airport is Fairbanks. You will likely have to take a smaller bush plane to get to other areas in Alaska that can only be accessed by planes or boats.

Alaska elopement

When to Elope in Alaska

The best time for an elopement in Alaska in the Summer (around June to September.) The days are long, warm, and the wildflowers are abundant. However, each season comes with different pros and cons, so you should look into each and decide what would be the best fit for you and your parters elopement plans. Here’s what each season looks like in Alaska:


Winter is long in Alaska, and spring can also feel fairly short. Snow is melting and days are quite a bit longer by May. However, the weather doesn’t feel like true spring until about June. Mid-June is when you begin to see the bloom of the stunning wildflowers, and things such as blueberries and salmon berries begin to grow. You can still have some pretty cool days in Spring, so if you’re looking for warm weather, this might not be the best season for you.


There’s an ongoing joke that the four seasons in Alaska are Winter, June, July, and August. June representing spring, and July representing summer. Summer is my favorite season in Alaska. All the trails are accessible, things are green and lush, with wildflowers and berries everywhere. There’s also a lot of wildlife, so be sure to carry the bear spray. In parts of Alaska, you’ll get 24 hour of daylight in the summer. That being said, if sunset photos are important to you, choose a date a little earlier or later in the year.


Fall is another incredibly short season in Alaska, but quite beautiful. You have a bigger chance for rain and snow. The changing of colors is stunning, and you even have a shot at season the northern lights during this season. This weather is a bit more mild, ranging from 40-60 during the day. This is a great season for couples who want to see sunset, have a shot at seeing he northern lights, still have access to all of the trails, and enjoy milder weather.


Winter in Alaska is cold and long, but also seriously beautiful. The snow, the northern lights, and huge mountains. It’s a true winter wonderland in Alaska. This is also a great time of year for a helicopter elopement. Landing on snowy mountain tops or glaciers. However, winter can easily get well below the negatives. Fairbanks can go as low as -50! So make sure to plan correctly, and wear a ton of layers.

Alaska Wedding Permit

You will need a special use permit to get married in some places in Alaska. National Parks and State Parks generally require one, and you will apply through their website. However, sometimes you only need one if you’re having over 75 people. This also applies to public land. Regardless, it’s always important to double check. As an elopement photographer who helps plan, I do this research for my couples and send them the correct permit application if one is required.

How to Get Marriage License in Alaska

You do not need to be a resident of Alaska to get a marriage license. Getting a marriage license is actually fairly easy! You will need to start your application online for your Alaska marriage license, and can find that here. Once you finish the application, you’ll need to mail it in with a $60 check or money order. Additionally, you’ll want to send it to the court closest to your elopement location. You can check out a list of all of your options here.

Finally, you will need to make sure you plan your elopement three days after your pick up your marriage license, as Alaska has a three day waiting period. Alternatively, you can have the marriage license shipped to you with an additional $10 fee to avoid the waiting period.

Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope in Alaska?

Yes, the state of Alaska required you to have both two witnesses and an officiant. The good news is, you can have a friend or family member be your officiant! Same goes for your witnesses. You’re also able to hire a professional officiant, or even have your photographer be your officiant if they’re ordained and you simply want to read private vows to one another.

Alaska elopement

How to Elope in Alaska

You plan an Alaska elopement in similar ways as you’d plan any adventure elopement. There are a few major steps, and you can read about those here on my thorough guide on how to elope. For this Alaska elopement guide, I’m going over the major things you’ll need to consider!


This is an imperative part of the planning process for elopements. This is because some guests won’t have the hiking ability, some might not want to drive on snowy roads, or narrow mountain roads, and others will be apt to altitude sickness. Choosing a location will be much easier once you’ve determine who you’re inviting, and how many guests total you’ll have.


This might feel early in the planning process, but bear with me. Elopements don’t have wedding planners. Most elopement photographers have taken it upon themselves to help couples with some of the planning. Many actually help you find your location! And they will think of things you might not have considered, such as: lighting, elevation, difficulty in hiking in a dress, permits, and so much more.

Each elopement photographer offers something different. Personally, I send my couples a customized list of locations based on their preferences, hiking ability, who they want to invite, and what they want to see. I also help them determine lodging options, get permits, get their marriage license, recommend vendors, and create a comprehensive day of timeline, and offer unlimited guidance calls for any questions along the way.

