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Glacier National Park Wedding Guide - Planning and Location Guide

Updated: May 16

A step by step guide on how to get married in Glacier National Park, from packing list, permits, our top 5 best wedding spots in the park and packages.

Couple standing at the lake shore of Saint Mary's Lake

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Why elope in Glacier National Park?


couple Holden lanterns during blue hour


Dreaming of exchanging vows surrounded by the rugged beauty of Glacier National Park?



Along the way, we have captured and planned countless elopements against beautiful landscapes. In this comprehensive guide, we will share the insights and wisdom gained from these experiences, helping you decide if a Glacier National Park elopement is the right choice for your love story.






Some of the top reasons to elope in Glacier National Park:


  • Glacier National Park boasts stunning landscapes, from snow-capped peaks to pristine alpine lakes, providing a picturesque backdrop for your elopement.

  •  The park is home to diverse wildlife, including bears, elk, and mountain goats. Encountering these majestic creatures can add a unique and memorable touch to your elopement.

  • Whether you prefer a snowy winter wonderland or a vibrant summer setting, Glacier National Park offers diverse seasonal options for elopements.

  • If you're an adventurous couple, Glacier National Park provides a plethora of hiking trails leading to scenic viewpoints and hidden gems, making your elopement an active and exciting experience.

  • The park's stunning landscapes provide endless opportunities for breathtaking photos, capturing the essence of your special day.

  •  With numerous secluded spots, you can find the perfect, private location to exchange vows without the crowds.

  • After your elopement, you can explore the surrounding areas, turning your special day into an extended adventure honeymoon.

  • Eloping in a national park can be a cost-effective alternative to a traditional wedding, allowing you to allocate resources to experiences rather than a large ceremony.

  • Elopements in national parks often have a lower environmental impact, making it a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious couples.


How to Get Married in Glacier National Park: A Step-by-Step Checklist


Planning your wedding or elopement in Glacier National Park? Here's a handy checklist to guide you through the process:


1. Hire a Photographer: HEY THERE! That’s us with years of experience helping adventurous couples to plan intimate weddings in beautiful places. Reach out to us!


2. Decide on a date: Choose the perfect date for your celebration, considering the season and weather preferences.


3. Choose Your Wedding Ceremony Location.


4. Apply for Your Special Use Permit: Obtain the necessary permits for your ceremony in Glacier National Park.


5. Customized timeline for your elopement day: we will outline the schedule for your wedding day, considering key moments and activities.


6. Book Lodging at the Appropriate Side of the Park: Secure accommodations convenient to your chosen ceremony location.


7. Hire the Rest of Your Wedding Vendors: Complete your vendor lineup, such as florists, caterers, and musicians.


8. Book Airfare and car rentals


9. Download your complete timeline and the park offline map. Cell service is very spotty in the park. With your timeline in hand a offline map, you can navigate the park.


10. Enjoy your adventure


11. Share your epic photos!





Locations for a wedding in Glacier National Park


Here's a comprehensive list of locations where you can obtain Special Use Permits for your ceremony. Keep in mind the following details:


- Time limit is two hours for all locations.

- Permits do not grant access during road closures.

- A permit monitor may be required for events with over 20 people.

- Picnic areas have first-come, first-served tables; no saving or moving.

- No tables or decor are allowed.


WEST GLACIER



LAKE MCDONALD


  • Big Bend

  • Apgar Amphitheater

  • Apgar Picnic Area Shoreline

  • Fish Creek Amphitheater

  • Fish Creek Picnic Area Shoreline

  • Avalanche Amphitheater

  • Avalanche Picnic Area Shoreline

  • 7-Mile Pullout - Sandy Point

  • 10-Mile Pullout - Jackson Bay

  • Sprague Picnic Area Shoreline

  • Lake McDonald Lodge Beach

  • Ryan Beach


NORTH FORK DISTRICT


  • Juniper River Access

  • Bowman Lake Day Use Area

  • Kintla Lake Use Area



EAST GLACIER



SAINT MARY DISTRICT


  • St. Mary Amphitheater

  • Rising Sun Amphitheater

  • Rising Sun Picnic Area Shoreline

  • Sun Point

  • Red Eagle Trailhead

  • 1913 Ranger Station

  • Cutbank Field


MANY GLACIER DISTRICT


  • Lake Josephine Shoreline

  • Many Glacier Hotel Green

  • Many Glacier Hotel-SW Beach

  • Many Glacier Beach

  • Many Glacier Amphitheater


TWO MEDICINE - WALTON DISTRICT


  • Running Eagle Falls

  • Pray Lake Shoreline

  • Two Medicine Amphitheater

  • Two Medicine Picnic Area

  • Walton Picnic Area


OUR TOP 3 BEST LOCATIONS TO GET MARRIED IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK


