Making an Elopement day timeline:

How many hours do you need?

Crafting a timeline that is stress-free & makes your elopement the adventure of a lifetime

Table of Contents

Our favorite elopement locations in the adirondacks

How long do you need a photographer at your elopement?

Your wedding day isn’t just any ordinary day—it’s the beginning of a new chapter in your love story, a day you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. That is JUST as true for an elopement as it is for any other wedding.

Some people think of an “elopement” as just a ceremony to easily get married, but not us. To us, your elopement day is significant. It has tremendous meaning & value. This day will be the anniversary for the rest of your life. A day that your children and grandchildren will ask you about. I would argue that your elopement day is almost more meaningful than a traditional wedding, because it truly reflects your relationship. You are making an intentional decision to ditch traditions and embrace a getting married in a way that feels authentic.

So… why in the world do we treat elopement photography as less important than wedding photography?

Most wedding photographers have packages that look something like:
  • Bronze – 6 hours of coverage
  • Silver – 9 hours of coverage
  • Gold – 12 hours of coverage
…and then they offer an elopement package with 1 or 2 hours of coverage.

I want to make this abundantly clear: your wedding day is NOT less important just because you chose to do it in a way that feels more meaningful to you.

Why your whole day should be documented

There’s a reason we don’t offer 1-hour or 2-hour elopement packages, and it’s not because we don’t enjoy them. Frankly, they’re a good business model – quick, easy to plan, and very low expectations.

The reason we only offer packages at 6+ hours of photography coverage is because we deeply believe that your elopement day is worth documenting. Not just the obvious parts (ceremony & a few portraits)… but even the small, seemingly insignificant moments like:

  • Having a cup of coffee as the sun rises, knowing that the day is finally here
  • Nervous anticipation as you prepare to say your vows to one another
  • The experience of hiking to a scenic / meaningful location for your ceremony
  • The moment of your “first look” after changing into your wedding clothes
  • Laying under the stars cherishing the day that you had been looking forward to for years

With an all-day elopement package, you’ll have the opportunity to capture every fleeting smile, every tender embrace, and every spontaneous adventure. Because even the little moments are part of the story of your elopement day & deserve to be documented.

wait... is this just going to be a long photoshoot?

No, not at all. Photos & video are only as good as the memories that they’re capturing.

We don’t want you to pretend like you’re having an incredible day, just so it looks good on camera. We want you to have the best day ever, while we just so happen to be there documenting it.

One of our core values is “experiences over pictures.” 

As photographers, we would love to get THE money shot. We’re artists, so of course we have a rush of adrenaline when we take an epic photo. But that’s not why we do elopement photography.

We are there for you and ONLY for you. Not for pictures to post on Instagram or to fill our portfolio with the most incredible shots ever (which I’m sure we’ll get regardless).

The photos that we take at your elopement are meaningful because they are a true representation of a day that is the culmination of your love for each other. All of the activities and special moments are about your experience together, and the pictures are just a biproduct.

What does an all-day elopement look like?

How can an elopement fill an entire day?

Believe it or not, many couples have a 2-day or 3-day elopement! All-day and multi-day elopements are more common than you might think.

Just think about it this way… If you could plan the PERFECT getaway together, what would it look like? You can go anywhere and do anything. Nothing is off limits.

Are you riding in a Jeep Wrangler with the top down along the coast of Big Sur? Hiking a mountain with an epic view? Flying in a helicopter over glaciers in Alaska?

How do you start your day? Hiking to a scenic overlook for sunrise, or sipping on coffee and getting ready in an a-frame?

What about at the end of the day? Do sit by a campfire and roast s’mores or stargaze from on top of a mountain?

An all-day elopement is simply a surreal, adventurous day in your dream location, filled with activities and moments that truly embody your love story. From sunrise to sunset (and beyond) your elopement is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have the perfect day filled with unforgettable memories big AND small.

Example Timelines from all-day elopements

I know it can be hard to picture what your day will look like. Maybe you’re so used to thinking about weddings in the more traditional sense that it’s hard to envision anything different.

Just know that we’re here to help.

We have helped well over 100 couples elope & most of them started in the exact same place you’re at. Crafting a vision for your elopement day is part of what we do, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to get started.

In the meantime, here are some example timelines from real elopements that we photographed:

Ashton + Max's autumn elopement in the adirondacks

Ashton and Max’s elopement was a blend of quality time with their closest loved ones & prioritizing artistic photos in beautiful locations. We were with them for about 8 or 9 hours to document their day.

  • 1:00pm – Ashton had curated decor and details that fit her moody/spooky style, so we started off by taking photos of those. She was still getting ready, and Max was finishing up writing his vows.
  • 2:00pm – Ashton & Max hadn’t seen each other yet, so they started off with an adorable first look by a river behind their Airbnb (while we quietly captured it)
  • 2:30pm – It was time to head to the mountain! They wanted to keep things relatively easy, so we went to a mountain that you can drive up. The weather was perfect & views were stunning.
  • 3:15pm – We got to the to the summit & began exploring and taking photos. This was the time for more artistic shots, which were super important to them, so we took plenty of time to get epic portraits.
  • 5:00pm – They chose to invite about 10 guests and have an intimate (but still formal) ceremony. Once we finished with photos, we left the mountain to meet up with their family.
  • 5:30pm – Ashton and Max took a little time to be together and soak in the moment (we always encourage this!), while we helped their family get ready for the ceremony (music, decorations, aisle, arbor, etc.). 
  • 6:15pm – They had the cutest ceremony, immediately followed by their first dances. By this point, the sun was getting lower, so their family stood around with candles watching the dances.
  • 7:00pm – We took family photos by the woods behind their Airbnb. We always try to get plenty of group shots whenever couples invite guests, because we know those are the people they care about most.
  • 8:00pm – Finished up with some moody nighttime pictures with lanterns. Ashton and Max love spooky/dark things, so taking pictures after dusk was something they really wanted to do. We also snapped a few shots of them hanging out with their family to end the night before we headed out.

