Around here, we like to shake up your perception of what an elopement can be. Gone are the days when eloping meant going down to the courthouse on a spur-of-the-moment whim. Eloping these days, especially after the global lockdown, can look like having a purple wedding on top of a mountain with just the two of you or with a handful of your closest loved ones. There can be cake and champagne involved and plenty of epic photos, as you adventure around the mountain. Of course, a celebration like this requires more careful planning than the courthouse option, but in our couples’ experiences, it is completely worth it!
Just ask Amanda and Shad, who had a purple wedding at Belton Stage Park in West Glacier, Montana. They chose to have it be just the two of them, so they were able to spend more time together on their special day. This wedding is nothing short of gorgeous, from Amanda’s stunning bouquet, the matching flower-topped cake, and their incredible adventure photos in Glacier after the ceremony.
In this post, we’ll also bust some misconceptions about elopements and micro weddings to remind you that no matter how you envision your wedding day, we can make it happen! Let’s go!
Setting the (Belton) Stage:
Belton Stage Park is a great alternative location for couples dreaming of getting married amongst nature, but who might not want to deal with the possible crowds at Glacier National Park. No matter which park your ceremony will take place in, our team will always guide you on the best spot to get married. We’ll advise you on how to best avoid the crowds and we assist with obtaining the proper permits, if required.
We also always hook you up with an amazing photographer, so no matter which spot you choose for your ceremony, you’ll get the fantastic shots that you see on Instagram!
Amanda and Shad wanted to have their purple wedding in Belton Stage Park and then head over to Glacier for adventure photos. They spent the afternoon relaxing and leisurely getting ready at Mountain Lake Lodge. Shad donned a classic black suit with purple plaid tie and matching pocket square.
Amanda did her own hair and makeup, and wore a strapless, white gown with a ruched bodice and flowing skirt. We loved that she chose to have a strapless gown because it showed off her awesome tattoos beautifully! Then, she finished her bridal look with a simple, white, fingertip length veil, which was the cherry on top!
Once they were ready, they departed the Lodge and made their way to Belton Stage to get married!
Elopement Myth Busters:
Amanda and Shad’s purple wedding was a dream elopement! It was everything you may think an elopement is – simple, elegant, intimate – but with a Montana twist of having a gorgeous, natural ceremony backdrop and epic adventure photos.
We love blowing people’s minds when they see adventure photos, like Amanda and Shad’s, and realize the caliber of elopements that we pull off. Here are some common misconceptions that people typically have about elopements that we are here to blow out of the water!
Myth #1: Eloping is for couples who want a cheap, shotgun wedding.
No way! Eloping still takes time and planning because you still need an officiant, photographer, florist, hair and makeup artist, your wedding attire, and possibly a wedding cake. Not to mention securing your marriage license and any necessary permits for your ceremony location. Then there’s music, décor, video, and elopement announcements to think about!
Luckily, we assist with all of the above and we work with our couples to carefully craft their perfect wedding day. We select their ideal color palette, handpick the most talented, trustworthy vendors, create a full elopement day timeline, and figure out all the logistics.
We think about questions like, “How are you going to get up the mountain? Who is going to bring the cake, plates, and forks? Who is going to set up the cake and on what table?” so you don’t have to!
Myth #2: You can only elope at the courthouse.
Imagine getting married on top of a mountain, like Kaitlin and John, or lakeside surrounded by forest trees, like Tabatha and Blake. While there are certainly ways to make a courthouse wedding personal and special, our couples tend to love nature and want to spend the day exploring a mountain or forest. This makes for awe-inspiring photos that rival the best that Pinterest has to offer!
When brainstorming a location for your elopement, consider what is important to you and your fiancé. Do you love the mountains too? What about the beach? Does your family have a lake house where you spent a lot of time at as a child? The possibilities are truly endless!
Myth #3: If we elope, we still need to have a “real” wedding later on.
We will shout this from the mountaintops all day long: An elopement IS a real wedding! If you and your partner are more than happy tying the knot with just the two of you, then you don’t need to plan any other celebration (unless you want to of course!). You can absolutely elope, go on your honeymoon, and then send out elopement announcement cards afterwards without apologizing for forgoing a traditional wedding.
If you prefer to include your close family in your elopement, go for it! We have planned many a micro wedding with a handful of friends and family in tow. Somehow, it makes the day more special to know that your loved ones trekked up a mountain for you!
Your wedding day should look like however you envision it! It doesn’t have to be a large, traditional affair if that’s not your style. We love getting creative with all types of weddings and will be cheering you on no matter what your vision is!
If you still think an elopement is impersonal, quick, or more practical than fun, you’ll need to think again! The elopements we plan for our wonderful clients are extremely personal, romantic, as long or as short as they wish, and absolutely tons of fun!
Amanda & Shad’s Purple Wedding:
Now back to Amanda and Shad’s purple wedding! Amanda’s bridal bouquet was the stuff that purple wedding dreams are made of! It had the richest purples and pinks in it, from royal purple to fuchsia. Shad’s boutonniere was also a blend of these hues and looked like it was plucked straight from his bride’s bouquet.
When it was time to tie the knot, Amanda and Shad exchanged custom vows and rings in a private and sweet ceremony. They only had eyes for each other the entire time! When their officiant pronounced them husband and wife, they shared a kiss to seal the deal and they couldn’t have looked happier!
Adventure Session in Glacier National Park:
By this time, there were some menacing clouds overhead, but the rain held off while Amanda and Shad signed their marriage license and enjoyed their wedding cake. It even held out while they made their way to Glacier National Park for their adventure session.
Somewhere in the middle of these photos, it did rain a bit, but it didn’t deter Amanda, Shad, nor Gavin, their photographer! They were all troopers and kept going, even capturing the most amazing and romantic shots in the rain! Their photos are a great reminder that even if it does sprinkle on your wedding day, you can still make the most of it and have a fun time!
A Word from Katie:
Congratulations on a perfect purple wedding, Amanda and Shad! Even with the rain, I couldn’t have imagined a better day for the two of you. You deserve nothing but the best and I wish you all the joy in the world!
Venue // Belton Stage Park
Planner // An Epic Elopement
Photographer // Kelly Kirksey Photography - Gavin
Florist // Rose Mountain Floral
Baker // Cakes by Debi
Officiant // Wed by Anna
Let's Plan Your Purple Wedding!
Based in Kalispell, Montana, An Epic Elopement specializes in all-inclusive elopements, micro-weddings, and intimate weddings. Here, you get the full experience of having a traditional wedding, but with a little more adventure included!
Are you ready to start your elopement journey? Send me a note describing your elopement vision and let’s make it happen!