Photography by Jaci Vigil Photography

This waterfall elopement near Holland Lake in Montana is the perfect inspiration for couples who want to plan a unique elopement experience. 

Sarah and Jonah originally planned a large 150 guest wedding, but Covid-19 postponed their wedding plans. Instead of waiting, these two hiked in the rain to a waterfall, said their vows, and popped champagne.

If you want to skip the details, then jump to the photos from this waterfall elopement in Montana

Choosing an Elopement Destination

Instead of canceling their original wedding day, Sarah and Jonah hiked together where Jonah originally proposed to Sarah. 

“Holland Lake holds our most special memories and embodies many of the things we have grown to love to do together – spending time exploring and enjoying the water, the mountains, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness . . . and treating ourselves to milkshakes at the end of our adventures.” [Sarah]

Photographers Advice for Planning Your Elopement

The hike to the falls is a little over 3 miles and is located at a popular trail near Holland Lake. Jaci, the photographer, tells us that wearing proper footwear in this area is key! During spring and summer, you may be required to walk through a few inches of chilly creek water.

The other recommendation Jaci gives couples who are interested in planning their elopement here is to carry bear spray since it’s also bear country in Montana. 

“I usually recommend to my couples that we hike one way in their normal clothes for comfort, and we hike one way in their wedding attire so we can shoot along the way.

Because this is a popular trail I usually recommend hiking in the early morning or late evening around sunset. The sunrises directly behind the mountain with the falls, so I recommend utilizing Google Earth to determine when the sun will crest the mountain because its typically an hour and a half after the official sunrise time.” [Jaci]

If you’re stuck on where to elope,  then we suggest teaming up with an elopement photographer in the area. 

“My advice for eloping in Montana is, if you aren’t an expert in the location you want to elope in, hire someone who is.

There are so many logistic to getting married in the mountains, from different mountain sunrise and sunset times, to closures, traffic, permits. Not to mention navigating wildlife and leaving no trace.” [Jaci]

Couples Advice for Planning Your Elopement

Sarah and Jonah’s main advice is to not over plan your elopement! 

The more spontaneous the better. What was so special about our elopement was how organic the day felt.” [Sarah]

The couple actually did not do much planning for their Montana waterfall elopement. 

Planning our elopement could not have been more different than the planning our original celebration. The only preparation we did was write our vows.

Our amazing photographer drove down from the Flathead to spend the day with us. Our hair was styled only by the falling rain, we wore less pristine wedding garb, relaxed, and let the day unfold naturally.” [Sarah]

Even though Sarah and Jonah had to change their original wedding plans, their elopement was exactly what they wanted thanks to their family’s support and Jaci’s dedication.

Tips for Eloping Near a Waterfall

If you’re thinking about planning a waterfall elopement, then these are some things you should consider as you plan your wedding day.

You’ll Get Wet

Are you ok trashing your wedding dress? Waterfall elopements are messy and beautiful, but you have to be ok with getting wet.  

Take Portraits Before

If your ceremony location is at the actual waterfall, ask your photographer to take portraits before your ceremony. This way you’ll get some intimate photos before you get wet!

Bring Essential Supplies

Wear the right shoes, bring a change of clothes, and even a towel to dry off! If you’re not sure what to bring, then ask your photographer for recommendations! 

Just have Fun

If you’re planning a waterfall elopement, then you need to be ok with your wedding attire getting dirty. Our advice? Embrace it! Embrace your wet hair and your muddy shoes.

Just look at this couple and see how gorgeous it is to just enjoy the moment with each other. Trust us, you’ll get gorgeous pictures together! 

Moments We Love During this Waterfall Elopement

This waterfall elopement is so full of emotion. From Sarah and Jonah’s emotional vows to the very dirty and wet elopement dress from their adventure together. 

“We both loved how emotionally raw the day was. Our day together was centered only on our commitment to each other, which was amplified by the intimacy and natural beauty of our ceremony.” [Sarah]

Sarah and Jonah’s elopement day was chill and easy going. They hiked early in the morning before other hikers overtook the trail. Starting their journey early allowed them to get to the waterfall with no one else in sight and exchange their wedding vows.

We love how these two were 100% ok getting completely soaked! Not only was it raining, but the mist and roaring waterfall added to the equation. Jaci tells us they finished the day jumping in the lake!

“At the very end of our hike down when we reached the lake, they said they wanted to run into the lake in their underwear. I loved this plan, and I knew the perfect spot at the lake that looked back at the falls. Unfortunately, when we got to the spot there was a couple of old men set up nearby fishing.

We really wanted THAT spot, so we asked if they minded if we intruded their quiet for a few minutes. They just congratulated them on their marriage and said to have at it. It just ended up being really funny with them stripping down with this group of old guys next to us.” [Jaci]

Should You Elope?

Maybe you’re thinking, should I elope?

Jaci tells us if couples are trying to decide whether they should elope or not, they should focus on what is the most important thing that needs to be a part of their day. 

“For some, getting married on the specific date they chose was most important for sentimental reasons. For some it’s the location or venue. And for some they don’t care about the date or location, they just want to be able to include all their friends and family.

Once they know what the most important aspects of their day need to be, talk to the vendors and come up with creative ideas to make it happen. The absolute best and yet toughest thing about eloping is that there are no rules to how it should be done. Often, we get stuck in how things are done traditionally, and people forget they have the freedom to get outside the box.” [Jaci]

What details are you loving from this waterfall elopement in Montana? Tell us in the comments below!

If you’re thinking about eloping, then check out our list of best places to elope!

Vendors

Photography | Jaci Vigil Photography

Dress| Reclamation Design Company 

Dried Bouquet| Mum Flowers 

 

Photos From This Waterfall Elopement in Montana