How to Get Married on a Glacier in Alaska
(note: this post was updated in 2022)
Steve and I dated for a year, then got engaged for a year, and then planned our wedding. For our fifth wedding (third for him, second for me) we refused to do things the way everyone else does, and we decided to get married in Alaska on a glacier.
How and why did we decide on a getting married on a glacier in Alaska?
The conversation basically went like this:
1. We didn’t want a big, white wedding.
2. If we were going to spend a bucket of money, we wanted to have fun–we didn’t want to buy steak and drinks for 200 of our closest friends.
3. We, in our true form, wanted to do something different.
Getting Married on a Cruise with Kids
With three kids, ages 8-22, in tow, putting together a wedding that made sense and covered the top three criteria, challenged us. A cruise seemed like the ideal way to enjoy a family wedding as a destination.
Living in Florida, we knew cruising out of one of the local ports would made sense. But cruising from Florida didn’t pass number three’s muster. We had all done a Florida cruise, and for any guests who might come, most of them had done a Florida cruise as well. Thus, we settled on a cruise but not a location. Thus, Alaska! Only I had been to Alaska. No one else in the wedding party had been to Alaska. It just started to make sense to cruise Alaska.
Getting Married on a Cruise to Alaska
We really wanted to get married on the cruise boat, and we discovered only two cruise lines would perform weddings while sailing. Most of the cruise ships wanted us to get married while docked. When you get married while docked, you have to get a marriage license in the country of the dock. Figuring out how to get a marriage license in, say, The Bahamas, got complicated quickly. Additionally, after investigating cruise ship weddings a bit further, we found out it would cost $2500 for the captain to walk down off the bridge to say our vows.
Seriously, $2500? What else could we do for $2500?
A Wedding Planner, Limo Driver, Justice of the Peace, and Photographer
After some quick googling, we found Tom in Juneau. For the same price as the captain of our ship, Tom would find us a helicopter, a limo, an officiant, some flowers, a photographer, some champagne and a glacier! So, we booked a wedding special with him, where we will get married on top of the Mendenhall Glacier.
Tom met us at the cruise ship terminal in a limo, took us to the local county recorder to get our marriage license, drove us to the heliport, accompanied us in the helicopter to Mendenhall glacier, delivered flowers, performed the ceremony, took pictures, poured champagne, flew us back to the heliport, drove us back to the boat, and said good-bye all within our four hours docked in Juneau. It was magical, easy, perfect, and twelve years later (2022!), still a fabulous decision I’d repeat.