Destination Weddings/Elopement

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 2

For the last few months, we’ve been helping out readers & friends make sense of what they should do with their canceled wedding plans.

Pivot pivot pivot, we’ve been preaching. Find ways to celebrate now AND later, we’ve said. As summer nears end we’re starting to see what you’ve all actually been up to – and it brings just as many tears to our eyes as those big, ol’ fashioned weddings previously planned.

Melissa (a wedding florist) & James shared with us how they made lemonade out of lemons changing up their 2020 wedding plans. Postponing the bigger, full-fledged wedding reception, the two wanted to stick to their original Summer Solstice wedding date: eloping oceanside in Alaska.

For those of you who don’t know, the summer solstice is a bit of a holiday in Alaska, celebrating the longest day of the year outdoors. The two Alaskan lovebirds chose a favorite camping spot – where whales often pass – to say their vows & toast with special solstice whiskey.

If this is how gorgeous their intimate “I do’s” are, we can’t wait to see the follow-up celebration!

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 14
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 28

The Planning

Like so many other couples this year, we had planned to have a much larger wedding but decided to postpone our celebration with friends and family due to COVID. Because we felt attached to our original summer solstice wedding date, we decided to elope and legally tie the knot in our beautiful home of Juneau, Alaska. Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is a holiday of sorts here up north, where many people honor the endless daylight by spending the whole day outdoors.

It felt like a complicated time to be getting married – smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic & a societal awakening around racial injustice. As two multiracial people, our celebration – our love – invited us to carve out space for resilience and joy, and that felt powerful and important to us as we believe that both of these things are essential to our survival and to the movement.

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 26
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 4
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 5
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 15
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 18

The Details

Some of our favorite details: as advocates of supporting small businesses, independent artists, and ethically sourced goods, so many of the pieces of our day reflected that.

My wedding band was made by Anderson Jewelers, a jeweler from my hometown in California, using the diamond’s from my grandmother’s wedding ring. My earrings were made by a fellow Mexican American artist, Liza Meza of Future Ancestors, using raw diamonds on gold loops and were the first Christmas gift James gave me five years ago.

My dress is designed by KAMPERETT, made with a special silk & linen blend that was created in a small, ethically run mill in Italy.

And of course, I (Frenchie’s Floral Studio) made and designed all florals for the day.

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 7
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 13
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 12
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 19

The Ceremony

Our ceremony site was a secluded cliffside spot that we have camped at often, as it overlooks one of our favorite beaches and has sweeping views of the Chilkat mountain range. You can often see humpback whales and fishing vessels passing through the turquoise waters.

While I considered doing some kind of floral installation for our ceremony, we wanted the natural beauty of Alaska to have our full attention, and it did; the rain stopped just as we arrived, and as we started our ceremony, the sun broke through the clouds and a group of four river otters settled in alongside the cliffs we were perched atop.

We wrote our own vows and “Rock-Paper-Scissor”ed to see who would read first. The whole ceremony was filled with so much emotion and love, and we felt completely embraced by Mother Nature and the beauty of the land we were standing on (which is Łingít Aaní, or Tlingit Land).

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 21
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 22
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 23
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 24
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 27
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 9
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 10
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 3

The Reception

When our ceremony ended, we enjoyed summer solstice and the longest night of the year in true Alaskan style: with a picnic on the beach! We ate al Taglio pizza from one of our favorite Juneau restaurants, In Bocca al Lupo. James also managed to secure a coveted bottle of Solstice Solera whiskey from our local distillery, Amalga Distillery; the whiskey had been released that morning and, with only 300 bottles available, had sold out in under three minutes.

As the sun hung low on the horizon, we went to cut our cake, only to realize that we had left our cake knife at the cabin…ever the Alaskan group, our witness had his Leatherman multi-tool on him, so that is what we used to cut our cake.

Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 31
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 30
Intimate Alaska Summer Solstice Elopement – Sydney Akagi Photography – Frenchies Floral Studio 32
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