Guide to Creating your Elopement Timeline
[A guide with examples!]
It’s often thought that couples that choose to have an elopement prefer to have a short wedding day and that’s far from the truth! Many couples that elope are choosing to celebrate in an intimate way for many reasons. Some reasons may include family pressure, budget, intimacy or simply because they value an experience over material things.
It’s not uncommon for couples to not know what kind of photography coverage they need for their day and without examples, it’s hard to guess what exactly would fit their needs. There are many factors that will play a part in helping you decide the coverage you might need and how to build a timeline to fit your needs.
Photography coverage for elopement
The first thing to think about when trying to decide what type of photography coverage you need or what your ideal timeline looks like, is to consider where you’re eloping. If you’re eloping somewhere remote, you’ll want to factor this into your planning and account for travel time. Every location is different and keeping in mind how far your ceremony location is from where you’re staying will help you get a general sense of the coverage length you might need.
Do you want coverage of you getting ready?
If you plan on getting ready at an airbnb or lodging prior to your ceremony, consider the time you will spend doing this. Generally I recommend allocating at the very least an hour for photos of getting ready, details, your attire, and more. This doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready before your photographer arrives, if you typically take a bit longer to get ready they could arrive an hour or more after you’ve begun and start documenting the start of your elopement experience. This is a great option for couples that want their special day captured in entirety and have a complete gallery that tells a story.
Do you want to do a first look?
First looks are a great way to start the day once you’ve gotten ready and before you prepare to head to the location where you’ll say I do. It’s the perfect chance to enjoy the moment with your partner and have some “just us” time. You can choose to have have your first look anywhere but something to keep in mind when deciding if you want a first look and where to have it is if you’ll be taking the same car to the ceremony.
If you’re sharing a car and want to drive to the ceremony location together, I recommend doing the first look at the airbnb or wherever you’re getting ready. This will let you two travel together and you won’t have to worry about allocating extra time for a first look at an alternate location.
If you want to do a first look somewhere that’s not at the airbnb, that’s totally awesome too! What we would do is have one of you take your car and the other would ride with me. We’d plan this so that when we arrive at the ceremony/first look location, I would take partner one to get set up at the spot where you’ll have your first look and then walk in with partner #2 and guide them on what will happen next. For this option, I recommend allocating an extra 20 minutes or so to get set up at the first look location. This can be super magical and allow you to experience your first look outdoors in an area where maybe you’ve never been before. You also have the option to have a first look at a location that’s completely separate from where your ceremony will take place and after the first look, we can head to your ceremony spot!
Exploring Multiple Elopement Locations
Spending the day adventuring together is a super special way to experience new places together and elopements are perfect for it! If you want to venture to other areas for portraits, a picnic or even to just watch the sunset; having multiple locations will not only give you more diverse landscapes for your photos but it will also let you two have a more relaxed day, getting to take in new areas together and can be filled with excursions or outings you might not otherwise get to experience.
What to do when you elope
The great thing about eloping is that you have the chance to create a day that is entirely your own! With no pressure on what you can or cannot do, you have nobody to worry about on your day except for yourselves. There are tons of activities you can incorporate into your elopement and if there’s something you both have always wanted to try, consider checking it off on your special day.
Ideas for Activities & Excursions On Your Elopement Day
- Picnic (think charcuterie board, sharing some wine or your favorite beverage, breakfast, snacks, etc)
- Outdoor activities (skiing, whale watching, glacier tours, taking a helicopter, bungee jumping, rock climbing, sailing, exploring the city, etc)
- Dinner (you could have a private chef come to your airbnb after your elopement and prepare you two a special meal or choose to go out to eat and enjoy a fancy dinner as newly weds!)
- Dancing (Want to continue the celebration with an afterparty? You could go out on the town and celebrate the evening in your wedding attire, sharing a few drinks and getting down with your bad self!)
- Star gazing (Want some epic photos of you two cozied up under the stars? After dinner, we could venture back out to an area where the stars are visible and capture some amazing photos while the starry sky illuminates the two of you)
Can we split our elopement coverage in two parts?
Absolutely! If you want to start your elopement early and have a midday break where you two can relax, have a siesta or do some sight seeing on your own and continue the coverage later in the evening; we can make it happen! Splitting coverage is perfect for sunrise or early morning ceremonies and works best with 8 and 12 hour coverage. Some other things we can do is split your coverage across two days. If you want to spend a majority of the day adventuring and enjoy an at home session the following morning as newlyweds, I’m so here for it! During your home session, I’ll capture the two of you being in your element and spending the time as you’d like. Whether it be cooking breakfast together and sharing mimosas, or enjoying the hot tub together and sipping cocktails. The ideas for an at home session are endless.
Elopement timeline examples
Every timeline should be created with you in mind and making sure it checks all the boxes for your wants and needs. Here’s a handful of elopement timeline examples to get some inspiration into what kind of coverage sounds like it would best fit your vision. Of course, activities and structure can be adjusted accordingly and the best part is that with eloping; nothing is 100% set in stone for your timeline. So don’t feel pressured to have to do everything at the exact start time, elopements allow you the flexibility to enjoy every moment and to be fully present with one another. So if the morning of, you decide to do some activities before the others, no problem!
