Plan A Wedding In Montana By Charles Moll Photography

Ultimate 2024 Guide: How to Plan a Wedding in Montana

Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 04:00 pm

Ultimate 2024 Guide: How to Plan a Wedding in Montana

Introduction – Getting Married in Montana

There’s no place like Montana to get married! As a Montana Wedding photographer, I have had the privilege to photograph weddings all over the state and have seen couples run into some of the same hang-ups. These essential tips will help ensure that your special day goes off without a hitch!

 Whether you are looking for a simple ceremony or an extravagant affair with all the bells and whistles, we’ve got everything you need to plan a wedding in Montana

Meet your Montana Wedding Pro

Hey I am Charles! I am a Montana-based wedding photographer. Montana is a MASSIVE state and knowing where to start with wedding planning can definitely be overwhelming! I have compiled this guide to make things a bit easier.

Charles Moll Wedding Photographer In Bozeman

Montana marriage license requirements – Montana Wedding Laws

It should go without saying, if you are getting married in Montana, you will need a wedding license. This document signifies your marriage as a legal union.

In Montana, marriage license requirements are pretty straightforward. You’ll need to apply in person, be at least 18 years old, and have proof of age, identification, and residency.

Can you get married in Montana without being a resident?

In the state of Montana, both residents and nonresidents may apply for a marriage license to get married in the state. There is no waiting period to get a Mariage license. It is important to note, that a Montana marriage license will expire in 180 days. Be sure not to get it too early in your wedding planning process.

Remember how you felt. Not how you were posed

What Do You Need to get married in Montana? – Montana Marriage License Requirements

  • $53 Cash, Visa, or Mastercard (There is a $2.33 processing fee for cards) – ** Not every county will accept a credit card. Check with your county clerk’s office to be sure!**
  • Valid picture identification (driver’s license, passport)
  • Birth Information including City, County, State or Foreign Country
  • Social Security Number
  • Fathers’ first, middle, and last name, current residence, and birth state
  • Mothers’ first, middle, and maiden name, current residence, and birth state.
  • Any information regarding previous marriages including date, county, and state of dissolution or death of a spouse
  • Must be at least 18 years of age OR:
    • Parental Consent–Parents or legal guardians must sign Marriage Application and the signatures must be notarized.
    • Counseling–Proof of two counseling sessions, not less than ten days apart.
    • Judicial Approval–A District Court Judge must approve and sign the Marriage Application. The Judge may require a conference with applicants and guardian(s).
  • You will need Two witnesses, of no specific age present at your marriage ceremony to sign the marriage license thereafter.
  • Again, the license will expire after 180 days, so be sure not to get it too early!
Groom Signing A Marriage License In Montana

The Rubella Blood Test – Do you need it to get married in Montana?

Historically this test was needed to get married in Montana, but it is no longer required. This blood test was outlawed in 2019. The reason is that it was an antiquated test from the ‘40s that was not needed in modern times. Up til 2019, you could sign a waiver, but now a waiver is not needed.

Enjoy your wedding day fully immersed in all its joy and beauty.

Do you need an officiant to get married in Montana?

Plan A Wedding In Montana By Charles Moll Photography

In short, you do not need an ordained wedding officiant to get married in Montana. This means anyone can marry you without going through the ordination process. Even you… 

This is known as self-solemnization and it is completely legal in Montana.

More info on this:

Where to get married in Montana? – Plan a wedding in Montana.

Montana Wedding Locations

Now that you know the legal requirements around marriage, It’s time to get on to the fun stuff! The next step to planning a wedding in Montana is to figure out where you want to get married. As you begin to look at venues. A big thing you will want to consider is the size of your wedding. There are tons of great options throughout the state for any wedding of any size!

If I were to recommend one location, I would have to recommend Bozeman. It is close to Yellowstone, filled with stunning scenery, and offers a wide array of dining and lodging choices. For more info on planning a wedding in Bozeman, check out our complete Bozeman Wedding Planning Guide.


