The Ultimate Guide to
 Glacier National Park Elopements

Welcome to the ultimate guide to eloping in Glacier National Park, where love stories unfold against a backdrop of majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, and breathtaking wilderness. As your GNP expert and totally stoked photographer, I am dedicated to capturing and telling the unique narratives of couples who choose to elope in this awe-inspiring park. In this guide, we'll explore the best elopement locations, the permitting processes, obtaining a Montana marriage license, planning your epic day, and connecting you with other incredible local vendors who specialize in creating unforgettable elopement experiences.

Glacier National Park, aka the "Crown of the Continent," is a mind-blowing destination that promises jaw-dropping landscapes and unforgettable adventures. Spanning over a million acres, this park boasts snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and vibrant meadows. Get ready to immerse yourself in its beauty and embark on your elopement adventure like never before.

Leave behind the traditional wedding scene and embrace the intimacy and tranquility of eloping in Glacier National Park. This hidden gem allows you to connect with nature and each other on a deeper level. With its pristine wilderness, serene vibes, and jaw-dropping views, the park sets the stage for your love story to unfold in all its glory.

Why GNP?

Discovering the gem that is Glacier National Park!

Season and Weather Considerations:
Each season in Glacier National Park brings its own magic. Whether you're into lush greenery and long daylight hours in summer or the vibrant colors of autumn, consider the weather and seasonal highlights when planning your elopement.

Choosing the Perfect Ceremony Location:
Glacier National Park spoils you with a ton of stunning spots for your ceremony. Picture saying your vows by a peaceful lakeshore, against dramatic mountain backdrops, or in a secluded meadow. Do some research on the park's trails, viewpoints, and hidden gems to find the location that speaks to your hearts.

Navigating Permits and Legal Requirements:
Let's tackle the paperwork beast together! Before your elopement, make sure you have the necessary permits for your Glacier National Park ceremony. I will send you all the info on how to apply, any fees involved, and specific guidelines to follow. I'll help you navigate this process smoothly, but you can skip ahead to the Permit section of this article to learn more.

Hiring a Photographer and Guide:
Hiring a photographer is arguably the most important part of the entire process, not only is that person responsible for capturing your entire love story, but when you choose the right one it can really alleviate the stress of planning and above all elevate your "I do" experience ten fold. With my expertise as your dedicated photographer and guide, we're gonna rock your Glacier National Park elopement. From scouting the most Instagrammable spots to capturing genuine emotions, I'll make sure your elopement story is artistically documented. Let's team up and create breathtaking images that capture your love and the park's natural splendor.





Click here for a more in depth Elopement planning guide

When you're planning for an outdoor wedding in the Montana wilderness, we naturally have to prepare for a bit of unpredictable weather. Things can change super fast up in the mountains, one minute it's all sunshine and rainbows, and the next you're getting rained on. 

There are a few patterns we can kind of count on though to help you make the most of your Glacier Elopement. If you want the best weather, I recommend that you get married at any time during July or August. These months experience the best weather conditions in Glacier National Park. The daylight seems like it is almost never ending. Additionally, there is a minimal chance of rain during this time. I would also say that May & June can also be good times to elope in Glacier National Park because the mountains are full of flowers with greenery all around. I do have to say though, the Going to the Sun Road Usually isn’t open until July.

September and October are also options, but there is a better chance of rain, or even snow in the high country. However, you will also be able to experience the beautiful hues of the fall during this time. Winter is also beautiful but very cold. A winter elopement can be had in the park, you’ll just need to take other factors into consideration. Keep in mind that one of the best attractions in the park, Going to the Sun Road, is closed during much of the year. It is usually open starting in late June or early July. But there can still be a lot of snow at the pass. The snow on top of Logan Pass isn’t usually gone until late July or August. And the road will usually close again once the snow gets to be too much, usually sometime in October, it just depends on the year.

Timing your Elopement fot the Best Weather

Lake McDonald in the Winter

Lake McDonald in the Summer

Choosing a Photographer 

One of the biggest decisions you will make, second only to choosing your location, is choosing your photographer for your day. I often say choosing a photographer is like picking your die hard favorite pair of jeans. They needs to look good (Awesome photos), feel good (have good vibes and energy, and it needs to "Fit" (align with your values and desires for your day!

