Great Sand Dunes National Park Elopement

When we were in Patagonia we had limited access to wifi. The way to connect to it was a very shoddy system of propping the computer up on a window sill, plugging my phone into the computer and using the computer’s wifi signal from the building next door and crossing my fingers hoping that emails would load. Normally I wouldn’t care too much about trying so hard to connect to wifi while on vacation, but I was so excited to talk to Mandy & Corey about their elopement. Most people who come to Colorado to get married seek out dramatic mountain vistas & tall pine trees to surround them, and while this is classically beautiful, there is a whole other part of Colorado that is rarely explored and equally, if not more, striking.

Mandy & Corey told me that their favorite national park they’d visited was Joshua Tree National Park, and I knew exactly where to suggest for their Colorado elopement. I sent them a few photos of Great Sand Dunes National Park and their response was sweeter than I could’ve expected. Mandy said she cried seeing the photos, knowing it was a perfect spot for them to say their vows. A mix of desert sand dunes and snow-capped peaks, Great Sand Dunes sits at the base of the snowy & prominent Sangre De Cristo mountains, a perplexing landscape even for the most well-traveled person. Its a truly unique place that remains sort of a well-kept secret in Colorado because of its distance from the major resort towns. For the person who wants a truly wild & secluded experience for their wedding, this spot is ideal. 

We started the day by hiking up to a frozen waterfall inside of a slot canyon. Mandy & Corey saw each other for the first time that day at the base of the cascading ice. The joy and wonderment at the striking waterfall and at everything they were committing to was so apparent. After that we hiked down and drove over to the Sand Dunes where they had a beautifully liturgical ceremony. The wind took shape in Mandy’s dress and hair and danced in the sand at their feet. They seemed so small in contrast to the sweeping dunes and towering mountains, much the way Nate and I felt on our wedding day. It all reminded me of the humility and strength required to commit to someone for the rest of life. 

To be invited along on a journey like this always feels like a privilege, and to be trusted with choosing locations and capturing it all is a responsibility we don’t take lightly. The best part of what we do is getting to walk away at the end of the day joyfully exhausted, with two new people we get to call friends. This elopement was the height of what we love about weddings: the truest of love, the humility of commitment, and the joy of making your best friend your spouse.

Getting Ready Location: Surf Chateau
Ceremony Location: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Officiants: Reverends Steve & J.R. Miller
Flowers: Rancho Verde Flowers
Dress: Chic Nostalgia from Its a Date Formals
Rings: Montgomery's Jewelry
Boots: Danner Boots


Inspired by this? Check out this elopement on a suspension bridge.

We were featured last month as one of Junebug Weddings' Instagrammers To Follow. Check out the interview here!

Cedar & Pines is an adventure wedding photography duo made up of Nate and Megan Kantor, a married couple based in the mountains of Colorado. They believe in honest wedding photography, capturing the small candid moments to the epic landscape views. They love photographing intimate weddings and adventure elopements from the mountains of Colorado to destination weddings in California, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Washington, Patagonia and the ends of the earth.

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