Wedding and Ceremony Permits

Wedding party gathered in front of a dune and Medano Creek
Weddings require planning and coordination to ensure compliance with National Park Service policies.

NPS

Please read the contents of this page prior to submitting an application.

To check availability, or for other questions, please contact our office by email or phone 719-378-6321.

To Apply for a Wedding or Ceremony Permit

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Attn: Chief Ranger
11500 State Hwy 150
Mosca, CO 81146

  • For more information email us or call 719-378-6321

The Special Use Permit requires a non-refundable administrative fee of $200 for each wedding application. This fee must be submitted with your application to be considered.

No more than two weddings per day will be booked at any designated wedding location, regardless of availability.

Drones are prohibited in the park for all uses, including weddings, even if the user/photographer is FFA licensed. No exceptions will be made.

Great Sand Dunes National Park is a resource protected area and a busy national park with high visitation. All ceremonies in the park are managed and require a Special Use Permit, regardless of size.

After favorable review of your application, a Special Use Permit will be prepared and sent to you for signature via email. Upon receipt, review, sign, and return the permit via email for final approval. If your ceremony plans change, notify our office immediately. After the permit is finalized, we'll send you an authorized copy via email. The approved permit must be in your possession at the time of the ceremony.

Weddings or ceremonies may be scheduled beginning January 1st in the year you wish to have your ceremony and no later than seven days prior to your event.

As parking spaces are limited in the park, carpooling or shuttling is strongly encouraged and may be required. Normal entrance fees apply to all vehicles associated with the ceremony.

Since Great Sand Dunes National Park is an outdoor, rustic, natural environment, the permit includes specific conditions that protect the park's resources and allow all visitors to enjoy the park. Read carefully to determine whether your ceremony will be possible. We've tried to address the key points required for arranging a ceremony in the park. You'll be required to read and sign the permit.

Ceremonies conducted in Great Sand Dunes National Park require written approval from the Superintendent’s Office. Your finalized, signed permit is considered written approval.

Ceremony Locations

Ceremony sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park are located in areas that are open to the public. All locations are outdoors and rustic in nature without protection from the weather. Ceremony site use is on a first-come, first-served basis based on the date applications are received by our office.

Ceremony requests over 15 people for the dunefield will not be approved. Ceremonies over 15 will be directed to the park Ampitheather.

Ceremonies are limited to two hours maximum at all locations.

Weddings are not permitted in public facilities such as visitor centers, roadside turnouts, parking areas, overlooks, or in special wildlife viewing areas.

No sites can be reserved for the exclusive use of your event. Scheduled park programs and activities may be taking place at the same time and in the same general area.

Most designated sites can only accommodate small groups. For wedding ceremonies, the overall number includes the wedding party, children, officiant, and photographer(s).

There are limited sites that will accommodate these larger ceremonies, and these should be scheduled as soon as possible through the application process with the Chief Ranger. Not all party sizes will be permitted in all areas. Size limits vary depending on parking, time of year, and location of site.

Construction may take place unexpectedly at any time or location throughout the park. Construction is considered a critical need and may impact areas within the ceremony site locations. However, we cannot offer refunds for locations that are impacted by this. If there is construction at the location of your ceremony, contact the Chief Ranger to discuss the option of changing the site location.

Regulations

1. Failure to comply with any of the terms and conditions of this permit may result in the immediate suspension or revocation of the permit. [36 CFR 1.6(h)]

2. The permittee is prohibited from giving false information; to do so will be considered a breach of conditions and be grounds for revocation: [36 CFR 2.32(a)(3)].

3. This permit may not be transferred or assigned without the prior written consent of the Superintendent.

4. The permittee shall exercise this privilege subject to the supervision of the Superintendent or designee, and shall comply with all applicable Federal, State, county and municipal laws, ordinances, regulations, codes, and the terms and conditions of this permit. Failure to do so may result in the immediate suspension of the permitted activity or the revocation of the permit. All costs associated with clean up or damage repairs in conjunction with a revoked permit will be the responsibility of the permittee.

5. The permittee is responsible for making all necessary contacts and arrangements with other Federal, State, and local agencies to secure required inspections, permits, licenses, etc.

6. The park area associated with this permit will remain open and available to the public during park visiting hours. This permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area. Permit activities will not unduly interfere with other park visitors’ use and enjoyment of the area.

7. This permit may be revoked at the discretion of the Superintendent upon 24 hours’ notice.

8. This permit may be revoked without notice if damage to resources or facilities occurs or is threatened, notwithstanding any other term or condition of the permit to the contrary.

9. This permit is made upon the express condition that the United States, its agents and employees shall be free from all liabilities and claims for damages and/or suits for or by reason of any injury, injuries, or death to any person or persons or property of any kind whatsoever, whether to the person or property of the Permittee, its agents or employees, or third parties, from any cause or causes whatsoever while in or upon said premises or any part thereof during the term of this permit or occasioned by any occupancy or use of said premises or any activity carried on by the Permittee in connection herewith, and the Permittee hereby covenants and agrees to indemnify, defend, save and hold harmless the United States, its agents, and employees from all liabilities, charges, expenses and costs on account of or by reason of any such injuries, deaths, liabilities, claims, suits or losses however occurring or damages growing out of the same.

