Guide to Glacier Park elopements: How to plan an epic elopement!
Planning a trip is time consuming and can be a bit stressful, but planning your wedding as well can be overwhelming; especially in a place you’re not familiar with! Being born and raised in Kalispell I know exactly what you’ll need and what to do for a successful elopement. That’s why I have created this resource for all couples planning or thinking about eloping in Glacier National Park. I want to share my knowledge with you. This goes over everything you’ll need for your day: locations, time of day, season, vendors, marriage license, places to stay, places to eat and much more! Most everything you see here has a link that will take you right to the resource. I hope this helps you with any planning you may be doing!
STEP 1. THE PHOTOGRAPHER
I’m not just saying this because I’m a photographer - I honestly believe the biggest part in planning an elopement is picking your photographer. Talking with them about how much time works best for your needs, the time of day based on lighting and of course they’re typically a great guide in finding the best locations. Talk with your photographer first if you decide to have one document your elopement.
STEP 2. TIME OF YEAR
Montana is a very seasonal state and during the winter months accessing most of the state is pretty limited and daylight is very minimal. If you’re planning on eloping in Glacier National Park I recommend April - October. If you’re planning on accessing “Going To The Sun Road” you would be safe visiting early July - end of September. The road usually closes the 2nd week of October and re opens the last weekend of June.
Spring: I love spring. Everything is fresh- not to hot, not to cold. Lake McDonald areas can be accessed all year round - minimal locations but still amazing views if you’re wanting spring. You can access Avalanche/Trail of Ceders from the West entrance and Rising Sun from St. Marys starting middle of May.
Summer: It get’s pretty busy and hot during August months - with potential fire season. If you would like to have a summer wedding I recommend July - beginning of August. July is pretty incredible!
Fall: If you’re interested in the beauty Fall has to offer you’re in luck! All of September you can get access to every part of the state while still getting those fall colors. This is a small window but it’s worth it if you have the opportunity to see it.
STEP 3. LOCATIONS
Montana is hands down the best place you could have picked to elope! Your location you choose is your backdrop. It is the special place you’ll always love to visit, a place of memories and some where that will become very close to you. It’s important to choose this based on who you are as a couple. How do you want to feel? What do you want to say? How do you want to remember the moments? All of this takes a huge roll in your day. The great thing about Glacier is the possibilities are endless, there are so many options! If you’ve already picked that special place, GREAT, if not I can help you level it down. Below you will find a few that are my favorites and must visits.
WEST GLACIER | LAKE MCDONALD
Belton Bridge - West Glacier
Lake McDonald, Sandy Point Access, 3.7 miles past Apgar heading North East toward Lake McDonald Lodge
Lake McDonald Lodge
GOING TO THE SUN RD
Unless you plan on doing a full day hike and getting to this spot early I highly recommend using an alternative location to elope. Most of the people at the visitors center are either hiking, visiting the information or eating. It’s the main hub for the sun road and always packed. There are places less than a mile away from the Logan Pass visitors center I can show you that’s easy to get to and accessible anytime of the day.
TWO MEDICINE VALLEY
ST MARY VALLEY
St. Mary Picnic area
St. Mary - Rising Sun
MANY GLACIER | SWIFTCURRENT
Many Glacier Hotel, Beachfront
Many Glacier Lodge Overlook
Any lake you hike to will not be a disappointment. I recommend planning a full day elopement (8 hours) if you decide you’d like to hike into one of these places.
Being from the state I know several places around Glacier park that are just as good that do not reside in the park. Let me know if you’re looking for something a bit different and I can direct you to some other locations. The entire area is truly incredible! If you’re interested in reading more about Glacier and it’s drive times, trail status, road status, plowing status and much more you can click on the link below : https://www.nps.gov/glac/faqs.htm
STEP 4. WEDDING PERMIT
Visit the link below to get all the information on glacier park special use permits. The application process is very easy and the park is really fast at getting back to people, typically a 2 week turn around but to be safe i would do this as soon as you know the general location of your elopement.
STEP 5. LICENSE
the courthouse in kalispell is the closest spot to glacier for getting a marriage license. the address is 920 s main, kalispell, mt 59901 and you don’t need an appointment. the hours are monday-friday, 8:00am -4:30pm. if you like to pre plan visit the link below to fill out the application prior to your arrival.
you will need your birth certificate or driver’s license and the fee is $53.
you may or may not need a copy of the certified marriage license. if you do (for name change) or for any purpose blow you will find a link to the “request a copy” form - fill it out and send it in with your marriage license.
did you know in the entire country there is only 2 states that do not require officiants to be ordained and montana is one of them? yes, that means anyone can marry you in the state of montana including yourselves as the couple. not just that, but you don’t even need witnesses. however, if you’re wanting a witness and don’t want a random person signing your license i would be happy to do so! also, if you’re wanting someone to officiate the wedding but do not have anyone in mind sally is amazing to work with and i promise you that she will make your ceremony both beautiful and personal.
I highly recommend Ty Nykole for hair and makeup, she is incredible and so much fun to work with! Give her a shout, you won’t be disappointed! If you’re looking for a barbershop in the Flathead Valley I encourage you to check out Tucker at TL Slicks.
If you’re looking to add some floral into your elopement all three florists are local and I have seen their work - it’s truly stunning! You can check them out below and see which one fits your vision best.
THE DRESS & SUITE
PLACES TO STAY
If you’re looking for a memorable place to stay all of these Airbnb’s are perfect for an elopement getaway! Each place offers a unique & one of a kind experience.