Elopement Day Timeline Tips

Make your elopement an experience

Creating an elopement day timeline is so important because an elopement is so much more than a photoshoot- it is one of the most important days of your lives. It deserves to be documented fully, so that you can have a beautiful and intimate experience. Wedding days often have at least 8-10 hours of coverage, so your elopement should have plenty of time as well! This is especially true for Hawaii-based elopements. I know that a big draw for couples opting to elope in Hawaii is the beautiful scenery that we have around every corner, and you want to experience it not only on your wedding day but also have it documented in your photos. If you plan on doing some hiking up the mountains, while also getting portraits on the beaches of Oahu, and enjoy a relaxed time together, we will need plenty of photography time.

Elopement Day Timeline For Your Oahu Elopement Elopement Day Timeline For Your Oahu Elopement Beachside elopement in Oahu Bride in a vintage lace gown with dried flower bouquet

Think about what you want to incorporate in your elopement day timeline

There are so many different types of photos you are going to want to think about and plan for.

Detail shots, getting ready, first looks, ceremony/vows, amazing couples photos, multiple locations, participating in a fun activity together, and anything else you want to include! This will all tie into the total time.

If you decide to do getting ready and detail shots, I suggest 45minutes – 1 hour for these.

For a first look, I suggest 15 minutes. Remember, a first look can include your partner and any family members or friends!

For your ceremony, this is typically 30 minutes, with 1 hour for portraits after.

Eloping couples may also want to include a cake or treat after the ceremony, first dance together, etc. We have some amazing local artists to make that happen!

We can then change locations for a second (or third or fourth!) environment for some more adventurous shots.

If you are including some guests and family members, many couples reunite with them later in the evening for a post-elopement celebration party (see some great ideas for elopement receptions here!)

Think about what types of photos you definitely want to include, and factor those into your timeline. Your day can include as many traditional wedding day elements as you want!

Hawaii elopement photographer Hawaii elopement photographer Bride in a vintage lace gown with dried flower bouquet

Think about the transition + driving time or hiking time to locations.

More time is always better than being rushed and stressed, especially on a day as important as your wedding day. Traffic and parking availability on the island can be unpredictable, so I always make sure to account for extra travel time. If you are planning to hike, we will want extra time to stop for portraits along the way, and enjoy the trail without feeling rushed to get to the destination!

An elopement does not mean that your photos are any less important-if anything they are more important. With fewer or no guests present, these are the only photos that you will have from your day. Remember why you are eloping in the first place – you are looking to have an incredible and intimate day for you and your partner. Feeling stressed due to a tight timeline is easily avoided by cushioning in some extra time. As an elopement photographer, I work with all of my couples to create the perfect timeline, and really consider the overall experience and what the day will feel like.

Bride in a vintage lace gown with dried flower bouquet Sunset elopement session Bride in a vintage lace gown with dried flower bouquet

Sample elopement day timeline

Still not exactly sure what your elopement timeline is going to look like? Here is a sample barebones elopement day timeline for inspiration and to help you nail down some of those details while you are planning. The possibilities for elopement days really are endless! This elopement timeline is on the shorter side and doesn’t include any guests, first dance, activities/hiking, or post elopement party.

1:00 pm -Photographer arrives, getting ready shots, detail shots (attire, shoes, rings, florals, location, vows, etc)

1:45-2:00 pm -First Look at getting ready location with bride and groom

2:15 pm-Finishing touches, head to a nearby beach ceremony location

2:30 pm – Ceremony

3:00-3:45 pm -Bride and groom portraits at the beach ceremony location

3:45 pm – Head to a secondary location for cliffside location (about 20-30 minute drive)

4:15-5:30 pm – Enjoy cliffside photos, stop for local food/fruit stand, or gourmet picnic.

5:45 pm -Freshen up, leave for secondary beach location for sunset portraits

6:15-7:15 pm -Sunset beach portraits + beach portraits, picnic, possible wet the dress photos

As you can see, there is still some planning involved even when you decide to elope, and it’s easy to fill an entire day with an incredible experience. Elopements are so special and completely centered around the couple’s experience on their wedding day. When considering your timeline, it’s really important to keep in mind how you want your day to feel- happy, intimate, relaxed-and not be stressed out and rushed for time.

Looking for a photographer to capture your elopement in Hawaii? I would love to chat with you and see how we can work together to make your elopement vision a reality! Send me a message, I can’t wait to hear what you have planned for your elopement!

Sunset elopement session Bride and groom portraits in Oahu How to plan your Oahu Elopement


Bouquet: Bohemian Branches

Veil: Bespoke Bridal


Are you looking for more Hawaii elopement inspiration?

Be sure to check out:

This resource is all about choosing the best florals for your Hawaii elopement.

Click here for a resource all about hiking elopements.

Click here for beautiful rocky elopement inspo!


You’re looking to have a full experience completely customized to you and your unique story. I’m thrilled to bring an intentional, unfussy but elegant approach to your love story, capturing all of the candids and little microstories throughout your day. This way you can relax and focus on celebrating with your loved ones, with no moments missed-from pre-ceremony preparations to your last dance.