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April 25, 2023

Destination Wedding: Atisha Patel & Michael Utsey

Knik Glacier, Alaska | 05.10.2022

Photographs courtesy Kristian Irey, Anchorage, Alaska

While they were dating, Atisha, a first-generation Indian American from a traditional Indian family in Anderson, S.C., and Mike, a “Southern gentleman” raised conservatively in Columbia, S.C., envisioned a big Indian wedding. Once engaged though, the Charlotte couple realized blending their different backgrounds into one conventional ceremony would be difficult. “These thoughts started to stress us both out and honestly make us sad,” Atisha says. “And weddings shouldn’t be sad!” They began researching elopements, eventually landing on an Alaskan “adventure elopement planner,” who presented an option for a helicopter ride to Knik Glacier and ceremony atop the 25-mile icecap near Anchorage. Sharing the news with family was awkward at first, but it helped when the couple shared videos of other elopements there. “Then they understood: It was so magnificent, who wouldn’t want to get married there?” Atisha says. Prior to eloping, the couple held small Pithi and Mehndi ceremonies — traditional Hindu ceremonies for good health and prosperity — and a “final fiesta” party the night before they left. After exchanging vows on the glacier, Atisha and Mike cut the cake, toasted with champagne and enjoyed a charcuterie board that included some Indian treats. They spent a week traveling through Alaska, with a stop in Salt Lake City on the way home to Charlotte. The couple have no regrets. “It was magical,” Atisha says. “It is your day. Your families will eventually get over it if you do not include them in certain things. They love you and support you … so just do what you want and what makes you and your groom the happiest.”

The details:

Photographer | Kristian Irey, Anchorage, Alaska

Videographer | Elko Media, Anchorage, Alaska

Venue | Knik Glacier, Alaska

Planner | Alaska Wild Hearts Events, Anchorage, Alaska

Floral Design | Honeybloom Floral Design, Anchorage, Alaska

Dress | Dream Girl, Alkapuri, India

Hair & Makeup | Vibe Artistry, Anchorage, Alaska

Cake | Midnight Sun Cakery, Anchorage, Alaska

Rings | Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, Morrison Smith Jewelers

Stationery | Watercolor Design Studio

Transportation | Alaska Helicopter Tours, Palmer, Alaska

Atisha Patel & Michael Utsey's Alaskan elopement

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