Saskatchewan Sand Dunes - A Hidden Gem

Saskatchewan Sand Dunes – A Hidden Gem

These sand dunes are proof that Saskatchewan isn’t boring. The Great Sand Hills is a hidden gem that more couples need to explore for their elopement or photo session. From the stunning views, to exciting and unexpected weather, it’s a spot worth considering for your elopement. Keep reading to learn about my unprecedented experience at the Saskatchewan sand dunes.

Sand Dunes Couple Shoot on 2021-06-05 in The Great Sandhills, Leader, captured by Liv Hettinga Photography.

All about the Great Sand Hills

This massive park comes in at 1900 sq. km. full of desert-like sand dunes, native scrub brush, and small trees like the willow and aspen you see in these photos. Mule, deer and antelope frequent the park, munching on the shrubbery. These Saskatchewan sand dunes are located in the southwestern part of the province, three and a half hours from Saskatoon, four from Regina, one and a half from Kindersley, and two from Medicine Hat. Accessing the park is free and there is a village office open seven days a week for more information about park amenities and trails. 

Deserty Sand Dunes Elopement on 2021-06-05 in The Great Sandhills, Leader, captured by Liv Hettinga Photography.

The park’s weather, including sandstorms which we’ll talk about in a minute, is windy and temperate. The intense winds create the dunes and all of the interesting geometry and lines across the sand. Ever shifting and changing winds mean ever changing terrain, and a new landscape each time to come to the park. 

Deserty Sand Dunes Elopement on 2021-06-05 in The Great Sandhills, Leader, captured by Liv Hettinga Photography.

Shoot Day

Both of the shoots that you see in this post are from my first styled shoot under Create Gold. I worked with other amazing wedding vendors in the area to put together these eye catching elopement and engagement sessions. We all took a lot of care planning all the little details, finding models that could absolutely kill it no matter the conditions (which they totally did), and abiding by Leave No Trace principles. The result was a spectacular, wind filled day and some really stunning images.

The Sand Storm

The biggest risk you take with the Saskatchewan sand dunes is getting caught in a sandstorm. When we were planning this day we had no idea what the weather had in store for us. When I started heading to the park there was a tornado warning! We continued on, despite the weather, hoping that it would die down. On the way there garbage bins were blowing over and the hope of clear skies seemed slim. But we lucked out! Calm winds and blue skies greeted us on the dunes. It was beautiful and perfect for what we had planned. 

Sand Dunes Couple Shoot on 2021-06-05 in The Great Sandhills, Leader, captured by Liv Hettinga Photography.

Our luck didn’t hold out though, right in the middle of the session, with the couple on the edge of the sand a huge gust of wind came in, swirling sand all around the couple. I thought it was beautiful…until it just kept coming. Before we knew it people were being blown over, and everyone was scrambling for their bags, shoes and camera gear. My own bag was nowhere to be seen, so I ran back to my van to get my cameras out of the weather. 

Caught in a sandstorm in the Great Sand Hills park

We all waited out the storm in four vehicles and when the weather was clear, climbed out to start shooting again. I started to look for my bag, praying it wasn’t buried in the sand, and there it was on the side of the dune! 

Deserty Sand Dunes Elopement on 2021-06-05 in The Great Sandhills, Leader, captured by Liv Hettinga Photography.

The park rewarded our positive attitudes with the most beautiful sunset, and amazing photos. Click here to see a gif I made from when the sand storm first hit. 

The Results

Despite the weather, we had a winning combination: incredible vendors, a sweet couple, and a dreamy location. These Saskatchewan sand dunes will have you feeling like you’re in Morocco without having to fly there. This unlikely environment in the middle of Canada is a little treat for anyone looking for something a little different behind them. Whether you’re tying the knot, getting down on one knee, or taking photos just because, this spot will not disappoint. In fact, it might even blow you away. 

Deserty Sand Dunes Elopement on 2021-06-05 in The Great Sandhills, Leader, captured by Liv Hettinga Photography.

Ready to talk about your own stunning session at the Saskatchewan sand dunes? Get in touch with me here

Shootout: Create Gold

Lead Planner: Love Spell Co

Lead Photographer: Me!

Florist: Floral & Field

Hair stylist: Rachel Stange

MUA: Solomia

Dress: Exquisite Fashions & Bridal

Decor/rentals: Events & Co

Stationery: Plush Invites

Model for couple: Christina & Spencer

Models for elopement: Mikaela & Riley

Crown: Nirvana 14

Spray tan: Bronzed up

Couple’s Engagement Shoot

couple sitting straddle in the sand dunes for a photoshoot

couple laying in sand and rolling around during couple shoot in Saskatchewan

Elopement Shoot

eloping couple hiking through the sand dune hills in Saskatchewan
desert elopement in Saskatchewan sand dunes, Moroccan themed

black and white elopement photography

groom portraits in Saskatchewan sand dunes wearing tan linen dress pants and a white linen shirt
bride and groom sitting. boho style Moroccan elopement
black and white wedding photography, couple playing with sand
couple throwing sand at golden hour
bride and groom running down hill at golden hour into the sand dunes at golden hour

Floral & Field crushed the floral arrangements!

boho elopement ceremony setup, rose toned floral installation, couple standing on rug, bride in flowy dress from Exquisite, groom in tan linen suit

Couples, Weddings and Elopements

CATEGORY

7/29/2022

POSTED

heyyy!!

I’m your elopement hype girl and a photographer for the goofball lovers + those who want to make their wedding day an adventure. I’m also the owner of a converted camper van and love exploring the outdoors. You’ll find my heart on this blog. Whether it’s documenting my real life couples or giving my brides + grooms the tips + tricks they need to plan their best elopement, I’ve poured my heart out for you here. 

I'm Liv Hettinga

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Saskatchewan Sand Dunes – A Hidden Gem

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"Liv is extremely talented and great to work with! She gave us enough direction in our shoots to know what to do but still left tons of room for candid, genuine moments. Nothing beats seeing real smiles and laughter in your photos! She was more than willing to collaborate and go for some sillier ideas, and was always super encouraging. She's an incredibly sweet person and we felt very comfortable to be ourselves around her. Liv's talent is beyond just the technical knowledge, she really has an artist eye for beautiful photos. Her editing style is perfect, not too dark or light but still brings personality with the warm tones she adds. I HIGHLY recommend working with Liv!!"

- Cassie + Matt

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