Ever wondered how to elope at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado?

The Great Sand Dunes National Park should be considered the 8th wonder of the world. It is honestly one of the weirdest and most beautiful places I’ve ever been all rolled into one. The Great Sand Dunes are nestled right at the base of the Rio Grande National Forest about 4 hours from Denver, creating this amazing contrast between the sand and the forest green.

Ever wondered how to elope at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado?

The Great Sand Dunes National Park should be considered the 8th wonder of the world. It is honestly one of the weirdest and most beautiful places I’ve ever been all rolled into one. The Great Sand Dunes are nestled right at the base of the Rio Grande National Forest about 4 hours from Denver, creating this amazing contrast between the sand and the forest green.

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Eloping at the Great Sand Dunes National Park is perfect for the couple who is wanting something more whimsical and dreamy. If you come at the right time of the year, Medano Creek will be flowing. You can see current Medano Creek Conditions here. The sand dunes make for great SANDBOARDING opportunities too. Yes, sandboarding! If you’re an adventurous couple (or not), you can rent a sandboard from the Oasis Store on the way into the main entrance of the park. This is a great prop to add to your engagement session.

The Great Sand Dunes are open 24 hours a day so you’re not limited to a set of park hours. The Sunset is my favorite time at the dunes because the sun is setting behind the mountains and some of the daytime visitors have left.

COSTS:

The main costs you will encounter are camping, entrance, and wedding permit fees.

Camping/Lodging: If you choose to camp out at the various campsites around the park, there is a nightly fee. Depending on where you stay, the cost does fluctuate. You can see those costs here.

Not into Camping? No problem, there are plenty of alternative lodging options around the park as well. You can see those options here.

Entrance Fees: There are a couple of different options depending on how long you plan to stay and how many people are with you. The most common pass is the Basic Pass ($25). This is good for 7 consecutive days. You can see all entrance fees and fee-free days here.

Wedding Permits: To host your wedding at The Great Sand Dunes National Park, you must fill out an application. The application fee is $100 (Download the application by clicking here). There are several places to reserve your ceremony spot. Some you can reserve, some are on first come first serve basis. See them here. Your photographer and videographer will have to have a CUA which they should arrange for their businesses.

TIME OF YEAR:

Let’s be honest – Colorado’s weather is crazy. There’s never a good way to predict it. To be completely prepared for your elopement, you should consider the time of year you want to hold your elopement.

May-Early October are the best months to plan your Great Sand Dunes Elopement or Intimate Wedding. With that being said – there are times that are better than others within this window. Keep in mind – the Great Sand Dunes are SAND. The summer months heat the sand up pretty quickly and can be uncomfortable on bare feet. Medano Creek is also a huge attraction on the weekends of Late May into Early June causing the park to be extremely crowded.

September is the best time of year to plan your Great Sand Dunes National Park Elopement! The temperature is around 70 degrees and the trees in the surrounding mountains are changing colors. The Milky Way is also visible on clear nights! Although the sand can still get very hot in the early afternoon, the evenings and sunset are comfortable for running through the sand with bare feet! See a monthly break down of weather here.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Preparing for your elopement in the Great Sand Dunes can be an overwhelming task – but here is a list of things to bring when visiting:

  • A towel (or a few) – towels can help wipe your feet of the sand or dry you off from walking through the Medano Creek
  • Water and Snacks
  • Shoes that are easy to take on and off
  • Bouquet – totally up to you if you’d like to bring a bouquet! Sometimes the winds can reach extreme speeds so I recommend looking into fake flowers or a mixture of both fake and real.
  • A Change of Clothes – after many visits to the dunes, I realized that I like to drive back to Denver in clothes that aren’t covered in sand.
  • Blankets – Blankets are great to sit on while out in the Dunes or line your car with to contain some of the sand you’ll bring back with you.

ARE PETS ALLOWED?

Yes! Most of the park is pet friendly, but they do have areas where pets are not permitted. See that information here. Although pets are welcome, please keep their safety in mind. The sand can reach extremely high temperatures that can damage your pet’s feet. Bring food and water for your pet to avoid dehydration. Keep your pets on a leash to protect them from other wildlife that may be present in the park.

VENDORS:

Florals: Limestone Floral

Invites: The Cross-Eyed Fox

Gown: Mr. Pretty Skirt

Rings: HawkHouse

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is the Perfect place to Elope or have your Intimate Colorado Wedding.


Let’s start planning yours
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