10. Permittee agrees to carry general liability insurance against claims occasioned by the action or omissions of the permittee, its agents and employees in carrying out the activities and operations authorized by this permit. The policy shall be in the amount of $ N/A per Occurrence, $ N/A Aggregate and underwritten by a United States company naming the United States of America as additional insured. The permittee agrees to provide the Superintendent with a Certificate of Insurance with the proper endorsements prior to the effective date of the permit.

11. Permittee agrees to deposit with the park a bond in the amount of $ N/A from an authorized bonding company or in the form of cash or cash equivalent, to guarantee that all financial obligations to the park will be met.

12. Costs incurred by the park as a result of accepting and processing the application and managing and monitoring the permitted activity will be reimbursed by the permittee. Administrative costs and estimated costs for activities on site must be paid when the permit is approved. If any additional costs are incurred by the park, the permittee will be billed at the conclusion of the permit. Should the estimated costs paid exceed the actual costs incurred; the difference will be returned to the permittee.

13. The person(s) named on the permit as in charge of the permitted activity on-site must have full authority to make any decisions about the activity and must remain available at all times. He/she shall be responsible for all individuals, groups, vendors, etc. involved with the permit

14. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as binding the Service to expend in any one fiscal year any sum in excess of appropriations made by Congress or administratively allocated for the purpose of this permit for the fiscal year, or to involve the Service in any contract or other obligation for the further expenditure of money in excess of such appropriations or allocations.

15. If any provision of this permit shall be found to be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this permit shall not be affected and the other provisions of this permit shall be valid and be enforced to the fullest extent permitted by law.

16. All individuals participating in the permitted event or activity must wear masks in accordance with the current mask-wearing requirements in the Superintendent's compendium, which is available on the park's website or from the Superintendent's office.

Additional Park-Specific Conditions for the Ceremony


17. The permittee, in exercising the privileges granted by this permit, shall comply with the regulations of Department of Interior, National Park Service, and all federal, state, country, and municipal laws, ordinances or regulations which are applicable to the area of operations covered by this permit.

18. The permit is valid for activities occurring in Great Sand Dunes National Park and does not permit activities on any other lands or waters administered by any other state or federal land management agency, private land or other units of the National Park Service.

19. Permittee will comply with applicable public health and sanitation standards and codes. Permittee will apply Leave No Trace ethics during their visit in the park.

No personal gratuity of any nature whatsoever will be offered to any employee of the government in connection with the exercise of the privilege granted.

20. The Permittee and designee/representatives shall avoid any inference, written, spoken or printed, of any connection, either official or unofficial, with the National Park Service and/or its activities.

21. All natural and cultural resources are protected by law; utmost care will be exercised to see that no natural, historic, or cultural features are injured, and that area be cleaned up and restored to its prior conditions.

22. Guests must follow all traffic, trail, and site regulations.

23. No banners, streamers, or hanging objects will be allowed for the event. Nothing shall be attached to any natural or historic object or any National Park Service sign, bench, post, building, or facility.

24. Audio devices (radios, musical instruments, etc.) shall not be used in such a manner: (i) that exceeds a noise level of 60 decibels or (ii) that makes noise which is unreasonable, considering the nature and purpose of the permit, location, time of day, impact on park users, and other factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under circumvents. Sound amplification is not permitted. Vocal communication shall not exceed normal conversational volume.

25. This permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area. The area will remain open to the public during park visiting hours. Permit activities will not unduly interfere with other park visitor use and enjoyment of the area. Visitors will be allowed to watch the wedding.

26. Park visitor center, restrooms, and other buildings may not be used for ceremony preparations (dressing, picture-taking, rehearsals, waiting areas, etc.) or in the event of inclement weather.

27. Equipment such as tables, chairs, carpets, tents, floral displays, and generators cannot be used in the Park due to fragile ecosystems. A few portable chairs (provided by the permittee) under special circumstances, such as elderly or handicapped guests, are permitted but must be approved by the permitting official. Throwing and scattering of rice, birdseed, flower petals, or other materials is prohibited.

28. Parking is allowed in designated areas only. Unauthorized parking may be subject to violation notices. Carpooling/shuttling is strongly encouraged, and may be required, as parking space is limited, especially during peak times. Parking at sites are not reserved for the ceremony.

29. Under the wedding special use permit, officiate and photographer hired by the permittee is included on the permit and is not required to obtain an additional permit for their services. If the officiate and photographer advertise that they offer services in the park and your booking is done through them, then they need an additional permit.

30. Please respect the Park’s resources and tread lightly. Avoid sensitive resource areas.

31. Make sure all trash and ceremony items are picked up and packed out at the end of the ceremony.

32. The wedding will be well planned and scheduled. Last minute changes will not be accommodated unless the changes are contingent upon weather or other emergency conditions and approved by the NPS representative in charge.

