Are you looking to get married in Montana? You might have some questions about tying the knot in the Big Sky state. When is the best time to get married in Montana? When should you look for venues?
Planning a wedding is challenging wherever it is. But when you have all of Montana’s beauty staring you in the eye, you can feel like a kid in a candy store. How can you possibly choose?
This article discusses the questions surrounding getting married in Montana. From your wedding’s estimated cost to what style venue you want to host your wedding, use this blog to guide you through planning the perfect Montana wedding.
RMF DJs is Montana’s premier wedding DJ service. If you need high-energy entertainment and personable, fun masters of ceremony, look no further. We can help you dance your special night away.
Top Montana Wedding Trends
Because of Montana’s ideal location between numerous national parks and recreation opportunities, Montana serves as a year-round wedding destination. Whether you’re a resident or planning a destination wedding, Montana has no shortage of fun wedding activities.
Montana has a wide array of parks, meadows, and lakeshores, making it a wedding photographer’s paradise. In the winter, colder temperatures create opportunities for cute, trendy bed and breakfasts and cozy mountain lodges. Local theaters, churches, museums, restaurants, and hotels offer an exceptional retreat for any wedding reception year-round.
Montana has many ranches and farms that have recently gained popularity due to their rustic aesthetic and scenic backdrops. In the summer, couples can hold their ceremonies in the rolling hills, where the wind tosses the tall grass and creates a serene experience unlike anywhere else.
The ranch and farm owners have repurposed their barns and other farmhouses to create an alluring retreat for couples to stay. Decorations like hay bales, whiskey barrels, and string lights add to Montana’s rustic charm.
Montana Marriage Rates and Wedding Costs
There’s no way around it. Weddings are expensive. However, weddings are more expensive in certain areas around the country. For how beautiful Montana is, it is exceptionally affordable.
The average wedding cost in Montana is $15,612. Comparing Montana’s average price to New York’s average wedding cost of $64,824 and it’s clear to see why Montana is such an attractive alternative.
How much your wedding costs depends, of course, where you are in the state, and the top three areas to tie the knot are the Flathead Valley, Great Falls, and Missoula. However, before you get too excited about your Montana ranch wedding, it’s wise to understand the logistics behind getting married in this beautiful and unique state.
Getting a Montana Marriage License
Montana doesn’t require residency to apply for marriage licenses, making it friendly to out-of-staters. If you live outside Montana, you simply have to visit the District Court clerk and pay the $53 fee.
You have to apply for your Montana marriage license in-person, and you need valid identification from both bride and groom. Once you have your marriage license, it is valid for up to 180 days.
Montana requires the following documents to obtain a marriage license.
- Valid picture ID
- Social security number
- Both your parent’s first, middle, and last name, their current address, and birth state
- If you are divorced, you need proof of divorce or the spouse’s death certificate
If you want to get married in Montana, the chances are high that you want to get married in one of the state’s beautiful parks. If this is the case, you need to make sure you have the necessary permits.
For example, state parks require groups larger than 30 people to get a special permit. Contact a regional park manager for more information regarding special permits. Montana’s national parks also require permits for weddings in park areas.
Getting Married During the Four Seasons In Montana
Most of Montana’s couples get married during the summer months. During these months, you can plan to experience temperatures between 75-85 degrees. Because the summer months are so popular, you should consider booking two years in advance.
When the weather cools during autumn, Montanans still enjoy getting married. The changing leaves, winding rivulets, and vast, open spaces make Montana’s autumn season one of the most beautiful in the country.
During the spring season, cooler temperatures and wetter conditions prompt most couples to steer clear of having their weddings. Very few Montana weddings happen during the winter due to the cold temperatures. However, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast or want to have a ski wedding, the resorts can be a great option.
Dates To Avoid In Montana
There are certain dates you should avoid when planning your Montana wedding. If you’re from out of town, you’ll likely be unacquainted with these dates, so ask your wedding planner about schedule hang-ups due to local festivals and other large events.
National holidays and busy weekends also pose obstacles for couples trying to tie the knot in Montana. The following are a few festivals that you should keep in mind.
