Your elopement timeline is the key to an incredible, stress-free elopement. Read on to build the perfect elopement timeline for your day.
Ahhh yes! You’re planning your elopement timeline and you’ve discovered that your day can look like whatever you want. There is so much freedom in eloping, but having some structure to your day and building a well- balanced elopement timeline is an absolute game-changer. Your elopement timeline is the key to an incredible, stress-free day.
we’re guessing this is your first time building an elopement timeline
-> You’re not sure what an elopement day could look like
-> You’re not sure what logistics you need to consider
-> You want a day filled with adventure, but also value ease
-> You want to be able to really soak in each moment of the day
Good Thing You Found Us!
We’re Sam + Kyle, a married photography duo that specialize in adventure elopements and intimate weddings. We’ve spent years working with eloping couples to help them curate their unique wedding day. We’re using our extensive expertise to help you craft a day that is equal parts chill and badass.
As your Oregon elopement photographers, building your timeline allows us to give the story of your day some structure and ensure that your experience is being prioritized.
Wanna know more about us and how we help couples just like you build their dream elopement day?
Your Wedding Day Deserves More than a Quick Ceremony and a Few Photos
Your wedding day is the perfect time to go all in.
You deserve an incredible experience that celebrates the two of you
As your adventure elopement photographers, we build timelines with your experience in mind, and let’s be real…a 1 hour elopement is just kinda bummy.
This is the day when you and your partner decide to spend the rest of your lives together…it’s a BFD and deserves to be celebrated.
We’ve documented traditional weddings before and they’ve always left us feeling pretty bummed because our couples barely saw each other, and were completely beat by the end of the day.
But we want more for you
Your wedding day will be the absolute best and we can promise, you won’t want it to end.
Planning your elopement timeline can feel a little overwhelming when you take into consideration all of the logistics, activity preferences.
This content is gonna cover a lot of ground, but if you’re planning an elopement, it’s gonna have some game-changer info. Here’s what we’re covering:
We use your timeline to consider all of the narrative elements of your day, so that as you look through your photos, you remember how your entire elopement day felt.
We’ll keep in mind all of the logistics so that you can relax and not have to worry about ANYTHING
As your adventure elopement photographers, we collaborate with you to co-create a bespoke elopement experience
On your elopement day, you won’t have to worry about keeping track of the time. That’s our job! We make sure that there’s plenty of time for you to soak in each moment of the day and never feel rushed moving from one experience to another.
Want to know more about how we do things?
Your experience: Honestly, this is our biggest priority. Years of experience have taught us that an incredible experience is the secret-sauce to insanely gorgeous images.
The chill factor : What’s the point of having an epic wedding day if you can’t even enjoy it? Ensuring that there’s plenty of time for you to enjoy each moment and focus on each other. When we work with you to craft your timeline, we go through EVERY piece of your day and make sure that there is plenty of chill time built in. In your elopement timeline, we’ll even encourage you to carve out time to explore, go slow, and take it all in
Your images: We’ve been shooting for a loooong time and have a deep understanding about light and timing when to be at certain locations for the most dynamic views. When building your elopement timeline, we take into consideration everything we know about lighting, locations, and storytelling to build compelling images that tell your story.
Big Things to Remember
-> When you feel rushed on your wedding day, it shows in your photos
-> When you feel tired from running around on your wedding day, it shows in your photos
-> When you don’t know the best time to be at specific locations, it impacts your entire day… and yes, it shows in your photos.
Ready to Dream up your best day?
Download our mini Choose Your Own Adventure Guide
Even if it’s just you and your partner on your elopement day, a timeline i s one of the most important aspects of the planning process.
It provides the entire foundation for your day, and the narrative skeleton of your elopement story. When you go through your wedding photos and relive your day, it should feel like your experiencing a story, and an elopement timeline helps to make that happen.
Your elopement timeline doesn’t have to be crazy intense, not every minute has to be accounted for, in fact, it’s ideal to have plenty of down time built in.
