If you’re looking for an adventurous elopement in one of the most breath-taking states in the U.S., then you’re in the right place. As Montana natives & elopement experts- we know all the tips & secret spots to bring your dream Montana Elopement to life.
With 2 national parks & 9 national forests, Montana is home to a vast variety of landscapes including over 100 mountain ranges, lush green forests, waterfalls, glaciers, lakes & rivers. With trails accessible to every level & flourishing wildlife- Montana is THE place for the adventurous lovers to say, “I Do”. In this Montana Elopement Guide, we will go over everything you need to plan your big day in the Rocky Mountains.
Where to Elope In Montana
As America’s fourth largest state, there is no shortage of the great outdoors. Here’s a list of our 5 favorite hiking trails for Elopements in Montana:
Blodgett Canyon Overlook (Lolo National Forest)– A 2.8 mile hike- perfect for couples of every fitness level with a spectacular view at the end. And to our people out there who love wildflowers – do yourself a favor and hit up this trail in June!
Mt. Aeneas (Flathead National Park)– A 6.2 mile hike- best suited towards avid hikers. Featuring a gorgeous lake, lush vegetation & stunning views and if you’re lucky, you might even run into some mountain goats along the way! Be sure to bring bear spray and of course lunch to enjoy this view at the top. You can even camp at the lower lakes!
Avalanche Lake (Glacier National Park) – A 6.7 mile hike- fairly easy for most hikers. Featuring a crystal clear lake views & abundant wildlife (How to Elope in Glacier National Park).
Ousel Falls (Bozeman)– A 1.6 mile hike, great for all levels, featuring a stunning waterfall at the top. And let’s just say, it’s a stunning option for winter lovers too!
Beehive Basin Trail No. 40 (Big Sky) – A 7.1 mile hike- best suited towards experienced hikers and features views, wildlife, and a gorgeous lake.
When to Elope in Montana
Montana is one of the lucky states that gets to experience all four seasons, which makes for beautiful elopements all year round!
Summer in Montana usually lasts from July-September with mid-day temperatures ranging between the mid-70’s to low 90’s. Green grass & colorful wildflowers cover the landscape creating stunning views from the higher elevation trails, accessible only during these summer months. Because of the pleasant weather, summer in Montana is a popular tourist destination. Planning an early morning or mid-week elopement is recommended. Pro tip: for the love, bring bug spray!
A Montana fall is nothing short of amazing, with its painted landscape of orange, yellow and red. Beginning at the end of September- November, nature makes it’s preparation for winter. The weather can be variable during this season, but the beauty is unmatched.
Winter in Montana is a snow-bunnies paradise. If you’re a lover of winter sports, then you might want to consider a winter elopement! Montana features 17 ski resorts including Big Sky, Whitefish Mountain & Bridger Bowl- all within an hour drive of the airport. Coated in a blanket of white, you can’t go wrong with a winter elopement here in Montana. Be sure to wear warm winter boots and nude leggings under that dress!
There is nothing like a gorgeous spring day in Montana when nature begins to wake up after her long winter’s nap. With less crowds & lively wildlife, spring is one of our favorite months to capture. Similar to fall, however- the weather can be a bit unpredictable, so flexibility is key when planning a spring elopement. Don’t let that deter you though, we have some tricks up our sleeves!
How to Elope in Montana
Let’s get into the legalities of your elopement-
What paperwork will you need?
- Apply for your marriage license with the county your ceremony will be held. (Here’s a list of county courthouses)
- Pick up your marriage license. You will need the following documentation: Drivers license, birth certificate, military ID or passport, social security numbers, both sets of parents places of birth & full names (including mother’s maiden name), rubella blood test for the bride (you can opt out of this step by applying for exemption here), proof of divorce (if applicable.)
Who can officiate?
