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Eloping in Montana | The Ultimate How to & Location Guide [Updated for 2024]

Elopements, Featured

Eloping in Montana |

The Ultimate Montana Elopement Location Guide

Welcome to your Montana elopement dreams full of mental peace and adventure in America’s most beautiful state! I mean as Montana elopement photographers, we’re biased, but hey! 

Eloping in Montana offers so much to couples just like you–gorgeous landscapes, minimal crowds, “just-us” and family experiences, and to be frank–the wild. 

As Montana elopement photographers who offer planning assistance in all of our elopement packages (scroll below to see ours), we’ve compiled our best elopement tips for eloping in Montana we share with our couples, and we’d love to share with you! 

Here’s what we’ll cover in this Montana elopement guide:

  • the best places to elope in Montana

  • when to elope in Montana

  • the 5 steps to elope in Montana

  • how to elope in Montana with or without guests

  • the cost of eloping in Montana

  • the most popular Montana elopement packages

  • adventures for your elopement and your trip here

If you’re searching for a Montana elopement experience fashioned more like a wanderlust-inducing excursion in which to share your vows, eloping in Montana is for you.

Added great news: Montana is great for “just us” elopement as well as elopements fashioned more like an intimate wedding with guests.

Check out J + J’s Yurt Wedding in Bigfork Montana for an example of a just us experience or Day 1 of P + J’s 2 Day Flathead Valley Wedding to see what an intimate wedding may be like.

 

How to elope in Montana

Steps 1-5

  1. Choose your location
  2. Choose your date
  3. Research and hire vendors
  4. Arrange travel, gather details, and finalize your attire
  5. Show up to Montana feelin’ heckin’ stoked on the type of day you’ve created!

Here’s a peek

into how Montana can inspire you.

 

Right up top, let’s cover what your Montana elopement could look like:

We’re getting to alll of the Montana elopement planning information, but we wanted to put these examples here so you can come back and start dreaming once you’ve truly seen the magic that can be!

 

Examples of 2 Day Montana elopements with guests

Examples of 1 Day Montana elopements with guests

Examples of 1 Day Montana elopements without guests

wedding couple overlooking Avalanche Gorge Glacier National Park

Why you should elope in Montana:

Stellar (re: immaculate, heavenly, larger than life) views & an easy legal process

 

What are the views we’re talking about?

  • 2 jaw dropping National Parks (Glacier Park and Yellowstone)
  • 9 National Forests that easily rival the National Parks’ beauty
  • 100+ mountain ranges
  • Accessible glaciers
  • Glacial lakes
  • Abundant wildlife
  • High alpine views
  • Endless outdoor activities
  • Minimal crowding
  • Rushing rivers, waterfalls, old growth forests, and endless evergreens
  • Trail accessibility for any athletic capabilities

 

Let’s talk perks here.  As Montana elopement photographers, we’ve seen all the best benefits of couples eloping in Montana, and we are never more excited than when someone chooses to seal the deal here.  It even makes our list of the Best Places to Elope in the US!  

Here’s what eloping in Montana brings you in terms of eloping legally:

  • Easy marriage license application process
  • Option to opt out of blood test
  • Permits anyone ordained to officiate (meaning any of your guests or myself can officiate your wedding)
  • Cost efficiency

If that wasn’t enough reason for ya, we could go on!  Let’s chat if you wanna hear more, but let’s keep going to cover where you should be eloping in Montana!

Don’t forget while you’re here though–if you need local Montana goods or gifts for guests stop by Montana Gift Corral!  With locations all over the state you’ll find them near wherever you decide to elope.

See our in depth guide on how to get married in Montana legally here!

Don’t have a ton of time, but you need more photography package details?

Fill out this quick form, & we’ll send info right to your inbox for safekeeping!

How to elope in Montana |

Step 1: Choose the best location that rocks your friggin socks off.

Best Places to Elope in Montana:

 

Now that we’ve given a quick list, let’s get into specifics!There is an obvious first answer–Glacier National Park!  But us locals know some other stellar spots we’d love to share too!  Let’s go ahead and cover them all.