1. SUN POINT NATURE TRAIL

Sun Point Nature trail GNP

Sun Point Nature Trail is a captivating location within Glacier National Park, offering a beautiful setting for couples seeking a nature-inspired wedding experience. This idyllic spot is nestled along the eastern shores of St. Mary Lake, providing a stunning backdrop of pristine waters and majestic mountain vistas.

MAX CAPACITY: 20

AVAILABLE BEFORE 4PM. NOT AVAILABLE JULY 2-5.


Seasonal Considerations: Sun Point Nature Trail is typically accessible during the park's open season, but road conditions and accessibility may vary, especially in the winter months.




2. PRAY LAKE SHORELINE

Pray Lake Shoreline GNP

Nestled in the heart of Glacier National Park, Pray Lake emerges as a serene and intimate location for couples seeking a tranquil setting to exchange their vows. This picturesque lake, surrounded by the park's natural wonders, provides a romantic ambiance for a truly memorable wedding ceremony.



Dates of Vehicle Access: Last week of May–Mid October

No tables/décor; up to 4 chairs permitted on durable surface; snacks ok

No roadside parking; park only in designated areas. All events must take place directly on the durable shoreline surface, not on the meadow. During seasonal road closures must ski/snowshoe/hike to location.




3. Lake Josephine Shoreline

Lake Josephine Shoreline Glacier National Park








MAX 15 participants


For couples seeking a picturesque and secluded spot for their elopement, the Lake Josephine shoreline presents a captivating option. Located 1.2 miles from the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead, this gem offers a serene natural backdrop for your special day. For a more leisurely journey, consider the iconic charter boats available at the Many Glacier Hotel, which can transport you across the lake, reducing the hike to a mere 0.2 miles. Whether you opt for a scenic trail adventure or a boat ride, Lake Josephine's shoreline provides a tranquil setting, making it an ideal location to exchange vows and create lasting memories.


No vehicle access to location. Vehicle access to nearest trailhead is last week of May–Mid October

No facilities.

No tables/chairs/décor; snacks ok

One-mile hike to location (2-mile round trip). Permitted area is dock area, not farther down the trail or elsewhere along shoreline. When water level allows, events must take place below high-water line/on durable vegetation-free areas.



What's the best time of the year to elope in Glacier National Park?


The best time to elope in Glacier National Park depends on your preferences, taking into account temperatures and road closures. Generally, summer, from late June to early September, is popular. During this period, temperatures are milder, and the Going-to-the-Sun Road is fully open, allowing seamless travel through the park. This ensures access to stunning vistas and facilitates travel between the western and eastern entrances.


However, if you prefer a quieter experience with fewer crowds, late spring (May to early June) and early fall (late September to early October) can be ideal. During these times, temperatures are cooler, and the park exhibits a serene beauty. It's important to note that the Going-to-the-Sun Road may have limited access during these shoulder seasons, and some facilities may be closed.


For those seeking a winter wonderland elopement, be aware that many park facilities are closed, and road access is limited. Winter elopements require careful planning and consideration of weather conditions.


Ultimately, the best time depends on your vision and the experience you desire, whether it's the lush greenery of summer, the tranquility of the shoulder seasons, or the snowy magic of winter.



Our personal recommendation for an elopement is during late July to early August. During this period, the park experiences mild temperatures, and the Going-to-the-Sun Road is typically fully accessible, providing you with unparalleled access to breathtaking landscapes. The lush greenery, vibrant wildflowers, and clear skies create a stunning backdrop for your elopement day. This time frame ensures that you can explore and capture the beauty of the park with ease, making it an ideal choice for a memorable and visually spectacular elopement experience.