- Whitefish Winter Carnival, Whitefish- early February
- Garden City Brewfest, Missoula- May
- Lewis & Clark Festival, Great Falls- third week in June
- North American Indian Days, Browning- mid-July
- Montana Folk Festival, Butte- second weekend in July
- Festival of Nations, Red Lodge- early August
- Sweet Pea Festival, Bozeman- early August
- Huckleberry Festival, Trout Creek- mid-August
- Yellowstone Ski Festival, West Yellowstone- late November
Montana’s range of recreational activities makes it an ideal destination wedding. Mountain biking, rafting, and fishing in the summer, spring, and fall, and snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling in the winter make Montana one of the most recreation-packed states in the union.
If your group isn’t interested in recreational activities, Montana is rich with both wild west culture and natural beauty. Check out the following list for just a few ideas to make your Montana experience unforgettable.
- Glacier National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Hungry Horse Dam
- Little Bighorn Battlefield
- St. Mary’s Mission
- Museum of the Rockies
- Our Lady of the Rockies
- Marcus Daly Mission
Go Local: Food and Flavors
Cuisine can make or break your wedding. Luckily, going for a stroll on a Montana evening gives you access to various smoked meats that will ignite your taste buds. There’s no shortage of outstanding catering services in Montana that can turn your wedding meal into a delicious feast.
If meat isn’t your preference, don’t worry. Montana takes pride in its locally-sourced produce. Visit one of their many farmers’ markets to see the many available varieties. If you’re looking for a distinctly Montana flavor, try one of the locally-made huckleberry or blueberry pies or their syrups and jams.
Unique Montana Flavors
If you’re looking for a genuinely Montanan flavor, check out Flathead Lake for their cherries. You can choose to pick your own cherries at a reduced cost (it will be difficult not to cherry-pick and pop a few in your mouth before paying).
There are also more than a few festivals that showcase Montana’s local flavors. The following is a short-list of some of these festivals:
- Taste of Bigfork- Great Falls, March
- MSU-Billings Wine and Food Festival, Billings, May
- Strawberry Festival, Billings-June
- Bite of Bozeman, Bozeman- July
- Huckleberry Festival, Trout Creek- August
Montana’s western charm gives a lot of options for local parting gifts. Cowboy hats, horseshoe, or boot-shaped cookies, western-style keychains, and miniature bottles of Montana hot sauce can all give your guests a memorable parting gift.
The top three cities for weddings in Montana are Flathead Valley, Great Falls, and Missoula. The following descriptions offer some guidance if you’re looking for tips to navigate these beautiful wedding towns.
You can’t go run with Flathead Valley. Montana rightfully gets its reputation from its landscape and recreational activities. However, many people aren’t aware of its quaint towns teeming with personality. Each town in the Flathead Valley has its own attractions such as museums and breweries. They also have some of the state’s most beautiful parks and hotels. To boot, the towns sit next to one of the nation’s clearest, most pristine lakes, Flathead Lake. The beauty of Flathead Valley makes for some of the most stunning Montana wedding venues.
Situated near a series of waterfalls emanating from the Missouri River, Great Falls has roughly 60,000 residents and offers a plethora of wedding venue options. The Missouri River runs through state parks as well, creating many photo opportunities for couples. As with other Montana cities, Great Falls offers plenty of venues both inside the city and out.
With just over 70,000 residents, Missoula is only a few miles east of the Idaho border. Tucked away beneath five mountain ranges, the city sits where a once-glacial Lake Missoula used to be over 13,000 years ago.
The endless natural beauty and nearby ski areas make Missoula an ideal spot for weddings. Its proximity to Flathead Lake means you can take your vows while you pick cherries in their rolling orchards.
Conclusion- How To Have the Perfect Montana Wedding
If you’re considering a wedding in Montana, it’s hard to go wrong. Between the affordable prices, the beautiful scenery, and the unlimited recreation, Montana is the perfect option for both destination and local weddings.
RMF DJs is Montana’s platinum wedding DJ service. We host weddings all over Montana and care about bringing your wedding dreams to life. Contact us today for booking options. We can’t wait to make you and your guests dance and bask in Montana’s natural beauty to commemorate your special day.