Glacier National Park is the most popular Montana elopement location in Montana and for good reason!  This national park is known as the “Crown of the Continent” and also the “hiker’s national park.”  We think those two alone are really good compliments and should help you seriously consider a Montana elopement in Glacier National Park!

And be sure to check out Reclusive Moose Cabins for your stay to lodge somewhere stunningly peaceful with amazing proximity to the park!

Exchange your vows

in the tranquility of Glacier.

Here are some perks of eloping in Montana at Glacier National Park:

 

Unmatched beauty |

Glacier Park is popular among tourists and locals because of its easily accessed mountain views!  Numerous trails and overlooks take you right underneath jagged snow-capped peaks without even breaking a sweat.  Not to mention the Going to the Sun Road probably has 900 Montana elopement locations on the side of it alone. 

Some of our favorite locations within the park are Avalanche Lake, St. Mary Lake, Many Glacier, and Logan Pass!  Choosing any one of these locations will give you unprecedented mountainscape views that make you feel at home while you’re eloping in Montana.

 

Added seclusion and privacy |

While Glacier National Park is definitely growing in popularity, it is still a bit of an undiscovered place in comparison to other national parks like Yosemite or Zion. 

The summer crowd really picks up as the weather is most temperate during this time, but we know the best time to go to Glacier National Park is actually June and September for your Montana elopement.  This keeps crowding down so you can release yourself to be completely vulnerable with your partner as you are eloping in Montana. 

Nonetheless, a summer Montana  elopement in Glacier National Park is most popular for eloping couples if they want to witness wildflowers and have access to the most possible trails while eloping in Montana.

 

Hospitable culture |

While eloping in Montana, you might see some other folks on the trail!  I know every time I have taken a couple to Glacier National Park, we are always greeted with smiles and big “Did you guys just get married?!  Congratulations!!”  This doesn’t stop with the friendly folks you might share a trail with during your Montana elopement. 

The small town feel of nearby towns such as Columbia Falls and Whitefish will offer personable service and lodging for the entirety of your stay.  Other national parks do not offer quite the same experience as Glacier National Park while you’re eloping in Montana.

 

Best trails for your Montana elopement in Glacier are:

 

Check out these Elopement Photo Ideas for Glacier National Park + Beyond to see some fun activities to do in addition to exchanging vows!

 

Or check out these real weddings days with guests in Glacier National Park: 2 Day Flathead Valley Wedding and Avalanche Amphitheater Wedding!

How do we support you along the way?

Client education, baby.

 

 

Choose one of our most popular resources with which to get started!

Check this cool shiz out.

Here’s what eloping folks are saying about hiring us:

couple photos at big bend glacier national park

We cannot say enough good things about Des and Dan. To put it as simply as we can – if we were to do our Montana elopement all over again, they would be the absolute first call we made. If you read nothing else, I cannot think of a better endorsement than that. Now, if you want details…

Where do we start? When you hire Des, you get so much more than a photographer. She was incredibly thoughtful in how she approached our elopement and made it the perfect expression of us and our relationship. Within the first couple conversations, she was able to get a solid grasp on who we are as a couple and as people and what was important to us. From there, she laid out our options to help us select the best sites for our ceremony and photos (along with all of the permitting that goes with it), and then was able to work with us to create OUR perfect day. Des laid out the initial timeline for us, and then worked with us over the course of several months to make tweaks to it, making sure it was exactly what we wanted.

 

-Margaret & Mike

Here are some perks of eloping in Montana at Kootenai National Forest:

 

Expansive opportunities |

No, we mean that literally!  With over 2.2 million acres of land, this national forest gives you oodles of potential Montana elopement locations while you’re eloping in Montana!  With rivers and waterfalls, ample trails, and some easy access points, this national forest could be the perfect place to be eloping in Montana.

 

The Cabinet Mountains |

This national forest offers one of my absolute favorite secluded elopement spots in the entire state of Montana!  This trail is only 4 miles round trip and is crazy fun! 

You’ll hike through dense forests, have 2 moderate stream crossings, hike up beside a huge waterfall, and end the trail at a glacier-fed lake!  Wildflowers can be found in abundance on the way up, and there are also two really fun scrambling opportunities!  This trail is not for the faint of heart, but with some preparation it makes for one of the best places to be eloping in Montana.  Contact us if you’re interested in this particular trail!  As we love taking eloping couples to this hidden gem of a location.

