I've spent a lot of time in different kinds of wild places. Whenever I come back home to Alaska I am acutely aware that no other place feels the same. No landscape feels as raw, isolated and full of elemental power. Nature itself is a grand gesture of love.
When you elope in a true wilderness, the day is yours to savor. Why, you ask?
Nobody is asking questions every thirty seconds about where to put flowers and decorations. The opinions of your family and friends are a distant thought. Uncle Jimbo isn't getting smashed before the ceremony and embarrassing you. Small talk in a sea of faces you haven't seen since childhood isn't your worry. You wear the dress, the suit, the shoes - whatever it is - just the way you wanted.
The horizon stretches in front of you and your love. It is a liberating feeling. You can ugly cry. You can let the makeup run. You can lay around in the tundra and get your clothes dirty. You can do whatever the hell you want.
If you decide to elope in Alaska and bring a photographer, there are a few things to think about:
1.) Contingency Plans
Eloping is often done on a whim, but there's nothing worse than feeling rushed or at a loss of what to do on your wedding day if the unexpected happens (and believe me, it does!).
Elopements often involve a trip into an unusual place. If the weather fails and there is not a backup plan you'll be sitting around all dressed up with no where to go. Make a plan B and a plan C for ceremony locations. Your photographer might have some good ideas, just ask!
2.) Make it Epic
How is your time best spent in a location you may never make it back to for the rest of your life? What will make some great memories and photo opportunities?
Think about what you want to do out there. Maybe bring a classy picnic lunch spread and a tiny wedding cake. Give each other a little gift to remember the moment. Popping a bottle of champagne on a mountain top while you gaze at a glacier is pretty grand. Plus, have you ever put fresh blueberries in champagne before? There's a first time for everything, my friends. Make it awesome. Make it yours!
3.) The Elements
Oh nature. So fickle in Alaska. You do need to think about staying comfortable out there if the weather is being challenging. Bring warm layers, bug dope, anything you might need to deal with hair + wind + rain. In photos we try to use the wildness of weather and nature to make images one-of-a-kind. Expecting perfection with your look is only going to let you down. Let the wind blow your hair and the dress around, and just try to lean into the experience. That is what the spirit of adventure is all about.
If you want to elope in Alaska but aren't sure where to begin, shoot me an email and I can help you out with some ideas of where to begin with the planning.
This Brian and Jha. They eloped back in August. I got to fly up to a mountain outside of Talkeenta Alaska with the legendary Paul Roderick. He is without a doubt THE pilot you want to get you around the Alaska wilderness.
Paul is best known as the owner of Talkeetna Air Taxi and has been piloting various flying machines since he was literally a kid. He always knows what is happening in the alpine, where the climbers are, and how to get in and out of tricky places in the Alaska Range. He has been pioneering access to some of Alaska's most remote alpine climbing for a long time.
We were set to head up to the the Ruth Glacier which is in proximity to Denali, but the weather had other plans. We hung out at a cabin in Montana Creek for part of the day waiting for weather which lent itself to really getting to know the group. When we had a little window of weather, we went with the Plan B option: Paul loaded us into a couple tiny helicopters and flew us to a special family hut in the lower part of the Talkeetna range.
Turns out it was PERFECT for soft, tundra infused colors and beautiful portraits. We could not have asked for better mid-day lighting (from a photo perspective at least).
Congrats to Brian and Jha!