Planning Your Elopement Timeline (feat. Full-Day and Multi-Day Examples)

This couples elopement timeline allowed them to have a sunset ceremony at Horshoe Bend in Arizona.

So, you’re swapping a big, traditional wedding for something much cooler – an elopement! And not just a run-of-the-mill elopement, but a breathtaking adventure in an amazing destination. Congrats on being awesome! But you have one problem – you have no idea what an elopement timeline would look like.

As a photographer who captures these unique love stories, I’ve witnessed everything from simple, heartfelt one-day elopements to immersive two- and three-day celebrations. Whichever elopement timeline you choose, each one is a deep dive into what makes your bond special.

Whether you’re dreaming about a single day filled with love or a multi-day elopement, I’m here to guide you through the ins and outs of crafting a timeline that turns every moment into a cherished memory, ensuring your experience is epic!

This elopement couple's timeline had time for star photos.

Interested in hiring me as your elopement photographer and planner? I’d love to hear from you!

Three-Day Elopements

Opting for a three-day elopement is like saying, “Hey, our love story deserves its own mini-series, not just a single episode.” It’s a chance to dive deep into celebrating your union, spreading out the excitement, the love, and even the chill moments over a few days.

Day One

Imagine starting with a day of anticipation, where the air is buzzing with the excitement of what’s to come. It’s about arrival, exploring your location a bit, and setting the scene for the adventure ahead. You get to soak it all in, build up the suspense, and enjoy the prelude to your big moments.

Day Two

Then, as your story unfolds, you’re not just rushing through the highlights. You’ve got a whole day dedicated to the main event — your heartfelt vows, the joyous celebration, the first dance under the stars — without having to glance at the clock.

Day Three

And it doesn’t stop there; you get to wrap it all up with a day of reflection, adventure, or a bit of both. It’s your time to relive the magic, soak in the bliss, and explore your stunning setting further, all while basking in that newlywed glow.

Choosing a three-day elopement timeline means every chapter of your celebration gets the spotlight it deserves, turning your wedding into an unforgettable journey of love, laughter, and everything in between.

First Day Recap: Arrival and Anticipation

  • Your elopement timeline begins with settling into your chosen destination, perhaps exploring its beauty or enjoying a relaxed evening in your Airbnb that sets the tone for the days to come.

Second Day Recap: Vows and Celebration

  • This day is the crescendo, a full-day affair that captures the essence of your elopement. It’s about savoring each other’s presence, from a morning filled with anticipation to an evening of celebration.

Third Day Recap: Reflection and Adventure

  • The final day is a gentle decrescendo, a time for relaxed reflection or one last adventure. It’s an opportunity to bask in the afterglow of your celebration, perhaps with a casual photo session or a quiet moment of gratitude for the journey you’ve embarked on together.

Three-Day Elopement Timeline Examples

Multi-Day Intimate Wedding w/Loved Ones in Santorini

Day 1

7:00 am – Head to Amoudi Beach for sunrise cliff diving and swimming photos

9:00 am – Breakfast and lounging on the beach

10:30 am – Mid-day break

4:00 pm – Meet up at docks for boat session

6:30 pm – Head back to shore

7:00 pm – Photos exploring Oia

7:30 pm – Sunset

8:00 pm – Photos outside restaurant before calling it a night

Day 2

1:00 pm – Getting ready photos at venue

3:00 pm – First look and couples photos

5:30 pm – Guests arrive

6:00 pm – Ceremony

6:15 pm – Family and group photos

6:30 pm – Cocktail hour

7:15 pm – Sunset couples photos around venue 

7:30 pm – Candlelit dinner and reception

8:30 pm – Speeches and first dances

9:00 pm – Party and conversation

9:45 pm – Quick couples session w/village lights

10:00 pm – Back to hanging w/loved ones

11:00 pm – Call it a night

Day 3

6:00 pm – Pick up couple from hotel

6:30 pm – Arrive at Sunset Viewpoint

7:30 pm – Private vows at sunset

8:00 pm – Picnic at viewpoint, lantern and/or star photos

9:00 pm – Head back to hotel

9:30 pm – Couples boudoir at hotel w/views of Oia at night

11:00 pm – Coverage ends

This couple who had a three-day elopement timeline had a special shoot in Santorini.