33. A member of the park staff may supervise the wedding within the Park boundaries. He/she will have the authority to make all supervisory decisions to assure compliance with the permit, applicable regulations, and National Park Service policy. Permittee must comply with any special instructions received from this representative. Any additional information relating to the privilege granted in this permit will be furnished upon request of the official in charge.

a) Any expenses incurred by NPS for such supervision will be borne by the permittee but may be waived at the Superintendent’s discretion.

b) No employee of the National Park Service may work for the permittee in any capacity whatsoever while in uniform or if directly involved in supervision of the permittee.

c) No personal gratuity of any nature whatsoever will be offered to any employee of the Government in connection with the exercise of the privilege granted.

34. Vehicle access on unpaved roads may be restricted following rain or snow to prevent damage to roadways and adjacent areas.

35. This permit may be used between the hours of ______. No activity, including arrival of vehicles and/or personnel is permitted before or after designated hours. All personnel, equipment, and vehicles must be clear of NPS property by__ _____. Extension may only be made in writing by contacting the Chief Ranger or Superintendent.

36. Utmost care will be exercised to see that no natural, historic, or cultural features are injured, and after completion of the work, as required by the official in charge, the area will either be cleaned up and restored to its prior condition, or after clean-up, left in a condition satisfactory to the official in charge.

a) Permit activities may only be conducted in public areas of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Sound amplifiers are not permitted.

b) Nothing may be attached to any NPS facilities, structures, trees or other vegetation, or other natural features. Signs or banners used in the wedding shall be hung on or suspended from portable structures provided by permittee. All types of balloons are prohibited.

c) No ground disturbance may occur nor alterations of any kind, including but not limited to digging, scraping, moving, or painting, may be made to natural features.

d) Camouflage or removal of signs, fences, posts, or other structures may only be done with the approval of the NPS representative on site. When such camouflage or removal is permitted, permittee will replace or restore to prior condition.

e) Cutting of branches or ground cover is not permitted. Permittee may bring own greens and must remove them after shooting and dispose of them properly.

f) Photographing or filming of resident wildlife will be permitted only when such wildlife will not be molested, harmed, or disturbed thereby.

g) Pets will be kept on leash and under physical control at all times. Pets may not be left unattended.

37. Permittee must generate needed electricity on site; all generators must be turned off by 8:00 p.m.

38. First aid and personal safety are the responsibility of the permittee. All accidents resulting in personal injury or property damage in excess of $300 must be reported immediately to the NPS. If an NPS representative is not present, contact the Colorado State Patrol dispatch at (719) 589-5807 who will notify the NPS.

39. Food and drink – Consumption of alcoholic beverages will be in accordance with NPS and state laws and regulations. All food scraps, wrappings, plates and utensils, etc. will be cleaned up and secured immediately after eating.

40. Guests of the Permittee are not admitted free entrance to the park. The Guest’s options are:

a) Buy an entrance pass - pay when they enter

b) Have a current entrance receipt

c) Have a Current Pass (Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Annual Pass, Interagency Annual Pass, Senior, or Access Pass) (pass is valid and in the name of the client)

41. Rice or similar may not be thrown and all litter, rose petals, and other items must be cleaned up prior to departure. Permit is for wedding ceremony only.

42. Floral/ribbon type decorations are permitted but may not be attached with a kind of tape or anything that leaves a residue and must be completely removed prior to departure.

43. The use of unmanned aircraft (drones) is prohibited.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do we need a marriage license?

Yes. Learn more.

2. Can you obtain a permit on the weekend?

No, there is no one to process the application on the weekends.

3. Can you obtain a permit at the last minute?

Ceremonies can be scheduled up to a year in advance and up to 7 days prior to the ceremony. A last minute request might be accommodated, but there are no guarantees.

4. Do I need a separate permit for my photography or officiant?

No, the photographer and officiant are covered under the wedding permit.

5. Can I go to other places in the park to take pictures after my ceremony?

Yes. Indicate this on the request on your application to be approved on your permit.

6. Can I have my dog in the wedding ceremony?

Yes. Dogs must be leashed at all times.

7. Can I have an arch?

Only at the Amphitheater.

8. Can I have a band at my wedding?

Amplified music is not permitted. Music must at 60 decibels or less. This is only an option at the Amphitheater.

9. Does the park provide an officiant?

No.

10. Does the park provide wedding packages?

No.

11. Do the wedding party and guests need to pay entrance fees?

Yes.

12. Does the park provide private transportation?

No.

13. Is there a different cost for different sites and group sizes?

No. The same fee applies for all sites and ceremony sizes.

14. Can I have a drone take pictures at my ceremony?

No. Drones are prohibited in all National Park Service areas.

15. Can we hold a reception at the park?

The South Ramada is the only site that can accommodate a picnic or simple food reception. More information can be found here:

16. Can we have boutonnieres and bouquets?

Yes, however items like flower petals, birdseed, rice, or similar material or items cannot be used, thrown, or scattered.

Last updated: March 31, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Visitor Center
11999 State Highway 150

Mosca , CO 81146

Phone:

719 378-6395
Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center main number

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