A few things you should consider when choosing your photographer:
  • Their Work - You should request to see a few full galleries to get a better feel for what your elopement gallery will look like. A full day is so much more than the highlights you see on Instagram.
  • Their Experience - Experience doesn't always mean the number of years they've been a photographer, but really what I find more important is their process, their work, and their familiarity with elopements and your location. And if they don't have experience with your location, what is their approach for getting familiar with it? Will they arrive early for location scouting and planning? Will they invest in research etc. 
  • Outdoor & Safety Knowledge - This is kind of obvious but often overlooked. Not all elopement photographers are seasoned outdoors people. Make sure your photographer not only enjoys the outdoors, but is also skilled and knowledgeable in safety and survival.
  • The vibe - Choosing a photographer whose personality fits well with you and your partner is kind of crucial. You will be spending a lot of time with this person and during one of the most intimate experiences of your life. You really want to be sure you like this person.

Let me be your storyteller, capturing the essence and beauty of your Glacier National Park elopement. Through carefully composed photographs, I'll curate a visual narrative that encapsulates the emotions, scenery, and intimate moments you'll share on your special day. Trust me to provide you with a personalized, exceptional photography experience.

Click here to book me for your epic elopement

Consider me your safety guide, wedding planner, activity coordinator, driver, location scouter, hype girl, and new best friend!

Selecting Remaining Vendors

I've got connections! If you need recommendations for florists, hair stylists, makeup artists, or the perfect officiant, I can connect you with trusted local vendors who specialize in Glacier National Park elopements. We'll make sure every aspect of your elopement is seamless and unforgettable.

Typically for elopements your photographer will have a great list of vendor selections that they have worked with prior to your elopement. Choosing preferred vendors can be a great choice, and add a ton of value to your day. Vendors who are familiar working together often run like a well oiled machine, and you are sure to experience less overall hick-ups.

Preffered Vendor List Coming Soon!

Glacier National Park boasts an abundance of stunning elopement locations that will leave you breathless. Here are five picturesque spots to consider for your Glacier National Park elopement:

1. Lake McDonald:
Nestled at the park's western edge, Lake McDonald is a serene and captivating location. Its crystal-clear waters and the backdrop of towering mountains create a picturesque setting for exchanging vows.

2. Hidden Lake:
Embark on a scenic hike to Hidden Lake, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks, and the shimmering lake below. This hidden gem offers a sense of seclusion and tranquility.

3. Logan Pass:
Located at the summit of the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, Logan Pass provides sweeping vistas of Glacier National Park's rugged beauty. Say your vows amidst wildflowers and breathtaking mountain peaks.

4. Many Glacier:
Known for its majestic mountains and pristine lakes, Many Glacier offers an enchanting setting for an intimate elopement. The iconic Many Glacier Hotel provides a classic backdrop, while nearby hiking trails lead to stunning vistas.

5. Avalanche Lake:
Avalanche Lake offers a picturesque blend of dense forests, towering cliffs, and a tranquil lake. This hidden gem is accessible via a scenic hike, rewarding you with an intimate and secluded elopement location.

Top 5 Glacier National Park Elopement Spots

Photo taken by Kacie Sams

Alright, if you're planning your "I do's" in Glacier National Park, you gotta get yourself a special use permit. My advice? Start the whole permitting process at least a month before your big day, but honestly, the sooner you get on it, the smoother things will go.

Before you submit your application, it's a good idea to reach out to the park office and check if your preferred date or location is available. Just give 'em a call at 406-888-7832. Once you've got that sorted, make sure you fill out the special use permit form in full and send it back. Oh, and don't forget to include the $100 fee along with your application.

That permit is gonna be your official agreement that spells out all the terms and conditions for using the park. Once the park office gives you the green light, they'll send it to you by mail. You'll need to sign it and send it back at least 10 business days before your wedding. But hey, the sooner you can get it done, the less stress you'll have to deal with and you can try to avoid someone else taking your dream spot!

