Lia and Mike were gunning for a big, traditional wedding. But when COVID had other plans, they decided to follow their hearts, and in turn, experienced a magical elopement in Alaska that I can’t help but feel lucky to have been a part of.
Their love story begins at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Upstate New York. Greek life brought them together, and they’ve been inseparable ever since! Mike was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and Lia was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. I too also went to RIT and met Lia and Mike way back when!
Although Lia and Mike had never been to Alaska, they told me it just felt right and had always been Lia's dream. Lia and Mike chose to stay at the Knik River Lodge and were joined by Lia’s sorority sister, Marriah, and Mike’s fraternity brother, Phil, who became ordained specially to officiate their wedding ceremony.
Our day started at the Reindeer Farm in Palmer, Alaska. Turns out, Lia has a thing for deer! I mean, the pure, unadulterated joy on her face says it all - the day was already off to an incredible start. Fun fact: you can purchase reindeer from them!
After a morning of romping around with the animals (llamas and yaks included), we headed back to Grandma’s Place, Mariah and Phil’s aptly named Airbnb. This home had cozy written all over it!
Now here’s where I swooped in with a surprise. I had Lia and Mike’s close friends and family send me videos expressing their congratulations. Together, they watched and laughed and cried until it was time to get ready for the ceremony.
The girls retreated to the Airbnb while Mike spent the afternoon writing his vows. Looking out over the Knik Glacier, he bore his entire heart on his sleeve, waiting for his bride.
Lia emerged from the Airbnb for the first look in a gorgeous ivory gown. Even as the photographer I wanted to stay in that moment forever - their love shone straight through the gloomy Alaska sky.
After the first look, we were picked up by a massive off-road truck for a tour that would take us all the way out to the glacial river outlet. We had an amazing guide who brought us as close as we could get to the edge of the Knik Glacier. On a small rocky outcropping, Lia and Mike exchanged their vows while Phil was busy fighting papers and the wind! Here, they shared an intimate and special moment that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Once the ceremony was over and champagne was shared, we rode back to the Airbnb. The sun didn’t exactly want to emerge for an Alaskan golden hour (at 10 pm, mind you), but we had an excellent omen working in our favor - the rain that we thought would be inevitable held off for the entire day.
Basking in newlywed magic, Lia and Mike shared their wedding cake and a cheese plate before saying goodbye to Phil, Marriah, and me. Off they went to snuggle in an adorable cabin along the glacier and prepare for their Alaskan honeymoon adventure ahead
Alaska Elopement Adventures
These days, adventure elopements are becoming more and more mainstream as couples are having to rework their entire weddings. Elopements take away the stress of replanning, rebooking, adjusting your guest list - and Lia and Mike’s day was just the perfect example of how intimate and magical your elopement can truly be.
Alaska is the perfect place to elope if you’re looking for an adventure you can make entirely your own. Book a tour and be married on a glacier! Take a helicopter and be wed on top of a mountain! The possibilities are endless! And if you’re having a hard time deciding where to tie the knot, contact me and let me help you find a location that will fulfill your wildest dreams.
Here are some experiences near Anchorage that will sprinkle some thrill into your wedding day:
- Knik Glacier Tours - Hop in a monster truck and go on an off-road adventure to see the Knik Glacier and tons of Alaskan wildlife.
- Alaska Helicopter Tours - Charter a private helicopter with ordained pilots and experience a magical ceremony directly on top of the Knik Glacier. Then fly to Grasshopper Ridge to take photos that will be simply otherworldly.
- Helicopter Glacier Dog Sledding - If you love dogs, this one’s for you. A quick helicopter ride will take you to Colony Glacier, where you’ll learn how to run your own sled dog team. Just imagine the photos!
- Matanuska Glacier Ice Climbing - Just 2 hours outside of Anchorage you can learn to ice climb. This tour is for all abilities so you don’t need to have any experience at all. Perfect if you want a little Type 2 fun on your wedding day!
Air B&B | Grandma's Place
Accommodations | Knik River Lodge
Hair | Emily Cizek
Make Up | Kierra Manion MUA
Dress | Baltic Born
Ready To Start Planning Your Alaskan Adventure Elopement?
The last frontier is an excellent choice for couples searching for an off the beaten path elopement. The landscape doesn't get more wild than that. I'd love to start chatting about what you're looking for in your own elopement. Check out the packages and get in touch!
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