Elopement Planning | Sunrise and Sunset Timeline Ideas

We have planned a ton of elopements and there are so many possible timelines for the day! It all depends on who’s joining you, how many hours you have your photographer, whether you want to hike to your location (or go on some other sort of adventure), whether you want to enjoy a meal together, etc.

We always get inquiries asking “When/where do we change?”, “When do we eat?” and “What do we do if we want to hike but our families don’t?”…To help answer these questions, I am sharing simplified versions of some of our most common elopement timelines to give you ideas for the flow of your day.

As much as possible, we try to minimize the back and forth between locations/time in the car, the amount of time guests are waiting around and the early wake-up calls/late bedtimes for them. We also want to take advantage of the daylight we have and make sure the day is centered around the best possible lighting for your photos, which is around sunrise and sunset!

Sunrise Elopement, No Guests

  • Get ready

***Separately or together, it’s up to you!

  • Head to trail head
  • Hike up
  • Get changed

***Most couples change behind a rock or tree but we do provide a portable changing room, if requested

  • First Look
  • Sunrise Couple’s Photos
  • Walk into Ceremony together
  • Ceremony
  • Recess into First Dance

***At a traditional wedding, you would recess and disappear for a bit to take photos and/or sign the marriage license–During an elopement it can be a little awkward to just stand there after the kiss so we love when couples “recess” into (walk over to a nearby spot) the first dance! We usually start the first dance song as the couple walks away from us/the officiant

  • Sign marriage license
  • Picnic and/or champagne & dessert
  • Hike down

***Some couples book all day packages with their photographers–This is a good time to freshen up, take a nap and have a bite to eat before your sunset adventure session

Sunrise Elopement, with Guests

  • Get Ready

***Separately or together, with family or friends, it’s up to you!

  • Head to trail head
  • Hike up
  • Get changed

***Most couples change behind a rock or tree but we do provide a portable changing room, if requested

  • First Look

***Some couples choose to say there vows privately, this is a great time to read them!

  • Sunrise Couple’s Photos
  • Hike down
  • Family/friends joins for Ceremony
  • Recess into First Dance

***At a traditional wedding, you would recess and disappear for a bit to take photos and/or sign the marriage license–During an elopement it can be a little awkward to just stand there after the kiss so we love when couples “recess” into (walk over to a nearby spot) the first dance! We usually start the first dance song as the couple walks away from us/the officiant

***We have had couples do dances with parents at this point as well

  • Family/Friend Photos
  • Head back to cabin
  • Sign marriage license
  • Brunch at cabin
  • Toasts
  • Dessert
  • Hangout and relax with family/friends

Sunset Elopement, No Guests

  • Get ready

***Separately or together, it’s up to you!

  • Head to trail head
  • Hike up
  • Get changed

***Most couples change behind a rock or tree but do provide a portable changing room, if requested

  • First Look

***It’s always possible to change and do a first look at your cabin, if you’re doing a shorter hike or some other adventurous activity

  • Walk into Ceremony together
  • Recess into First Dance

***At a traditional wedding, you would recess and disappear for a bit to take photos and/or sign the marriage license–During an elopement it can be a little awkward to just stand there after the kiss so we love when couples “recess” into (walk over to a nearby spot) the first dance! We usually start the first dance song as the couple walks away from us/the officiant

  • Picnic and/or champagne & dessert
  • Sunset Couple’s Photos
  • Hike down

Sunset Elopement, with Guests

  • Get ready

***Separately or together, with family or friends, it’s up to you!

  • Get changed
  • First Look around cabin

***Some couples choose to say there vows privately, this is a great time to read them!

  • Lunch/early dinner

***For sunset elopements with guests, we recommend doing your meal BEFORE your ceremony! If you wait until after your sunset couple’s photos, you will be eating in the dark (and very late, if your elopement is in the summer). It also gets all the “formal” programming out of the way on the front-end so you can soak it all in after the ceremony, just the two of you, with no one waiting for you back at the cabin!

  • Head to ceremony location with family and friends
  • Ceremony
  • Recess into First Dance

***At a traditional wedding, you would recess and disappear for a bit to take photos and/or sign the marriage license–During an elopement it can be a little awkward to just stand there after the kiss so we love when couples “recess” into (walk over to a nearby spot) the first dance! We usually start the first dance song as the couple walks away from us/the officiant

***We have had couples do dances with parents at this point as well

  • Family/Friend Photos
  • Family heads back to cabin
  • Hike up
  • Sunset Couple’s Photos
  • Hike down
  • Head back to cabin
  • Champagne & dessert, if not done earlier in the day

Other elopement day elements to include and when to include them:

Gift exchange–Do it while you’re getting ready!

Read letters from family and friends–When we officiate, we love sharing notes from your family and friends during your ceremony! If you’d like to read them yourselves, read them while getting ready or over celebratory drinks and a picnic!

Watch videos from family and friends–Watch while drinking champagne and eating cake!

FaceTime/Zoom with family and friends–Invite them to watch the ceremony or call your VIPs after!

Need help planning your sunrise or sunset elopement? Contact The Greatest Adventure Weddings & Elopements to set up a complimentary consultation!

Cheers & happy planning!

Erika

Share this post!

Copyright The Greatest Adventure 2021
erika@thegreatestadventureweddings.com
IG: @thegreatestadventurewed
Pin: @thegreatestadventurewed

Homepage photos by:
Henry Tieu Photography
Nick Plus Danee
Fist Full of Bolts
The Foxes Photography
Lionlady Photography
Stephanie Keegan Photography
Rad Red Creative