Essentially, we’re keeping it chill, but we’re doing it with purpose
If you are eloping with guests, an elopement timeline is absolutely necessary.
Folks need to know where they need to be and when so that they don’t miss any elopement day activities. There’s a lot of excitement happening on an elopement day. Having an elopement timeline that you’ve shared with your guests can help prevent confusion, and you having to answer a million questions.
If you’re collaborating with any day-of vendors for your elopement, such as hair and makeup, catering, or an officiant, they’ll need access to your timeline to know when their services will be needed. If you’re doing a sunrise activity, this info will be crucial to communicate if you’re using a hair and makeup artist.
If you have an elopement day that has a lot of different activities, you’ll want an elopement timeline to make sure that you’re able to do all the things.
Many couples that have a full day with guests or want to really explore multiple locations, will split their celebration over two days to make sure they don’t feel rushed and can experience each piece of their celebration fully.
Ready to craft an unforgettable day?
With a traditional wedding, your timeline is based on the events involving your guests. Most couples barely get to see each other on their wedding day and the time they do spend together is focused on greeting their guests, taking rushed photos, and trying to get a few bites in at dinner.
An elopement timeline is focused on ease and connection with each other.
You and your partner are the focus of your timeline, allowing for enough time to really enjoy each moment and bask in the joy of the day is the goal here.
Check out more of the elopement vs wedding differences
The pace of your day is totally based on your preferences. If you want a slow, leisurely day, you can build your timeline to allow for that, maybe focusing on sunrise and sunset, carving out time in the afternoon for a nap, or yummy lunch.
If you like a more exciting pace, you could pack your day with experiences in the first half, and then wind it down with a meal catered by a private chef, or a stargazing session on a beach.
Balance is key to avoid feeling burned out
Another aspect you won’t find in a wedding timeline is built in breaks.
Breaks where you don’t have anything scheduled are absolutely necessary to keep things chill and you two focused on each other. On a traditional wedding day, there really isn’t an opportunity for these intentional breaks, but when you choose to get married without a wedding, you get to prioritize YOUR experience.
Before we build your timeline, here are some of the logistics that we keep in mind. We’ll dig in further to a few of these that are extra important!
Sunrise: Sunrise will be the quietest time of the day and while you’ll experience golden hour with it, it will likely be very different from the intense golden hues of the pm golden hour. Sunrise is probably our fave time to shoot because of the privacy it gives and how beautiful it is.
Sunset: You know it, you love it. Sunset and the hour before it (golden hour)are popular photography hours and it’s easy to understand why. The sky is gorgeous, the light is mega flattering, and the blue hour following is perfect for sweet moments and stargazing.
Lighting at your location: It’s important for us to research how light will likely look in the locations you’ll be exploring.
Tide Tables: Super important if you’re in a snuggly little cove! There are a ton of secret spots we have for your Oregon Coast elopement, but some are inaccessible or just kinda meh at high tide.
Moonrise: This is important for blue hour photos and star photos! Having an idea of when and where you’ll be able to see it can make for some gorgeous images. Knowing the moon phase will also help knowing what type of star photos will be possible.
Weather: Having an idea of what the weather will be like is important info to have in case we need to move things around to accommodate funky weather scenarios.
Transition time: We factor in at least 15 minutes for folks to make sure their things are gathered and get into the car when moving from one location to another.
There are plenty of logistics that you’ll need to factor in when building your elopement timeline, but consider these big picture aspects before diving into the nitty-gritty details.
If you want privacy during certain aspects of your day, such as your vow exchange, or during your couples adventure, planning your elopement timeline just right can help make that happen.
The best times for privacy will be around sunrise and sunset. Sunrise being the more private of the two.
You can also choose to celebrate on a weekday to help you avoid the crowds even more. Placing these more vulnerable moments at a time of day that can offer more seclusion will help you and your partner feel more at ease and really lean into the moment.
You’ll want to be really honest with yourselves here. Do you enjoy a leisurely pace, or does a quicker pace get your adrenaline pumping?
