ARE YOU TYING THE KNOT AND CONSIDERING A GLACIER NATIONAL PARK WEDDING TO EXCHANGE YOUR VOWS?
Nestled in the breathtaking wilderness of Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park is among the best places for adventurous couples to wed.
Whether you’re looking to elope with a small group or want your entire family and friends there, you can do either around Glacier. With its pristine landscapes and captivating views, the area around Glacier National Park beckons visitors and creates the perfect backdrop for a marriage.
In this post, we will share the best locations for a wedding in and near the park, costs to expect, and more.
Planning A Glacier National Park Wedding
There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding, especially if you’re going to host it at a national park. From choosing the perfect location or venue to gathering all your friends and family to celebrate, you’ll need to prepare beforehand. For those who love a stunning viewpoint and to explore, getting married in Glacier National Park seems like the obvious choice.
Glacier is the most beautiful backdrop for a memorable wedding day for you and the love of your life, from the beautiful alpine lakes to the towering snow-capped mountains.
There are many things to know about getting married in the park, but one of the most important is that there are only a few designated wedding ceremony locations, and all other places are not allowed. You also must have a permit.
Aside from that, the rest of the planning is up to you! Let’s dive into everything you need to know about marrying in Glacier Park.
Where To Get Married In Glacier National Park
There are so many beautiful locations in Glacier National Park that are great for getting married at. It’s important to note that the park does have to limit places to get married to protect natural resources. Here are the best places to go!
📍 Many Glacier Hotel
The Many Glacier area is less crowded than other areas of the national park, which makes Many Glacier Hotel a perfect spot to get married. Situated on the east side of Glacier National Park along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake, the historic lodge and towering mountains make for a great backdrop for a wedding. You can set up your ceremony on the shore of the lake and tie the knot before wandering around the trails for some photos.
There are hiking trails all over the Many Glacier area, some of which lead to waterfalls and stunning viewpoints of the mountains reflecting in Swiftcurrent Lake.
Because you’ll be right on the shore near the lodge, you can also make this your accommodation for the rest of your adventures in Glacier Park. The lodge is close to dozens of hiking trails for some post-wedding fun.
You can host up to 15 of your favorite people at this location, and you’ll need to get a permit and notify the lodge of your ceremony before the event.
One of the most popular areas of Glacier National Park is Lake McDonald, which is found at the start of Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The Lake McDonald Lodge is right on the shoreline of its namesake lake, the longest in the national park. It’s well known for the colorful rocks that cover the lake floor and shine in the sunlight.
Getting married on the beach at Lake McDonald Lodge is the perfect way to commemorate your love for one another with a stunning backdrop behind you. The blue water of the lake and the towering mountains behind you will make for some memorable photos!
To get married here, you must have a permit from Glacier Park and notify the lodge. Up to 15 people during peak season and 30 during the off-season can attend.
Amphitheaters are another great place to host weddings in Glacier National Park since they can seat more people and offer built-in seating and ceremony set-up.
The Avalanche Amphitheater is found just a short distance up the trail toward Avalanche Lake and is surrounded by a dense forest. You can walk down the aisle and say ‘I do’ in front of your favorite people, surrounded by the sounds of nature.
Another option nearby is the Avalanche Picnic Area Shoreline, which is perfect for smaller groups of up to 15 people and is along the shore of Avalanche Creek.
You can invite up to 100 guests to your wedding in Glacier National Park here, but it’s important to note that parking is very limited.
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind hiking to a location and would love to escape the crowds for a beautiful viewpoint, get married at Lake Josephine. Starting at the Many Glacier Hotel, make the one-mile hike to the designated dock area along the shoreline.
Josephine Lake’s water is a gorgeous teal color contrasting beautifully with the mountains. It’s also a popular spot to see moose and bears.
Getting married here is perfect for small groups of no more than 15 people and is a perfect opportunity for adventurous couples to get out and hike on their special day.
Another of the best places to get married in Glacier National Park is the shoreline of Pray Lake, which can be found in the Two Medicine district. The area around Pray Lake features many spots to host your ceremony, as long as it isn’t in a meadow. One side of the lake features an open field, while the other has a spot surrounded by trees with the most perfect opening up to the lake and surrounding mountains.
The backdrop at this wedding spot is phenomenal and perfect for those wanting to get married in a less crowded space.
This destination allows up to 30 guests and participants, and all events must have a permit from the park, just like any other wedding.
Best Wedding Venues Near Glacier National Park
If you want to have a Glacier Park wedding but would prefer to share your vows outside the park, many venues are nearby.
➡️ Great Northern Resort
Great Northern Resort is located right in West Glacier, just outside of the park. This beautiful resort has a venue that can host up to 200 guests and has stunning views of the mountains.
They offer wedding packages that include a ceremony set up at their venue, options for decorations, and more. Because they are a resort, they also offer accommodations at their West Glacier Lodge or Cabins.
The costs of their rooms and wedding packages vary by season and which accommodations you’re choosing.
