The Alaska Wedding

The Alaska Wedding Guide – All You Need To Know

I think most of our readership will agree with me when I say that Alaska is a more ‘under-the-radar’ place to talk about, especially when discussing weddings. How many of you know about Alaskan weddings? Is there even something like a single concept of what weddings are like in Alaska?

Turns out, there aren’t. What I mean is that Alaska has so many native tribes with their own traditions, customs, and culture – in addition to the Americans themselves, that it’s quite hard to point at a set of things and say, “This is what an Alaskan wedding is like”!

So instead of giving up, or giving you a conventional wedding article, I’ll be focusing on what wedding trends are in vogue in the cold state, and you might just be surprised at what they have to offer. What’s more is that perhaps you’d like an Alaskan wedding yourself, so let’s see if I do a good job here.

Who’s the Priest?

This is one of those laws that apply to states where you think anything is allowed, simply because you’re uninformed about what really happens there. Well, guess what? This law is actually real. In Alaska, even if you’re not a rabbi/priest/religious leader types, you can still bless a happy couple with your own ‘marriage commissioner’ certificate. Seems pretty tension-free to me. Even in a courthouse, no judge will be appearing – many times, a trial law court clerk or someone just as young as you will be marrying you off, and that’s no big deal.


Versatile Locations

Alaskans are also not big on typical courthouses, churches or other religious buildings to do their weddings. For one, many towns and cities are isolated from one another, and logistics are generally in high demand. Traveling by boat because the road just isn’t that efficient isn’t that uncommon.

So, what does this mean for you? A survey by The Knot stated that 69% of couples opt for an outdoor wedding venue. This doesn’t mean your typical tent under the sun. This means breathtaking glacier backdrops, serene white peaks, or even frozen lakes being part of your pristine wedding setup. Couples from all over the world, in fact, come to Alaska for its natural environment, where everything seems to be tinctured in greys, blues and greens like none other.

destination weddingCouples from abroad also choose something called the ‘Alaskan Cruise Wedding’, which combines a honeymoon gateway with a normal wedding. Here, the guest list is short, but so are the ceremonies. Everything takes place on certain locations determined by how feisty your cruise ship’s schedule is, and the maximum time is allotted for simply relaxing and taking in the sights.

Otherwise, there are obviously a few places that are preferred by couples in Alaska itself – the cities of Anchorage and Juneau, for instance, are wedding hotspots.

Summer months are obviously more wedding-heavy in Alaska due to the sheer cold that’s just present in the air, even during the spring. 70-80% of couples get married in the summer, which is now the unconventional season of love there.

destinationMany times, if you’re in a particularly remote location (which is highly likely in Alaska) then you might just get married off with several other couples – this is especially true if you want to be all legitimate and have a priest do the deed. Planning your wedding here is all about time and pace – from the season to the supplies – everything has to be planned way in advance due to the logistical issues you may face. Wedding progress here is generally slow, where you will learn that to execute the most flawless wedding, you need to be patient.

Ceremonies, Food and Decor

Alaskan weddings are mostly light on the ceremonial aspects in terms of the time invested. Most weddings do not have elaborate, time-consuming ceremonies. On the flip-side, there are so many diverse cultures here that we could not pinpoint a famous ceremony or anything. Many Alaskans have native heritage, so they often combine traditional and modern customs when getting married, so as to appease all sides of their cultural inheritance.

In the Yupik tribe, for instance, the groom works at the bride’s house for over a year, supporting them with whatever he does best, from housework to hunting big game. This is all part of coming up with ‘payment’ because the bride is literally brought home to the husband, and that, as they say, is that. Many gifts and the like are also arranged to be delivered with the groom. This is just one example of what you may find, coupled with Catholic or Jewish traditions.

Most Alaskans also don’t go overboard in the conventional sense of spending money. However, since the 70s modernization wave, more and more exposure has given them the urge to explore and experiment. Local, rustic flowers are often used to provide floral decorations – expect a lot of purples, creams, and whites.

Some even combine Christian traditions and say their vows in Yupik – in fact, entire ceremonies may be translated and conducted in the native tongue.

decor and foodThe food here is just as diverse. Since Alaska is renowned for it’s teeming shoreline, fish and other marine creatures are all the rage here. Alaskan salmon and halibut are some of the more commonly found delicacies and are often combined in various forms with sourdough bread.

There are also other animals that you may not find on any other place’s menu card – big game meat, like reindeer and caribou, can be ordered at most places. Reindeer Hotdogs are especially famous, with people flocking to Anchorage in order to get a taste.

Other foods you will often find at a wedding are standard fare – truffles, sweet chocolates, smoked salmon, jellies, jams and preserves (they’re big on food that lasts). Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might even witness an added celebration when someone catches a whale, where everyone shares the meat after the conquest. One of those rare delicacies you might also have the good fortune of sampling is the akutaq which is an Inuit ice-cream, enjoyed over several days after it’s made once.

Clothes for the Cold and Endnote

What does one wear, then? We’ve talked about all kinds of aspects, but for you fashion conscious ones, the dress may make or break it for you.

Well, those who wish to keep it traditionally biblical will be armed with the whole Christian wedding attire. For those who are attending, get your smartest winter attire out because even in the summer, the temperature is not as peachy as you think it might be.

Christian wedding clothesTraditionally speaking, attire that is made of porcupine, elk, seal, caribou or even reindeer is used. No store brought stuff for these people – their grandmothers or mothers can weave magic into these exotic garments as no one else can. Beads and animal hide combine to create colorful, flamboyant dresses that serve two purposes – keeping the cold out and keeping you looking like royalty. Jewelry and the like are made out of either ordinary beads, or Dentalium shells, which were traditionally used by family chieftains and shamanic figures.


How to plan a Christmas wedding? 

The Alaskan wedding is basically for those who either wish to stick to their roots as part of the ongoing tradition; or those souls who seek something drastically different and unconventional for their special day. If you’re someone who does things off the beaten track, or you seek that bit of spirituality and solitude, the Alaskan wedding may just be right for you. Nature lovers will especially shrug off the cold to be in this pristine environment, so there’s a little something for everybody to be found in this land at the seeming end of the world.

See Also:

Italian wedding traditions.

About the Author


Monica is a moniker for our relationship expert. She's been working as a relationship counselor for over 10 years, and over time, has sharpened her personality. Unlike typical counselors, Monica is not afraid to use a harsher method to resolve certain issues that demand it. Even if she's a virtual entity now, she can still see into your soul.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us


Dibon building, Plot No. 2,
Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, 160062

Phone Number

+91 7696 706 821

Email ID