Natural Beauty

A Glacier National Park Elopement


August 1, 2018
Words by Lauren Marshall
Photos courtesy of Marianne Wiest Photography

At first, Andrew and Lauren did not set out to have a destination wedding. The couple knew they wanted to have a small elopement in a location important to them. It was all about celebrating their love for each other without all of the stress that can come from having a big wedding. 

Montana holds a special place in their hearts. Andrew’s family has a home there and the two spend as much time in the tranquil mountains as possible.

“Since we look forward to growing old on a Montana porch together – there was no better place to get married,” Lauren says.

Everything seemed to be falling into place. The couple would be married in Glacier National Park, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Unfortunately, that summer was terrible for wildfires in the park, and the blaze forced the two to revert to a backup location.

“Then, two days prior to our wedding day, our backup location was evacuated. We considered postponing everything and getting married in the spring instead. Nevertheless, all of our arrangements were in place, so we decided to go ahead and make the best of the situation,” the pair says.

They left the logistics up to their resourceful photographer, who helped them navigate the twists and turns of last minute changes in location. In fact, the duo trusted their photographer’s opinion on taking pictures in a specific location, despite the smoke.

“We went with her suggestion and could not have been happier with how it all worked out. She was right, the smoke made for amazing pictures,” the bride says.

The couple ended up tying the knot on Belton Bridge, which was the original entrance to Glacier National Park.

A permit is required when getting married in Glacier National Park. Fortunately, according to Lauren and Andrew, that process was rather straightforward and easy to navigate. The pair also used the park’s online photo gallery of suggested locations, which they say was a great starting point, especially for planning the wedding from afar. 

Overall, the couple kept things as simple as possible. They relied heavily on email and texts to make sure arrangements were lined up and also took a trip to Kalispell about a month prior to the wedding.

“We used that trip to get our marriage license and to make sure we had everything in order – including hair, makeup, flowers, etc.,” Lauren says.

Despite the difficulties of making their Montana elopement happen, the newlyweds say they were proud of their ability to follow their hearts and persevere through the problems of the wildfires to do what felt right. 

“Sometimes that can be difficult to do, but never lose sight that this is your special day! We are thankful that we followed our desire to get married in a location that means the world to us. Looking back, we have no regrets,” the couple says.

When it comes to your wedding day, like this adventurous duo, don’t let anything get in the way of making your dreams happen.

Vendors: Photographer: Marianne Wiest Photography, Florist: Rose Mountain Floral, Cake: Just Desserts, Hair & Makeup: Reecia’s Salon and Spa & The Highbrow Beauty Bar, Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Reda by Nordstrom

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