August 22, 2022 /

Glacier National Park Wedding & Elopement Guide

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Bride and groom holding hands in field with their backs to the camera as the sun sets; image overlaid with text that reads Glacier National Park Wedding & Elopement Guide

 

Glacier National Park Wedding and Elopement

Nestled among the Rockies, Glacier National Park is 1,583 square miles of breathtaking landscape. The glaciers that give it its name have carved the mountains into a myriad of valleys, pooled by over 200 lakes. You have slopes of green forests, glades full of wildflowers, and glittering snowy peaks as far as the eye can see. If you’re planning an adventurous elopement, a Glacier National Park wedding is the way to go!

Picking Locations for Your Glacier National Park Elopement

There are so many humbling landscapes to celebrate your marriage with in Glacier, and each spot lends to its own experience! To help you narrow down your location, you’ll need to ask yourself a few important questions:

↠What kind of views do you want to surround yourself with?

↠How many guests are you inviting, & what are their hiking abilities?

↠How many miles are you wanting to hike?

The Park offers so many dynamic views! There’s mountaintop vistas, valley floors surrounded by ridges, walks through the forest, waterfall sanctuaries, and lakeside reflections. First, you’ll need to decide which of these pieces of scenery speaks to you most, and how you want to incorporate their individual beauty into your Glacier National Park wedding.

Secondly, choosing your guest count will heavily influence where you’ll be able to have your ceremony. Certain spots are only accessible for small groups or involve more physical activity that your guests may not be able to do. If you want more people to be with you on your elopement day, you’ll need to pick one of the spots that support your party.

Another thing to consider is how many miles you’re wanting to hike. There are some incredible sights in the park close to parking or just a short 1-2 mile hike in. However, along with convenience comes the possibility of more crowds. These more accessible spots should be visited for a Glacier National Park elopement at sunrise, as your likelihood of foot traffic will be much less. Longer hikes allow for you to remove yourselves more fully from park visitors and offer a more immersive wilderness experience. Some of the most magnificent environments I’ve seen exist at the end of lengthier, more difficult trails.

 

 

My Favorite Spots for a Glacier National Park Elopement

 

Trail of the Cedars: An easy 1 mi loop surrounded by old tree growth

Sun Point Nature Trail: An easy 2 mi out & back trail with lake vistas

Hidden Lake Trail: A moderate 5 mi out & back trail with some of the most amazing nearby peaks

Avalanche Lake Trail: A moderate 6 mi out & back trail near Lake McDonald

Haystack Butte Trail: A moderate 8 mi loop showing off Glacier at higher elevations

Picking Glacier National Park Wedding Venues

If you want to have a larger group join you on your wedding day, it may be a better idea for you to pick a venue near the park & venture into the park for a separate photo session! This way you won’t have to worry about accommodating all of your guests’ needs when it comes to their hiking skill level & outdoor activity! The wedding venues near Glacier National Park still hold an overwhelming amount of beauty & will give you the feel of the surrounding wilderness without having to deal with the logistics of an elopement in the park! Check out a list of some of my favorite wedding venues in the Pacific Northwest for some places to start as you plan your Glacier National Park wedding.

 

When to Hold Your Glacier National Park Elopement

I always recommend that couples choose a weekday date for their elopement to avoid tourists during peak season. The weather will be most pleasant & some of the spots at higher elevations in the park will be accessible from mid-July through August. At this time the temps will be higher, snow will be melted, and the flowers will fill the valley floors.

 

If you choose these months, I highly encourage you to organize your Glacier National Park wedding timeline around sunrise & sunset. There will be fewer people during these times of day, as well as an abundance of golden light! You can also elope in an off-season month to prevent crowds on your elopement days such as June or September, but you will be at risk for a bit colder weather & some snow closures.

 

Wedding Permits

All ceremonies within the park will require a special use permit, obtained through a $100 fee & application. You can call the park office before you submit your application to ensure the availability of your desired date. It’s important to honor these permit processes, as rangers document ceremonies allowed for each day in the park. You don’t want a fine or a tense conversation with a park official to ruin the mood of your Glacier National Park wedding, and honoring these protocols supports the conservation of the park! Don’t forget to look into the park’s new reservation system to make sure you have a spot to get into the park on your desired day.

 

You’ll also need to get a Montana marriage license to get married in the park. Start by filling out the marriage license form for the Clerk’s office in Flathead County. Then, you’ll have to both appear at the Clerk of Court in person, along with your ID. You’ll sign the license there and pay a $53 dollar fee, and you’ll leave with the marriage license in hand, ready for your Glacier National Park elopement!

Airbnbs Near Glacier National Park

A plethora of beautiful homes surround the park and make for convenient basecamps during your elopement. In fact, many couples choose to have their elopement ceremonies on the decks of A-frame cabins or on the property of Airbnbs if the space allows, to guarantee privacy during their day. Check out this cabin elopement for an example of how beautiful this can be!

 

When you elope at an Airbnb, it often means you’ll be able to style your ceremony space in whatever way you want with flowers, props, or tablescapes, whereas you won’t be able to do this in the park. However, you’ll need to confirm your plans with your host & make sure they allow this type of intimate celebration! Here is a list of Airbnbs to check just a short drive from Glacier!

 

Final Thoughts

Glacier National Park is called the crown of the continent, and it’s easy to see why. This is such a special part of the world, and it is a worthy place to celebrate your love story! I hope this guide to planning a Glacier National Park wedding has been helpful.

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to get in touch! Adventure elopements are some of my favorite things in the world to shoot – so if that’s what you’re planning, I’m your girl.

 

 

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Couple sharing a kiss in the middle of a field; image overlaid with text that reads Glacier National Park Wedding and Elopement Guide

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