Ashley + Craig's Winter elopement in Washington

Ashley and Craig wanted a laid back day snowshoeing with their best friends. Our photo coverage was about 7 hours, which was perfect for how short the days are in Washington in the winter.

  • 10:00am – Ashley + Craig took it slow in the morning and were still in sweats when we arrived. They wanted to enjoy some coffee, get ready slowly, and not worry about rushing out the door.
  • 11:30am – They got ready together (so no first look), and then we started taking pictures at of them and their doggo at their adorable a-frame cabin.
  • 12:30pm – We left for the mountain that we would be snowshoeing up. There was about 7 feet of snow, and it was windy & cold, but they were troopers!
  • 2:30pm – Their friend officiated their ceremony on the mountain & they read their vows to each other. The amount of effort & dedication it took to get married on the freezing summit was symbolic of their commitment to each other.
  • 3:00pm – We didn’t take a ton of portraits because of how cold Ashley was in her dress, but we still got some incredible shots on the mountain. Them enjoying the experience was way more important than getting a certain number of shots! We started our descent & stopped by an iconic ski lift at the bottom for more photos after they had a chance to warm up.
  • 4:30pm – The sun was already starting to set by the time we got back to our cars, so we quickly drove to a pull-off for some sunset pictures, since we didn’t get as many as we normally would on the mountain.
  • 6:00pm – The stars came out, so we wrapped up with a fun shot of Ashley and Craig stargazing with their headlamps shining into the sky. They went back with their friends to have a celebratory dinner, and we parted ways.

Kenzi + Tyler's Summer elopement in California

Kenzi + Tyler were intitially going to have an intimate wedding, but ended up eloping just the two of them instead. They had a two-day elopement in the Sequoias and Yosemite in California.

Day 1 - The Main part of Kenzi + Tyler's elopement

  • 9:00am – Kenzi and Tyler were getting ready in their Airbnb separately when we arrived. Dan took pictures of Tyler, while Laura captured the end of Kenzi getting her hair & makeup professionally done.
  • 10:30am – First look time! There was a scenic spot with a river close to where they were staying, so Dan & Tyler went their first, while Laura & Kenzi followed shortly after.
  • 11:00am – We had a bit of a drive to get to the Sequoia National Park, so we got going pretty quickly. Once we arrived, we explored for a bit until we found the perfect spot for their ceremony & vows (somehow it was actually private, despite how crowded the park was!).
  • 1:00pm – Dan officiated their ceremony with Sequoias towering over us, and then we started taking pictures around the forest. We had plenty of time to explore, so the whole experience was super laid back & stress-free.
  • 3:00pm – After finishing up in the Sequoia National Park, we made our way back to their Airbnb for their  “just us” reception.
  • 5:00pm – Kenzi + Tyler had a cake cutting, first dance, and private meal with a beautifully decorated boho-theme setup. It was intimate & authentic, but they incorporated traditions to still make the experience feel official and meaningful.
  • 6:30pm – As the sun went down, we took a few more pictures at the same scenic overlook where they had their first look. We didn’t stay too long, though, because the plan for portraits was to meet up again two days later in Yosemite. 

Day 2 - portraits in yosemite national park

  • 3:00pm – We first met up with Kenzi and Tyler at Glacier Point. It only took a few minutes to get out to the scenic overlook, and we took photos their for about a half hour.
  • 4:00pm – After getting back to our cars, we made our way to the Taft Point trailhead. It’s about a 2 mile roundtrip hike, so we left with plenty of time to make sure we’d get there before sunset.
  • 5:00pm – Taft Point was one of the most breathtaking views we’ve ever seen. There was a line for the iconic cliff spot, so photos took a little longer than it would if we were at a more private location. We took a little over an hour for photos at a couple different locations.
Couple cheering after eloping in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York

you deserve a day full of adventure

Tips for a memorable + stress-free elopement timeline

From all of the elopements we’ve been a part of, we’ve seen some do’s and don’ts that can really impact how your day feels. Here are some tips for keeping your elopement relaxed, while also making it meaningful.

  • Value Your Entire Day: Cherish every moment of your elopement day—it’s a memory you’ll want to relive forever. Don’t settle for only having pictures of the ceremony. It’s the little memories that tell the true story of how you got married.

  • Consider Transition / Travel Times: Some things that can make a timeline get behind schedule are looking for parking, bathroom breaks, traffic, and even just having conversation. Factor in some buffer time just in case things move a little more slowly than you expect.

  • Leave Space For Spontaneity: Leave room in your schedule for unexpected detours, so you and your partner can do whatever feels right in the moment. Following a rigid plan can make things stressful, so leaving room for being spontaneous can make your day so much more enjoyable.

Contact us for help planning your elopement

Creating elopement timelines is one of the main things that we do for our clients to make sure their entire experience is stress-free. If you want our help, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you have an incredible, adventurous wedding day that will be a perfect representation of your relationship.