Glacier National Park Elopement Location | Complete Guide to 2024

Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer

Hi! It’s Lucy, your colorful and knowledgeable Glacier National Park elopement photographer. In this guide I’ll go over everything you need to know to plan an incredible outdoor elopement in Glacier National Park. I’ve been to dozens on National Parks, and Glacier easily stands out as one of the best and most beautiful. I legitimately drooled on myself while touring this mountain dream. Read on for the step by step planning checklist, details about each ceremony location, sample timelines and where to stay!

Glacier National Park Ceremony Sites – Where to Elope in Glacier

There are over 16 designated ceremony sites in the park, not counting the developed amphitheater sites. There are 3 in Many Glacier, 3 in Two Medicine, 3 in the St. Mary area, 2 in the central mountains and 7 around the shore of Lake McDonald. I’ve visited all these sites and here is the scoop! If you would like to see more photos, contact me!

Lake Josephine Ceremony Location – Many Glacier

Accessed by a 1 mile mostly flat (until the end) hike, this lakeshore location is right next to the boat dock. The best times are early mornings or late afternoon here. There are beautiful views of Mt Gould across this peaceful lake.

  • 15 people maximum
  • no chairs allowed
  • Bathrooms only at Many Glacier Lodge 1 mile away

Swiftcurrent Lake Ceremony Location – Many Glacier

A flat, half mile paved path leads along the shore of the beautiful swiftcurrent lake, overlooking the stunning Mt. Grinnell Peak. This elopement location is ADA accessible.

  • 15 People maximum
  • Up to 4 chairs allowed
  • Bathrooms only at Many Glacier Lodge 0.5 miles away
  • Must notify Many Glacier Lodge when planning your ceremony here.

The Green at Many Glacier Lodge Ceremony Location – Many Glacier

Located right outside the Many Glacier Lodge, this spot is about as busy as its gets. The views of Mt. Grinnell are amazing, and the access is very easy. For those with guests that can’t move much, this is a popular option as it is ADA accessible.

  • 15 People Maximum
  • No chairs allowed
  • Flushing bathrooms are right there
  • Must notify the lodge when planning

Running Eagle Falls Ceremony Location – Two Medicine

The only waterfall ceremony location in Glacier is a short, easy walk through the forest. You’ll cross a small bridge and Running Eagle falls will come into view. The shore is made up of colorful pebbles, and while it is a busy area, this is a great ceremony option for couples with kids.

  • 15 People Maximum
  • 4 cars maximum
  • No chairs allowed
  • Pit toilet Bathroom at trailhead
  • Wheelchair accessible

Pray Lakeshore Ceremony Location – Two Medicine

Even less busy than Two Medicine lakeshore, this quiet spot is surrounded by campgrounds and big mountains. The shore is easy to access from your vehicle and even has a few log benches already there.

  • 30 People maximum
  • 4 – 6 cars maximum
  • 4 chairs allowed
  • Pit toilets nearby in campground

Two Medicine Lakeshore Ceremony Location – Two Medicine

There are a few picnic tables at this lakeshore, which feels untouched even though you can drive right up to it. The shore is a wide, pebble beach with mountain views all around.

  • 15 People maximum
  • 4 cars maximum
  • Pets are allowed on leash
  • No chairs allowed
  • Pit toilet bathroom nearby

Sun Point Ceremony Location – St. Mary

A short hike over rocky terrain will reward you with big, high up views of Lake Mary and the mountains of Glacier. The view to the west is amazing, making it one of the more popular ceremony choices. Best in the early morning.

  • 20 People maximum
  • No chairs allowed
  • Pit toilet at the parking lot

Rising Sun Picnic Area Ceremony Location – St. Mary

An easy walk through the forest brings you to the shore of Lake Mary, where you may have your ceremony below the high-water mark. You’ll be right on the lake with views to the south of Red Eagle Mountain. There are services very close by at Rising Sun.

  • 15 People maximum in summer, 20 People maximum in winter
  • Up to 4 chairs allowed
  • Pit toilet at the parking lot
  • Sometimes closes due to wildlife activity – bears and wolves!

