August 4, 2015
My name is Ricki and my husband’s name is Zach. We eloped on August 4th, 2015. We eloped on top of Thunder Mountain, in Juneau Alaska, about 2700 miles from home. We actually didn’t choose the location, because we had never been there. Our photographer did! She and her dad had heli-hiked there before, and after I told her what my vision was, without thinking twice she picked a spot and she made it come alive.
We decided to elope for many reasons, but it boiled down to one conversation on our couch at home. We were planning a small traditional wedding and trying to cut costs to save more for our honeymoon- a cruise to Alaska. I gave myself an honest headache on Pinterest one evening trying to make a table décor selection. My husband saw my frustration brewing and casually said “why don’t we just get married while we’re in Alaska?” He said it so casually I didn’t know if he was serious or not. I looked at him with a half interested look and said “explain…”. He went on to explain weddings cost too much money, and it takes all of the meaning out of it. Weddings aren’t about spending hours on Pinterest for table décor, weddings are about securing a lifelong bond between two people committed to one another.
Zach also said with a traditional wedding he wouldn’t want to do anything but traditional vows, because he is not an “express my love in front of everyone” type of guy. So I saw it as my chance to have the personal, intimate wedding that I knew was important to me. I thought this would create some issues with family, so I ran it past my (only) sister, who wouldn’t hold back a word of feeling towards the matter to see how she’d take it. When she jumped on board immediately, we started planning.
The cruise was a 7 day northbound cruise to AK from Vancouver to Whittier. This trip was number 1 on our bucket list. I knew Juneau was the capital and would have resources; a commissioner, photographer, office for marriage licenses etc so I chose Juneau for our location. We also stopped in Juneau the longest, from 8am until 9pm so I knew that would be plenty of time. Our travel agent that helped us book our cruise found our photographer, and she came up with the wedding idea after talking to her once on the phone. The photographer had worked for Coastal Helicopters in the past, and had connections. We arranged to get ready at the photographers house. She curled my hair while I did makeup, we grabbed our homemade bouquet, made a stop at Vital Statistics to pick up our marriage license, and it was off to the airport to meet the helicopter. The helicopter dropped us off for two hours. We had an intimate 5 minute ceremony, and amazing photography session, and a small picnic up top before being picked back up.
Since I am one of six children in my family and I knew my mother would be a “follow your heart” gal. Zach is one of two, so we were pretty apprehensive about how his family would feel, but Zach reassured me they would be on board eventually because it was our dream wedding. It turned out, as we told more and more people, we had such an incredible plan that it literally couldn’t disappoint anyone.
Our elopement was the most incredible day of my life to date. It was the first time my husband and I had been in a helicopter together and the first time we went to the top of a mountain. There were many first on this trip, but when we stepped out of the helicopter and onto thunder mountain, our mouths physically dropped open and we froze. Kally, our photographer has sent us a cell phone picture of the location- but it did not begin to explain the sheer beauty of the location. Zach looked at me and said “Damn, we’re awesome!”
What I loved the most about our elopement was that it was just us. Everything was about us, and how much we loved each other, and that made it a dream come true for me. I wouldn’t have gone without looking the part. The dress and suit were still important to me and really made it feel like an out of the ordinary day. I also would not have gone without professional photography. We picked the best photographer in Juneau, voted best the last 4 years which was the second best choice we made aside from eloping.