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April 13, 2022

5 Tips to Plan Your Elopement with Intention

Your day, Your rules: Plan Your Alaska Elopement with Intention

5 tips to plan your elopement with intention
5 tips to plan your elopement with intention from a destination wedding and elopement photographer

We often spend money on things that we feel like we’re supposed to have, rather than things that truly make us happy. The same thing happens when we are planning our wedding day. We are bombarded by everyone and everything, from the wedding industry to our great Uncle Pete. And all about things we’re supposed to have: party favors, a white ball gown, a 3-tiered cake, a garter toss, and lots of unneccessary fluff. Did you know that the average wedding the US costs $33,391?!

What if…. And hear me out… 

What if you traded in themed napkins and seating charts – for you, your partner, a mountaintop, and the sky as your witness? 

I wanted to give you 5 tips to plan your alaskan adventure elopement with intention. 

Vintage inspired elopement at the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau Alaska
Vintage inspired elopement at the Mendenhall Glacier

1. Dream Big

Think about your priorities. Do you value experiences over things?

It’s amazing how much bigger you can dream when you downsize the details. When you’re saving money by foregoing a venue, catering, decorations, a photobooth, etc….  It’s amazing what you can afford to spend on travel and adventure. So think big. 

It’s amazing the places you can go when it’s just the two of you and not a roster of 100 people. Where do you want to get married? 

A mountaintop? A glacier? A lighthouse? A cozy cove on the beach?

Sit down with your partner and leave the guilt of friends and family behind. Truly think of what would be the most amazing day for the two of you.

  • What time of year is it? 
  • Do you love fall colors? Picture an intimate field wedding with a beautiful Alaskan sunset behind you. 
  • Do you both love the snow? Maybe a winter wedding on a ski resort mountaintop is ideal.
  • Or do you prefer to relax on the beach?
  • Do you love the summer haze? Maybe you should say your vows in a secluded cove on a romantic rocky beach. 

Ask me about my favorite Juneau locations. I’ve lived here my whole life and hidden gems as elopement locations are my jam.

champagne toast over a crevasse on an alaskan glacier
Toasting over a glacier crevasse
bride and groom walking across a landscape of ice on top of an alaskan glacier
Walking over a landscape of ice

2. Strategize your wedding day guest list (or lack thereof) 

Do you want an intimate wedding or an elopement?

Generally speaking, an intimate wedding has a guest list of 25 or less. You can have a wedding party and a few close guests. This isn’t just for small budgets anymore. You can have a gorgeous and elaborate wedding for you and your favorite humans without inviting your mom’s co-workers or the second cousins you barely know. 

If you’re having an intimate wedding with 20 of your favorite humans, do you want half of them in your bridal party? Or maybe you want all of them as guests, and your dogs or kids as your best man and maid of honor. Maybe you only want two guests; one to officiate, one to sing.  

I know I keep saying this but… Your day, your rules. It’s really that simple. This day is 100% about your relationship. You are not obligated to invite anybody, and please don’t let anybody let you think otherwise. If you want a tiny guest list, but still want to involve the ones you love, think about having a pre-wedding party or a post-wedding celebration!

Your elopement or wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and you don’t want it bogged down by expectations and obligations set by others. 

Mountaintop elopement in juneau alaska
Mountaintop elopement at Glacier Gardens

3. Your ceremony can be traditional and non-traditional at the same time 

Any important religious or cultural traditions that you would like to incorporate? A handfasting to honor your Scottish roots? Traditional Alaskan Native drumming? 

Will there be champagne? Apple pie instead of cake?

Do you still want a first look and a ring exchange? Do you want music? Maybe one of you can bring an acoustic guitar instead of hiring a DJ. You can still have someone you love officiate. In Alaska, anyone over the age of 18 can officiate an elopement or wedding ceremony.

rainy day beach elopement in juneau alaska
Juneau Alaska rainy day beach elopement
reading vows during a rocky beach elopement in juneau alaska
Juneau Alaska rocky beach elopement
windy beach elopement in juneau alaska
Juneau Alaska windy beach elopement

4. Plan for the Weather! 

Don’t forget to plan for inclement weather! Especially if you’re getting married in southeast Alaska; it is a rainforest, after all! If it starts to rain, are you going to soak it all in and have a romantic rainy day wedding? Or maybe you’d rather have a backup plan. You can reserve a cabin or church nearby just in case. You can also pack some beautiful umbrellas for your vows and some Xtra Tuff rubber boots (the ultimate Alaskan wedding footwear!). 

bride and groom in xtratuf boots during their fishing themed elopement
Wear xtratufs to your wedding
clear umbrellas during a rainy fall elopement in alaska
Bring an umbrella to your wedding
clear umbrellas during a rainy autumn elopement in alaska
Clear umbrellas are prefect for romantic rainy weddings

5. You’re married – now what?! 

Time to Celebrate!

Traditional weddings have a reception afterward, right? The whole purpose is to celebrate this massive step you just took in your lives together. Just because you chose to elope doesn’t mean you deserve anything less! So, how would you like to celebrate?

Throw a traditional reception! See ways to involve friends and family when you’re eloping (coming soon!). 

  • Skiing down the mountain you just eloped on?
  • Hiring a professional chef to make you a romantic dinner at your AirBNB?
  • Married at sunset? Set off some fireworks and light some sparklers once the sun goes down!
  • Take a private helicopter ride! If you hire a chartered helicopter, you can land on and explore mountaintop meadows, glacier ice fields, and surreal glacial lakes.
  • Invite your close friends to a campfire reception, complete with champagne, embarrassing stories, guitars, and dances under the stars.
  • Host your reception on a whale watching cruise!
  • Go skinny dipping! I mean, why not, right?
First dance in front of a glacier under soaring bald eagles in juneau alaska
First dance in front of the Mendenhall Glacier after their cabin elopement
champagne toast in front of a glacier under soaring bald eagles in juneau alaska
Beach elopement champagne toast

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your wedding day, your rules.

Don’t forget to soak in every beautiful moment. Whether you decide to have a big wedding or plan an elopement, your day is all about you and what will be the best way to start your new life together. 

Wild Iris Photography is based in Juneau, Alaska and I specialize in capturing elopements here in our beautiful state. If you’re thinking about choosing an Alaska elopement instead of a big wedding, contact me and I can help you plan! 

Tips to plan your Juneau Alaska Elopement with Intention.
Scenic Alaska rocky beach elopement in Juneau Alaska

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