Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a permit?
Any and all vow exchanging, elopements, ceremonies, weddings, etc. require a Special Use Permit. This is regardless of the size of the group, whether or not it is “officiated” or if papers are being signed. If any sort of vow exchange, elopement, or any other form of special event is taking place, a permit is required at all times. If you are entering the park with a photographer only to take photographs and there will not be any exchanging of vows of any sort, signing of documents, witnessing of a union, etc. then no permit would be required. Please remember that “mock” ceremonies for the sake of photography are considered ceremonies under Special Use Permitting regulations and must also obtain a permit.
Why do I need a permit?
The National Park Service is required by law to protect and conserve all resources under their care including the scenery, wildlife, and tranquility. As such, it is sometimes necessary to regulate or limit activities within the park to limit strain on park resources and maintain a positive experience for all visitors. Therefore, the National Park Service has the authority to require a permit for certain activities including weddings.
Can I get married anywhere I want to in the park?
Due to increased demand and strain on park resources, we have limited the areas for which we issue permits to get married within the park. See the Wedding Locations in Glacier National Park document for more details. You can see pictures of some of these locations on Glacier National Park’s Flickr site. Please note that this album is slightly out of date. Not all locations pictured are still permitted locations.
How do I get a permit?
Step 1: Download a Special Use Permit application.
Step 2: Use the information found here and on the wedding area guide to fill out your application with as much detail as possible.
Be sure to provide exact locations and times on your permit. Responses such as “various” or “Two Medicine” are not acceptable locations and “sunrise” or “afternoon” are not acceptable times. Be specific.
Be sure to include contact information for your photographer if you are using one.
Under “Equipment” list anything that is not your person that you might want to bring with you. Examples can include camera equipment, chairs, tables, musical instruments, speakers, etc.
Remember to include all participants in your people and vehicle counts. This should include you, your fiancé, any officiants and photographers, and any and all guests.
Step 3: Send us your completed application and $125 payment in the form of check or money order by mail to the following address or email a digital copy to email@example.com. Note that if you are emailing your permit or otherwise want to pay by credit card, please include a note that you wish to pay by credit card and we will reach out to you when we are ready to process your permit.
Glacier National Park
Attn: Special Park Uses
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936
Step 4: Once we have received your application and payment, we will write a final permit and send it to you either in the mail or through an email. You then need to sign and return a copy to us in either the self-addressed envelope we include with your permit or by replying to the email. Your permit is not valid until we have received a signed copy back from you.
Can I get married at Logan Pass?
No, we do not write permits for Logan Pass. You may take pictures at Logan Pass. Keep in mind that the Logan Pass area is CLOSED TO ALL OFF-TRAIL TRAVEL. This is to protect the delicate alpine plants that are easily killed when stepped on and can take years to decades to grow back.
Are there any restrictions on group size/parking/amount of time?
Yes. Each site has limits on the number of people, number of vehicles, and equipment that can be used. That information can be found in the Wedding Locations in Glacier National Park document. These limits are in place to protect the plants, wild animals, and scenery within the park that can be damaged or stressed by large group activities. They are also meant to ensure every visitor to Glacier has a chance to have a positive experience. Permits are generally written for two hours. This time is to include getting into the area, performing the ceremony, and vacating everyone from the area afterwards. This time does not include time for pictures. See below for taking wedding photographs in the park.
What is “peak season” for Glacier National Park?
Peak season is considered the second Friday in May through the second Sunday in October.
Is there a way for me to look up what is available?
Unfortunately, we do not have a public calendar set up yet, so there is no way for you to check what is available on your own.
Since I can’t check myself, what if my preferred choices are not available by the time you get my application?
If we receive your application and your preferred choice is not available at the date/time you want, we will contact you to try to find a different time or place. You will not need to fill out a new application at that time. We will also call you if there are any other issues on your permit application that need to be addressed or if we need to get credit card information from you to pay your fee by phone. This process goes much quicker if you already have one or more backup plans in mind before submitting your application.
