Looking for something that’s truly unlike everyone else’s elopement day? Planning a helicopter elopement might be just the thing you’re dreaming of!
Although not for the faint of heart, eloping on a helicopter ride is surely one epic way to kick off your marriage. If you need some inspiration to get started planning this kind of adventure, start by checking out this list of places to elope on a helicopter tour!
What is a Helicopter Elopement?
Whether you just stumbled on the idea by exploring Pinterest or Instagram, or you’ve always dreamed of flying in to a scenic spot where it’s nearly impossible to visit by car or foot, you might not yet be sure exactly how this works.
A helicopter elopement is a one-of-a-kind wedding day excursion where you hire a touring company or helicopter pilot to fly you over some of the world’s most beautiful wild places — and the best ones will even include a few landings for you!
This allows you to see the outdoors from a birds-eye view, and gives you the chance to walk around on foot in a place only few people have ever been.
For the tours that do allow you to get out on foot during a landing, this means that you get to fly in the helicopter in your wedding attire, and then say your vows, do a first dance, or something else entirely when you land — without anyone else around!
Where to Elope on a Helicopter in the US
Hands-down one of the best locations for heli tours is The Last Frontier: Alaska! Couples who elope to Alaska find that it offers a breathtaking combination of glaciers, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, wildlife, and a whole lot more.
On our own helicopter tour in the Knik Glacier area last summer, we had the chance to land on four unique areas for Kim + Bryan’s elopement. They were able to say their vows on a lush, green mountainside. Then we tasted glacier water as we stood on a glacier for the first time.
On a third stop, they had their first dance and a pop of champagne while a glacier wall crumbled before our eyes, and ended the tour with a visit to a waterfall nearby.
Although we had the absolute BEST experience with Alaska Helicopter Tours, we also have compiled a list here of some other tours to see other parts of the state:
- Alaska Shore Excursions, Juneau
- TEMSCO Denali Tours
- Seward Helicopter Tours for the Kenai Peninsula
- Alpine Air Alaska, Girdwood + Prince William Sound
For couples who dream of being somewhere tropical and warm, Hawaii is one of the best choices in the US. Although each island is unique, one of the best perks about eloping to Hawaii is that you get a beautiful combination of tropical forest, waterfalls, mountains, and some of the best beaches in the world.
Here are some of the highest rated helicopter tours in Hawaii:
- Blue Hawaiian Helicopters offers flights on four major islands: Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai.
- Paradise Helicopters also offers flights on multiple islands.
- Rainbow has the most colorful helicopters and flies around Oahu.
- Two other popular options: Mauna Loa and Safari Helicopters
There are dozens of great spots in California to take a helicopter ride for your elopement. One of our personal favorites is taking the short 15 minute helicopter ride from the mainland to Catalina Island! Check out our guide to eloping on Catalina Island.
Love the red rock formations and dry air? Eloping in the canyons and deserts of Utah might be perfect for you. With the lack of trees, rain/snow, and urban development, Utah has thousands of wide open acres that are prime for helicopters to fly over and make it easier for pilots to land.
These are some of the best charter companies in Utah:
- Zion Helicopters for flights over Zion National Park
- Pinnacle Helicopters in Moab, Utah
- Canyonlands by Night & Day offer flights around Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
- Bryce Canyon Airlines offers scenic flights to several national parks nearby
Similar in landscape to Utah, just a little farther south, you’ll find plenty of canyons and open desert to explore in Arizona. This state is home to the famous Grand Canyon as well as one of our personal favorite towns, Sedona.
- Papillon and Maverick offer Grand Canyon tours.
- Sedona Air Tours flies in the Sedona and Northern Arizona areas.
- SunState Helicopter Tours flies around Scottsdale and Phoenix.
Although not all of these heli tours include landings for you to explore, they’re definitely still something to consider doing to make your adventure elopement truly unforgettable.
- Durango Heli Tours, Durango
- FlyVENTURE, Denver + the front range
- Colorado Vertical, the Royal Gorge + Pikes Peak region
- Zephyr Helicopter Company, Steamboat Springs
- Gateway Canyons, near Palisade
Have you fallen in love with the idea of a Yellowstone or Glacier National Park elopement but don’t want a whole lot of hiking involved? Helicopter tours in Montana might be a better fit for you! Check out these charters who may be able to give you the kind of elopement experience you’re looking for:
- Yellowstone Helicopters
- Glacier Aviation Services
- Backcountry Flying offers private rides in small planes and seaplanes
Helicopter Tours Outside of the US
Take your elopement day to the next level by traveling internationally! There is a whole world out there to explore, and if you aren’t bringing any other guests with you, why settle for something so close to home? Here’s a list of some of the coolest helicopter tours across the globe:
- Blackcomb Helicopters, Vancouver, Canada
- Banff Adventures and Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies
- Helicopter tours in Switzerland
- Victoria Falls Heli Tour over Zimbabwe and Zambia
- Elikos Helicopter Service in the Italian Dolomites
- Miavana by Time + Tide in Madagascar, a private island only accessible by helicopter
- New Zealand helicopter tours
- Helicopter tours in Santorini, Greece
How to Elope in a Helicopter Step-by-Step
- One of the first things we recommend when considering this type of adventure elopement is to think about the types of scenery you most want to see and explore. Are you wanting to stand on top of a glacier? Fly out over red rock formations and deep canyons? Hover over turquoise waters and coral reefs?
