Have you always dreamed of getting married in a National Park? There is no denying that National Park weddings are stunning, and although it may seem minor, there is an abundance of wedding planning that must take place to make your vision a reality. Planning a National Park wedding can quickly become overwhelming, this being said, we have compiled a list of everything you need to successfully plan for the National Park wedding of your dreams!
How Will You Format Your Wedding?
Although it may seem obvious, the first important question to ask yourself when planning a National Park wedding is how will it be formatted? There is an endless arrangements in which you can host your event. Will you have your ceremony in the park and your reception elsewhere, reception in the park and your ceremony elsewhere, are will you be hosting both your ceremony and reception in one of our beautiful National Parks? These are crucial details to consider as many National Parks have limitations on how these events are able to function, such as size restrictions. Before you proceed with the wedding planning, be sure that you have gotten for wedding format nailed down!
Apply for a Special Use Permit
In order to host your wedding event in a National Park, you will first need to apply for a permit. To turn your dream outdoorsy-themed wedding into a reality you will need to apply for a special use permit. These permits are essential to host your wedding in any area of a National Park and are able to be purchased 12 months in advance and no later than 2 weeks before your ceremony date. Special Use Permits for Yellowstone National Park are available for purchase here, and Special Use Permits for Glacier National Park are available for purchase at this link! Make sure you purchase your Special Use Permits with plenty of time to spare before your big day, they are highly sought after!
Find Your Perfect Wedding Location
The next step to planning your dream National Park wedding is determining your perfect location. Although many National Parks have restrictions on where you are able to host your event, there are still many stunning locations to choose from! Whether you choose to organize your ceremony or reception at one of the many concessionaires located within the parks (i.e. contracted hotels and event centers located within National Park limits) or decide to go with a more secluded and romantic location, there is truly something for everyone! Make sure you choose a location that accommodates your intended amount of guests and offers all the necessities to make your big day flawless! Keep in mind that Yellowstone National Park is currently only delivering wedding permits that accommodate 30 people in compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols! You can view a list of approved wedding locations in Yellowstone National Park here, or view a gallery of stunning approved locations in Glacier National Park here!
Review Décor Guidelines
It is a National Parks #1 priority to protect our natural settings. As such, there are several limitations set to maintain the quality of our prized National Parks. It is important to be mindful of these limitations and restrictions that are likely going to affect your wedding décor. For example, any décor that involves staking into the ground (i.e. posts or tents) is typically not allowed, get crafty with your wedding décor, it will be worth it! Refer to this list of prohibited activities in Yellowstone National Park! We recommend that you think outside of the box and use the natural elements surrounding you as nature-inspired wedding décor. Various rocks and wood will make great accent pieces!
Coordinate Travel with Guests
One of the most important details to coordinate with your guests before your wedding day is travel. National Parks typically charge an entrance fee for each individual vehicle that enters the park, this being said, we would recommend that you coordinate a pick-up spot with your guests, and hire a shuttle to transport you to your selected event location. This way, you only pay the entrance fee for one vehicle, and will save a bunch of money! Luckily, Yellowstone National Park just debuted their new electric shuttle system on June 9! You can find the scheduled route here. The shuttle system in Glacier National Park is currently suspended, but Red Bus tours are open for booking!
Expect the Unexpected!
Always remember that Montana weather and wildlife can be unpredictable! Always expect the unexpected, and roll with the punches. Make the most of any unanticipated changes, and always remember to carry bear spray, this is Montana for heaven’s sake!