 

Decent city proximity |

Kootenai National Forest should be on your list of options for eloping in Montana as it has decent proximity to some of our favorite cities in Montana!  It is a quick 3 hours to Kalispell just a bit more to Missoula!  So you’re well on your way to a multi-stop adventure while eloping in Montana! 

It’s possible to visit a lot of the major stops in Western Montana when choosing this National Forest as a base camp where you can easily pick up and spend a few days in different parts of the state.

 

Unmatched solitude |

Like we mentioned earlier, this is more of a local hotspot and many tourists have not quite yet discovered this hidden gem.  Thus, we have taken couples into the Kootenai National Forest for a backpacking Montana elopement and had popular backcountry locations to ourselves entirely!  We ran into a few hikers on the way out of the trail, but you will not find solitude like this in bigger areas like Glacier National Park.  If solitude is on your must list for eloping in Montana, this national forest should be high on your list of options.

In fact check out this Montana Backpacking Wedding to see a real elopement that took place in Kootenai National Forest!

This national forest is massive, so the next area on our list of places you should be eloping in Montana is nearly as massive in itself–Southwestern Montana.

Anotha one

About our photography service:

“Des was so so so helpful! She provided us with so much information and made the experience & planning so effortless for us. Des is so much more than a photographer and planner, she is a friend. She makes you feel so comfortable and like you have known her for years.” -J+J

Here are some of the perks of eloping in Montana in the Southwestern region:

 

Hip towns | 

Southwestern Montana’s population is growing as young singles, couples, and small families are realizing the accessibility of Montana’s nature to some stellar towns with varying amenities.  One of our favorite mountain locations in Southwestern Montana is a quick 30 minutes to Bozeman!  There’s another location we love in the Bitterroots that is seriously only 20 minutes from Missoula–our absolute favorite city in the state for finding modern city amenities and attractions. 

If you’re eloping in Montana but want to stay connected to city life, Southwestern Montana should be your number one choice for your Montana elopement.

 

Varying accessibility | 

Some couples choose to be eloping in Montana with a “just-us” experience, meaning they want no guests (maybe only their cute pups).  Others want to bring a few meaningful relationships along (which we love too!)! 

This region of the state offers a ton of potential locations for both when choosing to be eloping in Montana!  Locations range from wheelchair accessible to multi-day backpacking options so no matter your ceremony needs, we’ll be able to find a stellar location option in this region.

 

Dryer climate | 

Of course rain is possible in any part of the state, but you are far less likely to experience rain on your Montana elopement day(s) when choosing this region of the state. 

A lot of areas seem to sit in a bowl created by the nearby ranges and are shielded from showers.  Likewise, the terrain looks different than other locations and has more of a golden/desert tone in the rocks and sand.  Evergreens are still present, but sage is mega prevalent in this region and will add a different (but still beautiful) look to your elopement experience for eloping in Montana.

Woah.  That was a lot of location wisdom.  Eloping in Montana is easy after you’ve chosen your location.  There are truly just so many beautiful elopement locations in Montana that it makes it the most difficult decision of eloping in Montana.  If you’d like to chat locations more, reach out to inquire with us about your Montana elopement!

Check out this 2 day Livingston Montana Wedding to see a luxurious wedding in this region!

Let’s hear it again!

Here’s what eloping folks are saying about hiring us:

From the first conversation I had with Des I was at ease! When we began planning our intimate wedding, we were both lost on next steps and knew more about what we didn’t want than what we did. Des guided us through the whole planning process, and shared her expertise on picking the perfect location, creating a detailed timeline, and directing us to reliable and proven vendors. She made sure to understand what was important to us and help us incorporate our priorities into every part of the day. Most importantly, Des and Dan took incredible photos that captured every detail while hyping us up and making us feel comfortable the whole time. With Des you get a Montana elopement photographer, wedding planner, and someone who is willing to go to extreme lengths to make your vision a reality.
 

