While zero convincing is needed on why helicopter elopements are one of the coolest ways to get married, let me tell you why they’re one of my favorites as an elopement photographer.
Helicopter elopements are becoming more and more popular each year, and for good reasons. Why get married on a crowded coastline when you could get married on top of a mountain with not a soul around, or on a glacier where no one has walked before? Helicopter elopements allow you to do just that. This experience allows you to see some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations. It’s the only way to get the most private and secluded elopement experience possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about helicopter elopements, keep reading. In this article, I break down exactly how to plan a helicopter elopement, including the best locations, season to plan, and other need-to-know tips.
What Is a Helicopter Elopement?
A helicopter elopement is when a couple hires a helicopter touring company to fly them over (and even land on) some of the most beautiful and remote places in the world on their wedding day. Simply put, it’s an elopement day with a helicopter ride. There are a variety of different ways you can include a helicopter on your elopement day. Here are some of my favorites:
- Take a helicopter sight seeing tour
- Do a tour with a landing where you and your partner can exchange vows
- Arrive at your location via a helicopter (have friends and family already waiting at the location) for a grand entrance
4 Best Locations for a Helicopter Elopement
These are the 4 best places to plan a helicopter elopement.
There is truly no better place to plan your helicopter elopement than in Alaska. Alaska is famous for its incredible scenery and diversity. From glaciers and snow-capped mountains to lush forests and roaring waterfalls, you can’t find a more wild and rugged place. Most couples opt to get married on a glacier in Alaska, though the options are truly endless. Whether you’re into wildlife tours, glacier melt pools, or alpine lakes, you’ll be sure to find them on a helicopter ride in Alaska.
Below are some of my favorite helicopter companies in Alaska.
- Alaska Helicopter Tours (Anchorage)
- Alpine Air Alaska (Girdwood)
- Helicopter Air Alaska (Ketchikan)
- Temsco Helicopters (Juneau)
- Denali Air (Denali National Park)
Hawaii is one of my all-time favorite places for helicopter elopements. I’ve been on a few helicopter tours myself in Hawaii, and they blow me away every single time! My personal favorite island for tours is Kauai. There’s nothing cooler than flying over a waterfall, only to be greeted by the iconic landscape seen in Jurassic Park with the theme song blaring through your headphones (yes, this actually happened). If you love unique landscapes, hidden waterfalls, and a good coastline, Hawaii is the place for you.
Below are some of my favorite helicopter companies in Alaska.
- Island Helicopters (Kauai)
- Blue Hawaiian Helicopters (Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai)
- Paradise Helicopters (Big Island, Oahu, Lanai)
- Jack Harter Helicopters (Kauai)
- Air Maui (Maui)
California is consistently ranked as being one of the most diverse states in the U.S. Here, you’ll find mountains, waterfalls, deserts, beaches, lakes, and so much more. Whether you’re looking to fly over the forest up north or are hoping to catch a sunset down south, California makes a great location for a helicopter elopement. Some of the most popular places for helicopter tours include Catalina Island, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Below are some of my favorite helicopter companies in California.
- IEX Helicopters (Catalina Island, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Orange County, etc.)
- Group 3 Helicopters (Hollywood, Los Angeles, The Coast, etc.)
- San Francisco Helicopters (San Francisco and Wine Country)
- Helico Sonoma (Sonoma, Redwood Coast)
- Specialized Aviation (Yosemite, San Francisco, Big Sur, Santa Cruz, etc.)
Iceland, also known as the country of fire and ice, is hands-down one of the best places in the world for helicopter elopements. Soar over glaciers, volcanoes, lava fields, waterfalls, and beaches. You can even fly at night and witness the spectacular Northern Lights, only seen from a few places in the world. Iceland also has a variety of other tours if helicopters aren’t your thing, though I think a helicopter is the best way to see this incredible country.
Below are some of my favorite helicopter companies in Iceland. Note that all of these companies are based in Reykjavik, but fly around the entire country.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Plan a Helicopter Elopement?
Summer is the best time of year for a helicopter elopement. In the summer, it’s often clear and sunny, which means less cancellations due to poor flying conditions. Not only that, helicopter companies have the most availability and options in the summer months due to the busy travel season. While I usually recommend couples avoid the summer season due to crowds, you don’t need to worry about that with a helicopter elopement!
Fall is a gorgeous time of year for helicopter elopements. I personally love the fall season in places like Alaska where the colors are bright and bold, wildlife is everywhere, and the glaciers are glistening. Fall is great time no matter where you go.
Winter is the most risky time to plan a helicopter elopement if you don’t live somewhere warm like Southern California. I often recommend steering clear of the winter season, as bad weather can cause flight cancellations and clouds can obstruct the views.
Spring is a beautiful time for helicopter elopements, especially if you’re hoping to see some wildlife on your tour. I recommend helicopter elopements in the spring in places that are tropical, like Hawaii. It’s the best time of year to see lush greenery, rushing waterfalls, and crashing waves.
How Much Does It Cost to Book a Helicopter for My Elopement?
On average, a one hour private helicopter tour for 2 costs around $1,200-$1,500. However, it may cost upwards of $2,500-$3,000 if you’d like to include a landing or more passengers.
How Far in Advance Do I Need to Book a Helicopter for My Elopement?
Helicopter tours can be booked in as little as 2 days. However, I recommend booking your tour one month in advance, two if you’re eloping in the summer months.
Types of Helicopter Tours
If you’re looking around at different tours but are confused about the difference between each one, let me break it down for you.
Standard tours are what you’ll see most advertised on helicopter company websites. These tours have a set route and time designated for them. They’re group tours, designed for 4-5 people. These tours can be booked by the general public and are not private, meaning if you book two spots on the helicopter, someone else could book the remaining three. I don’t generally recommend this kind of tour, as it’s not very private or catered to the couple.
Photography flights are designed for professional photographers to get aerial landscape shots for their portfolio, or to get video footage for a film. This is not the type of tour you want to book for your elopement.
Private Charter Flights
Private charter flights are what you’ll want to book for your elopement. These flights are customized to the couple and usually include a landing for vows and pictures. To book a private charter, you’ll want to get in contact with the company to tell them what you’re envisioning. They’ll then be able to provide you with a quote.
Helicopter Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who helps couples plan epic elopements along the West Coast. I have a variety of different elopement packages, though my most popular for helicopter elopements is my all-inclusive elopement package, which includes everything below along with a few extra things like lodging, flights, activities, and more.
- 4 hours – 2 days of elopement coverage in the US
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in the US are already included
- Starting at $6,500 for CA, OR, WA, $8,500 for everywhere else in the U.S.
DON’T FORGET YOUR FREE ELOPEMENT GUIDE!
An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.
YOU? YOU’RE THE KIND OF PERSON THAT GETS A LIL’ TEARY EYED LOOKING AT AN EPIC VIEW.
That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.
These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna, and I plan, craft, and capture elopements around the Pacific Northwest. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.