Keep in mind that on this day, your emotions will be running high and your heart will already be racing from excitement.
If you prefer a more exciting pace, start thinking about how you want to build in some balance to give yourselves time to breathe.
Ready to build your dream day?
This is a big one!If you have guests involved, the first thing you’ll want to decide before building your elopement timeline is what percentage of the day you WANT to spend with your guests.
|Let us be super clear here, decide how much time you WANT to spend with your guests, not how much time you feel obligated to spend with them.|
You can absolutely build an elopement timeline that allows you to have it all, ample time with your guests and as much time for your own adventures.
This is something we super recommend to couples that have guests joining them. By splitting your coverage, you can have plenty of time celebrating with your crew and then spend time together just the two of you.
Transitions like heading to the car from your getting ready location may take longer if you have more folks joining you. Building in transition time as you go from place to place will help keep everything chill and prevent anyone feeling flustered or rushed.
|Here’s an elopement timeline secret for you to keep in mind|
It takes everyone a minimum of 15 minutes to get into the car.
Keep in mind how the light may look during different parts of your day. As your adventure elopement photographers we can show you what the light will likely look like in different locations whenever you’re there.
Weather is also a big consideration particularly if you’re exploring areas that are prone to weather that can be a little more on the ✨moody✨ side
Here’s a quick lighting reference for ya:
|Golden Hour : The most flattering light happens an hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.|
|Blue hour: that really soft delicate blue light where the stars are beginning to peek out or almost gone with the morning light happens the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset.|
|High Noon: This is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. This light can be really gorgeous to play with indoors as you’re getting ready, or if you’re doing a super fun activity outside. While it’s definitely the harshest light to work with, it does stay pretty consistent the longest.|
For your Oregon Elopement, if you’re hoping for some fog and some heavy PNW vibes, opt for sunrise.
For your Colorado Elopement, afternoon storms can be dangerous in that high elevation, especially during monsoon season (late July – August, so you’ll want to build your timeline with this in mind.
|Pro Tip: If you’re eloping during a shoulder season (spring/fall) or if you’re eloping in winter, give yourself a few buffer days in case the weather turns really sour and you need to rearrange some things.|
When considering the elements of your elopement timeline, think of your day like a story. When you’re looking back through your album, you want it to have a beginning, middle, and end.
Focus on the experience that you want to have through each piece of your day. What do you want to look back on? What moments do you want to remember? What pieces of the day do you want to share with each other as you look back on together?
|Pro Tip: Remember, there are zero rules here and no specific order that you have to adhere to! As you’re considering the different elements of an elopement timeline, keep in mind that these are only here to help inspire you. So, take what ya like and forget the rest.|
If you have guests, consider getting creative! You can split your elopement into two days. Sharing your ceremony day with your nearest and dearest and then crafting a day focused on just you and your partner!
The days before your elopement
Starting your day
Couples activity + portraits
In the days leading up to your elopement, keep things ✨super chill✨. Give yourselves at least the day before to hang out and explore with no rushing around. If you can help it, don’t plan to be flying in on your elopement day. Flights can be unpredictable and you don’t want to risk a big delay.
You can also meet up with your adventure elopement photographers (that’s us) to grab a drink and hang out!
It’s a great idea to give yourselves a chance to unpack and make sure you have everything you need.
In the days leading up to your elopement, be sure to hydrate and prioritize rest. This will help you feel fresh on your elopement day!
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling to an area that has higher elevation, give yourselves at least two days to acclimate. Increase that to 3 if you have any big hikes planned!
This will help you acclimate to the altitude change and avoid altitude sickness.
Questions to ask yourself:
Ok, the day is here! This is the beginning of your story, the moment where you two set the tone for the entire day. This can absolutely be a time where you take things slow or get up and go. How you choose to set the intention for your day is completely up to you two!
If guests are joining you: Consider carving this time out for just the two of you. This is the last morning you’ll spend together not married!
However you decide to spend this time together, make it intentional
Want more ideas?
Questions to Ask Yourself
This part of the day, we get to focus on the two of you individually (even if you’re getting ready together). Documenting the details that meant enough for you to bring and wear on your wedding day.
This could be a sweet, quiet time to yourself, or maybe you’re getting ready with your crew. You may also decide to get ready together, which can make for some really sweet moments.
If you’re getting ready separately, having this piece of your day documented is so awesome to share with your partner when you see your gallery. This is a part of the day that they didn’t experience with you, so it can be really special to see the story of it.
AHHH!! Ok this part is really exciting! If you decide to get ready separately, this is the moment where you get to see each other in your wedding gear for the first time!
If you have guests joining you, this is a moment that you get to have privately.
The images during this moment document the moment that build up to the first time you see each other.
We always chat with you and give you a few options for making your first look happen in a way that feels organic, and allows us to document the “rising action” and each person’s anticipation, excitement, and the reaction to seeing their favorite person dressed up and ready to marry!
Pro Tip: Take your time through this! Really look at each other and take in the whole day that is about to unfold. Taking things slow will help keep you grounded and allow us to capture your reactions.
|Questions to ask yourself:|
– Do you want to have your first look at your getting ready location or at a separate location?
– Is there anything you’d like to do together during your first look? This could be listening to your favorite song as it happens, or reading letters together after you’ve seen each other.
This is when you and your boo get to go on an adventure together. This can happen at any point of the day or multiple points of the day and doesn’t have to be adrenaline pumping.
This is a time where the two of you get to experience something together.
Questions to ask yourself:
We like to build chill time into your elopement timeline, especially if you’re catching sunrise and sunset. We want to make sure that you’re feeling great through the whole day, and if that means you need to take a hammock nap in the middle of your elopement day, then so be it.
This can be a really nice mid-day break that you take after a sunrise ceremony and adventure, or it can be enjoying a sweet catered picnic by a pristine alpine lake.
Here’s Some Ideas for Chill Time:
We’ll capture what we need to tell the story, but the point of chill time is to make sure that you’re really getting to relax. So while we’ll be documenting, it’ll be from a distance.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
This is the moment of your day where you get to do the damn thing! You and your partner stand together and make a pact to hang out together for the rest of your lives.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for!
As always, we’ll encourage you to take this slow so you can soak it all in!
Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush, maybe it’s the joy, but ceremonies tend to absolutely fly by unless you take a slow and intentional approach.
Depending on your ceremony, the flow of yours could look a little different depending on everything you’d like to include. So we take a pretty curated approach and will chat in-depth with you about your ceremony as we craft your elopement timeline to ensure you have plenty of time to soak in each moment.
For couples that are hoping to elope just the two of them: We’re ordained and can make that happen for ya!
For couples wanting to elope and be led through a ceremony by an officiant: We know plenty that are psyched to explore with you
For couples wanting to elope with their nearest + dearest: We’ll work with you to find the perfect ceremony location for you and your crew.
Pro Tip: If you want to involve your guests in your ceremony, have one of them get ordained and lead your ceremony. You can ask others to do readings through your ceremony as well!
It can be helpful to look at the elements from a traditional elopement ceremony to gather some inspo for your own! However you choose to commit your lives to each other will be incredibly beautiful and so super special.
This is such a special time in your day, we usually encourage this around quieter times of the day, like sunrise or sunset. This also happens to be when the light is reallllyyy dreamy…so it’s pretty perfect.
Pro Tip: Plan an activity during this portion of your day as well. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Something as simple as a first dance, sharing a drink together, or catching a sunset can be such a sweet part of your story.
In activities that involve your guests, this coverage will be super candid, save for any requested formals (more on that in a sec).
If you’re having a private meal catered for you at your lodging or on the beach, chat with your chef about the length of courses.
Budgeting about an hour and a half for dinner is a pretty safe bet to allow everyone to eat leisurely, and enjoy themselves. Most other elopement reception activities follow dinner (if you choose to have any.
