Congratulations! You've set a date and would like to take your wedding vows surrounded by the shimmering dunes of White Sands National Park. 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 21 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 park; however, keep in mind that these areas are open to the public. Other gated areas may be available but offer no amentities.
The Dunes Drive mapmay be helpful for determining where to hold your wedding and to help direct guests on your wedding day.
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 $75 per hour or any fraction thereof fee is required if your wedding requires the park 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.
Military 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 park 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 military-test closures planned during your wedding. In case of military test interference, the park may be able to reschedule your wedding at no extra charge.
White Sands National Park 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.
White Sands National Park is closed to the consumption of alcoholic beverages all year except at the following locations: Yucca Picnic Area, Road Runner Picnic Area, Primrose Picnic Area, and Group Use Area.
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.
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.
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 park 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.
Chinese wish lanterns or release of live birds are not allowed.
Acceptable Wedding Decorations
Silk, dried, paper, 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 park. You must also bring an appropriate fire extinguisher. Absolutely no open fires on the sands.
Bubbles, bells, or small flags 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 park'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.
How to Apply for a Wedding Permit
Download and complete the special use permit application. 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.
Submit the completed special use permit application to email@example.com. The application must be received by the park no less than 21 days prior to the start of the event.
Place a secure credit card payment for the application fee over the phone at 575-479-6124 ext. 206. Processing the permit cannot begin until payment has been received.
Once payment is received, most applications for permits requests will be processed within 21 working days.
After favorable review of your application, your permit will be emailed to you or you may pick it up in person at the park.
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.
If You Have Additional Questions...
Please firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write “wedding permit” in the subject line.