Congratulations! You've set a date and would like to take your wedding vows surrounded by the shimmering dunes of White Sands National Monument. We know that you've got a lot to plan, so we've made the process of reserving your wedding location very simple.
When to Submit Your Permit Request
Wedding permit requests may be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 14 days in advance of your requested date.
The group use area is the only area that you may reserve for your wedding. This is a semi-private location with limited access for the general public. There is an additional reservation fee for the group use area.You may hold your wedding in other areas within the monument; however, keep in mind that these areas are open to the public. Other gated areas, such as West Filming, are off limits.
The Dunes Drive map may be helpful for determining where to hold your wedding and to help direct guests on your wedding day.
Entrance and Other Fees
Wedding guests entering White Sands for the ceremony will not be charged entrance fees. However, if you choose to have a reception or recreational activities before or after the wedding, your guests will be charged the monument entrance fee.
Depending on the amount of impact your wedding may cause, additional fees may be required. These fees may include: cost recovery for resource or vegetation damage, traffic control or parking assistance. A $50 per hour or any fraction thereof fee is required if your wedding requires the monument to open early or stay open later than normal hours of operation. The option to open early or stay late depends upon the availability of staff.
Missile tests are scheduled anytime from one month to one day in advance and are subject to change, cancellation, or extension at any time. We recommend you call the monument two weeks prior to your wedding, as well as both the day before and the day of your wedding to ensure that there are no missile-test closures planned during your wedding. In case of missile-test interference, the monument may be able to reschedule your wedding at no extra charge.
White Sands National Monument does not have any indoor facilities available for public use. There are, however, picnic shelters, grills, and restrooms throughout the dunefield. You may use an RV or other camper as a place for the wedding party to prepare for the ceremony.
Other than the picnic shelters, there is no shade in the dunefield. You are welcome to set up sun tents and other shelters to provide shade for guests.
Spring break, Easter, spring weekends, and Memorial Day are family times in the monument. Therefore, alcohol is not allowed within park boundaries from February 1st through May 31st.
No water is available in the dunefield. If you need to fill up water containers, you can do so at the visitor center. We recommend having at least one gallon of water per person per day for each guest. For detailed information on how to keep everyone safe on your big day please read our desert safety information.
Getting Your Guests to the Right Place
You are responsible for providing your guests with directions to the location of your wedding. Please download this map of Dunes Drive and distribute to your guests with information on how to get to your wedding location.
For large groups, trash removal may be a condition of your permit. We encourage green picnic practices to reduce the amount of trash generated in the monument.
Wedding decorations add a personal touch to your ceremony. Because your wedding is taking place in a national park, there are regulations for acceptable decorations to ensure no non-native species are introduced and to protect the sensitive resources.
Unacceptable Wedding Decorations
- No living plants, live flowers, plant material, or non-domesticated animals of any kind are allowed in the monument due to the risk of harming or contaminating our native species with non-native species.
- Balloons of any size, shape, or style are not allowed.
- The throwing of rice, birdseed, confetti, live flower petals, etc., is prohibited.
- Glass bottles, glassware, wine bottles, beer bottles, etc., are not allowed.
Acceptable Wedding Decorations
- Silk, dried, or fake flower arrangements; garlands; bouquets; etc. are allowed.
- Kites or pinwheels may be used instead of balloons.
- Candles, torches, and candelabra may be used, but you must pick up all wax and dispose of it outside the monument. You must also bring an appropriate fire extinguisher. Absolutely no open fires on the sands.
- Bubbles or bells may be used instead of rice.
- Tarps, tents, awnings, canopies, arches, lattice, and columns are allowed as long as they are properly attached to the ground using either ropes or stakes.
- You may use plastic and paper dishware of any color, except in the color white.
- Chairs, tables, red carpets, and runners that do not harm vegetation are fine.
- Motor homes and trailers to be used as dressing rooms, for equipment, and as generators are okay.
- Horses and carriages are okay as long as you follow the monument’s rules and regulations regarding the use of these. Horses must be brought in by trailer, and you must get a horse and other pack animals permit at the fee station. Carriages will only be allowed in designated areas, and they must be brought in by trailer.
- Any other requests not covered here will be dealt with on an individual basis.
The Wedding at White Sands brochure contains all of the above information in a pdf format.
How to Apply for a Wedding Permit1. Complete and submit the special use permit application. The application must be received by the monument no less than 14 working days prior to the start of the event.
The application must contain detailed information about your wedding, such as the expected number of guests and if you will be having music, artificial flowers, candles, tents, awnings, chairs, etc. Large weddings may require you to provide port-a-potties and trash receptacles for your event. The more information you include on the initial wedding application, the faster your request will be processed. The permit is valid only for the date of your wedding.
2. Read, sign, and return with application the General Permit Conditions. Also read and submit the Specific Permit Conditions.
3. Submit the completed special use permit application, general conditions, and a $25 non-refundable reservation fee by appointment or via mail. Factor in additional time for payments processed through the mail.
4. Submit payment In the form of a cashier's check or money order. Credit cards and personal or business checks are not accepted. Make checks or money orders payable to the National Park Service.
If sending payment via mail, send payment to:
Special Park Uses
White Sands National Monument
PO Box 1086
Holloman AFB, NM 88330
For payment via appointment, email the Special Use Permit Coordinator and write in the subject line “appointment.”
4. Once received, most applications for permits requests will be processed within fourteen working days. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 30 working days to process. Projects that require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted no less than 90 days before the start of proposed activity(ies).
5. After your wedding permit application is reviewed, you may be contacted to provide additional information or to discuss the details of your permit if the permit cannot be approved with the information provided or if additional fees apply.
6. After favorable review of your application, your permit will be mailed to you or you may picked it up in person at the monument by appointment with the Special Parks Uses Permit Coordinator. To make an appointment, email the Special Use Permit Coordinator and write in the subject line “appointment.”