I’m so excited to share today’s featured destination wedding in Alaska! One of the great perks of planning a destination wedding is that your venue options are limitless. Alaska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a destination wedding, but as the largest state in US, it offers a diverse backdrop that ranges from desert like scenery to show stopping glaciers.
This adventurous couple made their way to a rustic lodge in Alaska to say I-DO. With sweeping mountain views, romantic details, and homemade jam favors, this wedding was both beautiful and down to earth. For her portrait session, the bride and her photography team hiked up the Matanuska Glaciers for some shots that are nothing short of stunning and spectacular. A huge thanks goes out to the team at Studio Ardent for capturing such amazing shots and sharing them with us. Enjoy!
Real Destination Wedding Advice from the Bride
How and why did you choose your venue?
Majestic Valley Wildnerness Lodge was not only the first place to call us back, but had the lowest rates, the most gorgeous setting, and was the perfect size for our guests. It had just enough rooms for our wedding party, and recommended nearby locations where other guests could stay. Oh, and they even allowed camping on the property, both in tents and campers! And they also had lots of vases and other supplies for us to use, plus we were able to put our flowers in their large refrigerators!
How many people attended your destination wedding in Alaska?
What was your wedding theme?
We chose rustic romantic because the colors were soft and a good fit for the venue. Dusty rose, silver and charcoal were the colors.
What were your sources of inspiration when choosing your colors, flowers, cake, and décor?
I spent many hours each day on Pinterest, looking for my dream ideas and figuring out how to do it at the lowest costs possible. With all the different size vases, it was easy to purchase some floating candles and submerge some orchids and create simple, yet gorgeous center pieces. We used their beautiful arch and had flowers placed on the arch that could later be moved onto the tables as centerpieces, along with the wedding bouquets. We also found a free door and used chalkboard paint to make a road sign so our guests could find our spot!
Was there something unique or special that you incorporated into your wedding?
My husband loves the Broncos. He wanted an orange and blue wedding, but I said no way! The folks at Anderson’s Bride heard us talk about colors each time we came in to look at tuxes. SO, when he picked up his tux, they snuck him orange and blue pocket squares along with the pink ones! He chose the Broncos ones over the others and all the men wore cuff links for their favorite team! I bought silk robes for all the ladies and made wire hanger names on wooden hangers for each of my girls.
What was your favorite wedding detail and why?
We were blessed with double rainbows during rehearsal dinner and it was so nice to have everyone gathered in an intimate setting. Also, my mom walked me down the aisle and rather than have her in a traditional mom color, she was in a softer shade of pink (her color!). We had her read “Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss“.
Was there any tradition that you skipped for your destination wedding in Alaska?
Since my hubby didn’t really want to do unity candles or a sand ceremony, I thought we were just skipping that piece. To my surprise, we wound up with a unity drink! Our officiant pulled out each of our preferred drinks, poured us each a small amount, had us pour them into a shaker, he shook it and gave us each the mixed drink. He then asked us to say in one word what we thought. The answers – “unique” and “interesting” were what he said our marriage would be like.
Also, we didn’t plan for a ring bearer – whoops! Turns out I forgot his ring in my room, so one of our friends ran to find it, becoming the impromptu ring bearer. Now we know why they are so important!
What was your favorite part of having a destination wedding?
It was really nice having everyone gathered in a remote location, we had a nice bonfire at the end of the night and were able to explore around Alaska with our guests before and after. For all the work it takes to get all our loved ones together, it was really nice to spend quality time, rather than running off on an immediate honeymoon like so many do. Also, living in Alaska, there were some people who might not have ever visited if it weren’t for our wedding, and now they want to come back!
After the wedding, I hiked with our photographer up to the Matanuska glacier for a photo shoot! Getting up the glacier with my wedding gown was an epic adventure! Rather than do a quick flight, I donned cramp-ons and hiking boots, carried my dress, and hiked up the Matanuska glacier with my photography team! Once we got far enough back, our guide carved a spot for me to sit and change into my dress. It was a challenge to slip into a lace up gown on a brisk autumn day with crampons, but I somehow managed and we got me laced up and ready for photos! Rather than change, I just hiked around in my dress for awhile so we could get a few more shots in new locations! Rappelling down a glacier in a mermaid style bridal gown with crampons and hiking boots was definitely a cool experience!
What was the biggest challenge in planning your destination wedding?
Our vendors were so great, that it really wasn’t difficult at all. The biggest challenge was figuring out dress colors and dresses for women in all different locations around the U.S.
What is your advice for others planning a destination wedding in Alaska?
Line up your vendors early and get price confirmations and details in writing. Find a checklist online to help you figure out all the things you need to plan for, as well as to guide you on the best questions to ask each vendor.
Photography: Studio Ardent Photography
Videography: Edward Smith, family
Venue: Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge
Cake: Midnight Sun Cakery
Wedding Rings: Kay Jewelers
Bride’s Dress: Maggie Sottero gown purchased at Elegant Lace Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Allure Bridal
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: Jim’s Formalwear, Anderson’s Bride;
Hair & Makeup: Nina Douck: Alaska Beauty Bar; 907-232-7597;
Officiant: Representative Chris Tuck, personal friend
Bridal Registry: Zola Registry
Decorations: Most supplies came from Michael’s
Transportation: Rode home together on Noah’s Harley Davidson
Honeymoon Destination: Liberia, Costa Rica
Harpist: Joanna Mergler Mayer
Dance Lessons: Back2Basics Dance Company
Manicures & Pedicures: Allure Day Spa