Elopement Day Timeline Samples

A couple repels down together from a hanging repel off of an arch in Moab in their wedding attire.

Sample Timelines for an Elopement Day + more!

(Updated for 2024 elopements)

Why are elopement day timelines important?

This is your wedding day. This day deserves attention, celebration and care. Every single elopement looks different because every couple is different. Unlike your traditional wedding this is not a one shoe fits all when it comes to planning and putting the wedding together. Eloping is truly the most authentic way to get married because you get to have a day that tells your love story, share moments that mean a lot to you, get married in a place that you connect with and have who ever you want there. Or just you two! Eloping is not a shot gun wedding or something you show up for a short ceremony and then take a few photos and go home. Eloping is an experience, it is the way you start your marriage and the rest of your lives together. It is one of the most important days you two will share together so far in your journey. It deserves the attention of its significance.

Here at Adventure & Vow we help all of our couples craft a day that truly fits them and gives them the experience they want. We build timelines for our couples after getting to know them and hearing more about what they want out of the day and from there we make changes together. Below are some timeline samples of elopements to help you get an idea of what your elopement day could be like!

A creative picture of an eloping couple in the mountains.

How long should an elopement be?

There is no correct answer for how long your elopement day should be. However, we recommend booking a half day or longer for your elopement. Most of our couples book our full-day package which is up to 14 hours and allows coverage from sunrise to sunset. We think this is the best route to go based on our experience planning + capturing over 175 elopement days. This way you can fully embrace the day you are getting married and immerse yourself in the experience.

When asking couples who have previously eloped what they would have changed about their day in a survey we conducted many of them said they wish they had more time. Often on elopement days we hear couples say something about how quickly the day goes by. It is true the day goes fast, so having the entire day to relish in it is so important.

While we do offer custom elopement packages, our pre-built packages go in the following order:

  • Mini elopement (6 hours): Great for a couple who wants coverage at just one single location for ceremony + portraits. Minimal hiking is invovled to get to a location.
  • Half Day (up to 10 hours): This is perfect for a couple that wants getting ready content and maybe a longer adventure or a couple of different locations. This can work for some of our couples that have a small amount of guests and do not want to do much adventuring.
  • Full Day (sunrise/sunset up to 14 hours): This is in our minds the prime way to do your elopement! You can do two different adventures or a full day of things you two love doing. Or if you are eloping with family you can do your adventure in the morning and your celebration with guests in the evening.
  • Multi day Elopement: Our pre-built multi-day elopement is for two days, but we have seen elopements be 3 or 4 days! Multi-day elopements are perfect for a couple wanting to backpack, share a day with just themselves and a day with loved ones or couples who want to explore multiple areas or do different adventures that take time. We see a lot of couples combine a traditional wedding with an elopement experience the day before or after with this package.
A couple stands on top of a beautiful rock formation at dusk.

How to build an elopement timeline?

To build your elopement day timeline you first need to have an idea of the core elements of the day, this inlcudes:

  • Where you will be going
  • Where you will be staying
  • What activities you may be doing
  • Permitted ceremony location/time if you have a Special Use Permit
  • If you have guests
  • Any reservation times for dinner, hair and make up appoints and so on…
  • Sunrise/Sunset time

We strongly recommend having your photographer build your elopement day timeline for you. As professionals, they know how long they need to capture each moment and how long typically a couple needs to do something. Most elopement photographers include this in their service as having enough time is imperative for them to create beautiful images, but also for the couple to have a stress-free and memorable experience.

A bride smiles at her groom as they ride horse back together on a summer day.

Elopement Timeline Examples

The timelines below are real timelines from past clients of ours. Keep in mind as you review these examples that each elopement day is unique and yours may look very different from these.

The more coverage you have, the more purpose you can plan into your day. The more coverage you have of these moments and trust me the day goes fast. So don’t be scared to slow it down and embrace the full experience.

Envisioning your experience together, simply just a date night brainstorming may help you in deciding which package to book with an elopement photographer. You can also talk to your photographer about their advice!

So let’s dive into some examples!!!

Half Day Elopement Timeline Sample

For us here at Adventure + Vow a half day is up to 10 hours of time.

Olympic National Park Elopement

Some locations may not require much of a hike and the drive may be short making it easier to have a half day elopement with just you two. This was a 5 hour elopement day.

  • 12pm meet coverage at Airbnb, writing vows over coffee + getting ready
  • 2:30pm first look in forest surrounded by moss + ferns
  • 3pm visit a waterfall
  • 4:30pm arrive on location to hike in + access the beach
  • 5:30pm ceremony/vows + sunset portriats
  • 7pm set up fire to have dinner + smores
  • 8:15pm milky way photos on the coast
  • 9:30pm arrive back at cars


One reason we love the half day is that it is easier to include a few location!

  • 12:00 getting ready photos at stay
  • 1:40 first look at overlook
  • 2:45 visit waterfalls
  • 4:45 arrrive at vista for ceremony/vows
  • 6:30 arrive at trailhead for sunset hike/portraits where picnic dinner will also be had
  • 9:25pm arrive back at cars
A couple stands together in the snow with a small plane behind them on a sunny day.

