Are you dreaming of an epic Montana elopement surrounded by stunning natural beauty? Montana is the place to go! I recently shot an elopement in Montana and was blown away at how magical it was. In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about where, when, and how to elope in Montana.

Montana elopement; Among the Pines Photography
Montana elopement; Among the Pines Photography

Why Elope in Montana

A Montana elopement is incredible for many reasons. Here’s why I love helping and joining couples eloping in Montana:

  • Its natural beauty is jaw-dropping, with over a hundred mountain ranges, glacial lakes, rushing rivers, and more.
  • There are countless picture-perfect Montana elopement locations, with something for almost every couple. 
  • Montana has 2 national parks and 9 national forests, which are ideal for outdoor adventurists.
  • The marriage application process is relatively simple, and anyone ordained (including me!) can officiate the ceremony.
  • There are tons of activities to enjoy after the elopement for an epic honeymoon experience.
Montana elopement at Hyalite Reservoir
Hyalite Reservoir; Among the Pines Photography

When to Have a Montana Elopement

Montana is gorgeous all year long, so you can’t go wrong any time of year. With that said, each season offers a unique experience.

A Winter Elopement

While winters in Montana look like a wonderland, it’s very cold and isn’t for the faint of heart. If you and your love enjoy the snow and want backdrops that look like a storybook, you’ll love having your ceremony in winter. Elope at Glacier National Park, and you’ll be surrounded by snow-capped mountain views.

Montana, snowcapped mountain
snow-capped mountain, Montana

A Spring Elopement 

A Montana elopement in spring can bring various experiences – all amazing! Early spring will likely still have some snow for beautiful surroundings without being as frigid as winter. Late spring gets a little warmer, flowers start to bloom, and the wildlife is abundant. The weather’s also great for an outdoor adventure elopement during spring.

Iceberg Lake, Montana
Iceberg Lake, Montana

A Summer Elopement

If warm, sunny days are what you’re looking for for your dream elopement, summer in Montana is perfect. It’s warm during the day with cooler evenings. The days are also longer, and there are so many gorgeous places to say “I do.”

Swan Lake, Montana
Swan Lake, Montana

A Fall Elopement

Montana offers a breathtaking colorful outdoor elopement during fall. Fall foliage and outdoor activities make this time of year incredibly special. There are also fun fall festivals for couples who enjoy local activities.

Livingston, Montana
Livingston, Montana

Let’s check out Montana’s weather by month:

MonthAverage LowAverage HighAverage Precipitation
January15.1°F32.8°F0.81 in.
February20.1°F39.5°F0.57 in.
March26.4°F47.6°F1.12 in.
April34.7°F57.5°F1.74 in.
May44.0°F67.4°F2.48 in.
June52.5°F78.0°F1.89 in.
July58.3°F85.8°F1.28 in.
August57.3°F84.5°F0.85 in.
September47.1°F71.8°F1.34 in.
October37.2°F58.9°F1.26 in.
November25.6°F42.7°F0.75 in.
December17.7°F34.5°F0.67 in.

For other adventure elopement locations, you might be interested in reading this article about a Colorado elopement.

How to Elope in Montana

If you’re interested in legally getting married in Montana, the steps are pretty simple:

  • Apply for your marriage license online with the county clerk for the destination you want to elope. Some counties require you to print out a form and bring it in person when you arrive.
  • Pick up your marriage license when you get to your elopement destination. If you’ve filled out your application online, you should be set with that. However, both parties will need to have additional documents in hand: driver’s license, birth certificate, and proof of divorce (if applicable).
  • You’ll also need to check to see if your venue requires any permits to hold your ceremony. This is necessary whether you elope in Montana or not.

If you’d rather keep things all fun and skip the legal stuff in Montana, you can always just do the elopement ceremony and get married on paper in your home state.

To learn more about how to elope, check out this ultimate elopement checklist.

Hyalite Canyon Reservoir, Among the Pines Photography
Hyalite Canyon Reservoir, Among the Pines Photography

Montana Elopement Locations

One thing these elopement locations in Montana have in common is that they’re surrounded by natural beauty. From mountain ranges and glistening lakes to green grasslands and abundant wildlife, every location is special. Whether you’re looking for a simple ceremony or an adventurous experience, there’s something for everyone!

Some of the top spots to elope in Montana are Glacier National Park, Kootenai National Forest, Bozeman, Lolo National Forest, and Lone Mountain Ranch.

Glacier National Park

One of Montana’s most iconic sites, Glacier National Park, is an incredible elopement destination. This 1,583-square-mile wilderness area boasts glacier-carved peaks and valleys and more than 700 miles of hiking trails. There are countless gorgeous backdrops for an elopement in Glacier National Park, including Lake McDonald, the Logan Pass, West Glacier, and East Glacier.

Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park

Kootenai National Forest

Kootenai National Forest offers an exciting elopement experience in Northern Montana. With many outdoor activities and unique rugged beauty, this is the perfect spot for an adventurous couple looking for picturesque views. There are so many places to tie the knot around the forest that it’s easy to find secluded spaces for an intimate ceremony.

Bozeman

For more outdoor adventures and beauty, Bozeman is incredible for a Montana elopement. This vibrant mountain town is filled with dramatic mountain hikes, rock climbing opportunities, and gorgeous parks. I recently shot an elopement at Hyalite Canyon Reservoir, which was breathtaking! There are also tons of unique hiking trails popular for saying “I do” and hidden gem destinations.

Bozeman, Montana; Montana elopement
Bozeman, Montana; Among the Pines Photography
Bozeman, Montana; Among the Pines Photography

Lolo National Forest

For a national forest elopement off the beaten path, Lolo is perfect. Lolo National Forest is situated in west-central Montana and covers two million acres. It’s an ideal destination for couples who enjoy hiking and camping. During the winter, there are also tons of fun winter sports.