During dinner is a great time for guests to make any planned toasts!
Formal photos with guests are a big part of celebrating with others! We aim to make this go pretty quickly. 15 minutes is usually the cap for photo-taking tolerance, so we’ll collaborate with you to make it happen!
Quick Tips for taking Fast + Gorgeous Formals with Your Guests
|– Keep it around 10 combinations |
– Give us a list ahead of time with the names
– Start with kiddos + Grandparents
– Take them right after your ceremony, when you have everyone in one place!
If you want adventures and images with a totally different feel, take advantage of twilight. Just because the light is gone doesn’t mean it’s time to call it a day! We love shooting during blue hour with our couples.
Pro Tip: Give yourselves plenty of time for star photos! They can take a bit longer to set up and are totally dependent on a few different factors, but they can be a really cool way to end your day.
Here are Some Ideas for Blue Hour
Step 1: Choose your adventures
Step 2: Assemble your flow
Step 3: Consider the lighting + Weather
Step 4: Consider the logistics
Step 5: Build in buffer time
Step 6: guest events and activities
Step 7: Plan to refuel
Step 8: Put it all together
Step 9: Share your elopement timeline
Step 10: Create an elopement timeline for backup locations
Wanna skip all these steps?
Here are some examples from each of the packages we offer to give you an idea of what your elopement timeline could look like.
12 hours split between 2 days
|2:00||Get ready at lodging|
|4:00||Drive to ceremony location|
|5:00||Portraits and celebrations with guests|
|6:00||Ceremony, portraits, and explore|
|7:00||Head to beach|
|7:30||Champagne + bonfire|
|8:00||First dance + hang out with guests|
|9:00||Beer, pizza, snuggles, play cards|
|9:30||Star gazing with guests|
|5:00||Super chill surf session|
|6:30||Head back to cabin + change|
|7:30||Dinner prepared by a private chef|
|8:30||S’mores by the fire|
|Best for: Couples who want to explore |
multiple locations, have guests joining them, want to focus on their ceremony one day and adventure the next.
|Best for: Couples who want to explore |
multiple locations in one day and want to take advantage of both sunrise + sunset with a generous chill break in between.
5 hours split between sunrise and sunset with a big break in between.
|3:00||Get ready at lodging|
|4:00||Drive to ceremony location|
|5:00||First look during blue hour|
|5:30||Sunrise walk through the forest|
|6:00||Explore and find the perfect spot|
|7:00||Portraits and explore|
|8:00 am||Big break|
|5:00||Drive to trail|
|6:00||Meet at trail|
|6:30||Hike through coastal forest|
|7:30||Explore the beach + tide pools|
|8:00||luxury picnic on the beach|
|8:30||First dance + champagne celebration|
|9:00||Blue hour portraits|
|9:30||Bonfire snuggles + Star Photos|
8 hours of continuous coverage
|1:00||Get ready together|
|2:00||Travel to first location|
|3:00||Hike to waterfall|
|4:30||First dance in the forest + explore|
|5:30||Leave for next location|
|6:00||Take time pulling over at different viewpoints|
|7:00||Arrive at location #2|
|7:30||Picnic looking over the mountains|
|8:00||Explore + Portraits|
|Best for: Couples who want to explore |
multiple locations in one day and want an easy pace.
|Best for: Couples who want to explore |
one location with a shorter, more accessible hike.
Check out this half-day Washington Elopement
4 hours of continuous coverage
|5:00||Meet at trailhead + get ready|
|5:30||Hike + explore|
|6:00||Change and first look|
|7:00||Dinner with a view|
|7:30||First dance + champagne pop|
|8:00||Explore + sunset portraits|
We know this is a ton of really helpful information on how to build your elopement timeline, but remember, as your adventure elopement photographers, we’ll:
You’re not doing this alone, we’re here to craft one helluva time with you!
Let’s Start Planning a Damn Good Time