After getting engaged in the Tetons, Teddy and I started to talk about where exactly we’d want to get married. We both love Pennsylvania, which is why we both moved back here in 2020 after he had spent two years in Clemson, SC and I had spent two years in Tampa, FL. We met not long after our returns “home”.
We considered a few options of locations where we’d want to be married. We briefly considered somewhere local, but knew we wanted a very small wedding to begin with, and a “destination” suited us better. When most people thing of destination weddings, they think of a beach somewhere. For us, we wanted somewhere with mountains.
The states we leaned most toward were Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. We’ve never been to Colorado together before but the Maroon Bells for a wedding looked beautiful. We briefly considered Glacier National Park and the Tetons, but decided we’d rather go somewhere we hadn’t been and that would be the experience of a lifetime.
I literally googled “Alaska destination wedding” and immediately saw the site for Alaska Destination Weddings. Teddy and I fell in love with the idea. We browsed a few other options just to make sure we’d done our research but we kept coming back to this company. We looked at the options and eventually decided on the 4 hour glacier package. We’d never been on a glacier before and the ice blue photos looked incredible in photos. We knew this is what we wanted.
We initially thought we’d get married sometime in August, but after talking with Erin at Alaska Destination Weddings, she suggested earlier in the year if possible since August is the more rainy season in the area. Sounded good to us! We chose the longest day of the year and summer solstice, when there’s about 19 hours of sunlight in the Palmer area.
The package included the 4 hour helicopter transportation with four landings (all were epic), the most divine cake I’ve ever eaten, a beautiful wildflower bouquet and boutonniere, an incredible wedding photographer, our officiant and all the coordination. We sent over photos of our wedding day attire, inspiration for the flowers, chose our cake flavor, and shared our desires for the photos over the few months leading up to the wedding. It was so easy and all we really had to do was send in the paperwork for the marriage license in Alaska. It made wedding planning a breeze.
Once we finalized the date for our wedding, we started to think about the trip itself – where we wanted to go, how long we wanted to be there, any must do activities, and more. If you’ve read any of my other blogs you know visiting National Parks as well are a must do on the list.
Alaska has 8 National Parks which include 3 you can drive to, 1 you get to by boat or ferry, and then 4 by small plane. If you’re not already aware, Alaska is about twice the size of Texas, so it’s huge but with significantly less roads. I heard that all the roads in Alaska can fit into the state of Delaware (feel free to fact check this for yourself). If you were to drive across Texas, it would take around 15 or so hours. Considering Alaska is double the size, even if it did have roadways all over to visit the parks, it would take a considerable amount of time.
We knew we wouldn’t get to all 8 National Parks on this trip, but wanted to get to a few. We initially talked about going to all those via car and then maybe one that required plane, but as we planned, we realized we wanted a slower type trip than we normally do, so we opted to try to visit 3 of the 8 parks and decided to do Wrangell-St. Elias on a future trip as the time since we didn’t have the time in the schedule we’d want in order to visit that one.
We added these to the list –
- Denali (car)
- Lake Clark OR Katmai (both require a plane)
- Kenai Fjords (boat or car)
From there, we looked at the area we’d be getting married and what there was to do surrounding the area. We added these to the list too –
- Hatcher Pass
- A train ride on the Alaska Railroad
- Chugach State Park
Then we checked out some additional locations and places Teddy had been before and would recommend –
- A bear viewing trip
- A fishing trip
From there, we had a pretty good idea of what we’d want to do. We mapped out about how long we’d want to be in an area and planned to spend 2-3 nights in most places so we weren’t moving every single night like we normally are. Lugging around a wedding dress and a few pieces of luggage every night didn’t sound fun to me.
We weren’t sure if we’d need to do anything for our marriage license in Alaska when we initially started to book things so we decided to go up a few days before the wedding just in case. We also wanted to make sure we had a good amount of time after the wedding to relax and explore so we ended up booking 2 full weeks in Alaska with a travel day both ends.
Stay tuned for what we did in each area, our full itinerary, what we plan to do next visit, and our overall thoughts on the trip and the wedding experience!