Montana is pretty much the dream spot for your elopement. Picture this: over a hundred mountain chains (yes, you read that right!) offering those epic, swoon-worthy backdrops for your “I do’s.” For nature-loving couples, imagine exchanging vows in Glacier National Park or in or around Yellowstone National Park.
Montana is an outdoor paradise, with the Rocky Mountains, waterfalls, many lakes and rivers. Basically, if you can dream it, Montana’s got it.
But how do you choose between all these gorgeous places to elope in Montana? As a local, Montana elopement photographer, I’ll tell you about some of my favorite spots to help you make your decision! I grew up in the Flathead Valley near Glacier then have spent the second half of my life living in Bozeman, Montana. It’s a huge state but we have explored a lot of it and always looking to see more.
Best Places to Elope in Montana
Glacier National Park
First on the list is Glacier National Park – and, it sure sets the bar high for the rest of the Montana elopement locations. The park has some of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen. All the stunning mountain scenery, crystal-clear lakes and great locations without even hiking. I have a keen skill for selecting locations that aren’t a challenge to hike to or are just steps from your car.
There are many locations in and near GNP you could consider for your elopement, such as Hidden Lake Lookout, Lake McDonald, and Many Glacier. There are many more options, though, and I’d be happy to help you find the spot perfect for you. Schedule a free call to learn more
Once you’ve picked the perfect spot in Glacier National Park for your elopement, you’ll need to apply for your permit. You can snag the permit from the park’s official site. Fill out the form, pop in your desired ceremony spot, plus two backups. You’ll also need to pay a $125 fee. If you are looking for amazing views without the fuss there are locations outside the park that keep the rules to a minimum.
Late June thru August are peak times in Glacier National Park. The wildflowers are blooming, and the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road is usually open from early July.
If you don’t mind cooler weather, consider May or June. The park’s less crowded, and the snowy mountain peaks make for a stunning backdrop. Not all of the roads will be open yet but there are many awesome spots we can still get to.
Fall in Glacier National Park? It’s like stepping into a painting – think vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows. Plus, fewer people around means more privacy for your special moment.
For winter lovers, a snowy elopement near the park is unforgettable. It can get very cold, and not all areas will be accessible, but we can still make it work for those gorgeous, snowy vibes!
Bozeman is a mix of hip downtown vibes and nature vibes. It’s super accessible. Fly in, and bam, you’re practically at the doorstep of forests and mountains. Consider this your base for elopements in the surrounding area as this is the largest town in the area and the most direct flights in Montana.
This is one of the best places to elope in Montana for everyone! Whether you’re adventurous thrill-seekers or prefer a chill vibe. You don’t really need to hike up mountains in your wedding attire (unless you want to!).
If you want to learn more about Bozeman elopement locations, I have a guide for you! Check it out here!
Depending on where in Bozeman you’d like to elope, you may need a permit. We are here to guide you with the process and know the area well.
About an hour from the Bozeman airport is the ski resort town of Big Sky. This upscale ski town is a top destination for its many miles of runs and proximity to Yellowstone National Park. With its stunning mountain top views and meadow areas, your elopement photos here are going to be nothing short of epic.
If you’re considering eloping here during the peak ski season (Thanksgiving – March) or the busy summer season (July to September), expect to see peak season prices.
For an elopement here, you’re mostly in the clear regarding permits if you’re planning a small ceremony in the outdoor public areas. But, if you’re eyeing a specific venue or private property, definitely reach out for their specific guidelines. You may want to consider getting a rental property for your Big Sky elopement because many of the rentals have killer views.
Whitefish, MT, is real mountain town near the edge of Glacier National Park. It offers awesome 360 views of mountains, forests, as well as lakes and rivers.
Why do I adore Whitefish? It’s the perfect mix of a cool, small-town atmosphere with a vibrant downtown filled with quaint shops, yummy restaurants, and lively bars. And again, let’s not forget the breathtaking backdrops Whitefish offers, being located next to GNP.
One of the more popular locations due to all those amazing 360 views here is the Whitefish Mountain Resort, a.k.a. Big Mountain. Famous as a ski haven due to it being a popular ski resort and people coming there non-stop during the winter – winter elopements aren’t on the menu here, so you must opt for any other season!
Another unique option is Whitefish Lake Lodge for a luxury lodging experience and vows overlooking the lake. Or the beautiful horse experience at Clydesdale Outpost just outside of town is an awesome option too.
About an hour’s drive from Bozeman, on the way to the northern entrance of Yellowstone Park, lies the Paradise Valley. Here, you’ll find the artsy little of Livingston, Pray, and Emigrant.
The views in Paradise Valley? Unreal! You’ve got mountains that reach for the sky and a beautiful river. There are some awesome vacation rentals here – many offer incredible mountain views, while others are right on the banks of the Yellowstone River.
Paradise Valley doesn’t typically require special permits for small ceremonies in public areas but always double-check with local regulations. We have some great locations on public lands or at local aibnb’s.
Looking for more tips on how to elope in Paradise Valley? I got you covered!
The Beartooth Mountains is yet another awesome place to elope in Montana. Picture rugged peaks touching the clouds at around 11,000 ft with stunning alpine lakes as a backdrop to your elopement day.
Nestled at the foot of the mountains is Red Lodge – a charming town that’s the perfect starting point (or end point) for your Beartooth’s adventure. This town is a hidden gem, offering a cozy, small-town vibe with local shops, and some seriously good eats.
And the Beartooth’s Highway? Oh, you’re in for something awesome. This zig-zagging highway connects Red Lodge and Cooke City, Montana. This scenic drive is a journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes you’ll ever lay eyes on. Take an adventure on these winding roads with beautiful views at every turn!
Ennis / Madison River Valley
Ennis is a somewhat under-the-radar spot for your Montana elopement day. It’s one of those places I haven’t seen mentioned in any other Montana elopement location guide, and I have no idea why.
The small town of Ennis is best known for the Madison River and the fly fishing that attracts many visitors. There are rugged mountains to both sides, open fields that seem to stretch forever, and, of course, the before-mentioned Madison River glistening under the big Montana sky!
The landscape around Ennis is a dream for couples who love the great outdoors. Whether you’re thinking of saying your vows on the banks of the Madison River, with its world-class fly fishing and views, or amidst the wild, untouched beauty of the surrounding valleys and mountains, Ennis offers a backdrop for all preferences.
The town of Ennis is pretty old school with small-town charm. Stroll down its streets, and you’ll find authentic fishing shops/guides, a few restaurants, a great brewery and Willie’s Distillery. (One of my favorites in Montana)
Hidden Gems: All Over Montana
Montana is sprinkled with hidden gems all over! These spots are for the adventurers at heart, the ones who want to tread off the beaten path and make their elopement uniquely theirs. I have plenty of those suggestions up my sleeve for you – just reach out!
Merissa Lambert | Montana Wedding & Elopement Photographer
So, there you go – the best places to elope in Montana! They offer a unique experience and a beautiful backdrop for your love story that you’ll tell for years to come. And hey, if you need someone to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments, you know who to call
Finding the best places to elope in Montana is really just the start of your journey. There is so much more that goes into your plan, deciding on the best place, what time of year, and even what time of day. I help my couples with a customized location list, timeline, local vendor recommendations, and, of course, awesome photography.