So you want to have a destination wedding. You’ve been scouring Pinterest boards and Instagram hashtags looking for a destination wedding and elopement photographer. Maybe you’ve considered a trendy Icelandic wedding, but the logistics of passports and flights and time zones and language barriers for you, not to mention any guests, are stressing you out. Have you considered eloping to Alaska? If not, here’s why you should!
1) It’s absolutely beautiful.
From deep seas to towering mountain, rocky beaches to lush forests, and meadows full of wildflowers to glaciers grander than you can fathom, Alaska is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. The crazy thing is that you can see all of these things in one visit. You can explore the ice caves under the Mendenhall Glacier on Tuesday, see humpback wales breach on Wednesday, and camp under the midnight sun on Thursday.
There is a reason they call it “The Last Frontier”; mother nature has blessed Alaska with so much natural beauty. I mean, where else can you get married on a glacier? Or under a beautiful northern lights display?
2) It’s the perfect place for adventurous souls
You don’t have to be a nature-lover or an adrenaline-junkie to love Alaska, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Are you a thrill seeker? Did you know you can take a helicopter and say your vows on top of the glacier? Did you also know that you can kayak to the Ice Caves under the Mendenhall Glacier, and say your vows in the caves? You heard me. In the caves. Then after you’ve said your I DO’s, why not celebrate with a ziplining adventure, or go river rafting. Or rock climbing. Or scuba diving. I think you get the picture.
If you love hiking, have you considered having a mountaintop wedding? The views are absolutely to die for! Juneau also has a tram that takes you to the top of Mount Roberts, so even if you’re not an avid hiker, you can still have your dream mountaintop wedding.
3) Getting Married in Alaska is Easy.
Some places make you jump through hoops, but getting married in Alaska is actually pretty simple if you’re a U.S. Citizen (yes, Alaska is a state, not it’s own country, or a part of Canada. See the Alaska Statehood Act for details).
For starters, same-sex marriage became legal in Alaska in 2014, before it became legal nationwide. Some states still have constitutional or statutory provisions prohibiting same-sex marriage, but Alaska is not one of them. Despite being a more conservative state (though Southeast Alaska is more liberal), Alaskans overall are warm and welcoming and have a positive attitude toward same-sex couples.
Did you know that in Alaska, anyone can perform a ceremony? That’s right, your uncle Bob or even your best friend can officiate your wedding. When I got married, my husband grandfather officiated our wedding. Under Alaska Statute 25.05.261(a)(2), anyone can perform a marriage ceremony, as long as they are 18 years or older, if they first obtain a marriage commissioner appointment from an Alaskan court. They do not need to be an Alaskan resident either. Contact the court nearest to where the wedding will be performed by phone, by mail or fax, or in person, to become a marriage officiant. The online court system directory has a complete listing of court locations and contact information.
To obtain a marriage certificate, visit the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics website.