1913 Ranger Station Ceremony Location – St. Mary

While this isn’t the most scenic ceremony site in the park, this area is quick to access from the east side town of St Mary and does allow chairs, making it unique. The unpaved gravel road that leads to this meadow alongside historic ranger cabins may open as Late as June due to snowpack.

  • 20 People Maximum
  • Up to 4 chairs allowed
  • No pit toilet

Big Bend Ceremony Location – Near Logan Pass

This is the quintessential ceremony location and the best spot in the park! Perfect for intimate ceremonies, the views here are incredible. It takes a scenic drive from either side of the park entrances to reach this spot. There are waterfalls nearby and often wildflowers- another name for this spot is Paradise Meadow. Choose this location!

  • 10 People Maximum
  • 4 cars maximum
  • No chairs allowed
  • Ada accessible
  • Only accessible July to mid September

Avalanche Creek Picnic Area Shoreline Ceremony Location

A riverside ceremony location next to one of the busiest areas of the park, this spot is quiet but parking can be tight!

  • 15 people maximum in summer, 20 in winter
  • 4 cars maximum
  • Pets allowed
  • No chairs allowed
  • Pit toilet in the parking lot

Lake McDonald Lodge Beach Ceremony Location

Located right behind the Lodge, this rocky pebble beach also serves as the boat dock for tours of the lake. This is a busy area and not as private as the other shoreline locations around lake McDonald. But this is the biggest of the mountain views around lake McDonald as you’re closer to the peaks.

  • 15 People Maximum in summer, 30 in winter
  • 4 to 6 cars only
  • Pets allowed
  • Up to 4 chairs allowed
  • Must notify the lodge when planning your ceremony here

Sprague Beach Shoreline Ceremony Location

This location truly is a beach, with a beautiful forest path leading from the small parking area to the sandy shore. The beach is more peaceful than at Lake McDonald Lodge with extremely similar views.

  • 15 People maximum in summer, 20 in winter
  • Pets allowed
  • No chairs allowed
  • Pit toilet nearby
  • Very limited parking; 4 cars maximum

10 Mile Pullout & 7 Mile Pullout Ceremony Locations

This pair of ceremony locations have similar views. 10 Mile pullout is also called Jackson Bay and 7 mile pullout is called Sandy point. They both have very limited parking, but offer great privacy. The shoreline is very narrow and like all the lake McDonald area ceremony sites, your event must take place below the high-water line on a durable surface (rocky pebble beach.)

  • 15 People maximum in summer, 20 in winter
  • Up to 4 chairs ok
  • 4 cars maximum
  • No Pit toilets

Apgar Picnic Area Shoreline Ceremony Location

At the base of this lake, the busiest beach has several nearby amenities. Gift shops, cafes, and bathrooms are all just a stone’s throw away. It’s best to plan an early morning elopement here to avoid most of the crowds. The colored rocks beneath the water are the highlight here.

  • 15 People Maximum in summer, 20 in winter
  • 4 cars maximum
  • Pets allowed
  • No chairs allowed
  • Flushing bathrooms nearby

Ryan Beach Ceremony Location

A more private shoreline than Apgar but with similar views; this location can be difficult to find if you don’t know the way. A short forested path leads down to the shore of Lake McDonald. You can be seen by the crowds of tourists at apgar, but you’re separated by a river.

  • 15 People maximum in summer, 20 in winter
  • Up to 4 cars maximum
  • 4 Chairs allowed on the beach
  • No bathrooms nearby

Locations Outside of Glacier National Park

Though the area surrounding Glacier National park is riddled with mountains, there aren’t many places where you could just bop up and have your ceremony outside of the park. Much of the land is remote, inaccessible, or privately owned. I know of two spots that could work for your ceremony if you are unable to secure a ceremony from the park.

Map of Glacier National Park Elopement Locations

I’ve created this handy dandy custom map of all of Glacier’s ceremony locations for both eloping couples and elopement photographers! Now it’s for sale, so you can plan the most incredible elopement in Glacier. Those that book me as their Glacier National Park elopement photographer get access to this key resource. This gives you a top down view of the whole park and you can see where all the photo spots are that you’ve been drooling over. In case of backup plans, having this at your fingertips will help you pivot without stress.

