Firstly, what is an elopement? The word “elopement” use to mean people getting hitched in an Elvis chapel in Vegas or running away with the love of your life because your love was “forbidden”. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but I promise that elopements have come a long way from those old and dated beliefs!

So. What is an elopement? Today, eloping means an actual experience for a couple getting married to celebrate their marriage and their relationship. It’s meant to be a low stress day and could potentially include a small number of family and friends (usually 10-40 guests) with the day focusing entirely on the couple and their relationship.

To me, as the photographer, elopements are a huge honor to get to capture because not many other people are in attendance. Sometimes, I’m the only person in attendance capturing photos of the couple and their elopement experience. However, I think it’s equally important to have an entire day to celebrate and capture your marriage, just like I would a more “traditional” wedding. You only get married once; you only have one wedding day to look back on for the rest of your life. Think about that: on your anniversary, you’re going to think back to your day and how you celebrated it. Do you really just want to go to the courthouse, get a few photos taken for an hour, and call it a day? Or do you want to do something fun and create an entire day that is entirely perfect for you and your partner, that truly represents your relationship, and makes you smile every time you think or talk about your wedding day? I don’t want you to look back 10, 15, 50 years from now and regret your short 2-hour elopement shoot and that’s how you remember your entire day.

You deserve to have an entire day celebrating you and your partner and your marriage.

You could choose to elope in the mountains, by the beach, or in a city. You could elope near home, at a brand new destination place, or a more nostalgic spot like your childhood vacation spot or where you two met. It’s completely up to you and your fiancĂ© whether you choose a sentimental place to read your vows and explore or if you choose a place on your bucket list to explore and commit your life together.

So, let’s get into it. Here are two examples: one of a 12-hour day and one of an 8-hour day — because you deserve an entire day to celebrate getting married. Below is an example of what I would send to you when timeline planning for your own elopement:

Alex & Cameren

Asheville, NC | 10.28.2022

– Getting Ready Location: Alex and Cameren’s rustic Airbnb

– Ceremony Location: Mountain top in Blue Ridge Parkway

– Additional Portrait Location: lookouts, brewery, sunset mountain views

– Meal/Celebration Location: picnic lunch at park and dinner at brewery

8:30am –

  • wake up, coffee, light breakfast & being together in common area
  • getting ready – separate rooms

9:15am –

  • photographer (me) arrives

9:45am –

  • emotional first-look & private moment

10:00am –

  • leave – travel in Jeep to trail

10:30am –

  • arrive and drive with Jeep on trail

11:15am –

  • vows, first kiss, portraits at top of mountain before heading back down
  • on the way down, stopping for portraits at lookouts

12:15pm –

  • head to town park – taking scenic route with Jeep


  • picnic brunch, mimosas, cake/donuts, music, first dance, private moments

1:20pm –

  • (travel time included) head to private brewery for portraits with beautiful views, open fields, rolling hills, small pond with canoes
  • 30-35 of your closest friends and family meet here to join for toast, feast, photos, and little dancing

4:30pm –

  • dinner is served to everyone

6:30pm –

  • couple leaves for trail for a sunset hike (about 1.5 miles roundtrip)

7:00pm –

  • arrive at trailhead, begin hike

7:30pm –

  • get to top of mountain, take portraits, and champagne pop

8:00-8:10pm –

  • sun starts going down, start hike back to parking lot

8:45pm –

  • couple and photographer part for night, couple gets ready for honeymoon

Here’s another timeline example of 8-hours:

Emerson & Riley

Emerald Isle, NC | 05.07.2022

– Getting Ready Location: Emerson and Riley’s tropical Airbnb

– Ceremony Location: Sailboat on the Atlantic Ocean

– Additional Portrait Location: on the sailboat, on the beach

– Meal/Celebration Location: charcuterie board for a late lunch/snack and dinner on sailboat

1:00pm –

  • end of getting ready, Photographer (me) arrives

1:30pm –

  • first look and private moments

2:00pm –

  • leave – drive out to the docks

2:30pm –

  • arrive at the sailboat, load up everything (food, props, etc.), meet up with 4 guests

3:00pm –

  • ceremony/vows, first kiss, portraits on the sailboat

3:45pm –

  • charcuterie board and drinks to celebrate, soak in the views

5:00pm –

  • dinner is served on the sailboat

6:15pm –

  • champagne toast / champagne pop

6:45pm –

  • get off sailboat, drive to the beach

7:15pm –

  • portraits on the beach

7:45pm –

  • sunset beach portraits

8:00pm –

  • couple and photographer part for night, couple gets ready for honeymoon

These are just a few ideas! YOU get to plan your dream day, and that is okay if it looks a little differently than the above examples! Reach out to me here for me to help plan and photograph your dream elopement day.

  1. […] Make sure to check out my How to Plan Your Dream Elopement: Advice from Someone Who Eloped blog, All-Day Elopement Timeline Examples blog, and What if National Parks Banned Elopements? (Leave No Trace) […]

  2. […] wedding? Learn more here: How to Plan Your Dream Elopement (Advice From Someone Who Eloped) blog, All-Day Elopement Timeline Examples blog, and 12 Ways to Have a Unique Elopement […]

  3. […] Here are multiple examples on how to have an All-Day Elopement […]

  4. […] If you thought the timeline examples were helpful, here are some more All-Day Wedding Timeline Examples […]

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