Both from Tennessee, Ali and Tyler-Moss decided that their first-ever trip to Glacier National Park in Montana would be the trip that they took to elope in these beautiful Mountains. They were originally thinking of eloping in the Yellowstone area but when Ali stumbled upon photos of Glacier National Park, she just knew in her heart that this was the place they were meant to vow forever to one another.
From the time I first talked to Ali on the phone to the night of their elopement when I was dropping them off at their hotel, I was consumed with thankfulness that I get to work with such wonderful and kind people.
Since they had never been to Glacier National Park, they were completely unsure of what the best places were to elope and explore. So, I sent a variety of timelines and locations to help them land on an elopement day that felt like the perfect representation of their dream wedding. We landed on a ceremony at the Avalanche Creek Campground followed by a hike to Avalanche Lake in the west side of Glacier. It truly couldn’t have been a more beautiful choice for them!
That morning as I was packing my bags and loading my car, the parking lot was illuminated by lightning and you could hear the occasional rumble of thunder. I picked up Ali and Tyler-Moss from their hotel at 5:40am, before the sun was even thinking of rising, and they were all smiles and looked absolutely wonderful. They were rays of sunshine that outshined my shadow of a doubt with the stormy weather tried to peek through.
On our way to their ceremony spot, we made a pit-stop on the shore of Lake McDonald near Apgar Village. There wasn’t a soul around and there was a beautiful blue tone to everything as the light from the sun hadn’t quite made it over the mountains yet. I loved watching the two of them take it all in and experience some quiet moments together before their ceremony.
We made another stop along the Going to the Sun Road to show them some of the beautiful blue water of McDonald Creek. When we were creating the plan for their day, I wanted to allow for plenty of time for moments like these – to soak in the scenery and enjoy the views rather than rushing around and letting things like this pass us by. I knew their time for their visit was limited and wanted to make sure that their elopement day included the time to appreciate the very park they chose to elope in.
Pictures are only a small glimpse at the scenery, smells, sounds and grounding that comes with visiting the park. You can never fully explain the beauty of Glacier National Park to someone who has never been there before – it’s an experience. That’s why it was such a blessing to get to watch them experience that for the first time. It’s something I, as a local, am reminded to not take for granted. So we made sure to include extra time for exploration and taking it all in.
Around 8am we met their officiant, Tom Paris at the Avalanche Creek Picnic Area. The morning light was soft and beautiful and the area was quiet. Tom put together a beautiful, touching ceremony message and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get choked up when Ali and Tyler-Moss said their vows to one another. During big weddings, there can feel like there’s even more pressure to write the perfect vows and worry about other people’s opinions, but during elopements, I love that two people can just speak from their hearts because it’s just the two of them.
Funny story – in the midst of all of their excitement about being husband and wife, we all completely forgot about the most important document, the marriage license! Luckily, the officiant was planning on going on the same hike as us following their ceremony, purely by coincidence, and found us in the parking lot before we hit the trails. It was a fun moment and I loved seeing how much other vendors in Montana love hiking and taking in the beautiful landscape, too.
After we got all of our gear ready, we put on our packs and headed along the Trail of the Cedars to the trailhead of Avalanche Lake. How have I not mentioned that they brought a box of Krispy Kreme and a bottle of champagne to enjoy at the top?! Ali carried the box of donuts the entire way up and I think it made just about everyone’s day to not only see a married couple along the trail, but to also see that their celebration breakfast of choice were Krispy Kreme donuts – I’m telling ya, these are my people right here!
The temperature was perfect and the trail was fairly empty compared to what I expected on a holiday weekend. I loved dropping back a bit and getting photos of the two of them exploring together and making their way to our destination. Although the magic of Glacier never fades, there’s a new magic that comes from seeing the place all over again through the eyes of couples that I get to work with.
We made it to the top and dang, don’t these two just look absolutely stunning?! You can’t even tell they just took a hike. Now it was time for them to pop some champagne and enjoy some delicious donuts for a picnic breakfast along the shore of one of my favorite lakes in the park.
One of my favorite parts of the day outside from capturing these two was seeing the joy that it brought people to see that Ali and Tyler-Moss hiked to Avalanche Lake in their wedding attire! Some even took pictures and I just had to take a photo so that y’all could experience this cute moment right along with me. Whenever we passed someone on the trail and they would ask how we were doing, Tyler-Moss would proudly announce that he was fantastic because he’d just gotten married and it was my favorite thing to hear over and over again.
After their picnic along the shore of Avalanche Lake, we spent some time getting portraits of these two in front of these beyond epic views – taking breaks to “ooh” and “ahh” at the little things we noticed about the landscapes we were surrounded by, such as hidden waterfalls and interesting wildlife.
And, of course, in true photographer fashion, I had to get detail shots of their rings with a Krispy Kreme donut and the champagne bottle!
We said a final goodbye to the lake and headed back towards the car. The world was awake and the trail was crowded with people, but we were on a high from their beautiful elopement morning hike, the sights we saw, and the vows they spoke to one another.
I loved getting to know Ali and Tyler. I’m beyond honored that they chose me to help them plan an elopement day in a place they’d never visited. It was so much fun spending the day answering questions about the park and showing them some of my favorite spots! This was a day they will never forget, but little did they know it meant just as much to me.
That night, as if the day couldn’t get any more epic, we relaxed along the shore of Lake McDonald and watched the Northern Lights dance across the horizon. See all of the photos from that epic happening here!
Ready to plan your adventurous elopement in the legendary Glacier National Park? Reach out and let’s get to it!