Elopement picnic in the city

Elopement vs Weddings

Once you get engaged the avalanche of decisions to be made comes at ya FULL SPEED!! Everyone starts asking “When’s the big day?” or “What venues are you looking at?” or the dreaded “Who’s going to be in your bridal party??” It gets real, REAL QUICK. Couples in 2023 are not all buying into the big traditional wedding event though. In fact, it’s not uncommon for couples to ask should we elope or have a big wedding? from the very beginning. While it’s totally understandable why most couples choose to host a wedding of some kind (it’s “tradition” after all) elopements are becoming more common and for good reason.

Elopement activity - riding bikes in the city with cans tied to the wheels

By booking an elopement, you are relieving yourself of a HUGE mental and emotional burden. While couples go into wedding planning with high hopes and the best of intentions, the day often becomes an event catered to the guests. While you can still invite a few loved ones along to your elopement, there is a huge shift from a guest-focused wedding to a couple-focused elopement.

So…How long should an Elopement be??

A common question that often comes up when deciding on the logistics of eloping is “How long should our elopement be?” Eloping way back when used to be quick, cheap, and quiet, for a variety of outdated reasons. NOW, having an elopement really means getting married on your own terms. There are no venue regulations or a hefty guest list creating mountains of debt for a day that will speed by. Eloping gives you back the freedom to plan a celebration that truly honors and reflects your relationship. And that really should not be confined to a short “I do” and then calling it a day.

Elopements are just as important as big, traditional weddings and should be treated as such, including how long your photography coverage lasts. During “big” weddings, it is standard for photographers to be there all day, and elopements deserve just as much. For an elopement, your photographer is sometimes the only other person there to witness your elopement day, so capturing memories of your whole experience is important. Memories fade so fast so it’s nice to look back on your photos and remember how the entire day felt (and be able to share that with friends and family!).

When deciding how long your elopement should be, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of an all-day elopement. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Pros of Booking an All-Day Elopement

  1. More Flexibility
  2. Time for Experiences
  3. Space to tell your love story
  4. Time to Relax

More Flexibility

With more time, your photographer will have the chance to capture more candid moments, and you two will have more time to be spontaneous and be yourselves. Often times traditional weddings adhere to a very strict timeline to make sure the event doesn’t fall behind schedule. Often leaving only mere minutes to capture portraits, and often without any control over the lighting or even the location. This can lead to stressed-out couples just wanting a break to relax and focus on each other rather than the event.

Having a flexible timeline can also be great for spontaneity. If you’re exhausted from the day before, you can always opt for a plan b or c. If the weather is being tricky, we can flip-flop the order of events or change locations with no problem. When you’re on a tight 3-hour timeline, that can’t really happen.

Time for Experiences

One of the best things about eloping is getting to create a wedding day custom tailored to you! No more cookie-cutter timelines with cheesy traditions (unless that’s your jam, then go for it!) But with an elopement, the options are limitless! You can design a day filled with things that light you two up as a couple, and not worry about anything else. Often times couples who try and short-cut the elopement process, by just planning the day around a short ceremony, and then a few portraits. While that is totally okay, I’m here to tell ya it doesn’t have to be that way! I want to encourage you two think outside the box and dream up a day with no restrictions. A day filled with your favorite things.

Space to tell your love story

I’ve shot enough short elopements to know that, while I can capture some good photos of a civil ceremony and some sweet portraits afterward, delivering a gallery that only includes a short snippet of a day can feel lacking. I can guarantee that you will NOT regret booking in the extra time to include you getting ready, the little details leading up to your “I do”, the moments that aren’t rushed or staged. The experiences you choose to add to make the day full of FUN and once-in-a-lifetime memories. Your elopement day deserves just as much attention and intentionality as a wedding day. And I believe it should be captured to the fullest.

Time to relax

Did you know you can take a nap on your wedding day?? Yeah, that’s right. If you plan an all-day elopement right you can include space in your timeline to just CHILL! Whether that’s taking a shower after a sunrise hike, enjoying a hammock nap or indulging in a fancy brunch. You get to do whatever the heck you want! When you plan for an all-day elopement, you allow the day to flow and not be a mad-rush to squeeze in every little thing in a short period of time. When you book a photographer’s all-day package it is consecutive hours of coverage, but you get to choose how to spend your day and know that your photographer is ready to capture any moment big or small (even that post-brunch snooze in the hammock!) Those little moments are images that you will cherish for decades to come.

