I swear Shelby and Alexis couldn’t have planned a more perfect elopement at Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park if they tried. It was raining all morning as they got ready at their VRBO out in the woods but stopped SECONDS after we pulled off for our first stop for photos + video in the park (and held off for the rest of the day and night!). If anyone deserves a perfect elopement day, it’s these two after the crazy year they’ve been through too!! They were originally supposed to get married in May at Rapid Creek Cidery in Iowa City; after COVID hit, they postponed to October and crossed their fingers that it would be safe for all their friends and family to gather then. By late July, things weren’t looking great so they decided to do what they’d considered from the start, pre-COVID: elope!!! Montana has always held a special place in their hearts, so now they just had to decide if they wanted to elope in the Bozeman area (where we did their engagement photos the May before!) or Glacier National Park, where they’d never been.

A few weeks later, they landed on Glacier National Park and applied for a ceremony permit at Bowman Lake!! And wow oh wow did they make a good choice because I’ve never seen such a breathtaking backdrop (the whole time I kept thinking it looked like it was a green screen because it was so beautiful LOL) as they said their vows and Shelby’s cousin officiated their intimate ceremony. 

I loved all the little moments of their day; helping each other get ready, taking tequila shots right after they officially became husband and wife, cutting their cake from Deluxe Bakery (their neighbor back in Iowa City!) after dancing to John Mayer out on the porch, and so many more special moments. Also can we talk about Shelby’s amazing idea for a “guest book” ?? They sent out these National Parks postcards and asked their loved ones to send it back with marriage advice, date ideas or words of wisdom written on the back. Also her table setup that she designed and put together herself!?

I’m just so honored to have been a part of their day—and weekend, you better believe we bought way too much food and beer for the VRBO the night before and dubbed it their rehearsal dinner—as their photographer, friend and WITNESS (scroll down to see my cameo as I signed their marriage license lolol)! Cheers to these two and a lifetime of love, adventure, and listening to John Mayer.


If you’re eloping (or not!), do yourself a favor and HIRE MARISSA!!! When we first started planning our large Iowa wedding, we knew that we wanted Marissa to capture our day, and for so many reasons. Marissa has the sweetest, kindest soul and we knew that would translate into making us feel comfortable in front of her camera. Her style is candid and raw, and captures all of the sweet little moments that you’ll smile about 50 years from now when looking back on her photos. She’s a true talent, and her photos speak to that. About 4 months before we planned to get married, COVID-19 hit the US, and we knew we likely wouldn’t have the wedding we had originally envisioned. We postponed our May wedding to October, and Marissa was so patient and flexible through that process. But as the virus continued to spread, we knew that the safest option was to either postpone to the unknown, or elope just the two of us. When we made the last-minute decision to elope in Glacier National Park, we knew that Marissa was the one constant person that we could count on, and BOY did she prove us right. From coming all the way to Montana during her busy season, giving us elopement advice and ideas, to making our new plan feel just as exciting as our original, Marissa made the adjustment so easy. When elopement day finally came, Marissa did everything in her power to allow us to have the best day. She endured through a morning of photos in the rain, she provided just the right amount of guidance in front of her camera, and she worked seamlessly with our videographers. When it was time to say “I do” on the shore of Bowman Lake, she courageously volunteered on our behalf to ask a group of people to leave the area so that we could have our intimate moment without disruption. After the ceremony, she gave us a moment to ourselves there on the shore, so we could marvel in the huge life moment we just had together. She not only captured every single little detail about our day perfectly, but she helped make our day all-around unforgettable. With so many unknowns that we faced regarding our wedding, Marissa was there through it all, and we’re so grateful that she was. The versatility in her talents is just phenomenal. Whether you are looking for her to capture your 300+ person traditional wedding, or having her be the only witness to your mountainside marriage, she is your girl!

Photography: Marissa Kelly Photography

Videography: Acts of Adventure

Dress: Maggie Sottero gown bought at Schaffer’s Bridal

Hat: Gigi Pip

Florals: Shelly Sarver Designs

Cake: Deluxe 

Rings: Herteen and Stocker

Tablescape: Shelby herself!

Guest Book / National Park Postcards: Anderson Design Group

Dinner/Catering: Abruzzo’s

Glacier National Park Elopement (Bowman Lake) | Shelby + Alexis


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