Inspiration/Planning Tips

The Ultimate Guide To Alaska Weddings & Elopements

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 2

Dreaming of wedding portraits set against glaciers, mountains, rugged coastlines & over-worldly tundras? Whether you’re planning a big wedding or adventurous elopement, Alaska is calling.

As wedding trends shift toward more intimate & meaningful nuptial adventures, our world expands. No longer is a 300-person ballroom & DJ booth needed for the modern couple. Marry on a mountaintop, we say. Say “I do” in a boat as orcas swim by, we cry. Share wedding cake beachside during Alaska’s midnight summer sun.

And while the vast expanses of snow & ice may appear empty, you won’t be alone. Alaskan wedding photographer Corinne Graves & event designer Erin Weidner now offer an all-inclusive, one-of-a-kind wedding experience as Outland Events. This Alaskan pair will help you plan, design, photograph & celebrate your Alaskan wedding adventure.

We’re thrilled to show off what Alaska has to offer for adventurous couples. So, we’ve asked the duo behind Outland Events to share all of their best tips for planning your wedding, favorite destinations and everything you need to know about getting married, eloping or proposing in Alaska.

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 29

Where should couples get married in Alaska?

Alaskans love to boast that the state is twice as large as Texas – and with that much space there is a lot of room for diverse landscapes and destinations! We have a little bit of everything: rugged mountains, ever-changing glaciers, sparkling oceans, tidal inlets, vast tundras.

The two most popular regions in the state are Southeast and Southcentral…

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 12
Ketchikan Wedding – Outland Events – Alaska – Prince of Wales

Southeast Alaska

Southeast is the panhandle that runs alongside Canada and is a great fit for couples who want to explore the Tongass National Forest coastline.

The climate is fairly mild and rainy while the scenery is lush, green, and mountainous. (Cori actually grew up in this area on a remote floating lodge and thinks it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.) It’s a great fit for a couple who wants to be ocean-based, see marine wildlife, go fishing, or want to travel by the Alaska Marine Highway System or cruise ship. The most popular towns in this area for weddings are Ketchikan, Juneau, and Sitka.

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 8

Southcentral Alaska

Southcentral is further up North and is most accessible for people flying into Anchorage.

It’s a dryer region that includes the largest variety of scenery, lodging, tours, and other vendors. It’s home to over half the state’s population and includes areas from Wrangell-St Elias National Park, Prince William Sound, the Kenai Peninsula, all the way up to Talkeetna.

Pretty much any Alaskan activity you can imagine can happen in this region. It’s the most popular choice for couples planning an elopement or wedding, and where we both (Cori and Erin) choose to live and explore now.

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 7

Epic Alaskan elopement ideas…

Part of the allure of Alaska is how quickly you can reach a gorgeous remote location once you arrive. Many couples plan to fly into Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage and start their adventure from there. There are nearly limitless options in Alaska!

For the couples who want to be placed in a location with minimal effort, a helicopter charter can deliver them to an incredible spot without breaking a sweat. For a pair who want a larger group of friends and family to be part of their experience, there are plenty of stunning options accessible by car, boat, train and/or plane. Lake Hood in Anchorage hosts the world’s busiest seaplane base where experienced pilots can take you and your group to expansive views and hidden gems throughout the state.

One unforgettable adventure is driving through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier (the longest – 2.5 mile – highway tunnel in North America) and boating from there to Blackstone Bay in Prince William Sound to see an icy blue glacier, exchanging vows on a secluded beach, and then ending the day at a beautiful Alaskan lodge.

Another stellar option is touching down by helicopter at Colony Glacier where you can take a drink of fresh glacier water surrounded by ice and craggy peaks and paddle around in a pack-raft on Lake George. There are myriad options to choose from for the adventurous couple in Alaska and we love helping couples find the right spot.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 4

What if you’re planning a full-sized wedding?

We like to go off the beaten path whenever possible and there are so many wilderness lodges that welcome weddings, both large and small. This gives couples and their guests a setting that is wild and beautiful while still having comfort and optional guided experiences.

Lodges near the ocean tend to run during the summer months, lodges in more interior mountain ranges run year-round. There are also some smaller, more intimate wedding venues around the state that still have beautiful views. Some of our favorite wedding venues are around Girdwood, Seward, Homer, and the Mat-Su Valley.

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 27

Which vendors should you hire in Alaska?

