Elopement Planning

Elopement Timeline

Looking for ways to bring a bit of structure to your elopement? Use this example elopement timeline below to outline a loose timeline for your day! While no two elopements are ever the same, this resource is perfect for couples who don’t know what to account for during their wedding day together. The goal is to create a relaxed schedule that allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of eloping!

Are you not sure where to start? Search our elopement directory to team up with a professional. 

Example Timeline For Your Elopement

[sunset at 4:25pm]

10:15am ~ planner, florals, and hair and makeup stylist arrive

10:45am ~ hair and makeup for the bride, the groom makes breakfast for everyone to eat casually

11:15am ~ photographers arrives

12:15pm ~ hair and makeup finishes, bride and groom dress

12:30pm ~ getting ready photos

12:45pm ~ first look photos

1:15pm ~ photographers leave to the ceremony location

1:45pm ~ planner, bride, groom, and guests leave for the ceremony

2:45pm ~ ceremony

3:00pm ~ hair and makeup touch-ups, photos with guests

3:15pm ~ bride and groom photos, planner, and guests leave

4:10pm ~ sunset photos

4:25pm ~ SUNSET

5:15pm ~ dinner and dessert, sign marriage license (witnesses: parents)

6:15pm ~ champagne/sparkler photos

Things To Consider Before Creating Your Timeline

All elopement timelines are completely customizable, and it’s important to remember there is no right or wrong way to plan your elopement. The biggest advice our team can give you is to think about what is important to both of you, and what you both want to do during your wedding day.

Here are some things to consider before you talk to your photographer and/or planner about your timeline expectations:

  • Think about if you want to have a sunrise, midday, or sunset ceremony
  • Consider how far your elopement location is from your accommodation
  • Remember to weigh in weather and how it can affect your timeline plans
  • Think about what activities you both want to do during your elopement such as surfing, rocking climbing, skiing, or having a picnic together
  • Consider what traditions you want to include during your wedding day, and how many people you will be including during each part of your elopement day

Advice When Creating Your Elopement Timeline For Your Adventure

We asked wedding planner, Erika Hernandez, to offer some insight into how she structures the day of an elopement. She provided some fantastic tips!
  • Avoid crowds, particularly at popular locations, plan to elope on a weekday
  • Allot an hour and a half for hair and makeup to allow your stylist enough time to create an “adventure-proof” look
  • Work in extra travel time (e.g., driving, hiking, etc.) between locations to account for road conditions, spontaneous photo opportunities, “warm up” breaks during the winter, etc.
  • Avoid holding your ceremony midday, when the light is the harshest, and aim for 1.5-2 hours before sunset
  • Allow about 15 minutes to exchange vows, 1 hour for the bride and groom photos, and 10-20 minutes for photos with any present friends or family

“The best advice I can give is to be flexible, go with the flow! This goes for couples and vendors… part of the appeal of elopements is that they are laid-back. [You may] change the ceremony spot day-of or you may be forced to due to weather. Your hair might get messed up and your dress will probably get dirty. It’s all part of the fun and always makes for some epic photos!”

Do you know what to include in your elopement timeline?

Thank you so much to Erika for providing such valuable insight and an example of a planner-approved timeline!

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