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Deciding how long your elopement should be shouldn't be just a random decision. No bride/groom or any person who finds their own time valuable just decides "oh we're just gonna have the ceremony and a few pictures so 2 hours is fine"
If you've ever said this before. You need to stop and genuinely rethink what your wedding day truly means to you.
The average length of a traditional wedding is 8 to 12 hours, why do you think you don't deserve to celebrate your wedding day all day as well? You and your partner deserves SO MUCH MORE than that.
Time can go by quickly. Especially on a wedding day, I have never heard a couple say they wish they planned less time to indulge on adventures and meaningful moments on their elopement - but I have heard numerous couples say they wish they had planned for more time.
When you only have one wedding day in your life.
Why not make it an EPIC one?
Elopements aren't just big fancy photoshoots in beautiful locations. It is a whole different wedding experience and celebration of two people committing their lives to each other - a celebration that can last for hours.
So, what is a full day elopement experience?
= It's a whole day spent celebrating & adventuring with your partner & have the time to stop and embrace those oh-so-sweet in-between intimate moments.
Wouldn't you want this instead?
If you're wondering what on earth just the two of you will do for 12 hours... the horizons for elopement experiences are endless! I usually tell my couples, "If you two could spend the most amazing day together, doing things you two love most and being in a place you adore, how will that day look like?" Imagine the amazing day you two could put together if you incorporate things that makes you two who you are, things you love to do together and even things you'd love to experience together for the first time ever, you have an endless stream of possibilities then!
Here's a few ideas that could inspire you:
Reading vows to each other that you wrote.
Reading letters from your family members and friends together or video calling your family members or friends (this applies for an elopement for just the 2 of you)
Having a first look or getting ready together and have that photographed.
Creating a memento together like blending your own wine or writing a letter you can open on your first year anniversary.
Get tattoos together!
Getting an artist to paint you two or a musician for live music on your first dance.
Celebratory meal like a picnic or by a private chef.
Hiking to an epic spot.
Warming up by a fire or in hot springs (please follow Leave No Trace guidelines and check fire bans beforehand)
Adrenaline pumping activities like base jumping, canyoneering or skiing.
Simply hanging out in a hammock.
See? ENDLESS. This is YOUR day, spend it the way you want and don't leave anything hanging.
See timeline examples below.
Here's 3 example elopement timelines, these are very detailed for one reason, to show you the value of a full day elopement - the moments you could have if you give time for it to happen.
Elopement Timeline Examples
8 Hour Elopement Day
12 Hour Elopement Day
2 Day Elopement (12 hours + 4 Hours)
8 Hour Elopement
Sunset camping & wildlife adventurous Elopement
3pm - 11pm
3:00 pm: Get ready together at the lodge in the park you're staying, help each other getting dressed
4:15 pm: Explore the park on 4-wheelers, stop on a cliff overlooking the park and exchange gifts and read each other's letters - intimate moments together
5:00 pm: Go on a safari ride inside the wildlife park, experience majestic elephants, lions and giraffes
6:00 pm: Head back for dinner, a private setting outside the park restaurant overlooking the park. You could see the zebras drinking water from the nearby pond
7:30 pm: Freshen up and share a glass of wine & a few more relaxing moments together before heading to the ceremony site
8:30 pm: Head to ceremony site in safari vehicle
8:45 pm: Arrive at ceremony site
9:00 pm: Read vows as the sun sets brightly over the park horizon
9:30 pm: Pop champagne & celebrate your marriage
10:00 pm: Head down to camp site
10:15 pm: Have your first dance around the light of the campfire. Enjoy s'mores & your favorite snacks together wrapped in a blanket
10:45 pm: Stargaze the night away cuddled up on a hammock wrapped in a blanket together
12 Hour Elopement
Sunrise hiking, boat ride, whale watching & scuba diving adventurous Elopement
2:30 am - 2:30 pm
2:30 am: Get up, grab bags, head to trail
3:20 am: Hike up the mountain trail in the dark with your headlights
5:20 am: Arrive at ceremony spot, get together separately - in secluded spots
6:00 am: First look as the sun starts to rise over the ocean's horizon
6:15 am: Read your vows
7:00 am: Pop some champagne & enjoy a light breakfast picnic on a blanket admiring the beauty your surrounded by
8:00 am: Hike to a different spot, explore and find a nice spot to read letters from family & friends, exchange gifts and have your first dance
9:00 am: Head back down the trail, admire how different the views are from this morning hiking up in the dark - frequent stops to enjoy nature
11:40 am: Head to boat dock
12:00 pm: Start your boat ride & pop some more champagne
12:30 pm: Relax with your favorite drinks and experience the presence of whales for the first time in your lives
1:15 pm: Enjoy a meal on the boat with a private chef
2:30 pm: Scuba dive/Snorkel closer to shore in a coral reef
3:30 pm - 4:00pm: Head back to shore
12 hours + 4 hours
Small Elopement with a waterfall adventure & family ceremony the first day.
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Helicopter ride & private vows the next day.
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
8:00 am: Get up & get ready
9:00 am: First look just outside the mountain resort where you're all staying at
9:30 am: Couple head alone to waterfall and explore it, have intimate moments and take bridal portraits
11:00 am: On the way back to the mountain resort, stop have a breakfast picnic on a blanket overlooking the waterfall & river - read letters from one another
12:30 pm: Head back to mountain resort
1:00 pm: Cocktails, snacks & gift exchange with family and friends at mountain resort
2:00 pm: Everyone gets ready to head to ceremony spot
2:30 pm: Short 10 minute walk to ceremony spot
3:00 pm: Ceremony starts
3:40 pm: Family portraits
4:30 pm: First dance
4:40 pm: Walk back to cars, head back to mountain resort
5:15 pm: Arrive at mountain resort, head to reception area
6:00 pm: Sit down, served meal with family & friends
6:30 pm: Speeches, storytelling and fun together
7:30 pm: Cake cutting & more dancing
12:00 pm: Get ready & head to helicopter
1:00 pm: Helicopter ride starts - you're both at awe experiencing the whole mountain range from atop
1:20 pm: Land on top of the mountain & start exploring the beauty your surrounded by
2:00 pm: Found a spot that feels just right to read your private vows & talk about what the future holds for both of you
3:00 pm: Pop champagne & have another dance
3:40 pm: Head back with helicopter