The Montana Elopement Guide
Everything you need to know about eloping in Montana
There is nowhere more beautiful than Montana (yeah, I said it, and I’ll say it again). We have so many incredible places to elope in, from the mountains and lakes of Glacier National Park to the badlands of Makoshika State Park.
I’ve explored all over Montana and know this state like the back of my hand. I help you find the perfect spot, using our beautiful mountains, rivers, and big skies as a part of your story. And as an experienced elopement photographer, I help you handle it all, from permit acquisition to day-of timeline planning.
how do i obtain a marriage license in Montana?
Fill out the marriage license application for the county in which you are planning to get married (Gallatin for Bozeman, Flathead for Kalispell, Missoula for Missoula, etc.). Once you fill out your application, go to the Clerk of Court for your county with $53 (cash or card, no checks), and your government-issued photo IDs. After your officiant certifies your marriage and your witnesses sign the certificate, return it to the Clerk of Court in your county to have it recorded. Simple, right? And you no longer need to provide proof of a blood test for Rubella!
how do i find an elopement officiant?
You have a few options: someone close to you can be ordained in five minutes through the Universal Life Church, or you can search for a certified officiant through various Montana bridal groups, like Montana Wedding Exchange.
how much does it cost to elope in Montana?
That all depends on how fancy you wanna get with it! With just the two of you, you can spend as little as the $53 for your marriage license. For my elopement packages, you’re looking at at least $750 for photography, plus any required park permits. You can do your elopement as small or big as you’d like at a price point that works for you!
When is the best time of year to elope in Montana?
That all depends on the vibe you want! Want a snowy mountain vibe? Snowshoe at Blue Mountain for views of Missoula and snow-capped mountains. Want to be surrounded by wildflowers? There’s nothing like August in Glacier for that! The Gallatin Valley and Madison River is unbeatable for autumn colours. As long as you dress for the weather, drive safely, and have the right gear, you can plan your dream elopement in Montana at any time of the year .
Montana Elopement Locations
Glacier National Park
When you think of Montana, you think of big skies, mountains and glaciers, and alpine lakes, and Glacier has all those things for days. Whatever your hiking level, Glacier’s got you covered. There’s no shortage of awe-inspiring locations to explore in every season (but late summer is still my favourite).
West Glacier, Montana
The largest freshwater lake this side of the Mississipp’, Flathead Lake is dwarfed by three mountain ranges and stretches from Polson to just south of Kalispell. From Big Arm to Big Fork, there’s no shortage of spots to elope. Want to know my favourite spot that’s secluded, includes lodging, and a sauna built by my father-in-law? Shoot me an email!
Flathead Valley, Montana
Bozeman, Livingston, and Big Sky
Bozeman was home for me for close to a decade and holds a very special place in my heart. It was also the place I really learned to explore the outdoors, and I can’t wait to show you all the incredible options the Gallatin Valley has to offer. From historic downtown Livingston, to Hyalite Reservoir and Lava Lake outside Bozeman, to the banks of the Madison River, and Lone Peak in Big Sky, there’s no shortage of beauty to be found here.
Gallatin Valley, Montana
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and Custer-Gallatin National Forest
Want to get away from it all? Lace up your hiking boots and don your bear bells to head out with me to the Beartooths. This area in southwestern Montana offers everything from a forest elopement to the vast wilds of the Crazies to a strenuous hike with mountain views and alpine lakes at the end.
Makoshika State Park
Located between Miles City and the North Dakota border, Makoshika State Park is the perfect spot to elope if you love desert landscapes, badlands, and skies that go on forever. Want to elope under starry skies? Makoshika is a dark sky park!
Missoula Elopement Locations
Lolo National Forest
The Lolo has so many options for eloping, no matter your skill or mobility level. Want easy access to the Clark Fork? Maclay Flats is there for you. An easy hike up a mountain for amazing views of Missoula? Blue Mountain’s got you covered. Need an easy hike for kids or elders? There’s beautiful Seeley Lake. There’s no shortage of amazing spots within an hour of Missoula.
Missoula Valley, Montana
Just over the river from downtown MIssoula, Greenough Park makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. From old-growth trees to babbling brooks and creeks, Greenough Park has everything you need for a dreamy forest elopement without even needing to leave town.
600 Cregg Lane, Missoula, MT 59801
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area
20 minutes outside Missoula is the vast Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. The Rattlesnake offers no shortage of trails for any hiking ability or age (my kids love hiking out here!) with wide open spaces or gorgeous vistas of Stuart Peak.
Historic Downtown Missoula
Dwarfed by the Bitterroots and with the Clark Fork river running through it, historic downtown Missoula offers the best of a mix of urban and nature backdrops. And if you elope on a Wednesday in summer, you can stop in at Out To Lunch afterward (or at Out to Dinner on Thursday night!) in Caras Park.
Just south of Missoula, stretching from Florence to Darby, the Bitterroot Valley is nestled between the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountain ranges. Green rolling hills, towering peaks, beautiful rivers — the Bitterroot is as picturesque as it gets. It’s also where they film “Yellowstone,” if ranch murder of the week television is your thing.
Bitterroot Valley, Montana
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