About Lucy – Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer

I’m a colorful Glacier national park elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and my cats. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Glacier is my very favorite National park, and I’ve been to a lot of them! Maybe I’ll see you there!

How to Elope in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has over 16 designated ceremony sites plus amphitheaters. This means to elope, have a vow renewal, microwedding or ceremony of any kind, you will need to pick from their pre-selected sites. But that’s ok! Many of the ceremony sites are incredible, with mountain and lake views to die for. Before or after your ceremony, you can explore anywhere else in the park with your Glacier National Park elopement photographer. In addition, you will need an officiant and a Montana marriage license. More on that later!

When to Elope in Glacier National Park

Summer is king here in Northern Montana, with wildflowers, running waterfalls, warm temperatures, epic hiking and the risk of wildfire smoke. The central road that connects the east and west districts of the park is only open in the short summer season. To make the best of your trip to Glacier, plan for a July to September elopement.

Step by Step guide to planning a Glacier Elopement

Planning an elopement is a whole lot more like planning a trip or vacation than it is an event or wedding. Wipe the slate clean and throw out everything you think you need for a “wedding.” Ahhhh. That’s better! Eloping in the wild outdoors is pretty simple when it comes down to it. Just follow these steps!

  1. Select a date and hire your Glacier national park elopement photographer who has visited the park.
  2. Conspire with your photographer & apply for your SUP (ceremony permit).
  3. Build out a timeline and book activities, accommodation, and rental car.
  4. Hire any additional vendors, such as flowers, hair, makeup, and an officiant. Make food plans like you would for a date.
  5. Pick up your Montana marriage license and elope!!

2024 Glacier National Park Elopement Packages

I offer All inclusive Glacier National Park elopement packages or photography & planning only options. There are no travel fees, download fees, watermarks or other hidden fees. These prices are for 2024.

2 Day elopements in Glacier – $9900

1.5 Days of Glacier elopement photography – $7900

1 Full day adventure elopement in Glacier – $6900

How to Apply for your Glacier National Park SUP

A special use permit, or SUP, is required for you to reserve one of the ceremony sites in the park. You’ll need to know which location and what time you want your ceremony to be before applying; only two ceremonies are allowed at each location per day. I’d love to help you plan by advising you on what time will be best. Apply at least 3 weeks in advance. Download the application here. This will cost $125 and from there, your planning will really take shape!

Glacier National Park Timed Entry

I know what you’re thinking – what about timed entry?? If you have a camping, lodging, activity or special use permit within the park, your confirmation serves as your timed-entry requirement. You can enter the park at any time for that date. Otherwise, timed entry is required between the hours of 6am and 3pm for Going to the Sun Road, Two Medicine, North Fork and Many Glacier during the summer. These entry reservations are $2 and can be bought either 6 months or 1 day in advance by visiting Insider tip: Log in early and update your payment card information so you’re ready to go when the window opens precisely at 8:00am MST. These reservations go FAST!

Do I need an Officiant in Glacier National Park?

While Montana law does require an officiant to legally sign your paperwork, anyone over the age of 18 may get ordained online and perform your ceremony! I’m already ordained, and I’m ready to sign as your officiant to save you more money. If you’d like to hire a professional officiant – especially if you are including religious traditions – you will want to budget at least $1000 for this service.

How much does it cost to Elope at Glacier National Park?

Of course the answer is that it varies! National Park elopements can be inexpensive or luxury depending on your preferences. Your marriage license is $55, the special use permit is $125, and everything else is up to you. Be spendy on the things that matter to you – do you like to relax in the lap of luxury, or are you ok with just a place to sleep? Do you want the best gourmet steakhouse meals, or a packed lunch?

$500 to $5,000 – Your wedding attire and alterations
$5,000 to 9,000 – Your Glacier National Park photographer
$125 – Your Special Use Permit
$55 – Your Montana marriage license
$90 – A National Park pass and timed entry reservations
$400 to $2,000 – Activities and excursions within the park
$700 to $4,000 – Accommodations
$1000+ – Professional officiant
$500 – $1500 Flowers by a florist
$500 to $800 Car rental

= $7500 to $23,500 not including flights and food

How much time do we need to Elope at Glacier National Park?

