Pair picturesque Glacier National Park with a classic, stunning couple like Elizabeth and Michael, and the result is magic. This is truly what Montana wedding dreams are made of.
Photography by Montana Bride Vendor Collective member Jennifer Mooney Weddings. Shot on property at Vendor Collective member Glacier Park Weddings.
"Michael and I met in high school. He was on the men's rowing team, and I was on the women's rowing team so we practiced out of the same boathouse everyday. In 2014, my little sister was his coxswain in the varsity boat (women coxswains can be on men's teams), and may have let it slip that I didn't have a date to prom. Michael used my rowing friends to plan an elaborate 'promposal' over the course of my morning classes with a cookie clue given to me at the beginning of each class. His 'promposal' ended at our team parking lot right before practice and we've been together ever since!
Michael and I fell in love at pretty much the same time. He says it was three months into dating and we were sitting at dinner at a nice date-night out restaurant. In his words he just felt totally comfortable that night and couldn't imagine being with anyone else. That's when he knew he loved me. For me it was around the same time, and happened when he gave me my birthday card. In it he wrote a very simple, but powerful message. The card read: 'Elizabeth, you are the most wonderful person I've ever met.' He's written me such great love notes and letters ever since that I've filled two whole journals with them!
Coming up on our fifth dating anniversary, Michael and I had talked about our plans for marriage plenty, but I had no idea when he was going to propose! He kept throwing me off his trail by saying his sister was getting engaged soon and he thought we should wait until after they were married. My parents came up to visit us in early May to watch a local regatta. We were having a picnic with them and family on a gorgeous sunny day. When Michael and I left, he said he forgot his rain jacket and ran back to my family while I waited for him by the road. It was then that he asked my parents to get a drink with him later that night. That night he told me he was going out to have a beer with friends, but instead he ended up asking my parents for their blessing!
Fast forward to May 11th when Michael and I went to Mount Rainier National Park to celebrate our five years together. Michael drove me to Narada Falls, and then we hiked along the Paradise River through snow to find a nice spot to picnic. The snow in the area still hadn't melted yet so no one was around! We found a bridge over Paradise River where he said we should stop for a picnic lunch he had packed. Before eating though, Michael wanted to set up the tripod and get a picture of us. Little did I know he set up the camera on video. We struck a few poses, before Michael turned to me and said 'and this is where I ask you to spend the rest of your life with me.' We spent the rest of our time by Paradise River enjoying our quiet moments together, the picnic, and talking about our future. It was the most perfect way he could have proposed.
Like many other couples in 2020, my husband and I had our original plans scrapped when it was clear COVID-19 was here to stay. While initially crushed and disappointed, we still wanted to get married on our original date. We understood it was the marriage, not the wedding, that was important to us. We had our immediate families and some neighborhood friends join us for a ceremony with less than 20 people total.
On July 11th we were married in my parent's backyard in Whitefish, Montana. We used their porch wicker chairs and wood benches for seating, bought little white parasols to protect everyone from the sun, and had Mum's Flowers brighten our makeshift alter with florals. My now brother-in-law controlled a music playlist for walking down the aisle via a speaker on the porch, and my dad gave cues to everyone for when to walk out! Even my parent's golden retriever, Deacon, was able to attend, and ended up soaking in the sun right at our feet.
While our wedding wasn't what we had envisioned before COVID-19 hit, it was absolutely perfect and we wouldn't have traded it for anything. We were safely able to celebrate our love with those we love most, and we made memories we will always cherish. While we have plans to re-do our wedding reception this summer, we are so happy we went ahead and got married. It's just a perfect reminder that at the end of the day, it's not the wedding dress, gourmet food, or table settings that matter. What matters is marrying the love of your life and committing to fighting for that love every day.
The day after the wedding we met back up with our wonderful photographer, Jennifer Mooney, to do an adventure photo session in Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park is so special to me, my family, and my husband. My dad biked the Going-to-the-Sun Road over 15 years ago, and ever since then my family has always made Montana a part of our lives. Michael and I have made so many wonderful memories here together so it was a no-brainer to do the adventure session with Jennifer.
Having the opportunity to get back into my wedding dress and for Michael to get back into his suit was so much fun. Jennifer took us to some incredible, and some secret, locations within and just outside the park to capture some stunning photos. The photoshoot felt effortless and natural with Jennifer there guiding us through poses even though Michael and I both aren't the best at taking photos. The results were stunning!
The adventure session with Jennifer was the perfect start to our honeymoon (originally planned to be in Canada, but we changed it to Whitefish due to the border closure). Michael and I had time to ourselves to reflect on our wedding day without guests or schedules to attend to. It felt like we had nearly the entire park to ourselves, and as two people who love the outdoors, the evening felt so romantic." – Elizabeth, the bride