12 hour elopement timeline example
11:30am: enjoy the morning at the airbnb with breakfast or coffee & exchange letters or gifts with one another before you begin getting ready
12:30pm: spend time getting ready–hair, makeup, all the good stuff!
2:15pm: send partner off to first look location while other partner finishes getting ready & puts dress/attire on
2:30pm: have a super special first look & some quality time before heading out to the ceremony location
3pm: hop in the car & head to ceremony location, stop and get out along the way for epic portraits, crack open a beer/champagne, whatever you fancy!
4:30pm: arrive at waterfall, explore & adventure around to find the perfect ceremony spot
5:30pm: ceremony & vows
6pm: enjoy a dinner picnic with charcuterie, snacks & all your favorite fixings
6:45pm: couples portraits
7:30pm: head to second location
8pm: arrive at second location & enjoy a first dance or celebrate with a drink. Explore the area and continue portraits.
9:15pm: start heading back to cars
9:45pm: head back to airbnb
10:30pm: arrive at AirBnb & enjoy a catered meal, bonfire with s’mores, pizza, hot-tub or whatever you’re in the mood for!
11pm: starry night photos at airbnb or nearby location
11:30pm: photo coverage wraps up
8 hour elopement timeline example
1:30pm: spend time getting ready–hair, makeup, all the good stuff!
3:00pm: send partner off to first look location while other partner finishes getting ready & puts dress/attire on
3:30pm: have a super special first look
4:00pm: hop in the car & head to trailhead/ceremony location stop and get out along the way for epic portraits, crack open a beer/champagne, whatever you fancy!
5:30pm: arrive at location, explore & adventure around a bit to find the perfect ceremony spot
6:15pm: enjoy a dinner picnic with charcuterie, snacks & all your favorite fixings
6:15pm: ceremony & vows
6:45pm: sunset & portraits
7:30pm: start heading back down the trail
7:45pm: stop along the way for starry night/lantern or headlamp photos
8:30pm: head back to the AirBnb
9:30pm: arrive at AirBnb & photo coverage wraps up
6 hour elopement timeline example
1:30pm: spend time getting ready–hair, makeup, all the good stuff!
2:00pm: send partner off to first look location while other partner finishes getting ready & puts dress/attire on
2:30pm: have a super special first look
3:00pm: hop in the car & head to trailhead/ceremony location
4:00pm: arrive at location, explore & adventure around a bit to find the perfect ceremony spot
4:45pm: ceremony & vows
5:15pm: share a first dance or pop champagne
5:30pm: exploring the area & portraits
6:15pm: start heading back down the trail, capturing candids along the way
7:30pm: arrive at AirBnb & photo coverage wraps up
4 hour elopement timeline example
4:30pm: hop in the car & head to trailhead/ceremony location
5:30pm: arrive at location, explore & find the perfect ceremony spot
6:15pm: ceremony & vows
6:45pm: sunset & portraits
7:30pm: head back to cars/airbnb, capturing candids along the way
8:30pm: arrive at AirBnb & photo coverage wraps up
Split elopement coverage timeline examples
same day 12 hour elopement coverage (starry night photos)
8:00am: enjoy the morning at the airbnb with breakfast or coffee & exchange letters or gifts with one another before you begin getting ready
9am: spend time getting ready–hair, makeup, all the good stuff!
10am: send partner off to first look location while other partner finishes getting ready & puts dress/attire on
10:15am: have a super special first look & some quality time before heading out to the ceremony location
10:30am: hop in the car & head to ceremony location, stop and get out along the way for epic portraits, crack open a beer/champagne, whatever you fancy!
11:30pm: arrive at ceremony location, explore & adventure around to find the perfect spot to say I do.
12pm: ceremony & vows
12:30pm: enjoy a light lunch picnic with charcuterie, snacks & all your favorite fixings
1:15pm: couples portraits & adventuring around
2:00pm: head to second location
2:45pm: arrive at second location, enjoy a drink together and explore the area while we continue portraits
3:45pm: head back to cars and towards airbnb
4:30pm: arrive at airbnb (first half wraps up)
9pm: coverage begins again, get ready at airbnb to head out to location for night photos
9:45pm: arrive at location, find the perfect spot under the stars to do some starry couples photos.
10:45pm: head back to airbnb
11:30: arrive at AirBnb & enjoy a drink, first dance, bonfire with s’mores, hot-tub or whatever you’re in the mood for!
12:30am: photo coverage wraps up
2 day elopement coverage
For coverage split over two days, we’ll work to create your timeline to have a similar timeline as the 8 hour elopement and on the second day, we could include anything from excursions, sightseeing, multiple portrait locations, starry night photos, at home couples session and more. There are tons of ways to enjoy a two day elopement and we’ll work together to create the timeline that checks all your boxes to create your unforgettable adventure!
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