Full Day Elopement Timeline Sample

A full day elopement is up to 14 hour of time for us. These days are meant for celebrating the entire transition of an engaged couple to a married couple! We highly recommend this if you have guests attending so you can have some privacy with just you two and then also celebrate with family. This is also great for several different locations or a longer hike.

Sedona Elopement

Not all full day elopements are split up in time, but sometimes you may want time on the day of to yourselves, but also time with your family.

  • 4:45am meet at trail head to hike in for first look + private vows
  • 9am arrive back at cars
  • break
  • 11:45am team arrives at Airbnb to cover yoga with bride’s mom + getting ready coverage
  • 1:25pm everyone leaves to head out to ceremony location
  • 1:45pm ceremony + group photos
  • 2:15pm couple off roads to hiking trail for sunset portraits + first dance
  • 7:30pm arrive back at Airbnb for dinner, read letters from loved ones not there, cake + fire
  • 9pm coverage ends

Joshua Tree Elopement

Some places, like National Parks, may involve a lot of driving time to and from locations or traffic in the area which makes for a longer day. In the National Parks you can only hold a ceremony in specific places, but you may want to take photos at some of the epic locations on the other side of the park so it is important to plan timing accordingly.

  • 5am meet morning coffee in the couples van and head out for some climbing
  • 8:30am write vows together at base of climb
  • 9am arrive back at van for break
  • 12pm getting ready at stay
  • 1pm first look at Airbnb
  • 2:30pm arrive at ceremony location in park
  • 4pm leave for sunset vista // off roading
  • 6pm sunset portraits, first dance
  • 7pm private chef dinner
  • 8:30pm milky way photo
A bride leans on her groom standing in Joshua Tree at night.

Two Day Elopement Timeline Sample

Your wedding day/celebration does not have to be one day!! Bill and myself actually eloped on a 7 day adventure backpacking the Wonderland trail around Mount Rainier, getting married on the last day of our hike! The two day elopements are literally the most amazing experiences, it gives you time to disconnect from the internet, the rest of the world and truly connect with each other. It gives you the chance to do and see so much together and truly dive into the experience of getting married on an adventure elopement.

Iceland Elopement Timeline

Maybe you are eloping somewhere you have never been before and I mean somewhere epic! There are so many stunning places and you’ve traveled far to be here. Celebrate and enjoy!

  • 4:00pm Meet at location
  • 4:15 First Look by water at the lagoon
  • 4:45 Go to beach for ceremony
  • 5:45pm Drive towards town for dinner
  • 9:30pm Go to natural hot spring to relax and share a toast
  • 11:00pm Camp
  • 8:00am The following morning meet at waterfall nearby for pictures
  • 8:30am Drive to location off of F road to the wilderness
  • 11:00am Hike to location on mountain over looking lakes for time to read letters from family
  • 1:30pm End at near by Ice Cave for tour

Orcas Island, Washington Elopement

Maybe you didn’t travel far at all and you are going somewhere that means a lot to you, but you want to do the things you love most together without being rushed and document your true love story to its fullest.

  • 10am photographer arrives for getting ready coverage + brunch with guests
  • 1pm leave to boat over to second island
  • 2:30pm arrive to set up camp, prep dinner
  • 4pm getting ready by tents
  • 4:45pm first look
  • 5pm dinner with guests
  • 6pm start hike over to ceremony location
  • 6:30pm ceremony, group photos + sunset portraits
  • 8:30pm cake + hangout at fire
  • 8am breakfast at camp with guests
  • 9:30am couple’s portraits out in the water in their boat
  • 11am group hike around island shore
  • 2pm swimming off of dock
  • 3:30pm catch ferry back to main island
  • 5pm catch ferry back to main land

Page, Arizona Kayaking Elopement

If privacy is important and you unplugging there are some epic ways to get into the back country without a massive hike. This is an example of a custom elopement package that was for 3 days.

  • 5pm meet up with everyone at campsite, pack/prep for adventure ahead, have dinner and capture milky way photos with entire group
  • 6am wake up break down camp + drive to boat dock
  • 8am boat out to drop site
  • 9:30am start kayaking, stopping along the way to see view points, slot canyons and so on
  • 2pm arrive at camp site to set up camp + getting ready
  • 4pm ceremony along river shore
  • 5pm couples sunset portraits
  • 6:30pm dinner at camp around the fire
  • 8am start kayaking back to boat dock – stopping for more slot canyons
  • 3pm arrive back at dock
  • Drive to vista overview that overlooks camp/ceremony site
  • 4:30pm group photos over vista
  • Couple + team drive to the nights camp site
  • 7pm milky way photos of just couple
  • 4am drive to vista
  • 5am private vow exchange for couples
  • sunrise coast photos + morning tea and breakfast
  • Drive out/coverage ends
A couple stands on the top of an ATV together with a just married sign.

