A Pray lake montana wedding | Shelby and Brant
As Montana elopement photographers we are obsessed with helping folks live out their dream wedding days with guests in tow particularly when they want a Pray Lake Montana wedding! We know there’s no sacrificing on views even if you have guests to accomodate.
When Shelby & Brant came to us they verbalized needing a stress free day to experience together. They are truly so madly in love with each other so they wanted to celebrate that by getting quality time where they could laugh together, be vulnerable, and take in Montana’s scenic views at every turn.
We helped Shelby & Brant plan their Pray Lake montana wedding over the course of 8 months by trying to learn what exactly they needed from their day and recommending the best locations, vendors, you name it, until their timeline was complete and full of everything that made them feel authentically Shelby and Brant. We also built time in their timeline for things to get off course as it often does in Montana.
Ya see Pray Lake was about 2 and a half hours from where they and their guests were staying so the commute is something to be considered. Not to mention wildfires raged nearby, and we had to change up the plan to accommodate.
Check out the beauty that followed even with all those obstacles!
Related: Eloping in Montana | The Ultimate How-to and Location Guide
Intentional details & a unique ride
Shelby and Brant’s morning began with each other snuggled up in their Airbnb outside of Bigfork, Montana as they listened to their sweet pups snore at their feet. They said they rested well, but with all the excitement of the day Shelby and Brant were up getting ready pretty soon after waking!
Shelby went off to town to have her hair done, and when we arrived Brant was just hanging along taking in that campfire smell everywhere outdoors due to the wildfires.
Dan began getting detail photos of some of the most intentional details we’d ever seen: heirloom jewelry, details for the pups, all the way down to a bouquet charm with a photo of Shelby’s dad. He had passed suddenly before Brant and Shelby met, but he was very much remembered on their day. This was only the beginning.
Shelby and Brant wanted to do an aisle first look, but their lodging was too cute to not make use of so the two got ready at their lodging to have some pre-wedding fun taking photos!
Once we had made use of their adorable Airbnb, we were on our way to their Pray Lake Montana wedding!
Brant and Shelby had a 2 hour drive together before their ceremony so we had to get creative on how to not let them see each other while sharing the car. We had the idea to create a cardboard cut out to put between the seats to block their views of one another. BONUS: if you use this idea one day you can add little love notes ahead of time to make it even more unique!
Ooops! But we had a snafus. Along the way, Shelby’s bouquet was left behind so some of the guests turned back to grab it. It was here we all got separated when driving over to Pray Lake! Stay tuned to see why that mattered. 😀
A Quick Word
About our photography service:
“We absolutely loved working with Destinie and Dan! Everything about our experience was great. From day one she did a great job at being our personal guide on everything we needed to know and do for our elopement. Whether it was finding good vendors, picking our location or even helping us decide on an evening hike after our ceremony!”
-K & R
A pray lake montana ceremony & casual charcuterie
We all drove our 2 and a half hours over to Pray Lake for their wedding ceremony. When we arrived we waited on some guests who went to retrieve the bouquet while Shelby and Brant greeted other guests who had come in separately.
A car of guests GPS had gotten confusing along the way so we were behind schedule getting everyone by the lake for the ceremony. Shelby and Brant, however, were just excited to see each other! Amidst what some could view as chaos I talked to each of them to ensure they were feeling stress free. After all–that’s why they chose to elope this way.
Both of them remarked how they were so excited to get to the ceremony to see each other and be comforted by their person. <3
Shelby and Brant chose their ceremony spot along the lakeshore, and everyone got in place while Shelby changed into her dress in the woods.
The ceremony was full of nods to Shelby’s dad as well as powerful personally written and heartfelt vows. The officiant did a remarkable job of tying in the grandeur of Pray Lake and Glacier while weaving Shelby & Brant’s story in with their spiritual backgrounds.
We get to see a lot of ceremonies with this job, but we can honestly say the way Shelby and Brant peered into each other’s eyes during the ceremony was like something we had never seen before.
Once the ceremony was complete we encouraged Shelby and Brant to get some quality time before their casual celebration with guests. Shelby and Brant’s guests found some tables nearby to lay out their charcuterie and celebrate their newfound union.
Shelby and Brant had plans to hike afterward so after they had their fill and popped champagne we were on our way to explore with just the 4 of us!
About our photography service:
“We love how you captured the day and told our story. When people saw our sneaks they were like “that could be in a magazine”, and they’re right. Des and Dan got some amazing shots of the people we love that I know we will cherish for years. Des & Dan were so supportive throughout the whole planning process.”
-K & R
A smoky sunset around St. Mary
Since we were running behind from the bouquet incident, we had to communicate with Shelby and Brant via walkie talkie on the way to another region of the park to ask what they wanted to do.
Knowing the park and weather conditions we let them know we could either rush and hope to make it to their planned hike with no guarantee of views due to smoke or we could take our time and hit several easier to access hikes and views. We built time into the timeline for instances like this so we still had great options for them!
Shelby and Brant opted for the latter so we were off to overlook the Two Medicine Valley, Logan Pass, and St. Mary Lake.
Over the next few hours we bounced between waterfalls, lush meadows, and dramatic cliff edges together ensuring Shelby and Brant had time to soak in each area we visited. Every time we got out of the car and saw them there was an audible, “WOWWWWWWW Montana is AMAZING! There are mountains at eveyr turn!”
Shelby and Brant’s hopes for their day were coming true–quality time in those big views they were hoping for even amidst the smoke.
At our final stop of the night Shelby and Brant wanted to celebrate with some cake! They pulled out a huge slice of cookies and cream cake to eat as the sun set against St. Mary Lake. They noted this was one of their favorite parts of the day as the overall feeling was pure romance.
We continued exploring until there was simply no light left. We finished the night with huge hugs all around and let Shelby and Brant along with their pups enjoy the curvy mountain roads on their way home.
Check out their huge views and keep scrolling to see their honest thoughts about the day!
Related: Montana Destination Wedding Guide with help finding locations, venues, and things to do
One mo time!
Here’s what eloping folks are saying about hiring us:
My wife and I eloped in Glacier National Park this August. We hired Des & Dan to shoot our photos and be our guide. Let me just start by saying that they are two amazing people! Super laid back but self aware of time frames and people’s social meters.
They truly want your special day to be perfect and filled with little moments along the way. They encouraged us to go have a moment to relax and soak up our special day. Little did we know that they never stopped taking pictures! Those candid photos turned out to be some of our favorites! We highly HIGHLY recommend this couple to shoot your celebration! Whether it’s a party, surprise engagement, or your wedding day.
These two will not only be a rock for you to lean on but take some of the most breath taking photos you have ever seen! They are seriously magazine quality! Thank you again Des & Dan!!
-Brant & Shelby
Yo. You need a hiking wedding guide and photographer.
Imma be so honest. We love hiking weddings, and we love helping couples plan their elopement days to be full of meaning and intention. Kick that tradition crap outta here, and let’s plan something magical together!
You deserve for your wedding day to bring you peace in the great outdoors, and this is only a taste of how we help our couples.
All of our elopement packages come with professional elopement photography, two photographers, and unlimited planning assistance. We think this is the best way to serve eloping couples, and we can’t wait to chat!
Contact us about photographing your elopement!
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