Multi-Day Elopement in Lake Powell & Monument Valley

Day 1

4:00 pm – Arrive at Slot Canyon for reserved photoshoot time slot 

6:30 pm – Sunset session at Horseshoe Bend

8:00 pm – Coverage ends

Day 2

8:00 am – Meet up for morning boat ride on Lake Powell, swimming

11:00 am – Mid-day break

2:00 pm – Getting ready photos at Airbnb

3:00 pm – First look 

3:00 pm – Leave for Alstrom Point

4:30 pm – Start off-road drive to Alstrom Point

7:30 pm – Sunset ceremony at Alstrom Point

8:00 pm – Picnic

8:30 pm – Lantern photos

9:00 pm – Start drive back to Airbnb

12:00 am – Call it a night

Day 3

4:30 pm – Meet up at campsite in Monument Valley

5:00 pm – Grab dinner at Stagecoach restaurant

6:00 pm – Evening session

9:00 pm – Campfire and s’mores at campsite

10:00 pm – Coverage ends

Two-Day Elopements

Day One

Stretching your elopement into a two-day affair allows you both to really savor the experience. Think of it as having the luxury of time on your side.

The most common two-day elopement timeline I see is this – day one is all about settling in, soaking up that buzzing feeling of excitement for what’s to come. It’s your chance to catch your breath, chill, and maybe share some laid-back moments with your partner or a few loved ones.

You might head out and get some photos during sunset in different outfits. This day sets the stage, building up anticipation but in the most relaxed way possible. You’re getting acclimated, exploring your surroundings, and maybe even indulging in a little pre-celebration because, why not?

Day Two

On day two, it’s showtime. This is the day when the world goes quiet as you two vow your lives to each other and make your marriage official. It’s a day packed with emotion, from those intimate, tear-jerking moments during the ceremony to the highs of exploring beautiful places together as a newly married couple.

And because you spread everything out over two days, you’re not racing against the clock. You’ve got the space to let each moment fully sink in, whether it’s saying your “I dos,” snapping breathtaking photos, or just goofing around and enjoying each other’s company. It’s like your love story is getting the epic two-part movie treatment it deserves.

First Day: Settling In and Winding Down

  • Your elopement timeline kicks off after you land, getting a feel for the local scene and checking out your chosen spot. Think about starting with a welcome dinner or opting for a chill evening, just the two of you. It’s all about settling into the place that’s going to be the backdrop for your big moment.

Second Day: The Main Event

  • Imagine your day rolling out just like your favorite love letter. From a chill morning ceremony to an awesome evening under the stars, you’ve got plenty of time to snag every look, every laugh, every kiss. It’s the story of you two, spread out over a day that just smoothly slips into the next.

Other Ideas for a Two-Day Elopement

  • Spend one day with loved ones and one day exploring just the two of you.
  • Go on an overnight road trip! Hang out in one area the first day, then drive to a whole ‘nother location the next.
  • Get married one day, then do a session in different outfits (or even couples boudoir) the evening after!

Two-Day Elopement Timeline Examples

Two-Day Elopement in Iceland (Midnight Sun)

Day 1

4:00 pm – Cozy in-home session at Airbnb

5:30 pm – Leave for Haifoss waterfall

7:00 pm – Photos at Haifoss

10:00 pm – Drive couple back to their Airbnb

12:00 am – Call it a night

Day 2

4:00 pm – Getting ready at Airbnb, vow writing

6:00 pm – First look at/near Airbnb

6:30 pm – Drive to Skógafoss

7:00 pm – Meet up with officiant

7:30 pm – Ceremony at Skógafoss

7:45 pm – Couples photos

8:30 pm – Picnic 

9:00 pm – Drive to Reynisfjara black sand beach

10:00 pm – Photos on black sand beach

11:00 pm – Head to Seljavallalaug hot hprings

12:00 am – Intimate photos at hot springs

1:00 am – Coverage ends

This couple's elopement timeline allowed them to shoot in popular locations in Iceland without crowds during the midnight sun.

