On the southern coast of The Last Frontier, summertime in Anchorage sets the scene for a picturesque elopement. With sprawling skies and endless, towering mountains, Alaska empowers its visitors to feel the magic of its practically untouched natural beauty.
I first met Lejla in a Facebook group, where she was looking for videographer for her helicopter elopement at the Knik Glacier! I’ve always enjoyed exploring the outdoors, and I knew I could deliver exactly what they were looking for.
With my trip lasting about 72 hours, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the time I had. I spent my first afternoon driving along the Seward Highway and taking in the views. Knowing drone footage was important to Lejla and Alan, I stopped multiple times along the route south of Anchorage. From mountain shots to bird’s eye views of the barren mud flats, it was seriously like visiting another world.
My second day began with a sunrise hike and drone excursion at the Glen Alps trailhead. I knew I wanted to capture sunrise in the mountains, and I also wanted to take advantage of the time I had before the elopement. After experiencing this, I think it may be in the top ten experiences of my life, which is why it had to open the film!
After the morning drone shoot, I drove about 60 minutes north of Anchorage to the Knik River Lodge. The lodge is where the elopement was taking place, and I was excited to capture such a unique day for Lejla and Alan. Hosting rows of private cabins, a restaurant, and fly-out helicopter tours, the Lodge offered so much for their guests! The day had so much excitement in store, paired with love, intimacy, and celebration!
When I parked, I met the couple at their cabin where Lejla was getting her makeup done by the immaculate Tiffanee of Vision Beauty! Lejla’s presence was warm, fun, and inviting– even better than I could have hoped for. Shortly after, I was greeted by Alaskan tour-guide and photographer Camille of CamiLynn Grace Photography! I had been consulting her a TON in prep for this trip, and her insight was instrumental in my success, and I’m so lucky to now call her my friend!
We found Alan exploring the grounds of the Lodge, and were able to break the figurative ice before he went to get changed for their first look! We scoped out a gorgeous meadow set back on the grounds, and knew it would be a great, intimate spot for their first look.
After capturing this first look and feeling the excitement, we were ready to embark on our helicopter tour of the Knik Glacier! Our pilot and officiant, Steven, navigated the skies effortlessly, and provided prime commentary about the phenomena of the glacier. Seeing the glacier in person was next-level, and I still don’t feel like I was able to fully capture it. There’s something incomprehensible about their scale that my brain still can’t fully process!
We landed literally on the glacier. Our landing spot was at the top of an ice hill (if that’s a thing?) where we could see far and wide. Below us were the turquoise glacial pools that were absolutely enchanting for Lejla’s bridal photos. The added floral work by Paper Peony accentuated the scene, and photographed beautifully among the jagged, icy slopes.
For these two, the ceremony was short and sweet– but hella emphasis on the sweet! Seeing the love in their eyes is why can’t get enough of weddings. The energy between all of us was indescribable. When you see every small gesture and hear the changes in someone’s voice during their vows in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, it’s indescribable.
After the ceremony and immediate portrait session, we flew to a lookout called Grasshopper Point! This scaled the side of the surrounding mountains where we could experience a wider view of the glacier! This was also my favorite stop of the day. The tundra landscape (think rocks, and low, dry shrubbery) combined with the view, and the golden hour mountain light, it was an ethereal moment. The intimacy of the couple against the harsh conditions created a beautiful moment that felt like complete surrender. Surrender to love, surrender to beauty, surrender to nature and the Universe and the privilege of being able to experience such a beautiful example of partnership.
Lejla and Alan truly celebrated in their way. They honored their relationship in a way that was perfect for them and so incredibly special and unique. I learned that this is why elopements are beautiful. Seeing two people who love each other do things in the exact way they want was so inspiring.
After returning from our excursion, I could feel how excited Lejla and Alan were. I have nothing but incredible things to say about this couple and how excited I am for their little family. Capturing their elopement was the experience of a lifetime, and I think *that* is what love is. Taking the highs and lows as they come, and holding on tight to your partner and facing things head-on, together.
Thank you Lejla and Alan for a life-changing experience, and for allowing me to share just how beautiful your love story is!
Lodging: Knik River Lodge
Helicopter Tour: Alaska Helicopter Tours
Photography: CamiLynn Grace Photography
Video: Alex Adkins Creative
Floral: Paper Peony
Makeup: Vision Beauty