Your Perfect Elopement Planner
You’ve booked your date and your venue is confirmed for your destination wedding. Congratulations. You’ve done the hardest part and the rest of the job is fun.
The next step is to plan your elopement day timeline. It is a lot easier than a full-fledged wedding, which often can last 12 hours and sometimes even days. UGH! Elopements usually last from about 4-6 hours depending on what you include in your big day.
If good photography is important to you, avoid the mid-day hours, say from 10 am to 2 pm, when the light is harsh.
The most romantic light is usually from late afternoon until sunset. Early morning is also beautiful but not many people want to get up at sunrise and get ready then get married, although I’ve done it n places like Rome or Venice where it can get it super crowded.
The first thing to do is to look online to find out what time the sun will rise and set on your wedding day, in the location you’ve chosen for your ceremony. https://www.timeanddate.com
Then plan your day around that time.
Personally, I think it is nice to tell the whole story of your day. It doesn’t have to be super extensive, which is the great thing about elopements. Short, sweet and fun.
You should consider an heirloom album, especially since you are likely to opt for a small to non-existent guest list and you’ll want something to show people who weren’t at the ceremony.
A suggested photographic itinerary:
Getting ready or moments before (1-2 hours)
These are the “before” pictures: the bride and groom getting ready, details (jewelry, invites or whatever is important to you), a few portraits, These final moments are filled with emotion, so you’ll want to capture them.
Ceremony (1/2 – 1 hour)
A symbolic ceremony is short — about 20 minutes. Civil or religious ceremonies are a bit longer — 30-40 minutes. If you’re having guests, you’ll want more time to shoot a few group photographs after the ceremony
Newlywed photographs (1-3 hours)
With a destination wedding, it’s nice to incorporate the location in the photographs. Perhaps the newlyweds strolling through the village, along the beach or in the gardens, using strategic spots as backdrops. Your photographer should know where these are. If you are not planning on a reception or intimate dinner afterwards, why not continue shooting photos into the sunset hours?
Hours Reception (1-3 hours):
If you are thinking of having an intimate dinner, reception or simply just cake and champagne, then add on at least an hour. You’ll want to arrive at the location about ½ to 1 hour before sunset to get some natural light. You can go into the evening but the most magical light is natural light. I’ve photographed a few elopements with fireworks and if that’s part of your plan add some extra time accordingly. If there’s going to be a first dance, you’ll want shots of that, as well.
Make a list of all the things you want to include in your elopement and the ideal photographic itinerary for your wedding day.
Then add the allotted time. Add a bit more time to each event to allow for travel between locations. You want to take it easy and enjoy the moment instead of hurrying from place to place.
Sample Photo Itineraries
Sunset at 8:00 pm, reception (5/6-hour shoot):
3-4 pm – Before the ceremony shots, getting ready.
4-5 pm Ceremony
5-7 pm Newlywed photographs
7-8/9 pm Reception
Sunset at 8 pm, no reception (4-hour shoot):
3-4 pm Before the ceremony shots, getting ready.
4-5 pm ceremony and mingling
5-6 pm Newlywed portraits
You can download the 6 page planner to help you plan your elopement day. Just add your name and email then click the link to download the guide and subscribe to THE ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE.
YOUR PERFECT ELOPEMENT TIMELINE PLANNER
A 6-page guide that helps you plan your ideal perfect elopement timeline