Picture this: you’re on a relaxing vacation on a warm beach somewhere. You’ve been soaking up the sunshine, snacking on watermelon, and swimming in the ocean. Before you know it, it’s 5:30 pm and an alarm on your phone goes off reminding you of a dinner reservation in 30 minutes. Suddenly, you’re scrambling to pack up your gear, zip back to your Airbnb, shower, and make it to the restaurant in time. What began as a carefree day is suddenly overran with stress and frustration. Spoiler alert: elopements have the potential to go the same way. But there are ways to mitigate the outcome. By creating a stress-free elopement timeline in advance, you’re setting yourself up to have the experience you’ve always dreamed of. 

Elopement Timeline Tips | North Shore Elopement Photographer

Elopement Prioritization

As a Minnesota elopement and intimate wedding photographer (and past bride), my top priority is ensuring that my couples have the best experienceand walk away withstunning photos to treasure for a lifetime. When I walk through building an elopement timeline with my couples, we discuss what their priorities are. Some couples may prioritize having a slow morning spent sipping coffee and strolling the shores of Lake Superior before heading out for their low-key nuptials. Other couples may prioritize a first look at sunrise, getting a hike in before the heat of the day, and wrapping up with mid-afternoon bridal portraits.  

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to building out your perfect elopement timeline. If you’re still in the early stages of elopement planning, I recommend taking time as a couple to list out your priorities for your big day. When it is finally time to nail down specific times for your big day, you’ll already be prepared with what moments are most important to you. 

Elopement Customization

The key to a stress-free elopement is crafting a custom elopement timeline. While a template or example may be a great starting point, it is by no means designed to be an end point. Personally, I offer 3 different packages with varying durations (and inclusions). Sometimes, the hardest part of elopement planning is deciding how much time and how much assistance you actually need to pull off your dream experience. Later in this blog, I’ll actually walk you through each of the packages I offer as well as examples of what an elopement in each package could look like. 

I know I’m biased here, but working alongside a photographer who offers full-customization and elopement planning services is invaluable. Opting for a photographer who listens to your desires rather than trying to upsell you is HUGE! Your experience and your priorities are what should come first, not a dollar sign.

Allow for Extra Time!

So far, you know that you need to prioritize your elopement day and work alongside someone who will allow for customization. But what’s equally important is that you give yourself enough time! For example, say the timeline you’re mocked up for you indicates you’ll be getting ready from 9:00 am and 11:00 am. But you know it takes you 1.5 hours just to curl your hair. Not to mention how long it takes you to put your makeup on and get into your dress! 

Be realistic with your time. Not only for how long it takes you to get ready, but also for how long it takes to travel from location to location. Or what if you need an emergency bathroom break, a snack break, or you just want to take in the view for a little bit longer?! Give yourself plenty of buffer time to enjoy your day.

Elopement Timeline Examples

As I mentioned, I currently offer 3 elopement packages varying in duration and inclusions. I’ve included elopement examples for each package I offer to help give you a better look at what an elopement with Payton Rademacher Photography could look like. But remember – every elopement timeline is fully customizable and designed with you at the top of my mind.

The White Pine

Olympic National Park elopement timeline example by Payton Rademacher Photography

Featuring 12 hours of coverage (with the option to divide between two days), The White Pine package allows for ample flexibility. The possibilities are truly endless when imagining your perfect day. From sunrise to sunset, or divided between two days, you can have the best of both worlds depending on your priorities. Enjoy an intimate ceremony at a cozy Airbnb surrounded by your closest people on day 1. Spend your second day hiking to Fantasia and Johnson Lake Overlook for private vows and an incredible golden hour. With 12 hours of coverage, you have full permission to create your dream elopement day.

Alaska Elopement Weekend Timeline example by Payton Rademacher Photography

The Black Spruce

The Black Spruce elopement package offers 8 hours of photography coverage which gives you similar flexibility as The White Pine package. Spend your morning getting glam while your honey golfs a round with the guys. Photography coverage could begin when you’re almost done getting ready, and could end with an evening toast surrounded by your closest people.

Olympic National Park elopement timeline template organized by Payton Rademacher Photography - PNW elopement photographer

The Red Cedar

With 4 hours of photography coverage, The Red Cedar elopement package is a sentimental way to document your “I do’s”. Whether you’ve already tied the knot in a larger ceremony or you’re looking to keep things short and sweet, this package is designed to document the biggest moments of your day. 

North Shore Minnesota elopement timeline template planned by Payton Rademacher Photography

Pacific Northwest Elopement Photographer | Payton Rademacher Photography

Whether you’re dreaming of tying the knot in a forest of towering pines beneath Mount Rainier, slow dancing atop Palisade Head, or exchanging private vows on the Oregon Coast, your dream elopement is attainable. By creating a stress-free elopement timeline, you will be able to soak up every second of your big day. 

Searching for more elopement planning resources? Head to the blog! And as always, be sure to follow along with my latest adventures on Insta (@paytonrademacherphotography). 

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