-Erin & Jake

 
 

How to elope in Montana |

Step 2: Choose the date that gives you the views and weather you’re dreaming of.

When you should elope in Montana:

We’ll note up front that a Montana elopement is possible at any point in the year–it just depends on the type of weather you want/are willing to experience.  We’ve got all the tips and tricks on choosing the correct season for your location (or location for your season for that matter), and we’d love to share some tips to choosing the best season for your needs on eloping in Montana!

There are some pros and cons to eloping in Montana in every season!  Let’s hit those!

 

Eloping in Montana in the Spring:

Sleepy Montana comes alive in the spring from animal life and plant life!  Things start to green, snow starts to melt, and all water is flowing rapidly!!  Eloping in Montana in the Spring offers less crowds, which is a big plus for most eloping couples!  However, depending on your location, it can limit accessibility to potential Montana elopement locations. 

Generally, the further south you go, the more likely you are to have access to high elevation trails in the Spring, but you can almost be guaranteed there will be some snow fields to cross.  Lower elevation trails and lake views are prime Montana elopement locations in Spring if you’re eloping in Montana. 

Spring also brings more showers in Montana, so if you’re concerned about rainy days, we’d recommend moving your Montana elopement to another season.  However, we’ve seen couples carry out their Spring Montana elopement beautifully!  It just requires flexibility and planning! <3  All of which we’re prepared with!

 

Eloping in Montana in the Summer:  

Eloping in Montana in the Summer offers access to high elevation trails, gorgeous wildflowers blooms, and the most pleasurable weather.  Temperatures range from the 50’s in the mornings to a potential 90 in the afternoon.  It should be noted that these temps are very dry and lack humidity, so you’ll likely not feel the extent of these temps, which our eloping couples find amazing! 

The wildlife is thriving, the water has slowed down, and the seasonal hikers have arrived!  Added crowds are truly the only disadvantage to eloping in Montana in the summer, but we know all the tricks to working around that.  Choosing a weekday at sunrise for your location in the summer will best increase your chances of privacy during your Montana elopement, and we recommend this to all couples eloping in Montana in the summer.

 

Eloping in Montana in the Fall:

Fall in Montana offers quiet trails, beautiful fall leaf colors, and all Mother Nature’s sass as she threatens with wildfires and snowstorms.  This shouldn’t keep you from considering eloping in Montana in the fall though.  The benefits truly outweigh any risk, and we recommend Fall to all couples using more populated locations such as Glacier National Park! 

A Fall elopement in Montana will rock your socks off as nature quiets down and settles in.  The peacefulness of Fall is unmatched when considering eloping in Montana, and it is our top recommendation for couples for a pleasurable Montana elopement!

 

Eloping in Montana in the Winter:

Calling all snowbunnies!!  Eloping in Montana in the winter is possible, and should be a real option for folks who love winter sports.  If you love skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling, consider this your one stop shop for eloping in Montana.  Particular ski towns or specific ski mountains like Whitefish or Blacktail Mountain would make a great option for eloping in Montana in the winter. 

It should be noted, too, that the Bozeman area has awesome winter activity opportunities and includes an airport, making your travel into and out of the destination a little easier.  If you want to elope in Montana in the winter, we’d love to help you find the perfect spot to help your winter wonderland dreams come true!

No matter the season you choose, a lot of eloping couples love using an Airbnb for their Airbnb Elopement so they can have a cozy place to stay, a venue feel, and easy access to their place of adventure!

Now that we’ve got our locations and season covered for eloping in Montana, let’s check out all the nitty gritty of eloping in Montana legally!  You’ll find the process pretty painless, and we are stoked to be in a state that makes eloping so easy!

For real this time

About our photography service:

“Des and Dan were amazing and very personable. From our very first consultation call, I knew we had made the right choice on our Montana elopement photographer. They were extremely helpful in all the planning and it was clear they were no amateurs! They were super accommodating and managed to work in everything that we wanted in our special day.” -R+R

How to elope in Montana |

Step 3: Research & hire the vendors that feel supportive and experienced.

 

What experience you deserve when eloping in Montana:

Here’s a question I’ve got: why are you eloping?