Montana’s Fastest Growing City. This location is close to Big Sky and Yellowstone. It features a large variety of wedding venues


In my opinion, it’s one of the state’s hidden gems. The Garden City is absolutely stunning.


Montana’s Largest City features unique venues and tons of great options for your guests.


The Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park make this an EPIC wedding location.

Traveling for your Montana Wedding

Plan A Wedding In Montana By Charles Moll Photography

Being such a beautiful location, Montana is often a destination wedding spot. According to the Wedding Report, in my hometown of Bozeman, 47% of weddings are destination weddings. Here is what you need to know when planning travel for your wedding.

Montana is a Big state. For example, if you wanted to see both Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, you would be subject to an 8-hour drive (441 miles). This is why it is essential to nail down the places you want to see during your trip, especially if you have a limited amount of time I have broken this next section into some of the best cities to have a wedding in Montana, fun things to do while you are there, and some great options for lodging.

See Some of the Best Venues throughout Montana

Bozeman, Montana: One of Montana’s most iconic wedding spots

If I were to recommend one location, I would have to recommend Bozeman. It is close to Yellowstone and Big Sky, it’s filled with stunning scenery and offers various dining and lodging choices.

One of the major advantages of getting married in the Bozeman area is the sheer number of wedding venues you will have access to. I spend most of my summers photographing weddings here and still learn about a new venue every month!

The Main areas to keep in mind when planning a wedding around Bozeman are Big Sky & Paradise Valley. Each of these locations feature stunning luxury accomedations like Montage or Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky & Sage Lodge or Copper Rose Ranch in Paradise Valley.

For more info on planning a wedding in Bozeman, check out our complete Bozeman Wedding Planning Guide.

Favorite Wedding Venues in Bozeman Montana

Couple Standing In Front Of The Round Barn At Twin Bridges Wedding Venue In Montana

Firelight Farm

Located minutes from downtown this historic venue exudes rustic charm while offering modern amenities to you and your guests for an authentic Big Sky experience. 

Learn more on our Firelight Farm Page

The Woodlands

As the name suggests, this wooded venue offers you the chance to escape to nature for the day and surround yourself with the beauty that this area is so well known for.

You can Learn more on our Woodlands Page.

The Baxter Hotel

When you think of Bozeman, The Baxter Hotel is one of the first things that comes to mind. This was the first venue I photographed in Bozeman when I was starting out and it is still one of my all-time favorites! Check out the Baxter Page to learn more!

The Best Wedding Vendors in Bozeman

Once you have found the right venue for your wedding day, the next step will be to start narrowing down your vendors. When picking vendors, I highly recommend to prioritize values for your wedding day. These are things like, I want our day to be very intimate and relaxed,. Or maybe it’s I want our day to be an absolute rager of a dance party. Once you have these values picked, it can make it a lot easier to prioritize the right vendors for your wedding day. Check out this blog post for a more in-depth discussion of how to eliminate some of the wedding planning stress.

Below I have compiled a list of some of my favorite and most trusted vendors in the area.




Hair and Make-up Artist – Bozeman

Catering -Bozeman

DJ’s – Bozeman

Videography – Bozeman

Traveling for your Wedding – Bozeman

Bozeman is one of the fastest-growing micropolitan areas in the country and it is no wonder why. This town is full of great food, and easy access to the mountains, and is only 1.5 hours from Yellowstone. 

Lodging in Bozeman

The Armory Hotel 

This trendy hotel built on an old army building is a great place to stay in the heart of Bozeman and doubles as a wedding venue.

The Lark

The LARK is one of the first buildings you see when you drive downtown. This hotel boasts a distinctly Montana feel. From oversized sitting areas to our outdoor wood-burning fireplace and is within walking distance of some of the best restaurants in town.

Buck’s T4 

While this is located in Big Sky (about 45 minutes from Bozeman) this can be a great place to stay especially if you are wanting to have a wedding up in Big Sky. Learn more on our Buck’s T-4 Venue page.

