Once you decide to elope and choose your destination, planning the specifics of the day can begin. One question that is on the minds of couples is what the timeline of the day looks like. Depending on what you want to include in your big day, you may even need to book a multi-day elopement. No worries! I’m here to help you build a wedding day timeline unique to the two of you. The following are some sample elopement timelines to give you an idea of how much coverage you might require.

Things You Should Factor Into Your TImeline

Talk to your significant other about the type of coverage you want. Is it essential to get all of the details, getting ready images, a first look, newlywed portraits, and ceremony photos in various locations? You’ll probably need to book eight hours minimum. 

Also, think about where you want to travel and how much you want to immerse yourself in each location. Do you want to go to one place and explore every nook and cranny to capture unique photos? Or do you want to travel over a distance and hit a few highlights along the way? These are essential discussions as you and your partner think about what your elopement day looks like.

To help you make sense of the timelines, keep a few things in mind. The average hiker moves at around 2 mph, so I factor in 1 mph for hiking—you’ll be in wedding attire and may want to stop along the way for a few quick photos. Each location usually requires an allowance of 1-1.5 hours for photography. If you’re doing a first look—those take around 30 minutes—or another staging at the location, I plan more time. Lastly, the getting ready coverage is a minimum of an hour, and that includes you being 90% finished with hair and makeup by the time I arrive. With that in mind, take a peek at the sample timelines below. 

Timelines of Previous Couples

Fact: no two timelines will be precisely the same. Although I’ll be sharing a few sample elopement timelines with you, the key is to personalize a day—or several—that includes what’s important to you and your partner. Elopement timelines aren’t one size fits all, but you can use the timelines of other couples as a springboard to tailor your own. 

Sample Elopement Timeline for 8 Hours on Kauai

  • 9:30 am – start with hair and makeup
  • 11:00 am – photographer arrives to capture getting ready images
  • 12:00 pm – leave and travel to the first location of Hanalei Pier or Hideaways Beach
  • 12:20 pm – begin couple’s portraits
  • 1:30 pm – leave and travel to Princeville Ranch
  • 1:50 pm – horseback riding photos with the flexibility to stop and explore, find a spot to have the ceremony, and have snacks
  • 5:30 pm – leave and travel to Lumahai Beach and the surrounding area
  • 6:00 pm – sunset photos on the beach
  • 7:00 pm – photography coverage ends

View this Kauai elopement here.

Elopement Timeline for 1.5 Days on Maui

Day One

  • 11:00 am – photographer arrives to capture getting ready and detail images
  • 11:20 am – first look photos
  • 11:45 am – leave and go to Makena Cove for portraits
  • 1:15 pm – leave and head to lunch and pictures along the way
  • 2:45 pm – leave and travel to Haleakala Summit
  • 4:40 pm – arrive at Haleakala Summit
  • 5:00 pm – ceremony
  • 6:45 pm – sunset, blue hour portraits, and astrophotography 
  • 9:30 pm – photography coverage ends

Day Two

  • 1:30 pm – arrive at trailhead for bamboo images
  • 3:30 pm – leave and drive to the beach with red sand
  • 4:00 pm – arrive and take photos on the beach
  • 6:30 pm – day two photography coverage ends

View this Maui elopement here.

Elopement Timeline for 5 Hours* in Crater Lake

* I just want to take a moment to say that the couple extended this session from three hours to five. In most cases where couples book a short amount of time, they want to do more. You’d genuinely be surprised at how quickly time goes! 

  • 3:30 pm – photographer arrives
  • 4:00 pm – one hour horseback ride
  • 5:00 pm – head to Crater Lake
  • 6:00 pm – arrive at Discovery Point for wedding ceremony
  • 6:30 pm – ceremony
  • 8:30 pm – sunset photography ends

View this Crater Lake elopement here.

Elopement Timeline for 1.5 Days in Moab

Day One

  • 8:00 am – photographer arrives for getting ready images and details
  • 9:00 am – leave and head to Windows Arch Trailhead
  • 9:45 am – first look photos
  • 10:15 am – explore the area while taking images
  • 11:30 am – leave for Dead Horse Point
  • 12:30 pm – arrive at Dead Horse Point for pictures and lunch
  • 2:00 pm – head to ceremony location, taking photos along the way
  • 4:00 pm – arrive at ceremony location and do group photos (this elopement had a small number of guests)
  • 4:30 pm – ceremony
  • 5:25 pm – sunset images
  • 6:00 pm – photography coverage ends

Day Two 

  • 2-hour hot air balloon ride documented by photographer

View this Moab, Utah elopement here.

Elopement Timeline for 1 Day in California Redwoods and Oregon Coast

  • 12:30 pm – meet at Whales Head Beach for the ceremony
  • 12:45 pm – ceremony starts
  • 1:15 pm – group portraits (this elopement had guests)
  • 1:30 pm – leave to go to Jedediah Redwoods State Park
  • 2:30 pm – arrive and do photos of newlyweds
  • 3:30 pm – head to dinner
  • 5:45 pm – travel to the beach for photos, including sunset images
  • 8:30 pm – photography coverage ends

View this elopement here.

Helicopter Alaska elopement timeline

Elopement Timeline for 1 Day in Alaska

  • 1:30 pm – photographer arrives, getting ready and first look photos
  • 2:00 pm – leave and head to the reindeer farm
  • 2:45 pm – arrive at reindeer farm for tour and photos
  • 4:00 pm – leave and head to Independence Mine State Historical Park
  • 4:45 pm – arrive at the park to hike and take photos
  • 6:30 pm – leave and head to Hatcher Pass
  • 6:45 pm – begin hiking to the ceremony spot
  • 8:00 pm – ceremony
  • 8:15 pm – take portraits, including sunset images
  • 9:30 pm – photography coverage ends

View this Alaska elopement here.

No matter what your goals are, feel free to discuss them with me so I can help you customize your day. Chat with your partner about your dream day. From getting ready to sunset photos and beyond, I’m ready and willing to document your elopement—and the day after if you have more adventures on your mind!