I’m getting married outside the park, but want to come in to take pictures with a professional photographer, do I need a permit?/I have a permit, but want more time to take pictures, do I need a second permit?
Current regulations are such that you do not need a permit to come into the park to take pictures even with a professional photographer. If you have a permit to hold your wedding inside the park, you may take as much time as you want before or after your permitted time for pictures and may go anywhere in the park open to the general public. However, there are some things to keep in mind. You are under the same rules as any other visitor to the park. These regulations include, but are not limited to: respecting area closures and closures to off-trail travel; rules regarding pets; rules against the collecting, trampling, or disturbing of plants; rules about approaching, feeding or in any way harassing wildlife; and the prohibition of scattering, spraying or releasing any items such as champagne, rice, birdseed, balloons, flower petals, bubbles, etc.
Why do you charge a fee and why is it nonrefundable?
The fee is a cost-recovery fee for the time and expense to the government for reviewing and processing your application. This is an application fee, not a fee for the final permit. This fee does not guarantee you will get a permit and is required for all applications submitted regardless of if you cancel or otherwise do not receive a permit.
Can I pay by credit card?
Yes. To pay by credit card, include a note on your permit that you would like to do so. We will call you when we are ready to process your payment and application. PLEASE NOTE: When we call you, the number will come up on caller ID as “Restricted” or “Unavailable” because we are calling from a government line.
What is a “permit monitor” and why would I have to pay for one?
A permit monitor is a uniformed NPS employee who may be assigned to monitor your permitted event to ensure the terms and conditions of your permit are being followed. If a permit monitor is assigned to your event, you will be required to pay a cost-recovery fee of $50/hour for a minimum of two hours. This is because we may have to bring an employee in on their day off to monitor your event and federal regulations require that employee to be paid for no less than two hours of overtime. Note that any NPS employee may ask to see your permit at any time and may step in if you are breaking park rules and regulations even if you have not been assigned a permit monitor.
If my permit does not fall into a category that would require an assigned permit monitor, does that mean my permit will not be checked?
As a permitted special activity, all events will be spot monitored by a NPS employee. These individuals will make contact with your group to ensure that the terms and conditions of your permit are being met. Park employees may ask to see your permit and may inquire about the number of people and vehicles listed on your permit to compare them to those located onsite. They may also inquire about the date, time, and location of your permit among other things. Park employees will not interrupt ceremonies already in progress for the purpose of a routine permit check, but have the right to do so if there is an immediate and pressing threat to visitor or resource safety, or if the violation is particularly egregious. You are required to comply with any employee who is conducting a routine permit check before the event will be allowed to proceed.
What if I don’t follow the regulations and limits on my permit?
All Special Use Permits are legal, binding documents under the following authorities: 54 USC §100101, §100751(a), §103104; DO #53; RM #53; 36 CFR § 2.50; 36 CFR § 1.6. Like all National Parks, Glacier is under federal jurisdiction meaning that all park “rules” are actually federal laws and breaking those laws can result in federal citations, fines, federal prosecution, and/or imprisonment depending on the specific violation. Violations of the terms and conditions of Special Use Permits can result in Class C Federal Misdemeanors which include fines of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail. "Terms and Conditions" of a permit include any and all instructions, definitions, regulations, or other written terminology contained on the document. This Includes, but is not limited to, location, date, time, number of total vehicles and number of total participants.
If permit holders are found to be in violation of any of the terms and conditions of their permit, their anticipated activity may be disrupted, delayed, or even cancelled. Permits that are disrupted, delayed, or cancelled due to noncompliance will not be rescheduled, moved, or allowed to continue past the time listed on the permit and refunds will not be issued.
Do I still need to pay the park entrance fee?
Yes. Your permit does not act as a park entrance pass. All visitors are required to have a valid park entrance pass (including during periods when the entrance station is not staffed).
How far in advance can I apply for a permit?/We are doing a spontaneous elopement and want to get married in the park next week! Can we do that?