Anything less than a full day would be cutting your incredible day way too short. There is so much to see, do, and explore here in Glacier, you will absolutely want a full day to enjoy it without stress. I know you’re traveling to Glacier anyway, so consider spending 1.5 or even 2 days eloping here.

Sample Timeline for a Glacier National Park Elopement

6:00 Share thermos coffee at sunrise at Wild Goose Overlook. Change into your elopement attire on a blanket behind your car.
7:30 Get married at Big Bend in the wildflowers. Eat huckleberry cake for breakfast right there.
8:30 Arrive at Logan Pass and begin the epic hike to Hidden Lake. Look for mountain goats and their kids!
10:00 Photos at Hidden Lake. Read some letters from your loved ones and try not to cry.
11:30 Eat a packed lunch at the goat observatory deck. Get your National park passport stamped.
1:00 Explore the west side of Going to the Sun road, taking in all the scenic views
2:30 Relaxing bot tour on Lake McDonald
5:00 Steakhouse dinner at Apgar.
7:30 Slurp huckleberry ice cream cones as you walk hand in hand at the shore of Lake McDonald at sunset
Explore the waterfall trails at east glacier, or go horseback riding, or hike to Avalanche or Iceberg Lakes, or paddleboard Lake McDonald

What is there to see in Glacier National Park?

Outside of the designated ceremony sites, you can explore the rest of the amazing scenery this park is known for. If you’re into hiking, the hikes to Avalanche Lake, Hidden Lake, Grinnell Glacier, or Iceberg Lake are some of the best. There are also lots of waterfalls. Virginia Falls, St Mary Falls, and the cascades can all be found on one trail! The Wild Goose lookout and Logan Pass areas are great for drive-right-up jaw-dropping views. Lake McDonald is famous for its colorful stones- red, orange, pink, purple, white, black and every shade of orange.

What to do in Glacier National Park

While Glacier is known as “Hiker’s Paradise”, Hiking isn’t the only thing you can do to explore Glacier’s magnificent scenery. Taking a red bus tour on the restored historic vehicles is an iconic experience. You can also go horseback riding, paddleboarding or kayaking on lake McDonald, go birdwatching or camping. There are boat tours, guided hikes, rafting activities and opportunities for fishing. Which of these activities would YOU include in your best day plan?

Going to the sun road

In the middle of the park, the Going to the Sun Road connects the eastern St Mary side to the west Apgar/Lake McDonald side. The road traverses the most spectacular mountain scenery EVER. It’s a narrow winding road with epic views in every direction. Huge waterfalls like Birdwoman are visible only from this road. Leave extra time to stop and gawk at all the stunning scenery you will find, and stop at the high elevation Logan Pass Visitors Center to grab a souvenier.
IMPORTANT: Going to the Sun Road closes from October to June due to snow. Logan Pass, Big Bend, and many of the hikes and waterfalls are NOT accessible during that time.

Where to stay for a Glacier National Park Elopement

Choosing where to stay should be heavily based on what ceremony location you choose! Keep in mind that it takes over 2 hours to drive from one side of the park to the other, so select your ceremony site first and then base your accommodation on that. Staying inside the park is the best way to avoid unnecessary traffic delays and timed entry requirements, so look into the park lodges first! There are also two backcountry chalets you can hike into! If you’d like more privacy and fewer shared walls, check out my list of Airbnbs near Glacier National park.

Info About Glacier National Park’s Geography

Glacier is a very large national park. In fact, it’s the 12th largest in the USA – 5th largest in the lower 48. So you should definitely look at a few maps to familiarize yourself with all the areas of the park – and how far apart they are. Lake McDonald on the west side is a popular area, with a few lodges and gorgeous views over the lake. North of that, the Polebridge area is barely visited. On the southeast side is Two Medicine, a quiet area with just a few hikes. Then there is Many Glacier, also on the east side- a hiker’s playground. This youtube video gives an in depth overview and details about every area of the park:

Make me your Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer:

This National park is on the homeland of the Blackfeet nation.

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