In 2022, I was invited to photograph Stone Family Field Trip for Allen Stone, where I proceeded to meet some of the most amazing, genuine, music-loving people I’ve ever come across. I returned to Stone Family Field Trip this year, garnering all new friends, bands to be a fan of, and continued relationships with the fun people I’d met the year before.  Sometimes, my wedding bookings come from what I would consider the strangest of places and in this case, it was born out of a relationship with my now friend Marquie and her two beautiful twins, who I met at the festival (and who are absolutely Allen Stone super-fans, but aren’t we all?).

When Marquie wrote me months after SFFT about photographing her wedding, I was absolutely ecstatic. When I learned that they were holding a Glacier National Park wedding, well, I was ecstatic times a million. Glacier National Park has always been on my list of places to visit, but due to the remoteness and the difficulty of traveling to Montana (honestly, it’s easier to get to Europe from Reno y’all), I simply hadn’t made the time.  Thanks to Marquie and her now husband, Joshua, I had the opportunity to take 10 days and explore the wild remoteness that western Montana has to offer and I’m here to encourage you to do the same.  Glacier National Park is STUNNING, not to mention, it’s an unparalleled backdrop for a ridiculously gorgeous wedding portrait. It’s got majestic peaks, breathtaking mountains that stack on each other as far as the eye can see, expansive lakes, wilderness for days.  Whether you consider yourself to be an outdoorsey adventurous go-getter or simply stick to the road more traveled, it’s still an unforgettable experience. If you’re interested in a Glacier National Park wedding, Marquie and Josh did it right – I’ll give you a few tips on preparation in between all their gorgeous photos.

Summit Mountain Lodge Wedding

While a Glacier National Park wedding might seem alluring, I suggest you do what Josh and Marquie chose to do.  By opting to host a Summit Mountain Lodge Wedding, they were able to offer the ease of being adjacent to the park, but without the hassles of National Park permits, at a venue that allowed all their guests to stay on site.  Holding your Glacier National Park wedding at a venue just outside the park can really take some pressure off the planning process (read: no permits / less expensive). Summit Mountain Lodge offers an upscale rustic lodge nestled in the nearby woods, only 20 minutes from the Two Medicine Area of Glacier National Park.  It made the entire process stress free and seamless.

For couples who still dream of exchanging vows within the park’s pristine landscapes, it’s essential to understand the park’s regulations and secure the necessary permits. While the process may involve some additional steps, thorough preparation and clear communication with the park authorities can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free wedding day. Familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines for hosting events within Glacier National Park, including any restrictions or requirements that may apply to your chosen wedding location.  If you simply wish to exchange vows OUTSIDE the park the way Josh and Marquie did, and want to enter with your photographer for photos only no permit is necessary.  

In addition to planning your wedding, consider providing your guests with a comprehensive guide on navigating Glacier National Park. Include driving routes from the selected venue to popular park attractions, nearby accommodations, and suggested activities for their leisure time. Offering insights into must-see landmarks, scenic trails, and wildlife viewing areas can help your guests make the most of their visit and is a fun thing to include in their wedding welcome gift bags. Whether they’re nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, or simply looking to unwind amidst breathtaking scenery, guiding your guests through the park can enhance their overall experience and leave them with unforgettable memories.

Make the most of your Glacier National Park wedding

Honestly?  The answer to this is sunrise ceremony.  Josh and Marquie did it right: they woke up early, had an absolutely stunning sunrise Summit Mountain Lodge wedding, followed by formal family portraits and wedding party portraits, after which we absolutely stuffed our faces with breakfast burritos and coffee.  After that, their guests had the opportunity to go explore the park on their own and we tromped off to hit all the scenic locations for an adventure wedding portrait session.  We started our day at Lower Two Medicine Lake with views of Mt. Sinopah in the background.  We trekked the short hike into Running Eagle Falls, which offered a stunning location for my favorite photos of the day.  We then drove north to the eastern entrance of the Going to the Sun Road, stopping along the way whenever we saw vantage points that piqued our interest. We finished at Logan Pass for some epic high views before returning back to Summit Mountain Lodge for their evening reception.

Things you need to know: you need a vehicle reservation for each entry point to the park.  Reservations open exactly 120 days in advance.  To enter both Two Medicine and Going to the Sun Road, you would need a separate reservation for each entry.  If you do not secure a reservation ahead of time, a limited number of reservations open the day before at 6 PM.

Venue: Summit Mountain Lodge | DJ: Kosmic Radio Entertainment | Attire: Margene’s Bridal and Dillards | Videographer: Videos with Sammi

Make a Montana Road Trip out of it!

If you’re going all the way to Montana, you need to explore all that Big Sky Country has to offer.  I flew into Spokane, WA (out of ease of direct flights from SMF), and started my trip in Coeur D’Alene.  From there, head 4 hours to Whitefish, where rustic charm and a perfectly walkable ski town greats you at the edge of a pristine lake. It had smaller Lake Tahoe vibes!  From there, make sure you have a reservation to drive Going the Sun road and enter from the western side to drive east bound.  Continuing southward, the vibrant city of Missoula awaits, offering a blend of outdoor recreation, cultural attractions (I saw a free symphony in the park when I was there!), and a bustling arts scene that leaves visitors captivated by its eclectic energy thanks to the proximity of this large university and all the students. Make sure you float the river in the middle of town – any number of the shuttle companies is great, but I used the Clark Fork Yacht Club.

Moving eastward, the route leads to the lively city of Bozeman, renowned for its proximity to outdoor recreational havens and its vibrant downtown teeming with trendy eateries and shops. As the expedition progresses, a one night stop in the “fantastically weird” town of Butte is an absolute must.  I changed my entire itinerary. Butte feels like a town that time forgot, steeped in the rich legacy of its mining past. Visit the Copper King Mansion. While you’re at it, make sure you read Empty Mansions while you tour under Montana’s big sky. Finally, the journey culminates in Helena, the state’s capital, where a blend of cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, and a welcoming community spirit create an unforgettable finale to an enriching Western Montana road trip.