- The state of Montana recognizes online religious ordinations- which means you can be married by just about anyone, all you need are two witnesses! (i.e. Jake & I)
Vendors & Lodging
Located in southern Montana, and a short drive to Yellowstone National Park- Bozeman is the perfect place for an intimate elopement. Stay at the Lark Hotel– one of the coolest accommodations in Bozeman where you’ll enjoy a modern twist on the traditional Montana aesthetic. Located right on Main Street, you’ll have easy access to everything you might need. Pro tip: Bozeman has weekly open air concerts right on Main Street every Thursday evening in the summer.
Get pampered by the talented professionals at Ethereal Hair & Makeup & pick up your beautiful, custom bridal bouquet from The Wild Blume. After you say “I Do,” grab some grub at Rockin’ R Bar & try one of their delicious cocktails (huckleberry liquor is a must)!
Enjoy the rest of your stay in Bozeman by skiing, horseback riding, fly fishing, dog sledding (Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures) or go on a scenic hot air balloon ride (Endeavor Ballooning)!
Located in northwest Montana, Whitefish is only a 35 minute drive to Glacier National Park & home to Whitefish Mountain Resort. Enjoy your stay at The Firebrand Hotel and take in the view on the cozy rooftop spa & lounge. Grab some food on the way out at The Farmhouse Inn and Kitchen for the best breakfast in town (you have to try the avocado toast- so yum!). Pick up your gorgeous florals from Mum’s Flowers & visit Ty Nycole Hair & Makeup for all your beauty needs.
Whitefish offers so many fun activities for you to enjoy for the remainder of your stay including; a romantic helicopter ride, white water rafting, four-wheeling, skiing & ax throwing for the truly adventurous.
Located in western Montana, and just east of Lolo National Forest- Missoula is rich in history, gorgeous scenery and would make the perfect backdrop for your Montana elopement. Stay at the rustic Hip Strip Condo in the heart of Missoula. Within walking distance of shops & restaurants, you simply can’t beat the location. Top Hat is the place to go in Missoula to grab a bite to eat, listen to live music & have an all around good time.
Some of our favorite vendors in Missoula for all your bridal needs are; Agile Goat Flower Farm & Design, Burton’s Hair Co. & Skin Chic for makeup.
Finish off your Missoula elopement by going on a Brewery Hop (Draught Works, Kettlehouse Brewing Co, Tamarack Brewing Co., Conflux Brewing Company), a rafting tour, hiking in Lolo forest or mountain biking at Blue Mountain.
Located in southern Montana, Red Lodge is a small town known for its hospitality & country charm. Stay at Blue Sky Cabins where you can soak in a giant 2-person tub, while enjoying the breath-taking Montana landscape. Grab a bite to eat at the local Cafe Regis– with garden views & fresh ingredients.
Despite being a small town- Red Lodge has amazing vendors to help you get ready for your elopement. Appearance Plus Salon-Day Spa and Flower Garage will take care of all your beauty & floral needs.
While you’re there, make sure to drive the Beartooth Scenic Highway- a 68-mile road linked to Yellowstone with unbeatable scenery of mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes & wildlife. Horseback riding, skiing & golfing are other popular activities in Red Lodge.
As Montana’s Capitol- Helena is rich in history. With Mount Helena as the backdrop, there’s no shortage of great views and hiking trails. Stay at the Oddfellow Inn & Farm for a romantic, vintage style cottage in west Helena full of charm & character. Grab some brunch at Steve’s Cafe known for their delicious pancakes & hot chocolate.
Head over to Helena Hair & Make-up to get all dolled up and visit The Floral Cottage for your bouquet.
While there, visit the historical Cathedral of St. Helena, the Capitol building or walk the trails of Helena City Park. The best part of Helena is the Downtown Walking Mall, an open air mall with the coolest little shops. A fan favorite is The Parrot, an old-time candy shop you won’t want to miss.
Montana is the outdoorsy couples paradise. With endless hiking trails, snow-capped mountains, and crisp air, a Montana elopement is nothing short of amazing. Whether you choose a secluded mountain top, or icy waterfall- the beautiful Montana landscape will have you shouting, “I Do.”
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