There are pros and cons of eloping, sure, but if you’ve made it this far you likely know exactly why you’re considering eloping in Montana. 

Maybe you love the great outdoors so much you can’t imagine getting married anywhere else. 

Maybe it’s the only place you feel like home. 

Maybe the idea of planning a wedding with all the wedding planning stress sounds absolutely miserable. 

No matter your situation or reasoning, there are a few things eloping in Montana can offer you that having a big wedding can’t.

 

When eloping in Montana you’ll exchange:

  • stress for peace
  • doubt for confidence
  • exhaustion for rest
  • complications for simplicity
  • pressures for freedom
  • and get to do it the most beautiful state in the US.

 

Here’s what Sam & Kyle said about eloping in Montana:

We were SO blessed to have Des. She is so much more than a photographer. She has become our biggest hype girl and such a close friend, since working working with her. She will take such excellent care of you and make sure that you have a day that is an honest reflection of your relationship.

She was able to guide us into choosing the most epic location for eloping in Montana, connect us with incredible vendors, and put us at complete ease. We’re super laid back and she made everything so easy and chill.

We were taken care of through the entire experience. We we’re nervous about exploring somewhere new while eloping in Montana, but Des knows her stuff and was able to navigate us through the location scouting process seamlessly.

The day of felt nothing like a photo session and more like hanging out with a really cool friend that gave you as much space as you needed to be vulnerable with your partner, while also keeping the hype up. She had such an incredible pulse on our needs.

We were nervous about looking awkward or feeling camera-shy, but she knew exactly what to say to help up feel comfortable. There was no awkward posing or forced emotion, just really subtle prompting that helped you ease into each moment.

The entire day was amazing and none of it would have happened without her skill and guidance. We felt like we could trust her to keep us present in the most important moments.

We cried when we got our images, they were absolutely breathtaking and 1000% us. We loved being able to share this day through these images with all of our friends and family that weren’t there. They were able to laugh and cry with us. Getting your gallery from Des is like getting to relive your favorite day all over again.

She is an absolute gem that impacted our lives in such a positive way. We had no idea how gorgeous Montana was until Des blew our minds with all of the incredible knowledge that she has.

If you’re curious about how amazing eloping in Montana can be, she’s the girl to talk to. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Eloping in Montana offers you so much, and we can’t wait to guide you in the process!  You deserve to have personalized, encouraging, and expert help as you plan to begin the rest of your lives together, and we’d love to offer that.  Contact us by inquiring or keep reading these additional resources that’ll help you brainstorm about what will be the best elopement possible when eloping in Montana!

We’ll also point you in the direction of other amazing vendors that offer a supportive experience for you in our Personalized Vendor List!

How to elope in Montana |

Step 4: Finalize travel, complete your elopement vision, & handle any legalities.

Where should I stay while eloping in Montana?

When eloping in Montana and choosing your lodging, you’ll need to consider a few questions to best pick from local cabins, Airbnb’s, and lodges!

 

These questions will get you started on the right path:

  • Do I need lodging for just the two of us or lodging for guests as well?
  • What do I value being in close proximity to?
  • Will I need to do any portion of my Montana elopement at my lodging?

 

There are so many options for lodging while eloping in Montana, you’ll have an abundance to choose from no matter your preferences!

When staying near Glacier National Park, there are numerous stellar lodging options for just you two!  If you’re up for the challenge, hiking up to one of the park’s chalets would be a great adventure!  If you’re wanting something more relaxed and resort-like, Whitefish and Kalispell have more upscale lodging.  Although, in order to book at one of these locations you’ll need to attempt to book at a minimum of two seasons ahead of time.

 

Montana Elopement Rentals:

If you’re planning your Montana elopement in less time (perhaps in 3 months or less), we’d recommend trying to find an individually owned rental through Airbnb or VRBO.  

Some gorgeous Airbnb’s reside all over the state!  Here are some of our favorites we recomming to our couples eloping in Montana!

 

// Troy, Montana |

An earthy getaway | This gorgeous earthy toned Montana house resides near the Kootenai National Forest, which is a great Montana elopement location in and of itself when eloping in Montana!  You can have as many as 6 guests so you can have friends along for your Montana elopement, but it would also serve you beautifully as a honeymoon retreat.

