Nicole & Tori’s Girdwood Elopement Featuring Glaciers, Waterfall, & Ceremony With Family and Friends

Nicole & Tori’s Girdwood Elopement Featuring Glaciers, Waterfall, & Ceremony With Family and Friends

Nicole and Tori decided to elope in Girdwood, Alaska. They had an epic adventure including everything from a helicopter ride, glacier adventures, a wedding ceremony with their family and friends, and exploring a waterfall. Get all the details below. 

Are you thinking about planning an epic adventure like this one? Let’s get started! Check out our Alaska elopement packages.

About This Girdwood Elopement Adventure

Girdwood Alaska adventure with a helicopter tour

Photography by Emily Hary Photography

“It was their first time to Alaska! They had a relaxed morning of getting ready together in an amazing Airbnb in Girdwood. We then set off for Alpine Air for a helicopter adventure. We landed on a ridgeline above the glaciers, where we explored around and they said their personal vows to each other in complete silence and seclusion. Just the mosquitos buzzing around haha. Afterwards, they had their ceremony with a small group of friends and family on the roof of their place in Girdwood. We then hit the trail and visited a nearby waterfall and caught up with family on a glacier hike. Afterwards, everyone reconvened for home cooked catering and cupcakes at the Airbnb.” [Emily, the photographer]

Explore more epic places to elope.

Deciding to Elope

“We aren’t super traditional people to start off, but we also were overwhelmed by who to invite and all that comes with planning a traditional wedding. Neither of us really like to be the center of attention anyway! Being a queer couple makes the traditional wedding not as applicable. There are always questions of who is walking down the aisle first, and just so many of the typical wedding traditions that don’t really apply.

We saw a lot of elopements here in Utah, and it really started piquing our interest. The thing we struggled with was how to have the small intimate elopement but still have our family be involved. So, we decided to have our vows be the intimate part where it was just the two of us and our photographer, and then we did the ceremony back with our family so we could have the best of both worlds.” [The couple]

Learn how to plan a micro wedding ceremony here.

Deciding to Elope in Alaska

“We knew we wanted somewhere mountainous. Again, we live in Utah, but the landscape was so familiar we really wanted to find something unique. Then, one day we saw an Alaska elopement, and we knew that had to be it. Everything about Alaska is gorgeous and there are so many diverse landscapes we were bound to find something that was the perfect landscape for us since we are avid hikers and backpackers.

We had never visited, but after talking with our florist and photographer, we knew it would be perfect. Emily Hary, our photographer, was key to finding the exact location. She has so much insight to Alaska and has so many recommendations and usually had examples of weddings shot in that location so she truly made it easy to pick exact places.” [The couple]

Are you ready to elope? Check out these reasons to elope.

Permits and LNT For This Elopement Adventure

Here are some pointers and advice from the photographer:

  • The ceremony was held at a venue/Airbnb, so no permit was needed.
  • If couples are planning to utilize a helicopter on their elopement day during the summer months, special care planning ahead is needed to enjoy these unspoiled lands.
  • If popping champagne and/or enjoying food, bring a grocery bag or similar to easily collect waste.
  • When popping a corked drink for photos, remove wire and cork and quick place in pocket or on ground below to retrieve afterwards. The spray will not be compromised. Small acts like these during elopements matter and help us preserve the wild beauty of Alaska.

Learn more about leaving no trace during your elopement adventure.

Top Tips When Planning a Similar Elopement From The Photographer

  • Don’t over schedule your elopement photo coverage. Leave room for unexpected magic and helicopter rescheduling time. Even when fully prepared, things may not go as planned (hello weather) so keep some “play room” during your time in Alaska.
  • Make sure you’re aware of the hours/availability of groceries, restaurants, and other services in the Girdwood area. Vet the area for what you may need based on the season you’re visiting.
  • Schedule a time at the Nordic Spa at the Alyeska Resort. I’ve been twice now and it’s so relaxing and refreshing. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate being married than relaxing. Get a massage then enjoy the property’s hot/cold pools, saunas, and more (all in a secluded wooded setting).
  • If you’re visiting during the summer months, expect to encounter swaths of mosquitos. We landed on the ridgeline overlooking the mountains/glaciers and they were pretty obtrusive. That was the only negative to their day. Landing ON the glacier is a way to avoid them nearly completely.

Cost Of This Elopement + Planning

“I think the hardest part of planning was finding the location we wanted that matched us perfectly. Once we got that, most things fell into place. Again, Emily was a key piece to our planning. She had a very detailed document about vendors, locations, activities we could do during our elopement, and even restaurants while we were there…

Opting for local services was the best decision we made. We chose a local florist and had our nails done at a nearby salon the day before. Additionally, we practiced and consulted with experts on hair and makeup leading up to the big day, which saved us a significant amount of money. We also booked an Airbnb for our family to stay at, which conveniently doubled as the venue for our ceremony and dinner. 

Dress $700, Suit $1200, photographer $5,500, dinner for 25 $1000, flowers $500, cupcakes $100, helicopter ride for 3 $2400, Airbnb for 2 nights sleeping 12 people $2600.

In total, we spent about $14,000.” [The couple]

Learn more about the cost of eloping.

Memorable Moments From This Elopement

From the photographer:

“Picking out a landing spot together from within a flying helicopter does not get old. We leaned on the pilot’s (Jake) expertise of the area and agreed on a ridgeline spot above the glaciers to land on. As we exited the heli and our feet hit the soft tundra, it was fantastic – easily one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. The greens, blues, and whites soothed us and the sound of absolutely nothing was serene – talk about a private venue. This is how you do it! We explored the area which included a rushing creek, wildflowers, patches of snow, and huge views. It was heavenly.”

From the couple:

“100% the helicopter ride to a remote location, where probably few people had ever been, to share our vows with each other just between us was the most memorable part of our day. We loved doing a short hike with our families too.”

Final Words of Advice From This Couple

“Understanding that each couple’s experiences and dynamics with loved ones differ, we advocate for setting aside a moment exclusively for you and your partner. Including an activity that either something you’ve dreamed of doing or know the two of you would enjoy can make this time even more special. For us, the most memorable aspect of our elopement was the time we spent alone together. We highly encourage other couples to prioritize moments like these, as they can be truly special and meaningful.” [The couple]


Photographer | Emily Hary Photography

Florals | Honey Bloom Floral Design

Suit | Tailor Cooperative

Dress | Mila Bridal

Helicopter | Alpine Air Alaska

Cupcakes | Sweet Caribou

Catering | Sis’s Cafe 

Photos From This Elopement Adventure in Alaska