Eloping in Montana - Lake McDonald
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Eloping in Montana – The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Are you looking for an exciting way to tie the knot?

Look no further than eloping in Montana! With its stunning landscapes, romantic ambiance, and diverse activities, Montana is an ideal destination for a unique and unforgettable elopement experience.

From snow-capped mountains to wildflower-filled meadows, you and your partner can experience the beauty of nature and the thrill of saying “I do” in the gorgeous state of Montana.

This ultimate guide will tell you all the important things you need to know, as well as give you some great ideas for your big day, so you can get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime!

Eloping in Montana – A Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re considering eloping in Montana, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you plan the perfect elopement.

We will go in to more detail further on in the article.

1. Get Your Marriage License

First things first, you are going to want to make your elopement in Montana legal!

So it’s time to get your marriage license.

In Montana, you must apply for a marriage license at least three days before your wedding.

You can apply for your license at any county clerk’s office in the state.

You’ll need to provide proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or passport, and pay a fee.

2. Pick a budget

Before you can start planning your perfect Montana elopement, you are going to have to know how much you are willing to spend.

When all those fun and exciting wedding ideas start flying around, you are going to need to know when to hold back or when it’s okay to say “yes!” to the idea.

Although elopements are often cheaper than traditional weddings, not having a budget in mind can really allow things to escalate.

So do this next!

See our post on how much an elopement costs.

3. Pick a date!

You can’t plan your Montana elopement until you have a date in mind!

You are going to want to consider a number of factors, here: how quickly you want to tie the knot, the weather if you are going to do it outside, any availability of guests you definitely want at your elopement, when you can get time off work, and also if you need to save up any money in advance.

4. Choose your elopement location

Now the fun really begins! Picking a great location for your elopement in Montana is key.

And, rather wonderfully, Montana is full of incredible places to elope, so take some time to explore the options and find the perfect spot for your special day.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded mountain hideaway or a romantic lakeside ceremony, Montana has it all.

Scroll further down for some of the top elopement locations, or see our full guide on the best places to elope in Montana!

5. Create the perfect Montana Elopement ceremony and reception!

Now you now where you are going to elope in Montana, you need to figure out how you want the elopement ceremony to go.

Do you want to use traditional vows or create your own, do you have certain music you want to use, do you want certain people to do readings? It’s entirely up to you!

That’s part of the fun of an elopement!

Have a think about the reception afterwards, if you choose to have one.

Do you want a party, do you want to go and eat at a restaurant, do you want some home-cooked food around a table with your closest frailly and friends?

It’s entirely up to you!

And don’t forget what you’re going to wear!

Are you going to wear a traditional wedding dress or tux?

Or do you want somethings less formal?

Elopements are often very personal events that allow the couple to show off their personalities.

Have a think about what kind of outfit you really like and that you feel great in!

6. Find an Officiant

Now that you have your marriage license, it’s time to find an officiant.

In Montana, you can choose from a variety of officiants, including a judge, a minister, or a justice of the peace.

Make sure to book your officiant well in advance to ensure they’re available on your wedding day.

You can find a list of officiants in Montana on the state’s website.

You can also ask your local courthouse for a list of officiants in your area.

You’re going to want to pick someone that understands elopements, understands your ceremony style, and that you feel comfortable running the ceremonial part of your day.

This is a really important decision, as the Officiant can really set the tone for the ceremony.

Be sure to ask around and look for reviews.

7. Book the vendors, accommodation and travel!

If there is any part of the elopement you don’t want to handle yourself, or if your family and friends won’t be helping you with them, you will need to hire vendors.

You can hire people to help you with food, flowers, decorations and music.

You will also need to consider any accommodation you need for your Montana elopement, especially if you are traveling from far away.

You’ll also need to consider your guests in this.

You’ll also want to consider hiring a Montana elopement photographer and/or videographer.

8. Enjoy Your Special Day eloping in Montana!

Once you’ve planned all the details, it’s time to enjoy your special day!

Eloping in Montana is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

From the stunning scenery to the romantic atmosphere, Montana is the perfect place to tie the knot.

