Elopement Planning

Elopement Timeline

Creating an elopement timeline

Looking for ways to bring a bit of structure to your elopement? Use this elopement timeline to outline a loose timeline for your day!

Avoid added stress by allotting more time than you think may be necessary for each activity – no one enjoys rushing. The goal is to create a relaxed schedule that allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of eloping!

Words of Wisdom

We asked wedding planner Erika Hernandez to offer some insight into how she structures the day of an elopement. She provided some fantastic tips!

  • To 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!”

Example Timeline

[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 select 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

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