Alaska Helicopter Elopement: Step by Step
Our friend Will Khoury came to Alaska to photograph a helicopter elopement of Gabby and Nels. It was a gorgeous day with a beautiful couple. They couldn't have asked for a better day. After the photoshoot Will wrote a detailed guide on this helicopter elopement so we want to share it with you to help you plan for your own helicopter elopement!
Words and photos by Will Khoury
The idea for a helicopter elopement came about after they hired me and started the planning process. When they had initially inquired, Nels and Gabby had mentioned the idea of a Floatplane but due to the limitation in where a floatplane can properly go and land, we decided on a helicopter tour so we can maximize our time taking photos in two different locations that are only accessible by Helicopter.
We ended up finding an amazing helicopter tour company to work with, Alaska Helicopter Tours. These guys were so awesome to work with and they were super flexible with everything. They even gave us the option for both a summit landing and a glacier landing. It really was the best of both worlds! Not only did they help us with the tour but they completely understood what we were after to where we mapped out our tour to capture the best lighting in both locations. We honestly couldn’t be happier with our experience!
What to Consider for your Helicopter Elopement
If you’re thinking about planning a helicopter adventure for your elopement, my first piece of advice would be to DO IT! Helicopter elopements are so much fun and they make for some of the best elopement activities.
When planning a helicopter elopement though, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind:
Time of year
It is really ideal to consider the time of year you’d like the go on a helicopter tour for your elopement as this can change the scenery and the possibility of where you can land. Winter and spring are great for snowcovered summit landings, frozen lakes, and glacier landings. While in the summer, are great for rocky mountain landings & glacial pools landing options. So before you decide on anything, consider the look you’re after, then decide on the time of year that works best.
Helicopters are limited in the amount of weight they can carry as weight can affect the hovering, takeoff, climb, and landing performance. Your helicopter will be balanced based on the weight and number of passengers so be prepared to provide this information when booking.
How many people can go
Depending on how many guests you plan to bring, will determine what size helicopter you will need. Most tour helicopters can seat 4-6 people including the pilot so while space is limited, this almost always means that everyone on the helicopter will have a great seat with a view. Multi-trips can also be possible to “shuttle” a few guests back and forth, but that’s something that’s specific to who you hire for your helicopter elopement, as well as the amount of time you have.
What to bring
What to bring can depend on the time of year you are traveling. Generally, it’s best to bring a backpack with your wedding gear, hiking essentials, an empty water bottle to fill up with Glacier water, and of course, a camera to capture this experience (unless I’m there then you’re set).
What to wear
As mentioned above, what you wear will change depending on the time of year you are flying.
In summer, be sure to bring layered clothing so you can add or remove it as needed (jackets, leggings, etc.) You’ll also want to wear sturdy shoes like tennis shoes or hiking boots.
In the winter, it’s best to wear a warm winter coat with gloves and snow pants. You’ll also want to wear snow boots or thick socks and hiking boots as there will be lots of snow. Snow Cleats (like these) might also be needed depending on the landing location and conditions that day. Pack them to be ready for anything.
Be on the lookout for weather changes
No matter where you fly in a helicopter, flights are always dependent on the weather. If it is rainy or too windy, the helicopter company is likely going to cancel the flight for everyone’s safety. It’s best to keep an eye on the weather up until the day of your departure. This is also important if you’re planning a helicopter tour on your elopement day. I’d say, plan around the helicopter tour and also have a plan B & Plan C just in case of any unexpected weather change.
Account for travel and flight time
When we start working on your wedding day timeline, we’ll need to account for the time it takes to arrive, check in, get prepped, and travel from one location to another. If you’re planning a helicopter tour on your elopement day, I’d highly suggest planning around the flight’s schedule. Of course, when we’re planning together, I’ll be there to guide you with all of it and help you create a timeline that’s flexible and relaxed to have the best experience possible.
You can read about this elopement and see more of Will's amazing photos in his original blog post. Doesn't it make you want to arrange your own helicopter wedding adventure? We can help you plan a helicopter wedding. We love seeing happy couples and making once-in-a-lifetime memories with you.
Thanks, Will for the amazing photos and detailed write-up!