Elopement Reception Timeline

An elopement reception can happen the day of your elopement in the evening, which is great for a full day timeline. Or they can happen after the elopement. We eloped and held our small reception on the one year anniversary of our elopement. We have seen our couples hold receptions when returning from their trip, a month later or years later. There are no rules on when or how to have an elopement and the same goes for an elopement reception.

Here are some ideas for things to include during your elopement reception which may help you in drafting our a timeline:

  • Have a meal like brunch or dinner
  • Share a first dance and/or dances with your parents
  • Play your elopement video or photo slide show on a projector
  • Allow guests to share toasts
  • Share with everyone the story of your elopement day
  • Some people also do a more formal short ceremony during a later celebration of their day
A drone photo of an elopement reception.

We hope that these elopement day timeline samples give you some inspiration in planning your own big day! There are so many things you can do on your elopement day! We tell all of our couples to enjoy a date night where they envision their wedding day and brainstorm ideas. We ask them to chat about things that are important to them to have documented that day, what things they love doing the most together and what they are most excited for the day.

What to do on your elopement day?

Below are just some of the ideas we have seen done at an elopement or activities we recommend. The important thing to remember is you can do anything that speaks to you on your elopement day.


  • vow writing
  • private letter reading
  • breakfast picnic
  • sunrise hike
  • get ready together or separate
  • hot air balloon ride
  • yoga session
  • prayer/meditation
  • write down your love story in a book that you can continue throughout life together


  • chef lunch
  • canoe/kayak
  • helicopter ride
  • ceremony
  • climb
  • tour through ice, caves, on boat, on train, off road, bike ride
  • whale watching
  • go to a winery
  • horseback ride


  • sunset hike
  • dinner
  • campfire
  • star photos
  • dances
  • mini reception
  • music, play instrument
  • jump into some water
  • camp

Ceremony Ideas:

  • smudge ceremony
  • music
  • hand fasting
  • culture or religious traditions
  • unity actions
  • vows
  • involve your guests if you have them
A couple at a camp fire together popping champagne to end the night.

Tips for creating a stress-free, unforgettable elopement timeline

We have built countless elopement timelines. There are a few tricks to include or consider for your day when it comes to making a stress free timeline and allowing for the space/time to create core memories together.

  • Always allow more time than you think you need. Having some flex time in between things is so important as you never know if there will be traffic, if you may need more time getting ready than expected, or the family needs more time to hike into the ceremony location. On average we add 10-15 minutes to everything for cushion.
  • If you are doing a full day or multi-day elopement do not be afraid to build in some breaks for a nap or just down time. You do not have to actively be doing something every minute of your day(s), enjoy a nap or just some time to rest or soak it all in while out at the beautiful location you chose to say I do.
  • Time is your friend, do not plan for just the activity or ceremony, plan time to fully embrace and live in the moment.
  • Time is the only thing you do not get back. Keep this in mind when planning your day and booking which elopement package you want. Eight hours or a full day may seem like a long time, but it goes by in a flash. Plus, this is a day when you do not want to rush anything.
  • Do not think about the time you have as time posing for photos, the time within your day is for you to make memories, share an experience, step out of your everyday lives and be fully connected with each other and the location you have chosen to share this day.
A couple stands on an rock overlooking a beautiful waterfall
A photographer takes a photo while on the shoulders of her assistant.

Meet your elopement photography Team!

We are elopement photographers based in Washington + the Southwest. We specialize in adventure weddings and helping you envision a day that is based around things you two want to do together, a day that is meaningful and a direct reflection of marriage.

Your elopement day is not about pictures in a beautiful place, your day is about starting your marriage off in a meaningful and authentic way.

We are not just photographers, we are logistic brainstormers, videographers, adventurers, pack mules, friends and officiants! We would love to connect with you two about your own elopement day!

A bride smiles as she exits a boat her and her husband made together to transport them to their elopement.
“My wife and I decided to have a small elopement for our wedding day and after extensive research of looking through all the pros in the business, we found Adventure & Vow. After initially chatting with Traci and Bill, we immediately felt connected to them and quickly learned how thorough and professional they are to work with. Traci was so communicative and provided us with multiple options and ideas that fit not only our dream wedding day, but also was able to schedule a last minute engagement photo session in Yosemite with us prior to our elopement.

Every aspect of our experience with them was phenomenal! Traci and Bill plan out every detail and are willing to go above and beyond to make your day what you want it to be. They took a ferry to Orcas Island, WA (check it out!), woke up at 4am, and got in a kayak for us to have a sunrise photo session to start our unforgettable elopement. They even had to deal with another vendor of ours who ended up being terrible. They handled it with grace and in the best interest and support of us, as their clients, when they didn’t even need to.

Our family and friends loved Traci and Bill’s energy and focus! They, to this day, continuously gave us compliments about their work and how excited they were to see the photos and video. Traci and Bill truly planned and facilitated our dream wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier with everything. I truly recommend Adventure and Vow!! Upon your first interaction with them, we know you will see and feel how wonderful they are!” – Brittley + Allison

View Real Elopement Day Stories