Marry Me in Montana

Weddings under the Big Sky.

Face it: no outdoors enthusiast worth his salt readily and without profanity cancels a sunny, spring-weekend excursion to pack into a church and watch a twitterpated twosome tie the knot. Most cringe at the words "save the date," envisioning themselves strangling in either the perfume-soaked air or a tight dress-shirt collar, all the while cursing the lost biking/fishing/backpacking/rock-climbing excursion. Unless, of course, said nuptials are of the new Montana breed.

More and more Montucky couples are bucking the boring wedding trend and opting to splice al fresco. Invitees are grateful: now instead of snoozing through declarations of eternal love, they can TAN. And that's just the beginning. How much does a couple really need to spend on decorations with wildflowers sprouting freely from the earth and Montana backdrops providing dramatic scenery? No one will miss stained glass (or their fishing trip… as much) if the pair weds under a Big Sky sunset. And outdoors means a little more breathing room, fresh air, and comfier clothes. Top footwear choices for brides include bare feet, cowgirl boots, or custom-ordered white Chacos.

Plus, a wedding in Montana can easily be a vacation for everyone. After the couple in question lands the big one, guests can too—on any of Montana's trout streams and lakes. Singletons can (politely!) grab the least intoxicated bridesmaid and have a ready-made romance on any nearby hiking trail... did we mention they are replete with flowers this time of year? Out-of-state guests might struggle to pack for a spring wedding: can a mountain bike go on the plane? (Remove the wheels, place in box, pay extra fee.) If so, should I still bring my skis? (Yes.) Climbing gear? (Yes.) Camping gear and dog? (Yes.) In fact, if it's not potentially hazardous, flammable, or explosive, bring it.

Extra lucky are the invitees with truly badass friends who combine their love for each other with their love of outdoor enthusiasm. For instance, rock-climber bums might throw their marriage on the rocks, opting to tie the knot with a clove hitch. Some newlyweds bike into the sunset, others unwrap their wedding cakes from Saran Wrap safety in river rafts. Horses are in this year, as is that "wind tousled" look for brides.

No matter how twosomes here kick off the tax breaks, they tend to do it with Montana hospitality: just letting the wine, dogs, and guests run loose under the Big Sky.

wedding Big Sky Montana outside Bozeman
Image by
Peter Ponca