The Going-to-the-Sun Road


The Going-to-the-Sun Road is the crown jewel of Glacier National Park, a scenic highway that winds through the heart of the park, showcasing some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the entire region. Completed in 1933, this engineering marvel spans approximately 50 miles and offers awe-inspiring views of glacial-carved valleys, pristine alpine lakes, and towering mountain peaks. What makes it truly unique is that it traverses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, providing an exhilarating experience for visitors. The road is typically open from late June to mid-September, weather permitting. Travelers can embark on a self-guided journey or opt for a Red Bus Tour, a vintage fleet that offers informative guided tours along the route. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is not just a route; it's an iconic adventure that immerses you in the unparalleled beauty of Glacier National Park.



The Red Bus Tour



The Red Bus Tour is a classic and charming way to experience the wonders of Glacier National Park. These vintage red buses, affectionately known as "Jammers," have been a symbol of exploration in the park since the 1930s. Offering a combination of comfort and nostalgia, the Red Bus Tour provides a guided journey along the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road. 


Passengers can sit back and relax while skilled and knowledgeable drivers, often referred to as "Jammers" themselves, share captivating stories about the park's history, wildlife, and natural features. The buses are designed with roll-back tops, allowing passengers to enjoy unobstructed views of the stunning landscapes and snap memorable photos.


The tour typically includes stops at key viewpoints and attractions, such as Logan Pass, where you can stretch your legs and take in the panoramic scenery. The Red Bus Tour not only adds a touch of vintage flair to your Glacier National Park adventure but also ensures a hassle-free and informative exploration of this pristine wilderness. It's a delightful way to appreciate the park's beauty without the need to navigate the winding mountain roads yourself.



2024 Vehicle Reservations


For the year 2024, it's important to note that a vehicle reservation is mandatory for three specific areas within Glacier National Park: Going-to-the-Sun Road (for westward access), the North Fork, and Many Glacier, all between 6 am and 3 pm. Keep in mind that each of these locations requires its own distinct vehicle reservation. However, visitors will still have the freedom to access the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east side at St. Mary and Two Medicine without the need for a vehicle reservation. This flexibility ensures varied entry options for an enriched park experience.


What You Need

May 24 through September 8 vehicle reservations are required for the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road and North Fork from 6 am to 3 pm.

July 1 through September 8 vehicle reservations are required for Many Glacier from 6 am to 3 pm.

Visitors entering the park in a vehicle or on a motorcycle in one of these areas during these dates need two things: (1) A vehicle reservation OR service reservation and (2)Park Entrance Fee OR valid Park Pass (Annual, Senior, Military, etc.). See details for Entrance Fees and Passes below.

The park is open 24/7 and visitors may enter vehicle reservation areas before 6 am or after 3 pm without a vehicle reservation. Learn more about visiting without a reservation.


Already Booked an Activity?

Visitors with lodging, camping, or commercial activity reservations (e.g., boat tours and horseback rides) within the specified reservation areas can use proof of their reservation for entry instead of a vehicle reservation to gain access to the vehicle reservation area for which they have a service reservation. See details below.


Do I need a permit to get married in Glacier National Park?


For any vow exchanges, elopements, ceremonies, weddings, or special events in the park, a Special Use Permit is mandatory. If your visit is solely for photography without ceremonies, a permit is not necessary.


Please be advised that certain areas within the park are undergoing road construction and infrastructure upgrades. Keep an eye on the Current Conditions page for specific information that may affect your plans.



Sunrise elopement



How Do I Obtain a Permit?


1. Download the Special Use Permit application.

2. Complete the application with exact details, specifying locations, times, and participant information.

3. Email the finished application to glac_sup@nps.gov.

4. Make the $125 non-refundable application fee payment on Pay.gov.

5. Upon receiving your application and payment, a Glacier employee will review it and send a preliminary permit for your review and signature.

6. Sign and return the preliminary permit within fourteen days via email to GLAC_SUP@nps.gov for final processing.

7. You'll receive a fully executed permit via email.

8. Have a printed copy of the permit on-site during the event and share it with service providers.


Glacier National Park Elopement Photographers


Glacier National Park Photographers


Reach out to us! We would love to guide you through all the procedures, share more about our beautiful state and document your special day. We are more than just your photographers. We will help you craft a day that reflects you and your partner. We want to create an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Let's get Adventurous!















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