Beautiful & Intimate Red Lodge, West Fork Trails Elopement | Nick and Madie 

Red lodge Montana elopement

Nick and Madie had the most amazing, romantic and intimate Red Lodge elopement, and I am so lucky and honored to be part of their very special day! From getting ready, to the intimate elopement ceremony, to the party, this day was full of so much love and celebration. Maybe you’re here to look at beautiful pictures or maybe you are in need of inspiration and help for your own upcoming elopement! Either way, scroll down to see how Nick and Madie made their Red Lodge elopement one for the books!  

This lovely couple was so much fun to spend the day with. There were so many beautiful moments, I tried to capture it all in the photos! BUT I think, talking about it and sharing those little moments outside the pictures are just as fun to hear about!  

So, let’s break up the day and go through it together!  

First thing to start off this beautiful day was getting ready! They decided to do this separately. Madie got ready at Chateau Rouge with her best friend Jill doing her makeup! How amazing it that? So meaningful and fun for both of them! It was also so stinkin’ beautiful because there were deer that would walk right up to the front door of the hotel! Right next to us! This hotel is super interesting, every room is actually owned by different families, so they are all styled differently. Makes it feel so much more homey and comfy! We grabbed the best food from Babcock and Miles, and of course had a toast and cheers with her gals! Nick decided to get ready at my parent’s house. I thought that would be fun for him because Nick loves to play and listen to music, and my dad has a crazy record collection and so many guitars! He was in heaven and had the best morning jamming with his pals! 

wedding in Montana
elopement Montana
Red Lodge Montana

Then of course, the Elopement Ceremony! The Red Lodge and Beartooth Pass is a place that means a lot to them, and they have made some big memories here together! It’s actually a funny story! Madie and Nick came to Montana the first time two years ago and got engaged on the Beartooth Pass! They wanted to go back to Beartooth Pass to also get married there on the side of the road BUT THEN Red Lodge flooded! UGH! (Look it up though, it was crazy!) They ended up closing Beartooth Pass three weeks before Madie and Nick’s wedding date. Now that is some serious wedding elopement stress!! We all started brainstorming what they could possibly do instead. All hands on deck! I talked to a ton of friends who were local in Red Lodge and asked them what was still open to the public. That is when we found out West Fork trails were all still open! Madie and Nick were so set on getting married at the Pass because that’s where they got engaged, and that place meant so much to them, but as we kept talking they felt like it would be more fun to have all sorts of places that were special to Madie and Nick! They thought this place can make a new incredible memory for them, and it DID! Now, when they come back to Red Lodge, they have so many special places to visit! 

Next came the first look! I am obsessed with first looks. I could watch these all day every day. Seriously. UGH! So cute, tears are in my eyes just thinking about it! Us three drove up the West Fork and had their first look privately. Such an intimate moment, I absolutely LOVED it. Having this first look was really meaningful and special for them because Madie is usually wearing black and doesn’t wear much makeup in her day to day life. She is a natural beauty! So, it’s fun to see her in something completely different, beautiful and sparkled with makeup highlighting that natural beauty! Everything was incredibly purposeful when they were planning their day. They wanted to make sure that their family was invited to the ceremony and reception, but the rest of the time was going to be just for them! So… they did their vows during their first look! Just them! Y’all… this was the best part of the day. I freakin’ LOVED this idea. They had special vow books made from Etsy. (so cute) I especially respected how thoughtful their vows to each other were. So detailed. So meaningful. So intimate. There were tears, laughs, and of course, lots and lots of “I love yous” 

wedding in Red Lodge Montana

For the elopement ceremony site, we were all able to drive and park (for free!) right next to the campsite where we needed to be! It had space for about 3 cars. Perfect! This was a summer elopement, so weather was AMAZING! It was a tiny bit hot, but nothing horrible. The shade did feel great though! We got there around 3pm and luckily all had cell reception, just in case! 

Theoretically, they probably could have had a permit to be married at this site, but we didn’t. Shhh! Haha, no but really, most of the times, in the forest service, if it’s over the size of 15 guests you are supposed to get a permit, so we were in the clear! We were in a dispersed campsite, so it was perfect, and all was well! This trail was also amazing because it was incredibly accessible for any and all guests including strollers or wheelchairs!  

wedding ceremony Red Lodge Montana

Because of their stress of Red Lodge flooding and all of that craziness, Nick and Madie did have another backup! Just in case of weather and or everything else. Better safe than sorry! The Airbnb where Nick and Madie were staying in had a beautiful backyard that could have been used, so we had that in mind as a backup! 

