How to plan your elopement timeline
Are you planning on eloping and you wonder how to plan a day that truly represents who you are and what you want your day to be like? You are in the right place! I’ll guide you through building an elopement timeline that will be tailored to you and your love story.
In my opinion eloping is all about the experience you’re about to live. Yes, it’s also about getting married, but the beauty of eloping is truly the experience you are going to have. This is why building an elopement timeline that will 100% be you is important.
My husband and I eloped and made a trip out of it, we invited a few family members to come experience what we love the most and obviously be there when we exchanged our vows. We both are travelers and adventurers at heart. This is what the past few years of our lives have looked like before we were together and when we got together. Having a week of experience was truly important to us. We all flew together, rented an Airbnb, hiked through Yosemite National Park, showing them our favorites hikes and part of the park. On the day of our elopement, they were with us and watched us exchanged our vows under pouring rain! Yes, we were completely soaked. And honestly, it’s my favorite story to tell 🙂
All that to say that planning your day shouldn’t feel less meaningful because you are eloping. On the contrary, you should make the most of it.
Why should you plan an all-day elopement?
- Your experience matters
Like I just said, your experience is the most important part of your day. Make sure to plan activities and a day that will tell your love story while having fun, being relaxed, and enjoying every part of it.
- Make it personable
Each elopement is unique because each love story is obviously unique. Make sure to incorporate into your day, details, activities, and anything that you guys absolutely love to do together.
- Take your time and embrace every part of it
We all heard of ” Oh I wish I had more time on my wedding day for this or that”. ” We ran out of time because, x,y, and z”. This is why you need to plan enough time and extra time for every part of your timeline. You shouldn’t have to worry about the time when it comes to your elopement day. Take your time and enjoy it.
Why hire a photographer for a full-day coverage?
Think about it this way, traditional weddings “always” have a full day coverage when it comes to photography. Why would you have to plan less for your elopement? To me, your elopement should be as meaningful. You might ditch the traditions on a wedding day, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t capture every part of it. Don’t you want to remember how you felt that day? duh! I’m sure you do. It’s all about looking back at the memories you’ve built together on a day that was important to you, your love story, and where this new chapter is taking you. Looking back at your photos should take you right back to this feeling.
Elopements are not a one-hour photoshoot. We won’t pose you for 6hrs or 8hrs straight don’t worry. It’s more about capturing what you are doing during your day. Obviously including the ceremony and family photos. See it as documenting your wedding story.
How to plan your elopement timeline?
So how do you plan your timeline? It starts by asking yourself the right questions first. Here is a few examples of what you should ask yourself:
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- Where do you want to elope?
- What activities can you do where you’re going to elope? How long does the activity take?
- What are your favorite activities?
- Do you have any hobbies?
- What do you want to do on your day?
- What’s most important to you?
- What time of the year do you want to elope?
- Who will be part of your day?
- Will you hire other vendors (MUA, Hairstylist, Florist, Private chef…)
Answering these questions thoughtfully will give a good idea of how to start planning your timeline. Make sure to share your ideas with your photographer or planner if you hire one. You can bounce off ideas with them and they will be able to tell you how long each part of your day depending on what you really want to do will take. As an elopement photographer, I am here to make sure you’ll plan enough time for your day.
Examples of how to create your elopement timeline
- Getting ready
- First look
- Adventures / activities
- Exchange your vows
- Family photos
- Dinner / toast
Either it’s just the two of you or your family and friends will be here for your day. You can plan a day where they are including throughout your day or meet you at your ceremony and reception to celebrate all together. The activities you decide on doing for your day will obviously depend on the location of your elopement and the logistics that are involved in it. You can start your day as early as 1-2am (Yes I said AM). Hiking on top of a mountain to exchange your vows at sunrise can be the start of your elopement day. For experience, my husband and I traveled all over the world and every hike we have done required us to start hiking at 2 am to make it on time for a beautiful sunrise. (They are my favorite memories).
Keep in mind that eloping doesn’t only mean hiking for hours to enjoy some of the best views. After traveling all over the world I’ve realized that some of the most epic views can be found on the side of the road and only requires a 5-10 min walk. Having an adventurous elopement doesn’t have to be hard-core! You are the one creating this adventure whatever it may look like.
Here is a quick timeline to give you a better idea:
- 11:00-12:00 Have a brunch with your family and friends
- 12:00-2:00 Plan your favorite activities (Hiking, private boat tour, helicopter tour (The one I did in Kauai, Hawaii a few years ago was my favorite part of my trip), cooking class (Why not?), kayaking, paddleboarding,… really anything you enjoy doing)
- 2:00-3:00 Get ready at your Airbnb
- 3:00-3:20 First Look
- 3:30-4:00 Ceremony with friends and family + Exchange your vows
- 4:00-5:00 Let’s snap photos of you and your guests + toasts
- 5:00-7:00 Have a private dinner at your Airbnb or hit the road and go to a restaurant/brewery whatever you love!
- Meet up at a trailhead
- Hike to your location
- Get ready at your location
- First Look
- Exchange your vows privately
- Go adventure and explore the area you are in
- Have your ceremony
- Bring a picnic and drinks to toast
- Hike down back to the starting trail
- Go to your Airbnb to celebrate
Get Ready at your Airbnb,
Private first look,
Exchange your vows with your friends,
Toast at a bar or brewery,
Exchange your vows with friends and family,
Cut your cake and champagne toast with them,
Go adventure and enjoy the sunset in one of your favorite locations,
Incorporate multiple locations. For Kriselle and Kevin, we met up at one location and drove together to the next one to end the day.
Have fun planning your elopement!!!