January 4, 2024

Alaska Glacier Elopement | Bill and Maggie | Juneau, Alaska

FILED IN: Alaska, Elopements

Alaska Elopement on the Herbert Glacier

“We are absolutely thrilled with all of our amazing photos. Sierra is such an awesome person and was able to capture every special moment throughout our day. She knew exactly what to do and say to make us feel 100% comfortable. Looking at our photos brings us right back to that moment. Thank you Sierra for being such an amazing piece of our wedding day! We can’t wait to come back to Alaska for our next adventure. For sure Sierra will be a part of it!” – Bill and Maggie

Bill and Maggie’s Elopement Experience

Bill and Maggie travelled to Juneau Alaska via cruise ship, the Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. While Alaskan cruises stop at various locations in southeast and southcentral alaska, Juneau is one of the few stops that offer interactive glacier experiences, so it’s a popular destination for glacier weddings!

First Look on the Gangway

I helped Bill and Maggie organize a first look on the gangway. A first look is an intimate moment where the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony. They got ready separately on their ship the morning of their elopement. Maggie got her hair and makeup one at the spa of the cruise ship. After the ship docked, Bill walked up the gangway and met me at the top on the docks where he waited. A few minutes later, Maggie walked up while Bill looked away at the mountains and the town underneath. She tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around to see her for the first time in her beautiful wedding dress.

After their first look, we met up with Tom Stewart, the elopement planner and coordinator at Alaska Weddings on the docks where he escorted them to their ride and went over the plan for the day. Then, we were on our way to the helicopter.

Hockey on the Herbert Glacier

The first step for every glacier experience is watching a mandatory safety video and putting on either ice cleats or ice boots that go over your regular shoes. After that, we boarded one of the iconic yellow helicopters at Coastal Helicopters. There are a handful of helicopter companies in Juneau and southeast Alaska, but in my experience Coastal Helicopters handle more glacier elopements than the others.

Bill was very nervous, while Maggie was very excited. I could tell right away, Maggie was the thrill-seeker of the two, and she held his hand tightly during the whole flight. On the flight to the Herbert Glacier we flew over blue ice pools, a dogsled camp, and even saw an avalanche. Finally, the pilot found the perfect spot for landing.

After finding the perfect spot, Bill and Maggie said their vows, exchanged rings, and had their first kiss. After popping the champagne, Maggie had a surprise for Bill. You see, months earlier she told me of an idea she had to surprise Bill, who was an avid hockey fan and casual player. She bought custom jerseys and had hockey sticks shipped to me. Before the elopement, I delivered them to Tom, who brought them to the helicopter company earlier that morning. Coastal helicopters hid them in the bottom of the helicopter. Maggie also bought custom Jerseys with their new family name on the back, Perweiler. Then they spent a few minutes playing hockey on the glacier. I mean, how awesome is that?! Who else can say they’ve played hockey on a glacier!?

Fun fact: Not all glacier elopements occur in the same locations even if they are on the same Glacier. Glaciers are ice giants that are ever changing as global warming causes them to retreat. One year a location may be safe, and the next it may not be, and it also varies day-to-day based on the weather. So, it is up to the pilot to find a location that is both scenic and safe, so there is no real way of knowing what your wedding spot will look like until you land.

Portraits at Nugget Falls

After the fun on the glacier was done and the helicopter landed back on the ground, they were ready for their elopement activity: splashing around Nugget Falls. Nugget falls is an easy 20 minute walk from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor’s Center. It was a busy day at the waterfall, but Maggie and Bill didn’t care. They seemed so happy and in love that nothing could keep them from being their goofy selves an soaking up every moment of their elopement day.

Fish Tacos at Deckhand Dave’s

Between their adventures on the glacier and at the waterfall, they worked up quite an appetite. We headed to downtown Juneau to the foodtruck square. They settled on Deckhand Dave’s Fish Tacos and got the ultimate Captain’s Platter with a little bit of every type of fish taco. During their meal, they FaceTime called Bill’s mom and told her about their elopement.

I have to say, I am absolutely honored I was able to capture Bill and Maggie’s elopement. Their spirit for life and their goofy sense of humors made this such a fun day. I hope more and more couples feel empowered to create a wedding day that doesn’t follow traditional expectations, but instead choose to do exactly what makes them feel happy and free. Thank you, Bill and Maggie!!!!


Officiant and Planner: Alaska Weddings with Tom Stewart

Helicopter Company: Coastal Helicopters

Florals: Safeway

Salon: Ovation of the Seas Salon

Food: Deckhand Dave’s Fish Tacos

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Hey there, I’m Sierra! I’m your photographer, travel guide, and biggest fangirl. When you work with me, you can expect to dance, run, piggyback, motorboat, swear, laugh, and get messy. So what I’m saying is: wear comfortable shoes, throw the rulebook away, and don’t take life too seriously (none of us get out alive).

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