✨ Sand Dune Weddings + Elopements | Tips, Locations + Photos

What You Need to Know to Plan Your Sand Dune Elopement or Micro Wedding

Consider the Weather at the Sand Dunes

Although the scenery doesn’t often change at sand dunes, the time of year you plan your elopement or micro wedding does matter. Depending on where the sand dunes are, it’s possible that they will get quite hot in the summer months due to a lack of shade. Don’t underestimate how intense the heat can be, especially in locations like the southwestern U.S.  If wind and rain are also seasonal, you’ll want to try to work around those factors as well. For instance, at White Sands National Park, high winds and sand storms are more likely in the spring months of March and April. And at Great Sand Dunes National Park, a river flows through the sand in May and June, which can often be difficult to cross.

Pick the Right Time of Day for Your Elopement or Micro Wedding

Early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening are the most ideal times of day to get married at sand dunes. With no trees for shade, the sun can be pretty harsh at midday, which is less ideal for photos. The hour after sunrise and before sunset have the most beautiful light – a golden glow that makes the sand dunes look magical. A great photographer or elopement planner can help you plan out the perfect timing for your sand dunes wedding!

What to Wear for your Sand Dune Wedding

Shoes are probably the most important factor in what to wear (or not) for a sand dune elopement or micro wedding. I definitely recommend leaving your heels at home as they will be very difficult to walk in. Close toed shoes or hiking boots are typically easiest to traverse the dunes in, and you’ll get a bit less sandy. Sandals are also a great option if you don’t mind getting your feet dirty. Or, just go barefoot! As long as the sand isn’t too hot or cold and there aren’t any poky objects, you’ll be fine.

If you plan to wear a wedding dress, there are a few styles that look especially lovely in this scenery. Light, flowy fabrics can be really beautiful if there’s a breeze. And larger skirts like ball gown or A-line silhouettes can be really beautiful against the dramatic backdrop of the sand dunes.

As for colors, try to wear something that complements the tones of the sand and the surrounding scenery. Or choose outfits that contrast well against the sand so that you stand out.

U.S. Sand Dune Elopement + Wedding Locations

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

If you love a minimalist look, White Sands National Park is the perfect place to elope! The endless ivory dunes are beautiful, and change character as the light shifts throughout the day. Midday, you see a beautiful contrast between blue skies and the stark white sand dunes. And at sunset, the distant mountains change to a deep blue and complement the golden skies. And my favorite time of day at White Sands is just after the sun has set – the sky turns to cotton candy and the lingering light gives the sand dunes a soft look. So basically, White Sands is gorgeous no matter what time of day! 

To find out more about options for weddings and elopements on the dunes, check out my White Sands Elopement Guide.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Prepare to be blown away by the grandeur of Great Sand Dunes National Park! Home of the tallest sand dune in North America, Star Dune, this park is quite impressive. Approaching the dunes, you’re in flat and open scenery – then suddenly the dunes rise up abruptly, with mountains looming just behind them. In late spring and early summer, there is also a creek that runs through the base of the dunes!

The sand here is a creamy tan color that changes its tone depending on the time of day. Be prepared for a challenge as you walk up the many dunes as the sand is soft and difficult to walk up. But when you get to the top of some of the higher peaks, it’s a great view!

You can find out more about getting married at Great Sand Dunes National Park over on the park’s website.

Death Valley National Park, California

The awesome thing about Death Valley National Park is that you have multiple sand dune areas to choose from! The 5 dune fields each have their own unique characteristics and range from easy to access areas with paved roads and parking to more remote areas where you need a high clearance vehicle to get there.

Another reason why Death Valley is such a great place to elope is the diversity in the park. If you want more landscapes than just sand dunes, you have plenty to choose from! Yes, it is all a desert, but within that ecosystem there are lots of unique rock formations and colors, mountains, salt flats, and more.

If you want to know more about getting married here, take a look at my Death Valley National Park Elopement + Wedding Guide!

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

While Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is by far the smallest location on the list, it packs a punch! The vibrant sand looks orange by daylight, and moves to a gorgeous coral pink-ish color at sunset! The sand is also very fine and soft, which is unique. The park has a viewpoint overlooking the dunes, some wildlife protection areas, and plenty of space to get out and hike or drive ATV’s. The park also rents out boards for some fun sandboarding!

One thing I love about Coral Pink Sand Dunes for elopements and weddings is that it’s nearby to many other beautiful places. Southern Utah is covered in gorgeous scenery, from the well known national parks like Bryce and Zion to quieter hidden gem areas. This means you can have your pick of places for your wedding or elopement and combine multiple locations into one day! A great example of that is Brittany + Zach’s Bryce Canyon and Coral Pink Sand Dunes Micro Wedding + Elopement. Check it out for some sand dune wedding photo inspiration!

Sand Dune Wedding Photos + Inspiration

It may be difficult to envision your own sand dunes wedding or elopement, especially since it’s so unique! Use the photos below as inspiration and a little peek into what your wedding could look like!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Julie Haider is an adventure elopement photographer + planner based in New Mexico and photographing destination elopements worldwide.


© Julie Haider 2024 | hello@juliehaider.com
Terms & Privacy Policy

View adventure elopement photography on Instagram!

the WAnderlust
Print Shop

elopement Planning tips + Guides:

Elopement Photography Info: