bride and groom hiking in the desert on their elopement day

Elopement Planning Resources

How to Create the Perfect Elopement Timeline

April 3, 2021





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Husband & Wife Elopement Photography & Videography Team
Based in Sedona, Arizona, ready for any adventure!

Meet Caitlyn & Chad


How to Create the Perfect Elopement Timeline

Example Elopement Timelines & What your full day elopement can look like

One of the top questions we get from couples who are planning their elopement day is what does a full day elopement timeline look like. While we do make custom, unique-to-you elopement timelines for all of our couples, this blog post is a great start to get an idea of what your day can look like and how long you should plan for your elopement.

How long does an elopement take?

We like to do things a little different around here. All of our couples have full day elopement adventures, averaging between 8 and 12 hours, even between 2 days!  I know you’re probably thinking “What the HECK can we do for 8 hours on our elopement day”. Trust me, we’ve got you covered.

Here are a few reasons why we value full day elopement adventures:

  • There’s no need to rush

Why try to fit getting married into 1-2 hours? It’s such a sigh of relief to have plenty of time to fully enjoy your day. We can leave room in your timeline for pure spontaneity and leisure.

  • It’s so much more than an 8 hour photoshoot

Nothing really sounds worse than 8 hours of posing, am I right? Luckily, that’s not how we roll around here! This will be 8 hours of hiking, spending time with loved ones, quality time with each other, and so much more! We are there to authentically document your day, not direct your every move and pose.

  • You can create your best day

We love working with our couples to help plan a day that is filled with all of their favorite things. That can mean hiking, checking out the local brewery, sitting by the campfire with their buddies, or playing with their dogs. A full day package let’s us combine all of this!

You’re probably wondering- What happens at an elopement? Well, here are some different elements that you can have on your elopement experience. Remember, you get to choose what does and does not happen on your elopement day:

  • Getting Ready 
  • Wedding Details
  • Gift Exchange
  • First Look or No First Look
  • Ceremony
  • Portraits with Guests
  • Post-Ceremony Celebration
  • Adventure Session: Could be hiking, 4x4ing, kayaking, hot air ballooning, etc!
  • Private Vow Reading
  • First Dance
  • Toasts
  • Dancing & Hanging with Guests

Can you have a reception after eloping?

Yes! Lots of our couples choose to have a casual reception during the evening on their elopement day. This looks completely different for everyone- some may choose to include toasts and first dances, while others would rather sit around the campfire with their loved ones. We are also huge supporters of having a reception back home to celebrate your wedding with more people, if you want to! This is a great option if you do want a bit of the celebratory aspect in your wedding experience.

That probably seems like a ton of stuff to do, which is why we are huge advocates for full day elopement adventures. Can you imagine fitting in all of the moments you value into a short amount of time? We can’t either! Here is a very basic full day elopement experience timeline to help you start dreaming up your day. Remember- we will help you build your personalized timeline during the process so don’t start stressing.

Sample Elopement Timelines

Sample 1: Utah Elopement Timeline

11:00am: The getting ready begins: Chad & Caitlyn arrive at the Airbnb to capture the getting ready process & all of the wedding details like the wedding attire, rings, etc!

1:30pm: First Look: First look in the backyard of the Airbnb before we begin the day! Such a special, private moment filled with all the happy tears

2:00pm: Drive to ceremony site

2:15pm-3:00pm: Hike to secluded ceremony site with guests & have your ceremony

3:00pm-4:00pm: Hang out & celebrate with guests with toasts and a small picnic

4:00pm: Couple picks up Jeep for their private adventure session in the Canyon. They explore, share their first dance, and read letters written by their families.

7:00pm: Head back to Airbnb for dinner & hanging out by the campfire

8:00pm: Dancing, speeches, karaoke, and having fun!!

Sample 2: Washington Coast Elopement Timeline

5:00am: The getting ready begins: Chad & Caitlyn arrive at the Airbnb to capture the getting ready process & all of the wedding details like the wedding attire, rings, etc!

6:30am: Couple shares private first look at the cabin before setting off on sunrise hike in the mountains

7:00am: Begin hike up mountain

-Adventure around, drink coffee, make breakfast on the trail, share vows-

12:00pm: Head back to cabin for a break and nap before our second adventure

3:00pm: Meet up at cabin, take some photos relaxing in the hottub before exploring the coast

4:00pm: Begin hike along the coast

-set up a campfire, do first dance, read letters from friends and family, have a dinner picnic on the beach-

8:00pm: Head back to the cabin and relax!

We hope that these ideas help you imagine what your elopement experience can look like! Still need some help? Fill out our contact form so we can help you along your elopement planning process!

  1. Sienna says:

    These elopement timeline templates really help showcase just how epic a couple’s adventure elopement can be!

  2. Kira says:

    Love this! Definitely couldn’t imagine a 1 hour elopement when there’s just SO much that you could do. It’s a special day, let’s treat it like one!

  3. This is such a helpful starting point for anyone planning their elopement day! The sample timelines laid out already for you is a HUGE free resource!

  4. Ann Marie says:

    Such a helpful start to putting together an elopement timeline! And yess… it is not a photoshoot – this is the day you get married and there is so much more to it! 🙂 Love this and great idea examples!

  5. Dezerae says:

    This is such great information and I love how you have ideas and example timelines… love it!

  6. Justyna says:

    Best elopement timeline resource ever! I agree….giving yourself enough time to play and just enjoy is one of the most important parts of the day for sure!

  7. Kat says:

    This is really helpful when people ask, What do I do with all that time?!?! Well done-very handy

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