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How to have the Perfect Montana Elopement

Let’s break out some of the steps above in to more detail, so you can really be on-the-ball when it comes to planning your elopement in Montana!

Make it legal! – Legal Requirements for Eloping in Montana

First, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license.

To do this, you’ll need to visit your local county clerk’s office and fill out an application.

You’ll need to provide proof of age and identity, such as a driver’s license or passport.

You’ll also need to provide proof of residency, such as a utility bill or bank statement.

There is a $53 fee for the marriage license, which is non-refundable.

It’s important not to skip this step or leave it to the last minute!

Without a marriage license, any ceremony you hold will not end up in a legal marriage!

Keep an eye on the budget – How much to spend on a Montana Elopement

When it comes to budgeting for an elopement in Montana, the most important thing is to know what you want.

Do you want a big and extravagant wedding or a simple and intimate ceremony?

Knowing this will help determine how much you should be spending.

Once you’ve decided on a budget, the next step is to determine how much you should be spending on each item.

To do this, start by deciding how many guests you want to invite and how much you’re willing to spend on each guest.

Once you’ve set a budget for each item, put together a checklist of all the things you’ll need.

This can include things like the venue, wedding dress, flowers, photographer, food, and more.

When it comes to eloping in Montana, the cost of your venue will play a major role in your budget.

If you’re looking for a truly unique ceremony, you may want to consider a private ceremony at one of Montana’s many parks or wilderness areas.

These locations often require a permit and may be more expensive than a traditional wedding venue, but the beauty and privacy of these locations make them well worth the expense.

When budgeting for a Montana elopement, make sure to factor in transportation costs.

Depending on the distance between your hometown and the location of your elopement, you might need to rent a car or even fly.

If you’re flying, you’ll need to factor in the cost of flights and hotels.

When it comes to your elopement, you’ll also need to consider the cost of an officiant.

Even if you’re eloping, you’ll need an officiant to make it legal.

The cost of officiants varies depending on the location, so make sure to do some research and find a price that works for your budget.

Finally, don’t forget to factor in the cost of a wedding photographer.

A wedding photographer is essential to capturing the special moments of your elopement.

Look around for a photographer that fits your budget and can capture the beauty of your special day.

A Montana elopement budget can vary significantly depending on what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for a simple and intimate elopement, you can likely get away with spending less than $1000.

If you’re looking for a more extravagant elopement, you could be looking at spending upwards of $5000.

Regardless of what kind of Montana elopement you’re looking for, budgeting correctly is essential for making sure your special day doesn’t break the bank.

Do your research, set a budget, and stick to it.

Good luck with your Montana elopement!

The Best Places to Elope in Montana

Montana is a breathtakingly beautiful state, full of wide open plains, deep blue lakes, majestic mountains, and picturesque forests.

Whether you’re looking for a remote and wild elopement or something more traditional, you’ll find the perfect spot in Montana.

Let’s take a look at the top options in this gorgeous state.

If you want to take an even deeper dive in to the best locations, check out our full guide on the best Montana elopement locations, where we provide options for all budgets and elopement styles!

Glacier National Park

There’s no better location than at the stunning Glacier National Park.

With its breathtaking views, glaciers, and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder why this park is one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations.

Couples can explore the park’s many trails and lakes, or take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Lake McDonald.

Whatever you choose to do, the natural beauty of the park provides a stunning backdrop for your special day.

Montana Lake McDonald
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Yellowstone National Park

Another great natural spot is Yellowstone National Park.

With its rolling hills, stunning canyons, and hot springs, it’s hard to find a more beautiful place to get married.

There are many amazing viewpoints and walking areas to choose from, and can even take a dip in the hot springs.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, Yellowstone National Park is the perfect location.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Montana.

With its deep blue waters, stunning sunsets, and spectacular mountain backdrop, it’s no wonder why it is one of the most popular locations to get married.

Couples can enjoy stunning views of the lake while they exchange vows, or take a romantic walk along the lake’s shore.

