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7 Things you need to know about getting married in Montana

Anyone can officiate as long as the couple getting married believe that person is qualified to solemnize their marriage. Most people choose to pick someone who has been ordained, is a member of the church, or a government official

Marriage licenses are good for 180 days. You can go online and apply for the marriage license and pick it up at the courthouse when you arrive in Montana. The cost is $53. Both parties must be in attendance to pick up the license. Yes, you can get your license in Missoula County and get married in Mineral County. It doesn’t have to be the same county, but most people, for convenience’s sake, get their license in the county they will be getting married. You have 30 days to file the completed marriage license. Your officiant can drop if off for you and it will take about 2 weeks for you to get your official license. If you take it in yourselves they will give you your license right then and there.

If you are going to get married in the park, you will need a special use permit and make reservations depending on the location. You will want to apply for this as soon as possible as it could take some time to process. Most locations only allow up to 15 people for the ceremony. If you just want pictures, you will need to check with your photographer on permit rules for what type of pictures they are going to be taking. Make sure you pick a local photographer who is familiar with the park’s rules and regulations. They will also know all the right spots for those amazing pictures! For the most updated information on getting married in Glacier National Park Click HERE

This is probably the hardest part of planning a destination wedding, I highly recommend you contact a wedding planner/coordinator to help guide you through all of this. They are going to know the vendors in the area and will make sure that you are getting a quality vendor. You are going to spend a lot of money, because of this you need to make sure that you can trust who you are hiring. A planner will ensure that the vendor has a good reputation, is licensed, insured, and meets the qualifications of businesses in Montana. So many times, I see people reaching out to anyone on wedding boards on Facebook and everyone jumps on their post trying to get business. Most of these people are just starting out or do not have a legitimate business. So beware. If you are the planning type and like to do everything yourself here are a few sites with a list of vendors: they have all been vetted and are going to be your best bet.

Western Montana Wedding

My Montana Wedding

Cheers Montana

I’m always going to say, you need at least a month of coordinator with a destination wedding! With this you plan your whole wedding yourself, you pick your vendors. You have someone as your point of contact to ask questions and get legitimate answers from throughout your planning process. A month or so out, the coordinator will make sure everything is in order and there was nothing left out. They will go over the timeline and coordinate with all the vendors to ensure everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when. They will be there to walk you through the rehearsal to make sure everyone knows what is happening during the ceremony. And they will set up and tear down the day of your wedding and make sure everything goes smoothly. This is the last thing you want your family and friends to be doing. You want them to enjoy the day!! They didn’t travel all this way to work and not have all the fun!

Overall, Montana is less expensive than a big city. But it’s not as inexpensive as it was 5 years ago! You can thank Yellowstone! The hidden gem of the US has been found. Because more and more people are getting married in Montana the vendors have had to increase their pricing due to demand. Also, Covid has not helped this situation at all! Costs have naturally gone up in price over the last 2 years. But the location you choose is going to also play a part in what your wedding is going to cost you. Glacier, Whitefish, Kalispell, Big Sky, Bozeman are all going to be more expensive than places like The Bitterroot Valley or Billings.

Now with cost, I’m going to tell you when you do a google search and ask what the typical Montanan spends on a wedding, it’s going to say around $15,000-16,000 or $150/per guest. Keep in mind this is local, they are probably getting married on a relative’s property and have a very modest catering menu, minimal flowers, and decor, and under 100 guests. The more people you invite, the more your wedding is going to cost. Realistically plan on at least $250/per guest to come up with your budget. I’m not saying you CAN’T do it for that much but be realistic about what you want and what you can afford. A lot of those pictures on Pinterest are super pretty but very expensive!

If you are planning a wedding for May or June, you will probably get your snow-capped mountains in the background. If you are looking at Mid-July and August, there’s a very good chance you are not going to get that. This also depends on where you are planning your nuptials. But pretty much anywhere, August, the beginning of September is going to be hard-pressed to find what you are looking for unless we had a very crazy winter and not very hot summer. And honestly, the best time to get married in Montana in late September – October! It’s cool, no real fire dangers, fewer tourists, and many vendors have off-season pricing which is lower than the busy months of May-August.

Yes, we have fire season. July/August it can get pretty smokey. There is no way to predict this. But understand there may be fire restrictions in place during the summer months. And they can come instantly without warning. This means no open flames, no regular candles, no sparkler send-offs, no bonfires, no fireworks. Venues are strict about this sort of thing…and for good reason! You don’t want to be the party that burns down Montana!

For more information about having your destination wedding in Montana, contact