Potential Cons of Booking an All-Day Elopement

  • Higher cost: An all-day elopement can be more expensive than a shorter elopement, due to the additional time and services required. However, most vendors often charge a day rate and that cost to extend your day may totally be worth the extra investment. For me, the cost per hour goes down with a full-day elopement.
  • More planning: With more time comes more planning, which can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. However, if you hire an experienced elopement photographer, they will help you plan your elopement and can offer tips and suggestions on how to create your timeline.
  • Longer day: While an all-day elopement can be a wonderful experience, it can also be tiring, especially if you’re doing a lot of physical activities. A good idea can be to break up the day into sections, giving you some downtime to relax, eat, maybe take a nap, and then get back out for an epic sunset! The best of both worlds
  • More unpredictable factors: The longer your elopement, the more variables there are that could impact your day, such as weather, traffic, or other unforeseen circumstances. However, this can actually be a really good thing too. The more time you have booked, the more time you have to be flexible with your activities and your photos. If you booked only 2 hours and it happens to be raining those two hours but perfect the rest of the day, that is when an all-day elopement package would have been ideal!

Elopement Photo Packages

I offer a few different elopement photography package options, but each package can be customized to suit your needs. Each package comes with:

  • Location selection assistance
  • Elopement Client Guide
  • Help with permits
  • Online gallery
  • Print release
  • Travel included

PLUS I’m ordained in MA but can also marry people in NH as well!! Yep, I can legally marry you AND photograph ya all in the same package!

My coverage starts at 3 hours for a short elopement and then my most popular package is the All Day option (up to 12 hrs). You can also add on additional hrs as an a la carte item. This is something we go over in our consultation call and timeline planning.

Elopement Activities to Consider

Motorcycle elopement

Okay, so you’re sold on eloping and love the idea of making it an ALL-DAY elopement. But you may be asking “What can we do on our elopement?” ANYTHING YOU WANT! Okay maybe with some limitations. But really, if there’s a plausible idea, a hobby or an activity you two enjoy; you can include it on your wedding day! If you’re still not sure what that might look like, here are a few ideas for elopement activities and experiences to consider:

  1. Take a boat out on the water! (Lake, ocean, river, you name it!)

2. Kayaking or canoeing

3. Cycling (mountain biking, beach cruising, city riding)

4. Take a helicopter ride

5. Go Skiing or snowboarding

6. Rent a Jeep or ATV

7. Book a hot-air balloon

8. Hiking or walking

9. See the sunrise and then see the sunset

10. Go surfing or snorkeling

11. Get tattoos!

12. Visit a museum or the zoo

13. Do a hobby you love together (reading, painting, playing music)

14. Ride a motorcycle or moped

15. Go stargazing

16. Go swimming

17. Hire a private chef to cook you a meal

18. Have a picnic together

All-Day Elopement Benefits

So, how long should your elopement be? There really is no wrong answer here. The best elopements are the ones that are thoughtfully and intentionally designed to suit a couple’s unique personalities. If hiking isn’t your jam, don’t let someone talk you into an all-outdoor 8-mile trek for your ceremony. If the quick civil ceremony idea seems lackluster for your elopement DO NOT SETTLE. You don’t have to abide by the traditions or expectations of anyone. I can promise you that when you stay true to yourselves and prioritize well, you can have the most romantic and special wedding day. By booking an all-day elopement you are giving yourself so much more freedom and flexibility to enjoy the experience. The benefits are worth the investment and the planning. And if you’re not sure what you even want or need from your elopement day, I can help!

As your elopement photographer/friend I can be there to help guide you through the process and make sure that it is what YOU want. Whether or not you opt for a backyard wedding or an adventurous elopement, this is your day—we can do whatever you want. I’m up for anything and any place if it means your day is exactly what you pictured. I’m so down to help any couple craft the most epic elopement day full of activities you love doing. That’s the best part about eloping… doing whatever you want!

Example Timelines

Example 1: adventure with the two of you, then dinner with family

11:30 Getting ready photos (detail photos of your outfits, jewelry, vow books, florals, etc., touch ups of hair and makeup, getting your outfits on)

1:00 First look at the airbnb

1:30 Get in Jeep to go off roading to ceremony location with stops along the way for photos

3:00 Ceremony

3:30 Champagne pop, couples portraits

4:15 First dance

4:30 drive back to airbnb for dinner with family

5:30 family portraits

6:00 dinner and speeches

7:00 couples portraits during sunset

7:30 s’mores by the fire with family and guitar playing

8:30 end time

Example 2: all day adventure, just the two of you

4:30am meet at trailhead and hike to top of mountain

6:00 getting ready photos and first look at sunrise

6:30 ceremony with private vows (with yours truly officiating)

7:00 morning coffee and breakfast

7:30 couples portraits

8:30 hike back down mountain

9:30-2:00 break in the middle for nap time and lunch! haha

2:00 canoeing on the lake followed by a swim

4:30 drive to new location

5:00 first dance, champagne pop, couples portraits at sunset and blue hour

6:00 dinner at the airbnb

6:45 photos out by the fire with s’mores

The timeline will be completely customized to what you two want to do! Part of hiring me as your elopement photographer is I will help create this with you.

Ready to start planning your elopement? Reach out and let’s talk!

How Long Should an Elopement Be?

Elopements, For Couples

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