The being said, hiring your Alaska elopement photographer early is going to take a massive amount of planning stress off of your shoulders. Wanna chat? Contact me here!


This is going to help you choose a date and location. There are rainy seasons, dry seasons, and even seasons that you THINK would be warm, but can still be snowy and cold in Alaska. Once you research each season, it’ll be easier to pick a time of year to elope, as well as a location (since some locations receive more sun, snow, or rain.)


Once you’ve decided on how much you’d like to hike, how many guests are coming, your ideal weather, and the landscapes you want, you’re ready to deep dive into researching Alaska elopement locations. Finding the perfect spot will be a lot simpler after considering all of your needs and logistics.

This is information I collect from my couples through a questionnaire, and then use to make a customized list of Alaska elopement location options for them.


Once you have your location, it’s time to consider if there’s anything you need vendors for. Do you need any event rentals? Do you want a friend or family to officiate, or do you want to hire an officiant? Will you go out to eat, or do you want something catered, like a meal at an Airbnb from a private chef? Do you want a helicopter to take you somewhere private and stunning in Alaska?

Figure out what extra services you may want, and hire your vendors in advance!


You will need to get the correct permits for your elopement. These are usually “special use” permits that you apply for on the National Parks website, or National Forest/BLM website.

Personally, I get all permit information for my eloping couples that hire me. With that, all you need to do is fill out the application when it’s sent to you and pay the fee. Fee’s vary, but are usually around $150 or less.


Activities are such a fun part of an elopement. When you choose to elope, you’re opening yourself up to having a wedding day celebration that feels unique and resonates with you. Incorporate things that will elevate your elopement day experience. Here’s just a few ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Going on a hike
  • Having a bonfire
  • Having a picnic on a mountain top
  • Star-gazing or astrophotography
  • Swimming
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting waterfalls
  • Camping
  • Glamping
  • Hiring a private chef
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Helicopter tour (landing on glaciers, mountains, etc)
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Whale watching
  • Scenic driving with time to stop for pictures
  • Visiting hot springs
  • Exchanging gifts
  • Reading letters from friends or family


Making a timeline is an important part of any elopement. It strings together all of your locations, activities, and lets guests know where to be and when. Creating a well thought out timeline will help you feel relaxed during the day, instead of stressed or rush. Make sure to include drive times as well as buffer times between each “event.”

Here are the things I include in the timelines I make for my couples:

  • All addresses
  • Sunrise time
  • Sunset time
  • Drive times
  • A linke to Accuweather
  • A list of all names for group shots
  • Vendor info
  • Emergency contact info
  • A packing list

Alaska Elopement Lodging

Lodging is important when it comes to elopements. A lot of couples incorporate their lodging into aspects of their wedding day. For example, getting ready + getting ready photos, a first look, an intimate reception with friends, a dinner made by a private chef, etc. Once you’ve decided what you’ll incorporate in your day, pick a location that will allow everything you want to include.

If you want to host an intimate reception, I highly recommend a vacation rental such as a cabin or an Airbnb. You can also stay at hotels, resorts, chalets, campgrounds, etc. Here are some amazing lodging options near Alaska:

Alaska elopement

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Alaska

A marriage license costs $60 in Alaska, so it technically costs $120.00 to elope in Alaska. That being said, most couples spend an average of $5000-$20,000 on their elopement. This includes flights, lodging, permits, vendors, wedding attire, meals, and anything extra a couple might want.

Alaska Elopement Locations

There are an endless amount of Alaska elopement locations, and the ones I’ve listed out here are just the tip of the iceberg (dad joke intended.) As an elopement photographer that helps couples plan, I send you a customized location list based on your desires for a ceremony spot. Such as not wanting to hike, wanting ocean views, wanting mountain views, etc. However, for now, here is a list of the most amazing Alaska elopement locations:

Hatchers Pass

Hatcher’s Pass is a stunning Alaska elopement location. Filled with gorgeous peaks, the iconic red cabins, wildflowers in summer, and glacial lakes. This location is perfect for couples who want the stunning Alaska views without the hiking. There’s 50 miles of scenic driving that can be done here, so you can simply hop out of the car at your favorite spots. You can find more info about the scenic drive here!


