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Montana: Land of Big Sky

Words by Courtney Cox

I recently visited Big Sky, Montana and was impressed by the destination’s vast offerings in terms of weddings, accommodations and activities. Big Sky boasts the largest ski area in America at roughly 5,600 acres. At Big Sky Resort, summertime activities include biking, archery, zip line, skeet shooting and even a tram adventure to the top of Lone Peak. If you and your guests are visiting this piece of American paradise, fly fishing and white water rafting on the Gallatin River are a must.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to accommodations, but our personal favorite is Lone Mountain Ranch, a scenic 60-minute drive from Bozeman following the original Lewis and Clark trail. The land was first homesteaded in 1915 and was opened as a guest ranch in 1927. Some of the guest cabins are original to the ranch with lodgepole pine interiors and comfortable amenities. The ranch can accommodate up to 75 guests across 24 cabins, making a destination wedding buy-out a real possibility.

“Lone Mountain is the root of Big Sky,” says Lone Mountain Ranch General Manager, Paul Robertson. The ranch strives to keep those Montana traditions alive by offering world-class fly fishing and horseback riding. Guests can book four-to-seven night packages and, while peak season is May through August, the locals’ favorite is September when the weather is still beautiful, the area is less busy and the Yellowstone wildlife is more active.

If a cabin in the woods isn’t quite your cup of tea, you might consider renting a luxury home with a comfortable view. Big Sky Luxury Rentals has homes for rent ranging in size from two bedrooms to 10,000 square-foot homes that will sleep 22. This would make a high-end and cost-effective option for wedding parties. Go the extra mile and hire local favorite, the Hungry Moose Market, to make a custom grocery delivery prior to your arrival to have that chef’s-worthy kitchen fully stocked.

What might surprise you is Big Sky’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park. The gate to enter West Yellowstone is less than 50 miles away. Treating your guests to a pre-wedding day trip to Yellowstone will not only make for great bonding time, but will leave them breathless after sites like Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic. Tour America’s first national park, established in 1872, with Yellowstone Luxury Tours and you’ll be treated to a picnic lunch and expert information from your professional guide. Traveling to this part of the country and not seeing Yellowstone equates to a missed opportunity – it’s worth the time to appreciate sweeping natural scenes, dramatic waterfalls and seemingly endless wildlife.

I’ve always found that the higher I am in elevation, the more my spirits are lifted. Despite traveling the world-over, I continually find myself returning to this land of big sky, rugged ranges and open spaces. I can’t imagine a more magical place than Montana to be married and I think you will agree.

For a round-up of places to say “I do” in Big Sky country, visit destinationido.com/big_sky_weddings.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Lone Mountain Ranch (1st, 3rd and 5th), Courtney Cox (2nd and 4th), Chris Kamman (6th), and Big Sky Luxury Rentails (7th).

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2016 issue. You can order a copy here.

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