Two-Day Elopement in Vegas & Death Valley

Day 1

4:00 pm – Meet up for fun photos on the strip

6:00 pm – Grab a meal and drinks

7:30 pm – Head to interactive art installation 

8:00 pm – Funky photos at art installation

9:30 pm – Return to high-rise Airbnb

10:00 pm – Couples boudoir photos & chilling in hot tub with champagne overlooking city lights

12:00 am – Call it a night

Day 2

1:00 pm – Getting ready photos at Airbnb, vow writing

2:00 pm – Everyone ready

2:30 pm – First look on balcony

3:00 pm – Leave for Death Valley

5:30 pm – Arrive at first location in Death Valley, explore

7:00 pm – Leave for ceremony site

7:45 pm – Ceremony and couples photos

8:30 pm – Picnic

9:00 pm – First dance under the stars

9:15 pm – Stargazing 

10:00 pm – Head back to Vegas

12:00 am – Coverage ends

Full-Day Elopements

Picture your one-day elopement like it’s your favorite movie – short, super sweet, and jam-packed with all the best bits. It’s all about making the absolute most out of every single moment of the day. From the moment the sun peeks over the horizon and you’re saying your vows in that perfect, soft morning light, to the end of the day when you’re clinking glasses during golden hour, every part of the day is intentionally thought out.

It’s a day where every little loving interaction is part of the main storyline. You’re moving from one beautiful scene to another, from a quiet, butterflies-in-the-stomach filled morning to the adrenaline rush of finally saying “I do,” and then winding down under a blanket of stars, feeling totally content. This one day is your epic adventure – it might zip by, but it’s loaded with all those big, heartwarming moments and those small, intimate gestures that mean everything.

It’s about living your lives and your love story to the fullest, packing in all those memorable moments, and making sure that when you look back, you’ve got a collection of those ‘best day ever’ memories. Your one-day elopement is more than just a series of events; it’s the day you’ll remember as one where every minute was a celebration of your journey together, crafted perfectly just for you two.

An elopement couple saying their vows at Grand Tetons National Park.

Full-Day Elopement Timeline Examples

Full-Day Elopement in Redwoods and Southern Oregon Coast

8:00 am – Morning beach session

9:30 am – Making breakfast together

10:30 am – Mid-day break

1:00 pm – Writing vows

1:30 pm – Bubble bath photos together

2:00 pm – Getting ready

3:30 pm – First look at/near Airbnb

4:00 pm – Drive to redwoods

5:00 pm – Explore the redwoods

6:00 pm – Leave for Oregon coast

7:00 pm – Photos at ceremony location

7:30 pm – Ceremony

7:45 pm – Sunset

8:00 pm – Picnic and cake

8:30 pm – First dance 

8:45 pm – Lantern photos

9:30 pm – Coverage ends

Full-Day Intimate Wedding in Joshua Tree

7:00 am – Meet up in the park for sunrise session

9:00 am – Drive back to Airbnb

10:00 am – In-home and pool photos at Airbnb

11:00 am – Mid-day break

2:00 pm – Reconvene for getting ready photos

2:45 pm – Gift exchanges with loved ones

3:15 pm – Dress on

3:30 pm – First look at Airbnb & couples photos

4:00 pm – Leave for National Park

4:45 pm – Couples photos in National Park in one or two different spots

7:00 pm – Ceremony

7:15 pm – Group and family photos

7:30 pm – Lantern and star photos

8:00 pm – Head back to Airbnb

8:30 pm – Pizza party reception at Airbnb

10:00 pm – Coverage ends

A wedding couple wearing sunglasses sitting on chairs outside at their luxury Joshua Tree airbnb.