With its breathtaking scenery, Flathead Lake is an ideal spot to tie the knot.


Missoula is a charming city located in western Montana.

With its quaint downtown area, stunning mountain views, and unique restaurants and bars, it’s no surprise why it’s such a popular location for exchanging vows.

Couples can explore the downtown area and take in the city skyline, or take a romantic stroll through one of the city’s many parks.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional or more adventurous elopement, Missoula has something to offer.


Whitefish is a picturesque mountain town located in northwest Montana.

With its stunning views of the nearby mountains, vibrant downtown area, and numerous outdoor activities, it’s no wonder why this town is such a popular destination for elopements.

Enjoy working your way through the downtown shops and restaurants, take in the beautiful mountain views, or take a romantic stroll down the boardwalk.

Whitefish is an ideal spot to get married and create lasting memories.

Big Sky Country

Montana is known as Big Sky Country for a reason.

The clear blue skies and vast open landscapes make it a perfect spot for your dpecial day.

Whether you’re looking for a quaint, rural setting or a breathtaking mountain view, Montana has it all.

Waterton National Park

Located in the southwestern corner of the state, Waterton National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Montana.

With its rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, and pristine lakes, Waterton is the perfect place for an intimate ceremony.

Bighorn Mountains

Last but not least, the Bighorn Mountains are an ideal place to host your day.

The mountains offer stunning views of the Rockies and provide a peaceful setting for your union.

Whether you’re looking for a rustic mountain ceremony or an elegant evening celebration, the Bighorn Mountains are the perfect choice.

These are just some of the many amazing places to elope in Montana.

No matter what kind of elopement you’re looking for, you’ll find the perfect spot in this stunning state.

So grab your hiking boots and get ready to tie the knot in one of Montana’s most romantic locations.

Designing your Montana Elopement ceremony and reception

If you have chosen a specific outdoor location, consider what natural elements might make for a beautiful backdrop.

If you are having a traditional wedding, create a ceremony structure which reflects your style.

Consider which readings, songs, and rituals you would like to include.

You may also want to decide on a dress code.

Most elopements are casual, but you may want to include a more formal look.

It is also a great opportunity to make use of the landscape and find a unique way to express yourselves.

Talk to your guests, and if possible, find a dress code which speaks to all.

When it comes to the reception, you can create a space that is both cozy and contemporary.

Consider your seating arrangement, the food and drinks, and of course the music.

You may also want to think about other decorations, such as centerpieces, flowers, and candles.

Whether you choose to keep it small and intimate or invite a large group of guests, you’ll want to make sure everyone has a memorable experience.

Depending on the size of your wedding party, you can choose to rent out a cabin, host a picnic on a ranch, or dine in a rustic barn.

If you have a smaller reception, why not choose an outdoor venue such as a meadow or a lake?

You can create a special atmosphere for your guests by providing seating, decorating with wildflowers, and setting up the perfect lighting.

For larger groups, a ranch or a barn can provide enough room for everyone to enjoy a meal, play some games, and dance the night away.

Finally, designing a Montana elopement is all about making it unique and special for you and your partner.

Make sure that your elopement ceremony and reception reflects who you are as a couple.

Design something that you will cherish for years to come, and that your guests will remember fondly.

Consider incorporating Montana-inspired traditions in your ceremony or reception.

You can have a special “lasso” ceremony in which the officiant ties a lasso around the couple’s wrists to symbolize their bond.

Or, provide your guests with a taste of Montana by offering local wines, craft beers, or even cowboy boots and hats to wear.

With the right decorations, food, and music, you can create a truly unforgettable Montana elopement experience.

Finding a Montana Elopement Officiant

Finding an officiant for your elopement in Montana can be a daunting task.

There are so many different choices, and each officiant has their own unique style and approach to performing weddings.

You want to ensure that the person you choose is the perfect fit for your elopement.

First, it’s important to understand the legal requirements for your Montana elopement.

You need to make sure your officiant is licensed to perform weddings in your state.

Even if you’re eloping in a remote part of Montana, you still need to make sure your officiant is licensed in the state.

