Making it Count: How much time do we need for our adventure elopement?

You're not planning a little ceremony and some photos. You're planning the best day of your life! So before asking how much time you might need, and trying to fit your ideal day into that box, start with what it is your heart wants to do and feel, and we'll help you figure out the rest!

When planning your adventure elopement, prioritize activities and locations that truly resonate with you and your partner. Think about the moments that would make it an absolute dream —whether it’s watching the sunrise together and exploring a favorite Washington hiking trail, or sharing a picnic in a scenic spot and dancing under the stars.

Focus on creating a day that feels authentic and meaningful to you as a couple. Incorporate activities that reflect your passions, interests, and shared experiences. Whether you’re adventurers at heart or lovers of quiet moments, tailor your elopement day timeline to include the experiences that bring you the most joy and fulfillment.

As we craft your elopement day timeline together, we'll carefully consider every detail to ensure a seamless and memorable celebration. It's essential to allow extra time for each part of the day, from getting ready, to your ceremony, and everything in between. . By prioritizing intention, relaxation and connection, we can create a day where you can both be fully present.

Give yourselves plenty of time

Eloping often means venturing to remote or rugged locations (especially in Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Iceland). This will require extra time for travel and transition between activities, as well as time to allow for flexibility so you can deal with weather conditions and unexpected delays.

So, here's where we start when it comes to planning out your elopement...

Sunrise, sunset, and a smart timeline

Depending on your preferences and your location, the timing of your day should be planned around either sunrise or sunset (or both).

Some couples like to have a first look at sunrise, then take a break half way through the day, and finish off with a sunset ceremony.

Some couples like to hike during the day, and then have a sunset ceremony on a mountain top followed by epic photos and some celebratory hot tub or campfire time.

Couples who have guests usually prefer to have their ceremony at an easy, accessible location in the morning or at mid day so they can include friends and family. Then, they take off with me to spend the rest of the day together and get killer photos at sunset. This can also be done with a two day elopement. One day with guests, another shorter day to themselves.

We're here to help you with all of this.

We'll focus on making sure you have time so that nothing feels micro-managed or rushed, and that things are lined up so we can talk advantage of the most beautiful light/location combinations. It is INCREDIBLY important to leave space for organic moments. That's one of the best things about choosing an elopement instead of a traditional wedding!

there's something we want you to remember....

Eloping is not settling. It's actually the exact opposite.

And we think that choosing a wedding day like this makes you

so. effin'. cool.

I really hope you understand just how true that is. You are doing something intentional and meaningful, while showing that you have the guts to set aside the things that just don't resonate with you. [insert applause here]

So, with all of that in mind . . .

How long should your elopement take?

Every couple I've worked with has hired me for at least 8 hours. But half of those couples originally assumed they would only want 4. But when you consider that you've likely traveled somewhere very special to you, somewhere with an incredible landscape - and that elopements have most of the same components as a traditional wedding, you start to realize that you really do need to give yourselves time to experience all of these things! You'll get ready, have a first look, say your vows, exchange rings, dance, have fun together, explore and DO things, and the enjoy the first few hours of being married!

I recommend at least an 8 hour day with me. (But trust me, at the end of 8 hours, it still never feels like enough.) And 12 hour days are incredible because we get the entire day, and we can split it up to get sunrise and sunset. What do you do for 8 or 12 hours? Here's an example of some timelines:

8-hour elopement timeline example

12:30 pm: Amy arrives and starts taking photos of the details of your cabin, your attire, your jewelry, your dog.. ;)

1:00 pm: Help each other get dressed

1:30 pm: Cool photos in and around your cabin

2:30 pm: Travel to your hiking trail

3:00 pm: Explore the trail together and take photos with stunning backdrops

4:30 pm: Drive to the coast

5:00 pm: Explore the beach while Amy takes candids, and choose a spot for your ceremony.

5:45 pm: Ceremony

6:00 pm: Find two witnesses to sign your license

6:15 pm: Play some music on a portable speaker and have a romantic and private first dance

6:30 pm Celebrate together with a picnic and champagne, cut a cake together

7:00 pm: Head to chosen location for sunset portraits

7:30 pm: Sunset portraits

8:30 pm: Coverage ends

12-hour elopement timeline example


I recommend a longer elopement timeline, like 12 hours, on days where you want to do several different activities, have several guests, or are planning a longer hike. Or if you want to split the day for sunrise and sunset photos.

4:30 am: Meet at the trailhead and begin the hike to a beautiful alpine lake before sunrise.

6:00 am: Reach the turquoise lake, and begin changing into your wedding clothes.

6:30 am: Experience your first look in the pre-sunrise alpenglow. Read private letters to each other and/or exchange special wedding day gifts.

7:00 am: Epic couple photos as the sun rises.

7:30 am: Exchange vows surrounded by mountain peaks and wildflowers.

7:45 am: Relax together with a breakfast picnic of local coffee and pastries. Lay out together on a blanket and take in the view.

8:30 am: Hike back down, stopping for photos along the way. Ask a couple of hikers to sign your marriage license.

11:00 am: Meet up with your close friends or family at a local brewery or cafe for lunch, cake and a toast. Share stories about your morning together. We'll take some documentary style photos and group photos with you and your guests.

12:00 pm - 6:00 pm : Spend the afternoon with your guests, take a nap or relax at your Airbnb.

6:00 pm: Meet Chuck and Amy for a drive out to an incredible sunset location.

6:30 pm: Stop at a small town market for local beer or cider to take to our destination - fun paparazzi style photos of your stop (you're in wedding clothes after all!)

7:00 pm: Short hike to an insane mountain view

7:15 pm: Photos in the mountains at sunset

8:15 pm: Cheers together with summit beers!

8:30 pm: Pull out headlamps or lanterns and take night photos.

9:15 pm: Hike back out to trailhead

9:30 pm: Drive back to Airbnb

10:30pm Coverage ends

two-day elopement timeline example


A two-day elopement timeline can look like a lot of different things! For me, these usually include a longer day followed by a short day. These are great for when you’re still including family on your elopement but also want some undivided personal time with just the two of you or if you want to go off and explore this epic hike. 

Having a multi-day elopement doesn’t have to be as bougie as it sounds and is really more about removing the stress of trying to fit everything in on one day. Imagine that you decide on an adventurous Alaska elopement. Do you really think you could fit EVERYTHING in one day? Not while still enjoying it all! Having a separate photo session the next day is the perfect way to get more than one look without the extra stress of coordinating everyone.

Day 1 - 10 hours

8:45 am — Meet at the tour office for your first adventure

9:15 am — Head out on glacier tour

-Candid + documentary photos along the way

-Epic shots of you both climbing, cozy photos in gear, and some posed photos without gear

10-3 Climbing/Glacier tour

3:00 pm Picnic break

4:00 pm Get dressed and ready for your ceremony

5:00 pm Meet up with guests at ceremony spot

5:30 pm — Ceremony, Celebrate with guests

6:00 pm — Guest/Family photos

6:45 pm — Photo coverage ends - Go to dinner with your guests.

Day 2 - 3 hours

Enjoy your morning at your Airbnb. Soak in your hot tub. Lay back in the hammock. Let the morning go by slowly together.

1:00 pm — Meet at helicopter tour airport. Check in and prepare for the flight

1:30 pm — Take off, documentary-style photos during the flight

2:30 pm — Glacier Landing - Explore, enjoy the beauty, then exchange private vows

3:30 pm — Arrive back at the airport, photos with your pilot and the helicopter

4:00 pm — Photo coverage ends.

Ready to talk elopement photography?

oregon / washington / alaska / iceland