How to Plan a Glacier National Park Elopement

Glacier National Park Elopement and How To
I'm Jackie

Traveling wedding photographer + photography/small biz educator.

Mesmerized by the way two people love each other, each so uniquely.  I always leave room for dessert. Believe swear words are just sentence embellishers. Think indulgences are necessary in this life. 

hey hey

Parties with all the best people in their lives.

TOp categories

Love stories in all forms without the white dress... or maybe they wore white, it happens.

Just my little thoughts on different topics of planning your wedding day big party or just you two.

Stories of two lovers making it all about them, as they should.

Obviously you’re playing around with the idea of having a Glacier National Park elopement. Snow-kissed mountain tops, juniper green valleys, + crystal clear waters are sure to make any adventure-loving couple want to say their I Dos here! If you’re ready to finally say “HECK YES, we’re doing it!!!” but you + your partner have been thinking about where to even get started on planning your Montana elopement – I’ve gotchu friend! 

There’s so much to love about the idea of getting married in Glacier National Park + I’m here to answer any questions you might have before finally tying the knot in one of the most vivacious parks that this state, or hell… country, has to offer! Let’s dive in on how to elope in this insanely one-of-a-kind location!!


Planning your Glacier National Park Elopement – and all the deets!

First things first: choosing a location. One thing to keep in mind is that Glacier National Park is HUGE. I’m talking 1 million acres huge. So, choosing a location that’s right for you and your partner is the first step in planning your big day. Do you want cascading waterfalls, sexy mountainous backdrops, or infinite wildflower meadows? This place has it all. 

You can find a full list of ceremony spots on the GNP wedding website, but for portraits we have more freedom to explore the park! From the epic mountainscapes of Big Bend to the infamous Many Glacier views, make sure to explore the region around you before you go!

For my couples, I have a complete Glacier location guide. I’m happy to share all of my favorite spots! After 10 years of photographing in the park, I know a secret view or two. 😉


Time is of the Essence – Choosing a date! 

Circling back to the fact that Glacier is freaking humongous, keep in mind that that means it’ll take some time to get places. In my experience, sunrise and sunset tend to have the best lighting, but this also depends on what season we’re in. 

Bringing us to the next matter of business, it’s time to pick a date for when you want all of this to go down. Planning your Glacier National Park elopement is all fun and games until you realize that nature is a force to be reckoned with, especially in the park! 

From the many times I’ve found myself happily capturing all of these crazy, stupid love stories, I found that July and August are usually the best times for getting married in Glacier National Park. Personal opinion 😉 The weather is the best and it feels like the sun never sets! Not to mention that the chances of rain during this time are lower – but if it happens, we’ll roll with it! No seriously, some of my favorite photos are of unexpectedly moody days, so we don’t worry about the weather around here. 

May is a great option if you’re looking for a ‘quieter’ time in the park. But locations in the park are limited as the downside to this time is that the infamous Going to the Sun Road, which is the main road that leads to all the good spots in the park, often doesn’t open until late June and sometimes July.

If you’re looking to have a ceremony in the fall, September and October are good options too, but be prepared for some rain and snow the closer to October we get. Don’t be discouraged, though! The sky hues that the fall gets are so damn gorgeous + for those of you who want a winter wonderland kind of ceremony, that’s definitely doable for your dream Glacier National Park elopement, but you’ll just have to bring an extra jacket or two. Or three. Maybe more, seriously. Winters can be pretty damn cold! And after the first big snowfall, they’ll close the Going to the Sun Road once again, limiting access to many places in the park. The Going to the Sun Road usually closes on the 3rd Monday of October if the weather hasn’t shut it down prior. 

Keeping all of this in mind, summer will be the busiest season. So, if you’ve got your sights set on having your dream elopement in GNP and want to take the path of least resistance, a summer sunrise (or sunset) ceremony might just be the one for you!


Sunrise or sunset – Creating a timeline (kinda)! 

