Maybe you already know that you want to elope, or maybe you and your partner haven’t yet decided that you want to have an elopement instead of a traditional wedding… Either way, you want to know what the perfect elopement timeline would look like. In this blog post, I’m going to breakdown how to craft the perfect elopement timeline and give real examples of what different elopement timelines have looked like.
First things first, my top priority for your elopement timeline is simple; to ensure you have a great experience and get killer photos. But – what exactly do I do to make sure that happens?Plan around sunrise and sunset! Because all of my couples prioritize beautiful photography, I religiously plan every elopement around sunrise and sunset. The lighting is the softest, and when there’s no clouds – it casts beautiful hues of orange, purples and pinks around your skin and the scenery you’re surrounded in. When it is cloudy, the lighting still softens up and gives us different shades of blue and moody environments.
Some couples like to have a sunrise first look, take a break half way through the day, and finish off with a sunset ceremony.
Some couples like to hike during the day, so they can have a sunset ceremony on a mountain top, first dance, and portraits as it gets darker.
Most couples like to have their ceremony at an easy, accessible location mid day so they can include friends and family. Then, we can ditch the group and just take killer photos during sunset!
Plan buffer time! I can’t express how important this is. RARELY does an elopement day timeline go exactly according to plan. Sometimes there’s a struggle bus finding the hair pins we packed, or the exact socks we wanted to wear. Stuff happens, and buffer time will allow all of us to relax and go with the flow.
Well, like I said, your priorities and your experience comes first. After you sign your contract and pay the retainer, I send you two a questionnaire. The questionnaire will allow me to know exactly what your priorities are, and I’ll start using my experience to plug those into your wedding day. If you want to hike, we’ll make it happen. If you want to have a first dance or a gift exchange, we can make that happen too. Want to listen to your favorite records on vinyl and sip wine in a cabin? You got it. Or maybe you want to play fetch with your doggo? Let’s do it.
Don’t forget to set aside 15-30 minutes for your marriage license/certificate!
And you have to be honest with yourself! Because if you normally take an hour to get ready for a day and run into snags, the same thing can definitely happen on your wedding day. Even if you hire a professional hair and makeup artist, stuff can still come up or items can get misplaced while packing. Maybe we’ll have to stop for gas at some point, grab extra snacks, or maybe we’ll hit a little traffic. Anything is possible, and planning for extra time (15-30 minutes) will help you and everyone else feel relaxed all day long.
One of my couples in June of 2021 intentionally scheduled downtime during their elopement. In between every location we explored, there was time to snack, drink water, and just hang out. This gave their entire day and elopement timeline a relaxing atmosphere. And it was stress free, all day long.
Here are some real elopement timeline examples to help you envision what your day could look like, and all the photography that comes with it!
As you can tell, a 12 hour elopement timeline gives a TON of flexibility. You can imagine all the possibilities of swapping out different activities or exploring new areas!
Want to see a featured, real, 12 hour elopement I coordinated and photographed? This entire timeline was from Reyna & Froy’s Gold Creek Pond Elopement here!
As you can probably tell, 8 hour and 12 hour elopement timelines include a TON of flexibility, and possibilities for what your day could look like. The possibilities are endless! 6 hour and 4 hour elopement timelines are totally okay, but they’re definitely more short and sweet!