January 23, 2021

what is an elopement? elopement definition + timeline

what is an elopement and is eloping right for you

when you think eloping, you probably think of running away and getting married in vegas without your family’s knowing or approval. it’s totally rad if you want to get married in an elvis chapel, and I am 100% down to capture that for you, but elopements can be so much more than that! they’re an opportunity to celebrate your love and commitment the way that you want to, with no need to worry about seating arrangements and how much it costs to feed 200 people you barely know.

bride and groom kissing while eloping on a sailboat in hawaii

what tends to define an elopement is the intention behind it, as well as the size of your wedding. elopements are an intentional effort to celebrate your commitment in a way that is intimate, meaningful, and focused on the two of you. they don’t have pressure from tradition or anyone’s expectations. elopements generally include less than 20 guests, although some say a true elopement only includes the bride, groom, and officiant.

although elopements are small and intimate, that doesn’t mean they have to be a secret, no frills day like a lot of people think when they hear elopement. because they are small and dedicated to celebrating in a way that is meaningful, real, and without expectations, your elopement can be literally anything you want it to be.

do you want to elope under a waterfall in Bali?

exchange your vows surrounded by the blue ridge mountains and your family?

have an extravagant ceremony in greece that’s just for the two of you to fully enjoy?

your elopement is all about YOU. you can do whatever the heck you want! you can make it as unique and catered to your relationship as you can imagine. say who freaking cares about what other people think so that you can truly enjoy these moments. start your new adventure your way and be able to enjoy the little looks, the forehead kisses, the nose scrunches, and all the other cheesy goodness.

traditional weddings can be on such a tight schedule and so packed full of things that it’s hard to slow down and really savor the memories. i mean think about it, with so many weddings the couple barely even see each other for most of the day. elopements are a way to slow down and take it all in. you and your partner can be together, celebrating your love and letting it all sink in, for the entire day.

you deserve a beautiful and authentic day, free from stress and pressure. you deserve to get married on your own terms and in a way that is 100% for you. if an intimate, real, and freeing wedding experience sounds amazing, then eloping is probably for you.

eloping bride in the blue ridge mountains

ok sick, but what do you include in an elopement?

the short answer is your elopement can look however you want it to look! a quick idea would be spending the morning together sharing coffee while enjoying beautiful views. you then get ready, followed by sharing those precious first looks. maybe you go on a fun adventure in the afternoon, then have a ceremony and a celebration. if you and your partner are more adventurous, you can spend the day hiking to an epic viewpoint to exchange your vows. you could have a more traditional ceremony on the beach, followed by a party with your closest friends and family. maybe start your honeymoon early and travel to a place you’ve always wanted to go! spend the morning exploring before you exchange vows in your dream location.

you can craft your and your partner’s dream day and fill it with all of your favorite activities and traditions. traditional weddings take up an entire day so why shouldn’t elopements? think about how you would spend the perfect day with your partner, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. what does it include? who do you spend time with? or is it just the two of you? where are you? what do you do together?

however you picture your dream day is how you can spend your elopement day. a lot of vendors and people you may talk to often try to sell elopements as a few hour experience where you exchange vows then take some pictures. IGNORE THEM! this is one of the most special days of your life, a day you’ll look back on forever. don’t cut it short just because that’s how some people see elopements.

you can fill the day with every meaningful and crazy thing you can think of, and as a photographer, i can be by your side to document it all. that doesn’t mean i’m going to stop to pose you every minute, though. i’ll be there to capture your moments together how they happen so that you can remember how this day truly felt.

sample elopement timeline

even with all of this information, it can still be hard to picture just what an elopement timeline would look like. elopements just aren’t as common and everyone does it differently, so envisioning an elopement day can be hard. to help you imagine what your day could look like, here is a sample timeline of an all day elopement on oahu!

7:00 – it’s your big day!!

  • enjoy coffee and fresh fruit at waimea bay together, soaking in your excitement

8:00 – getting ready at the airbnb

  • return to your adorable airbnb to get ready in separate rooms, building the anticipation

9:30 – first looks surrounded by tropical foliage

  • take in the butterflies and really feel this moment. you’re about to be married to your best friend while in your favorite place!!

10:15- hike to waimea falls

  • celebrate your big day with a little adventure! hike to waimea falls for a private portrait session followed by a swim under the waterfall.

12:30- freshen up and travel to makapu’u beach for the ceremony

  • travel down to the south side of the island. enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way and maybe stopping for some fresh fruit!

2:30- ceremony at makapu’u beach

  • have a private ceremony and exchange vows surrounded by the deep blue ocean
  • sit for a while and enjoy the views. you can soak in the excitement, you’re now married!!!! after your ceremony, we’ll explore the beach and take your first portraits as a married couple!

5:00 – sunset picnic at sunset beach

  • head back up to north shore to enjoy a delicious picnic and a toast to your love while watching surfers in front of a legendary sunset
  • what better place to have a sunset picnic than at sunset beach??

rabbit island in oahu hawaii

are you starting to get the picture?

eloping allows you total freedom and control over your day! no need to worry about meeting a schedule, what venue will fit your guests, or how to avoid uncle bob. it’s literally all about you and your partner and your love. no expectations and no rules! you can set your perfect day, however grand and adventurous or quiet and intimate you’d like. let’s celebrate your commitment your way!!

ready to do this thing? get in touch and let’s start planning your dream day

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