Green Valley Ranch
Situated on a large private property in West Glacier, just outside of Glacier National Park, Montana, Green Valley Ranch is the perfect wedding destination. With gorgeous mountain views and national forest land surrounding the property, outdoor lovers will feel at home at this wedding venue.
They offer a wedding package that includes everything from up to 300 guests to accommodation in their beautiful lodge and use of the entire property. There is also a cabin you could book a stay at for a more intimate gathering with your family and friends.
Grouse Mountain Lodge
Another beautiful venue to host your wedding at is the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish. Here you’ll find a stunning lodge backed up against a golf course. In the distance, enjoy views of mountains and forests.
No matter the time of year, you can get married in their outdoor pavilion or indoor foyer. You can host a large or small wedding here and have your guests stay onsite in their lodge rooms. The Grouse Mountain Lodge also features close access to Whitefish Lake, a great pool, and an onsite restaurant and bar.
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
Located on the shores of Whitefish Lake, The Lodge at Whitefish Lake makes for the perfect spot to have a wedding near Glacier National Park.
Their venue features a stunning lakeside lawn which is a perfect spot to have Whitefish Lake and the towering mountains as the backdrop to your ceremony. They also offer space for a ceremony inside a pavilion.
On top of that, there are options for reception space, a room for getting ready, and different wedding and elopement packages. Guests can also stay at the lodge or in the lakefront condos or homes on Whitefish Lake’s shore. Enjoy the indoor and outdoor pool and hot tub, nightly bonfires, sparkling wine, and much more.
How Much Do Glacier National Park Weddings Cost?
Figuring out the cost of a wedding can be stressful, but it’s very important to make sure that you have an enjoyable day. Below are the main expenses you’ll want to consider and understand before hosting your wedding.
Special Use Permit
To get married anywhere within Glacier National Park, you’ll need a special use permit to let the park know what you’re doing. These permits help the National Park Service understand what’s going on, protect natural resources, and limit the number of people in the park.
You’ll need to apply and pay the $125 fee to get a permit. Note that there are only specific locations that allow weddings in Glacier National Park, Montana, and you’ll need to list your location when you apply.
To have a legal marriage, you’ll need a marriage license. This should be supplied by the county clerk’s office in the county where you’re getting married. They typically cost $50 to $100, depending on the county.
Something to note about marriage licenses is that you must get the permit in the state you’re getting married in, not your home state. You cannot get married in one state with a license from another.
Officiants are another important part of the wedding package since you’ll need someone to make sure that your wedding is official. These can be anyone ordained since the state of Montana recognizes these marriages. So you can get married by a friend or family member!
If you choose a different officiant, they typically start at around $200.
The cost of a wedding or elopement photographer can vary depending on what type of photos you’re looking for. As they say, you get what you pay for.
So if you want photos that will last a lifetime and that you’ll love looking back on, consider splurging a bit more. They’ll be worth it.
Photos could cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000, depending on the photographer. For some, you may also have to pay their travel costs.
Choosing flowers for your wedding is a lot of fun, and generally, they recommend setting aside 10% of your budget for flowers. This means that you could spend $100 if your budget is $1,000 or $3,000 if your budget is $30k.
The cost of your venue will significantly vary based on where you’re deciding to get married. If you’re getting married in the park, the only fee you’ll pay is the special use permit.
But if you decide to marry at a different venue, you’ll need to pay whatever set fee they have. This depends on their wedding packages and can start at $1,000 and go up to $30,000.
Venues are often one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, so be sure to choose one within your budget.
Best Photographer For Glacier National Park Weddings
One of the most important parts of a wedding is your photos since they’ll be something you can look at every day and use to remember your memorable day. Choosing a photographer specializing in weddings, like Matt Ehnes Photography, is the best way to do this.
Matt Ehnes is a Montana-based photographer who loves to travel to capture his client’s beautiful days. He aims to capture raw emotion and give his clients photos they can revisit for a lifetime. He will deliver the best photographs for your Glacier National Park wedding, and you’ll see why it was so worth splurging on a photographer.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Get Married In Glacier National Park?
Choosing a time to get married in Glacier National Park is important since parts of the park are only open during certain times of the year. Plus, you probably don’t want to be walking through feet of snow on your special day.
The best time to visit and get married in the park is during the summer months, between July and September. Any earlier or later than this, you risk the chance of there still being snow on the ground or snowfall. And some of the locations for weddings aren’t even free of snow at other times.
One thing to consider about this time frame is that it is peak season, so you will want to reserve accommodations and get your permits well in advance. If you’re going to get married during a different month near Glacier, you may want to say your vows at a venue outside the park rather than inside to avoid closures.
Conclusion: Glacier National Park Weddings
Getting married is one of the most memorable days of your life, so why not do it in a place that you love and brings beauty to your day?
Hosting a wedding in Glacier National Park is one of the best ways for adventurous couples to tie the knot. Or for those who love a beautiful backdrop for their photos. So if you’re planning a wedding in the park, understand everything you need to know, from permits to timeframes and more.