Hey friends! Courtney here today. With the wonky year that 2020 has been, I was beginning to wonder if we’d be traveling at all and if so, what that would look like. Thanks to the incredible hospitality from the team at Flathead Lake Lodge, Greg and I had a chance to sneak away to Montana for a few days in Big Fork while I took notes on it’s wonderful ability to host a destination wedding for up to 125 of your nearest and dearest.
The property is both sprawling (over 3,000 acres) and intimate (you can walk easily from your cabin to the lodge and barn and lake) and is nestled on the north end of one of Montana’s largest bodies of water, Flathead Lake. With several options for a ceremony and reception, from the gently sloping hill outside the lodge, a private island near the lake or in a field near their herd of more than 100 horses, if an immersive Montana dude ranch experience is what you want, that is what you’ll get.
We arrived on a Friday and left Tuesday, although for a wedding weekend most guests get in on Thursday and depart Sunday. A quick 30 minute drive from the Glacier International Airport, we were greeted by our wrangler who took us to property in one of the ranch’s fleet Suburbans. Once we arrived and nestled into our cabin (think rustic chic with summer camp vibes) we were able to enjoy an afternoon trail ride before meeting back at the lodge for happy hour.
All offerings at Flathead Lake Lodge are inclusive, so when you (and your guests) stay on property as part of your buyout it includes your breakfast, lunch, dinner, alcohol and activities. Some of the outings we enjoyed during our stay included hiking (with a tour guide!), being driven in an original 1970s pinzgauer through an Elk preserve (we saw nearly twenty Elk – from bucks to mamas and babies), clay shooting, a boat ride, a breakfast trail ride (the wranglers cooked us pancakes and bacon in the woods!) and a good ‘ol fashioned Montana steak fry, complete with a ride atop an antique fire truck and boot branding. Every night featured live music around the lodge’s fireplace or outside around a campfire, under the Big Sky.
One afternoon we ventured off property and into the adorable town of Big Fork and enjoyed snacks and a few beers at a local brewery before walking around and grabbing another local favorite, huckleberry ice cream!
And for those of y’all whose guests are extra adventurous, you’ll be glad to know the ranch can rent you a car to drive the hour or so to Glacier National Park where you can explore the “Going-to-the-Sun-Road,” a spectacular 50 mile, paved two-lane highway that bisects the park east and west, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass. Greg and I were able to sneak this into our schedule and it was a wonderful highlight. The views almost don’t even seem real!
So, if you’re looking for a spot out west to intimately gather for your destination wedding that’s full of genuine hospitality, authentic experiences and a healthy dose of adventure, be sure to consider Flathead Lake Lodge and the three generations who have owned and operated it from May to October since 1945.