Wedding Ceremony in Montana
Wedding Reception in Red Lodge Montana
dancing in Red Lodge

The guests included close best friends and close family! All loved ones! They also hired Syd Peirce (a friend of ours that does wedding planning) and had her come help while Nick and Madie were doing their first look. She was amazing. She set up all the chairs, wireless speaker, and most importantly, had the champagne chilling! She was incredibly helpful, we loved having her there to make things run smoothly! The ceremony was short, sweet and beautiful. It was also meaningful to them because it was done by their best friend (and old college roomie) Tommy!  

Wedding party in Red Lodge Montana

For their elopement portraits, we decided to do a few quick pictures during the first look, but it was super bright and sunny! So, I’m SUPER thankful that they also wanted to dedicate almost two hours driving around Red Lodge to take some more pictures!  

Wedding Red Lodge Montana

We said goodbye to the family right after the ceremony, and they had a little picnic ready in the wildflowers! IT WAS STUNNING and SO CUTE. It was actually really funny and cute because this family pulled up to camp right when we finally had the place to ourselves. They were so so sweet though! They stayed in their car and waited until all our pictures were done instead of releasing all their children out of the suburban. HOW NICE IS THAT? That would have been a whole different kind of elopement picnic for sure! Haha!  

Red Lodge wedding picnic
Montana picnic in the mountains of Montana

We really wanted to get these all in when the sun was still up, not too bright, a little sunset-y, and with the best lighting we can get! We had to keep in mind that the sun goes down a lot earlier since we are so deep in the mountains! So, after the picnic, we climbed up a little hill to get to those stunning meadow and trees pictures where we danced to music on Nick’s phone! So much fun with the best view!  

dancing in Red Lodge
Montana elopement photographer
Red Lodge Dancing

These two were troopers and stayed in their GORGEOUS clothes for pretty much the whole day! Madie even committed to the heels almost 90% of the time because she loved them so much! I was really impressed! They didn’t switch outfits until we got to the brewery later that night!  

Red Lodge waterfall hike
Red Lodge waterfall elopement

I know for a lot of people, it is uncomfortable to be in front of the camera, so I try my best to get to know you and make you feel as comfortable as possible! I want you to have fun! For Nick and Madie, I know what they love to do with each other, so it was really fun just playing and laughing all together! They love to chill, drink beer, watch movies and laugh too loudly (in the best way!) and so I wanted to capture any and all of that in the pictures we do together!  

Etsy wedding gift

It’s also fun to bring props into the pictures as well! Always gives you something to do and have even more fun with! They brought a few things. There was a picture their friends took of their proposal which was turned into a painting from Etsy (so cute omg) so they brought that! They also created an entire movie plot with their college roommate which then got made into a movie poster, so of course they had to bring that too! They also brought a six pack of beer which they drank the whole time!  

Wedding party in Red Lodge
Red Lodge Ales wedding

Time to party!!! Nick and Madie decided to change out of their formal attire into some fun, more casual and flirty clothes for their reception! Party clothes, if you will. They met family and friends back at Red Lodge Ales! Luckily, it was still open to the public! There is a great elevated patio in the back yard to give it more of a private vibe!  

Red Lodge Ales wedding reception

Like I said, Nick and Madie love to drink beer, so we had plenty for the reception! Beer, beer and more beer! We love beer! And we drank it all! Red Lodge Ales has a fun amount and great selection of beer and ciders. For food, they had sandwiches and chips! It was the perfect food for a warm day. Madie’s mom also brought cheese puffs which was Madie’s favorite snack growing up as a kid. Isn’t all of our favorite snack?? Can’t go wrong with cheese puffs!  

Red Lodge Ales

We shut the bar down! We had SO. MUCH. FUN. The staff and bartenders even played Madie and Nick’s first dance over the speaker! Then we started limbo with all the bartenders! Everyone was down to party and celebrate these two wonderful people! It was such a great night. After the party, Nick and Madie said they went back to their cute Airbnb and just crashed! What a day! 

Red Lodge Ales

The day went by SO quickly, but they had around 8 hours of coverage! Their elopement started in the morning, then around 12pm I started taking pictures of Madie finishing up her hair and makeup. I think what took a good chunk of time in the day was being outside of town by 25 minutes. But, worth it! We got to the elopement ceremony site around 3pm! Luckily, we were able to all drive up together the day before to check out the location, as well as dropping a pin for those meeting us there the day of! Also, another good chunk of their time was taken by putting aside time to take pictures together, which was around 3 and a half hours. But again, ALL worth it! Everything went amazingly smoothly and fast! We then finished the day around 9pm or 10pm!  

This was such an incredible moment, day, and couple! I love, love, loved being part of their day, and am so happy for them! 

Congrats Nick and Madie!!  

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