Lone Mountain Ranch

For a convenient, romantic ceremony, Lone Mountain Ranch is an amazing place to tie the knot. Lone Mountain Ranch is in Big Sky, nestled between the Montana Rockies, rivers, and grasslands. Explore, say “I do,” and stay in a historic private cabin on-site.

Montana Elopement FAQ

Let’s take a look at answers to common questions to help you prepare for your elopement!

Montana elopement by Among the Pines Photography
Among the Pines Photography

When’s the best time to elope in Montana?

Montana is beautiful all year long! Summer and fall offer the nicest weather and stunning scenery, while winter and spring are chilly but beautiful.

Do I need a permit to elope in Montana?

Some locations for eloping in Montana do require a permit. You can do a quick search for a specific location to find out, or you can work with a photographer/planner (like myself!) who can help figure out these logistics. If you do need a permit, the cost is usually between $50 and a few hundred.

How much does it cost to elope in Montana?

Your Montana elopement can be as affordable or pricy as you’d like! Since there are so many incredible locations to choose from, it’s easy to work with just about any budget. Your elopement cost will depend on many factors, including your location, vendors, activities, and time of year.

Ready to plan your Montana elopement?

Montana is gorgeous and offers some of the most incredible backdrops in the country! If you’re ready to make the wedding of your dreams a reality, Among the Pines would love to help. 

I’m an adventure elopement photographer who can help you execute the perfect wedding day. Not only do I take photos to help you to remember your big day and share it with loved ones, but I also help assist with the entire planning process, including picking your location, sorting out the logistics, booking vendors, and more.

Client Praise

CHLOE + CONNER

Brooke is professional, prepared, and provides all the peace of mind that a bride needs on her wedding day. Because of our conversations leading up to the day, I had no doubt that she would capture every important moment and more. Throughout the day, she was present and helpful, but never overbearing or controlling. She beautifully captured the moments that happened naturally & her experience allowed for insight and ideas that I wouldn't have thought to ask for but that I'll now cherish forever! She is flexible, understanding, and patient, and looking back, we can't imagine our day without her. If you are looking for someone to capture your wedding day, or just any day, Brooke is your girl. She goes above and beyond to serve her clients, and she is absolutely gifted at what she does.

"SHE GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND TO SERVE HER CLIENTS, and she is absolutely gifted at what she does."

Emily + Nick

Brooke is hands down the most talented photographer I have ever met in my entire life. I gave her my inspiration and she took it and made it into something entirely unique and beautiful. Brooke was able to work with my budget and offer me options. Along with all of this, she was always there to communicate with me from ideas to concerns. The day of never goes as planned, she was thrown curveball after curveball and dodged them all with ease. The photos we received memorialized the best day of our lives and we are forever grateful for the beautiful artwork she created.

"we are forever grateful for the beautiful artwork she created."

ERICA & ZACH

Brooke was booked to do our wedding June 6th. However, the virus hit and we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to have our wedding in June so we decided to go ahead and get married with just our parents there. I called Brooke and told her our plans and literally we were getting married in a week and she was so quick to say yes and capture our day for us. She helped make our day very special. She was super fun and made Zach and I feel very comfortable. I got my pictures back and I felt so overjoyed to see the happiness and love I felt on that day. Even though we didn’t have our wedding like we planned, it was still very special and brooke was a big hand in that. She truly captured some very special memories that I will have for the rest of my life. 

"SHE TRULY CAPTURED SOME VERY SPECIAL MEMORIES THAT I WILL HAVE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE."

"Our wedding was in Kentucky in September. Brooke not only traveled for us but made a custom package for us because we had a unique situation. She took pictures the day before, and just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. She met with me before the wedding and we communicated a few times up to the wedding about my specific requests, and she hit the nail on the head. I am so very thankful for Brooke's story-telling, organic nature. She captured our wedding for exactly what it was and what I will remember it to be...full of joy, laughter, love and hope for the future!"

"I AM SO VERY THANKFUL FOR BROOKE'S storytelling, organic nature."

JENNA + JOSH

KRYSTAL & BRANDON

"She’s professional, creative, organized, kind, and just a blast to be around. She made my husband comfortable instantly in front of a camera so she’s a miracle worker too. We can’t stop staring at our photos! So many people keep telling us how amazing they are!”

"YOU WON'T FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER BETTER rounded than brooke!"

HAILEY & JARED

"She’s professional, creative, organized, kind, and just a blast to be around. She made my husband comfortable instantly in front of a camera so she’s a miracle worker too. We can’t stop staring at our photos! So many people keep telling us how amazing they are!”

"I WOULD CHOOSE HER FOR OUR BIG DAY again and again."

NATALIE & KEVIN

"Brooke is amazing! She captures every moment you could want and then some. She is fast getting your pictures to you, especially my favorite sneak peaks! I will definitely be using her again!"

"SHE CAPTURES EVERY MOMENT YOU COULD WANT and then some."

ALYSSA & HUNTER

Not only is Brooke an amazing photographer, but she is so fun and easy to work with! She made the whole process feel natural and comfortable for someone who typically feels awkward and weird while getting pictures taken! I love all of the pictures and I highly recommend Brooke as a photographer!

"SHE MADE THE WHOLE PROCESS FEEL natural & Comfortable."

ALI & KYLE

"That's exactly what Brooke does, she captures a story. No words needed. You can see it and feel it. You can remember the exact moment and how you feel for that person and see how they feel about you. Her intuitive eye has only gotten sharper. I can’t wait to see what other adventures await for her to capture."

"SHE CAPTURES A STORY, NO WORDS NEEDED. you can see it and feel it."

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