Valle de Guadalupe Wedding Photos | Trevista Winery

ELOPEMENT TIMELINE INFO

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YOU MAKE THE RULES!

You are eloping because you want to dictate the rules. You want to follow your own timeline. You want the day to be focused on the two of you and what reflects the love the two of you have for one another. Does this sound about right?

This applies to your elopement timeline. When you are eloping, you may want your couple portrait session to last more than 30 minutes to an hour. You may want to add a second or even a third location for your couple portraits. This is your chance to get the most epic backdrops for your wedding day that you share with your partner and/or your closest friends + family!

So where should you start? First things first, google the sunset time on the day you are getting married. You should schedule your ceremony time to start 2-3 hours before that sunset time. Then you can build from there. If you have friends and family attending, I would allocate 30 minutes for that portion. Then you can choose to have 1-2 hours for your couple portrait session, even three if you want 3 locations.

This is the fun part of eloping! You can spend as much time with couple portraits as you want. There is no cocktail hour or grand entrance to rush to. You can certainly have a dinner with your guests afterwards, but you can schedule that as you wish. You can also add time on the front end if you would like some individual portraits ready and dressed, and also with your family.

Scroll down to learn about the different activities that you can choose from to form your own timeline. The elopements I am photographing are between 2-4 hours.

4 HOUR

Sample Timelines

1 Hour - READY TO GO PORTRAITS

30 Min - CEREMONY
30 Min - FRIENDS + FAMILY PORTRAITS

2 Hours - FORMAL COUPLE PORTRAITS

You can allocate the time as You wish

Scripps Beach Wedding Portraits

2 HOUR

30 Min - CEREMONY
30 Min - FRIENDS + FAMILY PORTRAITS

2 Hours - FORMAL COUPLE PORTRAITS

READY to GO

AKA "Getting Ready"

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE

30 min -2 hours

San Marcos Courthouse Wedding Photos | Leslie + Ian
San Diego Courthouse Wedding + Balboa Park Wedding Photos | Jenna + Ryan

I've started renaming "Getting Ready" to "Ready to Go" as technically you are almost ready to get this party started. Starts with shooting wedding details such as wedding invites (make sure to save one), engagement ring, wedding bands, flowers, dress (may want to get a cute hanger), shoes, etc. Feel free to include any special family mementos.

For grooms this means they are in their wedding shirt + pant. Photos taken will be of putting on shoes, watch, cufflinks, jacket, etc (you don't have to have all of these details). Individual portraits and also portraits with groom immediate family. For brides this could mean they are in their robes, getting final H + MUP touches. Then zipping up the dress, and putting on your shoes. Bridal portraits and also portraits with immediate bridal family. If there is no "getting ready" area, then it starts with individual portraits already dressed and individual portraits with immediate family.

San Marcos Courthouse Wedding Photos | Leslie + Ian
San Diego Courthouse Wedding + Bali Hai Wedding Reception | M + F
Junipero Serra Museum Wedding Photos | Bianca + Eric

FIRST LOOK

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE

15 -30 min

First time you see each other the day of!

A first look is when the couple sees each other before the ceremony. Some couples choose this when they want to get their portraits taken care of already so they can enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests (formal + family portraits are taken right after ceremony). Some couples prefer to wait for the walk down the aisle to see each other for the first time. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer, there is simply preference. I don't push either way. The only time I would suggest a first look is during the winter and the ceremony time is close to sunset time. To get that magic hour light, you will want your formal portraits taken an hour before sunset.

CEREMONY

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE

15-30min

You have the option of reciting your own vows or be given the traditional vows by the officiant.

The ceremony is when everything comes together. All the preparation, mental and physical, that has gone into the two of you tying the knot finally arrives! It's such a privilege for me to get to document one of the most intimate and vulnerable moments between a couple. I also love seeing the guest reactions and how much they connect with you as well! With that being said, your ceremony can just be intimate with the two of you only. The important thing is to have the ceremony be a reflection of your relationship and love!

FAMILY + FRIENDS PORTRAITS

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE

15-30 min*

*depends on family size

The Wedding Bowl at Cuvier Park, La Jolla Elopement Photos | Lilly + David

1-2 weeks before your wedding date I will send you a family combination template for you to fill out. Here you decide the family groupings for the family portraits. As a rule of thumb, each combination equals a minute.

After saying I DO, it is time for your family and friends portraits! With your elopement being such an intimate experience, it's nice to have portraits taken with those closest to you. Here is where you will take couple shots with your friends and family and also individual portraits with your friends and family. The smoothest thing to do is create a family combination list (which I will provide for you). This way, on the day of, I can recite the list and it helps stay efficient with time. That is not to say you can't add a combination the day of, you certainly can!

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE

FORMAL COUPLE PORTRAITS

1hr - 3 hrs

That "magic hour" light happens one hour before sunset. If inland, I would say starting 1.5hrs before.

My favorite part of the wedding!!! Your formal portraits!!! Total emotional high for you two! Don't worry if you are shy or feel awkward in front of a camera, I want you to ride that love wave and I will make sure to put you at ease and feel super comfortable + confident. Here is where engagement sessions come in super handy as you will have already gone through this with me. I will guide you with some pose ideas but then let you two naturally do your love thing. And of course, keep you laughing + entertained the entire time! Cheers!!

RECEPTION

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE

1 hr

San Diego Micro Wedding | Sheila + Mike

Let the feasting + dancing begin!!

The fun doesn't stop after your formal couple portraits, but I usually stay behind here. You can get this portion professionally photographed, but usually the focus stays on the activities occurring during natural daylight. I am happy to be there though if you would like me to capture some of the festivities. If we do, I suggest we do all the photo ops at the beginning so that you can go on and enjoy the celebrations. Such as the grand entrance, first dance, toasts, etc.