An Epic Plane Elopement Adventure in Denali National Park
Cindy and Tom wanted their Alaska elopement to include Denali, North America’s highest mountain. This incredible elopement adventure in Denali National Park included a flight over the park and so much more!
Let’s plan your own Alaska wedding adventure! Check out our Alaska elopement package.
About This Denali National Park Elopement Adventure
“I just knew it was going to be an incredible adventure. They opted to book one of my all-inclusive elopement packages that included lodging, flight charter over Denali, hair & makeup, cake, private chef & beautiful styling. September in Alaska is magical & the fall colors were popping the week of their elopement.
After getting fancied up first look took place out on the docks before heading out to Sheldon Air Service for an adventure by air over Denali National Park. Awestruck is probably the best way to describe the feeling each of us felt as we flew up the famous Ruth Gorge and into the great amphitheater that sits below Denali. Denali is temperamental and really only shows her summit 1 out of every 5 days. We got lucky and she was showing off for us the whole flight & even once we landed on the wilderness runway where Cindy & Tom said their vows.
Once back in Talkeetna, we headed back to their Airbnb where Alaina was cooking up an amazing dinner for the newly married couple. Appetizers commenced inside before they retreated onto the beautiful deck to their table set for two. Post-dinner cake was enjoyed as the light faded & exhaustion set in.” [Ariel, the photographer]
Planning Your Elopement at Denali National Park
“To get married inside Denali National Park you’ll need to apply for a special use permit which costs $200. Permits applications must be filled out at least 10 days in advance & can be found here.
As with eloping in any location in Alaska planning ahead, being flexible, and having plan b’s (and even c’s) is super important! Remote landscapes, unpredictable weather, limited cell service, and large wildlife are all factors that should be considered. Hiring vendors familiar with Alaska’s unique environment will help ensure your special day will unfold in a stress-free, fun manner!
There are many incredible locations to elope in Denali National Park, but there are some unique considerations since personal vehicles are not allowed beyond mile 15. Due to a major rockslide in the summer of 2021, the road is closed at milepost 43 with no access beyond except for those that fly or hike in. If you do opt to enter the national park via car or bus there are still many beautiful trails and locations to get married inside the park; Horseshoe lake and the Savage River area of the park is my top pick! But, my absolute favorite way for couples to elope amongst North America’s largest mountain is for them to book a flyout elopement! Talkeetna is the take-off point for most flight-seeing tours of the national park because it’s the closest town as the crow flies to the summit of Denali. There are tons of cute Airbnbs in this quaint town, great restaurants, beautiful scenery and planes waiting to fly you into the Denali wilderness year-round! This is how Cindy & Thomas opted to elope!” [Ariel, the photographer]
Deciding to Elope
“Weddings are stressful and expensive, and they seem to focus more on impressing people with the event itself versus the actual marriage. My parents actually encouraged us to elope and offered to give us more money for an elopement versus a traditional wedding, because they knew we would be happier having an experience like an elopement.
I’m very lucky to have parents who didn’t put pressure on us to make our wedding about everyone else. So many friends have told me the only reason they didn’t elope was because they knew it would upset their families and also mention they regret spending so much money on a wedding and wish they used that money for a longer honeymoon, etc.” [the couple]
Estimated Cost From This Elopement
“Our elopement package which included flowers, a private chef, a plane and sailing excursion, six nights lodging (three nights in one location and three in another), Ariel’s travel, hair and makeup, the cake, decorations and the photography and cost around $18,500. Our plane tickets round trip from North Carolina to Alaska cost about $400 a person. My dress was about $2500 after alterations and Toms tux was a few hundred. Our videographer was an additional 3k or so. We used about an extra $bucks to tip the different vendors.” [the couple]
Memorable Moments During This Elopement
From the photographer:
“Marrying these two on a remote wilderness runway with Denali peeking out of the clouds just as the couple wished… As soon as the ceremony ended the mountain disappeared into the clouds.
Flying up Ruth Glacier through the gorge and into Sheldon Amphitheater left us all in complete awe. It’s hard to describe just how small you feel as you fly (in a tiny tiny plane) over this vast terrain with massive walls of rock and ice towering on either side of you and a glacier 1 mile wide below you.”
From the couple:
“Definitely flying over Denali park on our way to the ceremony. Truly one of the most magical moments of my life!
I loved the fact that we didn’t have to worry about finding the perfect venue or coming up with the perfect decor to ooh and ahh any wedding guest. We were only interested in oohing and ahh-ing ourselves. Tom had told me several times how badly he wanted to go to Mt. Denali, so Denali Park being our actual wedding venue was so awesome.”
Final Words of Advice
“Be intentional with your day. Worry less about what will make other people happy and more about what truly matters to you and your partner. It’s so easy to get caught up on how other people will feel about certain decisions, and eloping takes most of that away.
Find someone who offers an elopement package versus trying to manage each vendor separate. Lots of photographers who offer elopement packages have strong vendor relationships in several areas and have worked with them prior, which takes out a lot of the guess work in who will and won’t deliver the results you want.” [Ariel, the photographer]
Video From This Alaska Elopement
Photography, Planning/Styling & Officiant | AMW Studios
Florals | Honeybloom Floral Design
Videography | Josh Vassar
Private Chef | Alaina Baron
Rentals | Wild Poppy AK
Plane Charter | Sheldon Air Service
Cake | Arctic Moon Bakery
Hair & Makeup | Analisa Paigee MUA
Photos From This Elopement