There’s a misconception that elopements are just a quick ceremony. You sign the papers, exchange rings, and go home. And even if that used to be true, elopements are no longer something you do in a hurry. Eloping is all about the experience! The entire day should be about celebrating your love in a way that truly reflects who you are as a couple. Just because your elopement is smaller than a traditional wedding, doesn’t make it any less meaningful – this is still the day you get married to the love of your life! The whole day should be an experience, and your elopement timeline should reflect that.
If you still have questions about what eloping actually means, check out this post. But, to learn about what goes into an elopement timeline and how to create one that’s perfect for your unique day, keep reading!
Elopements are all about flexibility – where you go, how you spend your time, the wedding traditions you incorporate or don’t – you really can plan a day exactly the way you want to! But how long should you plan for your elopement day? Remember that this is your wedding day, it’s the celebration of your love and it deserves to be special!
Your elopement is not just about taking photos, your experience matters! My goal is to inspire you to have an amazing wedding experience and NOT make it feel like an all-day photoshoot! To give you an idea of what that can look like, here are all the parts of an elopement day:
Some people think they don’t need a photographer for this part, but this is such an important moment of your elopement day. Because this when your special day starts! Some couples choose to get ready together, while others decide to separate. If you want to have a first look, I recommend getting ready separately.
2. First Look
It’s the first moment you see someone or they see you on your wedding day! It is a newer wedding day tradition, often replacing the moment when seeing your partner for the first time as they walk down the aisle. It can be used as a alone time with just your partner.
First looks can totally take place at elopements too, and it’s one of my favorite moments! Even if you’re eloping just the two of you, you can get ready separately and enjoy all the emotion of a first look experience!
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! It’s when all the emotions come together!
There’s usually the vows exchanging – some couples that are eloping with family/friends opt to read their vows right after the first look, privately, then they have the ceremony with the guests – and the rings exchanging. Depending on where you elope, an officiant/minister may have some words before or after and you may need to sign your marriage license (if you didn’t sign it before). And of course, have your first kiss as a married couple!
You can always choose to integrate unique, meaningful elements into your elopement ceremony. Here’s some examples:
So you’ve just had your first kiss, now what? If you’re having guests with you, this is probably a good time to spend some time with them, take a few family photos, do a champagne toast and even a first dance (or if you prefer you can do the first dance privately).
If you’re eloping just the two of you, the first thing you should do after your first kiss is to pause and really soak it all in! Look around, stare at each other, hold your partner close (and maybe now have a first dance!).
This is also the moment for some adventure! Check out the list below for some great options!
As you can see, there are so many possibilities to make your wedding day unique to you!
I wanted to list out some example timelines to give you an idea of how your elopement day could look like and also help you decide how long you should hire an elopement photographer for. This will totally depend on what you’re planning to do on your day.
Two different locations + two different activities
5:00am — photographer meets couple at trailhead and hike up to the mountain
6:00am — arrive at the top and change into wedding attire
6:30am — sunrise first look + ceremony
7:00am — enjoy some coffee + explore the surrounding area + have a first dance
8:00am — hike back down
9:00am — drive to second location
10:00am — arrive at lake for some kayaking adventure
11:00am — champagne toast + picnic by the lake
12:00pm — read letters from loved ones
12:30pm — change and go for a swim
1:00pm — photographer leaves, couple continue to enjoy their day privately
A relaxing ceremony by the lake + a short hike for some couple portraits
1:00pm — photographer arrives + getting ready separetly for the first look
2:30pm — couple’s private first look + vows reading outside the Airbnb
3:00pm — ceremony by the lake with family
3:30pm — family portraits
4:00pm — photographer and couple drive to an overlook for some sunset portraits + explore the area
5:00pm — drive back to Airbnb
5:30pm — champagne toast + reception with family
6:30pm — photographer leaves
Get in touch with me today and let’s start planning your elopement day experience!