Let's talk about elopement locations. The best part of eloping is the ability to do whatever you want! So when you’re thinking of places, it’s okay to think outside the box. Glacier National Park is a favorite for many of my couples. With an abundance of stunning views and clear glacial lakes, the park is a hotspot for couples pledging their love for each other. But with its popularity with not only couples but also travelers coming to the park on vacation, Glacier NP can be crowded and make for a less personal and non-private experience on your elopement day. 

This is where thinking out of the box comes into the picture! Getting married at a venue is an excellent option for a ceremony. Some venues will offer a discounted rate for small intimate weddings and elopements, but something to be aware of is that they may not allow intimate weddings or elopements on weekends. Another option for an elopement location is a state park. To have an elopement in a State park, you may need a permit, and there could be a fee. Some parks do have day-use areas and shelters that can be reserved. Check out the Montana State Parks website for more information.

Another suggestion for a perfect elopement location is on Forest Service Lands. Forest Service Lands can lend to some beautiful wilderness without the crowds. Did you know that the US Forest Service manages 193 million acres of land compared to the 85 million acres of land dedicated to National Parks? When planning your elopement on any public land, knowing the rules and fees of each area is crucial. Each state and location has its own permits and regulations, so if you have multiple locations in mind, check the rules and regulations of each one. Leave No Trace principles should always be followed when planning and elopement on public lands.

Fire Lookout Rentals

What is a fire lookout tower? A fire lookout tower is a small building built at the summit of a mountain or at a high vantage point. From these high vantage points, a fire lookout, usually a volunteer with the Forest Service, can check for any smoke that might develop and call in the location of a potential fire. While many fire lookouts are “manned” during the summer, lots of them are not and the forest service allows these to be rented by the general public. You can secure these fire lookout reservations through Recreation.gov. There are also a few fire lookout rentals on Airbnb and firelookout.org that are pretty awesome!

Alabama natives, Abby and Caleb decided to have their elopement in the great state of Montana. Abby is a nurse in the Navy, and Caleb is a college student that works at a local bagel shop and is a serious bagel genius! They wanted a location that was out of the box with breathtaking views. We landed on one of the local fire lookout towers overlooking the reservoir. Abby and Caleb love enjoying the great outdoors and hiking, so the fire lookout was a perfect fit for them!

We started the day at their cute Airbnb just west of Kalispell. After helping Abby with her dress and getting some of the detail shots, Caleb and Abby did a first look outside. Abby was stunning in her full lace dress with cap sleeves and a lace-up back, and Caleb looked dapper in his blue suit and fedora. After leaving the Airbnb, we met up with their officiant Elisheba and headed to the fire lookout. We parked just down the hill from the lookout and made the trek through the trees to the top of the mountain. The fire lookout had a guest named Karen, a volunteer from the forest service, staying at the fire lookout. She was kind enough to let Abby and Caleb come up and take in the breathtaking scenery. They had never been to a fire lookout before; it is an experience they will remember forever. 

Speaking of Elopement Locations...

Caleb and Abby’s ceremony was held in a meadow of wildflowers at the base of the fire lookout. The bees surrounded us, but not one of us was stung. We called it a sign of good luck! After saying I do, these two were full of laughter and rejoiced in their first dance as husband and wife in the sunshine at the top of the mountain. After departing the ceremony location, we stopped at a hillside covered in beargrass for a small picnic. We had to cut our stop here short due to the sheer amount of mosquitoes. We literally got eaten alive! Caleb and Abby enjoyed their beautiful cake and champagne before we went down the mountain. We stopped at a spot farther down the hill with fewer mosquitoes and a flawless view of the Great Northern Mountain, perfectly draped in alpenglow. Caleb and Abby signed their marriage license, took some selfies, and popped some champagne. We even caught a beautiful sunset out over the valley. 

After a long day in the mountains, we drove back to town to find food, which is non-existent in Columbia Falls after 9 pm. We ended up at the local grocery store to find some food to satisfy our hungry bellies. We ended Caleb and Abby's day with impromptu photos in Super 1, a local grocery store. Talk about a fun end to a perfect day! Want to plan your adventure elopement in Montana but need some out-of-the-box elopement ideas? Check out my blog, 5 Adventure Elopement Activities in Montana That Don’t Require a Hike.

Searching for your Elopement Photographer still?

Are you looking for an elopement photographer for your day? I would love to chat! Please feel free to reach out through my contact page. I am booking elopements up to a year in advance and would love to get you on my books!

Photography: Jennifer Vernarsky Photography

Officiant: Lichen and Pines LetterPress 

Florals: Rose Mountain Floral

Cake: Mountain Mama’s Cupcakery 

Elopement Vendor Collective:  Elope Montana