// Columbia Falls, Montana |

Glacier Park tree house | This treehouse located 20 minutes from the entrance of Glacier National park is truly the treehouse of all your pinterest dreams!  A lot of couples eloping in Montana use this as their aesthetically pleasing home base, and the owner actually permits Montana elopement ceremonies in case you want something more private than the park with the added option of adventuring there later.

// Big Fork, Montana |

Montana mountain farmhouse | This Scandanavian inspired Montana farmhouse beauty in also in close proximity to Glacier Park!  It can house up to 6 guests and also allows small events with 25 participants or less–aka another Montana elopement ceremony option for eloping in Montana!

 

Here are some of our other honorable mentions for your Montana elopement:

// Livingston, Montana | Rustic mountain cabin

// Belgrade, Montana | Ross Creek cabin

// Manhattan, Montana | Modern cabin with private hot

// Hungry Horse, Montana | Grand rustic cabin 

// Whitefish, Montana | Modern A-frame cabin

The cost of eloping in Montana:

Eloping in Montana has many perks, not the least of which being its affordability compared to other prime Montana elopement locations in the states. 

The cost of eloping is farrrrrrr less than the cost of a traditional wedding, so you’re already at an advantage!  Did you know the average Montana elopement costs only ¼ of a “big wedding?”  That means you can save that extra cash and put it towards something important to your new fam!  But enough about the savings, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the cost of eloping in Montana!

 

Our Most Popular Montana Elopement Package:

This is our most booked elopement package to date.  Eloping couples love it because it offers an amazing amount of coverage, unlimited planning assistance, and two professional photographers!

Adventurous Montana Elopement

unlimited planning consultations (in person for local clients or online for travel clients)

10 hours of wedding day coverage

unlimited images & online, high resolution gallery

second shooter

personalized vendor referral list to help you find and hire any remaining vendors you may want

can cover getting ready, ceremony, reception, photos with potential guests

includes wedding day adventure session post-ceremony & reception

$8000

Here’s what most couples spend while eloping in Montana:

  • Wedding attire | $1200 (for both his and hers)
  • Marriage license | $53
  • Special use permit (if marrying in GNP) | $100
  • Photographer/Officiant combo (hey, that’s us!) | $8000
  • Bridal florals and boutonniere | $300
  • Celebratory dinner | $150
  • A week’s lodging | $1600
  • Misc. food and gas for the week | $400

That brings the total to $11,803 for your Montana elopement plus a week adventuring all Montana has to offer!  A traditional wedding clocks in at $33,000 on average so that’s a savings of $22,000!  Of course you can beef up your eloping in Montana experience or trim it down according to need, but it is always going to be more affordable than having that big wedding others might be pushing you towards.

We love to help couples fit their Montana elopement into their budget, so feel free to check out this guide on How Much Does it Cost to Elope for the nitty gritty of the cost of eloping anywhere-not just Montana-in case you’re considering other options as well!

Now–onto some of our favorite activities and restaurants to recommend to couples for their Montana elopement!

How you should be eloping in Montana legally:

The legalities of eloping are often what make eloping couples most nervous.  We’re stoked to stay it doesn’t have to freak you out or be stressful in Montana.  Montana makes our list of easiest places to elope in the US and for good reason!  Let’s check out a step by step guide on how to elope in Montana legally!

#1 | Apply for your marriage license. 

Once you’ve chosen your Montana elopement location, we can determine which county it is in.  Applying for your marriage license prior to eloping in Montana online is the best way to do this.  The online application is simple and can be found as an option for most counties!  We’d love to help you find that info as well if you have any trouble!  

#2 | Apply for rubella blood test exemption. 

The State of Montana does require a rubella blood test to apply for your marriage license.  However, they also allow you to opt out by applying online for the exemption.  The form is easy to understand and get processed.  You’ll need to do this prior to picking up your license.

#3 | Pick up your marriage license. 

