Written By Jayne
Elopement Location Inspiration
Featured Travel Locations
Written by the wonderful Sam Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home
Picture paradise…If you’re thinking of towering mountain peaks, out-of-reach alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, and clear blue skies, you have Montana on your mind. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path, adventurous, and intentional elopement, eloping in Montana might just fulfill every single one of your wildest dreams. If you’re searching for a Montana elopement that feels more like one amazing adventure – a spectacular way to celebrate your love, your way – then read on for my full Montana elopement guide.
From Glacier National Park to the sprawling, crowd-free Kootenai National Forest, a Montana elopement offers something for everyone! That’s why I’ve put together a list with some of the best places to elope in Montana. But before you read any further, just know this: you may need to lace up those hiking boots, because so many of the most gorgeous elopement locations in Montana require some amount of hiking. But you know what that also means? Privacy! If you do plan on eloping in Montana, you’ll find some unbelievable privacy, one of the biggest luxuries on your wedding day.
Glacier National Park is one of the most popular places – if not THE most popular place – in Montana, and for a good reason. Glacier National Park is known for its breathtaking snow-capped mountains, diverse wildlife, crystal clear waters and sprawling fields. With more than 700 miles of trails, this national park makes for THE most beautiful Montana elopement location and a lovely, serene spot for a romantic moment with just the two of you. Here are some of my favorite places to elope in Glacier National Park!
Logan Pass is the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun road, a beautiful scenic road in Glacier National Park that you HAVE to drive at least once in your life! When you stop at Logan Pass, you won’t believe your eyes: cascading mountains in every direction frame the horizon with deep valleys in between. We can park in this area and find a romantic spot with stunning views. Logan Pass is a great option for couples that don’t necessarily want to hike for hours and hours, but still want a spectacular view.
Highline Trail might just be a backpacker’s paradise – it’s certainly one of my favorite spots! This 30+ mile trail runs through the mountains, offering unreal views, before it eventually stops in Canada. Along the way, we can pick THE spot for you and your partner to exchange your vows. Let’s lace up and go hiking!
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park. The blue water, paired with the surrounding mountain views, make it the perfect spot for couples looking to elope in Montana with a little bit of the mountains and a little bit of the water close by. This area is especially wonderful because there are a number of nearby trails for those looking for a little extra adventure. We can head to Avalanche Lake (6.7-mile trail) or the Apgar Amphitheater for two stunning options. At the end of the day, head over to Lake McDonald Lodge for some cozy charm and a nightcap. That’s a perfect way to spend the day for couples planning to elope in Montana!
Don’t mind an early wake-up call? Wild Goose Pullout is perfect for you! This spot, located along the Going-to-the-Sun road, has been repeatedly named one of the most scenic and beautiful places in the world.
Have you always envisioned your Montana elopement in a more private place? A national park can be intimidating, but Montana honestly has so much to offer, each location more beautiful than the next. Gallatin National Forest is one of the beautiful hidden secrets. This national forest has some unreal mountain views, rushing rivers, epic lakes, and most importantly, all the privacy you could ever want. It’s really close to Big Sky, as well, a popular ski resort and another great place to elope.
Have I mentioned yet that Montana has some of the most insane scenery? If you elope in Montana, there’s about 0 chance you’ll be disappointed, especially with my location sleuthing skills. This national forest, on the border with Canada, also spread into Idaho. Kootenai has it all: valleys, plains, rolling hills, rivers, and sprawling mountains. Unlike other parts of Montana, Kootenai has a special climate that resembles the Pacific Northwest. Check out Leigh Lake and Rock Lake Trail for some spectacular beauty.
Glacier National Park isn’t the only place in Montana worth seeing. Consider Lolo National Forest, a special place that’s home to more than 100 lakes, 5 different rivers, and hundreds of species of wildlife. This national forest is spread across 2 million acres of land, and it’s spectacular! You can stay near Missoula if you plan to elope in this area. Some of my favorite spots in the forest include Hub Lake and Hazel Lake, and, to the south, Blue Mountain Recreation Area (did someone say horseback riding after your elopement? Fun fact: I can shoot photos FROM HORSEBACK!). The big pro to eloping here? Far less people than most other spots, with the same amount of breathtaking beauty.
There are countless amazing, hidden locations in Montana – and Glacier National Park – for a private elopement, especially if you don’t mind waking up early. Let’s get in touch and find the best fit for you both!
The better question is: what ISN’T there to do on your elopement day in Montana? There’s so much to see and explore in Montana, you might feel as if you truly can’t see it all. Which is totally understandable. To help narrow down your epic elopement adventure, here are some of my favorite things to do in Montana:
Montana is all about getting outdoors and exploring the great U.S.A. There’s truly so much to see and so much to do in this wonderful state that you will probably discover you need more than a week or two to really see it all!
The best time to elope in Montana is the summer, hands down. Between June and August, the weather will be sunny, warm, and pleasant. If you do want to avoid some crowds, you may alternatively think about visiting in the fall. October, for example, is a great time to visit for those seeking fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.
If you want a winter elopement, there are a couple amazing resorts in the area that make that totally possible. Ski season starts between December and March, and I’d recommend January or February for that perfect winter wonderland vibe!
Finding the perfect post-elopement meal is so important! Where you celebrate your elopement will all depend on your grand plan and your location. Here are some of my favorite places to sit down for a nice meal in Montana:
Is there anything better than sitting down for a nice glass of wine? Or sitting outside at a brewery and enjoying the view? Here are some of my favorite places to grab a drink in Montana.
Finding that special place to stay for your trip is SO important. There’s no greater luxury than taking some time out of your day to disconnect from the outside world and enjoy time with your partner. That’s why you want someplace special. Here are some of my beloved favorite accommodations in Montana:
To reach Montana by plane, fly into Billings Logan International Airport (BIL), the largest airport in Montana. This hub offers several non-stop flights from different spots around the U.S. Depending on your starting point, you may also be able to fly into one of Montana’s smaller airports: Missoula (MSO), Helena (HLN), Great Falls (GTF), and Kalispell (FCA).
When you land in Montana, I’d recommend renting a car. There’s really no other way to get around and see everything off-the-beaten-path. Plus, it’ll make all those hours exploring all the more worthwhile!
I’d personally recommend getting legally married in your home state to make it easier on you both and then have the symbolic ceremony in Montana.
But if you want to legally get married in Montana, we can make it happen. The marriage license fee is $53, and unlike other states, there’s no waiting period to get married. Each spouse will need to be present when you apply for the marriage license.
You will need to provide the following documents:
We will need to contact the local county clerk and district court office in advance to figure out when the officials will be in the office.
Are you planning an extended trip to Montana? The best way to see Montana is by renting a car. That way, you can plan to drive around from one beautiful area to the next. Renting a car allows you to uncover every amazing spot along the road!
If you are planning to spend a lot of time in Montana, I’d recommend planning time to fully explore Glacier National Park. This spectacular park is truly one of the most beautiful in the U.S. (if not THE most beautiful!) and it’s worth seeing as much of it as you can. But don’t forget to book some time in your schedule to explore the national forests, as well. There’s so much nature to see in Montana, your adventurous elopement trip will have no shortage of epic views.
If you’re looking for epic and adventurous elopement, Montana might just be the place for you. Eloping in Montana involves lacing up your hiking boots and maybe even getting a little dirty – but it will all be worth it for the absolutely unreal, intimate experience! As your Montana elopement photographer, I’m more than happy to get down and dirty if that’s your thing – I’m here to plan your most magical and unbelievable adventure! If you want to plan an unforgettable Montana elopement together, let’s get in touch and plan something truly magical.
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