Every elopement timeline is completely different for every couple – no day will look the same! Elements of your timeline will depend on your location, time of day/year you’re eloping, what activities you’re including, your guest count, and soooo much more. It’s super important to hire vendors you trust to help bring your perfect timeline & day together since they’re the professionals!
So, let's get into my tips for creating your elopement timeline!
PICK BETWEEN SUNRISE + SUNSET
First, you’ll want to decide whether you want to hold the main part of your elopement around sunrise or sunset! These are the times of day that you’ll get the most beautiful lighting. They will give you a super peaceful atmosphere to celebrate in! Of course, midday elopements are just as beautiful and lovely, but these specific times will allow for more intimacy and privacy for you both to exchange your vows.
This will depend on lots of elements of your elopement. For example:
+ The location(s) of your elopement – where you’re saying your vows, taking portraits, having a meal, etc.
+ Driving time between locations
+ What the lighting is like during certain times of day at your location – are there mountains that make the sun go away faster? Will the sun be shining through trees + will there be heavier shade if you’re in a forest?
+ The weather + season
+ Are there certain times of day that ceremonies are allowed at your location?
+ Your guests – will they be traveling on the day of? The day before?
+ Activities you’ll be incorporating into your elopement – what time of day are you doing certain activities? Are you wanting to hike at sunrise, or go horseback riding at sunset? Does the tour you want to go on only happen in the evenings?
Keep in mind that a sunrise elopement will most likely help you avoid the most crowds!! If you’re eloping at a highly-visited outdoor location at a busy time of year (e.g. summer at Cannon Beach), you’ll want to find the best time to avoid too many crowds around you. Sunset is usually more crowded at many spots, but, if you’re down to hike to a more secluded area to get to your location, sunset might be totally fine for your elopement!
If you don’t want to choose one or the other, you could totally do BOTH!! Book your vendors for part of the day at sunrise, take a break in the middle of the day to eat/rest/etc., and then finish your elopement experience at sunset. You’ll get the best of both worlds!!
MAKE TIME TO CHILL
Second, PLEASE make sure your elopement timeline includes plenty of time to chill!! Don’t create your elopement timeline in a way that limits you or is super strict – e.g. only giving yourself 10 minutes for a 10-minute drive, only leaving 5 minutes between your ceremony and portraits, etc.
ALWAYS plan for things to go wrong or to run late – that way, you don’t end up stressed of frantic if your elopement timeline gets changed around on the day of. Add in plenty of extra time throughout the day for you two to chill and take a break, and so you avoid feeling rushed!!
Your elopement is meant to be a day for you to enjoy and be present in, and it’s hard to be present if you’re feeling rushed or “behind schedule.” So planning in advance for some flex time will be a game-changer & allow you to just go with the flow of the day + make changes as needed!!
One way to take some time to be present with one another is to get ready together! This allows you a space to enjoy each other’s company, slow down, and prepare for the day by each other’s side. Sherine + Jordan spent the morning getting ready and making coffee together. This allowed plenty of time for them to enjoy it and truly be present in their moments.
HAVE BACK UP PLANS
Finally, have backup plans in place!! This goes along with the second tip – you want to do everything possible to make sure you have the most STRESS-FREE, enjoyable, chill day possible. And making backup plans is an important part of that!
If you run into an issue with a location, like you get stuck in traffic or a road ends up being closed, having a backup plan will allow you to go with the flow and change plans as you need to. Whereas if you have zero backup plans and get stuck with a closed road or bad weather, you’ll just end up stressed and panicking to figure out a solution, which never feels good.
If you’re eloping outdoors, plan for the worst possible weather and think through solutions ahead of time! What will you do if it rains? Are you down to get married in the rain or would you rather go somewhere indoors? What about if the trail you’re planning to hike gets closed down, or gets snowed in earlier in the year than planned?
Before your elopement, list out everything you can think of that could go wrong. Then, make backup plans & figure out potential solutions for each one! This will help make sure you know what to do on the day of if plans change. And, you won’t be stressed about anything with your timeline!!