When you arrive for your Montana elopement, you’ll need to pick up your marriage license.  If you’ve already completed the application and the rubella blood test exemption form, you’re all set as far as applications.  You will, however, need to bring along some additional documentation and information as well as the license fee.  Your documentation needed is as follows: state issued driver’s license, birth certificate or other recognized ID as proof of age per spouse and proof of divorce if either spouse was formerly married.  You’ll also need to know a few things but aren’t required to show documentation: both spouses parents’ full names, places of birth, and mother’s maiden name and both partner’s social security numbers.

And it’s as easy as that to apply legally!!  Now onto the officiating.  Finding an officiant for eloping in Montana is quite easy for a few reasons.

 

Who can officiate my Montana elopement?

Montana recognizes online religious ordinations, meaning a friend or family member coming along for your Montana elopement can officiate for you if you’d like!  You’d just need to find two witnesses (aka me & Dan if you’d like) to sign your license as well.  Then it can be dropped off by the same courthouse you picked it up at!  Dan & I are also legally ordained to perform ceremonies in Montana so eloping in Montana can become a “just-you-two” experience if you’d like as well.  We can grab some hikers passing by as witnesses, and you’ll be legally married once the license is returned!

 

Eloping in Montana is painless!  It’s one of the reasons we truly believe it’s the best place to elope!  However, if you find yourself with more questions of the legalities, we’ve written a full guide on how to get married in Montana that gives these answers in much more depth!

We promised we’d add a bonus and cover the cost of eloping in Montana as well, so let’s hop to it!

For real this time

About our photography service:

“Des and Dan are everything you didn’t know you needed in wedding photographers! These two give 110% to helping you plan your day making sure you and your spouse feel totally comfortable, and being your personal cheerleaders through all of it! I really had no idea how the events of a wedding day flowed together until Des and Dan helped me figure out the best ways to fit everything we wanted!” -E+M

Things to do while eloping in Montana:

As far as outdoor activities for your Montana elopement, you can choose any plethora to engage in while in Montana.  But we have a few that our couples eloping in Montana always seem to love!

 

Montana Elopement Adventures:

What to actually do during your Montana elopement

 

If you’re into water sports, kayaking around Lake McDonald is always a great idea during your Montana elopement!  In the Bozeman area, we love to recommend couples towards paddle boarding at the Hyalite Reservoir!  If you’ve got time during your stay, a hike up to Hyalite Peak is always a good view too (with an added amazing workout)!

The Missoula area in particular offers great rafting and fishing opportunities for a more relaxed approach to your day if your legs need a bit of rest during your Montana elopement.  The Glacier Park area has floating as well as lazy rafting too!

If you’re looking for mountaineering and/or climbing for your Montana elopement, Northwestern Montana brings some of the best opportunities for that, particularly near Eureka Montana!  For couples eloping in Montana in the winter, we love to recommend ice climbing!  Even if you’ve never attempted it, it’s a great way to try something new together while you’re beginning this adventure of marriage.

 

Montana Elopement Foods:

What you should eat during your Montana elopement

Now onto the eats (aka my favorite part)!  If you’re near Glacier Park, we recommend Whitefish for fine dining for the family if you’re bringing guests along and Columbia Falls for smaller, more convenient meals.  Don’t let Columbia Falls’ small town feel trick you though.  Some of our favorite restaurants in the entire state reside here!  You MUST head to Glacier Grill & Pizza for a convenient and yummy meal one night.  Montana Coffee Traders in Columbia Falls is also a hoppin’ brunch spot that has reliable wifi in case you’re needing to carb load after your sunrise hike and wanna post some pics to the ‘gram too!

When in Missoula, there is a hotspot the locals love that makes breakfast burritos roughly the size of your head, and I’ve never been able to finish one.  The restaurant is named The Breakfast Club and has breakfast burritos that (somehow) correlate perfectly with the characters from the movie.  It’s so delicious and satisfying after a sunrise hike at the nearby Bitterroots.

You have a lingering q:

How can this Montana experience be yours?

One mo time!

