What an Elopement Day Time Line Looks Like

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 to help you envision what your own Elopement will look like!


A couple stands together in a mars like landscape under the night sky.

Elopement Timelines, why are they 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 plan 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!

How many hours should you book your elopement photographer for?

This is the first thing to ask your photographer and your self when booking your elopement package, this is key to what your day will be like. Our packages go in the following order, I also want to share what is the best fit for each of these:

  • Mini elopement (4 hours): Couple who wants coverage just at one single location for ceremony + portraits.
  • Half Day (up to 8 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.
  • Split Day (sunrise/sunset 10-12 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: This package is fantastic for a couple that wants to do some backpacking, exploring different areas like in Oregon/Washington going from coast to mountains. Or in Iceland going from the Southern Coast to the Western area. Multi-day elopements may involve hiking, camping, climbing, boating, flying, etc. The other great advantage is doing one entire day with just you two and then one full day with your family/friends.

The timelines below are real timelines from past clients of ours. So these timelines are showcasing things from the elopement day that are be documented by us. Your elopement day may have plans, especially the smaller packages, that is not shown in the timeline.

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 8 hours of time. We also have a shorter package of 4 hours. Some locations doing 4-8 hours of time is very easy. It is important to be very purposeful withy our planning because the half day is still intentional and still the day you are getting married. Avoid showing up to a location for just portraits by planning special moments, actives, etc.

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.

  • 4pm – meet at camp to photograph getting ready and vow writing
  • 4:30pm – drive to beach
  • 4:30-5:30pm hike to location for ceremony
  • 5:30-6:30pm sunset photos in wedding attire along the coast
  • 6:30-7:45 outfit change for champagne toast and photos in the ocean
  • 8:15 – 9pm back to camp for a campfire for smores

Sedona two locations – Sometimes you end up at two different locations for a variety of backgrounds or due the accessibility of the ceremony location.

  • 2:00 – pick up groom at hotel
  • 2:30 – arrive at slide rock state park, set up for first look
  • 2:45 – bride arrive
  • 2:50 – first look 
  • 4:20 – leave slide rock state park
  • 5:00 – arrive at trailhead for ceremony & portraits with family
  • 6:15 – back at cars for champagne toast
  • Sunset is at 7:22pm
A couple stands together in the snow with a small plane behind them on a sunny day.

Full Day Elopement Itinerary Sample

A full day elopement is up to 12 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 Split Day 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. This is a 8-9 hour elopement day.

  • Meet at Parking lot to hike up + do private vows
  • Hike back down from location
  • BREAK
  • Photographer arrives at hotel for getting ready photos + details
  • First look by River
  • Drive to location for ceremony w/ family
  • Hike in
  • Ceremony + Family portraits
  • Sunset portraits
  • Drive back to hotel for dinner
  • Sign Marriage paperwork + cut cake

Joshua Tree Elopement – Some places, like Naitonal 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. This is an 8 hour elopement day.

  • 2:15pm – Meet at Airbnb for getting ready photos
  • 3:30pm – Drive into Joshua Tree National Park
  • 4:30pm – Ceremony with family
  • 5-5:30pm – Pictures around the ceremony location
  • 6-7pm – Drive to Sunset Overlook for champagne and a sweet treat
  • 7:45pm – Pick Up Pizza in town
  • 8pm – Meet back at the Airbnb for Dinner, relaxing and games in the Airbnb
  • 10pm – Head back into the park for Milky Way Photos
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 trial 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.

  • Photographer arrives on Island for breakfast and getting reading
  • Leave island in personal boat to go to the other island
  • set up camp + dinner
  • Hike to ceremony location
  • Ceremony + Sunset photos + Toasts
  • Hike Back for moonlight photos on boat
  • Drinks around fire + First Dance
  • NEXT AM – breakfast around fire
  • Group hike
  • Group leaves on ferry back to Island 1
  • Unpack boats and back to cars
  • Photographer leaves on main 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…

  • Everyone meet at remote location for camping together + Star photos
  • In AM pack up and load onto boat launch
  • Boats drop group and Kayaks off
  • Kayak – stopping for small hike to historic sites
  • Set up Camp and select ceremony location
  • Get ready at camp
  • Ceremony + Portraits
  • Dinner at Camp
  • Next AM – Kayak rest of the way out
  • Arrive back at cars + Drive to Horseshoe Bend Overlook
  • Say goodbyes to group + Drive to camping overlook spot
  • Star photos of couples
  • Next am hike to location
  • Private vows + ring exchange + portraits
  • hike out

A bride and groom share their first dance together at their camp site as a friend plays guitar for them.

I 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! I tell all of my couples to sit down and have a date night where they sit and imagine their wedding day. I 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. I have them imagine being in the place they’re eloping at and this helps us draw an outline to fit their day. I am here to help each couple the logistics. Check out these lists below to give you some ideas of things you can do on your elopement day!

Ideas for your elopement day throughout the day

Morning

  • 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

Day

  • 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

Evening

  • 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.
An elopement photography team stand for a portrait together with their cat and dog.

Meet your elopement photography Team!

We are elopement photographers based in Washington + the Southwest. We specialize in adventure weddings and helping you plan 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

32 Responses

  1. This is really helpful- thank you for sharing multiple timeline samples! Also, your photos are AMAZING!

  2. This is such a helpful elopement planning blog post! Thanks so much for sharing. And gorgeous pictures, too!

  3. Traci! Oh my gosh, I love this so much. From that first photo of the couple in sleeping bags, you had me. And this is so helpful for anyone who wants to elope but just isn’t even sure where to start! So so good.

  4. This is beyond helpful — so great to really understand how you can completely make your elopement truly yours. I love how you said, "eloping is an experience". So true! Thanks so much for putting this together!

  5. I love how you give SO many examples of options for elopements! They truly are customizable to the couple and their vision!

  6. Thank you for all these elopement timeline ideas. You put together so much information! And I just love this super stunning milkyway photo from Joshua Tree Nationalpark!

  7. This is a really thorough guide to designing an elopement timeline for all of the planners out there (this Type A girl included)! Great work!

  8. These are excellent examples of all the different possibilities couples can have for their elopement day! Thank you for putting this together–your photography is gorgeous too!

  9. Loooove all these examples! Construction a timeline is so so important- I love how you’ve laid all this information out to clearly. Such a helpful resource for couples.

  10. I love all the ideas for the different portions of the day – I can see how the different activities would give the day such a good flow!

  11. This was SO helpful! Definitely saving this. The amount of information is incredibly useful & so practical. It really lays it out for those looking to elope.

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