If no one has told you this yet, lighting is everything in photography. So we’ve got a friend in the sun and we need to chase that damn goooood light! Generally you have two options for best light  – sunrise or sunset. 

Depending on the season + location with how the mountains wind, the sun rises and sets at different times. But don‘t worry, I’ve got an app for that! For a fast and easy rule: summer days are LONG in the park, with the sun not setting until late at night, while winters have much less time to work with. 

My advice? Choose whether you’re a morning person (like 4am wake up time people, think hard!!!) or would rather wait until the late afternoon. Then create a loose timeline of your day, depending on your photography coverage, around that! 

If you have your heart set on a specific location in the park, make sure to clear it with your photographer for that time of day! Light leaks into or is blocked by the mountains, so every location isn’t created equal depending on the time of day.


How to Elope in Glacier National Park – All of the legal shit! 

Now that I got you oozing with excitement for your big Montana elopement, time to talk about permits and legalities – so fun! I mean it. First things first, make sure you check out all the necessary info to make your big day possible. 

Having a Special Use Permit is required for any and all ceremonies in the park, regardless of how many people are present. Already legally married and just exchanging vows? Ya, you need a permit for that. Since this park is usually a hot spot for dreamy ceremonies, the sooner you start on the application process, the better! Typically can submit a year before!

Another point to note is that a vehicle reservation + entry ticket is required to access the Going to the Sun Road. If you applied for a wedding permit with a ceremony along the required road, then no worries!! It’s included. So far these haven’t been needed in the Two Medicine Valley or Many Glacier. Have been required from late May to mid September from 9a-4p. Just for reference on your visit outside your ceremony.

Additionally, all visitor vehicles are required to have a park pass in order to enter GNP. Also keep in mind that these two are separate reservations. 

Just like Disneyland ya???


The peeps you need for a GNP elopement – Choosing your vendors! 

Now that we covered all the necessary basics of planning your Glacier National Park elopement, time to start talking about vendors! Wooooo!!!! 

Since we’ve already covered how absolutely massive this park is, the best thing you can do to make sure your day goes off without a hitch is to work with vendors who know this park like the back of their hand. Not to toot my own horn (jk, I totally am), I have 10+ years of experience with elopements in the park. What can I say?? I LOVE it here, seriously. So, I can say with 100% confidence that I’ll be here to capture all your wonderfully candid moments with ease! 

But enough about me (for now lol). Working with an experienced GNP vendor is a must. Not only do experienced af local vendors act as great resources for you, but there’s no better feeling than working with someone who knows their stuff so that you have way less to worry about once your big day finally comes around. 

For my GNP wedding couples, I’ve got a vendor guide waiting for you! All of my favorite peeps wrapped up into one document – from florals to bakers to planners to spas. I’ve got ya babe!


Lots to do, Sites to See – Plan an experience for your day. 

I know you didn’t just come here to say your vows on a mountain top and call it a day. With so much ground to cover, there’s literally a boatload of activities that you and your loved one(s) can do to really seal the deal on your epic love story!! 

Whether it’s hiking, camping, or riding your boat off into the sunset, there’s definitely something for everyone. Maybe even a charming little picnic with a hint of some breathtaking views?? The GNP is your oyster and I am freaking obsessed with her!!!!!!!


We’ve covered a lot of ground, but I hope you found this super helpful in finally making your decision to elope in the mountains! Glacier National Park weddings are dreamy dreamy and I would love nothing more but to capture your big day – adventures, a make out sesh or two, ass grabs and all

As a seasoned Glacier National Park elopement photographer, nothing makes me more freakin’ stoked to have the opportunity to take you through one of the most beautiful parks in Montana! So, if you have any more burning questions about how to plan an elopement in the great GNP, I’m here for you boo. And if you’re just ready to dive on in + say HECK YES to getting hitched in some of the most stunning sites that a Montana elopement has to offer, then definitely send me a love note and let’s make it happen!