Here you are, reading this for some of my top elopement tips! I’ve been lucky and have had the opportunity to capture so many beautiful elopements & have seen first-hand how easy OR how stressful it can be! With that being said…LET’S GET STARTED!
No one wants tourists or hikers in the back of their WEDDING pictures, and no photographer wants to have to work around them + then spend hours trying to edit out the unwanted passerby people. So if you are trying to elope at a public space or particularly popular location, plan to elope on a weekday.
This is your special day, and although it will look + feel a bit different than the “typical” wedding, you still want to feel beautiful! So I always suggest that brides allot an hour and a half for hair and makeup. This gives your stylist enough time to create an “adventure-proof” look!
When planning out the day, 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. You can plan the perfect timeline and it could work out great, but life isn’t perfect and it might be unrealistic to keep to a strict timeline if you are having fun at a location or stuck in traffic!
While you + your photos will turn out beautiful whatever time you choose to get married, I always suggest having a “golden hour” ceremony. The light is the harshest when you hold your ceremony midday, so to avoid that aim for 1.5-2 hours before sunset.
This is going to be one of the best days of your life! You should give yourself the time to be present and really enjoy the moment! So my tip is 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. It may go quicker, but the last thing you want to feel is rushed on your wedding/elopement day!
Having a go-with-the-flow mentality is going to make your day 10x more fun. The best part about elopements is that they are whatever you want them to be, they are laid-back. Last minute change of ceremony spot because you found an even better location while you were on your way? YES. Crazy unpredictable weather that makes you figure out a new plan or you go buy some awesome umbrellas + add an adventure aspect? YES. Hair falls out or takes on a mind of its own? OH YES. Dress gets dirty from the hiking/adventuring to the perfect, incredible, breathtaking off-the-beaten-path location? YOU BETCHA. If just the idea of these things sound like a literal nightmare to you, then take a breath and remember, not every elopement has to be a full on adventure! Brainstorm (or ask me!!) elopement locations that would work better with you + your dream.
& Lastly….Have A Back-up Plan
We pray for the best BUT anticipate the worst. Have a back-up plan *just in case* shiz happens! All of the ups + downs and twists and turns make your day memorable – it’s all part of the fun and always makes for the best memories + epic photos!
4:45pm- Arrive at your ceremony location & set up for first look. *If you are 30 minutes away, leave with about 40 minutes! Starting off behind will add stress and pressure to the rest of your timeline*
5:00pm- First look with your love!
5:15pm- Make sure everything is set & ready for the ceremony (ie. flowers, rugs, arch)
5:30pm- Say “I DO” to your best friend!! aka: Wedding Ceremony
6:00pm- Ceremony wraps up. Hugs and congrats from your lucky guests.
6:15pm- Portraits – Bridal, Family, Wedding Party if applicable
7:00pm- Wrap up the portraits & pack up everything
7:15pm- Head back into town for the party!
8:45pm- Arrive at location for dinner & drinks (ie. someone’s house, a private room at a restaurant, reserved venue space, etc.)
9:45pm- Wrap up photos & send off!
5:00am- Everyone meet at the booked Airbnb, bride and groom get ready + getting ready photos
6:15am- Leave Airbnb and head to your location
7:00am- Meet at location for your first look and bridal portraits
8:30am- Family arrives at the location to help set up & get ready for the ceremony
9:00am- the most beautiful exchange of words + the classic “I do” to your lover!
9:30am- The ceremony wraps up and the wedding party & family stick around for the party + family portraits
10:30am- Finish family + party photos and everyone heads back to the Airbnb
11:15am- Lunch at Airbnb (catered, homemade, you could recruit a friend to pick up the food and set up at the house during your ceremony)
1:00pm- Wrap up any final photos & send off!