You can apply for a permit up to one year in advance of your requested date, but no less than one month (20 business days) before your requested date. This time frame is in regard to when we receive the application, not when you sent it. Applications received outside of this window (no more than 1 year and no less than 1 month in advance) WILL NOT be considered. Depending on the time of year and current demand, permits can take more than a month to process, but will not be processed more than a year in advance.
Does getting a permit mean we will have an area to ourselves?
No. Getting a Special Use Permit to hold your wedding at a location in the park does not close that area off to other visitors, nor does it give you exclusive use of the area. While permits for weddings will not overlap in time/location, other visitors to the park can and will have access to the same locations as you. Especially if you hold your wedding between the hours of 8am-6pm May-October, chances are very good you will not be alone.
Can we reserve parking?
No. All parking inside Glacier National Park is first-come, first-served. Your permit does not guarantee you will be able to find parking. Reserving or saving spaces is prohibited. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.
I received a permit, but I changed my mind on location/time/etc. Can you change my permit?
Due to high demand, no changes will be accommodated once a permit is written and sent to you. If you want to change locations, times, or anything else on your permit you will need to submit a new application and pay another application fee. Exceptions to this rule can be made if an area becomes unavailable due to a park closure.
I’m afraid the area I want won’t open in time for my wedding, can I have a “backup” location on my permit?
No. Permits are issued for one time and place only. If your permit is cancelled due to a park closure, we will try to accommodate you elsewhere or at a different time. However, there is no guarantee that other arrangements can be made. Note: refunds will not be issued for cancelled permits or applications.
What if the weather is bad the day of my wedding or there is a wildfire in the area causing a lot of smoke? Can I reschedule?
Generally speaking, no. If the area of the park for which you received a permit is closed to the public due to a fire or other emergency, we may be able to try to accommodate you elsewhere or reschedule, though this is not guaranteed. However, heavy smoke, rain, snow, wind, and other natural and unpredictable weather patterns are just part of the potential hazards of holding a wedding in a National Park and are not grounds for changing your permit. Note: refunds will not be issued for permits that cannot be rescheduled, are cancelled, or that you do not use.
How will I know if an area will be open or not?
The best resource is our website. In general, however, you can anticipate most of the park being accessible Mid-July through Mid-September. Most roads in the park are closed and snow-covered from Mid-October through the end of May. The only area of the park that is accessible year-round (conditions permitting) is the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge. Note that Covid-19, weather, emergencies, and construction/maintenance projects can change what is open and when at any point. The most up to date information can be found on our website or social media.
Facebook: Glacier National Park
Can I bring my pet?
Pets are allowed in developed areas such as amphitheaters, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Think “Paws on Pavement”. For the safety of both your pet and the park’s wildlife, pets must always be kept on a 6ft leash and under physical control. Pets are not allowed in buildings, the backcountry, on trails, or along most lakeshores/waterways. Pets are never allowed to chase or otherwise harass wildlife or other park visitors. ADA certified service animals are always welcome. Please remember that emotional support/comfort/therapy animals do not qualify as service animals.
Can I have music?
Soft music such as an acoustic guitar or phone speaker is generally allowed. There are noise level regulations in place. Generally, no one outside of your group should be able to hear it. Please put it on your permit application if you plan to have any sort of music.
Anything else I should know?
All participants associated with a Special Park Uses must comply with all park regulations including, but not limited to those regarding the storage and handling of food and disposal of trash.
Please follow Leave No Trace ethics throughout your entire visit to Glacier National Park. More information can be found on our website here: Leave No Trace - Glacier National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Nothing may be spread, scattered, or released. This includes, but is not limited to: rice, birdseed, bubbles, flower petals (both real and fake), balloons, and butterflies.
The area used for your ceremony is to be left in the same or better condition than as you found it.
I still have more questions. How can I get in touch with you?
The most efficient way is by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 406-888-5960. If we do not answer, leave a message with your name, phone number, and question and someone will get back to you as soon as we can. Please note that when we call you back the caller ID will read “unavailable” or “restricted” or “000-000-0000” because we are calling from an official phone line.