The Epic Alaska Elopement – Alaska Wedding Photographer
I photograph many adventure elopements as a photographer. I have photographed weddings all over the world. My Mt. Everest elopement was the big one and it was much bigger than I expected in terms of it going globally viral. But even then, trying to scout epic locations around the world, having climbed north America’s highest peak, Mt. McKinley, leading teams up mountains, I keep returning back to Alaska. It is quite comparatively, as close to the Himalayas as one can get in terms of epic mountain ranges within the USA.
A little little secret, I teared up when I first saw the Denali mountain range back in 2007 as I was flying into the glacier to climb it. It’s that epic and there are even more epic locations in Alaska. I know many Alaskans are thinking, sshhhh, quiet, don’t brag about this place, we want to keep it small, wild, and quiet. However, most people will not move there for the fact that it’s pretty much always dark in the winter, something most people biologically and psychologically cannot handle.
That being said, I love Alaska and I know Alaska enjoys business. And if I can promote Alaska weddings and elopements in the mountain ranges, I’m only going to boost their economy.
Chugach Mountain Wedding Adventure
Now on with Alex and Peter’s epic destination elopement in the Chugach mountain range. They did their research and it paid off. Peter and Alex booked me for the wedding plans and wanted something unique. Both were open to possibilities for adventurous photos together. Originally I had wanted us to capture photos in Denali National Park the day before their elopement. However, weather would not guarantee us a flight. Instead, we opted for a helicopter ride near their wedding location in Girdwood, Alaska where the mountains went on for days. The result was nothing short of awesome.
Our first day, we flew with Alpine Air Alaska into the Chugach mountains. Jon was our Pilot who directed us to choose a location and he would drop us off for photos. At this point, a ceremony location hadn’t yet been chosen, yes, the day before their ceremony. We took our time capturing alaskan beauties, but also to scout a wedding ceremony location for the following day.
Among the glaciers we traveled the first day, I believe we saw 12 bears and 14 moose. We hit the Knik Glacier, Lake George Glacier, Colony Glacier, Sparrow Glacier, Finch Glacier, and a few others. There were so many secluded places to land, but we captured what we needed. Alex had a few wedding dresses, one for the adventure day, and one for the elopement day. Both dresses required a jacket when we were not shooting, as it was cold.
The Elopement Ceremony
Our wedding couple wanted an Alaskan wedding ceremony location where family and friends could gather without any snow below their feet, and that’s what they got. The following day, Peter, Alex, their family, and friends were taken to a secluded location where we were told no elopement had been performed yet. Perfect weather and temperature for scenic photos. Check out the location.
Just so everyone knows when viewing these images, an adventure elopement isn’t always as great as the photos. Usually there’s some sort of inconvenience to endure or a test. Some on the helicopter flight were a little nervous about flying or didn’t want to fly. Some didn’t like the cold. During the ceremony, these little large gnat type mosquitos were everywhere landing on our faces, ears, etc. It rained after the ceremony. I had photo ideas for after the ceremony that wouldn’t work because of the rain.
However, everyone was so elated to see Peter and Alex married, everything else seemed to fade away. At the end of the day, we nailed even better images than we expected. Everyone else will forget the gnats and the cold weather. What remains are the memories captured by the photographer, and I’m so grateful to have been been a part of their alaskan adventure.
The wedding and event planner, Madison from Wild Hearts Events, took care of all the ceremony and reception plans and preparations. She and her team provided great and flexible leadership. The reception and decor was beautifully setup with a view of the Chugach mountain range just outside of Alyeska Resort. Check out the images below and enjoy the images.
Note, all persons flying into Alaska had to be covid tested within 72 hours of flight before permission was granted to attend the wedding, just so you’re aware.
Returning to Alaska
Good news. I will be returning to Alaska next year July 14-20, 2021 if you are interested in an epic adventure photo shoot with me. Whether you are wanting a couples adventure session, elopement, wedding, engagement, or a married couple’s session, I am only booking 6 couples for these dates, one date per couple. If you prefer to book outside of these dates, no problem. Since I am combing this trip with others for that week, I am dropping my travel/lodging rates. July 14th is already taken.
Also, I will be assisting with the Helicopter arrangements and lodging, but if you want more in planning your wedding in Alaska, Madison from Wild Hearts Events will take care of everything for you.
Photography: Charleton Churchill Photography
Event Planner: Wild Hearts Events
Helicopter: Alpine Air Alaska
Floral: True North Events
Catering: Sal’s New York Grill and Catering
Hair: Cheryl Brantley
Makeup: Kierra Manion
Ceremony Location: Secluded Chugach Mountains
Reception Location: Girdwood, Alaska
Lodging: Alyeska Resort
Cinematography: Bess Ophelia Films
Wedding Dress: Berta Bridal & SF Bridal Galleria
DAY 2 – Alaska Elopement Ceremony and Reception Adventure