Why You Should Plan an All Day Elopement

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A few years ago, when it came to elopements, half an hour at the courthouse and another hour for photos might have been plenty – but as more and more couples realize that their wedding day should be about them, a two hour elopement won’t cut it! The truth is that your elopement should last all day – but a lot of couples can’t imagine what they’ll do for an entire day, especially if they’re eloping just the two of them. This guide is all about planning an all day elopement and why it’s important!

How Long is an All Day Elopement?

What does it actually mean to have an all day elopement? I recommend a minimum of eight hours for an elopement day – this is the shortest amount of time that allows you to plan some adventures, and take it slow and really enjoy the day! But an elopement can be as long as 12 hours, and some couples even decide to extend their elopement and celebrate for two days.

Why Should You Have an All Day Elopement?

Here are some reasons why “a few hours” just isn’t enough, and why an all day elopement really is the best way to celebrate your day!

Your Elopement Deserves All Day!

The first reason that a full day elopement is the way to go is just that your wedding day deserves it! Think about it this way – you’re getting married, and why should having a small elopement (instead of a big ceremony), mean that your day is any less special, less important, or less worthy of a full day? 

Big weddings last all day, and why shouldn’t yours? You deserve to be able to relax and enjoy the day, without feeling like you’re running around from place to place and rushing without being able to truly be present.

An All Day Elopement Allows You to Relax

If you only have an hour or two for your elopement, it’s inevitable that you’ll feel rushed. The day you get married should be about spending time with your partner, and maybe a few loved ones, not about stress! An all day elopement gives you time, along with peace of mind. 

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, whether it’s traffic or a trail closure, or maybe you’re just feeling spontaneous – having all day gives you so much more freedom and flexibility. So if you see an amazing view and want to stop for some photos, or you want to take a midday nap, you can do what feels right on the day of, without stress!

It’s also somewhat inevitable that things take longer than expected on wedding days – it’s probably one of Newton’s laws. So if you end up having to change the schedule, there’s no stress, because you know you have all day!

An all day elopement gives you time to celebrate with family and friends!

Your Wedding Should Be an Adventure

One of the biggest reasons to plan an all day elopement is that the day should be an adventure. It’s not just a ceremony and some photos, it’s a chance to really celebrate your relationship and get married in a way that reflects who you are, and how you are together. There are countless things to do when you elope – so think about what would really make this the best day ever! It might be hiking, it might be beautiful views with no hiking, a day at the beach, paddle boarding to an island… the possibilities are endless!

A couple is twirling on the beach during their all day elopement in Big Sur.

What Do We Do During an All Day Elopement?

One of the biggest questions that couples have about all day elopements is about what they’ll do! But the truth is, you’d be surprised how quickly the time flies on the big day! It’s incredibly exciting, and 8 hours can go by in the blink of an eye.

As for what you’ll do on the day of, there are so many options! Your elopement day starts in the morning – before you get ready, start the day together and relax. Then, there’s getting ready and maybe hair and makeup, driving or hiking or whatever mode of transportation you take between locations, the ceremony, photos, maybe a small celebration with loved ones if you elope with family, and whatever adventures you want to plan on your elopement day. 

It can be hard to imagine a full day elopement, so after you’ve read this one, check out this guide all about elopement timelines to see some examples!

As an elopement photographer, part of my job is helping you decide what to do on the big day – so I’ll get to know you and give you personalized recommendations. But, some ideas to make your elopement special and to ensure it feels like you can include hiking, kayaking, soaking in a hot spring, taking a 4×4 tour, a relaxing day at the beach, a picnic in the mountains, and anything you can imagine! When you look back on the day you got married, you should remember it as the best day of your life – so plan something amazing!

A couple is kissing on the beach during their all day elopement.

How Long Should You Have Your Elopement Photographer There?

So your elopement will last all day – but how long should you book your photographer for? 

Here’s the thing – your photographer should be there all day too! When you look back at your photos from the day you got married, you should be able to see the entire day unfold. You deserve to see it all! Each part of your elopement is special and meaningful, from getting ready to ceremony to all the little moments in between. 

Having a photographer there for your elopement means that you’ll get the entire thing documented. It’s really unfortunate how quickly memories fade, and you’ll treasure these photos forever as a reminder of the best day of your life! The excited butterflies as you get ready for the big day, the little moments you may miss throughout the day, and every piece of your story deserves to be documented. 

An elopement photographer is also a key part of planning your day! My job is to give you personalized recommendations for locations, places to stay, vendors, things to do, and more – so I’ll be your adventure buddy and planning assistant, along with making sure that your photos document the day exactly as it happened, and how it felt. Ready to plan an all day elopement? Contact me

A couple is holding their dog on a trail in Big Sur during their all day elopement.