Restaurants in Bozeman

Ale Works

Ale Works features your “classic” American cuisine, plenty of beer (both local and otherwise) on tap, and a full bar

South 9th Bistro

This is where my wife and I went to celebrate our engagement. South 9th features French and American-inspired cuisine. The food is UNREAL. There is a reason they are so highly rated on Trip Advisor

Open Range

Located in downtown Bozeman, this high-end Steak house features the highest quality ingredients and a memorable dining experience.

Things to do in Bozeman

Bozeman offers a range of activities no matter the season. During the summer spend your time hiking one of the iconic trails or spend the day on the river rafting or fishing on some of the best rivers in the state. When the winter months come around, you can spend the day skiing at either, Bridger Bowl or Big Sky Ski Resort. If skiing isn’t for you or you are looking to get away from the crowds, Bozeman offers great snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails.

Remember how you felt. Not how you were posed

Missoula Montana’s Hidden Gem for Weddings

When I first moved to the Missoula area I was shocked that there was not more going on in terms of weddings. The location is gorgeous with multiple rivers running through the city. It is surrounded by Mountains, and the city is filled with trees.

While Missoula does not have as many venues as a place like Bozeman, there are still some of the coolest venues I have seen in the entire state in this area. You also will find that planning a weddin in Missoula will cost less than many other parts of the state.

Favorite Wedding Venues Around Montana – Missoula

The White Raven

Located 25 minutes from downtown Missoula this unforgettable venue is nestled in between stony cliffs and forests. It offers a great mix of modern and rustic. This venue has multiple ceremony locations, so you can be sure your wedding will go off without a hitch no matter the weather, giving you peace of mind as you plan a wedding in Montana.

Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery

Looking for a unique venue in Montana? Check out Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery. The lush greenery is the perfect backdrop for any wedding!

The Barn on Mullan

The Barn on Mullan is a rustic, chich venue located in Missoula. This venue is perfect for any ceremony, reception, or rehearsal dinner. If you are looking for a barn venue, then look no further.

If you want to get married in the Missoula area these are some of our favorite spots! We have also compiled a list of our favorite venues in Missoula. Click the button below to check it out.

Best Wedding Vendors in Missoula

Want to know the secret to a stress-free, awesome wedding? Get the right vendor team! This is one of the most important parts of planning a wedding in Montana. The following are some of my favorite vendors in the Missoula area.





Catering – Missoula

DJ’s – Missoula


Traveling for your Wedding – Missoula

For those of you who want to see as much of Montana as possible, Missoula is a great option! This fun, artsy town, is home to a great music scene and sits right in the middle of Glacier (2.5 hour’s drive) & Yellowstone (4 hour drive), for those of you who want to try and see both National Parks, though it is still a long drive.

Lodging in Missoula

Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown

This beautiful hotel in the heart of Missoula offers easy access to the Clarks Fork River and everything downtown Missoula has to offer.

The C’mon Inn

The C’mon Inn is a cleverly named beautiful Montana-themed hotel with indoor pools, five hot tubs, a waterfall, an exercise room, a game room, a continental breakfast, 24 suites, three meeting rooms, and a business center.


1889 Steakhouse

This modern steak house features locally sourced ingredients and an awesome atmosphere perfect for you and your loved ones to gather together before the big day!

Scotty’s Table

Scotty’s is located in downtown Missoula in the lower level of the Wilma Theatre. This American bistro offers local and sustainably sourced products. 

The Notorious P.I.G. BBQ

Looking for something a little less fancy but just as good? Then look no further. This BBQ is phenomenal and a sure crowd-pleaser!

Be Present. Not Posed

Billings Montana Weddings

Though it often gets a bad rap, since it is a bit further from the mountains. Billings is still an incredible option for your wedding. Since it is the largest city in Montana, Billings offers a lot more options when it comes to lodging, wedding vendors, and restaurants for your guests to enjoy while they are in town.

