So you want to elope in Alaska.
First off, excellent choice. And second, you’ve come to the right place! I’m Molly Scholl, your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about planning your dream Alaskan elopement.
Alaska is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of elopement destination. You can make it whatever you want it to be! And since Alaska is practically half the size of the continental United States on its own, has 8 National Parks, and over 46,000 miles of shoreline, the options are quite literally endless.
In this post, I’ll cover some of the top elopement locations in Alaska with tips, tricks, and deets to make it as easy as possible for you to plan your magical day.
As an elopement photographer, location scouting is at the top of my priority list. So reach out to me and let me be your guide to your perfect Alaska day!
Before embarking on your elopement journey, there are just a few things you will need to keep in mind. First, you will need to obtain a marriage license in Alaska. Here is the form that you can submit either in person or by mail. Your permit lasts 90 days after you’ve received it.
Second, Alaskan marriage law requires an officiant and two witnesses to be present at your wedding. Anyone can be ordained! So make sure you’re three best friends are ready for an epic adventure.
Now let’s get into some of the top elopement locations that Alaska has to offer.
Alaska has a remarkable amount of National Parks with expansive, out-of-this-world views. In fact, 60% of the entire state is federal land, which means that Alaska is highly protected! The National Parks you might have heard of include Denali National Park and Preserve (where the infamous highest peak in North America sits), Katmai National Park and Preserve, and Kenai Fjords National Park. But there are plenty of under-the-radar parks that are only accessible by plane, perfect for that secret wow factor.
Denali is one of the most accessible National Parks in Alaska – just a 240-mile drive north from Anchorage or a 125-mile drive southwest of Fairbanks gives you 6.1 million acres of glaciers, forests, and expansive views. And just because it’s accessible, doesn’t mean you can’t find a sliver of Denali for your own.
All you will need to do is apply for a permit. If you’re planning on having 6 or more people in attendance, this is the permit form you will need to fill out. For 5 or fewer, use this one. Both permits cost just $200. Once you’re done, use this link to contact the park at least 10 days in advance of your wedding date.
Now here’s the best part about a Denali National Park elopement. There are no reservable wedding locations and you can tie the knot anywhere in the park. So long as you specify the location beforehand on your permit application, you’re good to go.
Just let me know how much you’re willing to hike, or let’s book a private plane together to explore the 6 million acre backcountry. We can choose your dream elopement location together!
Katmai is a 4-million acre volcanic wonderland famous for its large population of brown bears. Only accessible by plane or boat, your chances of finding solitude with a hint of wildlife are very high!
There is no special use permit information for Katmai, but it’s free to take commercial photos and videos within the park. Make sure you call the ranger station at (907) 246-3305 and let them know your plans.
Let’s go find some bears!
Crystal blue glacial waters. Orcas, glaciers, and icebergs. Just some of the few things that make all 670,000 acres of Kenai Fjords unforgettable and unique. Kenai Fjords is just a 125-mile drive south of Anchorage, and from there, you can hop on a boat or a plane and explore over 40 glaciers and hundreds of icebergs.
Special use permits for Kenai Fjords cost just $100 and must be submitted at least two weeks in advance of your elopement date. As long as you know the location you’d like to pursue (I can help), you can elope anywhere.
There are plenty of other lesser-known parks that can offer you an experience with just as much magic as Denali, Katmai, or Kenai Fjords National Parks.
Take Gates of the Arctic National Park or Kobuk Valley National Park. Both are located within the Arctic Circle and are only accessible by plane. Honestly, I’m breath-taken just from looking at pictures while I’m writing this! These parks are perfect for the really adventurous couples who want a multiday elopement experience. I’m happy to start dreaming up an adventure with you, just send a hello!
Alaska has a whopping 46,600 miles of shoreline. I’m sure you can imagine the possibilities… There are plenty of quaint coastal fishing towns that offer incredible backdrops and venues for an elopement.
Skagway is a small town in Southeast Alaska full of gold rush-era history. Think colorful, frontier-like storefronts with a misty, mountainous backdrop. It’s situated close to Alaska’s southwestern border of British Columbia and can be easily accessed by a 45-minute plane ride from Juneau.
Yakutania Point is a small, rocky peninsula that’s perfect for a ceremony and just a quick 10-minute drive from downtown Skagway. Head back to Skagway for a romantic night in one of the many adorable, historic bed & breakfasts. (p.s., I do steamy couples sessions too wink wink!).
Seward is nothing short of a magical little town. It takes just 2 hours to get to Seward from the Anchorage airport! Here, you can elope directly on the coastline overlooking the Kenai Mountains.
Stay at the modern, coastal, Salted Roots A-Frame Cabins situated just 11 minutes south of downtown Seward. Have your ceremony on the spectacular black sand beaches of Lowell Point, then charter a helicopter so we can take photos on nearby glaciers, waterfalls, and mossy green valleys that are only accessible by flight.
Want to bag a peak on your wedding day? Great news! There are 30 mountain ranges in Alaska. And I’m ready to lug my gear as far as we need to capture your perfect moment.
Chugach State Park is located just 25 minutes from Anchorage and offers expansive views that’ll make you forget you were ever in a city. There are a number of different peaks to choose from that require no technical training to reach the summit. Here’s a list of popular trails we can choose from for an early morning or golden hour elopement. And if these don’t tickle your fancy, we’ll dig even deeper to find the perfect one!
Hatcher Pass is just one hour north of Anchorage. Grassy and dotted with mountains, it’s a scenic drive through the Talkeetna Mountains that’s reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. Now this is the kind of spot we should choose if you want as many different backdrops as possible!
At 60 miles in length, there are endless opportunities for us to hop on out of the car, get you married, hope back in, drive a few miles, and scout a new and gorgeous location to pop the champagne (with no trace left, of course).
There are also plenty of hikes we could take to escape the sound of passing cars. Take Reed Lakes Trail. We would traverse through boulder fields, glacial waterfalls, and ever-changing scenery that’ll leave us in awe.
Head to the outskirts of Fairbanks in the fall or winter to elope under the Northern Lights. After an intimate nighttime ceremony, escape to your cozy Borealis Basecamp igloo for a night of newlywed bliss.
While the Northern Lights can easily be captured by camera, we’ll catch the mid-afternoon tundra sunset for an other-worldly golden hour photoshoot!
No accessible roads, fully self-sustaining oasis, nameless, abundant mountains in every direction. If that makes you feel some type of way, Ultima Thule Lodge is the place for you.
There’s something new at every turn – take a bush plane on a clear day to touch the 18,000’ peak of Mount St. Elias. Explore completely secluded valleys. Everything is fully guided, planned based on your interests and yours alone, and you can choose your ceremony location on the spot. We can have different photoshoots every day!
If you don’t want to do much hiking, how about a luxury private cruise? Alaska Private Touring offers fully-staffed one-week experiences where you can choose exactly what you want to do. Get up close and personal to glaciers near Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway.
Have your ceremony on the top deck of a yacht with any coastal backdrop you want. This is definitely a pricier option, but if you want to go all-out for your elopement, this one’s for you.
From my experience, Alaska elopements are a dream come true for many couples. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of possible elopement locations! Check out Lia and Mike’s epic Alaskan elopement, complete with kissing a moose before they said “I do!”
If you’re ready to start planning your ideal adventure, contact me, and together, we’ll make some magic.
This ain’t an all-day photoshoot, I’m not here to get you to grin at a camera all day long, that would suck. I’m here to capture all the natural and organic moments of a beautiful day filled with things you two love to do the most together. Whether that’s hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, sailing, biking, exploring cities, or sipping on microbrews; whatever your heart desires.