Erin of On the Fly Films is a one of a kind filmmaker. We discuss her path to get where she is today PLUS – ALL THINGS GLACIER. Two experts, one badass conversation. Everyone creating a pros and cons of eloping in Glacier list should added these ASAP.
Pros and Cons of Eloping in Glacier
Glacier is one of the largest national parks IN AMERICA, so obviously there is a lot to talk about. For us, it’s home. It’s in our backyard. For our couples, Glacier is the type of gorgeous where you can step out of the car and it literally takes your breath away. Erin’s couples ask all the time if she ever gets sick of filming in the same spots every single time and the answer is a resounding NO. Glacier Park is its own beast. It’s not the same when we go back. Glacier will bring you anything and everything and you gotta be prepared for it. GNP is different and wild. Even seasonally, it’s so different. Can you elope in Glacier National Park? Hell YES! We are going to discuss how, when, and alllll the wheres.
PRO – The Seasons of Glacier
We hear often, “when’s the best time of year to get married”. The answer is typically spring or fall, not too hot, not too cold, not too much inclement weather. HOWEVER, Glacier is the exception.
Erin shares, “I’m in the middle of the season I’m like ‘oh this is my favorite season ever’ and then the next season comes and I’m like, ‘no this is my favorite!’” There are pros and cons of eloping in Glacier in each season. As the photographer/videographer, at some point every season, we start itching for the next one. We have already enjoyed the fun snow Glacier park wedding photos and we are ready for the sun. Then we enjoy all the warm days and next look forward to getting out of the heat. For our couples who make a magical weekend out of it, there is truly never a bad time.
Erin says one of her favorites is when, “one day it pours the whole time and you’re like this is amazing. I just love the rain so much. Know that if it rains on your wedding day it’s still going to be beautiful!” Rain, snow, sleet, mud, wildflowers, sunshine, hot as balls. No matter what it is, Glacier will bring you the weather and it’s gonna be totally OK.
CON – Glacier Can’t Help That She’s So Popular
Glacier is becoming popular and for good reason! It’s truly a gem. In recent years, there has been a surge in content about Glacier on Instagram and TikTok. This alters the idea that you’re eloping in the mountains by yourself. However, perspective is everything. Make sure you hire a videographer/photographer that knows how to do a good job at not showing passerby in your content. If you’re not afraid of having an audience, the other visitors are very nice and aren’t afraid to shout how beautiful you are!
Be aware that there are changes being made to accommodate the increased visitor count. One of those is the ticketing system, which in our humble opinion, is a pain in the ass. When wondering what are the disadvantages of eloping, this is for sure it.
Key facts are:
July 1-September 10 reservations are required for east side entrances including Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and Going-to-the-Sun Road from Rising Sun from 6 am to 3 pm.
Purchase tickets and review the website here.
Don’t be one of those people that go all the way out there just to get turned away. Go online 60 days in advance to sign up for the date you want.
While you might be thinking you can skirt the system and go in before 6AM or after 3PM, word to the wise – even at 5:00 in the morning, there is a solid line to get in. Plan ahead and get the tickets.
Also, a perk to having Honeybee Weddings on your side. We will be the ones clicking and refreshing every 10 seconds to get you your entry. You have enough on your plate, the ever evolving Glacier rules don’t need to be one of them!
PRO – Boat Rental
If you haven’t noticed yet, we are big boat babes. These vessels look great for every bride and you’re on a mothertrucking boat. WINNING ALL AROUND! Pop the champagne and break out the charcuterie. Our Glacier boat ride picks are either Two Medicine or Lake McDonald. Glacier Park Boat Company operates in both! They have been operating scenic boat tours on the lakes of Glacier National Park since 1938 with their goal being to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to visitors at Glacier National Park. They are an environmentally conscious family-owned company dedicated to protecting and preserving the exceptional beauty of the Park. Climb aboard one of the historic wooden boats or take a kayak out on the lake and experience views only available from the water! Check out my Lake Tahoe Hiking Elopement for sunset boat insp.
PRO – Horseback Riding – Cowboy take me away!
We love horseback riding in Glacier. It just takes you back in history. Over a hundred years ago, the Park’s tourism industry began with visitors embarking on their adventure with the Great Northern Railroad. From the train depots, they spent days or weeks touring the park from horseback and staying in the magnificent lodges, quaint chalets, and rugged tent camps- all intentionally placed a day’s horseback ride apart. Swan Mountain Glacier is located in Many Glacier, Apgar, and Lake McDonald, cowgirl up for this incredible experience.
On our list of pros and cons of eloping in Glacier, the variety of activities is one of our biggest PROS!