Favorite Wedding Venues in Billings, Montana

Billings Depot
A historic gem in downtown Billings, the Billings Depot offers a unique and elegant setting with its high ceilings, arched windows, and Roman columns. This versatile venue can accommodate both ceremonies and receptions, making it a popular choice for many couples.

Camelot Ranch
Camelot Ranch blends rustic charm with modern amenities, featuring picturesque landscapes, ponds, and a pavilion. It’s perfect for those seeking an enchanting outdoor wedding with beautiful indoor options as well.

Moss Mansion
Step into romance at the historic Moss Mansion. Built in 1903, this venue offers a grand staircase and elegant rooms, ideal for both intimate gatherings and grand celebrations. Its timeless charm makes it a favorite among couples.

WillowBrooke Barn
Known for its spacious grounds and elegant indoor farmhouse, WillowBrooke Barn provides both indoor and outdoor ceremony options. The venue boasts a custom bar, chandeliers, and a grand stone fireplace, creating a stunning backdrop for your special day.

Yellowstone Art Museum
For art enthusiasts, the Yellowstone Art Museum offers a contemporary space with tall ceilings and polished concrete floors. The venue can host up to 300 guests and provides a unique, cultural setting for your wedding.

Best Wedding Vendors in Billings

Wedding Planners:

  • Bijou Weddings by Design: Offering full-service planning and personalized approaches to ensure every detail of your wedding is perfect.
  • Love The Day Of: Specializes in day-of coordination with comprehensive services, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special day.
  • Katie Taylor Events: Provides a range of services from hourly consultations to full-service planning, tailored to meet your needs.
  • Off the Beaten Path Wedding: Focuses on destination and outdoor weddings, offering full-service planning and photography.


  • Mac’s Floral: Known for their beautiful and creative floral arrangements.
  • Petali Floral: Offers personalized and unique floral designs.
  • Gainan’s Midtown Flowers: Provides a wide range of floral services to suit any wedding style.
  • Behind the Bouquet: Specializes in custom floral arrangements that add a unique touch to your wedding.


  • Basil & Bloom: Basil & Bloom is known for its creative and delicious offerings, catering to a variety of tastes and dietary needs. They ensure every guest is satisfied with their meal through their innovative and high-quality cuisine​​.
  • Abby’s Catering Co.: Abby’s Catering Co. is a top choice for weddings in Billings, renowned for their custom menus and personalized service. They focus on using fresh, local ingredients to create unforgettable meals that match the style and preferences of each couple. Located at 909 4th St W, Abby’s Catering Co. has received excellent reviews for their outstanding food and professional service, making them a favorite among local wedding planners​

Hair and Makeup:

  • Makeup by Alexa Elise: Specializes in airbrush makeup and on-site services for brides, ensuring you look your best on your big day.
  • The Ritzz Salon: Offers a full range of bridal beauty services, including hair, makeup, and more.


  • Best Music Productions: Provides professional DJ services with a personal touch, specializing in weddings to keep your celebration lively.

Traveling for Your Wedding in Billings


  • Northern Hotel: Located in downtown Billings, this premier hotel offers luxurious accommodations and is conveniently close to many popular wedding venues.
  • Billings Hotel & Convention Center: This family-friendly hotel offers comprehensive wedding services, including venue options and discount room rates for guests.


  • The Fieldhouse: Known for its farm-to-table cuisine and intimate setting, perfect for rehearsal dinners or small gatherings.
  • Walker’s Grill: Offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu featuring local and seasonal ingredients.

Things to Do:

  • Yellowstone Art Museum: Explore contemporary art exhibits and participate in museum events, adding a cultural touch to your visit.
  • Pictograph Cave State Park: Ideal for nature lovers, this park offers a glimpse into ancient Native American history with its preserved cave paintings.
  • Downtown Billings: Enjoy a vibrant mix of shops, cafes, and cultural attractions, making it a great place for guests to explore before or after the wedding.

Real moments. Unreal Memories.