Here’s what eloping folks are saying about hiring us:

couple photos at big bend glacier national park

Des and Dan truly made our wedding day perfect. When we started looking for a photographer for our Montana elopement, we had a hard time finding someone whose pictures and editing style we loved. After looking through their portfolio, I immediately scheduled a consultation. From the first meeting, it felt like I had known Des for years with how personable she is. My husband and I knew we had found the perfect people to help us plan and spend our elopement day with. We didn’t know the area well, so all the guides and resources provided were a life saver! There was never a question we had that went unanswered, and the communication was always easy and quick. I am in love with every single one of our photos, and there are so many to look at! The final gallery tells the story of our wedding day, and we are so excited to be able to share them with our friends and family. We wouldn’t have been able to have the most amazing day without them!

 

-Rose & Ryan

Montana Elopement FAQ Quick Answers:

Can you elope in Montana?

Yes!  Eloping in Montana is incredibly easy as the marriage license process can be taken care of same day.

Can you get married same day in Montana?

Yes!  You can choose to apply for your marriage license ahead of time or you can show up to the county courthouse and apply for your license the same day as your ceremony.

Do you need a witness to elope in Montana?

While some sources still say yes, local clerks will remind you that you do not need any witnesses to sign your marriage license.

How do you elope in Montana?

First, choose your photographer to help you narrow down the location and season.  Then continue to craft your vision to fill in details such as details, attire, vendors, etc.  Lastly, enjoy the heckin’ amazing day you create!

Where are the best places to elope in Montana?

The best places to elope in Montana are: Glacier National Park, Kootenai National Forest, Custer Gallatin National Forest, & Flathead National Forest.  If you are open to even more rugged areas, we’ve got location scouting we’d love to for ya to ensure you find the best place to elope in Montana for you–not the best spot for the masses.

When should you elope in Montana?

Most couple elope in Montana from June-September.  This is when the weather is most favorable, and you’ll have access to the most high elevation areas to get the best views Montana can offer.

How do I obtain our Montana elopement ceremony permit?

Your Montana elopement ceremony permit will process will vary depending on your location.  For Glacier National Park click here.  For other national forests, they will need to be contacted directly.  And for state parks across the state, click here.

How much does eloping in Montana cost?

Eloping in Montana can cost up to $50k if you are bringing along guests, reserving a private venue, and paying for guest lodging.  If you forego guest expenses, eloping in Montana can cost around $20k for a 2 day elopement experience plus your trip expenses.

Where should you fly into for your Montana elopement?

The airports most centrally located and utliized for Montana elopements are the Glacier National Park International Airport and the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Are dogs allowed in your Montana elopement?

Dogs are allowed in developed areas in national parks, but national forests and state parks have specific regulations on furry friends for varying trails and areas.  Our favorite dog friendly Montana elopement location is Flathead National Forest!

What are the best activities to do during your Montana elopement?

The best activities to do during your Montana elopement are as follows:

  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • sunset catered picnic
  • hot air balloon tour
  • helicopter tour
  • horseback riding
  • sunset yacht cruise
 

 

Additional Resources for Eloping Couples:

How to Elope | With in depth steps on determining the best elopement locations, hiring the perfect wedding vendors, and so much more!

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide | For your 5 Steps to Eloping in Glacier National Park with Ease!

Lastly, our Elopement Packages | So you can see our packages including photography, elopement planning assistance, and officiating with add-on options like florals!

Hey, it’s us!

We’re Des & Dan! Husband & wife elopement photographers, planners, and officiants! We help couples like you create elopement days full of meaningful details, authentic moments, and creative experiences because we believe you deserve a wedding day where you are truly heard—a wedding day you can truly remember.

We’d love to help in any way you can, so check out our other free planning resources or send us an email by hitting contact! We’d love to hop on the phone and see what you’re envisioning for your elopement day.

You deserve this.

Des & Dan

4 Comments

  1. Adriana

    Well, Montana has some seriously amazing spots! Beautiful shots!

    Reply
  2. April

    This is such a wonderful resource! Plus rad photos to match.

    Reply
  3. Olivia

    First off, you two are the cutest photography team ever!!! Secondly, wowie is this a good post!!! You didn’t miss a single beat and I think every question one could dream up was answered! Thanks so much for putting this together!!!

    Reply
  4. Heather Huie

    This is such an informative guide for anyone considering a Montana elopement!

    Reply

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