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How to elope in Glacier National Park

Guest Blog from Kimberly Taylor from KTay Photography: ELOPEMENT INSPIRATIONGLACIER NATIONAL PARKWEDDING PLANNING

Welcome to my blog I am so excited to talk to you guys about the updated policies at Glacier National Park and explain how to elope at Glacier National Park.

first off let’s talk about……

The Recent Changes:

Due to the growing popularity of Glacier National Park they are now requiring visitors to get permits for specific areas of the park, not just the going to the sun road.

What does this mean for you?

This year there is no short answer. It depends. If you are driving Going to the Sun Road between 6AM & 3PM you’ll need either a permit pass or a ceremony site before logan pass. othersie you’ll need to enter at the St. Marys entrance. If you want to enter Many Glacier you’ll either need a special use permit there or a vehicle reservation. That’s the same if you want to go to North Fork entrance. Two Medicine and St. Mary’s are open to all traffic. Here is the announcement on their website and please reach out with any questions.

Keep in mind most locations allow less than 20 individuals. This means you will have 4 cars allowed for up to 20 people and you are not reserved parking. I would recommend hiring a shuttle service if you have more than a few people coming.

Now,

How to Actually Get Married in Glacier National Park

Number 1: Pick Your Photographer

Most photographers in the area are booked out over a year in advanced.

Now if your eyes just got wide and your stomach sank FEAR NOT. My calendar is open for 2023 and 2024. So if you were hoping to get married sooner you are in luck!

I will help you pick the best date depending on what kind of photos you want and where you want to take them. I can also walk you through the application process and help you find other vendors in the area.

Number 2: Define Your Elopement Size

How many people do you want to come? Be sure to include photographers, videographers and an officiant (if you want one, it’s not required in Montana). This will have a big impact on where you can get married. Most locations only allow 15 people total, however there are a few that allow up to 30.

Number 3, Pick A Date

June-Sep is peek tourist season and super lush vegetation in Glacier. You will have tons of wildflowers. If you want to elope during this time I highly recommend doing so on an evening and weekday to avoid crowds and allow for more photo opportunities. Also keep in mind sunsets can be as late as 10pm here so plan on holding a reception or formal meal the next day.

Sep-Oct is the next most popular time during fall. there might be snow already but there will DEFINITELY be gorgeous fall trees. the leaves will start falling and it will be chilly, but not freezing. Most of the park should be open still so you can travel to more places and there will be less crowds so a weekend elopement is easier on this time frame.

Nov-April: GNP is still partially open in winter! If you love the idea of being married in a winter wonderland GNP is perfect for you. off season discounts abound and you wont have to struggle with the crowds. Winter weather can be unpredictable so remain flexible and your winter wedding will be amazing!

April-June: this is the best time to capture snow capped mountains! Most of the park is open this time of the year however it will be a bit chilly. you also wont have to worry too much about tourists so booking a sunset or sunrise elopement on the weekend is an option however, if you want the park mostly to yourself I still recommend a weekday.

Number 4: Pick A Location

Glacier has tons of wedding locations. First decide which are of the park you want to get married in. There are 5 main areas. Check out my blog post HERE to learn more about them. Within each area are specific places you can do your ceremony. I recommend looking at each one of them online before deciding your top two. You’ll put these two on your special use permit application and they will approve you for one of the locations. Here is a map showing the locations in the park (scroll all the way down). It also will tell you the rules and restrictions in that location.

Number 5: Apply for the Glacier National Park Permit

The 2nd most important step when planning how to elope. You must apply at least 20 days before your wedding. After you apply they will contact you to finalize the details and at this point you will pay a non-refundable fee of $125 to secure your spot. You can access the application here and once filled out please email a copy to glac_sup@nps.gov There is a high demand for locations so please apply ASAP to ensure they get back to you in enough time and hopefully have the location you want available.

Number 6: Book Accommodations and Vendors

This is when you want to book your hotels, flight, make up, hair, floral (only bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres are allowed in the park) and meals if you want a wedding cake or a picnic while you are in the park. This is also when you can book car transportation to and from your ceremony in the park.

Number 7: Buy Your Wedding Dress

We have several local seamstresses who are very talented and can help you get the perfect dress for your wedding.

Odies Fashion designs custom dresses and does alterations or you can go to Mimis if you want the experience of trying on tons of different dresses till you find the right one.

Number 8: Pick Up Your Marriage License

The most important step when planning how to elope. It costs $53 to get a marriage license in Montana and you can get it the same day you apply but if you want to save time I recommend applying online here. You can pick up your license in person when you arrive at 920 S Main, Kalispell, MT 59901, hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Number 9: Have A Great Wedding Day!

Congratulations on deciding to get married! I am so excited for you and glad I get to be a part of your process (although hopefully it wont end here!) please feel free to check out some real weddings/adventure sessions in each area of the park. Lake McDonaldTwo MedicineSt. Mary’sAvalanche/Going to the Sun Road. If you are interested in hearing more about what I offer, or have more questions about how to elope in Glacier National Park, you can reach out here.

If you want to know things to do in the area check out my blog post Here

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