Next, you’ll want to narrow down your choices.

Start by making a list of your must-haves – do you want a religious or non-religious ceremony?

Are there any special requests you might have, such as special readings or traditions?

Knowing what you’re looking for will help you narrow down your search.

Do some research and make sure you’re comfortable with the officiant’s style and approach.

Look online for reviews and testimonials from couples who have used their services.

If you’re having a religious ceremony, you’ll want to be sure the officiant is comfortable with the faith you practice.

Once you’ve found an officiant you’re comfortable with, it’s time to meet with them.

Ask questions to ensure that you’re both on the same page.

Plan to discuss your expectations, any special requests you might have, and the overall timeline of your elopement.

You’ll also want to ensure that they have a plan in place in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as inclement weather.

With the perfect ceremony and the right person to officiate, your elopement in Montana will be a beautiful and meaningful experience that you’ll both cherish for years to come.

Choosing Vendors – Pick a Montana elopement photographer and videographer

This is your wedding day!

You are going to want to capture the moment with beautiful photographs and videos.

That’s where a Montana elopement photographer and/or videographer comes in.

With the right photographer and/or videographer, you can make sure that your special day is frozen in time and that you’ll be able to look back on it fondly for years to come.

When it comes to finding an elopement photographer or videographer in Montana, you want to make sure that you find someone who is experienced and knowledgeable.

Look for someone who has worked in the area before, so that they are familiar with the best locations for capturing the beauty of eloping in Montana.

You also want to make sure that the photographer or videographer you choose is comfortable shooting in the outdoors, as many elopements in Montana take place in the great outdoors.

It’s also important to have an elopement photographer and/or videographer who is able to capture the moments that you want to remember from your special day.

Ask them about their portfolio and see if it matches your vision for the elopement.

And don’t forget other vendors.

Are you going to have any catering?

What about flowers?

What about music?

These are all things you will have to figure out.

If planning your elopement is starting to sound overwhelming, you could consider hiring a wedding planner who specializes in elopements, or taking out a Montana elopement package.

It will cost, but they will take all the stress away, allowing you to focus on your wedding day.

Accommodation and Travel for your Montana Elopement

Don’t forget travel and accommodation for both you and your guests!

If you are traveling from far away, or even if you just want to spend a day or two where you are eloping, you are going to need to consider accommodation, as well as how you’re going to get there.

It’s essential to find a location that is both comfortable and affordable.

Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel or a rustic cabin, Montana has a variety of options to choose from.

Popular cities like Missoula, Bozeman, and Whitefish offer a range of options from romantic resorts to quaint bed and breakfasts.

If you’re looking for a more remote and intimate experience, Montana also has plenty of options for camping and glamping.

From cozy cabins to remote campsites, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot for your elopement.

There are also plenty of breathtaking backcountry locations that offer the perfect setting for a memorable elopement.

The great part about eloping in Montana is that it’s easy to get there.

Montana has a number of airports and major highways that will make your journey to and from your elopement stress-free.

Many cities around Montana offer car rentals, so you can easily explore the state and its many attractions at your own leisure.

Montana also has plenty of public transportation, so if you’re traveling on a budget, this is a great option.

Your elopement in Montana should be the most memorable day of your life and finding the perfect travel and accommodation options will help make the day even more special.

Montana offers a range of options to fit any budget and with its stunning landscapes, it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Be sure not to skip this step and leave it to the last minute – make sure to choose the perfect lodging and travel options for your perfect day.

Have a great day! – Enjoy eloping in Montana!

In conclusion, Montana is an ideal place to elope, offering breathtaking landscapes and intimate ceremony opportunities that are sure to create beautiful memories.

Whether you want a big wedding or something more private and special, Montana has something for everyone.

So if you’re looking for a romantic and memorable experience, eloping in Montana is the perfect way to make your dreams come true!

Other Resources

Be sure to see our full guide on the best places to elope in Montana to go in-depth and to see more options than we could show you here.

Still getting ideas on where to elope? Check out our other Ultimate Guides on…

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