With an elopement or micro wedding day, your timeline can be one of the hardest things to nail down because you have so much flexibility! Elopement timelines never look one certain way. So today to give you some inspiration I’ll be covering a number of timelines I’ve seen or dreamt of for elopement celebrations and micro weddings. Let’s start by talking about the different parts of an elopement day:
The getting ready part of the day is almost always something I capture for traditional wedding celebrations, but doesn’t always look the same for elopements and micro weddings. I’ve photographed some couples getting ready together, tying each other’s shoes or ties. This can be a fun, exciting, and intimate time together as you prepare for the day ahead! I’ve also had some couples who could not care less about this part of the day, and would rather add time on to other experiences they have planned for their big day. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re doing it for YOU, not just because you think it’s expected of you!
Adventure & Portrait Time
A lot of my couples really value their location and its meaningfulness to them. It totally makes sense, then, that they’d want to spend time enjoying the spaces! We often spend the portrait part of their elopement timelines exploring the area, hiking to a waterfall or off-roading out to a remote mountain pass with incredible views. I’ve even had couples ask to have a morning hike with all their guests captured – the possibilities are truly endless!
The I Do’s
Of course no elopement or micro wedding day is complete without you getting married! Every single couple I work with has wanted their vows captured, even if they plan a private vow reading for just the two of them during their micro wedding (that’s what zoom lenses are for!) Consider how and when you would most like to make your promises to your partner – sometimes this is the best foundation for building your elopement timelines around.
Your elopement or micro wedding will likely include some fun. From a special dinner, to cake cutting and cocktail hour for your guests, to ending the night with a bonfire like Eric and I did – your big day is a CELEBRATION! There are so many special candid moments in these fun celebration moments that you will cherish having documented.
So what does this all mean for your elopement timeline?? Since these kinds of celebrations are very intentionally NOT “one-size-fits-all”, I can’t really tell you how to plan your elopement day. But I can give you some inspiration of celebrations I’ve been witness to or dreamt about! Here are some examples of elopement timelines that past couples have put together:
A Lakeside Elopement / Micro Wedding
Amy and William planned their nine person micro wedding near Crested Butte, Colorado in September, perfectly timed for the color change. I met them at their vacation rental near Elk Ave. at 2pm to capture the final parts of getting ready. Amy was assisted in putting on her dress by her and William’s mom, and it made for such sweet moments to have documented. From there Amy and I departed for the Woods Walk for her and William’s first look and private vows at 3pm. The two had the most beautiful intimate vows time (Amy very smartly brought a box of Kleenex!), followed by us exploring the area a bit for some portraits, and then all three of us continued up the pass to Lake Irwin for some more portrait time. At 4:30 Amy and William hid away as guests were shuttled to the campsite for their formal ceremony at 5pm.
The two walked hand in hand through their immediate family to the most beautiful archway for their wedding. They exchanged rings and a kiss, and we followed the ceremony with some family photos. Following the ceremony The Horsefeather Mobile Bar provided warm drinks while a bonfire was lit and Tyler Hansen (also their officiant) played acoustic guitar for ambiance of their little cocktail hour. The time was complete with a cake cutting perfect for nine (and they thoughtfully shared with the vendors – the cake was incredible!) After that the party made their way back into town for a private dinner at a restaurant on Elk Ave. and I was finished with my coverage of the celebration. It was such a beautiful and intimate day!
So to recap, here was their elopement timeline:
2pm – Getting Ready 2:30 – Depart for First Look & Vows 3pm – Couples Photos 4:30 – Hide Away 5pm – Ceremony 5:15 – Family Photos 5:30 – Cocktails & Cake Cutting 6pm – Back to CB
Gateway Canyons Bridge Elopement
Carrie and Blake planned an intimate elopement at Gateway Canyons Resort in the spring (the perfect time of year for such a desert location!) We started their afternoon with getting ready at the resort around 5:30pm as I captured them putting the finishing touches on their looks. As the sun sank closer to the horizon, Carrie and I made our way to the nearby bridge over the river where Blake and their officiant were waiting. Carrie made the walk up the bridge alone as I captured Blake’s reaction to seeing her for the first time. After the ceremony on the bridge, we explored the little town of Gateway and the resort property for portraits of the two of them.
Following portrait time, they were scheduled for a private dinner and cut the most beautiful aspen tree themed cake back at the resort restaurant and dined as the sunset glowed. It was such a beautiful elopement with just the two of them. Their elopement timeline looked like this:
Kevin & Lynette’s Telluride Micro Wedding was my spectacular introduction to working in Telluride, and I immediately fell in love. Coming from Nebraska, the two planned their micro wedding with help from family in the little town, and it came together perfectly. I met them both at a vacation rental in Mountain Village for getting ready around 10:30am, and captured the final touches of hair and makeup, the guys putting on their matching converse and suspenders, and Lynette getting into her dress. They had a whimsical theme for the day and it was awesome!
From getting ready, we headed up the pass outside of town to their remote ceremony location for the first look at Noon, followed by the ceremony at 1pm. After their ceremony we captured family photos and their wedding party photos before heading back to the rental around 3:30pm for cocktail hour and appetizers, and some general hangout time with their guests.
After a 4pm dinner and cutting the cake, the two shared their first dance in the massive living room of the cabin. Around 5pm we got their wedding party together to head down to the gondola where we rode into town for some quintessential Telluride Main Street photos in the street! It was so beautiful as the sun set and the mountains glowed in the distance. Their micro wedding was a little more traditional in structure but still completely their own!
Here was their micro wedding timeline:
10:30am – Getting Ready 12:00pm – First Look 1:00pm – Ceremony 1:30pm – Family Photos & Wedding Party Photos 3:30pm – Cocktail Hour 4:00pm – Dinner 4:30pm – Cake Cutting & First Dance 5:00pm – Gondola Ride & Main Street Photos 6:30pm – End Coverage
Ouray Yankee Boy Basin Micro Wedding
Mark and Rae planned the sweetest micro wedding in Ouray, with a ceremony out in Yankee Boy Basin and reception back at Beaumont Hotel. I met up with them at the Beaumont at 12:30 for getting ready photos as the two put the finishing touches on their outfits. We needed to add extra time in their timeline for the Jeeps to shuttle their wedding party and guests out to the ceremony location in Yankee Boy Basin, which was at least a half an hour journey on a really crazy cool road into the mountains! I rode with Mark and the guys out to the location, and they set up the few chairs as the guests began arriving by shuttle too. Then the ladies arrived in their Jeep and the ceremony began around 2:30pm.
After the vows, the wedding party brought out coolers and koozies with craft beers for all the guests to do a big toast at the site. We wrapped up our time in Yankee Boy Basin with family, wedding party and couples portraits, stopping along the ride back into town for some scenic couples photos as well! Back at the Beaumont everyone had dinner at 5:30pm, the two cut a cake, shared emotional toasts with the guests, and danced into the night after I was done capturing the events of the day.
Their Micro Wedding timeline looked like this:
12:30 – Getting Ready 1:30 – Leave for Yankee Boy 2:30 – Ceremony 3:00 – Portraits in Yankee Boy 4:30 – Head back to Beaumont 5:30 – Dinner & Toasts 6:00 – Cutting the Cake 6:30 – End of Coverage
As you can see, most of the elopements and micro weddings I get to capture opt for an average of 6 hours of coverage, some with smaller schedules and some with more of the day captured. There is no right or wrong in elopement timelines, as long as what you’re planning is meaningful to the two of you and is just what you would dream of for your big day!