Wedding Planning in Kalispell, Whitefish, Glacier, and Big Fork, Montana

Hands down one of the most popular locations for destination weddings in Montana is the Kalispell area. This is due primarily to Glacier National Park and Whitefish, which is a popular resort town. If you are looking for epic views and stunning mountain ranges, this could be for you! One important thing to note when planning a wedding in the Flathead Valley is that this is a rainy area due to Flathead Lake, one of the largest lakes in the country.

Favorite Wedding Venues in the Kalispell area


  1. Snowline Acres: This picturesque venue offers both indoor and outdoor spaces with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It’s perfect for couples looking for a rustic yet elegant setting.
  2. Buffalo Hill Golf Club: Founded in 1918, this venue offers luxurious outdoor ceremony sites and an indoor event space, ideal for both ceremonies and receptions.
  3. Jewel Basin Weddings: This venue provides a serene, open-air setting in the heart of Flathead Valley, perfect for a tranquil wedding celebration.


  1. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake: Situated on the shores of Whitefish Lake, this venue offers multiple ceremony options, including lakeside and winter settings, with over 8,000 square feet of banquet space and professional catering services.
  2. Haymoon Resort: Offers ceremony locations on manicured lawns or lakeside, with a pavilion that accommodates up to 75 guests. This resort includes amenities such as lodging for up to 50 guests.
  3. Whitefish Mountain Resort: Ideal for a mountain wedding, this resort offers summit ceremonies with stunning views and two unique reception locations, the Base Lodge and the Summit House.


  1. Glacier Raft Company Weddings & Events: Located in West Glacier, this venue features a pavilion and breathtaking views, perfect for a natural, rustic wedding celebration.
  2. Roam Beyond: Nestled in Columbia Falls, this venue provides sweeping views of the Swan Mountain Range and a collection of lodges and barns, accommodating intimate to larger weddings up to 120 guests.

Big Fork

  1. Flathead Lake Lodge: A historic, family-owned guest ranch offering a unique combination of rustic charm and modern amenities, with spectacular views of Flathead Lake.
  2. The Nest on Swan River: An intimate, riverfront wedding venue nestled near the Swan Mountains. This tranquil venue offers both indoor and outdoor spaces, accommodating up to 125 guests for a private and picturesque wedding. The Nest provides lodging for the bridal party and guests, ensuring a complete wedding weekend experience with amenities like a covered pavilion, fire pit, gazebo, and a commercial kitchen for caterers​​.

Best Wedding Vendors in Kalispell

Hair and Makeup Artists

  1. Bridal Bliss Hair & Makeup by Lana: Lana offers personalized hair and makeup services, ensuring brides look flawless and feel confident on their big day.
  2. Studio 706 Artist Guild: Known for their talented team, they provide comprehensive beauty services tailored to the needs of each bride.
  3. The Beauty Bar: Offers high-quality hair and makeup services, specializing in bridal beauty to make brides look and feel their best.
  4. Mane Street Hair Salon: Renowned for their bridal hair styling and makeup services, ensuring a stress-free and beautiful wedding day.


  1. Flathead Farmworks: Specializes in sustainable floral designs, providing bouquets, boutonnieres, flower crowns, and centerpieces. They use locally grown flowers and avoid single-use plastics, ensuring environmentally friendly arrangements​ (Flathead Farmworks)​.
  2. Two Kays Flower Farm: Offers farm-fresh flowers grown in the Flathead Valley. They provide floral designs for weddings, elopements, and other special events, emphasizing locally sourced blooms and sustainable practices​ (Two Kays Flower Farm)​.
  3. Flowers By Hansen: Serving the Flathead Valley for over 80 years, Flowers By Hansen offers a wide range of floral arrangements and wedding services. They are known for their high-quality flowers and excellent customer service​ (Flowers By Hansen)​.