And let me just say, if GNP is your prime choice, weekdays are where it's at! Go for a sunrise or sunset ceremony, trust me. Weekdays are way less crowded, so you'll have all the space you need to explore, have some intimate moments, and snap some epic photos. No one likes a photobomber.

Mornings and evenings are the absolute best times to elope. The natural light during those hours is pure magic, man. Not only will you get killer shots, but the whole vibe is super romantic. I mean, imagine witnessing the sunrise or sunset on your special day. It's totally worth waking up early or staying up a little late. It adds that extra touch of awesomeness to an already unforgettable occasion. I even offer a split day package that allows you to do both sunrise, and sunset because that's how amazing it is!

Special Use Permits

Staying Safe in Montana's Back Country

Glacier National Park is a pristine wilderness that demands our respect and caution. It is important to be mindful of the abundant wildlife, particularly bears. While black bears typically pose no major threat, grizzly bears require more attention. However, there is no need to fear bear encounters if certain precautions are taken.

Wildlife Awareness in Glacier
To minimize the risk of bear encounters, it is crucial never to leave food unattended. Additionally, it is advisable for at least one person in your group to carry bear spray and be knowledgeable about its proper usage. By remaining aware of your surroundings and traveling in small groups, you can enhance your safety. For comprehensive information on bear safety, refer to the Glacier National Park website. Furthermore, it is essential to respect other animals within the park, as they too can display aggression. Practicing "leave no trace" principles and giving animals their space not only protects you but also preserves their well-being.

Mountain Weather and Safety in Montana
Keep in mind that mountain weather conditions in Glacier National Park can change rapidly and become severe. Therefore, it is vital to be prepared for any weather-related challenges. To assist you in planning your visit, I provide an elopement gear guide that covers appropriate attire, strategies for staying warm, coping with rain, and recommended products. This guide aims to ensure your safety and comfort during your elopement experience.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park while prioritizing safety for both yourself and the park's wildlife.

Crafting a Unique and Personalized Ceremony

Your ceremony should reflect your unique love story and values. Think about personal touches, meaningful rituals, or heartfelt vows. Together, we'll design a ceremony that truly embodies your journey and celebrates your commitment.

There are so many different things you can incorporate to keep things truly YOU. Here are a few ideas i like to recommend:
  1. Getting Ready Together: Unlike traditional weddings where you are expected to abstain from seeing each other before the ceremony, some couples opt to get ready for their elopement together. Grooms help zip dresses, brides adjusting ties. It's not only sweet, but it can add an element of intimacy, too!
  2. Have a First Dance: I always bring a portable bluetooth speaker and have playlists downloaded for easy access even without internet or wifi. Taking a few minutes to dance together, right there in the woods or by the ocean, can really give you that "Just Married" feeling. 
  3. Include Your Culture: All culture is beautiful and deserves to be highlighted on your special day, and including traditional/cultural elements can really make your elopement day feel personalized.
  4. Honor Loved Ones: Although eloping can be an exhilarating choice, sometimes we like to include little bits of our loved ones with us. Some couples will bring parents and siblings to their elopement, but some choose not to. Both are totally ok! I have seen brides attach small locket sized images of their parents to their bouquet as a way to have them with her on her wedding day. I thought that was very cool!

Glacier National Park is an adventure playground waiting to be explored. Consider adding hikes, wildlife sightings, or even a romantic picnic to your elopement experience. Let the park's natural wonders become an integral part of your celebration, creating memories that go beyond the ceremony.

The park offers an array of activities at arm's length, such as horseback riding, rafting and kayaking, there's shops and even a little cafe in the Western Entrance to the park. All in all, whatever you like to do together, plan to do that on your elopement day, it will bring excitement and pleasure to your already amazing day!

Enhancing Your Experience With Adventure & Activities

Find more activities and adventures in the extended guide

Glacier National Park beckons as the ultimate destination for an unforgettable elopement adventure. With me as your photographer and guide, we'll create a celebration that showcases your love against the backdrop of this natural wonderland. Let Glacier National Park bear witness to your intimate vows, as we craft an experience you'll cherish forever. Get in touch with me today, and let's start planning your extraordinary elopement in this magical paradise.

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