Alaska elopement locations

Girdwood is a stunning and easily accessible Alaska elopement location. You can do one of the beautiful nearby hikes into the mountains, or simply take the tram to the top of the mountains for an easy access ceremony location! There’s endless wildflowers, berries, and wildlife here. You can also stay at Alyeska Lodge with amazing lodging and great food.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is a truly wild Alaska elopement location, and home to the biggest mountain in the US. In Denali, you cannot drive through the park to explore it yourself. You will have to get a bus ticket to get to points of interest in this park. You can take a look at the tickets here.


Alaska elopement locations

Sitka is a seriously underrated Alaska elopement location. Filled with dense forest, waterfalls, insane mountain views, and gorgeous waters. This is an amazing place for seeing wildlife, and is super popular for fishing. This spot brings in less tourism than others if you’re looking for more privacy during your elopement.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

This amazing park is over 13 million acres and is Alaska biggest National Park. This is the serious back country and a great choice for super adventurous couples. The best way to get to this Alaska elopement location is by taking a helicopter, making your elopement day even more unique and adventurous!

Matanuska Glacier

Alaska elopement locations

Matanuska is a wild Alaska elopement location. This glacier in incredible, and the biggest in Alaska! You have the option of a guided tour, or a self guided tour prior to 5pm in the summer. This is a perfect location for couples who want to explore the icy caves and walk on a glacier!


Seward is a town in Alaska that is big for fishing, but also seeing whales! If you’re looking for an Alaska elopement location where you can see whales, this is an amazing options. You can see them on the boat tours, or even from some of the hidden gem beaches nearby


Alaska elopement locations

Talkeetna is a very small town in Alaska, with charming lodging, coffee shops, and cafes. I love this Alaska elopement location for couples who don’t want to do too much hiking. You can easily see Denali from this location, and it’s a great spot to see the Northern lights in the winter.

Tongass National Forest

Alaska elopement locations

Tongass National Forest is absolutely massive, and the biggest National Forest in the US. If you’re looking for an adventure, you can get to various locations here by boat or by helicopter!

Byron Glacier

Byron Glacier is a super accessible Alaska elopement location. It’s close by to both Anchorage and Girdwood, making it easy to travel to. Not only do you get views of mountains and glaciers, but ice caves in the winter and waterfalls in the summer. It’s a super easy hike at 2.3 miles.

Portage Lake

Alaska elopement locations

This is an amazing Alaska elopement location for couples looking to do a hiking elopement. It’s only a little over four miles, however the hike is fairly challenging. This hike can be done in the colder weather with snowshoes, or in the summer!

Eklutna Lake

Eklunta Lake is stunning summer or winter. And there’s actually cabins here that you can rent out (most of which are dry cabins.) In the summer, you can easily drive to locations on the lake including stunning hikes and beautiful waterfalls. In the winter, you’re able to come out in a snowmobile to experience and true winter wonderland and massive mountains. This location is about an hour from Anchorage, so it’s easy to get to from out of state.


Alaska elopement locations

Kodiak is filled with stunning Alaska elopement locations, but it’s also an amazing place to see grizzly bears! Especially if you visit the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in summer!


Juneau is a stunning Alaska elopement location to see whales. It’s a gorgeous town that you can fly into directly, with amazing mountain views. It’s super close to the Tongass National Forest, where you can drive to beautiful spots. The town itself is also jaw dropping, you can go wrong with Jeneau

Packing for an Alaska Elopement

When packing for an Alaska elopement, you really have to keep the elements in mind. Even in summer, you need to make sure to pack the correct things to keep you both safe and comfortable. Here’s a list of recommendations of things to pack for your Alaska elopement:

  • bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • bear spray (very important)
  • bear bells
  • downloaded maps (google maps, alltrails)
  • hand warmers
  • warm layers
  • rain jacket
  • windbreaker
  • good hiking shoes

Alaska Elopement Packages

Elopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Alaska, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

Alaska elopement packages starting at $6800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

Ready to Elope in Alaska?

This Alaska elopement guide is a way to get you excited about all the possibilities of what your day could look like. Although, this amount of information can be overwhelming. I’m here to help. I can answer any and all questions you have on a complimentary low pressure consultation call. If you then choose you’d like to work together, I’ll do all of this planning right by your said to alleviate any stress, and bring your Alaska elopement vision to life. We can chat here!

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

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