- Narrow down your list by also considering what else you’re wanting to experience while you’re in the area, think: food/drinks, other excursions you’ve always wanted to do together, and the type of climate you want (a sunny beach, a wide-open desert, snow-covered mountains and glaciers).
- Next, you’ll want to start reaching out to elopement photography/videography teams who can help you plan your epic elopement experience. And the best part? Most of us travel anywhere, so you don’t have to feel restricted to vendors already living in the area you want to visit.
At Skyewater Photo + Film, unlimited planning assistance is something every one of our couples have access to after booking with us, so we are here to help you find the best touring company to work with!
- After chatting with your photography/videography and planning team, you’ll select a date that works for everyone and begin reaching out to helicopter tour companies as soon as you can, ideally several months or a year in advance.
While several companies can still be booked a few days or week in advance, others book up for the season quickly. And when you work with us, we make sure to have plenty of time either the day before your elopement or after, in case the weather prevents us from flying and you need to reschedule.
- Then, all the other details can fall into place. Some helicopter tours are based out of places you can stay overnight in, like Alaska Helicopter Tours at the Knik River Lodge. You’ll want to secure lodging, as well as any other vendors (like florists, hair and makeup, officiants, etc.) as soon as you can.
Helicopter Elopement FAQs
How many stops will the flight include?
This will highly depend on the location and touring company. Some regions have a select number of areas that even allow landing, while other tours (say, over the ocean) won’t have any places for you to land, making the experience more about the flight than the landings. It’s best to ask each company about this individually.
Can we bring guests to join us on the helicopter tour?
Most companies do have more than one helicopter available, so the answer is ‘maybe’! Just be sure to keep the groups small and be aware of things like weight limits and seating capacity, especially to include space for any vendors you’re bringing along, such as our photo and video team. 🙂
Are dogs allowed?
Unfortunately, helicopter tours don’t allow your furry family members to join. A great compromise to this would be to ride in the helicopter for a portion of your elopement, and hike somewhere else the next day on a dog-friendly trail.
How much photo/video coverage time should we book with you for a helicopter elopement?
Some of the best helicopter tours range from 2-4 hour experiences with multiple landing options during the time you have booked. Even if your helicopter tour is only a couple of hours, we highly recommend adding on additional time for other parts of your day to be captured, from moments like getting ready in your hotel or rental home, a lunch or dinner celebration after the flight ends, or other activities you’re doing on your trip, like dog-sledding or kayaking.
Most of our couples end up with 8 or more hours to feel less rushed/stressed on the day of, or book a two-day experience with a private helicopter tour one day, and a more traditional ceremony and reception with family the following day.
What about motion sickness?
For most of the flight, many people feel fine since it’s often a smooth ride. However, if you’re extra sensitive and commonly get motion sickness on boats or rides/rollercoasters, be sure to take some non-drowsy motion sickness medicine at least 20-30 minutes before take-off. We found that it was mostly the circling to find the best landing spots on the glacier that had us bothered the most.
How early should we book the helicopter tour?
As early as you can. Many companies in locations like Alaska only operate certain times of the year (June, July and August) and book up as far as a year in advance. Coordinate with both your tour company and our team to find the best time of year for your ideal location and be able to discuss backup plans in case of weather.
What should we wear?
Be sure to think about the typical weather in the location you’re eloping to. If it’s a colder climate, you’ll definitely want layers, like warm coats and gloves. In warmer, drier climates, you may still want to bring a light layer to wear when in the air, since it does get colder the higher you fly. No matter where you choose to go, wear proper shoes like hiking boots with good tread.
Other Similar Elopement Ideas
Not quite sure a helicopter is for you, but still want some sort of outdoorsy excursion? Here are some other epic adventure rides you can take:
- Take a seaplane tour in Washington state to places like the San Juan Islands.
- Sail out on a catamaran in the Florida Keys to elope on a sandbar surrounded by blue waters.
- Drive on a 4×4 road in a side-by-side/ATV or Jeep in places like Moab, Utah or western Colorado.
Hire an Elopement Photo + Video Team with Helicopter Elopement Experience!
Having flown for an elopement in Alaska last summer, we now know exactly what to expect from this type of experience for your big day and would love to help future couples see new places from such a unique perspective.
Whether you’re looking for an elopement photographer to explore the Grand Canyon with, a videographer with a drone license to capture your day in the mountains of Alaska, or a guide to walk you through the process, contact Skyewater Photo + Film!
We help couples plan epic elopements and destination weddings all over the US and we can’t wait to bring your elopement vision to life.