The beauty and grandeur of the Indiana Dunes National Park makes it a popular location for weddings. Because these ceremonies are not part of the purpose and ordinary use of the park, a Special Use Permit is required. This permit enables the park to assist with the planning of wedding ceremonies while meeting the needs of park resources and visitors. Here is some information for those interested in hosting a wedding ceremony at the park:
Q: Do I need a permit for my wedding at the park?
A: Special Use Permit is required for all wedding ceremonies, regardless of size or duration.
Q: How do I get a permit for my wedding?
A: You can get information regarding the application process from the park website or by calling our permit coordinator at 219-221-2054. Please remember that submitting an application does not guarantee approval of the permit. Permit information can be found on the park website at Permits & Reservations - Indiana Dunes National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
Q: Does the permit cost anything?
A: There is a fee to apply for the permit. All applications must include a non-refundable check or money order of $65.00, payable to “National Park Service”. This payment is required to cover the cost of processing the application. Depending upon the scale and complexity of the event, additioanal charges may apply.
Q: What should I put on the application?
A: When completing your application, you should be as specific as possible. The more information you provide regarding your wedding, the easier it is to evaluate your permit request. We cannot process incomplete applications. Missing information can delay the processing of your application. Maps and drawings of the event area are encouraged.
Q: Are there things I should do before completing the application?
A: Before finalizing your wedding plans and completing a permit application, you should come out to the park and scout out the location. Make note of the available parking. Parking is on a first come/first served basis only. Parking cannot be reserved and your party cannot block out parking spaces. During fair weather, parking can fill fast. A permit does not guarantee parking spaces for your wedding. You should also make note of the terrain and other environmental conditions. Some areas may prove too strenuous for persons with physical limitations. Many locations have limited restroom facilities. Be aware that environmental sounds such as waves and strong winds may make hearing your ceremony difficult.
Q: Can I photograph or film my wedding?
A: Absolutely! Still photography with handheld cameras is encouraged. There are some important things related to professional photography/filming you need to know. If you are planning to use a professional photographer/videographer to record your ceremony, you must indicate so on your permit application. They may only use a handheld still camera or a still camera on a small tripod. If they use reflectors, light sets or other equipment or if they set up props or other staged items, a separate commercial photography permit is required. If you are planning to use a commercial videographer to film/record your special day, a separate permit is also required.
Q: When and where can I have my wedding in the park?
A: Wedding permits are available year-round. However, due to heavy summer visitation at the beach, some restrictions apply:
Q: Is there a place that I can hold a reception?
A: While wedding ceremonies are allowed, we do not permit wedding receptions.
Q: Are there limits on what we can do during the wedding?
A: Special Use Permits usually contain a list of conditions and limitations that protect park resources and visitors. Many of these conditions are standard for any permit. Some are specific to weddings. These limitations include:
Last updated: March 8, 2021