We’ll take this opportunity to toot our own horn! We are excited to have recently launched an all-inclusive planning service for people wanting to get married, renew vows, or propose in Alaska.

Cori is the photographer with over 10 years of experience documenting destination weddings (she photographed BM editor-in-chief Claire’s dreamy beach wedding in Mexico!) and Erin is the event designer and lead planner.

We created Outland Events from a desire to help couples access our state and create an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience distinctive to them. While we both live in Anchorage, we’ve also lived in various locations around the state both on and off-grid, and can comfortably serve all areas of Alaska. You can learn more about our Alaska elopement packages and we absolutely love hearing from couples at any point in their planning process, even if it’s just a wild idea they’re considering!

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 13

When to get married in Alaska…

Spring and summer are popular for Alaska weddings for good reason, things have warmed up and there’s plenty of light. In spring, winter scenery is still available but with warmer temperatures, and the lighting is often soft and dreamy. It’s also when the Iditarod race happens and tourist season begins to pick up but is not yet at its height.

Alaskan Summers

Summer boasts the least amount of rain, a great time to access all areas of the state and get out on the ocean, finding locations that are truly unique for elopements.

Alaska has been called ‘the land of the midnight sun’ since our latitude allows light nearly all day and night in the summer season – people visiting or living up North tend to naturally have more energy during the summer due to the long daylight hours.

Both summer and fall bring more colors to the landscape and it’s prime time to view wildlife. Our most popular months for elopements and weddings are May-August because of the above, but winter elopements though chilly, are magical in their own way.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 10

Alaskan Winters

Winter in Alaska has spectacular beauty full of contrasting weather and terrain. Adventurous travelers can experience a guided sled dog ride, try ice climbing, cross country skiing, alpine skiing or snowboarding. People travel from all over the world for the chance to capture some epic photos of the aurora borealis then retreat to the cozy comfort of a lodge or private cabin.

A luxury winter experience for us would be making your way up to the charming pioneer town of Talkeetna, stopping for a slice of pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie, and then hitching a ride by helicopter to the Sheldon Chalet in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater of Denali’s magnificent Ruth Glacier. This Chalet, where luxury accommodations and a private chef await, sits just 10 miles from the summit and is surrounded by a panorama of breathtaking mountain scenery.

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding or Elopement in Alaska – Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Bridal Musings 14

What to wear

A practical note: bring layers and multiple footwear options. Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so no matter the season you travel be sure to bring plenty of layers to wear.

Wool undergarments are great as they’re quick drying and magically warming when the weather is cold and cooling when warmer weather comes. We also recommend packing a synthetic mid-layer and reliable rain shell, both versatile throughout seasons. Cold temperatures in winter require a high loft down coat and warm mittens. Recommended footwear is seasonal and location/activity-specific, but in general warm boots for winter, rain boots for summer and shoulder seasons, as well as good hiking boots and sandals are a safe bet.

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Favorite excursions beyond your wedding day…

There are some standout features of Alaska that we think everyone should have the opportunity to experience in their lifetime: the midnight sun, northern lights, fishing for salmon, seeing glaciers, viewing wildlife, and exploring amazing terrain on foot.

Some of our favorite guided tours are the Kenai Fjords wildlife tour departing from Seward, 26 Glacier tour out of Whittier, viewing wildlife off the Denali Highway, rafting with Chugach Adventures, or taking a helicopter glacier tour with Alaska Helicopter Adventures or Alpine Air. Coming to Alaska for your elopement can bring partners closer together through these shared experiences and memories to cherish.

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What makes Alaskan weddings special?

Alaska is truly an incredible place that is filled with vast beauty and moments of awe. When we’re standing on a mountain top or find ourselves in the middle of a glacier, we feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. It may sound cheesy, but it’s a feeling that poets try to describe, and what motivates so many to chase their dreams of “the Last Frontier”.

Having a wedding in a location like this is something that is really beyond description. It takes an event that’s already sacred and special and sprinkles an extra dose of magic on it. Watching our couples have this experience is incredibly fulfilling – it’s the fuel behind our work and why we put so much heart into each event we do.

Outland Events – Corinne Graves – Alaska Wedding Guide – Bridal Musings

Learn more about making your Alaskan wedding dreams come true on Outland Events’ website.

If you have a serious case of wanderlust, browse through our Elopements section for even more destinations & inspiration for adventurous couples.

Denali-National-Park-Wedding – Outland Events – Corinne Graves
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