Planning an Elopement | Timeline Ideas - Stephan & Adriana

Planning an Elopement | Timeline Ideas

Central Coast Elopement


When it comes to traditional weddings, you don’t necessarily have to wonder how you’ll be spending your day. Those common traditions are set. But when we talk about 8-10 hour elopement days, most people automatically ask “what did you do for that long?!” and we’re here to tell you! While planning an elopement is less stressful than planning a traditional big wedding, the freedom can become overwhelming. And this is why we’re here to give you some elopement timeline ideas with a timeline example at the end!


# what do we do?

That’s the big question. With so much freedom to literally do WHATEVER you want… what do you do on your wedding day? Well, here are some ideas:

  1. go on a hike – or 2, or 3…
  2. watch sunrise or sunset – definitely recommended, it’s the two most beautiful hours of the day
  3. have a picnic on the beach or on a mountain top
  4. if you have guests, spend some quality time with them
  5. start the day with some rock climbing, if that’s your thing


These are just a few ideas, but a good thing to do when planning your elopement day is to take the time to chat with your fiancé about the things that define your relationship. The things you two enjoy doing the most! And basically spend the most special day of your lives doing exactly what you want to do.



Watching the sunrise at Yosemite National Park, CA


# so do we scratch all traditions?

Nope. You can still have:

  1. a ceremony
  2. first dance
  3. cake cutting
  4. champagne toasts
  5. reading of vows


And the list goes on. The beauty of eloping is being able to choose which traditions are important to you and which ones really aren’t. For example, for me, I didn’t want Stephan to see me before the ceremony. It was the one tradition I cared about, and one of the few that we followed.


Beautifully Simple Ceremony


# leave no trace

Less is more. When it comes to getting married in National Parks, State Parks, and etc, we need to be mindful of the impact we have on those lands. Leave No Trace is a set of principles that ensures we’ll leave those places better than what we found.

The principles are:

  1. Plan ahead & prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of others


When planning your elopement keep in mind that, you’ll be getting married at a beautiful location, so you don’t need to elaborate too much on the decorations. And that’s why we say less is more! When you book us as your wedding photographers, you get a Leave No Trace Guide, where we talk about how we can create an amazing, unique, wedding day in the outdoors, and still be kind to the planet. We talk about environmentally friendly bouquet ideas, finding alternative locations and avoiding big crowds, how to pack in and pack out, and more!



# timeline example of an all-day elopement

Example: all-day elopement at Yosemite National Park in the fall, with the sunrise time being 7am and sunset at 6:30pm.

PS. we always design the couple’s timelines based on sunrise and sunset times, so we can plan accordingly and get some amazing shots for the bride & groom during those times!


07:00am – 07:30am: first look at sunrise at Tunnel View

07:30am: bride & groom portraits and first dance at sunrise

08:00am: start the drive to Glacier Point

09:30am – 10:00am: ceremony at Glacier Point

10:00am – 10:30am: family pictures (if you have guests)

10:30 – 12:00pm: breakfast picnic and toasts from your family and guests, if you have any

12:00pm – 3:00pm: relax.

3:00pm: get ready for sunset shoot.

4:00pm: start the hike to Taft Point

5:00pm – 5:30pm: reading of personal vows at Taft Point

5:30pm – 6:15pm: bride & groom photos at Taft Point

6:15pm: champagne toast!

6:45pm: start the hike back

7:00pm: end of the coverage


I hope this post was helpful and gave you more clarity on what are some of the things you can do on your elopement day. Planning an elopement can definitely be overwhelming at first, but once you start narrowing down certain things you want to do on your day, things get easier and, even better, FUN! Yes, elopement planning is a lot of fun.


Check out our TOP 8 Elopement Tips for more info and helpful tips!

CONTACT us to plan your next adventure, we would love that!




Taft Point Sunset



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