Full-Day Elopement in the Grand Tetons

12:00 pm – Getting ready photos at Airbnb

12:45 pm – Everyone dressed

1:00 pm – Drive couple blindfolded to first look spot

1:30 pm – First look and couples photos, time to explore

3:00 pm – Head to ranch for horseback riding 

3:30 pm – Horseback riding 

5:30 pm – Head into park

6:30 pm – Arrive at trailhead for ceremony site

7:00 pm – Ceremony

7:15 pm – Couples photos exploring

8:00 pm – Picnic

8:30 pm – First dance

9:00 pm – Night photos, time to stargaze

9:45 pm – Head back to Airbnb

10:30 pm – Cake cutting and celebrating at Airbnb

11:00 pm – Coverage ends

Full-Day Elopement on Minnesota’s North Shore

6:00 am – Meet up at Palisade Head for lantern photos

6:30 am – Sunrise ceremony at Palisade Head

7:00 am – Explore around Palisade Head

8:30 am – Leave for Lax Lake

9:00 am – Morning canoeing at Lax Lake

10:00 am – Picnic breakfast on the shore

11:00 am – Mid-Day Break

4:30 pm – Meet at Split Rock Lighthouse

5:30 pm – Leave for Tettegouche

6:00 pm – Arrive at Trailhead for High Falls in Tettegouche

7:00 pm – Photos at High Falls

7:30 pm – Picnic and celebration

8:30 pm – Head back to Trailhead

9:15 pm – Leave for Black Beach

9:30 pm – Campfire and s’mores at Black Beach, stargazing

11:00 pm – Coverage ends

Things to Consider When Planning Your Timeline

Don’t Have Your Ceremony in the Middle of the Day

Unless it’s an overcast day or you’re somewhere shaded, the light is really harsh and unflattering around noon – doubly so in summer. Avoid having your ceremony or any other important moments during this time. Oftentimes, full-day elopements will have a mid-day break so you and your boo can get some alone time and even take a little nap if you got up before sunrise for photos.

Schedule Extra Buffer Time

When you’re sketching out your elopement timeline, sprinkle in some generous dashes of buffer time between activities. Life’s little hiccups don’t take a break just because you’re eloping. Maybe that scenic hike to exchange vows takes longer than expected, or you find yourselves lost in the moment, soaking up the post-ceremony bliss. That’s where buffer time comes in handy.

Think of it as your secret ingredient for a stress-free day. This approach isn’t just practical; it’s about embracing the day with open arms and a relaxed mindset. It’s about allowing yourselves to truly be present in each moment, to savor the laughter, the looks, and all the love without glancing at your watch. Plus, it gives you and your partner a chance to catch your breath, share a private joke, or simply enjoy a quiet moment together.

Consider Activities You’d Enjoy

Eloping packs in all the good stuff from a traditional wedding – think getting ready shots, that heart-fluttering first look, exchanging vows, the ring swap, and your first dance. But here’s the kicker: eloping gives you the freedom to get creative. You can kick back on a beach, hit some off-road trails, soak in the beauty of a waterfall, enjoy a cozy winery or brewery tour, or even set sail on a boat ride. The world’s your oyster, opening up endless possibilities to make your day uniquely yours.

Hire an Experienced Elopement Photographer Offering Planning Services

When you’re mapping out your elopement, keep an eye out for a photographer who’s also a whiz at planning. These pros are worth their weight in gold, blending their knack for capturing stunning photos with a keen eye for the logistics that make your day run smoothly. They know the best secret spots, the optimal times for dreamy lighting, and how to weave through the day without a hitch. It’s their experience with the finer details that elevates your elopement from great to unforgettable.

Sure, I’m one of those photographers who digs into the planning details too, but it’s bigger than just me. Any photographer who rolls planning services into their package is a game-changer. They’re the ones ensuring your elopement is as seamless as it is spectacular, letting you focus on the fun stuff. So, as you choose the person to document your day, consider someone who’s not only great with a camera but also has a talent for making everything else click into place. It’s a small choice that can make a big difference in enjoying your elopement to the fullest.

A wedding couple in white bathrobes sitting on the edge of the pool at their airbnb in Joshua Tree.

Wrapping it All Up

Your elopement is more than just a series of moments or just your ceremony; it’s a vivid snapshot of the path you’ve walked together, a party that’s as one-of-a-kind as the bond you share. Whether you’re going for a single day filled to the brim with all those meaningful glances and laughter or spreading the joy over several days of adventure, what really matters is staying true to who you are as a couple. It’s about crafting those memories that echo the real depth of what you two have.

Let’s not forget, the real magic of eloping shines through in its simplicity and intimacy — it’s all about celebrating the two of you, your love, and the exciting leap into your future together. So, as you map out your elopement, aim for a plan that feels just right, one that’ll make you look back and say, “Yes, that was us, that was perfect.” Cheers to plotting an elopement that’s as memorable and unique as your own love story!

Hey there, fellow weirdos

How's it going? The name's Luke. I help non-traditional, spooky sexy free spirits like you craft your specially tailored, unforgettable elopement extravaganza – one where your love takes center stage and celebrates everything that makes you the incredible humans you are!

From the planning process through to your elopement, you're fully encouraged to be your most radiant and unconventional selves. (Because guess what? I also grew up as a weirdo and I get it, the world isn't always that kind to us. It's all about radical self-love around here!) If this sounds like your jam, I'd be thrilled to help you create an exhilirating elopement experience built around your unique magic. ✨

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