How to Plan Weddings in Glacier National Park
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Weddings in Glacier National Park
(complete with pricing and photos)
Nestled up in the Rocky Mountains in northern Montana, Glacier National Park has long been the pride of the region, offering residents and visitors stunning views, remarkable trails, and an abundance of outdoor experiences to relish in.
Given the natural beauty of the park, it’s no mystery as to why some couples opt for weddings in Glacier National Park to be the ideal location for their nuptials, whether an elopement or a larger wedding. If you’re one of those couples, there are a few essential keys to planning weddings at Glacier National Park to make it as easy as possible.
How to Get a Glacier National Park Wedding Permit
Given the rising popularity of National Park weddings as well as the massive increase in elopements and micro weddings, it’s important that you go in with realistic expectations about the timeframes, availability, and possible waiting period required to book a wedding event in the park.
It is unlikely you’ll be able to snag a Glacier National Park wedding on a whim and elope in just a few weeks time. To help meet your expectations when it comes to planning weddings at Glacier National Park, here are a few factors to account for when it comes to getting a Glacier National Park wedding permit:
- Permit requests: These can take weeks or months to process, depending on when you submit one. The park has had an influx in permit requests which means it’s going to take longer to filter and approve them.
- Availability: Just because you want a date, doesn’t mean it’s available. Requests are likely filtered on a first come, first serve basis. Go in with realistic expectations, especially if you’re putting in a request for an ideal location or time of year.
- Covid-delays: Covid has proven itself to be an unpredictable beast, and park closures or staffing shortages can further delay the planning process.
Permit Specifications for Weddings in Glacier National Park
Once you’ve narrowed down where and when you’d like to be married (while remaining flexible with available times/dates), it’s time to submit your permit. Permits are mandatory for any weddings in Glacier National Park, even if it’s just you, your partner, and an officiant.
The National Park Service also recommends submitting an application no less than one month from your desired date, but no more than 12 months away. Between the increased number of elopement requests and staffing shortages, it may take some time to process. However, if the location/date you chose is not available, the Park service will call you and provide available locations/dates so that you don’t have to completely resubmit the permit application. Be ready for this call and be open-minded to changes!
You should fill out the Glacier National Park wedding permit application form with as much information as you can provide regarding your wedding. You should have an idea of what services (photographer, videographer) or the number of guests you plan to have. Be specific on your application about location as well as the time of your ceremony. Most locations allow for two hour ceremonies, maximum. You will need to submit this along with information about what equipment you plan to use, so make sure you thoroughly read the location descriptions to find out what you can and cannot have in the area. This will need to be submitted along with a $125 application fee.
Locations for Weddings in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park actually offers around 30 different locations across the park where couples can conduct their wedding. The smallest location, Kintla Lake, only allows for a maximum of 8 guests in total. This would include the officiant, photographer, guests, the couple, and any individuals part of the wedding. The largest locations (of which there are around 7) allow for a maximum of 30-50 guests, again including the couple, officiant, and anyone affiliated with the wedding.
Once you’ve decided how many people you’d like to have attend the wedding, you can consider a few other factors to narrow down your desired location.
Accessibility: Some locations are accessible only for walking, with no cars or wheelchairs able to reach the location. If you have elderly grandparents you want to attend, for example, these may not be ideal locations. The photos below show the locations that are pet friendly, as well.
Best Times for Weddings in Glacier National Park
Peak season and low seasons have different restrictions. For example, during peak season months, the Fish Creek Amphitheater has a maximum capacity of 30 participants, while in the low season, the maximum is 50 participants. The park considers the high season to be early May to Early October, and the low season runs from early October to the following start of May. Even still, some areas are only open during even more restricted months, like the Juniper River location, which is only available from June through October.
Facility Limitations for Weddings at Glacier National Park
This is a National Park, and as such, some places are restricted in their facilities available to visitors and guests. Certain wedding sites, like Ryan Beach, don’t have any access to things like bathrooms and trash cans, and visitors are expected to follow No Trace Principles, leaving behind zero evidence of their presence.
Restrictions for Weddings in Glacier National Park
Keep in mind that getting married in a National Park is not the traditional route for most, so you can’t expect to have the most traditional wedding. Some of the locations do not allow certain items and equipment. They may specify no tables or chairs may be brought in, or that you can’t have florals at a location. Perhaps they don’t allow amplified sound. Keep these in mind when picking where you want your ceremony.
Once you have your location decided and your permit is approved, nail down the final details! Make sure you thoroughly read and review all the important information available on the permit page, as well as the location page to make sure you’re following all the requirements. They make it pretty easy to figure out everything you need to know and do. The beauty behind Glacier National Park weddings is that with a smaller-sized guest size, the planning is so much simpler! Enjoy the exquisite beauty while exchanging vows with your significant other in a memorable location you’ll never forget.
If you would like to discuss your Glacier National Park wedding please CONTACT ME to discuss ideas!
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