September 4, 2023

Glacier National Park Adventure Portrait Photographer, Julia & Javier

Living in an area that is for many people a once-in-a-lifetime destination is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it means I get to meet and work with so many couples and families from all over and often witness their first experience with Glacier National Park. The curse comes with the realization that I will not get to hang out with the vast majority of these individuals again.

But every once in a while the stars align, and I get to hang out with people who are now basically old friends. Those stars aligned for Julia and Javier when they were able to return to Montana for their first anniversary, and I got to introduce them to a large portion of Going-to-the-Sun road they never got to experience when they were here for their wedding. A wedding that was beset with absolutely relentless rain for probably 85% of the day but was one of the most memorable weddings I've had the honor of being a part of. Memories aside though, the rain prevented the appropriate amount of couples portraits that they—and the handmade dress Julia's friend made her—deserved.

June 10, 2022

Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer, Dee & Steve

I met Dee and Steve through wedding planner extraordinaire Kate Jimenez with An Epic Elopement. They'd initially contacted her for her all-inclusive elopement package but after consultation—and because she's such a sweetheart—she realized they didn't really need that much for what they were looking to do. After contacting me to see if I was available, she basically handed them off to me and suggested they order a bouquet from Mum's Flowers in Whitefish, and it would be super simple. They weren't needing an officiant, they were simply going to exchange vows between themselves, which for now does not require a special permit to be obtained from Glacier National Park ahead of time.

Initially, our plans were for a part of the park that sometimes opens by early June but with the unpredictability of weather, and a very late winter storm we experienced in Northwest Montana that was unfortunately not possible, but I think we found a suitable alternate location, and it was such an honor to play my small role in documenting their exchange of vows.

May 11, 2022

Glacier National Park Portrait Photographer, The Rhodes

As you might imagine people arrive in Northwestern Montana from all over the place. Tina and her husband were visiting from the Southeastern United States where the mountains look quite a bit different and the spring climate is dramatically different. No matter, they simply embraced the chilly weather, admired the snow on the mountains across Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, and we had a wonderful morning.

February 17, 2022

Glacier National Park Maternity Portraits, Cristine & Josh

Cristine and Josh seem to have developed a habit of finding themselves in front of my camera, and I do not mind one bit. We've met in Fall, Summer, and now winter. We need to get together in the Spring to complete the seasonal collection.

This session may have actually been my favorite as it's such an honor to continue documenting someone's life together as they move from a couple to a family.

January 13, 2022

Whitefish Portrait Photographer, Ed & Suzette’s 20th Anniversary

This portrait session with Ed and Suzette was perfect for so many different reasons. Not the least of which was they were just a joy to spend a couple of hours with while we all lost feeling in our hands. For one thing, it was a great reminder you don't need to be recently engaged or recently married to have portraits taken. It can be any milestone, such as a 20th anniversary which is very much worth celebrating. It can also be an opportunity to document your vacation to an area that has a dramatically different climate than the one you're used to, and they were certainly not used to a massive powder day in Whitefish. It snowed all day, which was a dream come true for me, because I finally had the opportunity for a portrait session with it actively snowing, which had eluded me up to this point.

Ed's suit was rented from Mimi's Bridal in Kalispell.

September 8, 2021

Glacier National Park Engagement Photographer, Niva & Vishal

While Northwest Montana—and Glacier National Park in particular—do have a tendency to make the lives of photographers rather easy at times it doesn't mean this vocation isn't without its challenges. For instance, we make up for our lack of sunshine and short days in winter with extremely long summer days. That means scheduling your sunrise session that starts on the East side of Glacier means a 4:00 am or earlier alarm clock wake-up.

All of that said, even when contending with uncooperative weather, and hazy, smoky skies Glacier rarely disappoints. This August morning with Niva and Vishal was no different. I got to hang out with these two for a couple of hours early one morning starting on the East side of the park and heading West and we had a great time discussing Taylor Swift, the differences between Texas and Montana, and the unreal scenery we were surrounded by.

January 6, 2021

Glacier National Park Engagement Photographer, Sofiya & Collin

Living in the Flathead Valley—an area small in population but big on epic views—means the majority of the couples I work with tend to be from far away. This means there isn't often the opportunity to get together for engagement photos prior to the wedding. And while there are always phone calls, texts, emails, and yes videoconferencing that just about everyone grew accustomed to during 2020, there's just no better way to get to know each other than a pre-wedding photoshoot.

So when Sofiya and Collin, who live here in the valley, booked me for their wedding next year and asked for an engagement shoot I couldn't have been happier. The weather was bitter cold, but that's nothing a blanket, some snuggles, and okay plenty of hand warmers couldn't combat.

We had so much fun traipsing around West Glacier and Glacier National Park, I can't wait to party with them here in 2021.

December 11, 2020

Glacier National Park Wedding Photographer, Kaylee & Braxton’s Post-Wedding Portrait Session

Kaylee and Braxton didn't actually elope, bu they were celebrating their honeymoon here in Whitefish. And what is that saying "When in [Whitefish] you do as [Montanans] do." You put on your wedding attire and you book a portrait session in Glacier National Park!

Okay, maybe not everyone does that, but I am so happy these two Texans—by way of D.C.—ended up contacting me for said portraits. Kaylee is a photographer herself so it was really fun to talk a little shop. It was also a little different working with someone who knew just about all the prompts, and what those prompts were trying to accomplish. It made things super quick and efficient which was ideal given that it was below freezing. But I was once again blessed with a couple that was all smiles for miles.

Incidentally I'm so glad my wife insisted on buying a box of the little hand warmers to keep in the car to use for photoshoots. They've come in super handy this winter.

December 9, 2020

Glacier National Park Engagement Photographer, Michelle & Alex

Michelle and Alex were visiting all the way from North Texas and like any couple with taste, they wanted some engagement photos in Glacier National Park. They were actually my second of three Texas couples in the last eight weeks which has been really nice. It's always a pleasure to show people from the state where I grew up the area that has since captivated me. It wasn't snowing, unfortunately, but it was definitely more chilly than a couple of Texans were used to. It was actually a bit dreary this particular day, but you'd never know it from the laughter and the jokes shared during the session.

I may not be any relationship expert, but I like to think that laughter is an awfully solid foundation from which love grows. If that assumption is correct, these two are primed for many, many years of happiness. Congratulations to Michelle and Alex!

October 19, 2020

Glacier National Park Portrait Photographer, Chacey & Asia

Having grown up in Texas, hearing a Texas accent can act as an odd sort of comfort blanket. And that is just how it was this chilly morning for these ladies hailing from North Texas. Another referral from the always too-kind Jennifer Vernarsky, Chacey and Asia were on a last-gasp-of-summer anniversary/birthday whirlwind vacation to Northwest Montana and Chacey wanted to surprise Asia with a photo session.

We met up at Apgar Village in Glacier National Park, and while the early morning clouds and fog obscured the mountains, it made the setting no less dreamy and surreal for a quick min-session. They were so fun to work with, and their smiles offered all the warmth needed in the upper-30s temperatures we were dealing with. We lamented the lack of decent Tex-Mex restaurants in Montana—and really anywhere but Texas—and other superior, non-Tex-Mex dining opportunities in the Flathead Valley.

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Matt Wetzler is an editorial, motorsport, portrait, and destination wedding photographer based in Whitefish, Montana.

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