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Who Can Officiate a Wedding in Glacier National Park?

Published Friday, Oct. 27th, 2023

Need a wedding officiant for your Glacier National Park wedding? Dreaming of officiating a ceremony in view of snow-capped mountains? Here’s what you need to know! 



Glacier National Park is a wedding day dream come true! Take your marriage vows within view of stunning snow-capped mountains. Elope near the cool, clear waters of Lake McDonald. Or walk down the aisle in an outdoor amphitheater or rustic mountain lodge. Whatever location you choose within the park, it’s bound to be breathtaking. 


Weddings and elopements can be held outdoors at several approved locations, as long as you purchase a special use permit first. Receptions and other large gatherings for general merriment can be held at local lodges and resorts, and there are many beautiful accommodations to choose from.



However, wedding officiants are not provided by the park and many lodges won’t have staff available to marry you. That means you’ll need to choose your own officiant to perform your wedding at Glacier National Park. 


So, what is a wedding officiant? And who can officiate a wedding in Glacier National Park?


 Let’s take a look! 


*Contact individual lodges and hotels to ask about booking a special event, preferred vendor lists, and more.  



Photo of Glacier national park, with mountains in the background, tall pine trees and rocky terrain in the foreground

Photo: Nikil Badey / Unsplash

Elope in gorgeous Glacier National Park!



What is a wedding officiant and do you need one to get married in Montana? 


First, the basics: What is a wedding officiant, and do you need one? A wedding officiant is the person who leads a marriage ceremony, pronounces you married, and signs your marriage license. Wedding officiants are also called "marriage officiants," "wedding ministers," and "celebrants," depending on where you live.

Montana is one of the few states that doesn’t require an officiant to perform a marriage ceremony. This means that you can hold a ‘self-solemnizing’ or ‘self-uniting’ ceremony if you choose. (Find out more here: Everything You Need to Know About Montana’s Declaration of Marriage Without Solemnization )

However, many couples want to have an officiant lead their ceremony – it’s less work for the couple to use an officiant, and can feel more like a ‘real’ wedding. A friend or relative can officiate your ceremony if they’ve been ordained, or you can hire a local professional officiant. We’ll talk about this more below.



Wedding officiants can perform religious or non-religious wedding ceremonies. Many officiants will work closely with the couple to write the perfect ‘wedding script’ and design the perfect ceremony, and are happy to include any rituals you might want (such as a unity candle lighting or sand ceremony). 



CLose up of a groom putting the ring on the bride's finger during the wedding rings exchange in an outdoor wedding ceremony, she holds a large vibrantly colored wedding bouquet and the lighting is soft and amber colored

Photo: Yuliia Karpyshyn / iStock

Mother Nature makes the best wedding host! 



Who can officiate a wedding in Glacier National Park?


You can ask a friend or relative to officiate your Montana wedding if they’ve been ordained online. Montana allows online-ordained ministers to officiate weddings, including those ordained with American Marriage Ministries, and officiants don’t need to register with the state before performing a ceremony. 
That means that once your friend or family member is ordained, they’re all set! They’ll be able to legally pronounce you married and sign your marriage license. 

After the wedding, you and your friend can enjoy all the natural splendors of the park together. Just make sure the marriage license is signed and returned on time. 



You can also hire a professional officiant to perform your ceremony. Professional wedding officiants decide their own rates and services based on their level of experience and the type of ceremony you request. Find local professionals by researching officiant listings online. 

In addition, you can choose to perform your own wedding ceremony in Montana. Montana allows couples to solemnize their own marriages by completing a ‘Declaration of Marriage Without Solemnization’ form. (Learn more about the process here.)


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