Best Areas of Glacier
Erin shares that her favorite thing about Glacier is “that you can drive up and you’re in the most beautiful spot in Montana. This is different from most experiences in Montana where you have to discover hidden spots. In Glacier, there are a mix of good spots that are right off the road, perfect for people that don’t want to hike.
For all our hiking elopement couples, take note that we love you. Us two women will hike with you everywhere! Let’s see the wildlife! We love a good mountain goat visit and are always prepared in the event we cross a bear’s path. Hasn’t happened yet, but we are ready for it!
When to Go
Months – While all seasons are great for elopement magic, there are benefits to the shoulder seasons (May, June, Late September, and October). Parking is crowded in the summer. Many visitors sleep there from June through Labor Day weekend. It can feel like an amusement park at times!
Days –If you think you’ll be eloping on a Saturday, we’ve gotta have a chat. Everybody goes on the weekend so Monday through Thursday is better, and Wednesdays are the most quiet.
What we love about Glacier is that there are so many beautiful places outside of the park for your wedding photography. If you aren’t dead set on being in the park, let us show you the world. So many of the coolest hikes around Montana are just outside of Glacier National Park. There are other areas that aren’t as busy. You can make it more intentional and secluded without losing the beauty.
Erin’s advice, “oh gosh stick around if you want to get married outside of the park and then go inside of the park for some extra photos and video. I would venture around the West Glacier area. There is so much to see and so much to do. One of my favorites is Hungry Horse Reservoir. It’s gorgeous and you can look right at Great Northern. Get married down on the Flathead River then stop by Polebridge, it looks right into the park, cutest little town.” My foodie tip – stop in the Polebridge Mercantile for out of this world Huckleberry bear claws. You won’t be disappointed!
if you’re flexible with location, you could get ultimate seclusion
Bowman Lake is one area that is more secluded no matter the time of year. Approximately one mile wide and eight miles in length, this peaceful lake offers a front country campsite at its head and a backcountry one at its base. The Polebridge Mercantile is the only nearby store, so stock up on your camping supplies (and bear claws!).
A picnic area provides day use visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful lunch, and there are day hiking opportunities near Bowman Lake for hikers eager to experience Glacier’s wilderness. Fishers, canoers, and kayakers will enjoy the recreational opportunities Bowman Lake offers.
I love visiting Bowman lake when the PINE trees start to turn yellow, nothing beats it! I’m telling everybody that these PINE trees are changing color and most people don’t realize how cool this is. Mother Nature is just doing her magic. Another pro on our pros and cons eloping in Glacier!
Why You Need to Hire a Glacier Experienced Photographer/Videographer
There is a LOT that goes into Glacier. You have to be overly comfortable with shooting in the elements and with changing landscapes. Also the Glacier Park rules around the reservation systems and ceremony spots – not just for the vibes, but because there are restrictions on how many people can fit in each spot. Another Glacier experienced perk is knowing realistic drive times. Google maps doesn’t understand Glacier and they will lie to you. The last thing you need on your elopement is the stress of not being able to maximize your time and get to experience everything you had hoped!
If you are at the beginning, wondering where is the best place to get married in Glacier National Park, let our location matchmakers help you! There are endless possibilities and it can be overwhelming. Leave it to locals to present you several options that will fit your unique vision! One of the many reasons elopement packages are worth it!
Leave No Trace
Eloping in Glacier photographers are also advocates of the no trace principles. You can learn the seven principles here. As long as you remember to be a good fucking person, you should be set! I also have an entire blog dedicated to conscious tourism, I encourage you to check it out for all outdoor elopements.
Specialty GNP elopement photographers know all the local spots to hit up after you’re done with your elopement. Crack open a beer and have a good time! We also are acutely aware of sunrise and sunset times which do vary pretty drastically depending on the time of year. If you want that summer sunset, it’s 11 PM folks, let’s plan accordingly!
There’s a lot of photographers out there who can be flown to Glacier National Park but they just don’t know the area like we do. Hiring a local not only reinforces the economy of the area (money spent on us, is money we spend in Glacier!) and you’re really giving back to the area that you were traveling to. Montana and tourism have taken off like crazy and we rely heavily on it.
To watch our full conversation which contains EVEN MORE Glacier elopement spots and photographer tips, check out our Climb with Kelsey YouTube on the pros and cons of eloping in Glacier.
If you are READY to start your own planning, we put together a full guide on How to Elope in Glacier National Park!
To book Erin, drop her a line at On The Fly Films. For more of our elopement photography, contact us. If you are down for two crazy talented women together, to scare off bears, have a great time, and create some EPIC magic of your elopement, let’s make it a foursome! That’s definitely the pros of eloping in Glacier!