Adventurous Alaskan Elopement in the Mountains
Updated: Jul 14, 2022
When Kara & Nate first contacted me, they knew they wanted to elope in Alaska. Alaska is hands down, my favorite place in the world- there's just something magical about it. There's so much openness, unbelievable beauty and space. You feel complete freedom and truly alive there. Giant mountain peaks, endless seas of mountains, places where mountains touch the sea, icy glaciers, stunning valleys, glacier lagoons with icebergs, fjords, overlooks, waterfalls, lakes, the tallest mountain peak in North America, incredible wildlife, wildflowers or fall foliage depending on the time of year- Alaska has all the best elopement locations. So when they told me they were eloping in Alaska, I knew they had chosen the perfect spot.
Do you want to elope in Alaska? Check out How to Elope in Alaska: The Ultimate Guide
After being together for five years, Kara & Nate decided to elope so they could have a less stressful and more intimate day that was focused on celebrating them.
Their favorite days together include spending relaxed, quality time with one another where they can wander & explore in the mountains before ending the day with some delicious food. So, we set out to make that type of experience happen for them for their elopement!
We met up the night before and hung out a bit at a local brewery so we could (finally!) meet in person and go over the game plan in case we needed to do a backup location due to weather. We had known going into it that weather would be tricky since their date was at the end of September (right at the cusp of fall & winter in Alaska), but the date they chose was important to them and they were so easy going and willing to take whatever weather came at them.
We had both driven into town the day before meeting up from Anchorage in a snowstorm. The pass they planned to exchange vows on was in a complete white out without any views to be seen. Not entirely surprising as the town we were staying in is well known to be the snowiest place in Alaska! After chatting for a bit over some delicious local brews, we said our goodbyes until the next morning to see what the weather had in store for us.
The next day when we woke up, luck was on our side. Everything throughout their entire day honestly worked out so perfectly for them, it was straight out of a fairytale. I headed over to their Airbnb where they were excitedly getting ready for their big day. Kara's daughter was helping her get ready upstairs and was so happy and sweet. Nate was downstairs getting ready, very excited to see his bride. Something I thought was so sweet was even though Nate's children couldn't be there, he had photos of them to look at when he was getting ready so he could still feel like they were a part of their day in some way.
They wanted to have a first look, so we set up a sheet in their car in between the front & back seat to serve as a shield and makeshift bridal suite for Kara in the back. After everyone was ready, we loaded up into our cars and headed up the mountain pass to our destination! Driving to the trailhead was like a completely new world compared to what it had been like while driving into town. The clouds were clearing, the sun was beginning to shine, and the stunning mountains were out in all of their breathtaking glory. We found the perfect little rock outcropping for them to share their first look and it was honestly one of the sweetest first looks I've ever gotten to witness. Nate was so unbelievably happy and just giddy- he had the biggest grin on his face when he saw Kara and just kept saying "WOW". It was so clear how happy and in love they are. They pretty much never stopped smiling!
When it came time for their ceremony, they said a prayer as a family before beginning their vows. It's hard to describe how powerful and moving it is to witness two people commit their lives to one another in a beautiful, remote place in such an intimate way. It's such an emotional experience and their vows to one another were so incredibly beautiful and romantic (I definitely teared up a bit!). After they exchanged rings, they did a handfasting ceremony and tied a knot to symbolize their everlasting love before having their first kiss as a married couple. After kissing, they hugged and looked at each other and simultaneously yelled "We did it!" It was so cute. :)
Then, we explored more around their ceremony area before heading a little further up the pass to find even more jaw-dropping views! The sun came out of the clouds and created this incredibly dreamy light over the valley, shining on the river below. They explored the area, played in the snow, had a little snowball fight, made tiny snowmen, and enjoyed one another's company.
Afterwards, we headed down the mountain pass into a canyon to go on another short hike and explore some waterfalls right as some beautiful alpenglow was hitting the mountains. They explored up on the rocks, near the falls, and had their first dance right at the base of the falls! We then headed back into town and spontaneously stopped at another pull off by the riverbed to explore when we saw this marvelous pink alpenglow on the mountains.
They also wanted to get a photo with the town sign to commemorate their time in Alaska before ending the night at a popular restaurant for dinner where we had some delicious fish & chips (and some more local brews!). Everyone at the restaurant was SO nice and so excited to see them there still all dressed up in their wedding attire. People kept stopping by to wish them well and tell them congratulations or to make friendly conversation. An anonymous kind stranger even paid for our meal! Upon our surprise when we went to pay, the nice bartender simply said "That's just Valdez". Besides Alaska being absolutely stunning and jaw-droppingly beautiful, everyone I met when I've traveled there has been so incredibly kind and generous- it's honestly probably part of the reason why I think it's such a magical and beautiful place!
Kind Words From the Couple:
"We honestly had no idea how to plan our elopement, we only knew that we wanted epic views and the chance to express how much we love each other. Kathleen handled EVERYTHING and made our experience phenomenal and unforgettable! She is the absolute perfect choice to capture the love and magic of your elopement day!! She was so much fun to adventure with and not only did she have great and creative ideas of her own, she was open to all of our ideas and exploring new areas on the fly! We could not have asked for a better experience. All of our photos are gorgeous and exactly what we had pictured!
If you want to feel like you are spending the day with the love of your life and also with a friend who wants to capture the very best for you, then I would absolutely recommend that you hire Kathleen Elizabeth Photography to capture your special day!!" -Kara & Nate
Are you considering eloping in Alaska?
Want More Resources?
Get a budget breakdown and learn how much an elopement costs in comparison to a traditional wedding.
Learn what it's really like to elope with these stories & helpful advice from couples who've previously eloped!
Ever wonder what you do on your elopement day? Get 80+ fun elopement activity ideas!
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Hi! My name is Kathleen and I'm an adventure wedding and elopement photographer (and your new friend!). I'm here to help guide you to having the ultimate wedding day experience, and to document every single moment of it. I would love to help you plan your elopement and answer any questions you may have! Learn more about me or my Alaska Elopement Packages.
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