Lodging Options, Restaurants, and Things to Do in Kalispell, Whitefish, Glacier, and Big Fork, Montana

Lodging Options


  1. The Garrison Inn: This charming bed and breakfast offers log-style rooms with private bathrooms and cozy amenities like robes and a sun terrace. Located about 20 minutes from downtown Kalispell, it’s perfect for a mountain retreat while staying close to the city​​.
  2. Kalispell Grand Hotel: A historic hotel built in 1912, featuring modern amenities. It offers spacious rooms, a delicious breakfast, and an onsite spa, all within walking distance of downtown Kalispell​ ​.
  3. SpringHill Suites by Marriott: Conveniently located near golf courses and downtown, this hotel offers modern suites, an indoor pool, fitness center, and daily buffet breakfast​


  1. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake: A luxurious resort on the shores of Whitefish Lake, offering lakeside and winter wedding settings, with extensive amenities including an event management team and professional catering​​.
  2. Firebrand Hotel: Located in the heart of Whitefish, this hotel offers luxury accommodations with amenities like a rooftop patio, fitness center, and complimentary airport shuttle.


  1. Glacier Guides Lodge: Located near the entrance to Glacier National Park, this eco-friendly lodge offers comfortable rooms with mountain views and easy access to park activities.
  2. Belton Chalet: A historic lodge providing rustic yet elegant accommodations, ideal for those looking to stay near Glacier National Park.

Big Fork

  1. Flathead Lake Lodge: A historic, family-owned guest ranch offering rustic charm with modern amenities, spectacular views of Flathead Lake, and various outdoor activities.
  2. The Nest on Swan River: This intimate riverfront venue offers lodging for the bridal party and guests, ensuring a complete wedding weekend experience. The venue includes amenities like a covered pavilion, fire pit, gazebo, and a commercial kitchen for caterers​​.

Restaurants in the flathead valley


  1. Hops Downtown Grill: Known for its locally sourced ingredients and diverse menu, including gourmet burgers and craft beers.
  2. Sykes Diner & Market: A historic diner offering hearty breakfasts and classic American fare in a cozy setting.


  1. Tupelo Grille: A Southern-inspired restaurant featuring dishes like shrimp and grits, alongside a wide selection of wines and cocktails.
  2. Latitude 48 Bistro: Offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that includes fresh seafood, steaks, and pasta dishes.


  1. Belton Chalet Dining Room: Offers a fine dining experience with a menu that focuses on local ingredients and classic American cuisine.
  2. Glacier Highland Restaurant: Known for its hearty breakfasts and comfort food, perfect for fueling up before a day in the park.

Big Fork

  1. Schafer’s Restaurant: Located at the Marina Cay Resort, offers waterfront dining with a menu that includes fresh seafood, steaks, and local specialties.
  2. ShowThyme: A fine dining restaurant known for its creative cuisine and intimate atmosphere, featuring dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
  3. Cherries BBQ: Technically this one is in Polson, but holy crap you need to try it. This is ranked as one of the best BBQ spots in the entire US! Go early before they sell out.

Things to Do in the flathead valley


  1. Hockaday Museum of Art: Explore regional art exhibits and participate in art classes and workshops.
  2. Lone Pine State Park: Offers hiking trails with scenic views, picnic areas, and opportunities for wildlife viewing.


  1. Whitefish Mountain Resort: A year-round destination for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and scenic chairlift rides.
  2. Whitefish Lake State Park: Ideal for boating, fishing, swimming, and camping with beautiful lake views.


  1. Going-to-the-Sun Road: A must-see scenic drive through Glacier National Park, offering breathtaking views and access to hiking trails.
  2. Lake McDonald: The largest lake in Glacier National Park, perfect for boating, fishing, and enjoying the stunning scenery.

Big Fork

  1. Bigfork Summer Playhouse: Enjoy live theater performances in a charming local venue.
  2. Flathead Lake: Offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.


To plan a wedding in Montana there is a lot to consider, especially if it is a destination wedding. This is why it is essential to have a great location, know the marriage licensing laws (if you will file you marriage license in Montana), and have a great team of vendors. As a wedding photographer, I am passionate about authentically capturing your love’s and natural beauty so that you can be yourself and fully present on your wedding day. You can see some of my best work here.

Plan A Wedding In Montana By Charles Moll Photography

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